Friday, September 09, 2011

Ex-MM Lee to PhD student : Do you have a boyfriend?

 Mr. Lee  spoke about declining birth rate, the ageing population and why we 60,000 foreigners a year to keep the economy young. I'll discuss the population demographics and low fertility rate later in the posting.

PHD student Joan Sim's drama found 5:07 minutes into this video:

Mr. Lee's very personal somewhat humorous questions must have left  Joan Sim rather stunned. However, there are a few points in Mr. Lee's reply to Joan Sim that has to be examined carefully.

Mr. Lee said that poor demographics due to an ageing population is the cause of Japan's economic stagnancy. This is not true. Japanese economic stagnancy came after its bubble economy burst and left the entire banking system ladened with bad debts and zombie banks. While Japan's ageing population does contribute to a longer term gradual decline its economy, the 'lost decade' in the 1990s had little to do with its ageing population. Today, the US has good demographics but people are worried it will become another Japan following the collapse of its housing bubble and the high level of debt in American households[Link]. One of the many early suggestions to get America out of its economic slump was to simply open the flood gates to millions of immigrants from Mexico and Asia to shore up the housing sector to give the economy a boost...but it was considered by many to be highly irresponsible and against the interest of Americans[Link]. Can you imagine what will happen to Japanese soceity if they open the floodgates to immigrants to solve a economic problem caused by the fall of its bubble economy? They can get their GDP to tick up, just like what the PAP did in Singapore by forcing input into the economy, but the long term impact on Japanese culture and tradition..and medium term negative impact of sinking the lower income and temporary workers further down the poverty trap makes the cure worse than the disease.

I visited a professor in NUS a few weeks ago and he told me that he has 8 PhD students and none of them are Singaporeans. Joan Sim is a very small minority among female Singaporean students doing PhD so asking her to find a boyfriend and get married is not going to solve our birthrate problem. Anyway how did Singapore attain such a low birthrate - lowest in the world if you leave out Hong Kong and Macau? There has to be something artificial and different about Singapore to achieve this. Shortly after the PAP got into power, they implemented population control policies asking couples, in particular poorer couples, to have fewer children and they discouraged women from marrying early. Due to PAP's population control policies,  Singapore, at some point, had the highest per capita abortion rate in the world. Women were encouraged to join the workforce instead of staying at home to have more babies- remember this simple PAP trick more input more GDP growth. At some point, the PAP realised its population control policies had to be reversed...but instead of fixing it, they wanted only graduate mothers to have more children not everyone to have more children. This selective eugenics based policies are doomed to failure because they provided no incentives and help for average and below average income families to have more children.  The miserable end game of having our economic future dependent on foreign influx is the outcome of a chain of bad PAP polices.


Anonymous said...

It should not have been...Do you have a boy friend?
He should ask..Do you speak proper English( or properly) in NTU?

Anonymous said...

In short, the old man is justing telling us to expect more foreign trash to wash on our shores. So much for unifying the country, to remake the PAP, blah, blah.

Anonymous said...

Even if you lower the costs of living(or housing), birthrates may not increase much because kids are very heavy responsibility/burdensome and the "good life" created is too good to sacrifice by people who have grown up in a generation that had pandered(and continues to pander) to their youthenism,self indulgences and vanity.

H & M is much bigger than Jesus.

Anonymous said...

in singapore, your kid grows up with As but talk like PHD student. lol.

Anonymous said...

We have brooched on unity. But without demolishing your political model, you will stay divided.

Next big move is where you should...shit. LOL.

Anonymous said...

I know of a Pig Head Diety among my relatives.

Admire from a distance, just don't get close hahaaaaa.

Anonymous said...

Low birth rate is not an issue. Because there will always be a continuous supply of instant young, hardworking and cheap foreign talents at all levels from the WHOLE, WIDE, WORLD!

Although this will make Singapore crowded, but we are still not the most crowded city in the world yet.

Since PAP still has about 60-70% voter support despite Singapore being crowded, so there is still room to increase the population some more, maybe to 6 or even 7 million. And I think the opposition will still be as it is, at least till GE 2016 or even after, so it's OK.

