Apr 26, 2011

Please Look at the Fundamentals Before You Vote

From Channel News Asia:

SINGAPORE: Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has a simple message for voters in the heat, dust and clamour of the election campaign - he has urged them to look at the fundamentals.

In a statement issued just two days before Nomination Day, he reminded Singaporeans not to risk their assets, property values, and job opportunities.

He said the People's Action Party is fielding 24 new candidates of proven character, of high calibre, and with a track record of performance that showed they will not fail in taking on responsibilities.

This, after the Party combed the whole of Singapore to select those with the highest integrity and ability to chart the way forward for the country.
I also urge Singaporeans to vote wisely.

Not only that, I will provide a few concrete & useful tips about how to vote wisely.

My first tip to Singaporeans is not to fall into the trap of mistaking the past for the present. What do I mean?

If you look back far enough across the decades, you will see that indeed, the PAP has had an excellent track record. That is why you will find that nowhere in this blog have I ever said anything bad about the PAP leaders of yesteryear - for example, the likes of Goh Keng Swee, Lim Kim San and S Rajaratnam.

For these men were highly dedicated, capable and resourceful leaders, men with vision, and truly committed to the nation. The result of their leadership speaks for itself - in the history of Singapore, in the story of how this nation rapidly transformed itself from a developing country into a developed nation.

The mistake we mustn't make is to believe that just because the PAP has had its past glories, therefore today the PAP is as excellent and wonderful as it used to be. Or that, going forward into the future, the PAP will always be as excellent and as wonderful.

Goh is dead. Lim is dead. Rajaratnam is dead. Lee Kuan Yew is 87 years old. Political parties are always changing, the faces come and go. This year alone, Jayakumar, Lim Boon Heng and Abdullah Tarmugi are stepping down.

What I urge Singaporeans to do is to recognise this inevitable truth - that the party is always, always changing - and just because the PAP may once have been a good party doesn't necessarily mean that it will be a good party forever.

Look, just look honestly, at this statement by Lee Kuan Yew: "Our new candidates are of proven character, of high calibre, and with a track record of performance that shows they will not fail in taking on responsibilities" ...

.... and then watch this video:

Tell me, how is it possible NOT to doubt Lee's words?? The PAP "combed the WHOLE of Singapore" to find candidates of the "HIGHEST ability" ... and this was the best they could come up with? Honestly?

What Singaporeans should do is carefully scrutinise the PAP government's performance over the past five years since the last elections were held. This will give you a much better indication of the current quality of our leadership.

Five years of stagnant wage growth; five years of deteriorating public transport; five years of escalating healthcare costs; five years during the costs of public housing shot up immensely; five years during which the income gap between rich and poor widened more than ever before; five years of increased GST.

Five years of continued failure to improve fertility rates; five years when the inequities suffered by NSmen vis-a-viz competing foreigners working in Singapore remained unaddressed; five years during which the Home Affairs Ministry let a terrorist almost nonchalantly walk out of a supposedly "high security" prison; five years when GIC and Temasek remained as opaque and unaccountable as ever, about how they handle the people's hard-earned money ....

In the past five years, has the PAP government achieved ANYTHING good at all?


Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr Wang for your heartfelt, thought provoking and timely comment.

I believe Mr Lee in the same press release also refers to the sacrifices of the first generation of Singaporeans without which the value of HDB flats would not be the same and the economy would not have prospered.

Without irony let me say that it is this very first generation of Singaporeans that have been bypassed by a government they supported and followed faithfully. Instead they have been told that they are "dinosaurs", not relevant and must make way fo the foreign talets that replace them. They are often thrown on teir own limited resources (even ministers in those days did not have multi million dollar salaries)and face difficlulties with medical and other expenses.

I hope history does not repeat itself.

Anonymous said...

There is only one thing they have done well over recent years. That is rewarding themselves handsomely.

By arguing that you cannot get good people without paying them very well, that alone tells you the difference between the kind of politicians we had during the days of Dr Goh, and today, and the kind of people going to chart the way forward for us. Are they motivated by the urge to serve?

