Saturday, August 13, 2011

Govt terrified of the people?.....

It has been 3 months since the elections. Signals have been sent. The PAP at some point sense the enormous unhappiness on the ground.

"My greatest fear now is that the Government is terrified of the people.. You cannot have a system where the people are pampered" - Philip Yeo.

Can someone cite one demand from the electorate that amounts to pampering? The people, if you hear them conscientiously and sincerely are asking for the deterioration to stop. Housing prices climbing at a rate much faster than income growth, worries over decent jobs and ability to retire, rising income gap and poverty....and so on. The PAP never needs to pamper the people if it does its job well. In fact most of us are tired of the use of tax payers' dollars being spend on estate enhancements that are linked to votes - this spending is wasteful and undermines the motivation for govt to do its job to bring about a better quality of life for Singaporeans because it thinks it can get votes by promising major estate upgrading.

Democracy does not always lead to good results as we see in various western countries. But we also see the failures of strongmen authoritarian rule in the middle east. Whether a system works or not depends a lot on the value system of a people. Most Singaporeans today are the children or grandchildren of coolies, fishermen and laborers. We have one of the most competitive education system in the world, the men serve national service, our workers work the most hours per week according to the ILO. We live in a country where the cars are the most expensive in the world, the income gap is the highest among developing countries and where labor laws are stacked heavily against workers. Just to summarize, we don't have it easy in Singapore so using the word "pampered" is so far removed from reality that it is strange that Philip Yeo even mentions it. In a democratic system, it is important for people to be sufficiently well educated to be able to appreciate the choices put before them.  The perpetual worry among the elites that a democracy will compel a govt to go for populist policies that will lead us down the slippery slope of deterioration fails to take into account the widespread belief among Singaporeans in self-reliance and frugality. The calls for social safety net is not motivated by the demand for segments of our society for a welfare state but in response to a widening income gap that makes it too difficult for a large segment of the populace to earn enough for basic living. The best way to address this demand is for govt to keep the income gap narrow and economic system fair so that it generates widely acceptable outcomes.  Allowing the income inequality to reach the levels we see today, makes it hard for the govt to resist calls for safety nets. The govt had to give out workfare to take care of those at the tail end of the low income bracket just to keep their heads above water. To have a society with the highest number of millionaires and a large segment of its workforce earning less than $1200 a month  leads to a division that will split and polarize our society in a way that makes it hard for policies to achieve "net happiness". What the govt should fear is not the electorate but this growing gap that results in widespread unhappiness.

The public transport fares has been raise again. Raising fares to cover increased costs without corresponding improvement to quality of service is not a popular one. Also, the income gap makes it hard for policy makers to get the right policy formula for public transport. The poorer members of our society finds the fares too high and the middle income folks find the quality of service too poor. The privatized public transport companies that have to make profits for shareholders cannot resolve this divergence of interests of our unequal polarized society. The result is long term "net unhappiness" and it has gone on and on...whether it is under the purview of Raymond Lim or Liu Tuck Yew. They either live with this growing unhappiness and risk another election backlash or find ways to narrow the income gap or subsidize the operations of the public transport system.

The govt should be terrified, not of the people, but what the inequality has done to our society that makes their job so much more difficult. I'm still waiting for a strong response from the govt on how they intend to address this. 

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is nothing for the govt to be terrified about.

Why? Remember the at least 60% votes for PAP at every election?

These 60% can be relied on for everything and anything eg General Election, Presidential election, bus fare increase, HDB price increase, income inequality, more foreigners, etc etc.

And not just for 5 years but for 46 years! So why should the next 5 or 10 years be any different?

So what is there for the PAP govt to be terrified about?

Of course, PAP must have done something right lah, if not how to get and maintain the 60%, correct or not?

And by the same logic, opposition must have done something wrong lah, if not why always lose to PAP?

Anonymous said...

I am afraid nothing is going to change.

The MIW are still thinking that they are doing a good job. Not only the ministers and also the MPs, heard them self praising over the radio.

If they do not , not willing to get out of the ivory tower and listen the "noises" on the ground. We worry for the worse....

Anonymous said...

You cannot have a system where the people are pampered" - Philip Yeo

What Mr Yeo said is actually quite true. We cannot have a system where people like him are not held to account for what he does / says. Where the system is structured such that it will always result in a win-win conclusion for this select group.

So Mr Yeo is righ to say that we cannot have a system where the people are pampered.

These people should take lessons on "101 ways to stop slapping yourself in the face".

Anonymous said...

You notice that this year, there were fewer state flags flown or hung out of HDB flats.

