Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"REFORM" or "TRANSFORM" - Change in what form?

On 4th May 2011, sensing the voters were very angry:

"WHATEVER the results of the general election.......And if elected, Mr Yeo, who leads the PAP team in the fiercely-battled Aljunied GRC, pledged that he and his team-mates would be 'advocates of reform' within the party, the government and the Cabinet."[Link]

On 10 May 2011 at his press conference after losing his seat and a few days of reflection:

"I would help in whatever way I can to bring about this transformation of the PAP" - George Yeo.

The elections results appear to have sent a signal for change. But how much change? How strong was this signal? I believe the electorate sent signal for reform not incremental transformation. If you look at the results, the PAP interprets that it has a strong mandate with 60.1% of the votes and 81 seats. However, the election is not fought on a level playing field - massive upgrading carrots and propaganda are used to sway voters and GRC average the votes to keep number of opposition seats down. Without these, the PAP would probably lose close to 20+ - 30 seats and we would have a 2 party system overnight. These barriers have kept worthy opponents out of parliament for the past 2 decades. As a result of a lack of competition, the much vaunted PAP selection process picked uninspiring 'yes-men', 'yes-women', they lost the ability to campaign for the hearts of citizens and became terribly reliant on threats, carrots, propaganda and goodwill for their past achievements.

It is no longer sufficient \just to  take care of the tail-end  problems caused by various schemes and policies. We have to rethink, restructure and reform many policies/schemes to benefit as many people as possible. For example, in healthcare, the Medifund is suppose to be the "catch all" if one falls through the cracks but the NUH consultant speaking at SDP's lunchtime rally revealed that one has to lose his home before he can get access to Medifund, that is a huge crack and a long way down to fall when one gets sick. We need to completely relook at healthcare financing in Singapore. The CPF after so many tweaks and liberalisation for "every other thing" such as children's education, housing and medicare, will not be adequate for a good retirement for many Singaporeans in the future. It needs to be reformed so that our CPF savings earns a high enough rate of return above inflation for Singaporeans to have a proper retirement - we cannot continue to 'transform' and tweak it by pushing back retirement age every few years and stretching these funds further with schemes like CPF Life.

We can all wait to see if the PAP figures it out. I'm not optimistic. The PAP is already starting to slide by from talk of "reform" to "transform" a few days we will hear "adjustment" ...a few weeks the PAP might conclude that it has done everything correctly but only forgot to communicate well...


Anonymous said...

xi (die) liao al, all of us :(

Spare Tyre said...

if what you fear comes to pass, the biggest victim would be PAP.

Within a decade, they could end up making themselves unelectable for many, many, many years

Anonymous said...

The system is homosexual.

How not to get burnt?

Anonymous said...

Never mind that the incumbent party makes itself unattractive as a party within years from now. The boundaries will continue to be redrawn every five years again and again to their advantage, and then, they will continue to use their packages every time before the elections to continue keeping their fair share of the electorate who will vote for them, and candies will continue to be dangled for the public via such things like priority queue-ups for flats and housing, children's education in schools etcetera. The question is really this: will Singaporeans EVER, ever ever get so fed up with them that they will totally switch to the other sides and vote for other parties? My guess is not definite here, and either way, with new citizens in the ball game 5 years from now, my guess gets even muddier, because new citizens do not think with the baggage of history unlike us born and bred citizens. New citizens might not also be as apathetic as the main bunch of citizens born here who think that as long as they have their job, they can still forget about politics, because they left their country for a better life, and might have been exposed enough to their fair share of political corruption and gerrymandering.

"Reform" is a very strong and pithy word. It is like someone who wants to "reform" the evils within an institution, by removing it. "Transform" simply means change on the other hand, and might just mean a different presentational style in lieu of an internal "reform". On top of these, I think once we see the ministers sworn in after the elections of the president and so on, the next thing to expect in terms of a transformation is the reshuffling of ministers who stay on in the Cabinet. This will mark a transformation alright...............

Anonymous said...

what homo? more like adulterous. a woman with one wrong husband and a lover trying to woo her, all living under one roof.


Anonymous said...

No matter how the boundaries are redrawn etc .....or even to the extend of Singapore being contested as one GRC or all wards under SMC, Singapore will never see change if able and honest citizens refuse to come forward and offer themselves for election.

Anonymous said...