What do they lack that the old guards possessed?

Anonymous said...

MM : Don't rock fundamentals message

Who will help or listen to us, poor voters?


wendy said...

Girl in pic prettier and richer than me! :(

Laremy said...

Hey man, I don't think it's fair to use that photo to make that comparison with the quote about professional ability; it's a picture of Pei Ling in her own private capacity.

Anonymous said...

In LKY's Hard Truths, Lee mentioned that he no longer involved in the nitty gritty details of policies making, he merely provides broad directions/visions/advices. Like CEO of any company, no matter how good his/her vision is, if the next level of managers are not up to mark, any program/project implemented will fail.

AL said...

Excellent post. Well put. We should also consider what the MP has done for you at your estate.

Hmm on a similar note. What has the opposition done?

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang. As you mentioned Dr Goh here is a quote to keep in mind when voting:

"A system may arise in which the dominant minority... arrogate to itself not only the openings to the seats of power, but also the avenues by which individuals can fit themselves out for such positions of power. The dominant minority is thus able to point out those outside of the charmed circle just do not have the necessary qualifications to be admitted to te elite group."

Dr God is prescient and knows the PAP.

Anonymous said...

wow, u really dislike PAP...now we know why

Anonymous said...

After reading, I thought to myself, "Yeah man, the track record as often repeated by the mass media often over-shadowed the incompetency of the last 5 years"
I am going to vote for the opposition. Sorry, I am going to rock the decaying foundation.

local peasant said...

To : Highdiver_2000 @April 26, 2011 4:28 PM

"Excellent post. Well put. We should also consider what the MP has done for you at your estate.

Hmm on a similar note. What has the opposition done?

You have forgotten to add on,
how much damage and harm has PAP inflicted on the local ? You can also apply that to oppposition, please !

Anonymous said...

The opposition is not the Government.

Opposition wards are relatively well looked after, minus the asset enhancements, of course, which they are deprived of, if that is what you are asking? Do you have grounds to complain against that?

If we should want to ask the same questions about what has the opposition done nationally, shouldn't we vote them in to form the Government first.

Anonymous said...

The opposition hasn't been given much chance to do anything, maybe we should all now give them a chance to see what they can do? VOTE WISELY!

Anonymous said...

Yes, everyone need to wake up and not just repeat the rhetorics that the PAP throws out to confuse. How is it possible to ask what the alternative has done when their hands are tied and they do not have the resources PAP help themselves to? (we should start to use the term ALTERNATIVE)

"Growth and share" comes from your tax money. It is not from their pockets.

I will not even consider PAP until they occupy less than 60% of the seats in parliament. We would need to vote for the alternative now to show that they do not have the mandate to do as they please.

For those worrying about freak result. What is freaky is when 66% translates into 97% power in parliament. What is freaky is when they can afford to put up anyone and expect us to suck it up.

Fact is they would still run the country for at least another 5 years since they have put in so many obstacles for the alternative. The choice is ours to put in a few more voices for you and me.

TinPeiLingNotWorth15KaMonth said...

I agree with Laremy who wrote on April 26, 2011 4:11 PM, "I don't think it's fair to use that photo to make that comparison with the quote about professional ability; it's a picture of Pei Ling in her own private capacity."

However, it is this video of Tin Pei Ling, interviewed at a PAP Award Party that blew her image.

Someone of that caliber is worth the MP's SGD15K/month pay? Goodness! Her youth is no excuse. I have personally met youth (a decade or more younger) who are more media-savvy than PAP's Tin Pei Ling. Is PAP scarping the bottom of the barrel just to maintain their right-wing party line?

Another related Tin Pei Ling video:

Anonymous said...

To Laremy at April 26, 2011 4:11 PM:

It's not about someone's private or public life. It's about his or her character.


Anonymous said...

The old guard could empathise and they led by example and were not afraid to be with the people. The new generation of and especially those in the last ten years have not done much good and the new ones are arrogant.

Parka said...

Photos can be misleading, and in this case doesn't really add to your argument.

Anonymous said...

