Ok, I trust the government to keep the power generators and the its distribution working; the rubbish to cleared daily; the SCDF to respond to emergencies; to get my passport renewed; the police to chase down serious crimes...quite a long list.
Ok, I don't trust the government playing politics trying to fix the opposition; the Population White Paper; Affordable healthcare; How Dinesh Raman died in prison; the public transport system; that there was a Marxist Conspiracy; that tuition is not necessary...quite a few things but not as long as the list of items I trust them to do.
The most egregious is not a laundry list of items and services I trust or not trust them to perform but how they measure up against our pledge. So I am watching to see how well and quickly they move left of centre politically.
What the heck, at the end of the day we have no choice but to trust the government. Therefore what is needed is to have the means to verify anywhere and anytime that they could still be trusted. Only his father gave it to us as is and unvarnished, the rest of them we need to put through an interpreter to divine the real meaning and intention of their words.
So much for trust, we are slipping into becoming like any country, which is good enough for others but not us. We make our living and stay relevant by being exceptional.
Beyond the Causeway they keep getting better at robbing you. The place is very unsafe and in this instance the robber was surprisingly swift at removing the front passenger side window to snatch the woman driver's hand bag and made off in the motorbike in a hurry.
City Harvest Church could run out of money and lose their part share of Suntec. This is the result of public judgment of their 'secretive evangelistic effort', which is more truly a blasphemous act of its leaders against God's good name to satisfy their own worldly and ego needs.
Whatever the court's verdict might be which is many months away, I think the court of public opinion is slowly crucifying them without redemption or resurrection. The churchgoers at City Harvest are better off looking elsewhere to go to. Why waste your time and money on them?
The price of going to bed with the devil is you end up as a corpse. Now fighting for breadth to stay alive eh?
The education game here is going to change but not in a hurry. If you are in the tuition business this is the risk of a being a frog in slowly warming water. It could kill you unaware.
Much of the tuition industry is about helping parents and their kids game the system. Out with education and in with competitions. Exams has become an euphemism for sporting competitions but done mostly with pen and paper. My kids could never get the grades they got without tuition unless they also took the attitude that exams is a game to be won competitively.
What the minister proposed to achieve before the decade is a courageous initiative to reinvent education here. I welcome this. Today we are severely short of people who can handle much less coach others in thriving in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment. I have asked for this like twenty to thirty years ago, i.e., more or less when I started work and saw at first hand what school had failed to equip us with.
Now the devil is in the details to secure success. MOE like any large organizations thrive on processes but the way that is familiar to me for achieving this is through laborious mentoring. I can imagine that the ideas aren't new but few people know how to pull this off. Most likely we will only achieve a limited and qualified success. Perhaps the blame will be on parents who fail to change their mindsets. In this way the government can as usual play a heads I win, tails you lose game with us. I just hope that I am wrong about this possibility.
If MOE succeeds, the tuition industry would go through a huge creative destruction. Education will return to its purpose and the gaming will cease. It is just a little too hard to imagine. But if MOE is serious, they must involve the parents as mindsets would otherwise never change. If they don't that's political on who to blame if the plan fails.
From the ST two days ago but I was too busy to blog about it then.
A few are fortunate to have work-life balance. Many either have to live with a lot of Work or a lot of time for Life, but not sure if they have the life they want.
More of us could have had good work-life balance if government policies were more farsighted and courageous as far back as GCT became PM. Now it is pointless to talk about what-ifs. We have to make the best of what we have.
If you cannot achieve a happy work-life balance for yourself, give your children the means to do so. In a similar vein our parents lifted us from poverty. It is now our job to help them go the next lap.
Publicly and unfortunately we must make our unhappiness over poor work-life balance loud and clear to the government. Experience have taught us that unless we put hot coals under their comfy chairs they become complacent and take us for granted. I wished it wasn't like this but again this is also what is past and we learn our lessons on how to make them work hard. They must think of less glory and more people in their policies.
If the PM thinks we want want to have better work-life balance and losing our lunch doing that, he must be out of his mind. I expect him to be smarter.