Most Sporeans simply don't get it. The PAP will never change. And the biggest victim won't be the PAP. It will be ordinary Sporeans again who will bear the brunt of bad policies.

Kojakbt said...

Cheer up! Oppositions did not do too badly for GE 2011

Anonymous said...

Imagine the late JBJ called his party "Transform Party". LOL!

Anonymous said...

As long as opposition is not seen as being able to form alternative government, nothing will change much in future election outcome.

That's why opposition need to merge into just one party and fight as one. If not, forever lose lah, got scholar or not.

So NSP, SDP, RP should just all merge into the WP. Why merge into WP? Because WP is the strongest one now what.

Anonymous said...

They wan to become transformers lah - wear wig and go for sex change. hahaha

Anonymous said...

Good of you to highlight the difference. Im afraid you are right in your concerns over the direction that the ruling party is taking. I was a volunteer at the last elections (oppos of course) and got to witness the PAP machinery at work. To me that is so intertwined that it pose the largest hurdle to any party challenging the incumbents. They may have MPs that we dislike, policies that we hate but at the end of day, they have supporters that will go on voting them for personal reasons, and I bet my last dollar that it has nothing to do with policies or good governance. Re your earlier article, we have made the mistake by letting the opportunity go by, and now they will tweak it yet again to thwart us.

I read the latest article in the TOC by Leong Tze Hian on the ridiculous requirements for those who wants to reinstate their names in the electoral rolls.

Anonymous said...

Can Singapore just have one big GRC?

So that each party must field 87 candidates to contest.

So if party win, all 87 candidates win. If lose all 87 lose.

And even if won by only 50.001% of the votes still win all.

So if there are more parties, then 30 or 40% of votes can still win all, if that is the largest share of the votes.

Like that can or not?

A M C said...

I think you're wrong, Lucky, for once.

'Reform' means to improve for the better while using the same basis. That's why when the Catholic church went through the Reformation, they still retained largely the same Bible, hymns, and many practices.

'Transform' on the other hand means to make things completely new. 'Transformation' is the Latin equivalent of the Greek 'metamorphosis'. Like caterpillar into butterfly.

Therefore, 'reform' should mean doing different things but using the same core principles; 'transform' means doing a completely different thing, perhaps with a completely different structure and basis. So I would prefer George Yeo's well-chosen word 'transform' as opposed to mere 'reform'.

Sorry for the long English lesson! :)

Anonymous said...

Chain Chain Change
Chain Chain Change
Chain Chain Change

Change of life.
For five long years,
I thought Iam loosing my mind;
but I found out no....
It's just a part of the change.
My body tried to warn me,
the signs wern't too cool;
it treated mean,
its treated me cruel.
Chain chain Change (Chain Chain Change)
Change of life
Now every change
has got it's own time,
and Iam here to tell you child,
No one's is worse than mine.
(work work) I told it to leave me alone;
Ignore it till the signs were all gone;
My doctor said "take some prozac) but these mood swings are way to's just the part of the..

Chain Chain Change
Chain Chain Change
Chain Chain Change
Change of Life.

One of these mornings,
the change will be though,
but until then,,yeah
I'll do what I can cope with

Chain Chain Change
Chain Chain Change
Chain Chain Change
Change of Life.

Chain Chain Change
Chain Chain Change
Chain Chain Change
Change of life

Anonymous said...

What's in reform and transform? Basically, reform is like an insecure man who needs an image makeover. So he hires a fashion consultant to give advice on how to dress better, get a better hair cut,project a better personality or even go for facial to improve skin condition etc..

To transform is equivalent to a sex change operation but retaining the general structure of the body.

While the former is cosmetic in changes. The latter, a possibly freak transformation. LOL

Anonymous said...

not making changes to the old body. a completely new body.

Anonymous said...

If we keep talking about what PAP should do,
We dis-empower ourselves.

We cannot control/influence PAP.
We can only control/influence ourselves.

Ask not what PAP can do for Singapore.

Ask what YOU can do for Singapore.

Anonymous said...

a person who speaks with forked tongue will not be too concern whether it is reform or transform,
as long as 60% of singaporeans enjoy being taken for a ride, dragging the other 40% along.

the only reform i see is Sissy Loong learning to apologise in the most economical manner but reaping maximum benefit, seeing his votes increase to 69%

Lye Khuen Way said...