"The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
-- Frederick Douglass

"It's important to realize that whenever you give power to politicians or bureaucrats, it will be used for what they want, not for what you want."
-- Harry Browne

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
-- Bertrand de Jouvenal

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We seek not your counsel, nor your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you;
and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
-- Samuel Adams

Anonymous said...

To Parka at April 26, 2011 5:54 PM:

Have you not heard of "A picture is worth a thousand words"?

Anonymous said...

Very well said indeed!

Anonymous said...

Although I agree with you on certain issues, I must say, how confident can we be that the opposition can do a better job?

Ps. I think tin pei ling may be better than young candidates in the opposition. Lol.

JC said...

"it's a picture of Pei Ling in her own private capacity"

To play Devil's Advocate, if many people are concerned with PAP being out of touch with Singaporeans, concerned only about self-reward, you can't blame ANYONE seizing upon the "Kate Spade photo" as an example of PAP just hiring more of the same.

If there was a clue that Tin Pei Lin was being ironic posing as she did in her photo, I'd give her a break. But it reeks of shallow materialism, and Singaporeans have had enough of that from the PAP.

Zee said...

I agree that the photo was taken by Tin in her personal capacity. Perhaps Mr Wang, you should have posted an video of her in her OFFICIAL capacity stomping her legs at not being able to answer the question - that would have been fairer! :D

Anonymous said...

Have we considered the things that PAP did right for the last few years?
- Why is Spore the last few to be hit by the recession n first few to recover?
- why is our literacy level of younger generation higher than many?
- why is every part of spore connected or going to be connected by MRT?

And PAP, when r u going to start listen n not pretend to listen?
- competition (from foreigners) is good, but we must be the talents, the winners!
- we are tired of pay n pay theory. You made us affluent and want us to contribute to GDP but blame us for driving big cars, buying big houses n not having children. Therefore, we pay penalties again.
- when we have one kid, you give us 5k parenthood tax rebate, which for higher income couples, is wiped out after a year. It is like, 'give brith la, first year we help u, then u are on your own...and we continue to increase standard of living.'

Men in whites, don't blame the people, u deserved to be issued a warning. U will still win this GE, but definitely with flying colour. Buck up or lose the next one.

Anonymous said...

Definitely NOT with flying colour

Anonymous said...

I do not support PAP, but I got to admit posting of that photo ruined an otherwise fine argument. You should have posted video of ANY of her interviews (I particularly like the one she speaks of her greatest regret) in its place.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

It's not the photo, it's the person in the photo.

Read LKY's words again. Not just about the "high calibre", the "track record" etc.

But also the words about the PAP "combing the whole of Singapore" to find the best candidates.

Honestly, if you combed the whole of Singapore, and Pei Ling was among the "best" you can find, what does that say about the PAP's ability to attract good people?

Every week, I have lunch with friends who, in my sincere opinion, are better-qualified to be MPs.

Anonymous said...

So, are we really that hard up for talents, or have we created the illusion of shortage, so that only A-star can churn them out, which ultimately the PAP will have first grip on them, thereby hoping to monopolise the limited supply, and preventing the opposition from laying their hands on them?

Raelynn said...

although putting up the photo is not a very fair argument, as a politician-to-be, she should have considered that such photos although taken in personal private capacity do not fare well with the public image that she should be portraying and either removed the photos in her personal facebook, or vet very carefully her friends list and then close off her personal facebook to strictly friends only. no i do not mean that she should be posting photos of herself as a grim stern mature old woman, we are not that nit pick.

while i admire MM Lee's grit and appreciate what he and the PAP had done for singapore in its early to golden years to build the nation to what we are today, the stage and audience really is very different from what is was 4 decades ago. perhaps this is the price of building the "human resource" which is the only thing that singapore has, in our success in education and literacy and ability to adapt to changing technology, we have learnt to compare, discuss, debate and evaluate, for better or for worse.

