Sunday, April 22, 2012

Our income gap reflects the power distribution in our society.........

I looked around the Internet forums, blogs and spoke to a number of people about the debate surrounding the proposal by Professor Lim. Some people are angry with the responses from our ministers because when it comes paying low income workers more, they say that productivity needs to be raised, company revenues needs to go up and the economy has to be good. However, when they debated their own  ministerial pay hikes in 2006, they didn't talk about the need to increase their own productivity first - the main justification put forth by LHL was they can't recruit people if the pay is not the highest in the world. Our bus companies say they can't recruit enough bus drivers. Instead of raising the pay to a level that attracts Singaporean drivers, they go to 3rd world countries to recruit drivers. Today the pay of bus drivers in Singapore is less than half that of Taiwanese bus drivers[Link]...not just our bus drivers but our cleaners, kindergarten teachers, hawker assistants are the lowest paid in the developed world. Contrast that with the highest pay in the world we need to pay for political office holders and high ranking civil servants. Some thing has gone very wrong.....

Professor Lim, in response to criticism from ministers, said that productivity is not the issue because our workers are already underpaid for their current level of productivity.

"My position, however, is that our lowly paid workers have been underpaid by much more than 100 per cent of their pay when compared with their counterparts in countries with comparable national affluence like Hong Kong, Japan or Australia," - Professor Lim[Link]

Some are critical of PAP ministers' argument that govt shouldn't intervene in the labor market. But allowing a massive influx they have in fact intervened in the labor market and it was this intervention that brought the wages of low income earners way down:

More than 1 million non-residents added to the workforce and this number does not include the PRs and newly minted citizens. If this is not intervention, what is?

The PAP ministers also claimed that raising the wages of our low paid workers will undermine Singapore's competitiveness. This is not true. Finland, the world's most competitive economy does not use cheap labor, they have a much flatter wage distribution - you can be competitive by paying those earning low wages more and paying top executives less[India 50th, Finland most competitive nation]

How did the wage structure become so distorted? Kenneth Jeyaratnam has a very good answer - he says lets forget about "shock therapy", the answer is greater democracy[More Democracy is the solution not Shock Therapy]. A more lasting and broader solution can perhaps be achieved by distributing  power in our society more equally . I was at an SDP rally in the 2001 GE and remember Chee Soon Juan telling the audience that the increasing influx of foreign workers would depress Singaporeans' pay. At that time, I think most people didn't suspect these policies would just be expanded even as the cracks appeared and widened. Nobody had the power to stop the PAP govt and Chee, in 2001, couldn't get his important message out to a wider audience as Internet penetration was limited at that time. The unequal distribution of wealth and the income gap reflects the unequal distribution of power in our society. How do we end up paying bus drivers half the amount they pay in Taiwan? It is all about power and I will tell a short story to illustrate this.

I was in Los Angeles, California in 2000 for a short trip. I was advised to rent a car to get around because Calfornia, I was told was told "every one drives" in Calfornia. It turned out that most but not all the people drive in Los Angeles - the city has a functioning public transport system which included a small subway system and buses. Given that the majority of people there drive, the public bus system was and still is relatively small and simple[LA Metro Local]. I found out there was direct bus near the place I was staying to the place where the event I was attending was held.  I wanted to try the bus out before the actual event so shortly after I got from the airport to my hotel by taxi, I stood at the bus stop waiting for the bus. I waited for half an hour and there was no bus - not a single bus not just the service I was waiting for. It was a real disappointment. I stopped a passerby and asked him what was going on. He told me that the bus drivers were on strike and there would be no buses for a few days.

I found out from the news papers that the bus drivers were on strike because the bus company wanted to hire part time drivers who were cheaper and there was disagreement over wages. It was not a routine strike but the biggest strike in 20 years

"Los Angeles has become one of America’s most union-friendly cities in recent years, and the month-long strike by the United Transportation Union in 2000 confirmed that fact. The MTA was trying to introduce more low-paid workers into the transit system’s workforce and subcontract a number of formerly public services to private operators, and employees balked. Jesse Jackson, Jr. came into town to negotiate a settlement, which was two-sided, allowing more low-paid drivers for the MTA but increasing wages for union employees. To compensate for their lost time, the transit agency gave commuters five days of free rides following the strike’s conclusion. Photo source.."
A Short History of Recent American Transit Strikes

The bus drivers together mechanics have a union of 4400 workers. The bus company was trying to save money by bringing part-timers who were willing to work for a lower pay. California had a fairly large number of immigrants from Mexico and many of them willing to drive a bus for less than half what an American bus driver was paid. The strike lasted for 32 days before a compromise was reached - wages of bus drivers would be adjusted up for inflation and a limited number of part-timers would be allowed. Today, a bus driver in Los Angeles gets a starting pay of rought US$40K and a senior bus driver working overtime can get up to US$60K. This income is sufficient to raise a family properly and have a decent standard of living. I'm sure some of you will ask who pays for this in at the end of the day?  Since the bus company is owned by the state, money comes from taxes...where does most of this tax come from? In this case, the large number of wealthy Hollywood corporations, technology companies, wealthy individuals etc who don't take the bus! Only poor people take the bus in LA. and these commuters formed a "bus riders union" [LA Riders Union] to make sure that the govt does not neglect the public transport system. During the strike, the LA Riders Union was firmly behind bus drivers even though commuters were badly inconvenienced by the strike because they saw the blue collar bus drivers as people in same working class as themselves. Some of you may argue that paying drivers a decent wage when there is cheap labor available is costly for the govt. But if cheap labor is used and these bus drivers are retrenched or have their wages depressed below the living wage, the govt will have to spend on welfare, medical aid, subsidised housing etc and money on the social problems that arises due to poverty - you still end up spending the money but getting inferior outcomes for the society.

