Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Minister Tharman should get his facts straight on Taiwan....Part 2

Here's the video showing what Tharman said about Taiwan.

He mentioned an East Asian Institute (EIA)survey. I can't find the survey mentioned by DPM Tharman. The list of publications by EAI is found here. I wanted to check this survey to see if it explicitly links the falling average nominal income in Taiwan to its tight policy on immigration and whether Tharman himself made this link. However, I realise I don't need to do this to debunk DPM Tharman.

"As a result, the nominal income of the average Taiwanese has flattened for more than a decade"
- Minister Tharman

Here is Taiwan's real GDP Growth[Source] since 2000:

Here's Taiwan's per capita GDP:

Taiwan has grown its GDP steadily for the last 10 years. The average per capita GDP (nominal and real) has also grown. The only possible reason why an "average Taiwanese" does not feel richer is the income gap is increasing or there is rising cost of living e.g. housing that does not show up in its inflation numbers. However, the Taiwanese are known for its "growth with equity" [Link] approach and maintained an income gap far lower than that of Singapore's. So what is Minister Tharman talking about? The wages of a large segment of the Singapore population has been stagnant for the past decade and many analysts have found that it is due to the large foreign influx[Stagnant wages, immigration fuel Singapore squeeze].

A country can enhance its competitiveness by keeping its door open to selected foreign talents to complement the skill set of its local workforce - few people will disagree with this. However, this is not what PAP has done with its immigration policy which resulted in a massive influx of foreigners into Singapore. Minister Tharman is wrong about the problem Taiwan faces and prescribes the wrong solution for them to justify PAP\s own flawed policy that has caused so much unhappiness among Singaporeans. 


theonion said...


Trying too hard considering that even policy think tanks in Taiwan do not disagree too much with the analysis done by EAI, for what can be done, well, it is yet to be seen.

Further, the periods of analysis and context needs to be taken into account.

Anonymous said...

Tharman is a million dollar Minister.
He can speak for himself.
No need to defend him or
try to curry his favour.

I like to see our Finance Millionaire-Minister Tharman debunk the work & research of a loyal Singaporean (Lucky) working for free. (As usual, it's the Sinkies who always end up doing National Service).

Anonymous said...

@ theonion

obviously after spinning a cock-and-bull story about how $1,000 wage earner can afford a HDB flat, tharman (whose appearance is aptly represently by your nick "ONION") became emboldened and lied about stagnating incomes of an average Taiwanese.

Read the article promoted by you and written by some CHAR (or was it czar?), it's all double speak, word-wriggling and nitpicking. and this seems to be the way how PAP is gonna to engage the netizens? using nebulous arguments to defend the indefensible?

Carry out, and we'll see you at the door in 2016.

Anonymous said...

"A country can enhance its competitiveness by keeping its door open to selected foreign talents to complement the skill set of its local workforce - few people will disagree with this."
Lucky Tan

You think so easy ah. If the real 1st class foreign talents don't want to come, then how? But you still need talents what.

So it is a choice of what is BEST AVAILABLE, not BEST.

Just like PAP is considered to be the best available party what. Few people will disagree with this, right? Or else why PAP got at least 60% mandate every election?

But is PAP good, let alone best? Lucky Tan, you say lah.

Anonymous said...

Mr Lucky Tan,

You are good. Really good. Thank you from my heart.

Yours sincere reader

Anonymous said...


Indeed I am surprised that Taiwan's GDP continued its growth after the first peaceful power transistion(2004-KMT to DPP),during the rule of a very corrupted DPP leader ex-President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁)and the second peaceful power transistion(2008,DPP-KMT).

I sincerely hope that Mr Tharman who seems to be a more reasonable minister would review his statement.

Anonymous said...

No "fish", "prawn" talents also can lah. Bo her hei ya hor.

Not say you want, you get what.
Mana ai jiu wu ah?

Anonymous said...

meng si li eh, man ki giah hor!

otherwise, you will get shit, like what PAP is getting with the foreign influx.

chao ni ma de, PAP!

Anonymous said...

If also no "prawn", "sotong (squid)" talents also can lah.

Anonymous said...

Lucky Tan,

I salute you. Your arguments are sound and impactful. I hope more people read your blog so that they are aware of what is really happening around them.

Anonymous said...

When a good and intelligent man join the PAP he will become an evil and stupid man. End of story.

Anonymous said...

Why he join PAP?

Because PAP is the best available party to join what.

Why would he want to join opposition? Even Lucky Tan also don't want.

Ng Eng Hou said...

Our politicians have no brains, talk a lot, like to follow LKY, go round bad-mouthing other countries, thinking they themselves do a very good job.

