2econdsight

"to rescue truth from beauty and meaning from belief"


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Ministerial Promotions: What Lee Kuan Yew Preached vs How Lee Hsien Loong Practises

I never cease to be amazed at how fast novice PAP MPs are appointed ministers and their promotions confirmed. A whatsapp message sums it up, ‘Do nothing and can get promotion. I oso want .’

PAP’s leadership renewal is conspicuously planned so ‘that Singapore…continue to have honest and capable leaders’ (Lee Hsien Loong) or ‘the best people in government’ (Goh Chok Tong). Or leaders who will not ‘succumb to corruption’ (LKY).

Carrie Gracie, BBC, reports, ‘to steel its…members against temptation‘ or corruption, Xi JinPing (by LKY’s assessment, ‘a man of great breathe…in the Nelson Mandela class of persons‘) started revolutionary tours for its key cadres. The PAP, however, prefer a shortcut, paying the highest salaries of any government worldwide.

Here’s how LKY sold to Singaporeans the key intent for the high salaries:

So it was an unending quest for the right man to put in the job. It takes years for a person to be tried and tested as a minister, and to develop the judgement and touch……

Let me point out how long it takes to get a MP to learn to be a minister and have the public recognise him as such, especially when he is not a natural crowd puller or a mobiliser. There are two kinds…of ministers in Singapore – the doer and the mobiliser…..

People need time to gauge and assess who has what qualities and is best suited for what jobs that can make Singapore grow and thrive…..LKY, 30/6/2000, Parliament

How do fresh-face Ong & Ng along with Chan Chun Sing and Tan Chuan-Jin – all entered parliament under the coattails GRC system, without ever having to fight man-to-man for their seats, let alone suitability for high office – measure up under LKY’s need for developing time-tested, ‘people-gauged/assessed’ ministers?

Well, someone who had a ringside view already drew a conclusion about the effectiveness of high pay policy.

“…it started going downhill when we started to raise ministers’ salaries, not even pegging them to the national salary but aligning them with the top 10…” Ngiam Tong Dow, ex-civil servant.

Let’s not take Ngiam’s word for it. Let’s look closer at the evidence before us.

Chan Chun Sing
Can anyone name one policy that Chan enacted in all the 4 ministries he helmed since May 2011, namely; Community Development, Youth & Sports, Defence (2nd minister), Social and Family Development, sec-gen of NTUC & minister in PMO that has had a measurable positive impact on our lives?

To be fair, my search into the current article making the rounds about ‘105,000 households get little food’ finds no such study. The ‘105,000 households earning S$1500/month’ is taken from Singstats’ ‘Key Household Income Trends 2012’ but not linked to they ‘getting little food’.

Be that as it may, Chan’s catchy ‘kuih lapis’ policy of tackling poverty has been 3 years in its execution (since Nov 2013).

The result? No one knows. No one knows because despite the government’s complete access to data plain refuses to publicly engage us, feigning ignorance. Or is it because the results do not measure up to expectations?

Truth is, Chan’s boss set no quantifiable goals to speak of in the first place.

Nonetheless, Chan keeps ascending the cabinet ladder – without any measurable achievements to show for.

Tan Chuan-Jin
Same question. What’s one policy that Tan enacted or helped implement since making minister at MOM and, currently, Ministry of Social & Family Development?

As manpower minister, Tan gave us the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) (公平考量框架). Anyone remember what the FCF is about? If you have the time, read link.

Any quantifiable outcomes since implementing FCF and JobsBank in Aug 2014 with much fanfare? Yes! an increase in PMETs unemployed and for longer periods, too – while evermore foreigners slipped through on EP & S-Passes!

It’s gotten so bad that in a recent 3-4 days, 4 ministers, PM Lee included, came out to loud-speak that there are 70,000 vacancies with 30,000 more in healthcare alone in the next 5 years. And PM’s lame ‘we are pursuing all the right strategies, and I am confident that, given time, they will work’.

Similarly, Tan’s boss set no numbers for him to be gauged/assessed under the FCF. After spending 369 days at MOM and pocketing S$1.3mil, he moves to a new ministry – all without having any measurable achievements to show for.

Ong Ye Kung
Same question, any policy or change he enacted as education minister since 1 Oct 2015 to show for?

The man makes grand-sounding speeches. His maiden parliamentary speech is about ‘faster legs, stronger hearts, wiser minds‘. He secured that speaking opportunity only because he couldn’t get into parliament against the Workers’ Party in Aljunied and had to be sundered therefrom to another safer PAP GRC. Ong slipped into parliament under Shanmugan’s coattail.

How does his speech meet LKY’s “do not try to impress by big words – impress by the clarity of your ideas. Then I am impressed”?

His speech is long on the big markets of China, India and Africa but short on originality and practicality. He proclaims, ‘Today China drives the value chain. We must look at China now as a tremendous business and consumer market, and learn to tap into it.’

