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The Feeling of WP Redundancy Insurance Proposal


The Workers’ Party has just proposed a redundancy insurance for Singapore workers.

All proposals have their pros and cons and are subject to debates and improvements.  

WP_Redundancy Insurance Proposal 2016_301116_v06.png


If our unemployment and underemployment levels remain low, as in the past, majority of Singaporeans may have no concern of this proposed redundancy insurance (RI) scheme.  However, if the employment situation worsens, like in 1985, more may show their concerns.  And hopefully, the PAP government can do another magic to reform the economy accordingly.     

What if the PAP government can’t do the magic? Then, who  knows what the outcome will be….

Even with more people showing concerns for short-term financial assistance proposed by WP, it does not mean voters will favour the oppositions.  

[The Issue of Marginal Increase]
Redundancy benefit, other short-term financial support or similar assistant scheme can be easily implemented during economic crisis. If there is a large scale unemployment, the PAP government can even draw on the reserve. At the end, voters still thank the PAP for their wonderful recovery job.   

As for normal case,  as indicated in the proposal, a range of 6,000 to 15,000 workers as indicated in the proposal will be affected. Majority of the workforce will not be affected. So, we are talking about the ‘marginal increase’.

This marginal increased redundancy workers will be benefited from the scheme. Will they make a big impact during elections?     

Singapore GINI coefficient index is always above 0.40. In 2015, it was 0.41. Will the RI scheme help to lower the inequality GINI index to below 0.40? Perhaps, there is no effect at all or a very small drop but still above 0.40.

So, who really cares about the RI scheme? A small group of people benefit from the insurance scheme but majority will not show any concern.

The irony in Singapore is schemes like RI scheme, disadvantaged benefit (e.g. the Paralympic), only affect small group of people. But the oppositions and social activists are campaigning very hard for social justice and equal society and they would like to see more schemes and better treatments extend to this marginal group.    

However, their efforts can only result to a very small marginal improvements, just like the case of GINI index.

In the PAP’s cost-benefit calculation, it is not a win-win situation. The important thing is to create jobs and not giving protection to redundant workers.  

Our Kiasu and kiasi mentality, through long-term PAP education, has developed into ‘Self-serving Bias’ and ‘Just World hypothesis’. Most likely, this mentality will make Singaporeans show no concern of WP proposal.

‘Self-serving Bias’

The PAP says there is no free lunch. For self-serving bias, it is a tendency to attribute our positive outcomes to internal causes and our negative outcomes to external causes . It seems so simple - if you do good, you say it was all you. If something bad happens, you find something external to wag your finger towards.

A self-serving bias is any cognitive or perceptual process that is distorted by the need to maintain and enhance self-esteem, or the tendency to perceive oneself in an overly favorable manner.[1] It is the belief that individuals tend to ascribe success to their own abilities and efforts, but ascribe failure to external factors.[2] When individuals reject the validity of negative feedback, focus on their strengths and achievements but overlook their faults and failures, or take more responsibility for their group's work than they give to other members, they are protecting the ego from threat and injury. These cognitive and perceptual tendencies perpetuate illusions and error, but they also serve the self's need for esteem
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-serving_bias

We believe if we work hard we will be rewarded. Our success is through our working hard or smart minds. We think of individual effort rather than group effort or environment support . However, when redundancy knocks at you, you blame the external factors. If you look at the MRT breakdowns, the detention of SAF vehicles in Hong Kong, all these are the results of external factors. We serve ourselves internally but when crisis or short-term financial difficulty arises, we don’t know what to do. We don’t know how to serve our ‘esteem’ need.    

‘Just World Hypothesis’

Another reason for no concern of WP proposal could be the ‘Just World Hypothesis’. We have a fair and equal employment system here, something must be wrong with you if you are made redundant - either you are not internally working hard, not upgrading skills, or have poor attitude.    

