Saturday, May 2, 2015

PM Lee: Next GE about leadership renewal

Everyone is calling the PM's speech at the May Day rally at Star Vista yesterday an election speech. I think that is pretty obvious. We are months away from that.

I recall many years ago my boss told me the PAP was interested to get her into politics. We both laughed at the idea and this has been a longstanding  joke over the years. I even have email evidence LOL!

Time has only served to confirm over and over again that she is not suitable for politics. Voters are unhappy that only a few MPs and ministers can connect with the masses much less make the right speeches without which you cannot persuade the people. They can be very good one to one but that is not good enough in politics.

I am sure in the PAP traditional, safe and proven hunting grounds they can find some good guys e.g., Tharman, many that are able administrators but can't carry the ground and one or two they failed to stop who cheat on their wives or worse steal money.

So where are the able people? I think they are everywhere but not in large numbers. Why don't they offer themselves to serve? Because it doesn't work like that. You can tell this is true over and over again from China's history. A qualifying hurdle blocks them from getting in. These hurdles were lower during the period of Warring States and so that epoch offered many sterling examples of outstanding leadership. Mind you China's population was much smaller and even fewer people were educated.

My favorite metaphor of why good people do not get into politics comes from Chemical Energetics.

We must take care not to over use a metaphor. Basically good people could not overcome the green hump to get from the left to the right side, and during the period of China's Warring States, the hump was effectively the purple one - more could go over from the left to the right. However most people are not even at the energy level of the "Product" and so they could never do the job. Good people are like "Reactant" and they "sacrifice" themselves as they served and are exhausted to "Product" energy level when they are done. So such leaders must not only be able but also able. It is a huge sacrifice. If you commit yourself to the task and succeed the millions they pay you is meaningless. If you fail the damage is so great you feel you owe a debt to everyone even after you have surrendered every cent you were paid. That is why we could never come up with pay formula we are truly happy with.

What should we do then? In severe times, the humps are lowered naturally until they are at the "Reactant" level. At the same time the environment also require "Reactant" to move up even as the hump is coming down meeting each other at a high level. Suddenly men and women offer themselves to serve seemingly from out of nowhere. This is Singapore's unplanned plan of salvation. This is very risky and the track record of success elsewhere is low. Such a crisis could happen in two ways. We stupidly do ourselves in or more difficult to overcome, from extremely adverse external circumstances. History tells us that the former scenario is much more likely.

Update: 8:45pm

How could I have forgotten to add this, i.e., how the PAP help candidates get in? Well they lower the hump to below the "Reactant" level but still above the "Product" level. Riding on the coattails of ministers via the GRC route into parliament is one way.

Update: May 3 9:05am

Again why didn't I put this down earlier? I should have added I was looking for wise men and women to be ministers and MPs. Not just supremely rational or smart because that is what you expect and nurture in the middle management layer.

Clever policies are almost always hard to explain in an increasingly complex world but wisdom is easy.

1 comment:

  1. There is no government leadership crisis.
    There is only the PAP party renewal crisis.
    The PM has dragged out his feet to appoint any successor until now so he can create a false sense of urgency and red herring.
    His failure to plan should not constitute an urgency on part to pick his party over other possible party of successors.
    Whoever he picks will just be a seat-warmer anyway. He has been dropping alot of hints about his two sons..IT ...Smart nation...notice who else is a consultant in IDA? So he has every interest to make this fly , why? Is not hard to see through his tactics.