@Highdiver_2000, i'm not sure what is the tone of your post, but my response below is if you are having doubts about whether the opposition will be any better than most incumbent MPs from PAP. as other posters have mentioned, the opposition because of the way electorial boundaries are marked and stigma to be associated with the opposition party (which is the major reason why for the past decades there is hardly fresh blood, leading to lack of resources to work the ground and compete in other constituencies), are unable to do much about policies passed in parliament, NCMPs do not have the right to vote for passing of policies, and merely has the ability to provide their viewpoints. while i wouldnt fault you for wondering aloud what can the opposition do if they were to successfully enter parliament, i hope that if they were to form a significant fraction and gain some legitimacy, they are able to have a share of the resources that the PAP MPs have to provide for their constituents and propose sound policies that can survive rigorous debating. also, if they were to really be able to form a respectable fraction of the parliament, i can also only hope that singaporeans are patient for change. change and improvements will not happen immediately, not in 6 months, not in 1 year. we may observe improvements in a single electorial term, but for real change in policies to happen will definitely take more.

@Anon April 26, 2011 7:03 PM. this is where i would like to illustrate a point, why is it that we can have a population that has improvements in literacy (yes they did that right) yet not improvements to the wage that we receive as a result of education?

Anonymous said...

This writer is far too rigid and conservative in his thinking. You've been young before and what's wrong with the photo? Obviously, you are not fit to comment. The basic human respect, do you have it?  from the same age group as Ms Tin.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

The thing is that none of the opposition has provided any proposals to show how they would achieve they want to achieve. There is no way to analyse their methods to see any flaws.Without such proposals, there are only two ways to vote: look at the past track record or vote based on emotion.

There is no foolproof way to vote wisely if proposals are not made available for thought and discussion.Without referring back to the past record (as you rightfully mentioned that it is less than stellar), most voters will fall back to emotion.

Case in point: Nicole Seah, the newest 'hot' politician on FB. Look at her profile. She mentions she wants to lower the cost of living, obviously a noble aim but then there is no plan! None! Is she going to go for price control? Is she going to lower GST? No one knows. Among her many fans, no one asked her to state her plan! Why not? This is 'Hope & Change' again. All sound and fury but no substance visible.

From my viewpoint, this popularity is emotional. The thing is, there is no way to vote wisely in an election where proposals are not laid out in the open for all to see.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at April 26, 2011 8:33 PM:

I'm going to call you an idiot.

Why don't you ask the same things about the new PAP candidates? Do they have solid plans about what they are going to do once they are elected? Did the PAP have any past records of its own to prove that the two casinos are for the greater good of Singapore? In long run? Can they see that far if they couldn't even foresee the need for lifts to stop at the level in older flats?

Anonymous said...

This writer is far too rigid and conservative in his thinking. You've been young before and what's wrong with the photo? Obviously, you are not fit to comment. The basic human respect, do you have it?  from the same age group as Ms Tin.

As per Mr Wang's reply
Every week, I have lunch with friends who, in my sincere opinion, are better-qualified to be MPs.

and thats because Mr Wang is so busy he mostly lunches at his desk the rest of the week ...

Anonymous said...

It's all a matter of perception.

MM Lee's perception of Ting Pei Ling may be different from that of Mr Wang, of course.

Actually whether MM Lee or Mr Wang's perception is right or reality, doesn't matter. It is the majority voters' perception that matters.

And the big problem for the opposition is that majority voters identify with the Party brand (read lightning logo) rather than the individual, or the party which will most likely form the government and hence better able to help them.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Don't rock the fundamentals ? Did I hear it wrongly.

Anonymous said...

"From my viewpoint, this popularity is emotional. The thing is, there is no way to vote wisely in an election where proposals are not laid out in the open for all to see."

The dog in your house does not need to be more intelligent or smarter than you. He just needs to bark when someone tries to break into your house when you are sleeping.

Call it emotion, call it good proposal or call it perception. It should be a clincher where it matters most.

Anonymous said...

The thing is that none of the opposition has provided any proposals to show how they would achieve they want to achieve. There is no way to analyse their methods to see any flaws.Without such proposals, there are only two ways to vote: look at the past track record or vote based on emotion.
anon 8:33

SDP published a shadow budget shortly before our National Budget was released this year.

WP published a 17,000 word manifesto.

