Jan 22, 2011

"Would You Die For Each Other?"

I read this question in the Straits Times today. The article was about Lee Kuan Yew's new book. The question posed to Singaporeans was - "Would you die for each other?". The Straits Times is even doing an online poll.

I could not help laughing. The question is so dramatic that it is melodramatic. Like a line from one of those weepy Taiwanese soap operas.

To the PAP ministers I would say - "What about you? Would you even pay yourselves anything less than the highest ministerial salaries in the world?"

But then we already know the answer. The last 20 years have made it clear.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

No problem, I can volunteer (you) to take a pay cut :D

Anonymous said...

The PAP ministers would reply to you in the way that is shown by the painting ST presented to the old man on page A8 of ST today.

"I'm not listening!! I'm not listening!!"

solo bear said...

Would you die for each other?

Actions speak louder than words, so how about Lee Kuan Yew leading by example?

I am sure many Singaporeans would like to see that.

Anonymous said...

I think the question is too general, and they must clarify under what situation "Would you die for each other?".

For instance if Singapore comes under external attack and we want to remain here, then of course we must fight the enemy. We may get killed so in that sense we die for each other.

But that is a hypothetical situation and the question will also be hypothetical.

I don't like or bothered with things hypothetical. It's like asking what would I do if I had a billion dollars. I think also nobody bothers with that question if they are far, far away from being a billionaire.

Coming back to Mr Wang's question on whether ministers would take a pay cut, of course the answer is yes, when there is a recession and GDP drops a lot.

Other than that, no way. The answer is so clear cut that you don't need to ask at all as it is not hypothetical but a matter of fact.

You know the answer and so what about it?

Anonymous said...

In the past 20 years, there HAVE been bad years but no, I don't think that the ministers have ever got a pay cut.

They just get a smaller increase, that is all.

Note - this is a smaller INCREASE, not a decrease.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha,such a funny question.

Anonymous said...

He probably is a little shaky of his military men or lack confidence in them(armed forces/police) now with all the negativities about the leaders both the politicians and the Civil Service.
However, there is no need for Lee Kuan Yew to ask as the prevailing political situation is clear cut with all the swears and calls in the cyberspace. Everything appears self-explanatory at this moment, the answer is obvious.

Anonymous said...

Depending on who the "other" are, if they are "foreign talents", well sorry.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of Singaporeans would die for their country. As in they would give their lives so that we can preserve our way of life and not disappear as a people. So that we can have a non-corrupt and accountable govt that will look after its citizens. So that our children will inherit a functional true meritocracy where if they work hard, they truly have a chance to make it, no matter how poor their parents were.

Anonymous said...

Yes, as Singaporean, we will definitely die for foreign talents because foreign talents have taken over our Singaporeans jobs.

Fox said...

He probably said this things to make himself look better. Everyone knows what he did the last time the island was invaded.

Anonymous said...

I last checked the poll, 71.28% (747 votes) says NO. Wonder if SAF is a total waste of time and resources then..

Amused said...

The answer is clear! Singaporeans top the world in emigration.

Unlike John F. Kennedy whose famous passage ("Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country") inspired the nation, his message is mostly self serving.

Anonymous said...

The statement is just plain ironic.

I am curious if any of our political leaders are PR or have citizenship in other countries, have foreign bank accounts and what their exit plans for their families are when Singapore is under siege......

Alan Wong said...

Just look at his cunning replies whenever he chose to reply that Singaporeans are not ready for this or not ready for that.

Actually so many Singaporeans are also NOT READY to accept that Father and Son help themselves to more than S$3 million each a year and that is excluding the bonuses somemore.

WTF have you to say to this ?

Anonymous said...

the question "would you blah blah" is highly unfair bcos it passes the buck to the people and places those who ask such dumb questions above the fray, unaccountable and somehow not responsible.

this is PAP leadership for the whole world to see, leading NOT by example hahaha!

hope u all know what to do when GE comes

recruit ong

Anonymous said...

too simplistic & too hypothetical.

by asking that question he attempt to put himself on higher moral authority.

why not start by asking his own MPs those questions: "Would you dedicate full-time into serving the citizens as an elected members of your constituencies."

