Monday, August 12, 2013
GCT: Singapore's mid-life crisis
Jialat the ESM, the PM and all ministers. Mati you talk like that.
This is not the 90s, 80s or before. Don't come to us and talk about mid-life crisis. There is too much knowledge on all sorts of matters floating around absorbed by so many people. Mid-life crisis exist because you know more or less when you are going to die. You wonder in the middle of your life have you achieved what you had wanted. Half your life is gone, will you succeed or fail with your life. In short, nations do not have mid-life crisis, only crises.
I tried very hard to be generous in my last post on the OSC. Trying to give them a huge dollop of benefit of the doubt. Looks like it lasted only a day.
What does the government want from us? I read his speech, it is more or less of the same as in the past and yet talking about how things must be different? That's an oxymoron.The link to the ESM's speech in full.
If the government hadn't fallen into a hole over immigration, public transport, housing, cost of living, medical costs practically all the basic stuff the PWP would have sailed through. But no, we cannot accept the PWP because we have been short changed by them. About the only thing he had gotten right is the loss of trust. And the only thing I want to hear from the PM in a few days time is how he intends to rebuild trust. That is the foundation every initiative must rest on.
The way this government rule is quite simple: get us to do as much, pay as much as possible. If the leaders of other nations envy their success, they are focusing on the wrong party. It's not the government but our willingness to accept tough measures for our long term good. That had worked for as long until they lost their way and the promised results never materialized. Then we discovered that they no longer cared as they used to, that they had become even more Darwinian. They extended the process of Natural Selection from within our gene pool to beyond.
What the government is doing today is best described as palliative. Their basic thinking hasn't changed but they are aware if they persist in their old ways, they are working themselves out of office. Mid way the OSC becomes a careful and calibrated strategy to target pain relief in order to retain voters' support. Since many of us are pragmatic about results, we do not bother about the whys. We are still shallow and struggling to sink roots but a small and growing number have achieved that especially among civic society and the gay community. When we have more depth, the whys would matter as much as the whats. For now most families a better living trumps over any other why. This leads to the narrowest definition of success which only a few can win. To the government broadening the definition of success is a political necessity for their survival. To us it must be more existential - the purpose and meaning of living. Government will discover they cannot mandate alternative models of success as this must come organically. We will be chasing after the same trophies until enough people learn the hard way that life is more than so many Cs. We cannot sustain ourselves with mostly negative energy, we have to nurture the much harder to grasp positive energy but the transition is risky.
Meanwhile the government is trying to regain trust by earning again credibility with superior results from housing, transport, cost of living....it should work at least in the short term but I wonder how all these would be funded in the longer term.
Indeed we have a crisis but it isn't a mid-life one. I hope it does not turn out to be terminal. Some days I think we are in the high dependency ward, at least it isn't everyday.
Update: August 13, 9:30am
I have blogged about this many times already. We have a good government but unfortunately the Little Red Dot needs a great government. When government isn't great the people suffer. As the government confused good with great, they complained we aren't realistic. But look at what they are telling us to do. Just give a perennial example: have more babies but also put in the longest time at work. Except for the few with luck, this is not possible for most of us. In fact as the competition at PSLE intensifies, the most thoughtful couples are even more discouraged about having babies. Anyway I am just relieved my children cleared the PSLE a few years ago. Looking at how those assessment books have become harder makes me sad for the kids.
The government is generally competent and good with some pockets of great work. An example has been recently chronicled in a CNA program, "Nature of a City". Another great piece of work is the NLB. These two are contrasted by the poor performance of LTA and the many glaring mistakes we all know very well from the Cabinet.
Posted by PengYou at 10:14 PM