According to the hypothesis, people have a strong desire or need to believe that the world is an orderly, predictable, and just place, where people get what they deserve. Such a belief plays an important function in our lives since in order to plan our lives or achieve our goals we need to assume that our actions will have predictable consequences. Moreover, when we encounter evidence suggesting that the world is not just, we quickly act to restore justice by helping the victim or we persuade ourselves that no injustice has occurred. We either lend assistance or we decide that the rape victim must have asked for it, the homeless person is simply lazy, the fallen star must be an adulterer. These attitudes are continually reinforced in the ubiquitous fairy tales, fables, comic books, cop shows and other morality tales of our culture, in which good is always rewarded and evil punished.
https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/the-just-world-theory/

The PAP has created an ‘orderly, predictable and just place’. There is nothing to worry if one is made redundant. The government has replacement plan, re-training and re-skilling policy, and even financial assistance. Through controlled media, this is the projected image for a ready government.  

Last night, a NTU staff spoke at 95.8 radio about a self-help story of a disadvantaged student. The staff emphasized so much of internal factors -self-serving bias. The student, despite of physical disadvantages, has to overcome many physical obstacles, environmental inconveniences etc, even his father has to resigned to help him to complete his study.  The story wants to stress the ‘internal factors of a hard working student’.  The story can be made perfect with first an apology from NTU by saying sorry for providing such an inconvenience study environment for disadvantaged students. The story emphasizes too much of ‘self-serving’ and internal factors.        

Singaporeans are in a state of ‘Self-serving Bias’ and ‘Just World hypothesis’. We believe in internal factors for success and strongly trust that the PAP has created a ‘Just World’.  

[The issue of Donald Trump and Brexit]

The PAP blame populist politics for the success of Donald Trump and Brexit. By saying that, it serves them well. In a ‘Just World’, the PAP, with a full control of internal factors, can generate success systematically. The PAP, therefore, suggests populist politics destroys ‘Self-serving bias’ and ‘Just World Hypothesis’ - the foundation of PAP implanted kiasu and kiasi mentality.

Populist politics can be left, right, center or either:

Academic definitions

Historically, academic definitions of populism vary, and people have often used the term in loose and inconsistent ways to reference appeals to "the people," demagogy, and "catch-all" politics. The term has also been used as a label for new parties whose classifications are unclear. A factor traditionally held to diminish the value of "populism" as a category has been that, as Margaret Canovan notes in her 1981 study Populism, populists rarely call themselves "populists" and usually reject the term when it is applied to them, differing in that regard from those identified as conservatives or socialists.[4]
…..
In the United States, populism has generally been associated with the left, whereas in European countries, populism is more associated with the right. In both, the central tenet of populism—that democracy should reflect the pure and undiluted will of the people—means it can sit easily with ideologies of both right and left. However, while leaders of populist movements in recent decades have claimed to be on either the left or the right of the political spectrum, there are also many populists who reject such classifications and claim not to be "left wing," "centrist" or "right wing."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populism#Political

Trump and Sanders - who is populist?
Isaac Chotiner: Do you see Trump as a populist?
Michael Kazin: Trump expresses one aspect of populism, which is anger at the establishment and various elites. He believes Americans have been betrayed by those elites. But the other side of populism is a sense of a moral people, people who’ve been betrayed for some reason and have a distinct identity, whether they are workers, farmers, or taxpayers. Whereas with Trump, I don’t really get much of a sense of who the people are. Of course journalists say he’s talking mostly to white working-class people, but he doesn’t say that. And that’s, in some ways, what’s missing in Bernie Sanders’ populism, too. He took up calls about the 99 percent and so forth, but you expect a socialist to talk about working people, and he doesn’t do that very much. That’s a very interesting absence from both left and right populism today.
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/interrogation/2016/02/is_donald_trump_a_populist.html

It is just a general statement. The PAP likes to use generalised statements to confuse Singaporeans the meaning of ‘Populist Politics’.  

Whether Donald Trump or Brexit, before voting, there were already substantial support for them - more than 40 or 45% national support.   

If they can gain additional 5-10% support through ‘marginal increase’ - conservative, traditional, anti-foreigners, anti-immigration, anti-establishment, …. They have a good chance to achieve their success.

