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Cabinet Reshuffle (again)

July 31, 2012 Leave a comment

It came as a shock for many when the PAP government announced a shuffle of cabinets, turning MCYS and MICA to these weirdly worded ministries like Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSFD); the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY); and the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

Sometimes I wonder what did all these people in those ministries actually do every day. Did anyone really benefit from anything that MCYS (sponsorships for schools probably) and MICA (which I only remember them doing censoring) do? How can a ministry magically improve family ties?

From what I discerned from the write up of the 3 cabinets, the government believes the ‘family’ factor warranted a full ministry in MSFD, MCYS changed their name to MCCY and assume MICA’s art and heritage functions after removing the ‘family oriented unit’ (net work load remains the same it seems), and MICA’s responsibility essentially becomes lesser after a name change to MCI.

Synergy? Frankly speaking, I don’t see any. What I see is simply a lot more red tape and bureaucracy. From my previous experience in a prominent ministry, there is barely any synergy when you talk about two different departments, much less between ministries. There is more mistrust than synergy as scholars/ leaders in each stat-board and ministry compete to outshine one another. The truth is, the imperialistic system installed will only add on more layers of miscommunication and confusion between huge groups. Why can’t MCYS simply appoint specialized departments to oversee specific functions and coordinate between them? There’s no rule on how big a ministry should be.

What I deduce from this reshuffle is: this is simply a promotion drive. With one more ministry, one can create more positions for themselves. The PAP government needs a full female minister after the ‘unfortunate’ dismissal of ex-MP Lim Hwee Hua in Aljunied, to signal gender equality. There’s not much choice to begin with, so there goes lucky Grace Fu. Then there’s the factor of wage decrease a few months ago. How do you continue to entice people to join PAP after the wage cut? There’s always the promotion drive to circumvent the drop in wage.

Think of citizens as shareholders of a company. Now Singapore Inc wants to create new positions, increase the cost and deliver essentially the same results. Should the share price go up or down?

It doesn’t matter how many ministries you have. If you really have capable people, you won’t need so many people leading the various ministries. Why do we have two full ministers as Ministers of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, which as the name suggest, should be headed by the Prime Minister? Does the incapability of LTA in regulating public transport means LTA should be split up into Ministry of Bus, Ministry of Train and Ministry of Cars?

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It’s never their fault

July 21, 2012 4 comments

I haven’t been writing much due to work commitments. But after a long day at work on a weekend, the last thing I wish to read is news like this:

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Source: Channelnewsasia

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has cautioned Singaporeans to pay attention to new fault lines that have appeared between new citizens and native Singaporeans.

Speaking at Teck Ghee Community Club’s racial harmony celebrations, Mr Lee said new citizens may be ethnically similar, but fault lines may develop as the new citizens have different norms, habits and attitudes.

So he said Singaporeans must watch out for instances of social friction, especially online.

Mr Lee said new citizens and those born in Singapore must work together to ensure that differences do not affect social stability.

“The new arrivals – to embrace the Singapore values and norms and try and fit in as Singaporeans. And Singaporeans – to encourage the new ones to integrate, to help the new ones to fit in.”

In his speech, PM Lee reminded Singaporeans the reason for racial harmony celebrations.

He cited the two racial riots of 1964 when Singapore was part of the Federation of Malaysia. The riots left more than 30 dead, 500 injured and thousands arrested.

Looking back, Mr Lee said Singapore has come a long way but challenges remain.

He pointed out that the ease of joining online communities amplifies intolerant views as people are less restrained in cyberspace.

Mr Lee said the peace that Singapore now enjoys did not happen by chance, but by pure effort and deliberate policies.

These include ensuring equality, meritocracy and setting up institutions like the Presidential Council for Minority Rights and the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony to protect those groups’ interests.

And it’s important to continue to do so.

PM Lee said: “In normal times, we get along well together, but when there’s a crisis for example, if there’s a terrorist attack, then even though we’re under pressure, stay together and we don’t pull apart.”

So as the population becomes more diverse, Singaporeans will have to work harder at keeping social cohesion.

Mr Lee added, that perhaps Singaporeans can start today.

“Today of course, is the first day of Ramadan, and we wish our Muslim friends a happy fasting month and I hope you’ll accept your Muslim friends’ invitation to visit them during the month of Ramadan, if they invite you to break fast with them, take the opportunity to invite them for dinner the next time if you can,” he said.

And bit-by-bit, he said, this will keep the Singapore society harmonious.

– CNA/ck

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The issue between Singaporeans and foreigners is not a race issue in my opinion. It is simply locals versus aliens. And this is a result of the PAP government’s blatant disregard for population control. So much so that a party that is never known for acknowledging their own wrong doings (except in dire circumstances such as election; and even regarding the MRT breakdown issues, the government fell short of admitting their oversight) was forced to gave explanations to the citizens.

Can one say one is racist if a Singaporean Chinese does not see eye to eye with a China Chinese? How can a Indian (Singaporean) be racist against another Indian (from India)? While the issue today is similar, it is of a different context. Lumping it into a racial issue that happened in 1964 is misleading and irresponsible.

In addition, while I admit online views tend to be raw with less careful selection of words, maybe the PAP government should reflect whether that is the doing of suppressed freedom of speech and a state controlled media. And maybe they should reflect on their own policy making capabilities. In the 80s, they blame Singaporeans for having too many kids and implemented the stop at 2 policy. When the policy became so successful, they blame Singaporeans for not having enough kids and created policies that disadvantaged singles. Now that incentives doesn’t seem to work (much to the dismay of the government who seems to think money would work wonders going by how their policies are always created around monetary incentives and punishments), they bring in so many foreigners and are pushing the responsibility of social harmony to the locals.

P.S.: I wish to find time to write about the seemingly circus show displayed by the so-called Public Transportation Council. And the entire tai-ji-ing of responsibilities around as a show of display — a smoke screen ‘proof’ the government is doing something even though it amounts to nothing except using tax payers money to assist the closely government linked companies to help themselves (yeah, it is actually circular logic). It baffled me to see a government creating councils out of thin air (from the same pool of people who had connections or had a hand in the various government agencies) whenever there are any problems to ”investigate, judge and help” agencies that is supposed to be the one doing the job of regulation and governance.