Monday, September 11, 2017

Presidency of Reservations.

Its been a long time since I wrote anything here. And I really wish I can "not need" to write any more "complains" against the PAP. Keeping quiet through all the nonsense over the past 2 years, this one is really one that I cannot take it.

Halimah is President.

The problem however is not with her. The problem is how she is "elected".

It is virtually absolute in sentiments on the ground that the entire "reserved presidency" was created by the PAP to bar Tan Cheng Bock from running. From how they count Wee Kim Wee as the "first elected President" to how they raised the bar to half a billion in managed asset - it created an unassailable criteria that left virtually no Malays being able to qualify for, barring a small handful.

Across all the social media channels, almost no one is celebrating and no one is happy about this. This election had been easily 10 times more gloomy than SR Nathan running uncontested. A great number is calling this election "Kelong". How can the PAP "defend" with the sort of "dignity"and "righteousness" by saying that took a political risk to do they right thing?

Not even the Malays are happy that they are a recipient of an affirmative action that they were taught all their lives that we are better than Malaysia; that we are better than this - that the Malays do not need more than what they already getting - they have the pride to tell their Malaysian counterparts that they made it on their own. But no longer.

If this racial representation is so important, why do we not have the same rules for the Prime Minister's position? Why the insistent that Singapore is not ready for a Non-Chinese Prime Minister? Everyone knows we would choose Tharman over any of the candidates for the next Prime Minister.

Halimah, serving as the "Deputy Secretary General, Director of the Legal Services Department and Director of the Women's Development Secretariat, of NTUC", does not put her in charge of the finance of NTUC. How is she qualified to be the President when the main job is to manage the country's reserves?

What if there is a billion dollar MNC, creating a position call "Director of Jokes", whose job is a executive role of just entertaining everyone in the boardroom - then run for the Presidency - he/she would still be qualified!

What is the point of an elected Presidency when all the PAP want is just to place their own people on the seat? If that is really the case, then why not just scrap the entire Elected Presidency and just appoint anyone that's qualified. Seriously, Singaporeans don't really care; we are not "democratically starved" - we just want to be treated with dignity and respect - not all these condescending political moves that treats the people of Singapore like as if we are idiots. We do not care if its appointed or its elected, we just want qualified people on it.

The same as for the General Elections, we do not like the PAP's attitude, but we nevertheless elect the best candidates in our respective wards that we believe can bring our country forward. We are pragmatic and meritocrats ourselves, the people. But to pull this reserve presidential elections joke on us, just to bar a popular choice for President from running, man... PAP, you just gave up much more for too little. 因小失大。

The strategic mistake for this Presidential Election, the fumble, is the same nonsense the mars the legacy of LKY for all the stupid reasons given not to tear down the 38 Oxley Road; its the same missteps that caught us in the crosshair of China; its the same mistake that caught us out in the open when Philippines left us for dead when we tried to speak for them.

This 1 stupid move is going to cost PAP, and Singapore, greatly, in the near future. The people are not happy - it could very well spawn the birth of a new political party that would surpass even the Worker's Party. I do not know who this new party is - but I'm sure there will be Singaporeans, very qualified Singaporeans, that could not stomach things anymore.

We shall see.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

GE2015 - The Election of the Whites

GE2015's result had been a shocker to many, not just the Opposition parties and supporters, but also a surprising result for the PAP voters and the PAP leadership.

Much was the hype for the Oppositions, especially Chee Soon Quan's return, Worker's Party's Fengshan SMC & East Coast GRC bid, and even SPP's Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss contest for Mountbatten SMC.

Worker's Party was looking to build inroads into becoming a credible Opposition force in Parliament, aiming to take East Coast GRC as well as the highly "dangerous" Feng Shan SMC. Chee Soon Quan stupidly take on Holland-Bukit Timah after his 15 years away from political elections (what is with his obsession over Holland-Bukit Timah?)

