Mar 30, 2007

Change Is Coming

To this blog, that is.

Commenting on my previous post about yet another monstrous increase in ministers' salaries, a reader wrote:
"You can debate, go on and on.... Does it make an inch of difference what will happen?

Many of us wish for a more equitable society... possibly a consequence of years of reciting the national pledge.

That is but a wish and unless your 'fair'y appears and grants your wish, time spent wishing is time wasted.

Focus on things that are within your
circle of influence. This will hopefully expand the range of choices available."
Yes, I do grow a little tired. In a sense - I give up. I need a change. So does this blog.

I am going to adopt a new thematic focus. This blog is usually devoted to analysing social trends, current affairs and the latest ways the government is messing things up. However, from now on, I will be much more practical.

I will be blogging my thoughts on about how the average Singaporean can survive, and thrive, and manoeuvre his way into a better life for himself - taking into account social trends, current affairs and the latest ways the government is messing things up.

In other words, I am going to write about what the average Singaporean can do, within his own
circle of influence.

I haven't figured out all the details yet, but you get the general sense of where I'm going. Hope we all have fun. Look forward to all your comments on my future posts, as usual.


Anonymous said...

Blaming and whining is for losers. I'm glad you're starting on something more constructive! I'll continue to support ya!

twister said...

so glad that you finally see the light.

now, get off my elite uncaring face.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang if You say so then let it be< Your blogs are amongst the most balanced< factual and interesting> And if You can make them even better then we the readers will benefit more< THANK YPU SIR!

Dr Oz bloke said...

Hi Mr Wang,

about 4 years ago my cousin on hearing me whine and complain said I had three options

1) Do someting about it eg join politics, do volunteer work, be an activist etc

2) Migrate to another country and see if life is truly better overseas compared to Singapore

3) Shut up

I think that's about as direct you can be as far as being practical is concerned.

But I think you are planning to give tips on how to survive in Singapore? For which group? Low income? Middle income? Spiritually? Mentally? Financially?

Anonymous said...

I support migration. We should leave this God forsaken island!!!

Anonymous said...

Don't give up so easily. If people like you don't point out the difference between babies and adults, who's going to? Anyway, ideas lead to action.

Don't be discouraged!!!

Anonymous said...

Elia Diodati has the Incomplete Guide to Financial Aid for Singaporeans (
Now all we need is another guide to emigrate.

Anonymous said...

Why not be a mix of both? There is a void to be fill if ju r to concentrate on helping ppl.

Anonymous said...

Nazi Germany. Khmer Rouge. North Korea. Taleban's Afganistan. The list goes on and on currently and throughout history.

Yeah everyone always thinks that it'll never them.

Saltwetfish said...

I am often reminded of the quote by Anita Roddick:

"If you think that you are too small to affect anyone, try staying in a room with a mosquito"

Exodus said...

Somebody's comment: "That is but a wish and unless your 'fair'y appears and grants your wish, time spent wishing is time wasted.

Focus on things that are within your circle of influence. This will hopefully expand the range of choices available."

While there is some truth to the above comment, it is dis-ingenious in sweeping-in an UNREALISTIC "EITHER-OR" situation to support its conclusion. My 2 cents is: One can still take action within one's circle of influence and simultaneously keep an eye (and comment) on one's area of concern.

"You can debate, go on and on.... Does it make an inch of difference what will happen?"

Yes, it does. Mr Wang with his Analytical mind has helped debunk loopholes in the PAP's claims. For those who are not so sharp, Mr Wang has helped opened their eyes to other possiblities and realities. Activism works the same way, influence grow from an idea/ideal spread and then put into action... but the idea must first be communicated across before the actions can follow.

Mr Wang, I thank you for sharing your thoughts and will continue to read your blog. Do not let others' twisted argument belittle your past efforts.

My personal strategy is a combo of dr oz bloke's cousin's recommendations: (1) "Take action" (... besides helping the less fortunate, this action includes sharing my 2cents...) and (2) "Migrate".

