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Postby ariyo » Tue, 12 Mar 2013 5:14 pm

SMS: No worries I am not ruffled, i am actually exposed to extremely abrasive and stressed out colleagues on my job, breaking their phones now and then. It just means they are passionate about something.

Furthermore, I can see that you do have the experience and your point of view makes a lot of sense. I only wonder if the ruling party is able to deftly balance a middle ground between the two or lose everything in the process.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 12 Mar 2013 5:27 pm

As I have typed just now and will reiterate again, there are no trees for the desperate and hopeless, let alone a forest. Building a country on the backs of those who have sacrificed yet giving them nothing is a recipe for disaster. Perhaps you could feedback to the RC for an equitable solution to this conundrum?


I see the above statement as somewhat of a skewed viewpoint. Even the poorest have colour TV's, Mobile phones, Internet access, electricity, running water and no dirt floors (with the exception of the one remaining kampong out here where I live on YCK road). And, sadly, they got an education that they don't quite know how to use. I've been to many, many countries where their poor don't have near that much and their rich have as much as the uber-rich here. In fact, I worked on one of the countries for 12 years (although I lived in Singapore). Indonesia I'm referring to, although most of the other ASEAN country's poor are in the same dire straits as well. Somehow, I don't see you logic.

As far as using the grassroots route, after 5 years, I've come to realize that the only "feedback" via the proper channels are usually railroaded to a siding long before it even reaches the upper echelons of the PA, let alone the necessary ministries. This is why the PAP is so out of touch with the ground as it's their card carrying members who are the chairmen of the various RC's and who only pass on that which they think the gahmen want to hear, not realizing that they are doing more and more damage to their party. Why do I stay in the RC? Because I like helping my neighbours. I disagree with a lot of the philosophy of the way they operate but as only an executive member I can only do so much (must take up citizenship to be an elected officer).

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 12 Mar 2013 7:05 pm

ariyo wrote:On a side note, I have witness a few recessions in Singapore in the last few year in 2008, 2001 and 1997. Each time there would be foreigners threatening doom and hellfire before promptly leaving en mass. property prices would collapse 30-40% and everyone would write Singapore off. The clever ones who remain here would make a killing and new talents will flow in to replace the ones who left in a seemingly predictable cycle. The same goes for Hong Kong or South Korea.


Many expats are employed in cyclical industries (banking etc), and by definition many expats are towards a higher-than-average remuneration.

Ergo when the economy takes a hard-fall, expats are at the front of the firing line. I.e. it is not that they choose to leave, it is that they don't have jobs and aren't allowed to stay.

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 12 Mar 2013 7:39 pm

ariyo wrote:The main explanation is that Singaporeans are very very angry indeed. A lot of them have been displaced or relegated in their home country with less escape alternatives than you and me or other less fortunate folks. Unfortunately, their feedbacks have been disregarded by the PAP for more than a decade and the hatred of the current system have poisoned them to such an extent that borders on arnachical. For people with backs against the walls for such a long time, the future and "other" countrymen are very far and distant entities.
[..]
The current strife is caused by more than a decade of mismanagement and under-building of infrastructure that lead to overcrowding and competition for resources. You can see PAP already reactively solving these problems and when the backlog is settled in a few more years, such unsavory sentiments would naturally disperse.

Will it really be the case? IMO the overcrowded infrastructure is something really minor and voices that mention it as the foreigner related problems do it secondary to other issues. Main of them is their perception that they are in less fortunate job situation because of the foreigners. As the influx of foreigners is not going to stopped but only be limited I am not really sure if this would change significantly anything.
I understand you are not really aiming at changing the government. This is good but is it what the masses really want?

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Postby therat » Tue, 12 Mar 2013 9:10 pm

.. what the masses really want?


I don't think anyone can answer that.
Everyone has their own answer in the heart.

But as ariyo has mention ,
their feedbacks have been disregarded by the PAP for more than a decade


Technically, PAP has lost the trust from the mass and out of touch from the ground too long.
Long until they don't know what are we talking.