The playing field for the government and the people must be level. Because it isn't that's why government leaders are losing the people's respect. The PM should stop complaining about us looking to the government to solve all problems. We do that because government is pervasive here, i.e., government is often both the problem and solution in Singapore. So who and where else to complain about work-life balance? Privately we will make the best of our individual and family circumstances. At the end of the day we will keep Work if we cannot have Work-Life. What life is there without Work? But the PAP will also lose the elections eventually. We are not being unreasonable. The whole idea of a prosperous and vibrant Singapore was a preposterous idea which we made to work. We gotta to make the unreasonable feasible like we always had. Never say cannot be done. Just keep trying. Don't and you can't solve many of our problems but help the people try and keep trying.
Only had time to watch this for about 15 mins or so last night and I think I missed the most important bits.
I found this later: "Ideally, we have another Lee Kuan Yew".
I have been pushing the point that the very good is not good enough for us. We need to be great and bearing in mind that the good is the enemy of the great. I am glad the PM feels the same. Of course the times are different and we will not get another LKY. In the same way Abraham Lincoln isn't George Washington but we need a transformational leader.
The people cannot cure this disease of tuition on their own. The government do not want to go beyond talking and persuading the people about it. Looks like it would be nature that would bring this to an end.
But tuition will become a political problem for the government first before nature can successfully address it. It is just unwise and short sighted if the government think this issue can be left alone to resolve itself. The later they act the fewer the options and the less rational and sensible the solutions. So much for a far seeing government.
Assuming that somehow the government manage to avoid doing something about this - small chance, in the end parents and pupils will discover that beyond a limit which we are already close to, tuition bring negative returns. They will learn this when they look for jobs or climb the corporate ladder. The first sign of trouble is grades inflation.
Much of tuition is about besting exams. Tests and measuring performance have the habit of turning education into a competitive sports of working for the highest scores and depriving avenues of learning that are hard to score or could not be properly measured. In other words, studying to the tests will eventually destroy education.
My children have no tuition. We belong to the coterie of parents who manage to spare the time to teach the kids how to think. As a result their school performance keep getting better as they go up the educational ladder. They had tuition for Chinese when they were younger but all the effort was focused on bolstering their PSLE T-scores with less than satisfactory outcomes. I wasn't willing to trade scores for hatred of the language. I wasn't willing to see them obsess over 90 marks and more. If I had then today they are likely to under perform and frustrated. On the other hand they might be very motivated but for all the wrong reasons like the girl in the picture. Then they will enter working life with false confidence and get a huge rude shock that their studying skills are no good for the world of work. Many scholars will also suffer this shock but later in their careers because the system protects and give them many more chances to fail. Fortunately for some, they learned in time, but what a wasteful and unfair system. Some never learn but the civil service is large enough to find safe and high paying positions for them. I am sure many of us have come across such types in government. Just ask Jack Sim.
The ill effects of tuition do not show up for a generation, much longer than the long term horizon of this government. So they don't care. That is how long nature puts a stop to tuition, which is far too late.
Practically all pastors in Singapore should read Ps Elijah Leong book, 'He Raise Me Up' They will learn not to be so fixated with ministry success and learn the truth that God did not call us to be successful but to be faithful.
So many pastors have such unhappy family lives. Some even ended up in divorce and breaking up the family. Many have children with disciplinary problems and I know a few have kids who are jumping from one bed to another.
A hundred years ago, many missionaries went to China also suffered the same fate e.g., Pearl S Buck's missionary father. This is really sad. People must do God's work in God's way. Pastors like everyone else have too much ego, too much envying success in the secular form. Big congregations, big money, big reputation. A few 'made it' but many crash on the rocks.
The story from Elijah Leong ended well. He received his Joseph Story through absolutely no merit of his but God's wonderful grace. He had done well to share his story and ambitious pastors ought to read and learn from his life.
Tonight as is my daily habit I was going over what good Kindle stuff Amazon might have and came across the interview as an eBook for $2.99. But I guessed correctly I can probably get it for free somewhere and quite quickly I found it here.
My guess is many will misunderstand him but that's alright. There is time to get this right even if it takes a very long time. Jesus was even more misunderstood.