Previously, much of them were put up by grassroots and RC people who went around their respective wards with boxes of flags.

And the stupid MPs thought such displays were natural. The orchestration has reduced now and we see the true image. Such is the reality of the ground feel.

Why? oh why? are learned people so insulated/isolated from realities?

Tony Tan has the support from the manufacturers & unions. What magical words did he say that they did not know before? Some potent recipie to solve the economic problems? No.

Probably more of a deal to ensure that their positions are not affected.. the elite also exist in the labour movement you know.

Sigh.. the spin, the tapping on people's fear of the unkown is perpetuated because we remain uninformed and uneducated.

Anonymous said...

"My greatest fear now is that the Government is terrified of the people.. You cannot have a system where the people are pampered" - Philip Yeo.

To Philip Yeo, it is us versus them: the bureaucrats vs the people. He is not one of the people, how can he understand the people.

Anonymous said...

"My greatest fear now is that the Government is terrified of the people.. You cannot have a system where the people are pampered"
- Philip Yeo.

We are indeed dealing with deaf and blind frogs.

It's no point engaging these pampered deaf and blind frogs in a discussion.

Just keep voting wisely.
And keep educating friends and relatives to our cause.

Anonymous said...

Uniquely, in Singapore,

foreigners like Ms Rachelle Ann Beguia, who posted a series of derogatory comments to belittle Singaporeans, and is employed as a clerk in the National Heart Centre, are championed as foreign talents.

It is clear that even clerks positions are given to foreigners because they are treated like foreign talents.

Whereas

Singapore Citizens, who had completed national service full time and all the national service in-camp training, and aspire to work in any decent jobs, are being discriminated when they apply for advertised jobs.

Singapore Citizens are treated as last class citizens in their own homeland, Singapore, because
1st class (VIP) treatment goes to foreigners and permanent residents.

Clear eyed said...

"My greatest fear now is that the Government is terrified of the people.. You cannot have a system where the people are pampered".

Philip Yeo and his ilk have been pampered by us for so long that arrogance and complacency is second nature to them. The nudge we gave them the last election is clearly not enough. We need to kick them really hard, topple them from their cushy ivory tower. Until then, the "fear" he talks about is just idle talk of the pampered self-appointed "elites". We have to do it this coming Presidential election.

Anonymous said...

This is the PAP's own doing. To cause this deep social split and undo the racial harmony that was accomplished during our 46 years of independence. The mass and uncontrolled foreign influx is the main trigger. Either they are so dumb not to see this or they think S'poreans are dumb enough to take it laying down. They really should be terrified and not be too complacent.

Anonymous said...

After egypt spring, malaysia bersih, thai redshirts, 3 different and separate mayhem have happened just last week. See if any of the following sound familiar here

(1) London Riots

http://www.euronews.net/2011/08/09/london-riots-trigger-mixed-reactions/

"If you don't listen to the voiceless people, then you will be heard. You may not like what you hear, but you will hear it".

(2) Chile protest for Education Reform

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-14487555

Chile is usually regarded as one of the most orderly and stable countries in South America, so the images that have come out of the capital, Santiago, in recent days have been especially shocking.

At the heart of the students' anger is a perception that Chile's education system is grossly unfair - that it gives rich students access to some of the best schooling in Latin America... On the face of it, Chileans enjoy the best education in the region. In 2009, their country outscored all other Latin American states in the OECD's PISA rankings. These are used to compare educational standards across countries. But Mario Waissbluth, a Chilean professor and national coordinator of the citizens' group Educacion 2020, says the figures tell only part of the story.

Here in SG, we are questioning scholarships/uni allotment to FT over locals.


(3) Israelis want "People Before Profits "

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/06/israel-protests_n_920274.html

The protesters' demands have resonated broadly in a middle class that has found it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Taxes are high, market competition is low, and salaries haven't kept pace with the price rises – even as Israel's leading economic indicators show the economy is thriving in a way that most developed countries would envy.

Here in SG, we are also fed up with HDB/rising housing cost, transport cost (despite millions made) and food prices..


So to say the Govt is terrified of the people..? Probably an understatement. But OTOH, can or will Singaporeans ever have the guts/will/beliefs to force change -- that's the question. How desperate are they, or have their tolerance threshold reached? Or do they just keep conceding until the case like Norway happens..?

Just food for thoughts.

Private Investor said...

Singaporeans are very accomodating people.

Its in our culture, the way we have been brought up.That being so, the most prominent feature in our behaviour is: wait & see lor.

We also harbour hope. Tons of it.
See the long queues at ToTo/4D?