Anonymous said...

The US admires pig heads too, that's why they are where they are ....ha

ser guan said...

If the major reason for the economic stagnancy of Japan is caused by the bursting of the housing "bubble" in the 1990s, then more than 15 years has passed. Shouldn't a competent government have move Japan out of its stagnancy?
If Lucky Tan and me is alive 10 years from now, is Japan ecomomic stagnancy cause by the bursting of the bubble or its aging population?

Anonymous said...

moral of the story..spill your guts and you may enjoy spilling your guts except that fat bastards may not revive.

Anonymous said...

Vote Wisely in 2016.

And we solve our fertility problems

TokyoSingaporean said...

Japan`s economy has been stagnant mainly because of regressive economic policies of not allowing immigration. LKY cited true cases here and it is costing Japan heavily.

However, japan is fixing this unceremoniously. It has a revolving door where chinese immigrants do most of the dirty work. Even then, this does not solve the problem. The japanese knows that they need to open up and this is a problem but they rather have slower growth than a dilution of their japanese status.

Singapore should first remove racial politics and make it viable for mothers to work part-time or temporarily. Better than that, full-time. More support should be given for mothers to work well. Next, real wages need to increase in Singapore. It`s long overdue.

Removing racial politics would allow more births between racess. This would provide significant impact.

Immigration is only a quick fix solution. But our government is know for its quick-fix solutions.

Japan is going down and there are many poor people here.

There are reasons why the japanese are resistant to immigration. It has 200 years history of being disturbed by western powers when it simply wants to run its own way of life.

LKY is to blame for the 2 child policy in the 70s.

The bad news is that these graduates will not get jobs after graduation. That`s the hard truth.

Anonymous said...

Do not look for fairness cos it is hard to find. But do not stop giving fairness to others cos that is what God wants us to give. LKY being a non believer will never understand. He also has no morale compass to guide him.

Anonymous said...

Having a child is more fulfilling for a lady than a PhD. My wife is a top masters graduate and she wants to have a child and she is 29.

So what Lee said is true. Most of these women will realise this late in life as they think it`s otherwise. Once they lose the opportunity and for good, they will realise that they are incomplete biologically. Most singles ladies i know regret even though they manage to climb the corporate ladder.

Anonymous said...

I wish one students had the guts to tell the FMM (freaking mad monster) that it was his policy which has put us in such a position.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1642,

Is something morally good because God says it is so, or is something morally good because it is so?

Anonymous said...

great article.

LKY is pushing the responsibility of his failed policies back to the people.

much like he is pushing the failure of his policies to invest well our massive savings to us by denying us a decent retirement.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

LKY has this mental attitude of being someone of higher plane and therefore do not see the need to talk politely. He is after all a very respected POLITICIAN.

Veritas said...

LKY certainly knew himself the culprit of low fertility. Our low birthrate has lots to do with high real estate prices, has a result of FT policies.

The more FT, the lower of birthrate. And PAP's seems to target a ZERO birthrate for Singaporean by importing so much FT.

Anonymous said...

This bastard LKY ought to be shot dead. He talks as thought he has no part in the low birthrate problem.

Veritas said...

You can stop dreaming about ending FT policy.

I calculated in one of my blog real estate actually soak up closer to 50% of our bank loans.

Without FT, our banks will go bankrupt as well as landlord like Ng teng Fong family.

FT is actually use to bail out elites, but sell to use as a way to improve our competitiveness

Veritas said...

The more the FT, the higher the business cost, the lower the wages, the more precarious we are.

Right now, PRC FT is getting smaller and smaller in number because there is not much wage arbitration left.

This coming wave of FT is Indian and Pinoy. Few people actually realise SG is not far worse than CHina.

LKY will screw Singapore until we are prosperity goes below India and philippines.

Next, probably we will import FT from somalia, afgahn...etc.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering why the old man was asking such a personal question at a public forum!


Kaffein said...