These words of Christ will ring in my mind as I go on to read the interview: "Do not think I have come to abolish the law but to fulfill it". Yes, he is a theological conservative but he will utterly surprise you in the manner he live, teach and lead. The Bible offers the best way to explain what's happening: New Wine. Now he is systematically going about bursting old wineskins.
In a way he also reminds me of Desmond Tutu in the social and political arena, and Francis of Assisi everywhere else which he took his name as Pope. And if you think Francis, you cannot miss Mother Teresa.
The good minister just returned from the Netherlands and shared his impression with us. I also had my impression from very long ago. Back in the 80s when I was certainly too young and half understanding these issues, I read many of Peter Drucker's writings. He already warned us about many things that is hitting us today. Peter Drucker single-handedly created Management as a social science. Surely our policy makers were very familiar with his prognostications but like everywhere else they left these problems alone. To be fair everyone had too much on their plates already then.
Every society where the old out numbers the young is at risk. Its senior citizens could out vote the young to protect their entitlements and interests. We must not allow this to happen here and I had defended this here many times.
It is much easier to persuade older people who have kids but for the growing number of childless couples or unmarried ones, this is a huge problem I am not sure we can overcome. A sense of entitlement almost too hard to detect is creeping in here. It always begin innocuously as defending one's own rights way in excess of caring for others. And we begin to head down this road when we face many zero sum situations especially with living space, transport, education...the non tradeable economic sectors.
I am amuse that TCJ talked about political courage. Yes, you can talk about it in relative terms only but true courage this government has lost much of it. In fact, the greatest loss is to see how it should appear when LKY is gone. How often I wonder they lean on his courage. How often in private he must have urged them on.
So TCJ and your colleagues, don't just ask the questions but what are your convictions in such matters. How much are you willing to stake?
Tan Cheng Bock raised this in his Facebook page on the 17th.
The public is not paying enough attention to this serious matter. I am keeping it here to help me remember for the next elections, both the GE and PE.
Honesty even among the most honest cannot be guaranteed. Transparency and accountability should keep improving as technology and process permit. We will not progress if we fail to invest in this important area. This is how we grow our Trust capital too.
For someone with little time and need to blog quickly, it is best to quote extensively from the article.
His surprising comments came in a lengthy interview in which he criticized the church for putting dogma before love, and for prioritizing moral doctrines over serving the poor and marginalized.
Many Christians and their pastors need a few pet sins which most of them do not indulge in to condemn in order that they may feel that they are good people. No different from the religious people of Jesus day.
Francis told the interviewer, a fellow Jesuit: “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. “We have to find a new balance,” the pope continued, “otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”
He is bound to be misunderstood. He didn't say not to speak about abortions, gays etc., but not to be preoccupied with them. Of course we know why many Christians had to - to make themselves look good.
“I see the church as a field hospital after battle,” Francis said. “It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars. You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.”
And this is exactly what Jesus did for the woman he forgave who was caught in adultery.
Lawrence Khong tried to defend his decision till blue in the face. It was never necessary. I had waited and I guess it isn't coming. The baby is innocent. If the church love, do something for that child.
Don't talk about love, show it. I had earlier blogged that we outside the church will recognize love when we see it. We are not as gullible as their remaining flock.
“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality,” he told Father Spadaro. “I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”
and the final paragraph of the story.
“This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people,” he said. “We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.”
The news I awoke to this morning! The Fed pulled a huge surprise. I went to check the currencies and the SGD was below 1.25. US stock markets spike the charts as expected.
It is easy to understand why the Fed had chosen to hold once they have decided. Prior to that almost everyone thought they would taper. They would eventually but not yesterday, and that day draws closer.
We are more interconnected than ever. Monetary authorities especially the Fed cannot hope to ignore what's beyond the US when the ricochet effect returns faster than you can dodge. Of course they can't admit this fact yet.
Nobody is anywhere near consistently right about the economy. We just manage risks and the Fed watch the government like a price taker and respond accordingly. The US government is getting a fail grade.
Not that fun setting up our new 200Mbps fiber broadband connection.
First, after the tech left my connection failed to work. All status lights were fine. POTS was working suggesting too that "all is well". After many call backs from M1 tech support they realized that the problem was the MAC table on their end which is why a valide IP address never appeared on my adapter. They just needed to refresh that. Wasted one whole afternoon.
