Saturday, July 13, 2013

Getting Govt Right: Learn from MythBusters

Getting government right is getting far and beyond integrity. It is not the version that the PM explained to us. Integrity is not the foundation or platform you build a government on. Integrity is saying no the temptation and shortcuts every day. Therefore it is not possible to hit a perfect score. Let's not be hypocritical about this.

How do I explain right government to my kids. I would like to borrow from MythBusters - one of their favorite programs, the cooperation between the two hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman. The way they work with each other is how I like to see the opposition and the PAP do the same. I was encouraged that no opposition parties made government difficult during the Haze crisis but I was completely disappointed by VB attack and the PM idiotic follow up with his press statement yesterday.

Here's how two opposites make something better. Hear from the guys themselves, The Truth About Mythbusters. How I wished our political parties especially the spoilt and childish PAP were closer to this.

MH: Part of the appeal of the show is the bromance between the two of you—the chemistry of relationship that allows you to successfully bust myths.
Savage: There is a funny analogy here. Penn and Teller, who are friends of ours, describe their relationship as “two guys who opened a dry cleaning business together.” That’s quite an apt way to describe their relationship, and probably ours. It’s forged in some conflict, because we often disagree, but we also understand that that conflict often yields a stronger result than we would come up with on our own. Informed by that respect, we can survive driving each other nuts on a day to day basis.
Hyneman: The key to that is very simple: it’s respect. Adam and I don’t consider ourselves friends. We don’t spend any time together that we don’t have to. And yet, there’s a profound respect for what each of us brings to the table, and who we are as people. We hold to that. That’s the glue. If you don’t have respect, then you have a big problem.

Now this is my idea if oversimplified what a First World Parliament should be. I hope they could start respecting each other for all our sakes, or a growing number of us will make them lose. You screw this you simply leave a vacuum for others to come and fill them. Never mind your dirty tricks. They only help you hold on to power longer but in the end you still lose.

Work together if you respect the voters. Screw you otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Peng You, good post and excellent analogy.

    I'm afraid we're easily 1 or 2 election cycles away from this Nirvana. Why? Because of the GRC scheme, PAP forgot that it is supported by only 60% of electorate (and only 55% if you just look at PAP vs WP constituencies) but enjoyed >90% Parliament seats. So it governed as though >90% of the people supports it. The <10% opposition are considered utterly unworthy of respect, both because of the fallacy that they represent only 10% of people and because PAP inherently believes that only its candidates (with super-fine pedigree or paper qualifications) are worthy.

    When you start off so blind-sided, it takes a truly enlightened leader to recognise that for the sake of the country, mutual respect is a must, and sets the tone accordingly.

    Lincoln is one such truly enlightened leader. He won the Civil War -- he could have taken it out on the South once and for all, claimed he had the mandate of the people -- but he chose to exercise restraint.

    George Washington was another such leader. He fought off the British. He was responsible to design the constitution moving forward. He could have centralised power unto himself - instead he did the complete opposite : created 3 co-equal branches of govt so that the underlying principle is restraint. Look at how Morsi handled the design of Egypt's constitution - its very tempting to power-grab when you're in charge and it ends up tearing the country apart. Little wonder that America's democracy has thrived for >200 years.

    We are a young nation. We're just starting to come out of the heels and shadow of a super-dominant, never-to-be-repeated founder/leader such as LKY. A truly enlightened leader would have resisted all temptations to perpetuate power and ask himself how does he set the tone moving forward (especially when the writing is on the wall that only 60%/55% of electorate supports his party) so that the country thrives well beyond him.

    Unfortunately, PM LHL is unable to rise to that occassion. Succumbing into the temptation that befalls the likes of Morsi. In politicising this trivial issue, he not just looks stupid but worst of all, he POLARISES the electorate. The pro-PAP camp claps, they want blood. The anti-PAP camp is seething with rage, they want revenge in GE2016. Is this how you bring the coutnry together to solve our problems?

    Although its difficult, I hope LTK responds in a manner worthy of an enlightened leader. I've confidence in him that he will.

    Meanwhile, what we as citizens can do, is like you and me, is to speak / blog up.