Saturday, 14 April 2018

Can Lee Hsien Loong handle Mahathir if there is a change of government in Malaysia?


If there is a change of government in the coming Malaysian general election, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad will, once again, become the prime minister of Malaysia. It means Lee Hsien Loong, like his father, will have to face Mahathir (and later Anwar) as the fourth PM of Singapore is yet to announce.

This will keep Lee business from May 2018 until the next GE.  He will not only face an old man but an experienced and skilled politician. In 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, Mahathir used capital control to fight against currency speculators, like George Soros. In 2006, Malaysian ex-premier Mahathir and billionaire Soros end feud” . http://www.abc.net.au/news/2006-12-15/malaysian-ex-premier-mahathir-and-billionaire/2154878

While in Singapore, we are now worrying over the influence of Soros over our local politics.

Mahathir used capital control in 1997 to handle people like George Soros. While in Singapore, besides company registration control, what will Lee Hsien Loong use to face off George Soros?






Is Mahathir at such an old age standing against Najib an unexpected event?

It is not unexpected.  Like Lee Kuan Yew, it is in Mahathir’s blood that when he sees something wrong in Malaysia, he will stand up and fight against it.

Here are quotes from Lee Kuan Yew on leadership and motivation.

On leadership and motivation:


“Even from my sick bed, if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up.”

“What I fear is complacency. When things always become better, people tend to want more for less work.”
“I do not yet know of a man who became a leader as a result of having undergone a leadership course.”
https://crowdsourcingweek.com/blog/10-memorable-quotes-singapores-founding-prime-minister-lee-kuan-yew/
  
And Mahathir chooses to leave UMNO and setting up a new party to protect the Malays and Bumiputera.

[Lee Kuan Yew values, Mahathir values]

Standing up for your country and fight for the core values are important motivation moving forward.  

It seems the current government leaders in both Singapore and Malaysia have “values” issues. They are moving away from the founding values of the PAP, UNMO, Lee Kuan Yew and Tunku Abdul Rahman.

In Singapore, Lee is challenged by his siblings and is accused of being a 'dishonourable son' for failing to maintain Lee Kuan Yew values.
https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/What-Has-Happened-To-Lee-Kuan-Yews-Values.pdf

We may argue Singapore is different. We are a better run country and as efficient as other advanced economies. We also have strong reserve and less corruptions.

However, when citizens shift their focus from democracy to values judgement, meritocracy, fairness, equal opportunities and protection of rights as what Lee siblings have pointed out, they will have to think of their own future and benefits. 

Singaporeans know there are limited freedom and democracy, like PE2017 and the GRC by-election issues.  So, they want to measure their benefits against the LKY values. More unhappiness will appear when they find out the discrepancy and feel short-changed.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

反面教材之李光耀故居: 利益冲突、莫须有和历史真相




李光耀故居的去留,无论结果如何,已经成了一个反面教材。它给我们留下的教育意义,比李光耀在世的时候,还要大。它的价值在于我们要如何选择一条正确的道路,我们要勇于面对历史的真实,还是继续利用各种手段,来扭曲历史。

李光耀多多少少预料到,本身会成为一个负面教材。因此,不希望留下故居。因为,在政治上,当大家都喜欢你的时候,你是一个资产,当人们可以利用你做文章的时候,你就变成一个反面教材,一个负资产。作为创始人之一,留下故居,人民行动党在面对人民力量的正义转型时,就不得不与李光耀“同舟共济”了。

利益冲突,家丑外扬。

不论谁对谁错,故居凸显李家的利益冲突。作为李光耀的接班人,李显龙为了政治目的而要求保留故居。尤其是,造神运动能够带来了巨大的选票。因此,李显龙字里行间,似乎说故居业主李显扬,如果把故居拆掉,就能获得巨大的商业利益。

这也是一场个人和国家利益的冲突。李显龙认为,他是基于国家利益才认为必须保留故居。而他的弟妹却认为,李光耀个人的精神价值,受到挑战。李光耀立下遗属,他们是执行者,有必要维护遗属的精神和价值。如果遗属不算数,那么很多基于这个法律原则而建立的政治,经济和社会规范,就会受到破坏。