I hereby tell you this that I will gladly die for my family, and fellow Singaporeans except the PAP MPs.

Anonymous said...

How about this?

Had there been no Lee Kuan Yew, what would have been the history of Singapore?

Hypothetical of course. But the answer will tell whether are some politicians really that indispensable, despite their great(past) contributions.

Anonymous said...

LKY is playing 'monkey on your back. You are right in putting it right back where it really belongs.

What moral authority can he command when he ride rough shod over the constitutional rights of Singaporeans, distorting it with laws that can only be described as self-serving and dictatorial?

It is a great irony that his entire empire depends on the subjugation of the one and only news media allowed to operate. And where he sees a challenge from the new media, his tentacles and claws are already working overtime to rein it in, by hook or by crook.

Would the 'founding' father make it a routine for every MP to say the pledge EVERYDAY of parliament sitting, and on the first day of every new calender year. This should remind many of the got's MPs what is expected of them by the people of the country.

Fox said...

Mr. Wang: To the PAP ministers I would say - "What about you? Would you even take a pay cut?"

I believe the PAP government did take pay cuts during the last recession. Of course, the pain is relatively less when you slice 20 percent off an annual million-dollar salary but you must at least get the facts right.

Anonymous said...

If “death” is found to be trivialised by equating it to “pay cut”, perhaps something just slightly less so, could be “how willing are you to serve your country with “less””.

“Less”, say about USD$450K a year ?.

“Would you die for each other?” should have wider ramification; eg someone would potentially have to give up forever and never to see again, his/her father, brother, son, grandson, family linage, financial support, emotional support, fatherly love, role model, marriage made in heaven etc etc”

“To serve with less”, on the other hand, should just be about “How much do you want?” maybe entail also the hypothetically agonising question of “caviar for breakfast, lobster lunch and far gait dinner (or equivalent), every day?, every week? once a year? or once is enough ?” so as to stay healthy to serve this challenging lot called “each other”

With many able bodied and experienced Singaporean increasingly find it hard to get jobs they are happy with, what would it be for returning veterans?, with injuries and disabilities and those resultant single income families? Is this the “way of life” they should be fighting for themselves and their children? or is just “someone else's way of life” they are tasked to defend?

And in today’s environment, having a large sum of invest-able money is like a pre-approved application form for citizenship or PR, in most countries (1st, 2nd or 3rd) …

Lastly how about this; had there being no Singapore for MM then, would there be a MM now?

Anonymous said...

LKY is raising a point about a sense of belonging, of commitment, of responsibility.
I am pretty sure in his own mind he has been and is discharging all these, and perhaps even more.

The question I pose is this: Would he admit that whilst discharging/acquiting himself in these did he also continually ensure that AT EVERY STAGE or POINT of development he has been ensuring that the people, the so ostensible 'beneficiaries' of his actions has been brought along with them? Or, was it simply a self-imposed one man race to the top? Now that in itself is not wrong in the practicalities and realities of life. The issue is in his 'visions' has he anticipated/included the level of efforts he must continue to put in to bring the people WITH HIM? Now, I don't mean making statements like 'spur in our sides', 'complacency', 'daft', relegating the daily morning pledge by thousands of students every school day morning to the status of an aspiration, etc etc ad nauseaum. I do mean really uplifting our lives in term of the basic necessities of food, shelter, education, health and transportation WITHOUT the near astronomical increase in cost to citizens in order to avail themselves of them. No what we see is a metamorphosis of the govt from one with socialist leanings to one that is cynical, ultra-capitalistic, dictatorial, arrogant, remote, self-serving, selfish, secretive, and paranoid in virtually all its dealings with the people.