But as the sample count result came out, it was surprisingly "White" - almost all of them with a heavy inclination towards the PAP. Multiple wards have over 70% voted for the PAP. And as the night wears on, the sample count turns true, as PAP take down on electoral ward after another with spectacular victories. Taking at least two thirds of the votes for almost every ward, with the exception of the WP strongholds.

Punggol East SMC fell to the PAP, while Hougang SMC continues to hang on to become the longest Opposition held ward, overtaking Potong Pasir. Feng Shan SMC is won by the PAP with no drama, and so did East Coast GRC painted white without much of a "challenge". Finally Aljunied GRC is retained by the WP with the slightest of margins after a recount.

Opposition are at the loss of words over the stunning PAP victory that see a massive swing towards the PAP. Many theories and reasonings are provided by various leaders, as well as commentaries... For me, its basically lies with a simple fact: PAP did improve after GE2011.

Some people say, because LKY pass away, because SG50, because shows, because just NDP-ed. But seriously, would you really vote the PAP because "its SG50, so I gonna vote the PAP" or "I gonna vote the PAP, because I want to honor LKY". I really dun think its this "simple".

PAP made a lot of changes after GE2011. Prior to GE2011, PAP had almost totally neglected the fact that Singapore is a Nation. Singing to "Global City" during NDP isnt what Singaporeans expect. All policies that brought a massive foreign population increase as well as an overly stretched infrastructure led to a national swing towards the Oppositions. Many voted for the Opposition just to protest against the PAP. PAP realised this very possibility that they might actually really lose power someday in the future after their first GRC defeat, they decided to go back to the roots - care for the people.

The way way overdue Pioneer Generation Package is launched, inflow of foreign labour is much better controlled, various initiative to improve people-government conversation and feedback channel is launched (it might not be perfect, but its a huge improvement over what was previously......almost none). Flooding stopped; and huge funds are invested to rebuild and improve our transportation infrastructures.

And it is all these very noticable changes in PAP policies that swing the silent majority (the swing votes), back in favor of the PAP.

GE2015 is an election that, regardless which way the voters vote, its a good vote. Voting against the PAP would further push the PAP to work harder to regain back the confidence of the people - a show of people's power. But a vote for the PAP, also encourages the PAP that, the change in PAP's direction is a right one, and thus PAP would have the confidence to continue to build on that and shape themselves for the new post-LKY era.

The election results also proved my theory that, the default vote for Singaporeans will always going to be the PAP. My rallying and encouragement for people to vote for the Worker's Party remains the be the right decisions, as it is always an uphill battle for the Oppositions to gain any sort of foothold in the Singapore political landscape.

The people has spoken - PAP, do not fail us.

Worker's Party still a winner in GE2015 despite East Coast GRC

Worker's Party retained the seats of Aljunied GRC in the slimmest of margins, however losing "normally" the highly anticipated East Coast GRC and Fengshan GRC. Most WP and Opposition supporters are disappointed at the results... But Worker's Party supporters, dun be sad or disappointed.

Do you know? That by retaining the Aljunied GRC, Worker's Party have already made history by being the first Opposition Party to retain a GRC in the history of Singapore. It is a remarkable achievement by itself.

Before nomination day and for the past 2-3 years, my stand was always that, if WP can successfully defend their Aljunied seats, and Punggol East seat - it would have been a great achievement, given how difficult it was to win the GRC at the first place.

Despite a surprise defeat of the Punggol East seat to the veteran PAP backbencher of 10 years, WP had kept their seats as per their victories in 2011.

The next 5 years will be pivotal, for WP have to prove themselves that they are worth the confidence placed in them by the Aljunied voters. As I advocated to all my Aljunied voter friends - give them a chance to proof themselves for another term, as the first term is not a fair gauge of their abilities.

I am glad Aljunied voted WP back in, so now its up to WP to proof themselves in the coming 5 years.

Monday, September 7, 2015

GRC - the double edge sword

GRC was conceived by the PAP leadership to serve a 4 primary purposes.

One is to ensure minority representation based on the assumption that a minority candidate will always have a disadvantage in a 1 on 1 electoral contest against a Chinese race candidate as the Chinese race is a huge majority within the entirety of the Singapore population.

