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I am Singaporean XX, cont’d – An Answer. March 24, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.

Being on the salary issue, i chanced upon something on young PAP…a treatise on moolah and why it’s vital to pay our ministers top dollars. I guess it can be summed up so: if you want top banana, you got to peel back the skin.

Nonsensical? No, not nonsensical. That is, i suppose, what our politician friend has been trying to tell us. It’s as if all along, we’ve been eating bananas without peeling back the skin (highly idiotic, of course – she means our blindness to the life of the politicians) and she’s here to give us Instructions on How to Peel a Banana. (To enjoy the succulent sweet flesh of a banana, we have to peel the skin back – she peels the ‘skin’ off the politicians and shows us why they deserve such a kingly salary.)

It is, however, also quite natural for someone drawing a high pay to rationalise it. Let’s take this article apart paragraph by paragraph.

Money is the proverbial carrot. No matter how many people put themselves on the moral high ground, Money still talks for most others. If you want to get a job done you can’t do well yourself, pay some one well to do it well. If you want to get a job superbly well done, pay superbly more. Similarly, if we want Singapore to stay on the “Best Of” world list for a lot of things, we jolly well got to pay top dollar for the best people who can keep us right up there.

Agreed, money is the proverbial carrot. I’m sure that ministers aren’t on the moral high ground too. The main disagreement is the ‘paying top dollars for the best people to keep us up there’ part. So we’re up there in terms of GDP, development, yadda. Too bad that things don’t really look so rosy at home. Just take a walk along Orchard Road on a Sunday and see the folks selling tissue packets. This ‘Best Of’ list is a list which is used to judge the ranking of a nation against some universally-recognised standards – GDP and what have you. It’s NOT reflective of how the scene actually is. For example, it doesn’t take into account the rich-poor divide.

That these people are the best, that remains to be seen. It’s always an assumption that they are the best to keep us up there. Oh, really? Maybe they are the best, but not in terms of communicating to their charges. One particular MP telling people to accept the ‘cold, hard truth’ which will turn around and kick you in the nuts if you’re careless is one example.

Not only are these economies self sufficient, they have people resources – to the extent where Supply far Exceeds Demand for geniuses at the top.

We’re a country of idiots! I knew it. That’s what they thought of us all along. Hello, education has come a long way. No wonder so many don’t feel appreciated and pack their bags.

This government put Singapore, a country with no resources, with no historical ties or allies to begin with, on the world map in less than half a century. But will this last forever? […] Today, we have the PAP with a number of good men. Will we have the same people tomorrow and always? I’m not sure. I find it rather myopic and sadly presumptuous for so many of these forumers to assume that Singapore is forever going to be where it is, and that we will forever have exceptional geniuses willing to throw their lives to keep Singapore on its feet.

Yes, this government put Singapore on the world map, yadda, yadda. No, it will NOT and CANNOT last forever. You see, perhaps Gahmen have been blind and deaf to the sociological, ideological and other aspects of being in power. Increasingly, people are seeing our Gahmen’s moves to be moves of naked power, moves which, despite protests, are being carried out anyway. Yes, you have to be the fucker at times. But listening to the disagreements and carrying on without any heed to them reeks of complacency. This paragraph above also brings my argument into perspective – Singapore may not be forever going to be where it is, but we’ve been brought up in such a perfect, protected environment where we believe it to be so. Myopic and presumptious we may be, but it also takes a myopic and presumptious government to proceed in such a manner. They presume that our loyalties lie with them forever because, well, they put Singapore on the world map and they blame quitters, people who have no loyalty, people only chasing money.

In my humble opinion, THEY brought us up to be so.

The life of a Minister is not attractive. How many are willing to sacrifice every evening either at Meet the People Sessions, chairing Review Committees and carrying another baby in a HDB kopitiam even on precious weekends? A platoon with the acumen of Bill Gates, risk appetite of George Soros and the heart of Mother Theresa, I would think. And the compensation? Priceless. Haven’t we all heard this all too often, “Pay Peanuts Get Monkeys”.

Indeed. So what do our ministers do at Meet the People sessions ANYWAY? Carrying another baby in a HDB kopitiam – come on. I didn’t know these were considered as CHORES to our ministers. (Well, the writing style tells me, at least, THIS politician’s view of it.) Well and good. Since you don’t want to meet the people and don’t want to carry babies and tickle him/her, then why should we, the people, place our trust in you? In case you forget, WE are not just answerable to you, dear Government. YOU are also answerable to us. It’s all written in monetary terminology – what ‘compensation’? I thought that as a politician, as someone who really cared, you wouldn’t be asking for compensation.

Pay Peanuts, Get Monkeys though is an interesting quote, especially if you combine it with ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do.’ I still remember our ministers singing the praises of the new budget…sounds like echoing, anyway.

So where does that leave us?

At the very least, one should remember that this IS a political blog. They espouse the views of a certain political party. It would be unwise to accept it as gospel truth. The next question would be: Since it’s the views of a certain political party, will discourse be useful at all?



1. Clarence - March 26, 2007

Hey yeah I did classify you under anti-camp, but it is what you were trying to bring across, right? You totally sound anti, unless you can highlight any points you made FOR the hike in civil service pay. Not that I can see any, though.

Peace, dude.

2. guojun - March 27, 2007

it’s cool. I’m not pissed. hahaha…

3. Steven Phang - April 11, 2007

It seems the the PAP ministers & MP’s are governing a honey-pot of $210 billion. Nothing else matters, least of all the people of Singapore who are just a blur in the background. Ordinary man in the street earn crumbs compared to that of their governors. More elderlies are working for a few dollars a day up till their death instead of enjoying a happy retirement because their old money cannot catch up with inflation. They have no choice otherwise their savings will run out or has run out. These old folks have pride too and therefore work on whatever menial jobs available to feed themselves. What does the $210 billion honey-pot mean to average Singaporeans ? Nothing. They do not see, smell or imagine what it is.

4. Steven Phang - April 11, 2007

So what if the PAP says they have to look after $210B – what about Ah Ter and Ah Kau. Singapore citizens are mostly debtors because they pay high prices for so-called subsidised HDB flats. Medical fees are not that affordable now. The elderlies still remember it used to be free and they can walk freely into a hospital or local clinic to see a doctor. That’s primary health care for them. Now most people will not see a doctor unless they are in dire situation. Every-day cost is going up because ordinary folks have to feed a dubious bunch of greedy termites who claim they are extra-ordinary and no one else is capable of running S’pore.

5. Steven Phang - April 11, 2007

I say we use our votes to kick them all out and prove to these termites that we have more than enough genuine good people, body and soul, to rule Singapore humanely. We are not interested about world-class this and that but to live happily even if a little poorer. If there is $210B around, we can distribute it around among common folks to achieve happiness. It does not mean it will be squandered because S’pore citizens are no fool like the PAP termites are always warning us – so they put a useless president who gets $3M+ to prevent others getting near the honey-pot. C’mon PAP – don’t bluff us anymore. Change your elections rules and allow the people of Singapore to choose an alternative government. Please give us that chance – OK ?

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