Option (3) "Shut up" does not cut it. Silence (or "muting" as in MM's latest interview) is a tool used to divide and conquer the silent majority in oppressive states.

Anonymous said...

This is a fable from management consulting circles (supposedly from McKinsey):

Once there was a CEO of a multi-billion company who brought in some management consultants. He wanted the consultants to come up with solutions for his comapany's problems which were many. The company spoke to many of the company's employees to find out where the problems lay. They presented their findings to the CEO. One by one, the CEO shot them down, saying the consultants' comments and findings were not helpful, they did not answer the question. In other words, the consultants were just reporting the employee's whinging and were not constructive criticisms. Finally, the senior leader of the consulting team told the CEO in a most direct manner that the problem was the CEO himself and that he was the origin of many of the problems. Needless to say, the CEO fired the consultants.

According to the fable, the company's fortunes went downhill under the CEO who was eventually forced out by the shareholders.

You can draw your parellels to the Singapore story.

Anonymous said...

Allow me to pose a serious question of extrapolation with the hope of getting as many response as possible> How many actually believe that Singapore would collapse or perish without the present leadership? Are there other qualified and or suitable calibres within our population?

Anonymous said...

There are many boot lickers in the PAP machinery and they get rewarded for their support not their brilliance. To answer your question, there are many capable people turned off by this back patting going on and I certainly don't think they will do any worse than the current people in power.

HaveAHacks said...

Uh oh. I see a pattern here. First you go from a back-room (but still well-paid) professional position to a front-line (i.e. spectacularly well-paid) investment banking position. Now you're starting to say, since I can't change the world anyway, it's time to get practical. Maybe I'll just put my ideals on the shelf for a while and come back to get them later. If I can find them behind my new white shirts and pants.

Shi Yan said...

Mr. Wang. i think both your old approach and new approach need a balance. people talk about morals all the time, about civic mindedness and all that stuff, but things don't actually get very much better.

but people still need to know such dialouge exists.

these are the basis of which other things are built upon, and not every reader has the benefit of age.

people like me and countless others still want to know what's happening in this little island, and the take of one of the last few singaporeans bright and bold enough.

don't let your new blog embody the ultimate personal singaporean value: self-centered-ness.

but keep up the good work :)

Anonymous said...

People forget that this is only an island, and a really really small one. It's a big wide world out there. Just goes to show how effective the brainwashing and propaganda are.

Anonymous said...

The people needs a voice. In the mainstream media, which is largely controlled by the government, there exists no believable forums for grievances to be heard and justice to be sought.

A balanced approach is good, while we can focus on our area of influence to change things (for the better). Similarly the discussion on the mess-ups and the social issues can bring to our attention (yes, the mere mortals) the things that are going wrong because that's educational and informative. We can then translate that knowledge to our area of influence.

So to dr oz bloke, shutting up is not being practical. It's cowardice.

kenneth said...

i agree with what exodus says. Mr Wang, your blog has really help to open our eyes(for lack of a better phrase). your ideas are often extremely insightful and it has really helped me personally when studying for my general paper and making me more politically aware.

i do not think that what you have been doing is futile. if people are not aware of what is wrong/bad/can be improved, then theres no way people can act on it. up till now, you've been a good educator to most of us. that in itself is means that your effort has not gone to waste. you're helping to make a change albeit a small one. a change in people's perspective of this place we live in. now you are taking it one step further by offering practical advice after analyzing trends. it is a further improvement. good luck with this endeavor! we'll be reading (and commenting) =)

KuKuBoY said...

interesting. Mr Wang is becoming a self-help guru.

Soon he will publish the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Singaporeans"


Anonymous said...

your circle of influence includes this blog! so keep bloggin!

Dr.Evil said...

G'day Mr.Wang. I have been reading your blog with interest for quite some time now though I have not posted any comments previously.