When they ask for nation debate on should Singapore house 2 casino something related topic and after period of debating.
Then one fine day, after all those round and round of debating, they told the nation, actually last year (before they ask for national debate) they had decide to go ahead to build 2 casino.
This is a BIG slap.
What kind of message they sent out.

Basically a simple message, you all can debate whatever you like BUT I will decide how I want to run this country.. because it belong to PAP.

You all want a debate , fine. I can give it to you. BUT that does not mean, I need to bother to listen to you.

That what the mass felt.

But does PAP known? I doubt so. They had been staying at that castle too long.

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 12 Mar 2013 9:50 pm

They still do pretty good job and everybody benefits from it. Power makes people arrogant. It happens everywhere, also Singaporeans enjoy less freedom than many other democratic nations but in my opinion this is the price well worth to be paid for all what they have done and still have been doing. More freedom and more democracy will bring over all sorts of problems you probably don't expect starting from higher crime rate and widened gap between rich and poor. I am in this unique position that I witness with my own eyes the transformation from a communistic, non-democratic state to one of the most free democracies currently around and I know what was the bill paid and who paid it. Even if the magnitude of the change will be for obvious reasons few times smaller I don't think you will be happy with the transformation at the end of the process especially that you are stating from the point of being a wealthy nation.
You will likely find that those people you wanted to make more happy (as of what ariyo mentioned) will suffer most. The winners will be well educated and open minded who in principle have no problems under the current system. You should really appreciate IMHO what you have. It would be a different story if PAP/gov do a bad job, but this is not the case.

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 12 Mar 2013 10:46 pm

You surprise me X9. Are you saying that your country (which I know) would be better off back under communism? Or, if you're saying some people believe this, are these the people that communism would have supported, who no longer have that support mechanism?

Does the freedom and opportunity that democracy provide not compensate from most downsides? And if this is not so why do you think just about every member of the 'diaspora of the dispossessed' dreams of emigrating to the USA, one of the free-est and most democratic countries that exist?

p.s. I've been to a few communist countries and the people were either poor (Cuba), or poor and miserable (former East Germany) or poor and yet still making do (the 'Indochina 3'). The fact that a populace have never voted in a communist leadership via the ballot box speaks volumes to me. Rather: It always seems to enforced, and usually via terror.

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Postby Wd40 » Tue, 12 Mar 2013 10:51 pm

ariyo wrote:On a side note, I have witness a few recessions in Singapore in the last few year in 2008, 2001 and 1997. Each time there would be foreigners threatening doom and hellfire before promptly leaving en mass. property prices would collapse 30-40% and everyone would write Singapore off. The clever ones who remain here would make a killing and new talents will flow in to replace the ones who left in a seemingly predictable cycle. The same goes for Hong Kong or South Korea.



There is a difference b/w the previous recessions and what is happening now. Previous recessions atleast the confidence on the gahmen being investor friendly was intact. This time the outlook looks very very bleak indeed.

Whichever way you look at it. The writing is on the wall. The gahmen now has to become extremely investor unfriendly and foreigner unfriendly even after doing that the probability of them remaining in power for in the medium term looks bleak. Who will replace them? A bunch of dumb novices who dont have any experience.

This time it will be different. I agree with SMS on that fully.

The population white paper was actually the only way to sustain the high growth and high property prices, full employment etc. This was for the good of the majority of the people here who own homes and assets.

By rejecting the white paper you guys have dug your own grave. The minority who are crying have nothing to lose, they dont have anything anyways(No matter how rich a country is it will still have some poor people who are unhappy). Its the majority who are owning assets here and having jobs and income that are going to suffer for mindlessly supporting the xenophobia.

We foreigners have nothing to lose. We have a plan B. Do You?

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 12 Mar 2013 11:30 pm

JR8 wrote:You surprise me X9. Are you saying that your country (which I know) would be better off back under communism? Or, if you're saying some people believe this, are these the people that communism would have supported, who no longer have that support mechanism?

