Sunday, September 20, 2015

Indranee: Selling the Population White Paper

That white paper was never mentioned at this Poly forum which Indranee Rajah spoke to. I just simply bring to the fore what must be on the minds of many especially those who read the story from the local media. Poly students mostly worry about the next steps, e.g., a university education.

If the government think this is a balancing act they will discover the balance the people want is impossible to achieve. I like to make this simple by using the family as a proxy.

Should both parents work or one stay at home to look after the kids? You want to have your cake and eat it? Hire a foreign domestic worker (FDW). Cannot get the balance right for you? Blame the government, society or just others whom you feel made it impossible for you to succeed.

We need to re-frame this issue beyond economic terms. Tan Chuan Jin gets it when he said it is always about who and what we are. But will this feature in the policies coming out is another matter and what truly matters to get public support.

We cannot solve every problem we can identify looming ahead of us (declining and ageing population). Neither can we see the future clearly. Come on, when I plan our holidays I can't see what we will face clearly enough either even when we visit America, the place where there is an overload of information about. Then we arrive in America and just by being there I begin to very quickly said to myself, "Had I known...I would have done this differently".

We have future problems which the social and political costs are too high to countenance. Recall the ill fated Graduate Mother Scheme. Like they say what is the use of getting to the future if you arrive dead? This is the acid test for any plan the government must consider before agreeing to it. On this the PWP is still born.

Yes, a responsible government must try its best to fashion solutions to our future problems but sometimes they have to learn to stop being clever and start being wise. Especially those problems which LKY was not able to overcome. Keep trying, don't give up but also be prepared to fail selling some of these necessary solutions to the people.

If we solve every problem ahead of time, life loses its meaning. Such boredom can create circumstances which cause a society to self destruct. It can take any of several forms, too many to enumerate all here. We are likely to become a risk adverse people as a result with a small minority of entrepreneurial risk takers finding it increasingly untenable to remain. Were we a large and confident empire the path would likely be modern day version of Roman bread and circus. A scenario of smart society with no courage (later day Venice); another scenario of people who never worry about tomorrow because they are so big, powerful and rich. Many in betweens I am not working out.

I am a swing voter. So is everyone at home.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I think one problem of sg is

    Too smart for their own good

    Not only gahmen, its embedded