Frankly speaking, your attempts to inform us of the bigger world and its myriad ways of operating have been fantastic and it would be nice to see that continue. To my knowledge, Singaporeans, to an extent, are already pretty good with their personal survival. Sometime though, those who sink or are barely able to keep their noses above water perhaps need to know how the wider world (PAP, globalisation, economies, etc) is affecting their lives.

You state in your post that you're going to air your thoughts on how an average Singaporean can survive taking into account your previous themes and threads is commendable though I would say be careful about how many layers you add on. The message may be lost to the average reader or at the very worst, overwhelm you (Though I believe its most unlikely) and that would be a sad event.

Take care Mr.Wang. I look forward to your new themes but at the same time hope the old ones do not get lost. If we do not know of the wider world, how can we expand our circle of influence?

- A Singaporean Down Under

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Allow me to pose a serious question of extrapolation with the hope of getting as many response as possible ... Are there other qualified and or suitable calibres within our population?"

Well of course. Use your common sense.

MM Lee has been complaining for years that the people he really wants to recruit have been refusing to join the PAP.

That necessarily means that many of the people who did agree to join the PAP must be MM Lee's 2nd-choice or 3rd-choice candidates.

MM Lee has been raising ministers' salaries all the time, to the World No. 1 position, yet he still has this problem.

Money obviously isn't the real issue. In my opinion, many talented Singaporeans are simply staying away from the PAP because they can see many aspects of the PAP policies and ideology that suck.

But then of course, perhaps money IS the issue. In that sense that MM Lee & Friends just desire to have more, more and MORE of it.

Use your common sense. Do you think that if for some reason, there was no 55% salary increase this year, MM Lee and PM Lee would really run off to join the private sector?

Of course not.

Then why are they getting a 55% salary increase?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Everyone else:

Thanks for your comments & feedback. As I said, I'm still working out the details. Will definitely consider yr suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr.Wang. I think it would be great if you continue to write the way you do. As a Singaporean teen (who perhaps is not as sharp and analytical as she wishes to be) it is immensely insightful to read ur posts. I have been following ur blog for awhile now, and I can see how my eyes are so much more open, im just so much more aware. and im sure u have had this effect on many sporean teens. so it has not all been in vain! if more youngsters start to think abt issues this way, it would be great for sg's future, yes?

NT_PAPaya said...

Dear Mr Wang,

I think you a doing an extraordinary service for our fellow sinkies (many of them, IMO, DO NOT deserved to be help anyway) by expressing your views. Kudos to you for your passion and continuous effort to keep things current.

I do understand the frustration and anger can sometimes get the best of us, but I hope you will not give up.

Yes, make the change to give people some sense of hope... but I hope you will carry on your fighting spirit.

Best Regards,

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang asked "Then why are they getting a fifty five percent increase in salary?" No response to the question whether Singapore will collapse or perish without the present leadership was made so far> Could it really mean that the present leaders are indeed the only people willing to take care of national affairs and hence are indispensable in some ways?

Mahatma Gandhi said...

You must be the change you wish to see in the world

Anonymous said...

hey mr wang,

don't be discouraged by those sarcastic comments.

for all u know, they may be posted by the 'SPIES'!

i agree with those who said that you have provided insightful comments, if you ask me, i think it's national educational.. haha

moreover, there may be someone reading them who is or will eventually be in the 'circle of influence' to make a change.

don't stop the thinking and sharing of views!!

social graffitist said...

its the bogeyman in the closet strategy. i am surprised that bloggers have not challenged the dependency on the present slate of leadership. i tend to believe there are many steady and talented people with good resolves to more than fill any size shoes given the opportunity.

learn from the exit of a 'talented' durai which paved the way for a reformed NKF into a leaner and perhaps, meaner machine by our lesser known fellow singaporeans - in waitng?

Anonymous said...