Yeah, sure.

I knew that from visiting China in 1996. Tried to interest my Swiss bosses, subsequently, my Dutch ones to invest in a production plant (both no go), then ‘downgraded’ to a more palatable central warehouse (succeeded). Workable, specific ideas. Not the hifalutin strategy spout by a still wet-behind-the-ear acting minister. Judging by the wrath we now face from China re the South China Sea, was his boss listening?

So, what did Ong achieve (not merely do) in measurable KPIs the 395 days he ‘acted’ as education minister (high edu & skills) with his S$1.3mil pay?

Ng Chee Meng
Final same question, any single policy or change he enacted as education minister (schools) since 1 Oct 2015?

Zilch.

As a father of 2 sons, I couldn’t fathom the pathetic parliamentary statement he made to explain young Benjamin Lim’s death after his police interrogation. What if it had happened to one of his own daughters?

Ng took the same chicken parliamentary route as all his other ministerial-material 4G colleagues, behind the coattail of another minister. I often wonder what other ASEAN ministers and MPs think about him – and of Singapore. Here, Singapore’s Chief of Defence Force, a lieutenant-general who boasted about the SAF’s ‘one-shot-one-kill’ capability but too chicken to battle one-on-one with an opposition candidate! Then after 395 days of speeches, his boss made him full minister!

But Singaporeans should be even more worried: Ng batted not an eyelid when he claimed his entering politics is ‘giving back to society’, paying back his ‘indebtedness’.

Yeah, sure.

Giving back to society = giving up S$300k-S$400k SAF job and taking up PAP-guaranteed’s 3-4X higher S$1.3 mil minister’s salary apid by taxpayers? Perhaps, we peasants understand not the math behind the brains of a president scholar and top general. But he’s setting a fine example on how to give back to society for our youth, indeed.

So, what did Ng achieve (not merely do) in measurable KPIs the 395 days he ‘acted’ as education minister (schools) on his S$1.3mil pay (excl bonus)?

Conclusion
Have Singaporeans been given the time to gauge, assess Ah Chan, Ah Tan, Ah Ong & Ah Ng against LKY’s time-testing aim, ‘it takes years for a person to be tried and tested as a minister…people need time to gauge and assess who has what qualities and is best suited for what jobs that can make Singapore grow and thrive’?

Did PM Lee do a thorough job assessing, gauging them – against LKY’s timeline and standards?

Rather obvious, isn’t it?

Sadly, we observe a pattern of leadership behaviour, a habit; the love for shortcuts, taking the easy, fastest way out. Refusing to grow our own timber. With GDP, PM Lee is addicted to the shortcut of importing Foreign Talents (carrying on from Goh Chok Tong’s legacy) and adding labour instead of being a doer or a mobilizer to convince, coerce our local SMEs – and our GLCs+TLCs – to increase productivity the last 20, 30 years.

Likewise, instead of fulfilling his promise of ‘leadership succession will be one of my top priorities‘ when swearing in as PM#3 on 13/8/2004, he’s rushing a shortcut to give the false impression of offering enough candidates to succeed him. He’s denied others even half the 20-year apprenticeship he enjoyed.

But even more worrisome is a trend shaping up underneath the surface of these fast-track, undeserved promotions. If the 4 ministers’ career trajectories are an indication, then Singaporeans must begin to be afraid. Be very afraid.

It may mean that the high salary system that LKY has instituted are attracting unproven politicians who are guaranteed salary increases of up to 4 times or more of their last drawn salary. Singaporeans already have a taste of something similar at NOL, SMRT, Singapore Police, LTA, Temasek Holdings etc.

Beside the salary, it’s a surefire career choice where your promotion is guaranteed without the need to show measurable KPIs.

Even more, it’s an iron-rice-bowl job – doesn’t matter if a world’s most dangerous terrorist escape or 8 Singaporeans die illegally of Hep C infection under your watch, your job is secured and salary intact!

All you need is unfailing party loyalty.

Is Samuel Huntington right after all, “The honesty and efficiency that Senior Minister Lee has brought to Singapore are likely to follow him to his grave“? We may not perceive that yet, being too close to the unfolding but very subtle deterioration.

Or will LKY have the last word?

Time will prove that I am right that Ministers should be paid 2/3 of their private sector counterparts’ salaries of two years ago. This is the way to ensure that our government and system stay clean and honest, with able and dedicated men, who can stay in office for several terms…..

If salaries pegged to the market do not work, then not much will be lost, except a few million dollars. Singapore can always go back to the old system of paying Ministers much lower than the market rate, and hoping for the best.” LKY. 19 July 96

…but only if Singaporeans heed his advice to jettison the system. Regardless, don’t hold your breath. 69.9% voters (now, minus Dr Lee Wei Lin) think things are honky dory under PAP & Lee Hsien Loong.

