Sunday, August 11, 2013

The OSC is done, what now?

I can't afford to write all that is on my mind on this subject. Too difficult and time consuming.

I was dismissive of the OSC at the beginning feeling that it was just training for new political office bearers. I still think it was but a lot more. Heng Swee Keat was sensitive to pick up the vibes along the way and they adjust course with grace. Thumbs up to him.

Again in my view ST didn't do a good a job reporting this and the gap is filled by BN. ST didn't even provide a link to the report. I found that at Bertha Henson's article.

One way I have dealt with uncertainty is from how this government has often played it with us - heads I win, tails you lose. I have gotten tails but am happy to lose because I also won.

We are decisively moving pass the LKY's generation. Government is completely converted from top down to two-way conversation. It took votes to make this happen.

The OSC format wasn't doable ten years ago. We need a more tolerant and mature culture, especially a better educated population. This format as I see it was born out of necessity because we have become cynical of the town hall approach. Every developed nation could do town hall meetings but this OSC is quite unique.

We can always do better but we are not going to beat ourselves up for failing to do so. Smarter to just keep trying. To me the OSC has failed to grasp the need for us to go beyond the good to the great, but I am asking for too much since we still understand greatness too narrowly. That requires depth but we are still sinking roots. On the other hand good is not enough for a little Red Dot to survive and I hope we have time to become great. A limited example of what I mean by greatness, since this concept is all-dimensional, is in my other post: Gates to Brin & Page: I am better than you. It cannot be so narrowly visioned as in Dr. Parag Khanna recent article in the ST as capital of Asia. Nobody wants us to be that, so many cities aspire to be and we can't fight tooth and nail to get there. Certainly we are not getting there the LKY style. That way evokes respect but never admiration or love. Every aspiring city would be competing to be respected, there is not enough respect to share around just like the number of top airports in our part of the world is growing. So how do we persuade them to let us be and when we are we cannot be the narrow conventional capital. Give you an idea, think Asimov's Second Foundation vs First Foundation. SG today as every aspiring city is so First Foundation genre. MBS, MBFC, Gardens by the Bay these First Foundation strategies only buy us time. We need a different game and the answer is how we educate our children. It is here we need to go from the good to the truly great, have the imagination and courage to do it completely different from everywhere else.

I am thinking beyond the next 20 years but the timber to build that future cannot be grown quickly. They must be seeded in our school today and this never had a chance in the OSC, think tanks or thinking organs of the government.

As has been and always shall be, we need to be lucky.

Update: 12:05pm

Worse than pity, it was wrong to have excluded the alternative political parties from participating in the OSC. On such matters the PAP thinks narrowly and selfishly like elsewhere, which is the last thing we need.

Much is lost as a consequence but how much you need imaginative counterfactual thinking to assess which few of us are capable.

Update: 3:50pm

Heng Swee Keat's heart is in the right place to focus on values but implementation needs plenty of better work especially when I saw how it was done at my daughter's school. I managed to find this in one of my earlier posts: Most important post to date: Failure of values here. At least the minister could grasp more clearly than most the difference between the technical and the adaptive.


  1. How do you trust a political party that uses a national event - The CONversation - to push it's party image?

    How do you believe a political party that preaches the country should avoid divisiveness and then promptly goes out and divides the nation by excluding opposition party members from a so-called discussion on national issues?

    What then matters more - the country or the political party?

  2. ---------------------
    Update: 12:05pm

    Worse than pity, it was wrong to have excluded the alternative political parties from participating in the OSC. On such matters the PAP thinks narrowly and selfishly like elsewhere, which is the last thing we need.

    That is incorrect. OSC committee invited Opposition parties but they declined to attend.

    Ms Lim confirmed that she received an invitation to the first Our Singapore Conversation dialogue on Oct 13. She said she did not attend because of prior commitments.

    She was one of three opposition members invited to that session. The other two are WP's MP for Hougang Png Eng Huat and National Solidarity Party secretary-general Hazel Poa. None of them attended.

    1. Bcos everyone knows its just wayang!! Smart of them not to attend!! Else PAP will say : "we included WP's opinion into our OSC already". "They also wanted 6.9 million people in 2030".

      I mean, you got to be extra careful now right, since any govt personnel can record some Internal Notes of a purported conversation and then suddenly it shows up in a one-sided dossier and use it as proof of "integrity problems" ?

      In any case, our Dear Leader PM Lee already said from the beginning that no sacred cows will be slaughtered, regardless of the feedback and opinion of the citizens. So if your mind is already shut, what's the point of talking?