The 2nd reason is more "sinister" or "smart", depending on which side of the fence you are on: it is to limit the growth of the Opposition and curtailing their ability to win huge numbers of seats. Opposition was on the rise after JBJ and Chiam See Tong was voted in. And just these 2 voices along, caused tremendous distress to the PAP, whom had already been used to unquestioned rule over the island state. Thus, GRC system as well as the Elected Presidency, is mooted to protect PAP's rule and perhaps, Singapore as a country from rogue parties whom run a populist campaign, which the policies may win votes but spells an end to wise rule for the fragile country.

The 3rd reason is to usher in "weak" but "obedient" PAP members into the parliament. This is a form of cronyism perhaps, where certain candidates may have been given the promise of a MP seat after accomplishing certain given missions - for example contesting in an Opposition stronghold. Typically, such candidates takes up half or more of the candidacy in each GRC and destined to be backbenchers where their attendance in parliament is irrelevant.

The last reason is to allow more freedom to the Cabinet Ministers and appointment holders to concentrate on their "more important roles", leaving municipal issues to the other MPs of the GRC (which probably also do not do much, as most of the work are done by the CCCs)

This GRC concept seemed like a very good idea and looks to serve it purpose (and it did for 2 decades). But the 2011 General Election defeat in Aljunied GRC to the Worker's Party exposed a serious flaw in the system - its that for every GRC PAP lost, they lose 1 or sometimes even 2 ministers (or minister calibre candidates).

George Yeo was "set free" and went on to enjoy a more relaxing and private life since, and Singapore lost a good minister in the process. GRC suddenly appears to become a double edge sword as opposed to be the impregnable shield that it was mooted out to be. And in this 2015 General Elections, PM Lee scaled down the average size of the GRC in response and the PAP GRCs all feels a tad bit that more fragile.

In a different perspective, PAP is actually gambling on the future of Singapore with such a policy. Ministers and potential future leaders heads each GRC, when one GRC falls, there goes the valuable talent in that minister and the future leader that is in line for leadership renewal. It is evident when PAP chickened out by fielding its weakest ever GRC line up in history to contest Aljunied GRC. This brinkmanship-type of electoral rule cuts both ways, causing the situation where, regardless which side you vote: either for a more plural parliamentary representation or for a good minister whom could have served the country well in the cabinet - you lose.

This lose-lose type of election COULD NOT have happened, if it had been just the traditional 1 candidate 1 ward type of election. In which universe would George Yeo have lost his seat, if he had contesting in a SMC? Especially one which every seat is a SMC.

To blood new leaders, one must go through the baptism of fire of contesting on their own, for their own seat and win their right to be in parliament - THEN we talk about selecting them as future leaders for the country. The GRC system must be abolished, for the long term greater good of the country, and for PAP's right and mandate to continue their rule in Singapore.

When PAP start to lose not just 1, but 3, 4 or even 5 or 6 minister-calibre people to the GRC's reverse blade - it would have become too late for the PAP. You lose 3 or 4 minister calibre people, the party calibre drops 20% in term of human capital. And if PAP do not revoke this GRC system, and let it run its course, one day when PAP loses 3 to 4 GRCs, they would not have enough quality candidates to fill the ranks in the cabinet, and it will spell the beginning of the end for the ruling party.

When that happen PAP, will start concentrating all their "elites" into A teams, to protect them from being voted out, and leaving other weaker ward to be contested by backbenchers (which left them vulnerable to Oppositions A teams) - and irreversible slide for the PAP into "just another party" status - since it start using the Opposition election strategies...

I do not believe this election will see PAP losing 3 to 4 GRCs (GE2015), thus, its not too late for the PAP to reverse this GRC system back into its rightful system of 1 candidate 1 ward. For Singapore, and for our future; for their own good and their own mandate - abolish the GRC system.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

GE2015: What are you really voting for?

