Monday, April 23, 2007

Confused By MM Lee's Comments At YPAP Forum...

I don't know about you all but I must admit that I got quite confused by MM Lee's comments, as reported by today's Straits Times, at the YPAP (for the unaware: YPAP refers to "Young PAP" and not "Why Pay And Pay?") forum last Saturday.

According to the Straits Times, MM Lee said...

"If Singapore ever loses this kind of government of capability and integrity, of always looking into the future, planning ahead, it will just sink into nothingness and become an insignificant island..."

"Let's say the PAP crashes tomorrow, right? One boatload sinks, 3,000 people dead. You have an election. You're going to reproduce this government? No..."

Yet, at the same time, he also said...

"Without them (note: the 50% of Singaporeans who cannot emigrate) doing the hard and dirty work, I would not have been a leader, my children would not have been educated..."

"You (note: the other 50% of Singaporeans who can emigrate) are here, you are getting this education, you are getting these opportunities that make you mobile, that make you desirable because this mass of people (note: I think MM Lee was again referring to the 50% who cannot emigrate) had discipline, (were) hardworking, provided the stability, the base on which you mounted your career..."

I wonder... So, in MM Lee's opinion, which factor was & is more important for the success of Singapore: the disciplined & hardworking Singaporean people who did the hard and dirty work or the Singaporean/PAP Government?

Also, since MM Lee proposed the thought-experiment of what if the PAP crashed tomorrow, allow me to propose the thought-experiment of every Singaporean, except those in the PAP Government, suddenly disappearing from Singapore tomorrow. What would happen? Would the remaining PAP Government still be able to keep a Singapore a success? Would they, by themselves, be able to create a First World oasis out of Singapore?

Ok, let's make this thought-experiment scenario even more interesting... Suppose we transfer the PAP Government to some unpopulated deserted island, of roughly the same size and possessing the same conditions (i.e. no natural resources) as Singapore in the 1960s, somewhere in Southern Pacific Ocean (i.e. no significant geographical position & no colonial legacy), would they be able to build a First World city out of this deserted island?

I don't know about you all but, personally, I think the answer to the thought-experiment I proposed above would most likely be "No"...

And, if my memory does not serve me wrong, one or two weeks back, Mr. Andy Ho, a senior writer with the Straits Times, in support of the increases in public sector salaries, wrote an article ("Evaluation coloured by perception", ST, 5/4/2007) about how people tend to have this psychological bias in them which makes them to underestimate the value of the work & contributions of others. Hmm... MM Lee is human, isn't he? So he would be susceptible to this supposed psychological bias described by Mr. Ho, wouldn't he? Ahh... This explains a lot...

P.S. I wonder whether the local TV stations would be broadcasting the full proceedings of the YPAP forum with MM Lee; well, considering how they have always given extensive coverage to MM Lee, most likely they would.

1 comment:

David said...

Just found your blog - its great! I like how you always cite your sources and give examples - haven't seen this practice much since I left uni...

Anyway, a comment on your post. I've always thought that the argument about 'what if the PAP is suddenly all gone' is exactly why there needs to be another strong political party. If the PAP faces a sudden crisis, there is noone very ready to step into their shoes. For this reason I think it is a mistake to strongly discourage the growth of alternative political groups. Smooth transition of government is one of the great things about democracy. For this it helps to have an alternative govt that agrees on the fundamentals.

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