I share your pessimistic view that the promised "reform: will die off.

As of today, I can only count the PM and defeated GY as the two PAP men willing to take a hard look at themselves. The rest, from the MM to VB, are finding excuses for the drop in their "popular votes".

Nevermind. If they want to be emu, so be it. The next apology will be laughed off. The 3 year-old would be 8 by then. Good bye PAP, I say.

Anonymous said...

Thou shall not commit adultery

Anonymous said...

Both George and Hwee Hua said that they were surprised at the resentment on the ground for the PAP.

That says a lot about the PAP's reading of the ground and the kind of feedback they are getting from their grassroots. It must be a case of 'since you want to hear only the good things, we feed you only what you want to hear'.

I was also particularly pissed off with one minister,s arrogant comments about the crowds attending opposition rallies as inconsequential and will not translate into votes, and that people just treat them like a show. Well, they miscalculated this time.

Anonymous said...

I think it is already at the communication phase already.

Anonymous said...

/Anonymous said...11/5/11 17:34
Ask not what PAP can do for Singapore.
Ask what YOU can do for Singapore./

They are the government and are setting the policies not us. Orelse, why are they still up there not us.

Most of us have not made any apology as far as it relates to past mistakes on matters concerning our country and don't think that we will ever need to do that.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11/5/2011 23:30
You said that Singaporeans did not need to apologise, but technically, if we elected the government to serve us, and we need to bear the brunt of any bad policies passed around, which I am sure includes various policies such as the skyrocketing housing prices, depressed wages, absence of any welfare systems for the underprivileged(such as the handicapped and elderly sick), and also the foreign talent policy which causes potential structural unemployment to exist, then we do have to "repent" for the next five years, so to say.

Anonymous said...

/You said that Singaporeans did not need to apologise, but technically, if we elected the government to serve us, and we need to bear the brunt of any bad policies passed around,/

It depends on which group of singaporeans you are referring to who elected.

That's the rules of the game technically (emphasis intended) and can you choose not to play. Technically, you and me are called humans or even singaporeans but definitely you and me are different in terms of personality and characteristics.

Anonymous said...

In other countries, the election result will not affect the regional or GRC's. the reason is that they separate the election into 2 types....federal and munipical. General election is about Federal...dealing with life's decision such as education, immigration, defence, investments,laws all effected by the budget decision.So one is not held by hostage to the ruling party who can "bribe" through fiscal's spending on their constituents. Municipals are like upgrading and firestations, landscaping for the respective unless the services in GRCs are separted out from the issue of elections, electoral is always beholden to the ruling party...'s carrot.

Food for though... I have the opportunity to work and libe overseas to see the real democracy.

Anonymous said...

There is no glorification to PAP wins no matter what the percentage is especically when it is not a gentleman fight.

It requires one to have thick elephant hide to feel glorify.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12/5/11 05:37

Does that mean MPs should be removed from parliament whose duty comfined to municipal affairs? If that's the case, perhaps fewer will object to TPL dedication to community services? But without enroute to parliament and its rich rewards, some of these dedication may wane.

Anonymous said...

Change there MAY be only if the dominant male goes and the next in line is challenged. Until then, only couple of really hated MIW will go. With new citizens the next 5 yrs to broaden the voter base, there will be more polarisation and division, all thanks to the immigrant policy. Before that happens, I hope the various opposition parties can galvanise S'poreans. This is everybody's role and the opposition shd not just focus on municipal issues. It's a long road ahead.

Anonymous said...

Let's see if PAP remove the GRC system. Also, PAP has to engage an independent party to do drawup the boundaries. Currently, the boundaries are a joke. The Aljunied GRC looks like a "bird" and the Choa Chua Kang GRC looks like a "crab with claws" - Clearly gerrymandering at the best. Also, people have no sense of belonging because they are thrown around from one GRC to another every election.

If PAP stick to their GRC system to stay in power - then it means it has no intention of REFORM or TRANSFORM. Talk is cheap - when GY and LHH talk about transformation - what exactly do they want to change?

The good news is the Northeast/east side of Singapore is very homogeneous. It's getting more difficult to gerrymander in the east. The west still have a wider rich-poor divide and greater diversity which means there is still room to gerrymander to PAP's advantage.

Anonymous said...

A lot of nonsensical talk during election because so much power and money are at stake.