This example above serves to illustrate not specifically the power of unions but the importance of power for workers to influence the govt. Such power can come from a democratic process or a free and independent media that allows issues to discuss from multiple perspectives.

With a good education system, you can train 60% of people  to tertiary eduction (poly + university):
Even with a high level of education, a large segment of your population can be substituted by cheaper labor from developing countries where there is large pool of workers willing to take lower wages -the countries are producing more graduates than there are jobs for them. Businesses will put pressure on the govt to give them access to this pool of cheap labor rather that move up the technology ladder or invest in technology to enhance productivity. Without sufficient power and influence, workers' interests will be ssubjugated to those of big businesses. In a country that is only partially democratic and the main stream media is controlled,  the media can be used to play up the benefits of such policies and keep the people ignorant of the deleterious effects until it is too late.While unions occasionally become too powerful and make unreasonable demands, independent unions safeguard the interests of workers, ensure fairness and prevent exploitation. In the absence of a union and other means of influence, workers become exploited. Take the example of cleaners in Singapore, it is not just low pay but unfair exploitative  contracts [Undercutting, bad contracts depress cleaners' pay] and this has gone on for years and nothing has been done about it.

In Singapore as independent unions disappeared, a power-elite system emerged to concentrate the power narrowly among a small group of elites to whom opportunities and along with it extremely high salaries are awarded. The network of businesses are inextricably linked to the govt, SAF and the civil service. High ranking SAF officers are parachuted to various GLCs, GIC or Temasek Holdings and the PAP recruits from the same network  - you just have to look at how many cabinet ministers are from the SAF and how many generals from the SAF move on to top positions in GLCs .This system has resulted in very unbalanced policy making that led extremely distorted wage structure - on the same tiny island where ministers get the highest salaries in the world, we have the lowest paid blue collar workers such as cleaners in the developed world. Professor Lim Chong Yah mentioned that our low wage workers are underpaid by 100% how overpaid are our politicians? How excessive is executive compensation?

Shortly after I heard Chee Soon Juan's rally speech about how the foreign influx would depress Singaporean workers pay in 2001, he was sued, bankupted and jailed for demanding transparency on a loan the Singapore govt offered to Indonesia during the Asian crisis[Link]. In the following election in 2006, he was not allowed to give any more rally speeches.  The weakening and elimination of ideological alternatives, control of the mainstream media and putting a PAP man in charge of NTUC meant that the PAP govt can implement policies that are not possible in a fully democratic country. Today we see the extreme outcomes of these unbalanced policies.- workers who work honest full time jobs earning less what they need to live on and leaders who get paid millions for regurgitating old ideas and peddling failed solutions. Things are not going to improve for our werkers because they have little power to bring about outcomes that will make their lives better.


Anonymous said...

"Things are not going to improve for our workers because they have little power to bring about outcomes that will make their lives better."
Lucky Tan

Actually workers have the power what. Power in terms of numbers of them and their vote. Because there should be many more number of workers than number of elites, right?

But how come PAP can still get 60% majority vote?

Must be some, if not many, workers still vote PAP what.

So Lucky Tan, how to explain this?

Anonymous said...

Productivity, defined by the wrong people in power, is squeezing maximum work done for miminum wages.

No wonder they are so vehemently against Professor Lim's proposal to freeze their own obscene pay, but are in full support of "free market" forces that will depress the wages of blue-collared, and to a certain extent, the tail-end white collared workers.

Anonymous said...

Some more ah, vote against PAP is easy, secret and legal what.

It's not like going on strike or became like Chee Soon Juan and got into trouble.

Anonymous said...

anon on top,

You never heard of deceptive propaganda, pork barrel politics of upgrading, suppression of opponents to keep they weak.

The playing field is lopsided...or one-sided.

Anonymous said...

"But how come PAP can still get 60% majority vote?
22/4/12 08:08"

One of the many reasons:
I have a welder friend who work hard, earn around S$2K a month and wife not working to look after the children. He vote PAP because he receive the financail assistance from the Government.

Like another reader have said, some worry about the flat value drop so disagree with PAP but still vote for PAP.

Anonymous said...

Text of Speech from the movie;
"The Great Dictator"

I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an Emperor
- that's not my business.

I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone, if possible
-- Jew, gentile, black man, white.

We all want to help one another; human beings are like that.
We want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery.
We don't want to hate and despise one another.
In this world there's room for everyone and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful.

But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in.
Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.
Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind.
We think too much and feel too little.

More than machinery, we need humanity.
More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.
Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together.
The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all.

Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me I say, "Do not despair."
The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress.
The hate of men will pass and dictators die;
and the power they took from the people will return to the people and so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers: Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel; who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder.
Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines!
You are not cattle!
You are men!
You have the love of humanity in your hearts.
You don't hate; only the unloved hate, the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers: Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!
In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written, "the kingdom of God is within man" -- not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men, in you, you the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness.
You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power!
Let us all unite!!
Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age a security.

By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie!
They do not fulfill their promise; they never will.
Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people!!
Now, let us fight to fulfill that promise!!
Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance.
Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness.

Soldiers: In the name of democracy, let us all unite!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi lucky, our plant malaysia receive auditors frot ST Microelectronics Singapore who are Supplier Quality Managers'guess wjpjat,none are singaporeans but Indian nationalities.

theonion said...