PAP published only a 1700 word party manifesto.

Yet, only the PAP manifesto received heavy media coverage, while the opposition's proposals were ignored by the mainstream media.

PAP has not provided any concrete evidence of their success track record for the past 5 years.

Salaries are stagnant inspite of expensive 'investment' into retraining workshops.

Housing prices have ballooned tremendously because our Mah Bow Tan was caught off-guard from 2005-2008 when foreign population to Singapore ballooned, while HDB flat supply was very low.

I don't see any proposals put up by PAP to resolve the situation. Instead, all I saw was PAP insisting that we either don't have a problem or we "might" have one looming.

There's no real talk about a solution. And based on their track record, they probably will make tax us more, living up to their one-size-fits-all solution to all our national issues; Pay-and-Pay!

Anonymous said...

"Don't rock the fundamentals" - I guess the MM is really living in a world of his own. Get into the streets and he will see that the very fundamentals of our society has already been rocked! The great influx of foreigners is tearing at the fabric of our soceity. If this goes on, our country is going to be torn apart! VOTE WISELY!

Anonymous said...

"Don't rock the fundamentals" - I guess the MM is really living in a world of his own. Get into the streets and he will see that the very fundamentals of our society has already been rocked! The great influx of foreigners is tearing at the fabric of our soceity. If this goes on, our country is going to be torn apart! VOTE WISELY!

chnrxn said...

Mr Wang, this is by far the most blatant and harsh criticism you have issued on the incumbent.

Come on, list the good things that they have been directly responsible for in the past 5 years!

Either you must be really annoyed, or you've delegated authoring to someone else, or your account got hacked!

Liesl said...

I'm not sure what's wrong with the picture. In what way does it refute LKY's statement? Does posing casually with the peace sign and a Kate Spade box somehow prove that one doesn't have a proven character, isn't of high calibre, and is without a track record of performance that shows one will not fail in taking on responsibilities? And with regards to the anonymous response to Laremy's comment, how does it show bad character and/ or stupidity?

Perhaps you should post certain election-related videos of her instead, to really get your point across.

Temporal_Anomality said...

Just could not resist contributing my 2-minutes of ramble to this.

Speaking of previous track record, the government is now alienating the 40-60 age group that had supported and contributed greatly to the progress and successes in the accelerated growth phase of the nation from the mid 1970's to 2000.

This group of people funded national projects and initiatives through taxes, fees, levies and hard work. Instead of reaping the benefits, we are being squeezed more and more, then made obsolete through the influx of foreign workers, escalating inflation, increased taxes, levies, fees etc.

If you look at the unemployed, you will see a lot in this age group. After years of $$$ and effort contributions, we are out on the streets, struggling daily with high cost of living, fighting for jobs against younger, cheaper foreigners at one end and losing to perceived elite foreign talent at the other end of the spectrum -- so where do we fit in? The "more good years" slogan has turned into "the long struggle" for us.

Ministers and MPs do not have this problem - they do not experience the psychological sting of retrenchment nor the trauma of sudden loss of income with its consequent struggle of how to face up to and provide for your family. Having lost a management level job, it took almost a year to get over the episode, learn new skills and chart new directions. So when I decided to start a business, I had all the associated costs but no real help in sight -- no line of credit, no credit card, no loan nor start up grants. After paying so much taxes over the years, what kind of help can we get in return? Perhaps even a properly qualified low-interest loan can help us back on our feet.

On the subject of business, it will also help if one of the KPIs set for GLCs measures how proactive they had been to help promote local SMEs instead of competing against them both locally and abroad.

How much more can we take? Just looking at the previous TV and Radio licence alone at $110 for households and $27 for car owners -- just figure out how much has been collected over the years. Where do the multitude taxes, fees, levies, etc that were collected go to? We need clearer accountability.

The government cannot behave like a landlord, they are the appointed management committee, put in place by the residents to serve and administrate to the our home, Singapore. We are the stakeholders and if the committee does not live up to expectations, changes happen at the next election exercise.