在巨大的利益冲突下,我们将会继续看到冲突的继续下去,演变下去。

这样的反面教材,到底告诫了我们什么?是不是为了本身的利益,就可以借用各种理由,政治、商业、国家和个人来表明自己的对,别人的错。

而在这样的历史背景下,我们到底看到的是假消息,假新闻,还是这就是事实。而且,对于政客来说,这就是事实的全部。当我们回顾过去,却似乎不是事实,而是一场莫须有。

莫须有,假新闻。


秦桧加在岳飞身上的莫须有罪名,从当时宋朝的官方记录来说,就是事实的全部,因此,岳飞才落得不得好死的下场。而偏偏这种莫须有的假新闻,假信息,从来就没有停止过。这也不是中国特有的,其他国家也有。

可惜,我们只有在事后,才能够了解真相。

也有一些,明明就是事实,而且国际上也公认的事实,当局者却说自己被“莫须有”化。纳吉和陈水扁一直在喊,事实不符,不要把莫须有的罪名加在他们身上。

新加坡也逃不出莫须有假新闻的阴影:

历史修正主义者覃炳鑫博士向政府作出爆炸性指控————人民行动党政治人物才是新加坡“假新闻”的源头。
覃炳鑫在陈情书中说,假新闻对新加坡冲击不大,唯一例外是——“冷藏行动” (Operation Coldstore) 。他说,人民行动党政府的论述是:1963年展开代号“冷藏行动”的逮捕行动是为了维护国家安全,要制止极端共产主义者密谋颠覆国家政权,但“解密档案证明,这是一个谎言”。他又指,“冷藏行动”是出于政治目的,没有证据显示,被捕者涉及任何颠覆国家政权的阴谋。覃炳鑫还称,当时的总理李光耀在私下向英国驻新加坡专员坦承,展开“冷藏行动”是为了政治利益。
http://www.redants.sg/overview/story20180330-1325

李光耀在世的时候,主流媒体根本不会去关切这样的新闻。这条莫须有新闻的见光,以及在媒体上出现,还要感谢网络假信息听证会。

从维护本身利益出发,人民行动党当然会说这是诡辩!这是不愿意面对历史,还是逃避历史。坚持这种立场,就是化莫须有为真新闻,为假新闻护航。

历史说话,还原真相。

面对历史,需要勇气。覃炳鑫博士从学术立场分析,得出不同于行动党的诠释。即使是诡辩,你也不能说他是毫无根据。人家是看了档案,看了历史记录,得出的结论。虽然和行动党的版本有很大出入,但是确实是另一个观点。如果,一定要说人家诡辩,那么,自己是否也陷入了另一种自圆其说的诡辩。

这一点李光耀就看得比较远和深。他害怕有一天有另一种版本的历史诠释,不同于行动党的历史定位,那么,李光耀和一切有关他的东西,事物,故居,就会变成反面教材。就像蒋介石那样,被认为是负面教材,负资产,被敌对者利用,夸大负面形象。


有时不承认历史真相也是一种风范、精神。日本就是一个典型例子。日本和德国很不一样有。对于二战还是没有认真的道歉。但是,人家不道歉,还是能够做到经济强国。这就成了地地道道的反面教材了。

这点就像行动党政府了。新加坡对于日本在二战时候的残害行为,极为容忍。是不是,行动党自己也像日本保守政治人物一样,不承认历史事实,渐渐的,变成是一种PAP不认错的风范,一种只有PAP全对的精神。

李光耀已经看到这点,不愿面对历史事实的结果。因为,没有永远的胜利者。当反对党逐渐强大的时候,行动党也将面对国民党的命运。留下故居,李光耀害怕有一天会变成反面教材,行动党的负资产,加速PAP的败亡。但是,对于急功近利的李显龙来说,眼前的利益才是最重要。

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Public Hearings of A Failed Political Imagination


The People’s Action Party government has a political imagination of fake news which they want to show the world how to handle it in Singapore’s parliament. They imagine, as in the past,  they can manipulate or question the witnesses to suit or support their purpose so that they can pass or amend laws meeting their political expectations.