Before I start, let me say "PAISEH!"  - for the lack of action on this blog. I was busy with work, and kindda lazy to type. But since its GE2015, so let me show some light about what election should be about, and how parties SHOULD behave and manage themselves.

So when we vote, what are we really voting for?

There is 2 main answers (and seemingly very obvious):
 - The Candidate.
 - The Party

CANDIDATE
So what about the candidate? People tends to lose sight of what the candidate is we vote in to be Member of Parliament (MP) is about, due to all the political hustlings and disinformation that is being spread around and spoke as if its truth.

First and foremost, the Member of Parliament is the People's Representative in Parliament. They are the voice of the constituents towards their issues, concerns and also to vote for or against policies raised by the Government.

But do not be mistaken, we ARE NOT voting for the next Bishop, or the next Monk / Reverend or some holy saint. Its not about voting for a hardworker or a simply a diligent person who can do a job very well. Its voting for someone who can SPEAK and SPEAK WELL, someone who can DEBATE and someone who can ARGUE FOR YOUR WELLBEING. Thus, a candidate MUST be able to speak well.

PARTY
However, to expect the individual to be all knowing and all knowledgeable - is a ridiculous expectation on the individual candidate. THUS, we are also voting for the Party. The Party is not just an emblem, a logo or just a name (or least, it should not be).

The Party have to be the ENGINE behind the MP that is representing the people. The party should be an organised machinery with a research & analysis arm, social / community assistance arm, and a communications arm, as well as the Members of Parliament that are the spokesmen and representative of the Party in Parliament.

The Party IS NOT just the candidates or just the leader. It must be MORE than just that, and more than just a brand. It have to be a team that supports the MP, the behind the scene team that make everything possible.

And BECAUSE, the importance of the Party that is behind the MP, that works silently behind the scene, in order for the MP to do their job properly in Parliament. Thus, the party is the other 50% of the equation of what we are voting for.

The Party also represents the policies they believe in or against, their manifesto and the vision that have for Singapore.

Thus the Party is very important; it is what enables the MP to be who he can be; the machinery that scrutinise the policy, arrange the logistics especially during the elections, helps to connect to the constituents and subsequent helping them as well as to communicate the party message to the people.

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So its 50-50 between Candidate and Party.

But when you break it down, the candidate still holds the most water.

A person who can speak well and speaks for you - 50%
Policy Research/Analysis - 10%
Community Assistance - 10%
Communications to you and keeping you updated - 10%
Manifesto & Philosophy - 10%
Brand & Vision - 10%
TOTAL - 100%

Thus, if we vote according to the equation above, PAP candidates ARE NOT necessarily the automatic choice for you. Because its important that they are able to speak for you, but as most of them are backbenchers...

But of course, I could not deny the fact that many of the PAP candidates are good choices even with the equation above (what I trying to highlight is many arent). But Oppositions have a fair shot at it.

If they can get the Party side of things done well (like Worker's Party, and perhaps also Singapore Democratic Party) - then with the right quality candidate - they can be just as good or even a better choice than the PAP's.

Now its up to you now.

Vote well.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Little India Riot - really little.

A week ago, an incident of "epic" proportion happened in our Little India District: A Riot!

A significant event considering that it is the first riot in over 40 years since the 1969 racial riots.

As usual, for any sort of "mishaps" or "gossip-worthy" piece of news coming out of the little red dot, the netizens rushed in to give their opinions and commentary on the event while it unfolds. Interestingly, this is one event that got people getting emotional and agitated, that evolved into a series verbal skirmishes across the cyber landscape.
  • There people berating the foreign workers
  • There are people blaming the government for bringing too many foreign workers in
  • There are people getting racist, with racist comments about a specific community's lack of "drinking grace"
  • There are people blaming Singapore for this instant for being too dependent of foreign workers
  • We have people blaming the police force for not acting fast enough (or violent enough)
  • We have people being amused (like me)
  • We have people defending our Indian and Bangladeshi brothers as they are the ones who tolled to build our nation (literally)
  • We have people blaming our government or the system for not providing better for the foreign workers
  • We have people deciding that it is because we are treating them like slaves, which is why it sparks off the riots
  • We have people blaming Chinese Nationals for whatever its worth
  • We have people blaming Little India for being Little India
  • We have people blaming alcohol as the cause of the violence
  • We have people asking people to stop blaming the world
  • We have people asking people to be calm
So what's the problem here?