We look at the marginal increase or decrease in the UK and US votings.
  • Obamacare: fail to generate marginal increase for the Democratic.
  • Benefit of EU: fail to generate marginal increase for Cameron.
  • Jobs: succeed to generate marginal increase for Trump and Leave Camp.
  • Sovereign states: succeed to generate marginal increase for Trump and Leave Camp.

HOWEVER, the case in Singapore is so much different. There is a lack of substantial support for the oppositions - below 40%. It diminishes the potential gain from marginal increase. For example, another 5-10% swing, even with the wrongly named PAP ‘populist politics’, the oppositions in Singapore may gain nothing. The case of Trump and Brexit is a different issue.       

[A beautiful proposal but not enough]

Hence, the WP RI scheme is a beautiful proposal. It generates marginal increase of interest for social justice, fair and equal society. It provides a short-term financial assistance to needy workers and their families. Technically, it is subject to improvements as experts are needed to add more inputs.

However, few Singaporeans will show concerns for such a scheme.    

In the past 50 years, Singaporeans who voice out for social justice, democracy, individual rights, freedom of speech, are subject to all kinds of ‘populist’ or ‘anti-populist’ politics treatments - ISA, defamation, now even extend to social media.

The WP proposal is just another moderate way of such expression.

If it gains popularity, the PAP can then bad name it as ‘populist politics’. The PAP can also absorb it into their programs as another fulfillment of the ‘populist politics’ demand.

However, with ‘self-serving bias’ and ‘just world hypothesis’ mentality, Singaporeans will still prefer the PAP type of ‘populist politics’. The PAP can be a party of left, right, and center and implements policies according to ‘populist politics’ demand. In Chinese, we call it ‘eat all’ party (大小通吃).

In such a ‘eat all populist politics’ situation, should the oppositions come with alternative proposals?

Yes.     

There will be a time the marginal increase becomes absolute increase. The ‘eat all’ situation will change to a fair competition.  And the PAP can no longer manipulate and have monopoly control of the ‘populist politics’.

It is a matter of time but with a question mark of when.  But the oppositions must keep on trying and coming with new alternative proposals. Perhaps, there is one that can generate a populism. 

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有识之士拒绝发声,新加坡何去何从?

新加坡的精英、有识之士、知识分子、中产阶级拒绝对国家的发展做出积极的评论,分享,分析他们对国家前途的看法。这种情形在李显龙出任总理后,每况愈下,越来越严重,已经成为新加坡目前面对的最大挑战,国家继续前进的绊脚石。
最近,李显龙和他的一群高级顾问,不约而同的呼吁有识之士出来,提供意见,对国家各方面建设,提供不同版本的建议。
李显龙说,他尝试不让身边只有只说“对”的人。如果,整天被唯命是从的人围着,那将是一种灾难。言外之意,就是说领袖必须接受批评,承认错误。#1

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。
2015年大选后发生的事情,更加让有识之士提不起劲来。除了压制网络言论外,看看在国会通过的立法和修法,总统选举制度的变更等等,行动党政府是否真的有诚意,接受不同的意见,反对的声音?
这是行动党的困境,新加坡的悲哀。
新加坡的有识之士,怎么有可能出现儒家的所谓的”以天下为己任…

接管市镇理事会的政治考量、政治代价?

