The PAP style of cultural shift as announced during National Day Rally is yet another insult to Singaporeans. We now have a clearer picture of what it means. As reported, the PAP is still looking for a ‘real solution’ #1 to solve income inequality and they also want to extend their style of meritocracy ‘through life’#2.
The real solution that Prime Minister Lee proposed is not totally new. His concrete solutions are a repeat calling of skills upgrading and the PAP style of wealth redistribution. This, according to him, can give everyone some chips to play with. He stressed again his cultural shift of obtaining necessary skills (with or without a degree) to succeed.
In order to support the so-called cultural shift, the PAP has to continue to champion the PAP-style of meritocracy. It now becomes a life-long meritocracy. Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam explained it as follows:
“Not a meritocracy that is based on what you have achieved at 18 or 24, but a meritocracy through life, where you are assessed on your performance at every stage of your life, regardless of where you came from or where you started,” #2
Is this really a cultural shift? When we became self-ruled in 1959, we have already begun our journey and engaged in the real solution of solving income equality and redistribution. We, of course, base our economic development and social progress on the principle of meritocracy. Our housing, industrial, commercial, infrastructure and financial development, are all real and concrete solutions, aren't there? Are they not founded on a life-long insist ency of meritocracy? If not, how do people in the past with little education (through their hardworking) get rich?
The key question/answer is REAL SOLUTIONS and MERITOCRACY are always there. They have been in Singapore even long before independence. The only difference is a ‘changed’ PAP. In the past 50 years, the PAP has changed the game play and hence not everyone has chips to play. Some have a lot more and some have nothing. Hence, the income inequality becomes a real problem, a political burden to the PAP. And the meritocracy has returned back to performance, hardworking, hungry to learn rather than scholarships and degrees.
Real cultural shift in name only
Judging from the official banning of the documentary film “To Singapore, with Love”, do you really think there is a cultural shift as promoted by PM Lee? What really does he mean when he wants Singaporeans to go beyond paper qualifications? Most likely the cultural shift is just another smoke of the PAP government.
The end result is you have to go to Malaysia to catch the documentary. Alternatively, you may watch the documentary in a controlled environment in the name of academic research. This is the so-called cultural shift of the PAP government. There is no love, there is no alternatives. Has the PAP changed? Yes. there is no real cultural shift but a changed PAP. The PAP changed the game play from ‘real solutions’ to ‘meritocracy’.
Cultural shift can not be a piecemeal, cannot be so selective and no alternatives. We cannot say the European or German apprenticeship (skill based) system is good, then we just take this part of the good practice and transplants it into Singapore system.
We have long past the time that we copies part of the ‘good’ western practices and can successful transplant it here. We have long past the ear of German-, French-, Japan-Singapore institutes.
Cultural shift is a very complicated process even the British is finding it hard to ‘Make Me a German’ - a BBC documentary explaining the way of life and work in Germany. A successful apprenticeship needs a caring, loving and supportive society. Do you think the so-called cultural shift of the PAP government can become a real caring and supportive social engineering?