I have chosen to leave out political parties in this post as this does not matter to me -- the government is a collective that serves it citizens and whichever party or combination form the next government, these issues are still the bugbears to me.

Anonymous said...

While we cannot judge a person by his or her cutesy photograph, it says something when her associates are less than enthusiastic about her candidacy as well. A close associate of mine who has worked with TPL at the grassroot level and is also a potential candidate could not bring himself to be happy for TPL and in fact, told me that this is just the last straw for him, and will mark his turn away from the party in future years.

HT said...

People seem to forget that the Opposition has never been in power before so how can they have a track record in governance? If we don't try, we don't know. If the Opposition is voted in and does a bad job, we always have the power to vote them out again in 5 years. Don't forget there was a time when the PAP was voted into power without any governance experience as well.

As for the issue about the manifestos, come on, do you honestly expect the PAP ministers and MPs themselves to know in great detail what their own plan is? Most of the policy work and planning is done by the Civil Service (which by the way is not beholden to the PAP but is supposed to serve the people and the country in a non-partisan manner). If the Opposition was given the same access to the Civil Service machinery, I'm sure they can come up with concrete and detailed plans to back up their manifesto.

If the PAP Ministers and MPs really know the details of their plans (as many people demand to know from the Opposition), then why don't they talk about it instead of refusing to debate the Opposition and using diversionary tactics like personal attacks and semantics?

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...


Why don't YOU list the good things for which the PAP has been directly responsible, in the past five years?

Because I am having a lot of difficulty coming up with a list.

The Circle Line is one thing I can think of, but it's marred by the related shocking collapse of the Nicoll Highway, which really should make you question the current safety standards of our government.

The PAP will be quick to praise themselves about the IRs, but in my opinion, that is at best a mixed success, considering the endless social ills these casinos will bring. Did you read about the latest robbery?

The Youth Olympics might have been something praiseworthy, but what happened in the end? A gross mismanagement of public funds, by PAP minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

Did the education system improve? Not as far as I can see. My kids are of schoolgoing age and I see that all the old issues still remain. Too much pressure, too much rote memorisation etc etc.

Did the SAF improve? Five years ago, I blogged a lot about ways that they could improve - among other things, the SAF should be honest and transparent about NSmen who get hurt or killed during training, and the SAF should buy insurance to compensate them. Did this happen? No and no.

So please tell me. What on earth were you thinking about? When you referred to good things that the PAP has accomplished over the past ficve 5 years. I can barely think of any.

Anonymous said...

The PAP's policies worked in the 70s - 90s because S'poreans throw in their lot with the ruling party to improve our lives. Now we have to share our success with instant citizens/mercenaries who just partake without any real work or committment. The last 5 years has been a betrayal and erosion of this goodwill. Whatever percieved as good from the ruling party comes with a heavy price. Do not forget their mantra "no free lunch" which has not been talked about during elections. Expect more of the same stuff we had the last 5 years if the present opposition representations remain.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we shld do this in systematic manner and list out pros and cons, pros on one side and cons on the other, on what pap has done well last 5 yrs and not so well. But cannot include things that would have happened even if the pap was not in power (like global recession etc).

Whoever wants to argue either side has to add this to substantiate their point. Mr Wang already listed a lot of bad things.

Anonymous said...

No good points anyone? For $3m salary per year and 8 months bonus for ministers, surely there must have been some good achievements?

chua said...

does steering the country out of one of the worst recessions the world has ever faced relatively unscathed count?

i was in US when the recession struck. not in the very good neighbourhood. ppl there, not just the not educated, but also the once-middle income ppl, were having a really difficult time. jobs were lost in swathes. and i thought, oh dear, Singapore sure die.

but i was surprised to hear tt things, although difficult, weren't really as bad.

whether or not it's because of the PAP govt or because of the resilience of Singaporeans as a people, we rode out the storm of the 2009 financial crisis very well. isn't tt something tt is worth remembering?

Anonymous said...

/// Anonymous said...
Mr Wang,
The thing is that none of the opposition has provided any proposals to show how they would achieve they want to achieve.
April 26, 2011 8:33 PM ///

The WP published an impressive manifesto with concrete action plans and ideas, whereas the PAP came up with a 1688-word fluffy re-cycled manifesto without any specific plans.