The little red dot wants to teach the world how to define fake news, in a rush act pointed out by Facebook, and how an effective government, under a one-party state, should deal with it.

However, there is no Lee Kuan Yew, the only known international statesman of Singapore. During his time, there are some controversial but operative (and successful) political imaginations like the merger and separation from Malaysia, Operations Coldstore, Operation Spectrum, and international admired Electronic Road Pricing, CPF and HDB programs etc.   

We may not agree with the above political imaginations but they works well for the PAP and perhaps, for majority of voters in Singapore too. Is that because of fake news,  according to Dr Thum Ping Tjin?

In his submission to the Committee, Thum asserted that fake news has not had much of an impact in Singapore, with one major exception: the “falsehoods” that the People’s Action Party (PAP) used to justify the detentions of thousands under the Internal Security Act from 1963 to 1987.
“Beginning with Operation Coldstore in 1963, politicians have told Singaporeans that people were being detained without trial on national security grounds due to involvement with radical communist conspiracies to subvert the state. Declassified documents have proven this to be a lie.”
https://sg.news.yahoo.com/shanmugam-historian-thum-ping-tjin-spar-communist-activities-1950s-1960s-123507433.html

Historical events can turn a fortune of a country, a political party and her political leaders.  It, of course, affects the other side, and the fate of people. Operation Coldstore is certainly one such example.    

PAP’s political imaginations work and function well because they are mainly domestic issues which the PAP enjoys monopoly in power and in parliament. Externally, it also has the support of Cold War political climate.

We are now at a different environment and unfamiliar situation. However, the PAP still believes their own political imagination on fakes news and deliberate online falsehoods.

Social media and online news are different, especially for a country which ranks so low internationally for press freedom. However, the PAP’s political imagination is still the same, using the absolute majority in parliament to legalise their action. Do you think the Select Committee can really provide a “world” solution on fakes news? Or will it be just another stamping of the political imagination of the PAP?

The Select Committee invites international organisations and internet players to provide views on fakes news. The PAP tries to put the world views into Singapore context and re-package it as a pioneer solution for the world, like the ERP.  Many advanced countries have the technology to implement our current ERP system but choose not to. Why? In Singapore, it is easy and it matches the political imagination of the PAP: people just obey and pay without thinking.

However, fakes news and deliberate online falsehoods are more complicated. Just like the merger and separation from Malaysia, Operations Coldstore, Operation Spectrum, ERP, CPF and HDB programs etc.  Partial interpretation or selected reporting can also be a source of fake news. For the advantage of the PAP, they will just imagine the beneficial ones as reliable news and publishes them in the mainstream media. However, for social media, the game play is different and it is beyond the PAP’s imagination. Hence, there is a need to control the so-called online falsehoods.
  
One good thing about the Public Hearings is we get to hear the other side of the story that K Shanmugam, acting like a prosecutor, questioning the witnesses. Why must a minister spending his valuable time asking questions not within or fitting the imagination of the PAP?  

Sunday, 25 March 2018

负面治国之枪杀示威者和假新闻死罪


这几个星期,人民行动党政府犹如一只惊弓之鸟,害怕现行法律不够严厉,无法应付紧急局面。因此,通过各种管道,利用更加严厉的法律来对付人民。

可以说,这是一种负面治国的提升:从把人民当成罪犯看待到把人民当成恐怖分子看待。

以下几个例子就说明这个负面趋势:
  • 警方现在有权力枪杀示威者。
  • 男性执法人员可以对女性搜身。
  • 假新闻的传播者,有些人建议和毒贩同等,可以以死罪对付。
  • 脸书代表在假新闻听证会认为,修法是一种操之过急的做法。
  • 即使在国会,林瑞莲的消费税气球,也被要求收回和做出道歉。

