Archive for April, 2012

When aliens got too many

April 28, 2012 Leave a comment

To be fair, I wouldn’t know if this post is posted deliberately. After all, in this social media society, it’s pretty easy to raise tensions. And I am sure this post had made it’s round in Facebook, TR, TOC and other social media platform , and you have most probably read it:

Apparently, this pinoy loves Tamil shows

Talk about complaining, this pinoy has surpassed the average Singaporeans! A talent indeed.

This facebook comment is waiting to be criticized, especially at such heightened tensions between true blue Singaporeans and aliens. But then again, I have witnessed foreigners (not only among the Pinoy communities I have to stress) who had displayed similar attitudes as Angelo.

It is natural for people such as Angelo to feel threatened by the growing vociferous Singaporeans. At the same time, I think it is callous and insensitive for a foreigner (treated even so for new citizens) to overplay their importance. From another post, I have indicated how under appreciated Singaporeans are and how the government is not helping, but are actually worsening the notion that foreign talents are extremely important to the nation. The corollary is even foreigners are perpetually believing in their own self-importance and superiority over citizens of the country they are working in. In my opinion, the ‘talent’ word should simply be scraped. But doing so will blunt the PAP’s assertion that more foreign workers are required.

In a short 10 years since the policy of opening the flood gates to foreigners, the aliens have changed from a position of being silent on local politics to one that tried to lecture Singaporeans to welcome aliens like themselves (and applauding the PAP government that allowed them to enter Singapore) as they grow from a few thousands to millions. Never mind that they left their own country and are unwelcoming of Singapore’s culture evidenced by their unwillingness to assimilate thanks to their growing numbers.

For me, it is a very sad thing. The Singapore culture, which the PAP government doesn’t seem to understand nor recognize (since the ex-president actually commented before that there is no Singaporean culture), is slowly dissolving. As a young nation, it has taken many decades for the 4 major races to assimilate to one another creating the by-product of Singlish with the smattering of different dialects and languages in a communication tool that is unique in this world (Malaysia comes close although Malay is still the dominant language).

What the government has done is essentially destroying the social fabric in exchange of cheap economic growth driven by solely labor input. The argument of the importance of economic growth will always be correct since it’s simply about rising numbers. But is building a nation only about the economy? Even though I am economically trained, I choose to look at problems from the normative point of view. Singapore is a country, not just a city. Without a doubt, the PAP government is one that is without a soul. They only recognize numbers, symbols that mean tangible calculation. It is extremely difficult for them to understand things that cannot be seen. What they failed to recognize, is the intangible cost of social disruption and the rising daily social tension cost between the local and the aliens.


The issue of Population, and gazing into a crystal ball

April 24, 2012 3 comments

So this group of civil servants from the civil service, or to be more precise, the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) published a paper to support their own theory on how immigration will help Singapore. Sometimes you really have to hand it to this group of scholars (??) who have nothing better to do other than gazed into the crystal ball in the little comfortable room of their ivory towers. Seriously, extrapolating to 2060? Who do they think they are? God?

This is akin to playing TOTO or 4D. Nobody knows what is going to happen tomorrow, let alone 48 years into the future. All they have done is plug into some figures into some self-made model, which I suspect with some (or rather, a lot of) oversimplifying assumptions such as linearity of variables interaction. This paper is redundant and serves no purpose except to support their own plans into allowing more immigrates into the country. This is also a paper that any secondary school student can create simply from shrinking the population at the constant variable of the difference between the replacement rate of 2.1 and the current birth rate of 1.2.

First of all, the government has to accept the fact that it is a worldwide trend for developed countries to have smaller families as more women joined the workforce and individuals treasure self-consumption more than simply having kids in an ever-increasingly expensive society. A country’s economic power and quality of life does not simply depends on labor force. We have seen nations with smaller population enjoying a higher standard of living than countries with large population. All things equal, while a larger population means larger economy, it does not mean that a larger economy equates to a stronger economy. The authorities should also be aware that come 2020, even China will start to age as well, thanks to their one-child policy.

Secondly, this paper talks about minting new citizens but ignore that there are non-citizens in the country. At any one point in time at the current moment, 1/3 of the country consists of foreigners and we have yet to take into account tourists. Singapore is only an island that is barely visible on a paper world map. How much are the authorities willing to push until it breaks the tipping point? At the current figure of 5+ million, we are already witnessing breakdowns in the country’s infrastructure, especially the famous-turned-notorious bus and trains services, crazily priced COE, stubborn HDB prices that refuses to bulge despite the measures introduced by the government giving serious signs of a bubble, increasingly dangerous xenophobia between Singaporeans and foreigners, and heightened distrust and hatred for the authorities. I cannot fathom how much worse it will become if the authorities really drive up the population to 6.5 million (a figure given by some smart alec), a figure that would essentially mean more foreigners than Singaporeans in the country if we take the population of Singaporeans as constant.

