2econdsight

"to rescue truth from beauty and meaning from belief"


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….We are more or less the same….

This article risks the ire of, as one commentator puts it, ‘the erudite writer’, Chris K and his bevy of TRE fans.

In light of the Yang Yin episode that continues to unfold before our eyes, Chris K’s wrote a pointed piece of the ugly Chinaman (or Russian) <http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/09/19/yang-yin-the-bitch-and-the-homo-sovieticus/&gt;, supposedly set free by the Commie “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” when, in reality, it’s more like Communism with Extreme Capitalist Characteristics. If Gordon Gekko indeed distils correctly Western capitalism as ‘Greed is good’, the Commie China-made YangYin bests Gekko with ‘Come on, Money, I love you’.

But I disagree with Chris that the worst of us originate from the Commie system.

http://pumabydesign001.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/pot-calling-the-kettle-black.jpg

If you will, please read this:

“THE milk was marketed as pure and wholesome, and it looked fine to the naked eye. How were the mothers to know they were poisoning their babies? They had paid good money for it on the open market. It would take thousands of sick children before lawmakers did anything to stop it.

China in 2008? No, New York City in 1858.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/30/opinion/30wilson.html?_r=0.

The above quote is based on The Swill Milk Scandal in New York where contaminated milk was sold and, note this, continued to be sold over a good decade or so even after investigative reports were filed and many babies were dying from consuming the stuff. At least PM Wen JiaBao threw the book early at the perpetrators of melamine-tinted milk after a few babies died.

Compared to the Chinese melamine version, swill milk is “a filthy, bluish substance milked from cows tied up in crowded stables adjoining city distilleries and fed the hot alcoholic mash left from making whiskey….(then) doctored — with plaster of Paris to take away the blueness, starch and eggs to thicken it and molasses to give it the buttercup hue of honest Orange County milk.”

Welcome to America!

Compared to the ‘few Chinese dead babies’, the then NYT reported ‘the deaths of up to 8,000 children a year to this vile fluid’. That’s ‘8000 a year’ over a period spanning ‘as early as 1842, (when) a temperance crusader named Robert Hartley warned that city milk could be catastrophically tainted. Throughout the 1850s, newspapers published exposés of the distillery dairies and called for the city to close them.’ But to little avail.’

It was only in 1858, that the authorities stirred to “investigate a notorious swill milk dairy on West 16th Street” only to have the investigator (civil servant/politician?) “sat down with the dairy owners and drank a glass or two of whiskey. He (then) concluded that swill milk was just as good for children as ordinary milk, and anyone who refused to drink it simply had a ‘prejudice’.”

(Heck! Doesn’t that sound eerily similar to our millionaire cabinet responding to our cries of ENOUGH FT! with ‘Singapore belongs to everyone’ and those who object to FT are simply ‘bigots’!)

Anyway, the swill milk scandal shows democratic NY circa 1850s, Caucasians are not much different from the Commies with their extreme greed and political filth. The time, stage and actors differ but the script is about the same.

If still in any doubt, does everyone not remember how the Americans (the entire banking-related appartus, not just one YangYin, with their supposedly legally water-tight contracts made paupers of so many lives worldwide with their Lehmann Brothers moment?

Welcome to America!

To those of us English-speaking dafts who fancy ourselves to be more ‘progressive’ thinking that the west is ‘better’ than the ‘east’ and the Asian chauvinists alike who disdain all things western, let’s all take a deep breath and take another look at the facts. Are we not all kettles and pots, all blackened alike?

https://i2.wp.com/www.cyniconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/potcallingkettleblack.png

That said, west and east have positives that we should seek to adopt and adapt for our common good. Putting aside the past, currently, the west’s saving graces probably lie in the stronger application of rule of law and openness to contestation of ideas. And the east? Is it fair to say it’s still work-in-progress since Japan is mired in self-doubt, while India and China are focused on ‘money, money, money, it’s a rich man’s world’? Sorry, S Korean Psy’s Gangnam Style does not count, 2 billion Youtube views notwithstanding.