Now I still have a SSID visibility problem. Somehow the SSID on 2.4Ghz was visible to all the PCs but not the 5Ghz one. All our smartphones and iPads have no problem picking up the SSID for the 5Ghz band. The exception was wifey's Asus Memopad HD7. I am using the Asus RT-AC66U. Finally gave up and sent a support request form to Asustek.
Tonight Lee Kuan Yew's family would be celebrating his birthday at a private dinner. Yes, I think it is time we give his life back to him. It is time to rest and he has shown that willingness to let go and let be - that's wisdom.
The media of course cannot tell a family story of the man but stories and anecdotes of him as a larger than life leader. So I think a very good graphic of him like ST had would do.
I like it best what Stepfanie Sun shared about her experience with Mr. Lee.
Let the man rest. He has done more than enough. Sure he wasn't perfect, nobody is but we are all glad he has taken us here in our unending journey to a more perfect society.
On his 90th year, it is not time to display trophies but touching family and hearts.
Happy Birthday Lee Kuan Yew.
Update: Sep 18, 6:55am
Count on the Foreign Service guys to share something worthwhile and personal about the man.
I could not tell when Obama will repeat his first stumble in the first presidential debate with Mitt Romney. Here he has fighting Assad. Again the American intelligentsia is not taking it well. As before I believe there is a method in his stupidity which he keeps close to his chest. Perhaps only Michelle knows what he is really up to.
Few leaders know how to be weak in order to be strong and for a young leader like him, the lack of experience must also have frightened him. Courage is not being brave but staring fear it is face. Remember he is black and what his people had been through.
Some said drawing a red line to Assad was a mistake. I think that is shallow thinking. Willy Assad like his compatriots in North Korea are extremely sensitive and well versed in avoid American strengths and seeking out her weaknesses. The American President had no choice about declaring the red line. He had to turn weakness into strength and a main part to get there is to shock by acting weak and alone since the US power leaning apparatus could never walk with the President.
At the end of the day you are not powerful unless you also own the initiative. Reactive power does not solve problems only good for not getting yourself killed when defeated. America is a reactive power in the Middle East. The classic way to regain initiative is to surprise and the best way is to appear to weaken yourself.
The task of the US President is not waging war but making difficult and complex US politics work for America and the world. At least that is what I took away from my daughter's reading of Lincoln to me. But I think she is too young to grasp this even if the seed of the idea came from her. Tomorrow perhaps.
Massive public opinion had forced the wheels of justice to turn quickly. If you look at what happened then and now there were other high profile gang rape cases. Justice didn't run quickly enough still. Seven months was too long.
I think where it really mattered is preventing such crimes than punishing them, which is second best.
The ruling class decided that it was far easier to protect their women than everyone's wife or daughter. This has not changed.
India remains a place like the Middle East when matters must get worse before they could improve. That's the problem when a society never had the culture of compromise. Democracy could never work and will work only very late after everyone also learned that anger and violence get them nowhere. The Indians are far from hitting bottom.
I used to pick these sort of books for them. I am glad that she now takes the initiative to own and direct them herself. She also defended her choice to me and the $80 is small money compared to what most of her classmates are paying for tuition. Over the long term tuition often yield negative returns. Who ever learns to walk properly with crutches? Not every kid recognize this danger which was fortunate for my niece and nephew.
Everyone knows the newspapers are adept at reporting bad news and I learned to view each story on its own but this morning was such too much. I cannot help associating the the sex with minor case which is soap opera tragic with the despicable Dr. Ong Theng Kiat. I even wondered if I might have passed his clinic in Gleneagles when I accompanied wifey to see her gynae.
He has brought utter shame to his profession. Not just a doctor but a gynaecologist. His former patients must be full of revulsion against him now.
Very trust destroying but absolutely necessary as a flashing red light for women to protect themselves.
I like to think we score better than most cities but there is always room to make the gaps narrower. Also digging deeper especially into religion the numbers might not look so good. In particular I wished the numbers from new citizens were much better. Many of them I suspect are here more for economic reasons than anything else. Especially in India, you can get back your citizenship very easily. Promiscuous citizenship!
A new citizen who is an employer is more likely to hire their own race - not good.