Communism provided a cocoon for a very large group of people. They were protected on some very basic level for their life/work stability. This level was very low as per Western standards but for many was sufficient. If they did not do anything against the government or the party there was unlikely they would lose their jobs under any typical circumstances including what was normally considered unacceptable (as per Western working culture). These people have real problem to find themselves in the reality of competitive market and economy. The paradox is that the "revolution" started from them and for them.
To make one thing clear: it is of course incomparable, the communistic state and Singapore in the context of democracy, but I see some analogies like the cocoon thing, like demand for more freedom etc. and now as I read that this is for the people "suffering" most under the current system, I could not help myself not to see also this element.


Does the freedom and opportunity that democracy provide not compensate from most downsides? And if this is not so why do you think just about every member of the 'diaspora of the dispossessed' dreams of emigrating to the USA, one of the free-est and most democratic countries that exist?

It is about the generations that are conditioned under the communistic rule. They don't know anything else and they are too old to adapt. 2-3 generations at least. The fact that everybody perceives the West as a promised land does not mean that everybody will manage to use the opportunity even if they think they would. It is also about the mentality that you will never win any fight against any authority.


p.s. I've been to a few communist countries and the people were either poor (Cuba), or poor and miserable (former East Germany) or poor and yet still making do (the 'Indochina 3'). The fact that a populace have never voted in a communist leadership via the ballot box speaks volumes to me. Rather: It always seems to enforced, and usually via terror.

Not everywhere. As far as I remember with us it was done always via the ballot boxes. There was simply no true party competition and if it was the results could always be falsified.

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Postby ariyo » Wed, 13 Mar 2013 12:07 am

Firstly I would like to address SMS: Your viewpoint is relative. Yes the poor are not the poorest in the world. They are not the rural chinese slaving away in sweatshops. The same can be said about the rural chinese by comparing them with the starving african kids, which in turn can be compared to Liberian child soldiers who are forced to murder their own parents. The point is that the poor here and the general population have decreasing standards of living through macroeconomics and bad policy implementation. Given a choice between 2 leaders, with one telling us "things aren't that bad yet" and the other say "we can do better", I would very much prefer to have the latter. It is with the same spirit that Singaporeans have been clamoring for better leadership but have been sadly denied.

Regarding your grassroots experience...that is also true to many people. While my family is very active in the grassroots program, I think we all know that many characters inside are damaging the party for their own self interest. Pm Lee have recently admitted to that too and yet nothing has been changed.

To x9200: Foreigners have been part of singapore's identity for centuries and many people here were foreigners once. My dad was a british subject, then a malaysian before finally becoming a singaporean without even leaving the shores. My grandparents went one further by acquiring japanese identifications albeit reluctantly :). That said, one must wonder why a country with such a long history of foreigners integrating would suddenly turn inwards. With almost 50% of the work force here foreigners, it is easy for people to blame them as the bogeyman. Foreigners in return, justifiably for most, would feel threaten and retaliate. The tit for tat grows and the country's seams tear.

You feel that foreigner related problems are the main issue but i reassure you that over-crowding and other foreigner related problems are symptoms and not the cause. If people had plenty of appropriately paid jobs, living space, affordable dwellings, they would have less to complain about. Xenophobia is as much an economic problem reinforced by what people perceive on a day to day basis. If people have it good and are experiencing a comfortable life with aspirations to strive for progress, would they be convinced otherwise?

Me thinks that the current foreigner debacle is just about locals holding the foreigners hostage to negotiate with the government. It is not something they WANT to do, but it is something they find to be particular effective in finding a listening ear from the elites. Like what therat succinctly said, the PAP has lost the ground and extreme communication was needed. It is by no means enjoyable to be held hostage, and it is probably not very comforting if i told you I have no better solution other than for the government to truly reform.

