David See <dslk8348@...
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 22:55:53 +0800 (CST)
From: David See
Subject: CAN SINGAPORE CONTINUE TO SURVIVE?
CAN SINGAPORE CONTINUE TO SURVIVE?
by See Leong Kit 12 August 2004
1 For the past few decades, Singapore was fortunate to ride alongside a rosy global economy. But the tide had since changed.
2 The Peoples' Action Party, as the ruling Government, can claim SOME but definitely NOT ALL the credit for Singapore's success SO FAR. Our hardworking people, favourable time zone and geographical location are other notable factors that have also contributed to our development as a financial centre and air/sea hub.
(Put simply, had the PAP governed Timbuktu in Africa, would the outcome be similar to that in Singapore?)
3 The whole world knows about Singapore's "top-down control" and "we-know-best" style of political governance. This is a fundamental root cause of the many national problems we face today.
4 See how, despite 39 long years of independence from British colonial rule, the vast majority of Singaporeans are still fearful of speaking up openly about their concerns. The minority with the moral courage to do so are often "stonewalled" by either "dead silence" or "exasperating replies with spurious arguments" from our public servants.
This fear of speaking up is an all-pervasive "social cancer" that spreads beyond political issues to even non-political issues, such as when teachers are hesitant to talk openly about the weaknesses of our education system and when social workers are hesitant to talk about the unfolding social issues afflicting our youths. Even professionals like doctors are hesitant to speak openly about emerging health issues.
As a result, whatever few strengths are openly trumpeted but many weaknesses are not exposed but conveniently swept under the carpet. How can Singapore ever progress on such a basis?
Indeed, Singaporeans have been conditioned for nearly 40 years to behave like kids i.e. to be seen but not heard. The basic human act of speaking up has become such a Herculean hurdle for most Singaporeans. How can we ever foster resilence, self-reliance, creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and political talent in "yes-man" citizens?
5 The current over-55 generation of people which have lent their "unquestioning" support and "blind" loyalty over the past decades will soon drop dead and depart for Heaven.
Taking their place will be a younger generation of better-educated, Internet-savvy Singaporeans who can think, read between the lines and add two and two to make five. They may be largely apathetic but are definitely not stupid. Taking them for fools will constitute "political suicide". Any wise politician will never take these people for granted.
Necessary ingredients for Singapore's continued survival
6 Fundamentally, Singapore's continued survival must ultimately depend on the collective inputs and teamwork spirit of its politicians, civil servants and people. No one group has the monopoly of ideas. Each group has to make its share of contribution, whether big or small.
Such tripartite (politicians/civil servants/people) bonding is far more fundamental/important than the politically-motivated so-called "symbiotic" PAP-NTUC relationship or the Government/Employer/Union relationship.
7 So what Singapore urgently needs to survive are as follows
(a) "professional" politicians with such hallmark traits:
> act professionally just like practitioners in the medical/legal/accounting professions
> govern though cogent arguments and not through fear, armtwisting , political ploys,etc
> know they are "answerable" to the people and must "earn" their respect
> encourage people to speak up freely to understand their concerns and tap their contributions
> manage the Civil Service as an institution in a professional "at arms length" manner
(b) "professional" civil servants with these qualities:
> trying HARDER to serve the public BETTER
> senior civil servants must be humble/confident enough to put their own names to public replies as an act of responsibility/accountability
> acknowledge and accept responsibility for mistakes, and will not hide behind the trousers of politicians
(c) "active" citizens are people who know:
> they must speak up when things are not right. Otherwise, a small mistake can balloon into a big catastrophe that will affect not just themselves but their children's generation as well.
> they cannot and must not leave everything to the Government
> there are more important things in life (such as good health) than making money, asset enhancement, HDB upgrading, etc
8 So it is incredibly naive for Singapore's politicans to constantly "lecture" Singaporeans to "change their mindsets" and be "self-reliant". Common-sense dictates that the correct sequence of "mindset change" must start at the very top, and then filter downwards as follows:
Politicans first changing their "we-know-best" mindsets and acting professionally. They will then set the correct example for civil servants to act professionally too.
Civil servants will next change their mindsets to serve the people in a humble, productive and cost-effective way.
People who see politicians and civil servants acting professionally will then overcome their fear of speaking up and help provide invaluable feedback for improvements and changes. Only when people can speak freely will they have a sense of ownership/commitment/rootedness as shareholders/stakeholders of Singapore. They will then not be "quitters but stayers" and will not be "boh chap" in leaving everything to the Government!
In a nutshell
9 Fundamentally, this is the critical challenge now facing Singapore:
Our politicians must quickly make up their minds once-and-for-all whether to continue breeding "yes-man" civil servants and citizens who will let them govern this country their way or sincerely nurture thinking Singaporeans who will team up with them to govern our country our way.