Most businesses are now fleeing from California (high regulations, higher taxes) to Texas (low regulations, lower taxes) from 2000 onwardds resulting in now pension funds being underfunded and cutbacks in public services and higher structural unemployment as reviewed in many business articles in WSJ/FT.

So take your pick.
yes, they enjoyed temporarily higher wages but without productivity improvements, it is not sustainable.

Lucky Tan said...

Anon 7:22pm,

I used this example to illustrate in ability to influence if workers are empowered. I am not saying california has a system we should follow. Finland is the most competitive economy in the world and they have minimum wage, independent unions and little or no fireugn umported labor

Anonymous said...

this is a good one

Anonymous said...

Lucky Tan, your articles are always awesome and top-notch.

We are indeed lucky to have you. Please keep it going.

I will read (and sometimes re-read) your articles as often as possible. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Unemployment in Finland is 7.7%, as of February 2012.

Unemployment in Singapore is 2.9% for Q1 2012.

Finland is like Nokia. They both are going down!

Veritas said...

Unemployment in Finland is 7.7%, as of February 2012.

In 2009, IMF painted a 7.5% unemployment for Singapore. Since then, our unemployment rate drop mysteriously to around 2%.

You believe PAP's employment number? haha

I estimate that our unemployment for citizen could be as high as 8% today, with lots of massive under-employment. Just look at how many taxi-driver is former manager and how many graduate now become food peddler.

Nevertheless, PAP would probably like to hike unemployment to 30% in my opinion. Without people going out of job, how to depress salary

Besides, PAP creating inflation by hiking their own salary as well as property, the net inflationary effect can only be mitigated by putting someone unemployed.

If we have 100% employment rate, the inflationary effect will shows up fast.

Anonymous said...

The linkage between power and income is a credible one.

The large pool of replaceable, young and highly energetic foreign workers in the labour market erodes local worker's bargaining power for a living sustainable wage. In relative terms the foreign worker is in a better position than local worker as one Singapore dollar to them goes longer in ther home country than a local in Singapore. One plausible argument on why the Government is incentivized to let in foreign workers is to consider the amount of levy than can be collected from their labour as compared to a local worker who do not even earn enough to pay tax.

The professor has built in a certain assumption about social justice into his economic proposal in that workers should partly benefit from the productivity gains that was generated instead of being competed out of it or worse made obsolete so that others who accept a lower wage takes his place. If this is so, what incentive would there be for workers to help improve productivity if they would never enjoy the fruits of their ideas and labour?

The professor ideas raises valid concerns about building a more inclusive society whereby members contribute to build a better society in which their efforts are recognized instead of an exploitative one where the fruits of labours by all are channeled towards a selected group. If citizens are divided in this way, what are the long term prospects for Singapore as a country? Why did the years of proclaimed nation building end up with a revelation that Singapore is not a country?

Veritas said...

IMF report project a 7.5% and 8.6% unemployment for 2009 and 2010 respectively.

Today our unemployment is strangely around 2%.

Lye Khuen Way said...

As usual,Lucky can be relied upon to state the HARD TRUTH.

All that the good Prof Lim tried to do is to wake the "deaf" and lethargic MIW, to correct the many years of wayward policies.

Coming from an Establishment Icon as emminent as Prof Lim,it must have been a "shock" in itself for the PM/Ministers/MOS and many others.

Cheryl said...

If things dont start to look up, it's only a matter of time before social unrest. Maybe not now... but possibly somewhere in the future. I think we should believe in the fact we're going to have whole generations of Singaporeans who are increasingly educated and able to think critically. It may not be able to counter the mass of the older generation now... but someday...

I suddenly thought of this quote from the Batman trailer:

"There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne," she says. "You and your friends better batten down the hatches. Because when it hits, you're all going to wonder how you ever thought you could ever live so large and leave so little for the rest of us."

Anonymous said...

to highlight their contribution and essentialness to our economy, our cleaners should go on strike. 3 days of not reporting to work should drive the message home very loudly and clearly.

'productivity' is a term, i believe, more applicable to work in factories. it's certainly easier to measure there. so how to measure it in today's context?

indeed, how much extra were our ministers doing to deserve their huge hikes in pay? and how is it the benefits of Power were not factored into their salary? surely those are almost priceless.

even if one looks at skilfulness, one cannot describe them as being skilful. all but one (n the DPMs), btw, are still on the lowest MR4 scale despite the years some have been in charge. surely that says a lot about their lack of quality.

one could also consider how far a person goes beyond his basic job as one way of determining a person's productivity. wages are also decided by responsibility, which few higher ups seem to take these days when things go wrong.

the SMRT's and LTA's lack of responsibility by not having proper crisis mgt in place is damning. will those in charge get sacked? have their salary slashed?

so the crux of the matter is: How does one measure productivity today?

there is also the matter of better distribution of profits. should the company and higher-ups take all, which is the case now? after all, these pple cant function without the so-called lower-downs. these are the people who make it possible for the higher-ups to do their job well. can a bldg stand without a foundation?

i also note that in many comments, pple say one should listen to the prof becos, well, he is eminent and established. so gotta be right, no?

not necessarily. eg, we have many ministers who are eminent, but whose proposals/policies/thinking have been wrong. surely lim swee say is a prime eg of this. tharman's recent wild claims are making him suspect too. then there is the whole cabinet's agreement on the flood of foreigners and having only GDP matter...

surely we should listen to suggs that make Sense, even when they come from pple who are nobodies, or who are opposition figs. even a fool can offer a good idea. and some who have been labelled fools, have done so.

besides looking at wages, as the prof suggests, we should also look at how n why we do many things - outsourcing work is one - and how costs can be lowered to make life more liveable.

some possible moves include removing GST from medical bills, and food essentials, for locals. life could then be more
'affordable' for those who earn less.

there is also the little matter of raising taxes of the rich that should be considered.

cost of labour is not the only reason biznesses come here. we need to play up our other advantages, which are many.

we've had no qualms raising the costs of most other things, so why pick on labour?

shock therapy is definitely needed, becos spore has been in denial on many issues for far too long.