Excellent piece of analysis. I abhor how the PAP always blame the population for failure. Rather it is their shallow and short sighted policies which brought us to this situation.

These housing bubble, high influx of immigrants, CPF, casino, etc all were well predicted many years ago. But they turned a deaf ear. Seriously PAP should blame themselves.


anonymous said...

Due to PAP policies, I was denied from entering of local universities twice due to a flaw in my polytechnic results. They made me worked like hell in singapore, while they allowed foreigners to enter local universities, and deny me though I am a Singaporean. In summary, I felt like an outcast. In the end I had to work hard and save for a few years before going to UK to study, and to thank my mother for lending some money. No thanks to PAP and their stupid policies! And now the MM lee only cares about foreigners import and blamed us singaporean for our low birth rate due to their failed policies in the past. I am so sick and tired.

Anonymous said...

The old man has no credibility left. Whoever are advising him are equally inept in mind and thoughts.

Anonymous said...

All these on-going hype about having more babies, declining population, foreign talents and what not. Some how rather they tied together in many ways. After all the incentives that the government have given out so far to encourage people to have more babies (especially the female), I think they realized now that these will not work and so instead they chose to work around this problem from the outside. Relax the immigration, get more foreigners under the guise of needing more so-called foreign talent to grow the economy. To grow the economy it needs people whether from inside or outside, so the real reason for opening up to more foreigners is to get them to replace us Singaporean. Except they don't want any tom, dick or harry, I guess you wouldn't want people with no qualification to replace Singaporean right-we are not stupid. This is my analysis what you think?

Anonymous said...

In addition to previous post. Hopefully more and more foreigners take up Singapore citizenship. These new citizens being grateful to the PAP government for providing them a job and home will vote for the PAP when they are eligible to vote. What a master piece of strategy this is.

Anonymous said...

I think singaporeans trust pap too much and this has cost singaporeans greatly.

Anonymous said...

No basis to compare Singapore with Japan or America. Or even Malaysia.

We are just a tiny red dot of 700 sq km and a population of 5 million squatting on it. This is not even big enough to compare with the big cities in the world.

But small is good. Because it is also easier to manage and control. Like ensuring that 60 - 70% of people are happy and win 93% seats at elections. Or simply get foreign talents to replace not enough locals. Can you do that easily with 100s of millions of people over millions of sq km of land?

jarsofclay said...

I know it is fashionable to knock down arguments especially one from a world renown intellect like LKY. I do think he is brilliant even at his age. What work and what don't is clearly his mandra. To blame him for 2 child policy is like blaming Mao for implementing one child policy: who would have know if Singapore could survive? To have babies in poverty is no child's play: parents were forced to give their children away and there were those who had no access to proper medical care had passed away prematurely.

Anonymous said...

Why our leader always mentioned about Japan for not opening up. One of my Japanese friend told me, Japan is a very small country with huge population. The country is subject to natural disasters such as earthquake, tsurami , typhoon, etc.
Over thousand of years, Japanese are trying to reduce their population. They envied the western world where people are living in landed properties compared to their pigeon hole flats.
The Japanese people are cohesive and wise. The current generations purposely reduce their fertility, in order to get their population down to manageable size. ( It is quite similar as LKY's two is enough policies last times).
What is two decades of non performance economies to them, it is nothing compared with their length of histories. Bravo to Japan, you will define suceed in few generations. By then, your future generation will produced once again in manageable way as old and excess buildings will be demolised making way for the new Japanese reduced population.

Can current Singaporean's leader see this black swan?

Veritas said...

How much migrant can Japan take to reverse aging?

100 million?

LKY is silly to ask Japan to import migrant.

All east asia is gonna follow Japs into this aging trap because rentier elite hiking property price.

China is having aging problem in big cities and in the near future, the birthrate may be closer to japan.

So how? Import 1 billion.

In fact, aging itself is not a problem. Elite rent seek is the underlying problem.

This is why many people in China or Russia remember fondly of Mao and Stalin.

To solve Singapore's problem, no other way than to destroy PAP and their parasitic class,

Francis said...