The problem is that we are all debating at different frequencies and different magnitude of things. Its like the saying, "Ask the right questions and you will get the right answers."

People aren't asking the specific questions and start diving into the sharing their opinions to people who aren't at the same frequency or having the same perspective of things.

Fact:
An Indian National who got drunk, try to board a bus. The bus can no longer accommodate him especially not when he is making a nuisance of himself. He got invited out of the bus, and the bus drives off without him. He, being drunk, chase after the bus (alongside the bus). And when the bus turns, he got drove over and trapped beneath the bus. 

So this is the first part of the drama. Nothing really special. Just another accident.

Fact:
The police and SCDF are notified and arrived at the scene promptly. Police control the crowd (and requested for reinforcement as the crowd is swelling), the SCDF personnels and paramedics tries to extract the body from under the bus. The crowd then starts to get rowdy (perhaps due to misinformation spreading among themselves) and started attacking the police and SCDF personnels.

This is the 2nd part, where the accident escalates into senseless attack on the people who are trying to save a trapped "kin" of the crowd. 

Fact: 
The mob started to riot, overturning police cars and ambulance; setting them on fire. Riot Police (SOC) forms up and disperse the mob. It took an hour plus for the mob to be fully disperse and the area under police's control. They also arrested 27 people during this operation.

The 3rd part, basically the riot itself. On its own, it also aren't very special.

Suggested Fact:
The foreign workers are underpaid, treated badly and living in poor quarters. They are frustrated and it is a because of this underlying issue that resulted in the "explosion" into a riot.

This is where a lot of contention came. There are NGOs fighting for these foreign workers' rights; and many people arguing and linking this perception (may be true, may be not) to the riot itself. 

And if you break it down as above, you may see, it is like a free-for-all for people to make up their own conclusions and stories. 

I can even imagine: "Living like a slave in this prosperous country, the victim had little to smile about but to drown himself with the little money he earn in beer and hard liquor. He cant even be treated like a human being, being kicked out of the bus who he have the money to pay by some Chinese pigs despite there is plenty of space for him to squeeze in. Chasing the injustice, he fell to the rolling wheels of an uncaring society! Fellow kins saw his death, and their pent up frustration boils to the surface awakens the vendetta in them! Down with the Society!!! And they pelt the lackeys of their uncaring society with their fervent anger and fire. We shall make a statement, they cried. And all of Singapore shall be cursed upon these flames...."  

And seriously, the story above sounds really legit. 

But as pragmatic citizens of Singapore, please, look at the facts again. We have one drunk guy, being drunk, making a nuisance and got himself kill trying to run alongside a bus. A handful of people (probably drunk too) got pissed and takes the opportunity to vent and make trouble (which could explain why they attack the very people who are apparently saving their "kin"). 

What is a true riot? What is real boiling issue? A true boiling issue would have triggered a much bigger and objective-focused riot. Even if the accident is a trigger to some underlying problem, its apparently only big enough to trigger a handful of people (which in numbers would not even have been bigger than the gangs we have in our heartlands).

IS A HANDFUL OF MOB = SERIOUS ISSUE?

I have to clarify, I am not turning a blind eye as to the possible plight and definite hard life these people are living (they probably would live just as hard a life back in their home land); but are we looking at this in the correct perspective?

I am absolutely against linking foreign labour's living standard to this riot. This riot is not 400 people strong. Its probably 25-40 people with 300 over people having fun looking at the spectacle. 

If the issue is truly serious (to a boiling point), the riot would be way into the hundreds and thousands. And the riot will be better planned, with a specific objective they would like to achieve at the end of the riot after negotiation with whichever authority that is handling their issues.

The Riot IS significant (as its the first riots in decades); but it is NOT important. 