I am not sure if this is a strength or a weakness or a virtue
( the hope part )

But in all things, there is a point when it tips over.Have we come to that point? No.
It will take much more to tip the scales:

Increase the CPF withdrawal age
Increase the GST
Increase the salaries of ministers
Privatise hawker centres
Privatise the expressways

Then, wait and watch how the blood boils.

Anonymous said...

Failip Yeo, one of the all time worst civil servants. A failure at every stop he has been- Delifrance, SembCorp, PacNet the list goes on and on.

Amused said...

Govt terrified of the people?

No, it is PAP that is terrified of losing the election, losing the power, and losing the control of the agenda.

Anonymous said...

//
The govt should be terrified, not of the people, but what the inequality has done to our society that makes their job so much more difficult. I'm still waiting for a strong response from the govt on how they intend to address this. 
//

This will happen when PAP's top critic (thats you mr lucky) stop waiting and start doing something during elections.

In other words ... Tan Ku Ku

Anonymous said...

If Tan Jee Say is elected as the president, the 40 % anti pap voters will be overwhelmed.

PM and his team will be terrified because Mr Ong Teng Cheong ' unfinished task will be continued by TJS.

Anonymous said...

//Foreigners like Ms Rachelle Ann Beguia, who posted a series of derogatory comments to belittle Singaporeans, and is employed as a clerk in the National Heart Centre, are championed as foreign talents.//

Well as the saga , courtesy of Ms Penny Low, has now become a traumatic soap opera. As it turned out Ms Rachelle's husband - ahem, a male singaporean is now claming that he was the one who posted them. Now, whether she's a clerk or nurse , or a pinay or other nationalities is irrelevant. The important point is the derogatory remarks being made here. And we should just focus on that.

However, turned out the husband is learning and taking Ms TPL as a role model. He's doing a "Ms denise-ho fooking did it, not me" approach that our Law /SPF have already acquitted her from. So what're are you going to do. Monkey See, Monkey Do.

Anonymous said...

"Unhappiness, those who are happier, in total there's net happiness, there's no such thing called total happiness, don't believe in it. It's whether we create net happiness in all this," said SM Goh.

Anonymous said...

The widening income gap is further perpetuated when low-income families are unable to ensure that their children start from a level playing field. This vicious cycle gets harder to break away from and its effects get more pronounced down the line. This has far-reaching consequences for the country. Why have the nation go down this route when it will result in more crime and social ills? Insulated in the present and with exit strategies for the future, why should the country's elites care as long as the goose continues to lay her golden eggs?

Alan Wong said...

Normally people say the higher you go up, one tends to be more humble as one become more wiser. But definitely not these crop of PAP cronies who by virtue of their positions act tough to protect their own positions of power.

It is people like Phillip Yeo in the govt that makes the whole system stinks. He thinks he is so indispensable and makes the most insensitive remarks about other people who dares to challenge or disagree with him. His arrogance has gone to his head, so to speak.

How can the people be pampered when cars and properties are being taxed heavily beyond the reach of the average mid-income families ? In fact, it is quite obvious the govt is taxing the people excessively to feed these bunch of pampered cronies and yet we have one of these running dogs crying wolf and barking at the wrong tree ?

Anonymous said...

Well articulated piece, your logic is again impressive.

The government has to wake up to its role of being the allocator of resources when the free market fails. I.e. in areas such as social welfare for the less fortunate and public goods such as public transportation and national defense.

Monies aside, Singaporean men contribute 2-plus years of their lives to NS. The government should never allow equal rights to PRs in terms of employment opportunities and housing. Doing so tramples on the sacrifice made by these men.

What Singaporeans seek is fairness, not privilege. Philip Yeo, in his elitist self-glorified mind, obviously cannot comprehend this.

Anonymous said...

Philip Yeo should learn to negage his brain first before he engages his fingers. His comment is totally way off - out of wahck with reality. Governments' only role is to cater to the needs and aspirations of their people / electorate. If that is pampering, then what do you call the obsence salaries that PAP ministers give themselves and their senior civil servants?

Anonymous said...

"Gov't terrified of the people"

Failip Yeo...where the help do you think all that blood money comes from...from the people of singapore to the gov't and incidently to you and your many "failed" pet projects...

Pleae wake up your farking idea...you think the money taxed directly / indirectly by the gov't comes from the air...

Fark you understand Failip Yeo...

Arschloche!

Anonymous said...

The people's greatest fear is that the govt is terrrifed of philip yeo. they dare not sack him even when he loses lots of $$ in 'investments' in delifrance etc with his warped ideas. he is so priveleged n pampered he can be allowed to 'learn from mistakes' forever .. no penalty for anything