或许,行动党和李显龙、尚穆根的做法,就像古代的帝王那样,为第四代行动党领导人铺路,除了希望交接顺利,更加希望行动党永世经营新加坡。

这当然是一种理想,一种不求实际的理想。在我们走向文明,走向后工业化时代,新加坡却走向一条不透明,不公开辩论,不全民沟通的道路。而只是奉行行动党的独裁治国,负面管理的模式。当然,行动党说这是与时并进,我们不是唯一严厉对付恐怖分子的国家,我们也不是对付假新闻的国家。不同的是,我们的立法,执法,法律保障,人权保障,和西方文明有所落差。这一点,行动党说我们是亚洲国家,不需要样样跟着西方走。

负面治国方式,连一向不关心政治的新加坡年轻人,也看不过眼。这些年轻人是受过西方教育长大的。

新加坡国立大学的一群学生,就向新加坡第四位总理提出三问:

新加坡学生三问未来总理:

一问:对年轻人信任多少?
“How much do you trust us young people?”

二问:如何整合新加坡?

“How will you unite Singapore?”

三问:新加坡在你心目中是什么?

“What is Singapore to you?”

https://www.facebook.com/notes/tan-yang-long/a-letter-to-our-4th-prime-minister/2057730451181986/

这三问是不是假新闻?年轻人对于未来有所疑虑,他们提出合理的疑问,这也意味着未来的政府是否会获得年轻人的支持。如果年轻人继续,像林瑞莲那样,提出疑问,而政府又无法做出合情合理的解释,那么,对于行动党来说,这将是一个灾难。

一个失去年轻人支持的政党是没有出路的。负面治国,只能带来更加多的疑问,而李显龙和行动党却偏偏希望通过高压的法治,严厉的法律来达到一党独大,一党专制。这是和受过西方教育的年轻人背道而驰的。

三问会不会发展成为三条假新闻?

当行动党无法做出合情合理的解释时,负面的法律,就可以派上用场,任何不利行动党的言论,都可以被定义为假新闻。

这就是行动党治国之败象。治国无方,却用严厉法律来对付人民。一意孤行,为的只是保障自己的利益,害怕政权失落。

行动党对于新加坡的未来是负面的。不相信人民,当然不相信年轻人。法律法治是整合,团结新加坡人的手段。而在行动党领导人心目中,新加坡人是一群很容易被煽动的暴民、恐怖分子。

如果我们认为新加坡的未来是正面的,光明的,唯一的做法就是改变行动党的一党独大,一党专政。

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

$8 Heart Bypass, Free Rider and Lower Socioeconomic Class



    The important lesson of the $8 hospital bypass bill of Khaw Boon Wan in 2011 is to buy additional medical insurance coverage like, free riders.  However, free riders are not free, you need to use medisave or cash to buy it. And, in many ways, the ability to use extra money to purchase free riders also reflects your socioeconomic class.

    Our Medishield Life is mainly for Class C/B2 wards in the public hospitals:  

MediShield Life  is sized for subsidised treatment in public hospitals. Those who choose to stay in a Class A/B1 wards or in a private hospital are also covered by MediShield Life. However, as MediShield Life payouts are pegged at Class B2/C wards, the MediShield Life payout will make up a small proportion of the bill only. The patient may therefore need to pay more of their bill from Medisave and/or cash.
If you plan to use Class A/B1 wards in the public hospital or go to a private hospital for your future hospitalisations, you may also wish to consider purchasing Medisave-approved private Integrated Shield Plans (IPs).
IPs are made up of two components – MediShield Life and additional private insurance coverage providing additional benefits and coverage (e.g. to cover the costs of private hospitals or Class A/B1 wards in the public hospitals).
https://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/costs_and_financing/schemes_subsidies/Medishield.html
    
    MediShield Life is a co-payment system even with government subsidies. The only way to avoid co-payment and enjoy $0 hospital bill is to purchase IPs with free riders. It means you have to pay extra either using medisave or cash as there is a cap on medisave usessage.

    This is in fact a financial risk management.

Upgrading using medisave or cash
   
    What risk? Sick and illness are unpredictable, for example, there is a need to upgrade to Class B1/A wards because of the long wait at the emergency department or there is a need to choose a specialist to do the operation. Or, people just want go to private hospitals for better and faster treatment.

