Saturday, February 9, 2013

PWP version 1: Govt vs People; two different love languages?

Cut the PM some slack. Reading him sporadically in today's papers, you get the feeling that government and people are speaking two different love languages (borrowing from Gary Chapman)

I found the above YouTube clip at PAP website. I am simultaneously writing this and listening to the PM. I would not get to the end this time, but have read it more or less earlier.

This government has the brain power to perform global optimization. It reminds me of the early days of my career in the oil industry. I used to run a LP model of the refinery. Invariably to optimize the cost of inputs and the revenues from the oil products coming out almost every refinery unit do not run at full capacities. This is the same challenge running Singapore. Some sectors are 'favored' just like sometimes the CCRs or hydrocracker pushed to the limits...they are the 'stars'. Most units are not stars but in the interest of optimization are traded-off for them.

But this government has an overly mechanistic and engineering approach to skippering the ship of Singapore. The government is good at optimization but not so able at sharing the fruits to compensate those 'units' that had made the sacrifices so that the output is far higher than each unit fought each other to be 'stars' and rewarded accordingly.

Unlike refinery units, people have volition. They need to be informed not by throwing them a report and expecting them to read but it has to attractively shared and easily absorbed. This government get the lowest fail grade for communication. It also has a powerful engine but a body that does not match its power. Run the engine to maximum and the body starts to shake violently and fall apart! It is probably the most intelligent government in the world, but do not have matching wisdom. Wisdom must direct intelligence. Fortunately it is disciplined.

So this more than a hour speech from the PM we observe what he has learned in a hurry over the last few days of debate in the house.

More important than intelligence is foresight. SIA strategy to invest everywhere betrays its lack of foresight. This government glaring handicap and is also the deficit of almost all nations are radars to see far ahead and direct our resources toward the opportunities.

This government do not yet understand that foresight is a child of supreme wisdom. It is a way of joining the dots that forms the picture into patterns which resonates with history and our hearts so that we have the faith and confidence to proceed down the right path. There are such talents among us but they don't seem to be present in Cabinet. I hope the PM or WP do something about this pronto. It is far easier to find them now than anytime before.

Update: 9:30pm

I just came from watching Lincoln with the family. The thought that when I returned to this post, it must be read together with an earlier post has occurred to me. How much to I trust this PM?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Peng You, I understand what you're saying. Essentially, after listening to PM, you think (hope, rather) that he finally "gets it". That's probably also why NMP Eugene Tan, after eloquently deriding the Govt on the White Paper, changed his mind and abstained, instead of voting no.

    This is where, in my humble opinion, your political awakening (and Eugene Tan's too) still has some way to go. Particularly, when you hear soothing words, "I understand, I feel your pain". Just like after GE2011, last National Day rally speech, the emotional speech appealing to voters of Punggol that the PAP is for the people, and this one.

    Its like being married to a person. No person is perfect, and after the honeymoon, some of his/her habits start irking you and he/she then says he/she is sorry. But at the back of your mind, there's a nagging doubt - Why is he/she always like that? Maybe not so bad? Maybe can change? After a while, you realise he/she is who he/she is and there are some things you cannot change.

    Similarly, after a while the soothing words will lose its effect and people will start "tuning out". Just like the marriage example I gave above. Why do I not believe he can change? It will take me too long to organise my thots and make my point here, so I'll just take the lazy way out below.

    You are who you are, a result of your formative experiences and personal nature. Some things can change, some basic beliefs (right or wrong) won't change. You seemed to like technology, so let me give a tech analogy. Some founders of Valley startup are smart enough to realise that they are good founders, good entrepreneurs, but they're not necessarily the best person disposed to bring a company from $XXm revenue to the next stage of $YYmm size. Read this post for a good analysis of PM's bandwidth :