Anonymous said...

"IMF report project a 7.5% and 8.6% unemployment for 2009 and 2010 respectively"
"Today our unemployment is strangely around 2%"

not too strange if the following is part of the data.
jobs as cleaners, security guards, taxi drivers, bus drivers, hawkers, hawker assistants, caddies, ktv/kopitiam helpers, drivers/helpers in the pimping business....heck, even those elderly who collect cans are probably considered self employed under 'recycling business'

the list is definitely not exhaustive, even busking can be considered as self employed under 'public entertainment'

in fact alot of jobs can be created just from PAP grass-roots and Peoples' Association activities.
they need plenty of runners and helpers....

Anonymous said...

LKY is just another selfish and greedy person. He is not saint or some wise great person who will do his best to better the lives of the poor of his own countrymen. All he is concerned is his own monies.

Veritas said...

Lim Chong Yah is simply a lackey and family member of LKY family. His advice of giving lower income wage rise shows his effort in preserving the Lee Dynasty, which unfortunately, - was taken by foolish LHL and underlings in full hostility.

LHL is really a idiot who is still unaware of his precarious position. The fermentation of rebellion against Gaddaffi took just couple of months. Who can predict that Libya, one of the richest country in the world, having the largest African oil reserve can be toppled in just couple of months.

Besides, Lim Chong Yah is not really go hard on PAP. He just suggest to hike income of the poor. The most severe situation today is not income inequality but wealth inequality. Up till now, ZERO intellect has broached this ultra-explosive topic.

Veritas said...

Lim Chong Yah pointed out income inequality but avoided the topic of wealth inequality-- the true toxic of our society.

The mass media nowadays always paint this world as fair and meritocratic, giving examples of self-made man like Bill Gate, trumpeting him as richest man in the world.

In fact Bill Gate is relatively poor. The richest person in the world are never made known to the public, unless on the event of revolution. Recently, Gaddafi was reported to be worth USD200 billion by Washington Post.

Bill Gate is only worth USD 60 billion.

How about LKY's family and our bunch of elites? Today everyone say they are clean, just like no one ever knew Gaddaffi is richest in the world. Who knows.

Our elites have got far too greedy. I am 100% sure if the cans of worms are out, certain individuals could worth far more than Bill Gate. To increase their wealth, the people must suffer.

The elites must create inflation in property. But they will scream inflation when Prof Lim tries to give even a single cent of pay hike to the poor.

Lim Chong Yah is far too gentle. What we really required is a wealth tax of 5% a year.

Anonymous said...


Do we expect nothing less than a revolution, displayed through the streets of Orchard road or along Shenton Way?

With an approximate number of anonymous posters here and else where at about 5,000.. I doubt we'd see one.

The sense of self preservation among Singaporeans is very strong.
With the arrival of a police car, all will suddenly melt into the urban landscape!

Mr Lucky Tan or Mr Chee Soon Juan, when you make a stand and cry out: "CHARGE!".. please have a look behind and ascertain if the rest of your supports are still there!

( anything below 10,000 dont count)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the well written and argued article. Fully support your stand.

活該 said...

"Things are not going to improve for our werkers because they have little power to bring about outcomes that will make their lives better"

They had lots of power. They gave up this power voluntarily long ago. And even now, they reject the current man who advocates street protest and civil disobedience and strike i.e. Chee Soon Juan. Serve them right!

該死 said...

Things happen for a reason. It happened because these lowly-paid, lowly-educated workers prefer to be lowly paid and lowly educated! Yes, you read right. They rejected politicians who were left-leaning by contining to vote for PAP evenafter it threw these left-leaning politicians into jail for 30 years! Watch what this guy said. His words still hold truth 50 years later!!!

Anonymous said...

You know why lucky's article is kind of flawed or imbalanced? Because, as a fan and supporter of chee, he puts too much enphasis on the plight of "the poor" in Sin.

He likes to use cleaners as example.

Well, are we a generation gravitating to being cleaners?

No wonder SDP lost it. Where is the relevance to a well educated populace with many good paying jobs available so much so, foreigners are all too happy to come here?

He is, like SDP, barking up the wrong tree but nevertheless, a necessary nemesis.

Anonymous said...

In taipei the bus drivers are mostly locals. Taiwan cost of living is slightly lower than singspore. This means that their bus drivers are much better off than singaporean bus drivers.

Anonymous said...

Our young or better educated populace do not aspire to be cleaners or bus drivers. They form the majority of voters and thus, decide on who rules. In any case, drivers will be paid more from now. But so? He argued that this will translate to lesser social cost because more money in their pockets to live better.


Hope more money for them don't go into Batam, beers and bullship.

A bit more pay could possibly lead to more social problems when you miss your target by a mile.

Anonymous said...

write so much yet so bodoh

Anonymous said...