Fight for the rights of the foreign labours? Go ahead! 
Fight for the rights of the foreign labour and speaking for them because of this riot and the fear that it will spark more riots? Forget it, dun waste your pretentious and self-righteous time.

If you cared, you would have cared way before their riot, whenever you passed by a construction site or their accommodation. 

I personally always wondered how hard their life must be, living in those container-like dorms, working in the mud and the blazing sun; every single time I walked, jogged and passed by their accommodations on the bus. I reflect it upon my army days and decided that these guys are really having a hard life. But its definitely better than stories I have heard of the foreign labours being REALLY treated like slaves and have their wages owed by the rich Arabs whom refused to pay (many of them trapped in foreign lands).

The issue of whether the life provided to these foreign labours are really not good enough or humane enough, is one hell of a complicated and difficult issue to resolve. But this riot? Just forget about it, I doubt it will happen again that easily (if it does, then I will perhaps stand corrected and write another opinion post on it)

Friday, March 22, 2013

SDP's Universal Healthcare

In Today's news (http://www.todayonline.com/voices/s600-year-your-health-sdp), SDP proposed a universal payment of 600SGD every year by all Singaporeans from their CPF into a National Health Investment Fund - basically a national health insurance. (read the article to understand more)

I personally dun see the point of this. The 3M system (Medisave, MediShield and Medifund) is adequate, just require some tweaking and improvement to make it better.

WHAT SDP TRYING TO SOLVE:

- a peace of mind when come to spending for healthcare
- not to use CPF which is a retirement savings for hospital bills (including parents and children's bills)
- create a simpler healthcare system

SOLUTION BY SDP:

- All Singaporeans pay on average 600 SGD from CPF
- Those cannot afford to pay this yearly fee will be contributed by the Govt instead
- Treat healthcare as a basic right of Singaporeans
- Different co-payments for outpatient treatment of acute conditions and serious hospitalisation

All sounding good right (if you think very simply)?

Now read this article on the 3M, to understand what it does: http://www.healthxchange.com.sg/healthyliving/SpecialFocus/Pages/Understanding-Medisave-MediShield-Medifund.aspx

MY QUESTION/DOUBTS ON THE SDP'S PROPOSAL:

- What's the difference from what we are already paying for Medisave via our CPF account? The SDP idea may be over-compensating or even resembles too much of a socialistic mentality (resulting in many people paying a lot more than what they do now)
- Co-payment for serious conditions vs MediShield's insurance plans that help ppl to cover large bills (including up to 80% of hospitalisation fee); Co-payment sounds like we need to pay the cost sum...
- Those of low income group are now protected by Medifund. The SDP solution basically still requires them to pay for their national fund idea; if not then govt help them pay... Somehow something just doesnt feels right on this.
- the "simpler system" may turn out to be too "simplistic".
- SDP's idea did not touch on how they are solving the "used for children and elderly parent's bills" part. I cant supposed they want the children and retired people to contribute to this fund also right? PIAK! back to square one isnt it?

MY SUGGESTIONS :

- Don't take up the SDP idea. But improve the current 3M system
- Anyone who passed away, their medical debt that is borne by their children/next of kin should be halved (or waived, but waiving it will create problems, as people may just choose not to pay the bills); so to not burden them further than the hurt of losing their love one. Furthermore, its only fair since the medical care rendered did not really save the patient's life.
- Allow the usage of CPF OA funds to be used for serious medical problems or huge healthcare fees. What's the point of having savings for retirement when you can live longer enough to touch it? Health must come first, money can earn more later.
- Create a more comprehensive national scheme for retirement --> which I will touch on with another article some day.

-------

Conclusion:

The threat of ideas that sounds really good, may not really be that good. Political points can be gained with the Oppositions give populist ideas, but not all are valid or a true improvement on the current systems. What SDP had proposed is basically more of the same thing, just phrased differently. And if they are in power, they might implement this, and then end up having more worms in the can to catch than they expected.

So YOLO peeps~ =}