人民行动党政府已经做好司法程序,可以在模棱两可‘莫须有’的理由下,接管市镇理事会。国会已经通过市镇理事会修正案,一旦市镇理事会的管理出现所谓的状况,国家发展部长便可以顺理成章的、名而言顺的把民选市镇理事会的管理工作接管过来。
这里的市镇理事会,当然是指工人党管理的阿裕尼-后港市镇理事会。行动党没有傻到接管自己的市镇理事会。修改后的司法程序能够让行动党政府,合法合理的在符合新加坡法律的条文下,明目张胆的把一个民选的市镇理事会收归到自己的管理之下。就像民选总统那样,明目张胆的修改选举制度,否定一些人的参选资格。
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:
行动党和李显龙总理,就是看准了,看透了新加坡人的心理,表明这是司法程序,在法庭、在法律上,行动党政府都不会被打败。那些敢于挑战法律的人,在新加坡的短短50多年的建国历史中,下场都是以悲剧结束。最近的一个例子, 就是新加坡最年轻的政治犯余澎杉在美国的遭遇。同样一个人,不同的国情,命运也不一样。
行动党已经做好接管的准备。现在,只是考虑政治上的得失和评估政治代价。当然,也会考虑时间点,什么时候切入最适合、最划算、最能够获得最多的选票。
【下届大选的变数】
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。
没有工人党的市镇会,这个机会似乎不高。因此,最好能够把工人党困在阿裕尼和后港。而通过合法接管,又通过媒体,社交媒体,一系列的‘转型正义’活动,说不定死马当活马医,动摇阿裕尼选民的心,从接管变成收复,那就是美事一桩。
事实上,市镇理事会修正案通过后,行动党和工人党表面上没有说出口。但是,大家都在盘算国家发展部长,会通过什么理由,什么时候,进行接管工作的法律和司法程序的准备。2017年是总统选举年,大概不会在这个时候出手。
但是,出手的时间,也不可以太过接近下届大选。最少要让行动党的所谓‘转型正义’(你做错,我有责任保护纳税人利益)的宣传活动进行到底,主流媒体和社交媒…

李显龙的幻象:新加坡人对他的 dishonorable 行为无动于衷。

李显龙的焦虑,最近特别的明显。焦虑后的行动决策,如,总统选举,李光耀孙子李绳武事件,议长人选,都显示他的幻象。他认为,新加坡人对他的所作所为,无动于衷。国人心里虽然不满,但是,在高压和照顾既得利益者的背景下,新加坡依然可以保持稳定,经济继续成长,政治上没有改变。
李显龙当然有焦虑,正如他的妹妹和弟弟对他的指责:Dishonorable son。李显龙害怕人们对他的诚信起疑心,因此,在国会搞了一个自辩。既然国会没有提出相关资料证明他的诚信有问题,那李显龙就是清白了。
同时,李显龙也明白,自己的清白,只是国会里才站住脚。在国会外,当然有不同的解读。李显龙还不至于把英国广播公司BBC给关掉,因此,英美的广播和新闻,还是,可以对新加坡政治发展做出评论。李绳武在脸书上对纽约时报对新加坡司法的评论文章,就让李显龙焦虑不已。通过私人管道,进入李绳武的私人脸书部分,焦虑的把私人空间,公开化并且告上法庭。李显龙不顾个人隐私,既然为了个人的焦虑,不惜进入别人的个人空间,这简直就是内安法恐吓手段的升级版。
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?
李显龙的确有焦虑,但是,他却认为新加坡人很乖,很听话: 给你们什么总统候选人,你们就会认命接受; 想提告什么人,就提告,法律面前人人平等,没有人有意见; 给什么议长人选,国会就认命接受; 地铁误点误事,任何解释,人民都会接受; 无现金就是无限金,跟不上是你的错; 糖尿病就少吃白饭,多吃糙米饭;。。。。
这是一种李显龙独特的焦虑幻象。他很焦虑,自己无法做得比老爸好,甚至连吴作栋都不如。他也焦虑在后工业时代,新加坡无法创造高薪职位给年轻人;新加坡无法照顾贫穷老弱,无法为他们提供医药服务; 接班人无法胜任挑战; 新加坡人在无限金时代,成了乡下佬; 地铁和教育服务提不上来; 。。。
陈川仁自愿减薪出任国会议长,不论是升职还是降职,已经充分说明,他在国会外,在行动党的职业保护伞外,无法找到一份比国会议长,还要高薪水的工作。 这点显示他不如海军出身的吕德耀。吕德耀即使找不到高薪职位,也毅然离开内阁和国会。 陈川仁,为李显龙成川成仁,却也凸显接班人的素质问题和骨气问题。他们离开了行动党的大树,如何面对现实生活?李显龙能…