Hence, my case is that Singaporeans are experiencing the ills of the Chinese & Indians (including Malaysia origin) and Pinoys more because they are closer to home. But if the PAP cabinet allows more westerners from farther field in, as many ugly ones will surely surface – be it Commie-, Caste- or Capitalist-origin.

So, whither Singapore and Singaporeans?

The enlightened ones amongst us are calling for the swill FT policies to first be halted, then reset later. But who’s listening to the cries of our dying ‘baby’ (literally & metaphorically speaking) Singapore dream of a stable job, fair salary and reasonable home already sickened and some lives broken or sacrificed even?

Time to castrate the current ‘milkmen’ to save the 50-year old Independent Singapore baby? Or live to see the reality of a species nouveau a la homo PAPicus? Good one, Chris!

You decide.

2cents


5 Comments

‘The Art of Compromise’ – Kishore Compromises Himself

It has been awhile since anyone responded to Kishore Muhbubani’s ‘BIG IDEA’ series in the Straits Times. As I don’t read the ST anymore, I have almost forgotten his existence. For the record, I do keep current with TODAY and ChannelNewsAsia online. Why pay to prosper the propagandists, right?

ST always (or KM preconditions his writing?) mention that KM ‘was named one of the top 50 world thinkers this year by Prospect Magazine’. After reading his latest BIG IDEA #8: Develop the Art of Compromise (http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/nurturing-art-compromise), I wonder if highlighting the nomination is meant to impress or intimidate readers, the latter to instil fear in case one should think to critique (or lampoon) This Thinker’s writing. Regardless, let me give it a shot.

My short response to his idea #8 is, compromise is not possible with self-censorship and without honesty. Sad to say, Mr Mahbubani appears to demonstrate both in his latest article.

SOURCES OF STRESS
I’d be impertinent to suggest the 3 sources of stress (inflow from ‘global stress’, ‘Singapore is becoming more complex’ and ‘political evolution of Singapore’) Mr Thinker identifies are invalid or mistaken. They are all rather obvious – even for non-rocket scientists like us. So, no arguments there.

What is rather jarring is KM’s failing to raise a red flag related to stress #2, ‘Singapore society is becoming more complex’. He himself points out the inherent tremendous stress from being ‘one of the most open cities in bringing talent and ideas from the rest of the world’. Why then does he not question or criticize the policy of overwhelming us with foreigner numbers that neither we the people nor our infrastructure can adequately cope?
What is self-censorship?
Why does the government continue stubbornly with increasing foreigners inflow, albeit at a slower rate than previously (really, where’s the proof?), instead of putting a complete STOP temporarily or announcing a future date (being fair to employers/investors)? Does a government doggedly creating more needless stress than we can cope help towards developing compromise?

In not confronting the obvious FT policy, has Mr Thinker self-censored himself? Or he’s merely a tinker tinkering with his own undersized, incomplete thinking?

POLITICAL TRANSITION
The second half of his analysis appears to have the paws of the propaganda department all over it.

KM helpfully contextualizes Singapore’s political transition with that of the other ‘tigers’ of Asia (S Korea, Taiwan and HK), how each went or are going through ‘so difficult’ a transition. All 3 have had ‘large-scale demonstrations’ compared to ‘a few protests’ confined only to Hong Lim Park ‘each with attendees (not protestors?) numbering in the thousands’.

To appear more a futurist¬, KM includes the possibility of ‘more widespread protest…beyond HLP’.

KM further observes that between ‘contestation or consensus’ in politics, the former is a ‘trend (that) is unstoppable’ with ‘Singapore…becoming a normal society, after decades of having what some people considered abnormal politics, with one dominant party winning landslide elections’. One wonders if Mr Thinker disagree Singapore’s politics has been abnormal, along with its costly, not just cosy, societal and political outcomes?

Then, true to Ngiam Tong Dow’s observation about the servitude tendencies of the over-paid, KM brings in PM Lee, his boss, characterizing Singapore as a Sampan 2.0. Helpfully, emphasizing that ‘anyone who has been on a sampan will know that if people fight on a sampan, it will topple over.’ Hence, ‘we will have to develop a new political culture based on compromise and consensus.’