Quoted from The Straits Times:

The Straits Times
Thursday, 12 April 2007
Page H8

How Should Ministers Be Paid?
For reality check, compare
their pay with that of bosses

By Sue-Ann Chia

The Straits Times
Thursday, 12 April 2007
Page H9

Time to move
on - and
make pay

By Chua Mui Hoong
Senior Writer

OK to pay top dollar
for leaders'

By Ong Soh Chin

"Rather than quibble emotionally over
their salaries and haggle as if we
are at a pasar malam, we should
rationally reward the ministers
appropriately, knowing their job is
very complex, demanding and thankless."

Ms Irene Ng, on Lim Boon Heng and Mr Lim Chee Onn

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as too much power to those who are in a position of power.

Anonymous said...

We know there is too much power and money to many undeserving people in ivory tower but elevating another group of idiots to their level will not change anything because often than not, these idiots will soon come to too much power and money eventually or be ..assassinated.

Anonymous said...

Good news Mr Lucky!
Your friends at MCYS is closing down the Hiding Place halfway house for being Christian.
This is really going to help the poor ex-cons get a chance in life.

And serve that pastor right for raking in all the money ... what ... he is going sleep in the open ... never mind facts ...

Champagne time!

Anonymous said...

Getting them grounded on reality is better than hot air. Too much hot air can become cold as Christmas turkey.

Anonymous said...

Lucky u have nailed them again. U r so much smarter than these bunch of pap multi$million nincompoops. The sooner they are replaced by people of your calibre, the better it is for Singapore and Singaporeans. Too much power for too long has made the pap elites stupid. It has now been scientifically proven that they more power u have and the longer u stay in power, the more stupid u become. So logically LKY and his gangsters are stupid people now.

Anonymous said...

The power of distribution in society depends on how united those who want power are.

Those who want power should take note of the saying: "United we stand, divided we fall".

In particular, for the opposition parties in Singapore to ponder why are they have little or no power during and after elections.

Anonymous said...

It seems power of the blog or Internet is not powerful enough or at all in Singapore, at least where affecting PAP's winning over 90% seats at elections is concerned.

Lucky Tan, why ah?

Anonymous said...

Lee did well to keep peace. Once the Lees are gone and replaced by the Lims,Foos,Chees or bangali....then all bets are off.

Imagine the Tans take over.....Hi Five

Anonymous said...


Your msg:

The U.S. is no different. Monetarty easing/growth in the supply of money won’t be tolerated if inflation appears to be increasing. The CPI has been re engineered several times since the 80′s to make it appear that inflation is under control. Weighting is one of the tools that allows the government to perpetuate the un truths. As health insurance rises, it has become a smaller and smaller portion of the total calculation.

The one possible difference is that in the U.S. all of the changes to CPI are well documented. A simple search gets you lots on weighting, substitution and Hedonics. It is easy to find out when each change is made. The surprising thing here is that no one cares. We seem to be very complacent about lies like this. So, the gov’t takes no heat for these misrepresentations.

So is China with its latest CPI reading.

theonion said...


Unsure of where you get your information.
Gaddafi and all those in Middle east were given in the politicians stakes in wealth in Forbes and fortune.

Lucky, what is the purpose of your examples where California is still being gerrymandered to death.

Anonymous said...

"Anon 23/4/12 07:56" and "theonion"

Thank you for your view.

one sided view is no good and not healthy.

I am from the 40%.

I agreed with Lucky Tan most of the times but not 100%

I am chinese educated so no good in writing in English.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps lucky should narrow the inequality by giving away his millions?

Anonymous said...

Foreign levy scheme turn on itself when the the recipient become addicted to easy monies paid by their sponsors. The policy become indispensable once the country end up having more and more labour imports which generate ever more levies takings.

Anonymous said...

Lucky is too busy ironing his money to respond.

Anonymous said...

on one hand they shot down Lim Chong Yah's recommendation, on the other hand the S'porean bus drivers are getting a 16% pay increase. lol!

Anonymous said...

"Anon 23/4/12 07:56" and "theonion"

Thank you for your view.

one sided view is no good and not healthy.

I am from the 40%.

I agreed with Lucky Tan most of the times but not 100%

I am chinese educated so no good in writing in English.


23/4/12 09:21

Ah pek..many can write but cannot think...many ...worse...also like you.... can't write and can't think...

At least lucky write to entertain never mind he also can't think

Best can write also can think one

Can think cannot write also can do at least they got hope you know...but can write but talk lots of cock only what use?

You think life is about spelling test ah? Siao fone

Anonymous said...

He probably never heard of scholars who wrote volumes and volumes of religious garbage that can fill an entire community library.

Very impressive hor...

Anonymous said...

No need to go far to be "impressed". Read your local ST can Liao. HaHaHa

Ng Eng Hou said...

Singapore to me, looks more like a Communist country packaged as a democratic country. For this reason, China government is very keen to learn Singapore's type of Communism. Making things worst are the rigged election system and people's afraid of changes.

We made the wrong move in the 1970s to give them absolute power and now we're paying the price of this!

Anonymous said...

aiyo...i feel sorry for the poor workers

but majority pple dun give hoot

only wake up when he/she is affected

in so far, 60% not yet affected, so lives go on


Anonymous said...

@Ng Eng Hou

Singapore is trying to follow behind the two major powers of the world.
(1)America’s Capitalist Party which use their power to give themselves absurdly high pay(Legalised corruption); they have no accountability to shareholders; and they’ve created a new caste, which is now exercising enormous political power.
(2)China's Communist Party which does not allow elections, builds firewall to prevent its citizens to know the truth,they want absolute control of their citizens,etc
America Capitalist Party tolerates democracy slightly more than Singapore because of their many institutions of check and balance built over 200 years ago.

Satsugaicat said...

I think the kind of social engineering that Singapore created is very successful.