He is no leader when his followers refused to follow one that no longer are in touch with what is important and necessary for them to live a decent life.

Anonymous said...

LKY is raising a point about a sense of belonging, of commitment, of responsibility.
I am pretty sure in his own mind he has been and is discharging all these, and perhaps even more.

The question I pose is this: Would he admit that whilst discharging/acquiting himself in these did he also continually ensure that AT EVERY STAGE or POINT of development he has been ensuring that the people, the so ostensible 'beneficiaries' of his actions has been brought along with them? Or, was it simply a self-imposed one man race to the top? Now that in itself is not wrong in the practicalities and realities of life. The issue is in his 'visions' has he anticipated/included the level of efforts he must continue to put in to bring the people WITH HIM? Now, I don't mean making statements like 'spur in our sides', 'complacency', 'daft', relegating the daily morning pledge by thousands of students every school day morning to the status of an aspiration, etc etc ad nauseaum. I do mean really uplifting our lives in term of the basic necessities of food, shelter, education, health and transportation WITHOUT the near astronomical increase in cost to citizens in order to avail themselves of them. No what we see is a metamorphosis of the govt from one with socialist leanings to one that is cynical, ultra-capitalistic, dictatorial, arrogant, remote, self-serving, selfish, secretive, and paranoid in virtually all its dealings with the people.

He is no leader when his followers refused to follow one that no longer are in touch with what is important and necessary for them to live a decent life.

Anonymous said...

LKY is sometimes all hot air, he shoots off his mouth and all of us are supposed to be bowled over by his logic. The element of manipulation and instigation in his words are by now all too familiar to many of us. He said things to have his way. We do not fall into that trap anymore. We are wiser. Much wiser now not to be easily manipulated or unduly impacted by his talk which is sometimes really really cheap.

He talks about dying for each other but did not define who. Would or should one die for an MP of his who decided to dismissed some poor Singaporean cleaners in his estate in favour of foreign workers? Would one die for a govt that imposed GST with the excuse that otherwise the country's budget would go into deficit, but when it come to pass, the supposedly 'deficit-avoiding' increase in GST turned out into a HUGH SURPLUS for the govt?

And do you know something, the NSmen have to pay for their own insurance to protect themselves should they get into harm's way in the defence of the country? Should a NSmen pay the ultimate price during service, the govt pays his dependent the equivalent amount of compensation to a labourer who died in an INDUSTRIAL accident. One can go on and on about the one-sidedness of this govt.

No wonder/Ironical isn't it that LKY himself after so many decades of 'nation' building', nay, striving to be first world, governed by ministers with out-of-this-world salaries, still have such doubts? It is a Freudian slip or as the Chinese would say, to be slap on the back of the neck by the devil, that he is exposing his own guilt
, admission and omission. He has been completely successful in the brick and mortar sense, but severely short when it come to nation building due entirely to his lack of care for the people on whose backs he and his party depends to build the brick and mortar foundation on.

Kaffein said...

@Fox,
"I believe the PAP government did take pay cuts during the last recession. Of course, the pain is relatively less when you slice 20 percent off an annual million-dollar salary but you must at least get the facts right."

I laughed so hard. Seriously. Let me explain this scenario to you:

A particular food stall which has the monopoly in a factory area raised its food prices by 25%. Then with the global slowdown, the food stall trumpeted it is reducing its food prices by 20%.

Go figure.

Kaffein

Fox said...

Kaffein:

I'm perfectly aware that salaries in the government are extraordinarily high. To be honest with you, I have no beef with the high salaries. The overall remuneration to the cabinet is chump change in the entire scheme of things.

The question to ask yourself is: what should their salaries be and how will adjusting that salary make government policy more benevolent? Do you think if the PM's salary were cut by 50 percent, the govt would introduce more safety nets?

Anonymous said...

if by cutting 50% and things are still the same, then cut it anyway, why waste?

Amused said...

Didn't LKY give his family an option to leave the country during a (war) crisis in the region?

