Tuesday, May 31, 2011

PM: No common sense

I got the following from "Diary of A Singaporean Mind" I don't go out of my way to look for the facts I have missed and so far I am happy that someone will surface them for me serendipitously.

I quote from below: "Singapore must make it easier for companies to lay off workers so that they would be more willing to hire them."

That's from someone who has no common sense and worse thought that the economic theories from books or papers are directly usable! I shudder to think that this could be pervasive in government. The blog writer Lucky Tan spotted it right away, and I bet many of us in executive positions in the REAL economy too.

I missed the PM statement then, but I shall always remember the few occasions which Adelson displayed extreme confidence in the MBS performance against our government much more cautious outlook. I kept telling myself, this veteran in the business knows a lot that we need to know but do not. I kept wondering when it become obvious that he would screw us. I am still waiting and I hope to be wrong and disappointed: the common sense street smarts of Adelson versus the model driven, Excel worksheet based of the government.

Now I am not suggesting that we should get a new PM. It isn't so simple. Just bear in mind that government leaders elsewhere are not much different. E.g., Germany's Angela Merkel just got her numbers wrong about how hard the Germans work vis a vis the Spaniards. She is also blaming Spain for the E. Coli infestation without sufficient evidence. It is just politics and ours will increasingly play it like others. So do not put your hopes too high what the government is capable of achieving. We are lucky if we do well and as usual they are fully able to explain away luck as skill. All things equal, you usually don't get a good run of luck year after year.

The PM loves to use this word in his speeches and public pronouncement: "Inclusive" That is totally politico-talk. We are not a homogeneous society. It is impossible to be inclusive. Policies will favor some and punish others. While you can be inclusive when it comes to punishing everyone by favoring investors and foreigners over citizens. You can also be inclusive with populist policies, which would eventually destroy us. The right operating word in action is "trade-offs", and they have to sell it successfully to us. On this score he is failing. It has become acceptable to lie to the people but this is justified by politicians doing so everywhere. We have become like everyone else. They deserve to be treated like how politicians elsewhere are then.

I remember a few years ago when the lack of  requirement to pay workers a fixed proper retrenchment in the Employment Act was discussed , PM Lee was interviewed on TV and what he said I can't forget. He told the reporter that Singapore must make it easier for companies to lay off workers so that they would be more willing to hire them. Over the years, Singapore moved from a management style that treasured worker loyalty to one that hire and fire workers based on how it affected the profitability of company...very often short term profitability. Many ordinary Singapore workers became expendable in companies they worked in hired quickly and retrenched quickly when the business slows.


  1. When govt thinks like a commercial enterprise, in times of national emergency, it would also not bat an eyelid to throw thousands of NSmen into battle without proper preparation to momentarily stall an attacker. Our soldiers would be treated like ants and expendable digits and no longer considered as flesh and blood citizens of the nation with parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends.

    Any different if your train your weapons on an enemy or your commanders?

  2. The PM said this? He really said this?
    I have not been following the papers regularly. But he actually said this?

    WTF? What exactly does this mean?
    That companies must lay off workers so that the company is more willing to hire them?!?

    This brings to mind a lot of questions!
    If the company is looking to hire, why would they need to lay off existing workers in order to hire them? When in the first place, the workers are already IN the company!
    It makes no sense!

    And if they are looking to lay off workers, it would mean that the company has a SURPLUS of workers that they can do without when trying to trim their operating cost.
    So it makes no sense either to lay off EXISTING workers just so they can hire new ones!

    Share with me. Am I interpreting this sentence wrong? Or HE does not know WTF is coming out of his mouth?!?

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