And so he ends, urging that ‘we start with working on it (the new political culture) right away’. Strange, very strange, for a Thinker to diagnose and offer a BIG IDEA – but failing to suggest how to go about it.

KM’s previous BIG IDEAs boldly offered practical ideas on transport and housing etc, why has he kept mum on how to actually develop the art of compromise? His omissions serve to make us question his hidden agenda (and the ST’s) for his readers.

Is he less than honest not to point out that ‘We decide what is right. Never mind what people think’ must be explicitly expunged while listening to and incorporating what the people think and say must now be overtly practised?

Is he less than honest not to censure pronouncements such as ‘we are deaf to all these criticisms’ and ‘satisfied people don’t have time to go onto the Internet. Unhappy people often go there’, are anathemas to the art of compromise?

CONCLUSION
Kishore Mahbubani’s intellectual exercise, Big Idea #8, appears to follow the sad trend of Singapore supposed civil and thought leaders arguing for a direction or an outcome that is framed and approved by their employer, the PAP govt. You guess it, REACH wasted no time to publish it on their website, https://www.reach.gov.sg/YourSay/DiscussionForum/tabid/101/mode/1/Default.aspx?ssFormAction=%5B%5BssBlogThread_VIEW%5D%5D&tid=%5B%5B16098%5D%5D

His call for compromise and consensus is what Singapore truly and badly needs at this 50th anniversary juncture of our history of unbroken reign but now under obviously less-than competent leaders. Unfortunately, he compromises himself with either his self-censorship or lack of analytical honesty, or both.

True compromise and consensus are not possible with self-censorship and without honesty.

2cents blogs @ 2econdsight.wordpress.com


9 Comments

The Internet : Leaders Lead. Losers Lament.

The Internet vis-a-vis Their Citizens
In an interview with The Australian (21 Aug), a day after US reporter James Foley’s beheading video appeared, President Yudhoyono admitted “Our citizens here in Indonesia are picking up recruitment messages from ISIS containing extremist ideas”. He “called on all Indonesians to reject ISIS and to stop the spread of its radical ideology. My government and security agencies have taken decisive steps to curtail the spread of ISIS in Indonesia, including by prohibiting Indonesians to join ISIS or to fight for ISIS, and also by blocking Internet sites that promote this idea.” <http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/indonesia-president-says/1322874.html>    

                                  

Whilst Singaporeans may argue the merits or otherwise of ‘blocking Internet sites’, it is interesting to compare the actions of PM Lee and his ministers on similar matters of ‘ideas’ that do not sit easily with them.

Last April, Singaporeans rose to strongly object the planned Philippines Independent Day celebrations highlighting “two nations” and “interdependence” in posters for the event that appeared to compromise Singapore’s sovereignty. Mistakenly or not, citizens were acting spontaneously from a sense of patriotism.

Minister Tan Chuan-Jin rewarded them by swiftly condemning those citizens as ‘bigots’. PM Lee chimed in, calling their patriotic outbursts ‘a disgrace to Singapore’.
                                              

A year earlier, Minister Ibrahim Yaacob said on BBC News, “it is important for us to ensure that they [ordinary Singaporeans] read the RIGHT thing…” after announcing rules to curb the free flow views of Singaporeans on the Internet.

                                               

Whilst we can disagree on the need to block websites, we can surely agree the case with Singapore is nothing of the ISIS sort. Singaporeans and extremism do not sit together – except when it comes to condemning citizens who disagree and except, perhaps, in the Singapore PAP Govt’s deliberate & accelerated hollowing out of the Singapore core in its ‘radical ideology’ to insanely grow GDP at all cost. Will it be too late for true Singaporeans who do not have the option of migrating when that day cometh?

Perhaps, we deserve the government we elect.

Their Own Personal View of the Internet
At the 22 Aug Indian Institutes of Management (IIMPACT) dialogue, PM Lee revealingly said, “My personal view is that human society was not designed with the internet age in mind, in the sense that the way it has always worked – you have lags, information disseminates over a period of time, you have time to think it over, (let it) sink in, discuss it, understand it, and gradually form what we hope is a wise consensus. But today, all of that is telescope and the splash goes out tonight and tomorrow morning, everybody knows the answer, which may be the wrong answer. In fact, far from having a faster circuit, you have a short circuit collectively…” 

“…It makes your margin of stability much narrower and you have to be able to navigate that and have bumps and spills along the way. It’s inevitable,” he added.