2016-11-02-photo-00000004

If you happen to be one of the children of any of the 4 ministers reading this, please ask your pa if he ever search his heart as each day departs.

Law Kim Hwee


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Cabinet Reshuffle – A Hustler’s Shuffle?

Reading the latest cabinet reshuffle, I’m reminded anew Jackson Browne’s ‘Information Wars’. With apologies to him, here are my revised lines contextual to SG.
Give us twenty minutes and we’ll give you the world
We bring good things to life
The news you need from people you can count on
Doing what we do best

The government of Singapore
Your true voice
You’re in good hands
Now more than ever before

…The latest spin on the shit PAP’s in, blow by blow
And the more you read, the less you know

Here’s a ‘blow-by-blow’ response to the PAP spin.

The changes are part of continuing leadership renewal “to build a strong ‘A’ team for Singapore”, Mr Lee said on Facebook.

Come on, lah. What ‘continuing leadership renewal’? Same faces. One 4-term old cock who’s announced he wanted to quit government, another a 2-term rear admiral-minister proven a failure leading from the rear on transport issues. Two never-fought-a-battle generals/1-term promoted-in-a-hurry ministers with nothing quantifiable that benefited citizens significantly to show for. And one minority minister-MP who I’ll comment on separately.

What’s common to all 5 PAP supposedly ‘A team’ talents? I’ll tell you: ALL 5 got into parliament originally via the coat-tails of others in GRCs. ‘A team’…hahaha! Not one talented and with balls enough to fight one-to-one to enter parliament.

Lim Swee Say has been hailed as the ‘best immediate choice’ to lead the Ministry of Manpower, ‘given his experience representing the unions and workers.’

The outgoing Tan Chuan-Jin says he had not realised the extent of the MOM’s reach, which includes retirement adequacy, employment opportunities, workers’ rights, and workplace safety and health.’
If true, then it’s not just the blue-collar workers but all of us PMETs are also done in and done for.

What can we expect of an ex-NTUC chief who led his members to the lowest relative increase in median wages? Whose members could no longer afford to pay for their most basic HDB flats on their own wages but now need PAP cabinet’s faux largesse of more grants just to own 2, 3 or 4-room flats that are also smaller than when my hawker-father-office-maid-mother could pay for their open-market S$17k 3-room flat within 8 years and without a single-cent grant from LKY’s team mid-‘80s?

‘Retirement adequacy’? What can we expect from a minister who proclaimed insensitively, ‘Every month, when I receive my CPF statement, I feel so rich and the best part is, I know the CPF money won’t run away’? How will he who feels ‘so rich’ even begin to understand what retirement inadequacy is, never mind how to address the issue?

We are dead meat in Swee Say’s hands, PMETs. Very suay.

Now, Tan Chuan-Jin. In the real world of accountable-to-stakeholders organizations, an employee gets promoted for measureable KPIs. How does Tan measure up after 21 months as acting minister and 11 months 8 days as full minister? Any real and specific number of PMETs you have directly helped with his JobsBank initiative to land a job

What of ‘retirement inadequacy’? Someone help me here or is it also zilch? Am I more retirement adequate now with this ‘A Team’ minister after 32 months + 8 days with his S$5mil salary safely taken home?

Next, our favourite ‘Minister Stumblebum’, this kee-kiu Minister must address with a cap ‘M’. He’d be writing to tremeritus.com editor to complain if I do not.

His trajectory is not unlike his fellow (but junior BG) Chuan-Jin. So, no need to belabour the point about having nothing measurable to show for…except perhaps the headcount of happy aunties and uncles with their free chicken rice for attending a PAP activity.

Inche Masagos may well desire his promotion. Cabinet ministers, MPs, academics and all kinds of pundits have chimed in their views. Even lau Goh highlighted Inche Masagos’ promotion. Oh, Masagos himself also spins it well;

‘In an interview with MediaCorp’s Berita, Mr Masagos said: “It would seem apparent that the Malay community would celebrate having two full Ministers in the Cabinet for the first time, but I think this is also how Singapore runs on the basis of meritocracy.’

I’m truly sorry to say #fail for lack of humility on the latter observation. Isn’t it arrogant to say that one has been promoted ‘on the basis of meritocracy’? The subtext is, hey guys, I’m really a talent! One would have thought that the first words would be to thank voters who voted me into parliament resulting in another opportunity to show that I could serve their needs.

As for ‘two full Ministers in the Cabinet for the first time’, has it occurred to Inche that maybe it’s because the current minister Yaacob has been proven to be a dud? Therefore, to save Yaacob’s face and his own poor judgment, PM Lee has to bring in one more to see if he can neutralize Yaacob’s failure? Hey, why is the Information & The Arts minister sidelined from helming ‘The Smart Nation’ project? (Giving it to Vivian, the Youth-Olympics-Budget-Overrun-Big-Timer, is another story for another day, dear taxpayers.)

