Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Best government in the world but not for S'pore

See article: Strong case for S'pore to continue with calibrated immigration policy

Probably the best government in the world but not good enough for Singapore because in nearly all instances our leaders have lost the much vaunted foresight they used to have. With Philip Yeo gone, the entrepreneurial  mindset also disappears. While Dr. Goh protected and nurtured Philip and a few others, none of them were powerful enough to produce the next generation of civil or political entrepreneur.

I quote Lim Hng Kiang from that article.

Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said foreign manpower is needed to complement Singapore's resident workforce, and support the construction, health and social services sectors.

He said foreign manpower is also needed to anchor and build up new sectors in Singapore -- such as the biomedical and aerospace industries. 

Mr Lim said: "If you train Singaporeans to fill up the sector before you launch the sector, you may lose the opportunity, and you take too long. 

"So our strategy is to bring the sector in, allow the companies to hire foreign talent, workers, and meanwhile we train Singaporean workers to fill up the jobs. If you tell Rolls Royce, wait until we train all the workers and technicians, I think we would have missed the investments."

Much as the government try, it is not able to put Singaporeans first. This government is the envy of the rest of the world but Singapore is not like any place in this world. Here you see a case for putting Singaporeans second or there is no place for us at all.

I recall Lim Kim San making the bold move to containerized our port before it was obvious that's the way to go. That's entrepreneurship in public service. Lim Hng Kiang and his colleagues are clueless about tomorrow opportunities, so we cannot prepare for them.

I am not explaining it here now because I need to get on with other things, but I am sure we are over paying our ministers beyond the threshold where we get under performance instead of over performance. We need not go further than looking how over paying CEOs have caused large companies to do badly. There is now a ton of literature to prove that.

So what is this government trying to do? They are not reinventing Singapore. They are only trying to make this place last as long as possible and the longer it stays with their paradigm as seen in the sacred cows the harder it is to make this place work until we are all totally exhausted.

If they are not prepared to defend each sacred cow to their critics which the future of this society depend on, the national conversation is a waste of time. I have better things to do.

If twenty years from now they cannot safe guard this place, I will have to at least think up ways to protect my family and network. There is no evidence they are up to this challenging task and as we approach D-day more and more people will realize that. Unless the external environment is benign, I estimate that within ten years problems will appear and grow faster than they can solve them.

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