    There is a big difference in financial commitment with or without free riders/IPs in the case of the upgrading of wards.

    Medishield Life is a basic medical insurance for lower and middle socioeconomic class.  With lower medisave contribution and lower cash position, it means a lower financial mean to purchase free riders. However, if one is forced to upgrade for whatever reason, he or she will be in a losing position as compared to someone who has purchased free riders or IPs.

    The premium for free riders or IPs will protect the buyers for higher hospital bills and co-payment. Lower socioeconomic class people will suffer a lot by just doing an upgrade. A situation similar to “rich getting richer, poor getting poorer”.  
Free rider is not free but protect big bill

    Free rider is not free even medisave is used. Medisave is your contribution, your money at CPF Board. For high socioeconomic class people, they make more contribution and so they are likely to purchase free riders and IPs (upgrade to even private hospitals).  They can also afford to pay cash for free raider premium.

    Free riders can help them to pay for big hospital bill, like the case of $8 heart bypass operation. Khaw and other ministers are high income earners and they also know the financial risk if they are hospitalised. They can even buy free riders for their children and loved ones.

    Not all CPF members buy free riders or IPs. For those who do not buy these additional insurance, they will have to face the financial risk of having to pay more if they decide to upgrade to higher class wards.   

A medical model based on free riders

    However, for medical industry, the practice is to go for market rate whether patients buy free riders or IPs or not.  For those people who have no IPs or free riders, for financial risk consideration, staying at Class C/B2 wards is the best option. Even after government subsidy, they still need to pay the co-payment.

    Not only medical professionals have this “free riders” mindset, patients who buy free riders insurance also want to make use of this advantage of zero copayment insurance.  

    This creates a biased situation that those cannot afford and unwilling to buy free riders end up losing out. These group of people, most likely lower socioeconomic class, in fact, are helping to keep the medical cost down but may end up paying the most, even with subsidy, especially in the case that they need to upgrade to higher class.

    There is no surprise the Singapore Medical Council has to issue a reminder to keep costs down.  


Do you think the 5% co-payment for new IPs will work?

In fact, medical insurance and free riders can also be an indicator for socioeconomic class - whether you can afford to purchase free riders and IPs or not.   
 
Lower socioeconomic class is NOT LOW CLASS

    Lower socioeconomic class seems to indicate low class people as shown in the debate of the controversy secondary school guide book.


    In ancient China, there are two famous philosophers, Mozi and Zhuangzi, who are well known for their lower socioeconomic class. They dress poorly and have no money.

When Zhuangzi went to meet King LiangHui. The King commented on Zhuangzi’s poor. However, Zhuangzi replied he was materials and assets poor but spirit high.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

合理怀疑?国会领袖即将换人?真新闻?假新闻?


合理怀疑?国会领袖即将换人?

    新加坡国会领袖即将换人,你信不信?这么说,是不是假新闻,假分析?还是,有事实根据?

    这恐怕要看你的立场在哪里?对于你有利,还是无利。当然,你是如何分析,如何怀疑,然后如何结论,如何反驳,也很重要。

    但是,无论如何,你总不能不来个怀疑,假设,然后,在去推理,最终,做出判断。这样的过程,其中的部分,很可能被人利用,有些会说这是道听途说,一派胡言的假新闻。有些会说,言之有理,分析独到,可圈可点的真新闻。

    现在的国会领袖是傅海燕,为何说即将换人呢?

    如果你是李显龙,看到她最近在国会的表现,你会不会想到借着国会新会期的开始,换另一个部长来做,是否会更加有效果呢?傅海燕在对付反对党方面,似乎力不从心,表现差强人意,不单无法立功,还让国人认为工人党议员林瑞莲,言之有理,头头是道,又不道歉,又不回收消费税气球论的指责。