People are not taught to think, but to follow instructions, believe in the mainstream propaganda and obey.

The penalties for civil disobedience is high and people would rather collect their pittance from the government, knowingly that they are exploited.

The 60.1% are definitely not stupid, but basically brainwashed and living in fear. Just like under Saddam rule, the Iraqis know he is a Tyrrant but can't do anything about it.

When people have the mindset to beg, rather than take action to change their position, you got no "creative" people or entrepreneurial people. People who are artistic are far and few as studying "the arts" is for "stupid" students who cannot understand maths and science.

The creation of limiting beliefs is so strong and reinforced by the controlled media.

Anonymous said...

This writer above is now speaking out for foreigners on work permit...of course, with the usual scare and bogeyman that without them (talents) our economy is

He should use the same sophisticated but convoluted reasons to go back home instead. Because he, along with such talents, will definitely contribute to the economic growth of his country , I am very sure. If not, they also have a choice to go to cheaper countries like China or India and re-learn to live among the mud countries and be treated like a king/queen there, with plenty of cheaper, faster and better labor for them to exploit.

Taiwan don't need them, Hong Kong don't need them, and Korea don't succeed. Why does Singapore need an overkill of 36% or more of them here?!!

Anonymous said...

//The penalties for civil disobedience is high and people would rather collect their pittance from the government, knowingly that they are exploited. //

Agree. When LKY was in reign, he created this climate of fear through law suits, defamation, prison, bankruptcy, ISA etc..On top of that, he intertwined the Unions + Govt + Workers into an unholy trinity and remove any civic rights to protest, rally in have the perfect recipe of a ONE-PARTY-RULE and total obedience & submissiveness of the population. While it looks very much like we still have democracy (i.e. elections once a year) everyone knows is a farce!

Just imagine, suppose I give my non-working aged parents $500 a month as allowance, but I never ever visit them, care about their health, and deny them the visitations of the grandchildren, simply let them live and rot as they wish as long as I fulfill my minimal $500 to them, can the law accuse me of not being a filial son? If my parents out of love choose not to prosecute me under maintenance law, does that make me a 'good son'? Can you accuse me of "mistreating" them?

LKY once said a cleaner who pays $500 a month is better than one who makes zero. Put it in another way - Blow Job is better than No Job!! Life is never fair.

Anonymous said...

CPI Index (inflation) up 5.2% again this year.

What this is doing is effectively making Singapore less competitive—Singapore's inflation is one of the highest in Asia, and that is unusual, if not unprecedented. Singapore is losing some competitiveness here, and its nominal exchange rate is appreciating rapidly as well."

What is this govt doing to curtail the inflation??
What is this govt doing to increase income wages?

That's the recipe for now.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans are too scared to vote for opposition fearing that something bad will happen to them.

The hard truth is 70% of the youth supports PAP judging from the GE results at new towns.

The remaining 40% opp supporters are mostly males from middle income family.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans are too scare to vote for stupid people so they settle for the next best thing....lesser stupidity.

Anonymous said...

//Anonymous said...

You know why lucky's article is kind of flawed or imbalanced? Because, as a fan and supporter of chee, he puts too much enphasis on the plight of "the poor" in Sin.//

Most of the rich or educated do not need you to emphasize their plight because they know how to do it themselves.

Many of powerless poor though underpaid for their hard work, if they work, will be very contented and happy if you can supplement their income (e.g workfare & subsidies) thinking you are godsend to lessen their pitiful conditions.

Anonymous said...

//Anonymous said...
Singaporeans are too scare to vote for stupid people so they settle for the next best thing....lesser stupidity.//

That is the reason why they are labelled daft.

Anonymous said...

PAP slogan: SINGAPOREANS MUST BE POOR in order to make Singapore a success and ministers richer. Is this the leadership we want, has 60% voters wake up from decades of slumber by now?

Yaccob, the 50 years freaky flood minister, said he intended to enact legislation to curb articles like this and said msm is still the objective media. Now we know why PAP remain backward for so long because they relied on their own media for news that flatter themselves.

Anonymous said...

"Yaccob, the 50 years freaky flood minister, said he intended to enact legislation to curb articles like this and said msm is still the objective media. Now we know why PAP remain backward for so long because they relied on their own media for news that flatter themselves."

I will be surprised liberals will not rise to challenge that. If they block noises, and garbage, from the ground, they will lose votes.

Anonymous said...

"some people are angry with the responses from our ministers because when it comes paying low income workers more, they say that productivity needs to be raised"

then they go hired and allowed a flood of low productivity FW to enter the workforce. when it comes to the issue of indecent pays of the workers, the word "productivity" will always pop out. do you believe constant training will later increase their pays? i shall not name name which of the elites try to talk the way out of the situation. they seem to believe whenever they mess up something, they have a confident that they can solve it or put right just by talking to change public's perception.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"But how come PAP can still get 60% majority vote? "
partly due to the controlled media. they are not doing their bid to democracy. history will forever remember this. their roles will forever remain on the internet.

besides other reasons cited on the internet forums, another part of the reason is some people did not bother to delve deep into sg politic. once you learned some info you previously missed n you blindly voted or supported for pap you'll find yourself an ignorant fool. this of course, controlled media has to be partly blamed

Anonymous said...

what is the main reason to have a "grand 6.5m population " in the future?
if, to sustain the state own market. LKL once said, we need 'young' ppl to buy cars, iphone, ipad, restaurant dining...
but first, you need to have the population who have the extra money to do all that, if not , the 6.5m vision is not sustainable itself.
just like an artist he needs someone to appreciate his art, a movie star who needs viewers to support his flim, a violinist needs audiences to hear him play, footballs who need spectators to watch them play, you grand and famous destination need visitors so as to collect revenue and maintain.
to be frank, the majority of the population are struggling with their living, let alone have the luxury to support the above, which is why i found the whole "art campaign" unsettling and ironic.

can you just depend on the handful of the elites to support all your "creation" ? they may be entertain one or few times, but they will not sacrifice their time for your creation always, they have other important things to do.
"YOG" weird audience phenomenon was a perfect example.