Dear anon of March 31, 2007 9:58 PM:

Could it really mean that the present leaders are indeed the only people willing to take care of national affairs and hence are indispensable in some ways?

So, in your opinion, why are they getting a fifty five percent increase in salary? Since they're not exactly in a hurry to leave, are they?

A further increase to such high salaries merely implies to us that 'the best' are simply, not good enough.

joan said...

I like your blogs a lot.

(The poetry one too.)

I look forward to your tips and discussions in the comments pages. It will be great to read your readers bouncing ideas off on how to survive better.

I learned a lot from reading your blogs.

Good job you are doing, Mr Wang, thank you for your blog.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, there are tons of ignorant Singaporeans (including me) out there who needs your blog to expose all the nonsense from the PAP govt.

Even though we might appear to be only whining, once the enlightened gets to a critical mass, we will be able to "act" via the next election.

Roger said...

Mr Wang, your blog has been sharply insightful.

I would go so far as to say that I have picked up many lessons in critical, rational and logical thinking reading your posts. It has benefited me tremendously.

A gripe I have always had with the social and political framework I seem to have grown up in here in Singapore, is that we are in reality fearful of voicing our views - even though these views may be moderate.

Our society through its actions has defined an individual who has any kind of opposing view an extremist, an ungrateful swine or at least a misguided maverick.

The speakers corner is an example of the institutionalization of such a reality. Far from providing a platform for public discourse, it has turned into a symbol to remind us of our place in this society. I believe it simply reconfirms the hypothesis that we are like pawns, to be seen, not heard, and speak only when spoken to.

I hope that whatever focus your blog takes in the future, you will continue to provide Singapore with your enlightening commentary and in the process assist in the long road to the empowerment of the average, moderate Singaporean.

Our physical selves may feel directly vulnerable, but the public discourse in the virtual community has been growing tremendously, and your blog has been pivotal in the development of this community.

Perhaps the fact that our discourse is manifested only on computer screens in the vast internet grid helps alleviate the crippling suspicion we have that we are locked away in a modern day panopticon.

The Human Battery said...

"Focus on things that are within your circle of influence" is correct.

And Singaporeans who read your blog are "within your circle of influence"! You are influencing their thinking and views, which is a good thing.

Then again, maybe not. Maybe you are preaching to the converted. If you do a survey of your readers, I bet majority are abt the same age, edu background, marital status, career etc as you are, and probably think the same way as you do abt most things.

Human batteries who have not taken the red pill are probably not part of the readership.

Anonymous said...

Since the present leadership claim that they will be lured to the private sector if the pay is not enough, then we definitely should not pay them more so that they will conveniently go away by themselves :D

I am sure the right people are staying away because of the way the government is run, not that there are no better talents around.

Even those scholars who left the service said it was not the money that lured them away. Only incompetent management will resort to using money indiscriminately because they do not know how else to retain talents.

They assume that since they like money so much, other people are just like them. Real frogs in the well.

Anonymous said...