Immigration is not a solution to declining population. Declining population is a common phenomena in developed countries. Many developed countries are not resorting to immigration because they know it will only create many problems in the future.The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, impact on upward social mobility, crime, and voting behavior.

Anonymous said...

Mr Lucky

The DPJ is a splinter of LDP. The Japan govts are unable to turn the Japanese economy ard because it's the same corrupt group of elites running the country!

Plus 50 or so years of LDP rule has left the Japanese civil service finally entrenched and loyal to the same group of elites.

Much like the elite admin service is beholden to LKy and PAP.

So take your time Mr Lucky. It's probably too late for Singapore.

Anonymous said...

"This is not true. Japanese economic stagnancy came after its bubble economy burst and left the entire banking system ladened with bad debts and zombie banks. While Japan's ageing population does contribute to a longer term gradual decline its economy, the 'lost decade' in the 1990s had little to do with its ageing population."

like singapore, japan is a high cost country with a lot of people and they are namely into high value added industries. once you reach a high point (peak growth in a mature market), needless to say the other direction is down.

now the dilemma is how to further grow the economy. import lots of low cost immigrants who are able to do the work of japanese. well, they can but the cultural and social mix will be different. whether this will have a overall net gain for the country in terms of economics vs social order, it's anyone's guess.

Anonymous said...

"This is why many people in China or Russia remember fondly of Mao and Stalin.

To solve Singapore's problem, no other way than to destroy PAP and their parasitic class,"

No wonder they kept the ISA. No wonder why some people want the ISA shut down. haaa

PAP is shit said...

How do you explain to a child during then that he/she didn't get into the school the parents wanted because your mum had 3 children which is 1 too many?

This happened to me and my mum had to get a ligation for me to get into another school. I'd never forgive this government.

Anonymous said...

which big shot speakers in a foreign university tells the audience to go have children and a bf.

LKY is getting senile.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why some people still bother to listen.

Anonymous said...

Did he(lky) tell Lee Wei Ling(his dauter) to have boyfriend and gets married too?
Is Ms Lee W Ling married?
If not, why ???
When his own dauter does not listen to him, why should others' do?

Anonymous said...

Old man is senile, Joan Sim ask A, he answer B. Even if you excuse him for the detour, he never got back to answering her question. If I interview someone for a job and the person give give this kind of daft answer like LKY, I won't hire him.
Quality counts more than quantity. Look at the Arab countries with rising populations - their combined GDP is lower than Spain's GDP. The shift to Israel (2009 pop. growth 1.8%), one of the few economies that grew in the last 12 months. In contrast, S'pore's pop. growth was 3% in 2009. Israel's growth is mainly due to creativity of it's people in the and software domain.
S'pore is already the densest piece of real estate in the world. When you cram so many people in a small space, naturally birth rate goes down as evidenced in biology / ecology. If the foreign influx continues, we'll experience an even greater brain drain from S'poreans leaving.

DiarySG said...

Lee Kuan Yew & Boyfriend (The ''Have you got a boyfriend?'' Question)

Lee Xiang said...

PAP's previous anti-natal policies were necessary to control a booming post war population. Drastic measures needed to be taken to address an equally serious problem of imminent overpopulation and unsustainable population growth. It was a necessary step to take to progress from a 3rd world country to a 1st world country. Remember that more people translates to more resources used, which will in turn strain the fragile developing economy of Singapore in the 1960s-early 1980s. It is not a "bad policy" as you mentioned, but a necessary policy needed to address the issue of high population growth.

However, I think the government did not anticipate the drastic U-turn in birth rates within a short period of time. Within a generation, Singapore went from having a high birth rate like most Less Developed Countries to having a very low birth rate like Japan. And now, the government is trying, albeit futility, to try to solve the problem of low birth rates.

To sum up, I don't believe that the PAP intentionally caused the problem of chronic low birth rates. What PAP did was to address the issues they faced at the period of time, and it just so happened that Singapore's demographics changed drastically within a short period of time, just like how our country has taken an accelerated pathway to economic growth and success.

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