Thirdly, and more importantly, the government should look at the factors why Singaporeans are not producing more babies instead of taking the short cut of letting in more foreigners to support a population decline. It is a well known fact, one that even the PAP government acknowledges, that public housing prices is over the roof. How on earth does one expects to start a family if they have to wait years to get their own home that is marketed as public but easily consumes at least 1/3 of an average worker’s lifetime income? Then we have the inflation problem with this quarter being estimated to produce a higher inflation rate than last quarter.

It is also not wrong for some netizens to point out the current situation could be partially attributed by the government’s ‘Stop-at-Two’ policy in the 1980s that proved too successful. Asking the citizens to produce less babies when there are less jobs going around in the Eighties and asking them to produce more when there are too many jobs in the current economy is short-sighted as it treats citizens like factory machines, adjusting production to suit the government’s needs, and neglect the lagged time between ‘newly produced workers’. When the government started the ‘Stop-at-Two’ policy in the 80s, they should have expected the ‘Baby Boomers’ to ignite a drastic decline in population in the next coming decades. Isn’t that part of the plan when they considered the policy?

Crumbling infrastructure, increased tension between the citizens and foreigners, stubbornly high inflation rate and housing prices, stagnant wages….the government should jolly well try to solve all these problems instead of publishing useless papers and taking short cuts by offering short-term solutions. How on earth does this level of incompetence justify the million dollar salary is beyond me. For all I see, the PAP government is only good at collecting more money and taking inputs from foreign countries in their attempts to solve problems instead of solving the issues organically from within.

P.S. I laughed out loud whenever the main stream media broadcast to the entire world how ‘in’ the prime minister is in getting an account of facebook and how what Lee Hsien Long had for dinner is even considered as news. In the meantime, a large army of minions are hard at work deleting ‘offensive comments’ on the PM’s facebook, wasting time that could be put to better use. This illustrates perfectly the bias, curry-favor, propagandist government-controlled media who is not unlike his twin brother above the 38th parallel line that borders the land of Kimchi.

Happy Good Friday

April 6, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s been a while since I posted anything due to impending work commitments. Nevertheless, I thought I’ll be bit cheeky and did an experiment in posting comments on Straits Times websites. Just for the sake of proving how protective the Straits Times is over their Dear Leaders. Posting using 2 anonymous emails,  I left comments criticizing the PAP government with one and a neutral tone in another in two different PCs and web browsers. The results are within expectation. Within a day, the comment in criticizing the Straits Times’s Masters was deleted and I was completely blocked from posting additional comments while the other comment with a different email account is fine. Note that while I criticized, I did it with logical arguments rather than emotive arguments. If you have 10 minutes to spare, just give it a try!

The only reason I can think of is over-protection of a highly paid, self-praising government that are totally handicapped in receiving criticism. It’s no wonder heaps of ‘alternative websites/ blogs/ social media’ are launching exponentially. I don’t really blame these officials. Educated from youth and brain washed to believe that they are the best of the best. Who are we, mere citizens to criticize them? It seems like it is almost impossible for all these top officials to feel the ground, no matter what they claim. It’s impossible to understand what you have not gone through. Tell that to the Minister of Transport. Taking a few bus rides and mrt rides is nothing compared to taking them 365 days a year.

Some, usually the government themselves, argued that criticism are not required and only ‘constructive comments’ are appreciated. I beg to differ. Criticism is the most direct form of feedback in the rawest form on how well the government and the policies are performing. While talk is cheap, it’s reasonable for citizens to expect a certain standard of performance if the government is to be the best paid in the world. And let’s not dive into the lamest argument by certain extremely senior ex/current ministers that government officials of other countries have other non-monetized perks and can even write a book to earn royalty. At last count, Lee Kuan Yew had published at least 4 books in various languages, Ex-President Nathan had one, and Goh Chok Tong had one written about him during his premiership. Want to sell books? Start writing one then!

An economic study had actually shown that comparing the performance of capable government, humbled capable government, incapable government and humbled incapable government, the government that performed the best is capable government humbled under the heat of criticism. While it’s a stretch to say the results of this study is absolute, it does make some logical sense. Criticism forces the capable government to rethink harder whatever policies they need to implement. It also brings them down to the ground on public opinions. Therefore, it’s actually good if criticism are welcomed.

Although it’s expected results, I cringed at the thought of how hundreds of promising bright SPH scholars are being compelled to serve and protect the bias national media and their masters. Everything they have learned about liberty (since most of them pursue their undergraduate degrees in US and UK universities) are squashed. Unsurprisingly, many scholars I know left right after 6 years to pursue their dreams. Who can stand the bureaucracy of a system that determines how far you can climb simply by looking at your PSLE, O, A, and university results? Maybe except those that hunger for power and feel the need to over lord the rest.