Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The meaning of Steve Tan dropping out as a candidate

I deleted my earlier post. I feel that it was too speculative and unnecessary. I don't want to remember it and so out it goes. Here is my more thoughtful response.

My later thoughts of this event is this. The PAP very thorough, systematic and rigorous way of choosing people is in the end a weak system. I am not saying the PAP has been negligent here. Not at all. It is inherent in all man made system that we cannot hope to achieve a very high success rate at choosing the right people. The best way to throw up the right guy is Nature, definitely not man made. Just look at the dismal track record of men choosing men. How frequently countries and global corporations have failed to find successors that are at least even half equal to those they replace. Can you expect the PAP to do better. They can only try. No guarantees are possible.

Steve Tan dropped out for personal reasons. That is a black box that cannot be opened to reveal the true reasons. I had speculated about it, and since I know nothing about him or even his friends or family, it was a waste of time, not worth blogging for remembering.

My thoughts should dwell on how to choose the right men and women for political office. I think for GE 2011, the opposition had the advantage of choosing the right candidates even if they are woefully inadequate to form a government if they win by a landslide. Why?

The PAP puts its candidates through tough "simulations". You know no pilots die in a simulator. The opposition is different. It has no capacity to use simulators to test their candidates. It is done the old fashioned way - gut feel. That's the Lim Kim San way. It is more reliable and Malcolm Galdwell had taken some pains and make it accessible to us in one of his books, "Blink".

There is a surer way of throwing up the right people but no methods are fool proof: The cost of failure.  In opposition politics, if you fail, you could crash and burn. There is no safety. You also might run the risk of getting sued, made a bankrupt. The testing in the furnace produces gold. It is a messy system, not measurable, very unscientific but the verdict of history is on its side. We are overly taken up with science where science have a limited contribution to make. The PAP bought into this because Nature refuses to serve their cause any more.

Today many of the opposition candidates are not cartoon characters with nothing to lose. Many of them can easily make incomes more than the MP's allowance. Failure will cost them significantly, not just the $$$ but everything. They are willing to take the risk, face imagined or real consequences - we don't know. Perhaps the PAP will use the ISA on the opposition if they lose the elections. Anything can happen. You know what power does to men. That is a better way of seeking out the right candidates to run for political office. This is Nature way and it only appears once in a while.

What do you think is the choice of History here? Definitely not a one-party system. I know, because I can observe which side Nature is taking in this GE. I can also sense Chen Show Mao knows this too. "imperfect as I am", "the people is the secret weapon". Those phrases belies the insight in the man. The less wise ones have gone to join the PAP. Perhaps the smartest among them is Steve Tan who had chosen to drop out.

Now this is a blog entry I want to remember!

OK. Just found this tonight on ST. The PM explains why Steve Tan dropped out. See

1 comment:

  1. "The best way to throw up the right guy is Nature, definitely not man made."

    You said it right! Thats why we find the oppositions' candidates coming across as more convicted, sincere and driven...wrought from nature i guess...

    Vote for Change!