10 Put simply, if the fundamental facts stated above are not addressed, our politicians can talk and talk until the cows come home about "restructuring" Singapore's economy, "remaking" Singapore and "promoting" entrepreneurship and NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE ONE WEE BIT FOR THE BETTERMENT OF SINGAPORE.
This message from Sammyboy's Alfresco Coffee Shop on DelphiForums.com was forwarded to you
Forum: the Sammyboy's Alfresco Coffee Shop Forum
Subject: Liquidity crunch. Hold on to your money
DateTime: 20/08/2004 21:13:57
"Another sucker, Another bankrupt!"
The snide comments from passers by who see the shutters
down in a shop/business that opened barely 6 months ago.
The limited savings he had collected from his CPF got
washed out from his POSB savings account and into the
pocket of the fat cat shop landlord, as rental payments.
The sucker is obliged to complete his rental contract whether
he is broke while doing that.
The caustic passer by comments are not wrong in their content.
The fellow who started the business came with high hopes,
sincerity and willingness to slog hard. But he missed out
one thing. There is not enough liquidity in the market
to support so many retail outlets in HDB estates as well as
in various shopping malls. The money flow is thin and there
are just too many retailers chasing too little dough.
This is the unfortunate story that is being repeated day in day
out all over Singapore. Hawker stalls folding up, shops downing
their shutters and people being bankrupted and worse, their
entire pathetic life savings eroded into thin air.
Who is to blame for this rot ?
The Sing inc media, the TV, the Crooked Times, who all play
a big part hyping up "feel good" stories of success and
good profits. Making simple people fall for the bait and lose
You may say , what is wrong in the news media hyping up ?
After all the individual has a choice to believe or ignore.
You are right. The choice is with the individual, just as in
many other countries.
But then you see...in other countries you have an open media.
When one newspaper hype something, the other puts forward the
opposing view point, in this case, the liquidity crunch and
why venturing into business can be risky at the moment etc etc.
The 'sucker ' is now better informed, better alerted and cautious.
In other words, he has the privilige to make an informed decision
whether to jum in or not. If he does, then it is his fate.
But over here, we have a very controlled media and over the years
a lot of the reporters of this controlled media have learnt to
play the game to their benefit - prostitute themselves to vested interests. So many private property and condo buyers are having sleepless nights thanks to this irresponsible an unethical controlled media hype.
They do it well for their MIW masters. But they screw up so many lives
too. Not that they have any choice to warn and caution people about the risks. If they do that, they get screwed.
The bottom line is this. There is just not enough liquidity in the market to support so many retail shops and businesses.
Tell your old folks to keep their money safe and in the bank.
At the moment cash is king. For old age and sickness.
To hell with these feel good stories. Just take them around some
coffee shops and HDB shop blocks and show them the empty stalls and thge regular change of old sucker sign boards with new sucker sign boards.
How do you know when the liquidity cruch will be over ?
When the stock market start to really pick up. Not the 30 odd
index linked counters that is prime pumped and manipulated by gahmen GLCs.
But the braordbased picture in the equity market will tell the difference between cash crunch and easy liquidity.
Now, you may ask why should this be allowed to happen, cause these bankrupts could end up as burden to the gahmen when they fall sick and have no money to pay medical bills etc.
"No money ?. Sorry. Go home please";
That is what the girl at the hospital admisison counter will
now tell you after she key in your IC number into the computer
to check your medisave balance.
Minister Mentor Lee forecasts S'pore can grow 4-6% a year for next decade
-By Hwee Goh, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE: Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew says the Singapore economy should be able to grow by 4 to 6 percent each year for the next 10 to 15 years.
That's because growth conditions across the region are very strong.
Speaking at a National Day dinner at his Tanjong Pagar constituency, Mr Lee explained why Singaporeans have every reason to be confident and not to over-react when crises strike.
What the people need, said Mr Lee, is ambition and the dare to climb to greater heights.
Mr Lee said: "We are a young country and from time to time, our people tend to over-react. So, when times go bad, everybody gets depressed and they think the world is coming to an end because we're not making the same progress like before and we're facing retrenchments. The difference between the present generation and my generation is not that the present generation is weaker but that they have not gone through the same hardship."
Mr Lee added: "The future is ours to make and I tell the younger generation 'you have been tested in the last 6, 7 years - Asian financial crisis, SARs, Indonesia pressure, Malaysia pressure - you have not collapsed, you can make it provided you have the determination, you have the ambition, and you have the courage, the dare to seek new heights and take Singapore and your children up to a higher level of civilization.'" - CNA
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