The fact is their quality of work (the way they govern Singapore) is slipping. These politicians should shut-up and not to make a fool of themselves anymore.

Stop criticizing other countries, spend more time solving Singapore's own problems, if you can't, leave quietly!

No care wan... said...

Who cares?

Who cares what the Gah'men do?

Just as long as I have my ta mee pok
char siew fun, aircon and 9-5 job..
who the heck care?

Even the election is problematic..
I hope they allow me to vote via internet.. so convienient.

Who cares if he earn million $$..
as long as I get my ta mee pok!

Who cares if he no longer minister?
Who the heck care WP/SDP/SPP/RP can take over??

I donch care.. not my problem!

Anonymous said...

And... we have a person, Tharman, who couldn't even get his financial facts accurate to plan our NATIOANL BUDGET. Way to go PAP - more politcal propaganda and less competence?

Anonymous said...

I would really like an rebuttal from Tharman

theonion said...


We deal with the context now and for the view in the future, considering that despite Taiwan first policies, yet, the best and brightest do leave for japan, china and usa.
well, it just shows the effect of globalisation which was the key point of the comments.
further the comments were meant in context, unlike the thinslicing utilised by Lucky

Anonymous said...


Well, the context is very clear.
Taiwan has lost 1m of manufacturing jobs to China over a decade (& that is common among east asia countries and expected). but in spite of that, and its brain drain plus a mere 3% of foreigners in Taiwan, they were still clocking a fairly impressive growth rate. All these without the aid of Casinos but just its remainder talents who are risk-taking & entrepreneur by nature.

Compare that with SG?

36% high FT
2 Casinos
Income stagnation (over decade) &
High inequality
No entrepreneur and global brands to boost

We seem to be doing so much more and getting less!! And Taiwan is doing less for more! Who has the right recipe? With the rise of China & India, if SG thinks our survival is to be better, cheaper and faster, then this cohort of leaders are barking up the wrong tree. In 5-10 years time, when the physical and economic conditions improved in China & India, more MNCs will be moving out to these large markets. We will face another big loss of white collar professionals either to unemployment or brain-drain.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if our oppositions are reading your blog. If so, they can get some inputs from you and counter in parliament!

Anonymous said...

Prof Lim Chong Ya talks about increasing the income of the lower group (those earning <$1500) by 15%yearly for next 2 years and 20% in the 3rd. Is PAP trying to close the income gap b/t the higher and lower income groups? Whats the political agenda here? May this be your next topic. Tks.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that China offers much better opportunities than Taiwan at this stage,and for some of Taiwan"s mainlanders(Children of those Chinese who came from China with Chiangs),they are just going home for better prospect.

Anonymous said...

36% high FT
2 Casinos
Income stagnation (over decade) &
High inequality
No entrepreneur and global brands to boost

To anon , you forget to add all these in the midst of a smooth political transition from KMT to DPP. There is no bogeyman or humpty-dumpty cries of failure!!

Anonymous said...

I checked http://graphs.gapminder.org, then clicked on Wealth and Health of Nations. I did everything correctly, the two time series log Income per Person at PPP of Taiwan and Singapore from 1960 to 2010 in full-screen mode are indistinguishable.

In other words, after adjusted inflation over the whole period, Singapore is throwing real resources out the window.

Tell me if I'm wrong...

Anonymous said...

PAP is trying very hard to twist, turn and manipulate the facts to justify their wrong open door to foreigners immigration policy.

Anonymous said...

PAP can only attract FTs by throwing LOADS OF MONEY but even these are mostly used as prominent posterchilds to brag about being 'world class' -- look at the number of high flying, award winning researchers PAP paid big money to borrow their reputation, only to have them pack up and leave a few years later when they realize the real agenda why they were invited here.

Anonymous said...


Yes, we will deal with the context.

The context within which PAP is operating is power-hungry, self-preservation-at-all-costs..

That is why Tharman can turn and twist words to sell PAP kaoyok.

It doesn't matter to PAP if Singaporeans are stifled, underdeveloped and suffocated with the ever increasing numbers of foreigners. What PAP is concerned with is money and power for themselves. They will throw up any flimsy excuses to "justify" why foreigners have to be given free scholarships, right to buy and rent OUT public housing and unbridled rights to employment.

theonion said...


As you wish to continue with your rant and not tne facts and also the actual discussion in Taiwanese news.

Please proceed.

Not everything the govt of the past was done turned out well, no issues, but a lot of parties forget who is in charge of trade and industry and the policies.

Tharman, is one of the intellectual heavyweights in which the likes of the big megabanks would like to have him on board.