If so, it is very relevant to his question, "Would you die for each other?"

I can't find the source and stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

Fox: "The question to ask yourself is: what should their salaries be and how will adjusting that salary make government policy more benevolent? Do you think if the PM's salary were cut by 50 percent, the govt would introduce more safety nets?"



extraordinarily high salary is but one amongst the many other levers and means in assessing and if necessary ejecting deadwood in the govt.

high salary to entice so-called talents must also be complemented with independent checks and balances in the system.

presently there is frighteningly little checks and balances in the system. as such the high salaries is akin to self-enrichment or legalized corruption.

Anonymous said...

Anon January 24, 2011 2:30 AM,

The source is from the Straits Times and came directly from the daughter. Here it is: QUITTERS OF SINGAPORE - "But the three of you need not feel obliged to stay"! (While there's no melodramatic Korean Soap Opera in it, it comes with a melodramatic Singapore Soap Opera. LOL)

Anonymous said...

Fuzzoo said...

@Fox "The overall remuneration to the cabinet is chump change in the entire scheme of things"?

A few years ago Dr Lily Neo requested for public assistance to be increased to $400 but the minister rejected her request, believing that the increase of $30 to $290 was sufficient. The very next month, April 2007, the government announced pay increases for ministers and MPs - political office holders enjoyed more than 20% increment - LHL $600K increment to $3.1m, SR Nathan $700K increment to $3.2m, etc. Total wage increase for political office holders : $10.5m. On the other hand, total amount given out to public assistance recipients : 2754 recipients x $290 x 12 months = $9.6m

If they agreed to increase the public assistance amount to $400 as Lily Neo requested, the increase would have cost tax payers only $4.6m which is less than half the wage increase given to political office holders.

I suppose whether it is "chump change" depends on whether we r talking about ministers' pay or public assistance.

Fox said...

The government can well afford to increase the amount of money for public assistance by ten-fold. Their resistance to it is ideological, not financial. They didn't give out much public assistance in the 80's and 90's, when public salaries were much.

Anonymous said...

Fuzzoo said...

@Fox
And in answer to your question of how much the gahmen should pay themselves. I suggest their salaries be pegged to that of low income earners, say 20x the median of the bottom 20% of income earners. That will ensure that they take care of this group.
And clearly defined measurable KPIs should b imposed on them.

Fox said...

Why 20X and not 100X or 10X?

Anonymous said...

Fuzzoo said...
@Fox
20x 30x 100x that's not the main point (but I should think comparable to other world leaders which right now it isn't). The point is that by pegging their salaries to that of low income earners, if they want to increase their pay then they very well ensure that the low income group moves with them. Right now only they and the rich are moving ahead while many have seen their income depressed.

lobo76 said...

wait a minute... if people are not happy with his govt, is he instigating us to start a revolution? lol.

Anonymous said...

Another formula is to peg their salaries to the salaries of city mayors who manage cities with a population size comparable to that of Singapore.

For example, the cities of Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Baghdad, Hanoi or Bangkok.

Oh wait. That would probably mean a 90% pay cut for our beloved ministers. So it can't be allowed.

The said...

/// Fox said...
I believe the PAP government did take pay cuts during the last recession. Of course, the pain is relatively less when you slice 20 percent off an annual million-dollar salary but you must at least get the facts right. ///

Less painful indeed - what an understatement. During the last recession, tens of thousands of Singapore took a 100% pay cut - they lost their jobs.

SMS said...

Would I die for you?

Option 1 - I prefer to live to fight another day.

Option 2 - History lesson shows that the reason why a citizen die for his leader is when there is respect and trust. If there is no good reason better take the first option.

SMS said...

Even a 50% cut for a $1 million salary is still $500,000.

So why bother asking them for a pay cut.

The best solution is to reduce the number of mayors

Anonymous said...

I think singaporeans should voice with their votes here!

http://www.allourideas.org/singaporewar