Kill party politics and we may just get right down to the real business of governing the nation

Anonymous said...

Funny thing is...nobody seriously give a thought( if at all) about killing party politics. I wonder why. LOL

group think? LOL

Anonymous said...

I can't understand it why you want to hurt me
After all the things I've done for you.
I buy you champagne and roses and diamonds on your finger -
Diamonds on your finger -
Still you hang out all night
What am I to do?

My girl wants to party all the time

Party all the time
Party all the time.
My girl wants to party all the time
Party all the time.

She parties all the time - party all the time

She likes to party all the time - party all the time

Party all the time - she likes to party all the time

Party all the time.


You give your number to every man you see.
You never come home at night because you're out romancing.
I wish you bring some of your love home to me.

But my girl wants to party all the time
. . .
My girl wants to party all the time
. . .

Party she likes to party all the time.
She likes to party all the time -
She lets her hair down
She lets her body down:
She lets her body
She lets her body down.
Party all the time - do you wanna get any party
Party all the time - party all the time.

Anonymous said...

Chances, we have a lot of crap talkers beholden to political parties. These are the real creeps or hypocrites that keep the system going.

Anonymous said...

We certainly have a lot of incredibly stupid people who know so much and have so little intelligence.

Where did they get their credentials from? Harvard? Oxford? NUS?


Anonymous said...

You kill the vote, you ll kill all the nonsense. It is as simple as that.

Save the PAP said...

In the earlier era of politics, the objective was to provide housing, jobs and national security.

These have since been achieved.

Now the objective is to remain in power and create revenue stream for own survival.( milk as much as possible)

So, all this talk about softening stance, allowing space to debate is purely cosmetics.

There is absolutley no reason why the PAP should allow any party to take over or even share space in parliament! Such nonsense about having more ideas and alternatives!

Its winner take all, no quarter given & no quarter taken either!

Understand 1 simple logic:
I am in control
I have the influence
I just need to talk "nice"
Yet, I will achieve my high GDP for that is the yardstick I will stick!!

Anonymous said...

Change is a choice. Choose to change, not change to choose.


Anonymous said...

Reduce the power of the most important role in the political system, do they dare do it? What reform? What transform?

You talk cok lah hahaaaa

Anonymous said...

Opposition? Oppose what? Oppose for the people?

You also talk cok lah hahaaaaa

Anonymous said...

Whether we like to admit it or not, the NCMP scheme is largely a means of maintaining the impression that the opposition--and by extension, the populace in the population(pardon my alliterative pun on words)--is given some extra voices. But NCMPs do not have a vote in parliamentary decisions and only speak forth for cases which are pertinent, without having actual power to push forth for them. Do not forget that in the PAP, the percentage of yes-man and yes-women seem to be higher than the case of anyone having differing opinions and hence choosing to differ. Whether the opposition parties have NCMPs or not, it is still largely a case of dogs barking but not having a chance to bite. 6 opposition members of parliament might be an improvement from years ago, but it is still meaning that they are likely to get shot down by a majority of 81 PAP MPs, and this will very likely mean that the old status quo and power structure favoring policies like the FT policy, the stagnation of wages and the refusal to pass a minimum wage bill, the declining standards of healthcare alongside its increasing privatisation, will be maintained without obstruction.

Anonymous said...

Who are your political masters?

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans will be paying the price for the PM's apology in the next 5 years!

Anonymous said...

Dear LT,

I need to point out something crucial. The PM talks of GDP per capita which supposedly looks at the affluence of its citizens, by taking total GDP and dividing by the total population.

The problem here is we have too many millionaires in this country who are increasing the GDP per capita but will that translate to all Singaporeans enjoying the fruits of the rich nation of ours?

The answer is no. Just as Tharman taxed from the top percentile through GST, the same logic won't pass over to the rest of the heartlanders.

It hasn't in the past through supposedly taxing the rest and passing it to the poor. What happened was that the poor are overly taxed. And so are many of us.

There is no guarantee that switching to GDP per capita would mean better incomes for Singaporeans. They have taken from the top percentile their GSTs but have not shared with the rest of Singaporeans. In fact, we have to serve reservists till 40 and protect them without them taking care of us one.

GDP wealth distribution in this country is in the hands of a few. The PM is singing a new tune to an old song. You will see it in the next 18 months what quality changes to the peoples' lives he would make.

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