Further, have you considered the fact that he was nominated and is seating at the World bank and major international financial instituitions.

So as far as present credentials, due credit,(he may commit gaffes at times).

But the so called gaffe which all here proclaim, is thinslicing just portions and not the context (which even Taiwan policy think tanks consider worthy of consideration despite disagreements on policy solutions)

The Truth please!! said...

So, what is truth then?

No one can say yes?

Since I do not know the truth and am unable to verify anything that is said by this Gov, What I shall I do?

I go for alternate views!
and it sounds a lot more beleivable than the Gov I tell you!!

What is the truth?

Anonymous said...

@the onion

For years, a Congressional hearing with Alan Greenspan was a marquee event. Lawmakers doted on him as an economic sage. Markets jumped up or down depending on what he said. Politicians in both parties wanted the maestro on their side. He has an impeccable credentials and seats on many impressive boards too. Then what happened after housing collapse? He finally conceded that he was wrong about the economy... market cannot self-regulate and admitted the collapse of the entire intellectual edifice.

Moral of the story....yes, DPM Tharman has all that elitist credentials, but that does not make him God , infallible or expect us to accord him blind faith either. And blogger who claims arrogantly that are always right ie. never wrong...trust me...they are the last ones you want to read no matter how beautiful they write!

Anonymous said...

This little red dot remind me of the unsinkable ship, titanic. With the Miw as captain and crews. All the alarm bells are ringing, overcrowding, unfair policy in education, healthcare cost, pmet job lost to ft, high housing cost, transport woe and so on ...

And yet, the crews and. Captain is still praising themsleves and justifying their ill thought policies.

We re heading towards an iceberg at high speed as far as I see. I don't think the captain and crew are clueless, but I believe they already have their escape plan.

Fellow singaporeans, we really need to vote in an alternative team ASAP !

Anonymous said...

@ theonion

If you wish to continue kissing Tharman's ass without backing up with facts, please do excuse me. I find it pointless to continue with you in this discussion when all you do is to skirt around the issues and throw up some non sequiturs. This thing about "intellectual heavy weight" blah blah blah is a prime example of your fluffy argument.

Singapore is now led by a group of "intellectual heavy weights", almost all of whom have some sterling academic qualifications. And the best proposal these smarty pants can think of is to saturate this small island with tonnes of dubious foreign "talents" at the expense of Singaporeans' well being. Setting up a vice hub with two casinos and an accompanying tax haven may also seem very clever to people like you, but for the ordinary Singaporeans, we suffer from all forms of social ills, stagnating real income growth, runaway inflation and extremely congested living condition.

So good day to you, sir! We part ways here because it is obvious that PAP like you does not give a hoot about developing the potential of Singaporeans. Money and power is all that matters for you.

Anonymous said...

I like the way the minister lied at 1.26 min in the video. He doesn't even buy the story he's telling. LOL!

Anonymous said...

This is another 1970s two-child policy gone wrong. If they are indeed right, why are they NOW raising the minimum income bracket to get E-pass or an S-pass?

Because they made a mistake in their policies, causing so much unhappiness among local graduates who can't get a job.

Instead of accepting responsibility, he told the graduate that the job has not found him. It is your policy that is making empyers find someone else, someone cheaper than that graduate.

When Mas Selamat escape, the minister also escape.

Anonymous said...

We recently moved over to Sembawang and we noticed there is large Indian expat community there, living in our HDB flats.

Everywhere at the train stations, I don't find a Singaporean.

Native born Singaporeans are phased out.

When someone speaks at the traffic light junction, and I turn my head around, I see pinoy couples.

What's going on in Singapore? I feel like a foreigner in my own country. Perhaps the rest of you don't. That must explain why you guys are voting to be an alien in your own land.

Anonymous said...

The picture our DPM is painting is not exactly the one that we're experiencing on the ground. They are the world's highest paid politicians and they whitewashed their facts.

Shame on you. And fucking shame to those idiots in the audience who "laughed along" with the minister and ingratiating him.

Anonymous said...

The last time somebody mentioned so and so was employed by a mega bank was the prime minister saying some offspring of his elite cabinet was head hunted by Goldman sach.

Where the hell is Goldman sach? Company bankrupted, company leaders all millionaires, investor money gone, ordinary citizens bear all the costs.

I hope the onion is not suggesting Tharman is capable of performing the same fest with the country.

Anonymous said...

Tharman is trying to be "POLITICALlY CORRECT" with his answer. If you take politics out of his words, he is making nonsensical explanations and I won't buy it to avoid him causing my brain to damage. I won't allow my kids to accept every shit that PAP think we could swallow..