Having posted two Serious Questions< I would like to thank Mr Wang and a few others for their kind responses> It was disappointing(to me) that the Question of whether Singapore will collapse or perish without the present leadership received no response> I feel that fears still persist even in cyberspace and the greater disappointment did not arise from no response to the very serious (but sensitive) second question> From the responses I have the following impressions and correct me if anyone find them hard to agree with> The first impression I could infer is that there are many capable of governing Our Country> The opinions seem to indicate that most will be better than the present leaders who are said to be second or third rates> Now my commonsense tells me that all these better people are either too politic averse< apathetic and or selfish> Another commonsense which I am inclined since the day I understand the nature endowed advantage of our land may not be a point everyone will share> What I believe is that if Singapore is anywhere else or not developed by Raffles into a thriving seaport< it never will be the wealthy and developed state it is now> The present populace has a mistakened belief that Independence has brought us to where we are> I imagine that if someone in Singapore or any Singaporean past or present is able to use his or her talent to make Phuket(Thailand) or even Penang(Malaysia) into a present day Singapore< then whoever that make it happens qualifies as real talent> I contend that the only talent in the history of Singapore was Raffles and the rest are history> Now with our seaport still playing its vital part in our economy< the present regime is enjoying its contribution> However as our neighbours develop their seaports and with airports and aircrafts playing more important roles< the seaport advantage gets diminish steadily and surely> Although it may take some years for significant effects< it nonetheless erodes the geographical advantages> Born at the beginning of the fifties< I experienced the quality of livings those born after the late sixties did not get the chance to experience> How many below the age of forty know that in almost all districts in the fifties and sixties had maternity clinics that catered to all womanfolks and children free of charge> Maternity staff visited all expectant mothers and newborns no matter where they lived again absolutely free> Hospitals and outpatient clinics treated all patients with no charges and private clinics were still operating everywhere despite free healthcares> Was there any clash of interest? None> Even in Hongkong today< the colonial culture is currently benefitting Hongkies whence it comes to healthcares> The GOVERNMENT Hospitals charge a nominal administrative fee and the rest of treatments are free yet again the private healthcare providers are as thriving> There are crapped arguments(and propagandas) put forward to commoners from time to time and the unfortunate reaction (was) is the latter have taken the hook< line along with the baits> Thank you for reading< I maybe wrong and stands to be corrected>

Anonymous said...

Woah...... wasn't expecting such a whiplash from the itsy bitsy post.

In a way, we're like a bunch of monkeys trying to get to the other side of the wall. Years of attempting to change the wall or convincing the wall that it should move has produced no noticable effect. The wall is still there. And now, there's even a nice little box on the wall for all the monkeys to put in their complaints/suggestions/thesis about how the things should be. God knows if the box leads straight to a shredder on the other side.

Mind you, the wall's pretty happy about this 'cos the monkeys are kept busy writing and rambling. All pretty tolerable with the exception of one Brown monkey that cut too close to the nerve.

My point is, if doing A doesn't produce your desired outcome, then perhaps think about doing B or C or D.

Someone once said that insanity is attempting to do the same thing and expecting a different result.

Mr Wang's post are without doubt incisive and had produced many "Why didn't I think of that?" moments. Should Mr Wang continue? I think that he should and he's not saying that he wouldn't.

Imho, what he's doing is pragmatic and makes sense.

Some people do not have the skillset or the money to make a move out of this place. Ranting and raving about ways to make do or make the best out of the situation would be something that will be welcomed by many.

Once every four years, the monkeys have to decide whether the wall has served its purpose well. That would be probably a better juncture to rant and rave about how things should be and to choose where there is a choice (for some)..

Christopher Ng Wai Chung said...

Mr. Wang,

This is terrible news ! ;)

If you actually start writing about what we Singaporeans can do for ourselves, it will not bode well for many of us.

There are folks like me who write self-help books who will be put out of business once you start teaching Singaporeans how to help themselves.

And I have to confirm that your advice is good almost all of the time. ( My strengths are Analysis, Input, Competition, Intellection and Activator. )

All of us need to make a living you know...


P.S. Good move, I look forward to seeing what this new mandate of yours will bring for the blogosphere.

Anonymous said...

By the time Singapore implodes, the government fat cats would have joined their children abroad. They earn so much there's plenty for rainy day homes overseas and their children would have gained the necessary PRs to sponsor them for residence - that is, if they haven't already got their 2nd passports pending.

We'll need people like you to rally those who are left.

I am encouraged that you will not be alone. Some of the people in our small boat have begun to realise how small we are and that being the gambling, resort, shopping or whatever capital of the world is not going to be easy against bigger countries with deeper pockets and brighter minds.

People are opening their minds, eyes and ears even if they dare not open their mouths.

Anonymous said...

Migrate lor. Already more than 150,000 capable Singaporeans are living overseas. If it works out for you, leave. The world is your oyster. Singapore is just a tiny red dot.