To wd40, sure you have a plan B. But i think you have not been in singapore long enough to understand how it works here. The government has no qualms on collapsing housing prices and they have done it before. As long as their power is at stake, anything is possible. Furthermore, the state owned enterprises have already made their killing and have very little at stake. In fact, it is about time for them to scoop up land banks at fire sale prices soon. You can mark my words on this. Also, a majority of home owners are non investors and have very little to lose from paper losses. There is very little incentive for the government to protect losses against investment losses. That is what capitalism is about right? or at least that is what traditional Non american capitalism is about :P.

From what I hear from the sales people in Barclays, things are not going well. I hope 2013 will be a better year for you.

I will discuss the White Paper another day, having read it in its entirety the day it came out, I brought it straight to my boss and jokingly told him that this was political suicide. Any government representing me should not be naive enough to publish it with such poor timing. It makes me wonder if they are capable enough to represent us as a nation against the creme de la crop of the other nations.

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Postby Wd40 » Wed, 13 Mar 2013 12:22 am

ariyo wrote:Firstly I would like to address SMS: Your viewpoint is relative. Yes the poor are not the poorest in the world. They are not the rural chinese slaving away in sweatshops. The same can be said about the rural chinese by comparing them with the starving african kids, which in turn can be compared to Liberian child soldiers who are forced to murder their own parents. The point is that the poor here and the general population have decreasing standards of living through macroeconomics and bad policy implementation. Given a choice between 2 leaders, with one telling us "things aren't that bad yet" and the other say "we can do better", I would very much prefer to have the latter. It is with the same spirit that Singaporeans have been clamoring for better leadership but have been sadly denied.


How do you trust the leader who is saying "we can do better". What if he takes you to the level of rural chinese workshops? Atleast the leader who says "things aren't that bad yet" has an amazing track record. Most politicians only promise and never deliver. You should step out of the red dot to find that out. Out here you have leaders that have delivered so much and yet thats not enough for you? Good luck! :roll:

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Postby Wd40 » Wed, 13 Mar 2013 12:36 am

ariyo wrote:
Me thinks that the current foreigner debacle is just about locals holding the foreigners hostage to negotiate with the government. It is not something they WANT to do, but it is something they find to be particular effective in finding a listening ear from the elites. Like what therat succinctly said, the PAP has lost the ground and extreme communication was needed. It is by no means enjoyable to be held hostage, and it is probably not very comforting if i told you I have no better solution other than for the government to truly reform.



Yeah right! You think masses have so much intellectual to know what is right and what is wrong for their country? Just think about it. Life is always about tradeoffs. One mans food is another mans poison.

Me thinks the Singapore until now was in the perfect sweet spot where most people were doing quite well. A small minority percieved themselves to be unhappy. This was the best possible scenario given the contrainst of being a small city state with no resources. This was only possible because you had a great visionary leader who didnt listen to masses and did his own thing and the right thing. The moment you start listening to masses, you are doomed. Look how other true democracies are faring.

You must be extremely optimistic to think that things could have been any better than that and to think that the xenophobia being spewed out is actually going to make things better, well time will tell.

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 13 Mar 2013 12:38 am

It was all /tldr.

If you can't make a cogent and persuasive case within say 10 lines, > you have NO case.


Bye bye.

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 13 Mar 2013 12:46 am

Wd40 wrote:This was only possible because you had a great visionary leader who didnt listen to masses and did his own thing


Just like North Korea eh? :roll:

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Postby ariyo » Wed, 13 Mar 2013 12:59 am

Wd40: The man with the track record and the most of his exemplary ministers are no longer in making decisions. The interim batch does not have a good record. The sweet spot for you is not to be confused with the sweet spot for citizens.

It is also fair to compare between different batches of government in Singapore instead of comparing with different countries. Apples and oranges comparisons are rarely objective. I do not want to offend anyone, but we expect our government to perform to their best and it is one of our strong points. Furthermore, Singapore is a republic, not a true democracy...you may want to read more on that.

JR8: You are right, I type too long.


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