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Is Prism Project Another Central Planning of the PAP?



There are 3 scenarios under the Prism Project#1 of Institute of Public Policy.  However, it looks more like the central scenario planning of the People’s Action Party. From the instructional menu of Prism Project Primer #2, participants were guided to a situation in 2022 and they have to imagine, within the Primer framework, to come out with 3 possible scenarios in Jun-Aug 2012. 

2022. What a coincidence! Not long ago, PM Lee declared that he would like to hold the prime minister post for another 10 years. The other coincidence is the similarity between the 3 scenarios and the candidates of PE2011.

How competitive and sustainable are the 3 scenarios to the people of Singapore and to the PAP?   Will the scenarios produce competitive and sustainable Singapore, Singaporeans or the PAP?  Perhaps, as what the Chinese say: planning cannot always catch up with changes.   And planning sometimes turns out the wrong, bad and unexpected results, especially when planning without considering the people and their souls. And the worst scenario for the PAP is the loss of majority in the parliament in 2022.   

Central Planning in the Past not always right

As a one-party state, many planning in Singapore are centered on the wishes of the PAP. In the past, a PAP planning usually comes with a campaign, for example, HDB housing, population, bilingualism, integrated resorts, etc. When we look at the Prism Project, after the publication and announcement of 3 scenarios, the public will now have a chance to watch the campaign ‘wayang’ in November.   

Unfortunately, not all past planning matched the aims and desires of the PAP:


  • -       Singlish rather than English is preferred in this English speaking country and the need of Speak Good English campaign.
  • -       Bilingualism education system produces monolingual graduates and a hate feeling of mother’s tongue.
  • -       GRC can no longer protect the PAP for running Singapore likes a one-party state.
  • -       A Swiss standard of living ends up with widening rich-poor gap.
  • -       Productivity improvements achieve through low wages and foreign workers. 
  • -      

10 years later, when we look back at the 3 scenarios, we will know whether it is a central planning of the ISP for the PAP or not. Is it a proof of closer relationship between government institutions and the PAP?

PE2011 and the 3 scenarios

The Prism Project Report presents 3 scenarios:  SingaStore.com, SingaGives.gov and Wikicity.sg.

Below is short summary as reported in Today:


1) A pro-business government focusing on economic growth and ensuring better-paying jobs for Singaporeans.

2) A government formed by a splinter group of the People's Action Party providing cheap and heavily subsidised healthcare, education and housing.

3) A weak coalition government running a country whose citizens have little trust in it but where there is high venture capitalism and much community-driven effort.
One of these three scenarios could become reality a decade from now, according to a first-of-its-kind scenario planning exercise conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) which involved some 140 participants from a cross-section of Singapore society.http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC121022-0000027/Having-a-say-in-Singapore-2022


When we compare the 3 scenarios and the 3 PE2011 candidates, table below shows an interesting coincidence:

Scenarios
Prism Project
PE2011 candidates
1
SingaStore.com
Tony Tan – supported by PAP
2
SingaGives.gov
Tan Cheng Bock – a splinter of PAP
3
Wikicity.sg
Tan Jee Say – alternative

For the PAP, it wants to maintain a status quo – continuing with the present economic and social policies – population, immigration, health care, education etc. If they really cannot hold the position, the PAP will prefer to transit from .com to .gov by providing more cares to the people.  In this case, the younger brothers of the PAP are still in control of the government.  It is clearly stated in the Prism Report that SingaGives.gov is a splinter of the PAP.      

[Referring to a point when Workers’ Party said something about the coalition government last year, it is possible this splinter group, not the original PAP, joins hand with WP to form the government.]   

What the PAP totally cannot accept is the scenario 3: Wikicity.sg.  Yahoo.sg described Wikicity as:


In WikiCity, there is no central power because in this world, political unhappiness from a government that was disconnected from ground sentiment resulted in a low level of trust among the people. 
The state looks after foreign relations, trade and law and order, while keeping taxes and regulations as light as possible, much like the way the British ran Singapore in the 1960s. 
Because of this, though, communities are independently formed to help one another and provide essential services and assistance. International companies will withdraw their investments due to the instability but high net worth individuals who settled abroad will return to invest in promising enterprises and spare productive capacity here.http://sg.news.yahoo.com/what-do-you-want-singapore-to-be-like-in-2022-.html
The description above sounds very familiar and matches the tone of the PAP towards oppositions, especially SDP. 

The 3 scenarios can also arrange into 3 types of political developments in Singapore: 

Scenarios
Prism Project
Political Development#3
1
SingaStore.com
Status Quo
2
SingaGives.gov
Transition
3
Wikicity.sg
Transformation

What we have already known of ‘Singastore’ is the status quo – the present situation of Singapore. Do you think it can remain unchanged for another 10 years? Most will think it will move towards SingaGives or something between Scenario 1 and 2.