Anonymous said...

We have to question the data that the government puts out. Long gone are the days when what this government say is the gospel truth.

Data itself can be skewed to present a picture that the owner wants to paint.

Anonymous said...

This article has gone viral in Facebook. People are liking it and sharing it. It has struck a chord. Lucky, you should install a Facebook share function on your blog posts.

Anonymous said...

I think some of the compensations for executives are obscene. And that includes top civil servants and politicians, and those in the GLCs. The CEO of DBS earns $8 million a year. Wasn't the banking crises of 2008/2009 triggered by excessive greed? How much does one person need to survive?

The marginal tax rate of top income earners above $320K is only 20%. It is far too low. All income above $500K should be taxed 35% or more. We should go back to pre-1986 where the marginal corporate and income taxes were 40%. This is the practice of most developed countries. Vikram Nair asked where is the money going to come from when countering Chen Show Mao. Do we need MPs who only question but don't offer solutions?

Observe Carefully and you'll notice... said...

The main of our government is to work for themselves not the well-being of the very people who voted them.

It's policies which on the surface are pitched as benefitting the people are merely benefitting themselves. Almost every element of Singapore life from birth till death had been designed beforehand for you - right down to who your neighbour should be.

Singaporeans' lives can be read like a textbook. And it's a boring and predictable one.

An illusion of so-called security being a Singapore citizen has been sung for decades but only those who truly test the policies that they're have to live with would know that our healthcare is not subsidised nor universal. Singaporeans can't survive in their old age unless they sell their flats.

The old are treated as highly unproductive members of the Singapore Inc. and are of no value. The government does't want to care for their well-being and sees them as a cost burden that they can do without.

They crafted the Parents Maintenance Act to save pockets of having to care for the weaker and less secure members of the country - guys who were economically productive and valuable to the state in their younger days.

Soon it will be your turn to say: Bo pian lo! What can I do? I'm already 65.

And the cycle perpetuates itself.

We treated Singapore and human labour like cattle labour.

Notions of NS, CPF, nation-building are merely for public consumption and for political correctness.

They're meant not to be the case. Mere lip service.

Singaporeans should forget about making a change only during election time. They should move out and be a second-class citizen in another country; contributing to that economy than to be a third-class citizen in their own country.

A PR is much much better off than a Singaporean.

Your pink i/c is losing value year after year.

We speak of change. Yet after 30 years of courtesy campaigns, Singaporeans' customer service is still zero. After 2o years of keeping or toilets clean, the MRT and foodcourts toilets are stinks; its floors are still wet and stained.

What change are we talking about? Look at the Singapore animal. They can't even switch off their handphones to silent mode in the trains or you see adults blasting their iphones music away in the MRTs.

Singaporeans are daft. Only daft people would vote for a government that does take care any of its well-being and short-changed its citizens but never itself.

So don't expect change to occur in this country. The smart ones have already left.

Hope is a drug here in the blogosphere. Reasonable mindness would have everyone dumbfounded asto why Singaporeans would continue to vote for policies that shoot them, their families and their childrens' futures in the foot?

Anonymous said...

'Free education and subsidised housing lead to a situation where the less economically productive people in the community are reproducing themselves at rates higher than the rest. This will increase the total population of less productive people. Our problem is how to devise a system of disincentives, so that the irresponsible, the social delinquents, do not believe that all they have to do is to produce their children and the government then owes them and their children sufficient food, medicine, housing, education and jobs…We must encourage those who earn less than $200 per month and cannot afford to nurture and educate many children never to have more than two. We will regret the time lost if we do not now take the first tentative steps towards correcting a trend which can leave our society with a large number of the physically, intellectually and culturally anaemic.'

When you read this quote, you already can understand the underlying ideologies this country has been built upon and the thread that always leads to this one particular man.

Anonymous said...

A frequently used argument is that Singapore imports cheap unskilled or low-skilled foreign labour for essential services that Singaporeans shun (e.g., cleaners). This argument is not without a serious drawback.

One should consider the political repercussion of doing this - if Singapore relies heavily on these foreign unskilled labour in large quantities, one day, they will constitute a large enough majority to cripple Singapore by strikes and what not. These are not Singaporeans and have not been cowered into obedience. In the end, PAP or the next ruling party might need to change policies to favour them even more.

There is a reason why wages for unskilled labour needs to go up and favour its citizens as a country goes from undeveloped to developed status. It is this inevitable that the PAP tries to avoid - developed country's cost of living with developing country's wages for most (except the PAP).

Anonymous said...

Oi,don't have to be too long winded to get your point across

Like Jesus,economy of words but highly effective

Anonymous said...

Wrong heading therefore wrong remedy.

Anonymous said...

++++ We speak of change. Yet after 30 years of courtesy campaigns, Singaporeans' customer service is still zero. After 2o years of keeping or toilets clean, the MRT and foodcourts toilets are stinks; its floors are still wet and stained.What change are we talking about? Look at the Singapore animal. They can't even switch off their handphones to silent mode in the trains or you see adults blasting their iphones music away in the MRTs.+++++

So true. Ill mannered and full of themselves. Open their mouths and you just want to take a plane Saudi Arabia. Mind you, these are graduates.