Tan Jee Say published "Creating Jobs and Enterprise in a new Singapore economy – Ideas for Change" - a blueprint for change instead of the growth at all cost model adopted by PAP (because their bonuses are linked to the GDP KPI) by throwing a million foreign workers at the economy.

Anonymous said...


Few countries in Asia were as badly hit by the financial crisis like US and Europe. If you were around in Asia at that time, the effects of the financial crisis were hardly felt in our neighbours like Indonesia and Malaysia.

So why does PAP get credit for steering us out of the financial crisis? Don't forget that though we were the first to recover, amongst those around us we were the one who also dropped the lowest.

Anonymous said...

Remember during the financial crisis, GIC went to buy big stakes in a few of the US/European banks and lost money! So did government do a good job during the financial crisis or not?

And by the way, one of the banks, UBS, which we now own a large stake in, is the same bank who prepared the report that said our standard of living is same as Russia. So is UBS correct or did we invest money in a crap bank?

Amused said...

"does steering the country out of one of the worst recessions the world has ever faced relatively unscathed count?"

Indonesia had positive growth during the "worst recession" years of 2008-2009 (at about 4% p.a.).

Maybe we should hire their Finance Minister eh? His salary is more affordable.

mr wang says so said...

Singapore was less hurt in the financial crisis than the US and the UK.

Even less hurt than Singapore were countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Mongolia and North Korea.

Do you know why?

Let me tell you that the answer has nothing to do with Kim Jong being superior to LKY; nor anything to do with LKY being superior to Obama/Bush.

Nevertheless, you raised an interesting example which reminded me of another failure of the PAP government.

Remember the Lehman mini-bonds? If you had bought some from DBS in Singapore, then when the bonds collapsed, you probably received next to nothing in compensation.

But if you had bought the exact same Lehman mini-bonds from DBS, but in Hong Kong, you would have been compensated properly.

Why? What's the difference?

The difference is that in Hong Kong, the HKMA decided that the banks ought to compensate the little man in the street.

Whereas in Singapore, the MAS decided that the little man in the street ought to be made to eat the losses. The citizens don't matter, the corporates matter more.

It was only when the MAS saw what the HKMA was doing in Hong Kong that the MAS decided that it had to step in to help the S'porean uncles, aunties and grandmothers who had invested in that crappy stuff.

Help them in a teeny-weeny, mousy sort of way.

Anonymous said...

About Ms Tin, is she matured enough to take up politics? Look at the way she stomp her feet when she dunno what to say. So how will you react when you go up to this MP, present your problem and seek her help and she just stomps her feet, shrugs and tell you " I dunno what to say."?

Think about it........

Anonymous said...

I believe that the fundamentals are still the same.... Singapore is small, with limited resources, is in a region that is not very friendly, and has to compete in a very globalised world...

I agree that past performance does not suggest how the future will unfold in a ever changing world.

However, the party that wins in this watershed election must be one who is STILL able to navigate the country and its people through these minefields.

So, my advice to the parties is to stop mudslinging the candidates or 'frightening' the voters with doom and gloom. These cheap tactics just leave a very bad taste in the mouths of many Singaporeans. We do not like to be treated as if we are stupid. So, please focus on the policies.

And my advice to voters, please choose carefully. Do not be overwhelmed by emotions, even this GE is going to be very emotional because we are all so the pent-up.

rench00 said...

hmm... yes, sri lanka et al did well even during the recession. but do you want to go stay in sri lanka?

i think comparing us to Vietnam, North Korea, etc is not a fair comparison. our economies are very different from theirs.

and the year after the recession, our growth is a disgustingly high 15%. tt's the growth rate of a developing economy just at the starting to industrialise. a study of economics will tell us tt a economy like ours really shdn't be growing at tt rate. esp against the global backdrop. but we did. so...

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

By the way, I work in a bank.

Asian countries - and you can include Japan - generally did not suffer the financial crisis the way the US did, for a very simple reason.