Now, contrast that with President Yudhoyono’s view, spoken a week later at the UN Alliance of Civilizations 6th Global Forum, Bali, 29 Aug.

“As to the Internet, there is no arguing that it is effective in quickly and widely disseminating basic data. It can also be a ruthless agent for the viral spread of prejudice and advocacy of violence. Many a terrorist has been recruited through social media. At the very least, therefore, advocates of a reasonable dialogue between cultures and faiths should make optimal use of the Internet, particularly social media.”

Unlike the PAP’s choice approach to ‘fix’ whoever is considered by them – and them alone – to be opposing their creed and doctrine, President Yudhoyono takes the true leadership mettle to counsel his audience,

The point cannot be missed : tolerance, open-mindedness, respect for others, do not happen by itself. They must be taught, trained and instilled in our people…We must therefore never tire to open up our children’s minds, and inculcate in them the values of diversity and unity.” (instead of a quick fix?)

“To open up minds, (we) must also seek to raise the quality of dialogue between civilizations, cultures, faiths and ideologies and then to advance it beyond words and into the realm of effective action.” (instead of just ‘read the RIGHT thing’)

All views should be brought into the dialogue—even radical ones. For if moderates talked only with moderates, there will be no change. The voices of the moderates should be strengthened, but it is equally important that the grievances of those who have been alienated and who feel left out should be given a hearing. Their grievances should be addressed, with patience and determination.” Read more < http://presidenri.go.id/index.php/eng/pidato/2014/08/29/2427.html >

Lesson in Leadership
The cynical will say that the President has the luxury of speaking as one stepping down from responsibility in 2 months time. Whereas PM Lee is straddled with a man-made nation that faces existential threats from all quarters and at all times. (Yeah, but he can always step down, right?)

However, the threat to his beloved Indonesia is no less. They suffered the Bali and Marriot Hotel bombings with resilience. Whilst Singapore has no more than faced the Mat Selamat escape. Ironically, a terrorist handed over to us by the Indonesian authorities – albeit with inputs by our own Intelligence forces. Still, let’s honestly acknowledge the disasters thwarted by our security forces.

Back to Leaders and Leadership.

In a brave new world with the Internet and Social Media, Leaders lead. Losers lament.

Losers lament for the days of old when they monopolize control of the sheep with Straits Times and Radio Television Singapore (RTS) or Singapore Broadcasting Corp (SBC).

Losers lie that the Internet was meant to cause ‘a great convergence of universal truth’ when it’s no more than the latest, ever-evolving construct for faster communication.

Losers leech on the negatives of the Internet to feed the fears of the sheep in order to continue their politics of power.

Leaders, well, leaders lead. To ‘open up minds…raise the quality of dialogue…(with) all views…brought into the dialogue – even radical ones. For if moderates talked only with moderates, there will be no change. The voices of the moderates should be strengthened, but it is equally important that the grievances of those who have been alienated and who feel left out should be given a hearing. Their grievances should be addressed, with patience and determination.”

Contrast that with our own leaders, including our own 35.20%-elected president. If our leaders pale in comparison with President Yudhoyono’s calibre, then Change we Must! 

                                            

Note that President Yudhoyono’s call to lead applies equally to all sides. Any one side cannot aim to ‘seize the narrative’. Each side must engage ‘all views’ to achieve a majority agreement on a compromised narrative if Singapore is to move forward.

Doing anything less will be replicating the PAP’s ‘our way or the highway’ road to polarization and then disunity.

Forget the lie that Singapore will be kaput if it’s not the PAP way. Singapore was thriving long before PAP arrived and will still be here – albeit differently configured either with 6.9 mil or less.

But Change our lame, lamenting leaders we Must.
End PAP’s dominance or else PAP dominance will end us.

2cents