    事前,政府还对林瑞莲的言论,咨询过总检察署,因此,可以说是有备而来。没有充分准备,政府是不可能要求林瑞莲道歉的。不只是在国会议事上,有所准备,在宪法问题上,总检察署也提供相关的意见。如此,劳师动众,竟然败下阵来,真的是不可思议。如果,有看录像,你一定知道,也发现,李显龙还叫财政部长王瑞杰坐到副总理张志贤的位子,一面商议,一面下指导棋,一面通过面板电脑和其他部长,互通信息。这是和时间竞争,企图在最短的时间内,利用最有效的言论击倒对方,可惜,功亏一篑。

    我们应该这么理解,人民行动党政府在对反对党人士方面,不只是狠,而且在法理上也要做到具有说服力。最少,要让行动党支持者相信,行动党政府的说法是对的。

    但是,在傅海燕对上林瑞莲的辩论上,行动党政府真的没有得到预期的效果。不单如此,在社交媒体上,在关心时事发展的人心目中,行动党的负面评论居多。这是行动党聪明反被聪明误的结局, 也或者可以说是,用错了人,大意失荆州。

    无论如何,如果要扳回一局,就要考虑换人。

    当然,行动党也可以回归到正道来。国会辩论是正道,而一直想要无中生有,找人家的麻烦、辫子、痛脚,甚至利用莫须有的方式,来抹黑对方,根本就不是政治正确的做法。搞了几十年的整人运动,如果要继续下去的话,最后,伤到的很可能是自己。

    因此,如果要继续在国会整人,尤其要取得效果,李显龙就考虑换人,换一个心狠,又会说话的部长,就可能达到目的。看一看所谓的第四代行动党领导,似乎没有这样的人才 - 整人专家

当然,李显龙如果想要回归到正道,换不换人担任国会领袖,就不重要了。因为,国会里,大家据理力争,为民请命,各尽本份,原本就是自然而然的事,没有藐视国会,没有借题发挥, 大家以事实来说话,理性思维来辩论。

假新闻,还是事实如此?

刚刚爆出一条新闻:小贩中心吃饭属“低等”人?http://www.zaobao.com.sg/znews/singapore/story20180314-842672

“说新式英语、在组屋区活动、到小贩中心吃饭, (以及假期需要打工赚钱养家)被归类为“低社会地位”?本地中三课外辅助本内容引发网民争议,认为其内容不妥当。
这本社会认知(Social Studies)的课外辅助本是专为中三快捷或普通(学术)学生所编写,让学生通过这本书准备O水准考试。“

Ahmad Matin/Facebook

教育部只能说这本辅助本,并非官方认定的教科书,而不能认定这本辅助本的内容是虚假的。事实上,根据社会学的分析,辅助本的归类,也没有错。这也是辅助本出版社认为自己没有错的的地方。但是,出版社还是回收辅助本。

因此,在报道这条新闻的时候,就以问号来处理,或者,以争论性的辅助本来处理。

同样的事情,如果是反对党提出,就像林瑞莲在国会提出她的理据那样,结果就会很不一样。行动党政府就会大声说,这是错误的结论,把事情简单化。因为,辅助本这样的归类,对于行动党来说是政治不正确,好像行动党几十年的经济发展造成今天这个两极化贫富不均的结果。甚至,行动党还可能利用媒体来打压,说辅助本就是造谣生事,故意制造假新闻。

因此,我们在分辨假新闻,真新闻的时候,尤其是在新加坡,需要考虑政治正确的问题。对于行动党来说,什么是政治正确,什么就是真新闻,当然,普通人民和反对党的意见,也会不同处理。普通人民的真新闻,如:上面的例子,行动党就会从轻发落,甚至,不了了之。但是,如果是反对党的意见,那就很可能变成假新闻了。

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Real Challenges of Low Thia Khiang’s Speech and the Option for Singapore


    Low Thia Khiang made a “cogent and balanced” speech during the Budget debate.   However, what are the real challenges that Low is trying to tell Singaporeans, especially the lack of Mandarin policy? On Singapore’s interest and perspectives, we have only one option for the future - the western style open, transparency and accountability governance.  