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Anonymous said...

By NGIAM TONG DOW - Published March 14, 2012

"....We have to grow through raising productivity, not higher headcount. We need to be smart enough to produce more with less.

...The key is to produce more with less manpower. The window to raise total factor productivity through application of knowledge and training is fast closing with the opening up of India, China and Indonesia.

Singapore has lost two decades relying on low-wage, low-skilled foreign labour to drive economic growth.
Our managers and administrators are among the best paid in the world. They will have to get off their high horse and personally lead the drive for higher productivity.

Outsourcing is a bad word in my vocabulary. Companies and government ministries should figure out how to train their staff and redesign jobs and processes to achieve more with less.

Grants should not be given to management (consultants) to do a job they are already paid to do. Instead, interest free loans should be given to enterprises with clear roadmaps to re-equip and raise the productivity of their workers.

I am against job credits in any form because they are simply wage subsidies which do not raise productivity in any way.

My personal observation is that job credits simply add to the bottom line for payment of bonuses to management who do not have to lift a finger to raise the productivity of their enterprises.

We failed to bite the bullet in the 1980s to restructure our economy. There may be no second chance the next time around.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above anon who mentioned that, so far, the 60% are not affected at all.

The truth is that they are affected but they are not critical thinkers who can read in between the lines that the Straits Times publishes.

Most of these 60% do not possess critical media literacy skills to cut through the thick layer of hypocrisy that is being painted by these government policies.

Anonymous said...

"Oi,don't have to be too long winded to get your point across

Like Jesus,economy of words but highly effective

24/4/12 13:56"

And guess what? They crucified him, didn't they? That's how effective he was. He was dead meat. If there's anyone we should follow, it's definitely not a Jesus or a Jesuit.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you will be a follower or am one already...without you knowing.

Anonymous said...

“The reason why restaurants and hotels discriminate against you is because your behaviour ranks somewhere in between pack wolves and chimpanzees are the local zoo. If you guys don’t smell so bad and learnt some manners, maybe they’ll treat you better.” - American Expat

Ouch. The truth hurts.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Oh, you will be a follower or am one already...without you knowing.

25/4/12 00:04"

The same applies to you too, doesn't it?

You could be a believer in SHITism or CRAPism; without you knowing it.

Anonymous said...

PAP needs 125,000 new votes by the next election..Just select those nationalities that are likely to vote for PAP

Immigration crucial in baby-scarce Singapore: government paper

And you wonder where the 60.1% support come from.. Should be less than 55% without new immigrants..

Critcal Observer of Policies said...

"Associate Professor Tan Khee Giap, co-director of Asia Competitiveness Institute at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, said: "There is a trade-off here, that all Singapore citizens...must accept that if they want to be helped, to be subsidised when they are less Singaporeans are now paying tax in support of the ageing population...then you must grow the economic cake. And if you want to grow the economic cake with less Singaporeans, you must accept foreign workers." "

This is blatant misrepresentation of reality.

The fact of the matter is that, Singaporeans have been paying for their own medical expenses and that of their parents all these years. The government did not subsidise their healthcare in any way. It's right from the citizens' poickets.

To build a link between Singaporeans' call for a subsidised universal healthcare and the need for foreign workers and an oversupply of foreigners is a causal fallacy.

The government is still adamant in looking for quick fixes in their errors for their 2-child policy in the past.

Since these ministers will not be around to fix the problem when they suggest all these policies, it's fine and dandy that they are looking for quick fixes and instant gratification solutions for their performance bonus.

Let's be honest and transparent. We've been lying for too long in Singapore.

The government is seeking to not pay a single dime to helping Singaporeans have more children.

Lower the cost of the unaffordable HDB flats!

Lower the cost of living!

In Japan, education is free till 16 years old.

All these require money. And the stingy government doesn't want to spend it on the well-being of its citizens. But would argue for days why they should have their salaries cut to the highest in the world even after a review.

This immigration policy is going to fail big time.

This immigration policy is a double-edged sword. It is likely to garner new votes from massive boatloads of new citizens. They are more engaged in seeking to reestablish their power base than to actually work to improve the standard of living among their citizens.

After 2016, if Singaporeans vote unwisely again for these policies, I think it is clear as the sun, that younger Singaporeans will make migration a life option; and not a mere consideration.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Oh, you will be a follower or am one already...without you knowing.

25/4/12 00:04"

The same applies to you too, doesn't it?

You could be a believer in SHITism or CRAPism; without you knowing it.

25/4/12 07:15
True. What you believe does not matter because, tomorrow, the sun will rise as usual long before you are gone.

Anonymous said...

"After 2016, if Singaporeans vote unwisely again for these policies, I think it is clear as the sun, that younger Singaporeans will make migration a life option; and not a mere consideration."

Please don't make them happy

Anonymous said...

TFR will remain 1.2 forever if PAP is still in power..

Anonymous said...

If cleaners are paid well, people will not be motivated to be engineers or doctors. And then, their gifts will be hindered.

Anonymous said...

PAP likes to hide behind the fertility rate to justify for their import of foreigners rate. The truth is they just want more monies.

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Jose said...

"Oi,don't have to be too long winded to get your point across Like Jesus,economy of words but highly effective 24/4/12 13:56" And guess what? They crucified him, didn't they? That's how effective he was. He was dead meat. If there's anyone we should follow, it's definitely not a Jesus or a Jesuit.

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