NOBODY in Asia structures or sells CDOs linked to the US subprime mortgages.

Congratulating the PAP government for having avoided the financial crisis that the US suffered is as meaningless as praising the PAP government for having saved us from the earthquake that Japan experienced.

1. US subprime mortgages are NOT sold in Asia.

2. Richter 9 earthquakes do NOT happen in Singapore.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

"and the year after the recession, our growth is a disgustingly high 15%"

I already commented on that in a previous post. Let me quote myself:

A rise in the cost of living is not a problem, if it is matched with a rise in average wages. Unfortunately, over the past five years, Singaporeans have NOT been able to earn more money. Singaporeans are working as hard as ever (and in fact, hold the current world record for working the longest hours), but their incomes have been stagnating. If you don't believe me, read this.

To put it simply, while Singapore's economic growth has arguably been decent, this simply hasn't translated into a better life for the average Singaporean in the street. Our reserves may have grown; our government ministers may be drawing bigger and bigger salaries; the Bangladeshi workers and the Filipino waitresses may be feeling satisfied - but the average Singaporean just isn't getting any benefits out of the nation's success.

Why is this so? Well, wages are related to productivity. To earn more money, the Singaporean has to raise his productivity by learning new skills and gaining more knowledge in value-added areas. Companies have a role to play in this too. They have to innovate, become more efficient, invest in new technology, and in training their employees. That's how productivity can increase, together with sustainable wage growth.

But this isn't happening in Singapore. On the contrary, our labor productivity has fallen to shockingly low levels. In 2009, for instance, labor productivity growth was worse than zero. It was negative (-14.9%). And why has labour productivity fallen so badly in Singapore? It's because the PAP government's policy on foreign workers actually discourages productivity. Instead of getting Singaporeans to increase productivity by learning new skills and knowledge, the focus has instead very much been on importing more and more cheap foreign labour to do the job.


Let me put it another way.

Why do we want GDP growth? What purpose does it serve?

The purpose is so that the citizens can do better in their jobs; earn more money; lead a better life.

This hasn't happened in Singapore. There is GDP growth, but income growth has stagnated for years. If Singaporeans aren't getting richer, if they only end up struggling harder and harder to meet the ever-increasing costs of living, then the very purpose of having high GDP growth is defeated.

Anonymous said...

To Liesl:

The picture (too bad it has been replaced by a video) tells me that Tin Pei Ling is someone vain and materialistic. Nothing wrong with being vain and materialistic. But an MP vain and materialistic? What would her priorities be? Serve the people or clamour for material wealth? Would she be able to emphatise with the common people?

Actually, I think your perception of her is coloured by the fact that she is with the PAP. If she were with the opposition, you would probably form a different conclusion about her, one similar to mine. And I am sure the PAP would say (in relation to her) that the opposition doesn't have credible people.

Anonymous said...

I am not a financial expert but as a security consultant I do have some knowledge of what constitutes fundamental security and it is fundamentals we are talking about right.

If you have, let us say, $100 billion would you not want MORE consent and signatures before issuing a cheque. Now I am not saying that what we have is inadequate BUT in life surely one cannot be too careful. A day may come when you have the best assets in the world only to realize upin cashing these that they are somehow worthless. The FUNDAMENTALS of BEING SAFE remain the safe. You have someting valuable, you make sure that you lock it up and make it as difficult as possible for someone to get hold of it.

That for me is getting the fundamentals correct.

Anonymous said...

I will certainly not vote for anyone who threatens the voters into casting their votes or else you will not get anything from the government.

I would like to remind all of us that those national reserves belong to Singapore and not the PAP. Anyone including the opposition voted into office can make use of it to do good for Singapore and its peopls. NOT ONLY PAP can upgrade HDB flats.

Anonymous said...

She will be a good pretty prostitute sucking all the balls of our PM, SM, MM and all the other old ministers...hahaha

Anonymous said...

You took the words from my mouth. The PAP likes to talk about track record, but the people who made that track record are no longer around. It is like comparing 2010 Leeds Utd to 1970's Leeds Utd (league champions).