When does a new Singaporean begins to fall out of the new citizen category? Five years, ten years? The overall numbers would look worse over time making for a less resilient society. New citizens also have dismal TFR like us, i.e, not helping to reproducing the numbers of those born here. A born to the place citizen is always special. I have seen people born and grew up in Dubai but are citizens elsewhere. It's sad.
My expectations of the flower dome was deflated when I again see how dark the place was. I had hoped that they would have filled the place with many lanterns, for once making it brighter to add to a more joyous atmosphere. Go there only in the day.
I think this bridge would be quite lovely when the LED lighting is turned on later but we have no time to come back to experience it.
If Syria agrees and follow through giving up their chemical arsenal that would be best.
I am coming from a different angle, a spiritual one. The Pope has been leading his flock to pray for a peaceful resolution. The Greek Orthodox Christians in Syria are desperate for this. To them God is answering their prayers or more aptly cries.
I shudder at the thought that an American attack might eventually lead to a regional and wider war. These things have a knack for throwing open the gates of hell. Let's keep that for another day.
I just had to interrupt wifey's dinner to capture this pic of her roast chicken at Hans this evening. I mean, look at it, see how good it looked. You would have thought they had prepared it for food photography.
I watched the last NDP and NDR on my computer instead of the TV. We don't watch any other Mediacorp channel. Starhub Cable programming has been getting worse and mostly we are using it for ChannelNews Asia because its free to air quality is so bad.
Time to give up this box since my 12 month contract with them is expiring this month and here is a pic of the set top box for keep sake.
Before this month is out, our Internet and Media systems at home would be completely overhauled.
I first read this at Singapoliltics and didn't know it had made it to the ST. Fancy learning this at three in the morning waiting for the storm to abate before I turn back on the electricity.
So he was willing to be jailed for this?
In the interview Lawrence Khong was splitting hairs and it shows how legalistic he was. He was never genuine about his willingness to go to jail over this. If it had been Martin Luther King or MK Gandhi they would stay in jail for as long as needed until the laws are changed or the government gave up and release him without changing the legislation.
It is sad how Christian leaders here and America burnish their Christian credentials. Truly they have no convictions they would die for. This is not the way of the Cross.
Actually in these instances I am happy these pastors have no guts. I think they are mostly success worshipers and that's what all the tests they had been subjected to had shown. I am sure the ISD can get want it wants as they had with Rony Tan if ever there was a need to call Pastor Khong in for coffee. I have more respect for our political detainees.
I was rudely woken up by a huge thunderclap this morning which also tripped the power to our place. I stayed awake for the storm to pass fearing it might cut the power again, using that time to read the papers which I was too busy throughout the day to read.
It was no fun reading this at 3 am in the morning. In fact it was depressing until I pause to think. This was a badly thought article by the ST. Totally missed the point and embarrassingly superficial carrying a frightened government agenda, one that have no insight, conviction and courage to make a turning point and wanting to persist with an old paradigm. Sadly we have no alternative to the PAP.
The issue is very simple, it is the Search for Meaning. It was never an issue when we were only looking to survive. Actually we were looking for meaning for a while now but we cannot delay this further. The more intense rat race and increasingly stressful school system have become meaningless. Looks like people here are increasingly looking to the non-material, especially to relationships and love. And they asked for a slower pace because they are simply too exhausted. They know they cannot keep going like that. We are not living diminishing returns but negative returns. Which rational and emotionally balanced person would want to keep carrying on this way? It is self destruction.
Sounding like a broken record, that's why we cannot get by with just a very good government. We need great government breaking into new paths never traveled by any before. We need to boldly go but first we need to know where. Will they be a journey of a people or many personal journeys?
I believe Singaporeans are prepared to work even harder and smarter than their parents provided the work is meaningful. It is not work-life balance but the mysterious work-life conflation which together give more work and life as well. The way we manage and lead must completely change and I think the young will figure this out if we allow them.
Wow, just received this from my friend about work. She loves her job and has done it for 47 years. It is a humble job but very satisfying. I recall her stories and the many wonderful photos she had sent me over the years...her dogs, the neighborhood, the fire station etc., and most important her daily writings.
People like her are the salt of the earth for America.