Unfavourable trend

    Since taking over from Goh Chok Tong, we have seen the following trends under Lee Hsien Loong:

  • Our command and standard of Chinese language goes from bad to worst. There are too many mistakes and wrong translations, wrong interpretations in public.   
  • In recent years, Singapore’s reputation in China has turned from reliable to doubtful. In Chinese social media, there even have hate speeches against Singapore.
  • Among local population, we have also developed the dislikes of Chinese, Indians and other foreigners.  However, these are the places that promise opportunities for Singapore.
  • Kinship development moves from traditional Chinese Singaporeans to newly arrived Chinese from all over China.

Key points

    Low did not point out the unfavourable trends but it is a fact that we have almost lost all Chinese cultural DNA. Even there is Chinese century or (later) Indian century, how can Singaporeans benefit from it with our half-past-six language ability?   How can we stay relevant and be useful?

    Low suggests learning Mandarin (and perhaps dialects) as an overall strategy for Singapore.

    It is really too late, too challenging for Singapore as our children have developed a mindset of “hate Chinese”, look-down attitude, and English is my mother tongue.
  
    This, perhaps, is the trade-off and price for being a multiracial and multicultural city state. While a common language can create utility returns, better productivity and efficiency.

When you gain some, you also lose some. We gain from productivity but we lose our cultural DNA.
  
断章取义 Picking an advantage point

    Facing the Chinese challenge, and trying to project a common ground within Singapore, Lee conveniently picks up a point that indicating Low also agrees with his foreign policy towards China.

    Look at Lee’s comment:

    “It illustrates how domestic politics must stop at our shores, and we must all take a unified national position dealing with the external world.”

    Lee wants to create a united front that his foreign policy is supported by the oppositions too. Lee is too happy to hear Low’s comment on China: Will China seek to turn the tables on its experience of European imperialism and become an imperialist power itself?

    It is not clear Lee is using this opportunity to tell the Chinese or Singaporeans.

避重就轻 Avoiding the key point

    Lee intentionally avoids the Mandarin issue. Under his charge, from the promotion of Chinese B to bad translation and sub-standard Mandarin, Singapore’s Chinese strength and cultural DNA has reached a point of no return.  

    Low clearly wants a Mandarin policy:

    “...the learning of Mandarin should be part of the overall strategy of anchoring Singapore as a Global-Asia node, as it will help us to connect to the 1.3 billion Chinese. I would even go further to argue we should also learn our dialects as well.”

    Without proficient Mandarin, how can we benefit from the rise of China? How can we develop kinship with China?

    In fact, a Global-Asia Singapore has no Mandarin policy or strategy to take advantage of the 1.3 billion Chinese market in the Budget.  Low also reminds that “We had reaped a lot of benefits from this first-mover advantage. But this advantage is now irrelevant.”    

    Our better connections with the world, whether trade or finance, technology or environment planning, are losing comparative advantage when China further open up their market for the world.  

Option for Singapore

    In Global-Asia, Singapore will continue to be a multiracial and multi-lingual city. English will continue to be our first language. Our institutions will remain a western based philosophy.

    It is impossible for us to have a strong Chinese cultural DNA, tradition and even kinship.  

    This means to stay competitive Singapore must follow the successful examples of western cities, be it Seattle, London, New York, Boston, Berlin or Sydney.  The governments must open for discussion, transparent and accountable. The society and community must highly involved in all important decision makings.

Suspicions

    The recent debate between Workers’ Party and PAP about the GST timing and suspicions is a backward development for any advance and successful city. The PAP wants to restrict discussion and debate based on their own agenda. They do not allow suspicions and always use credibility as an excuse for discussion or defamation.

    Like our first-mover advantage in China, we now need to think and come out with a new strategy to engage China. The PAP too has lost their first-mover advantage in Singapore and must also come to the reality that open debate and discussion, whether inside or outside Parliament, is good for Singapore. Otherwise, the ministers will find only debating among themselves!

    If the PAP continues to use the strategies of the past to engage Singaporeans and the oppositions, Singapore will find no way to be relevant in the world, Global-Asia or belt and road. New ideas, technology, solutions are appearing everyday. It is impossible to know all these developments and so we need to engage more people to widen our knowledge base.

    The GST suspicion debate also let us see the quality of PAP 4G ministers, are they any better than the oppositions?