Scenario 3 type of transformation is also possible but seems like a wild card. It is a wild card because Prism Project gives it a negative definition as does the PAP.

Why don’t we disregard the likelihood scenario and think of the unlikely scenario?  Majority will agree that Scenario 1 – SingaStore will not happen in 2022. It is preferred by the central planners but is not acceptable by the people.  

The likelihood and possible happenings will be the other 2 scenarios, their combination or new scenarios. This will depend very much on the people’s power not the central planning of the PAP.   
Only if the central planning of the PAP succeeds, then Scenario 1 will remain and there are not many changes in Singapore in 2022.    

Selection of participants

Todayonline reported that ‘some 140 participants from a cross-section of Singapore society’ participated in the scenario planning.

This project, likes the National Conversation and other government projects or surveys, suffers from sample bias.  When Mediacorp tried to explain the participants to the TV forum of National Conversation were fairly selected, we all know that this explanation of inclusiveness cannot stand.

If you click on the name list of participants: Young Singaporeans (21-22 June) #4, you will see there is not a single student representative from NTU.  However, you find students from NUS, SMU and even SIM and JCs in the name list.  By this analogy, the meaning of ‘cross-section of Singapore society’ may need to be redefined. 

Is this only happened to this sector workshop or others? Even for an easy task of selection of student participants, this exclusiveness can happen.  What about other sector workshops?  

However, to central planners, they will use their own definition of ‘cross section’, inclusiveness, and of course, their desired scenarios.  And can all these face the challenges of times and changes?



#1

#2
http://www.spp.nus.edu.sg/ips/docs/events/prism/admin/Prism%20Project%20Primer%20%28Final%29.pdf

#3

#4
http://www.spp.nus.edu.sg/ips/docs/events/prism/notes/Prism%20Project_Young%20Singaporeans%20Sector%20Workshop%20Notes.pdf  

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李显龙的高级顾问更进一步。他们说新加坡需要说“不对”的人。他们要更多不同的意见,反对的声音,甚至悲观的声音。他们认为新加坡需要更多(公务员)人出来挑战当局。最重要的,他们认为有识之士对政策的发声,能够让新加坡未来50年更加美好。



这种呼吁,呼应要求有识之士出来发声,提供反对意见似乎是一种哀求。有识之士的反对意见有助国家未来更加美好?为何立国以来,从来就没有如此哀求过?可见,事情已经失控,有识之士已经意兴阑珊,提不起兴趣。他们翻看历史,提供反对意见的人,尤其是反对党的有识之士,下场如何?
【不出声的历史背景】
有识之士不提供意见,不改进、不改良政府的政策,不是行动党政府一直以来的国策吗?为何现在,李显龙和高级顾问,接二连三如此低声下气哀求有识之士发声呢?难怪,有识之士并不相信行动党的诚意,前车之鉴,他们害怕步上前人的后尘。
人民行动党在李光耀领导下,对于反对他的知识分子、有识之士、学术精英、专业人士,从来就没有给予尊重,不用内安法来对付已经是客气了。到了吴作栋出任总理,原本以为比较开明,也不是闹出林宝音事件。到了李显龙任总理,人民也没有给予厚望。林宝音在林宝音事件20年后,还给李显龙写公开信。她的建议,李显龙听进去了吗?
原本以为2011年大选,新加坡选民开始觉醒,明白手中选票的重要性。新加坡人愿意接受不同的声音,但是2015年的大选,却似乎极为容易被行动党的民粹所误导。有识之士看在眼里,能够不意兴阑珊吗?不仅有识之士意兴阑珊,连一些反对党人士,也意兴阑珊起来。
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这是行动党的困境,新加坡的悲哀。
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新加坡人又能说些什么?又敢做些什么?就像陈清木昨天的记者会,他除了对总统选举制度的变更表示不满外,他还能说什么?就是这么简单,轻描淡写的回答:
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今年的总统选举,基本上已经是没戏看了。大家大约都可以估算到结局。反而是三、四年后的大选,存在变数。 行动党也了解,要重获2015大选的佳绩,在没有造神运动的条件下,似乎是不可能。因此,要维持一个高得票率,就必须出一些怪招。把非选区议员人数增加到12位,就是给人民一个小甜头。如果真的上当,新加坡就清一色没有非行动党的市镇理事会了。
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新加坡人真的如李显龙幻象中的,无动于衷吗?原本上个星期六,在演说者角落,有一场抗议总统选举的活动,由于当局的种种限制,最后不得不叫停,从室外的公开活动,改成日后的室内活动。这不也是李显龙的焦虑吗?
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