On Liu Tuck Yew, Tattler describes him succinctly, the ‘poor guy already submerged way beyond his depth with the onerous Minister for Transport hat’ and we are supposed to believe that Liu is ‘A team’ renewal candidate? (…my toes 🙂 )

Conclusion
So, how to believe PAP’s spin of ‘continuing leadership renewal’ and ‘strong A team’?

Doesn’t it look more like

  • a desperate move to temporary plug sinking PAP-Sampan v2.0?
  • a callous move to ignore PMETs’ cries for measurable support to retain or regain employment?
  • an overt attempt to address the sinking support level with the Malay voters?

Now that we can see a perspective cutting thro’ the spin, for PM Lee to suggest that he has done the reshuffle to build an A team ‘for Singapore’ , can believe or not? Folks, that’s after a 20-year apprenticeship + 10 year premiership – and no more than 20 months, probably less, to the next GE?
Tell it like it is: It’s for PAP to win the next GE. ‘For Singapore’? Nah!…alternative media, the more you read, the less you are deceived….

2cents


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Glimpses of Minister “Bigger-Role’s” View of Singapore

Make no mistake, the PAP government has marshalled all the resources (non-party ones) at its disposal or by subtle force to push their ‘newly packaged product’ onto to shelf space of Singaporeans’ minds. For marketers, a product that does not command shelf space or visibility has less chance of succeeding. All the more so when an ‘existing one’ has been repackaged as destined for a ‘bigger role in Singapore politics’ when, in fact, its 4-year existence has shown up short on tangible benefits for Singaporeans – other than the ‘kee chiu’ shorthand to signal one’s agreement to a matter.

Hence, less than 72 hours after being butted-up to succeed as the next Sec-Gen of NTUC in Oct 2015, Minister Chan’s (Bigger role) face  – and thoughts – are all over the mainstream media after an appearance at the Institute of Policy Studies’ (IPS) Singapore Perspectives conference, 26 Jan 2015.

Visually,  Straits Times and Todayonline splashed his boy-SAF-general face, hands gesturing to make his point. While on page 4 (TODAY hardcopy edition) his intent face is in focus even as his senior DyPM Teo’s oblique face is faded out.

Textually, the thoughts of Chan to the 4 reported questions (out of 7) were all reported while only one of Teo’s views is worthy to see print. The 4 questions covered political diversity, providing for social needs, Pioneer Generation Package and Growth vs Productivity.

All our lives will be deeply affected if Chan should rise to be PM#4. So, what’s Minister Bigger Role thinking about issues affecting us?

Political Diversity
Diversity is ‘a strength…(to) check our own blind spots’ but Singaporeans must be matured enough to ‘achieve consensus beyond expressing differing views’.

Interpretation: Basically, nothing more than a motherhood statement devoid of substance. Such an answer can be given anywhere, anytime by any politician – it’s safe to make. But are we any wiser in our current context?

No one can disagree with the need for consensus. But in our current context tell us please, Minister Bigger Role, how can the process to achieve consensus begin? Would it not rightly begin with the government being willing to acknowledge the ‘blind spots’ that differing views revealed? Or is Chan also convinced he should always ‘decide what is right. Never mind what Singaporeans think’ (LeeKuanYew, 20 Apr 1987)?

Providing For Social Needs
The ideal has always been ‘do the most for those with the least’, but the challenge lies in defining this group…as there will be some lamenting at being left out even though they are not the most in need.

Interpretation: Another safe motherhood statement. But what so challenging about ‘defining this group’? Why can we accept IMF’s, World Bank’s, UN’s etc definition in most socio-econ concepts and yet cannot, indeed refuse to, set a poverty line? Wouldn’t that be at least a start?

The fact is that with any ‘definition’, there will always be lamenters. So, what’s the problem here? Or it’s but a convenient excuse?

Pioneer Generation Package
Whether more to receive or be given will depend on whether a government can muster the resources and the willingness of society to honour the older generation.’

Cautioning against a situation in which elections are turned into an “auction”, where subsidies are wielded as a tool to win votes.

“It is always easy for someone to come and do a one-upmanship, and say that I will promise more. The only way to check against this is not a political system per se, but an enlightened electorate,” he said, adding it is important to pose tough questions, such as how a candidate proposes to balance the books or bring about the promised benefit.

Interpretation: Is he, a leader, trying to play one group against another with pushing responsibility to citizens with his ‘willingness of society to honour the older generation’? Whatever happened to the PAP conviction to do the right thing even if it is unpopular with ‘society’?

What about a government’s book that is always balanced but at the expense of citizens’ books that are in chronic deficit from the cradle to the LifeCorp columbarium? What about reducing spending in one to increase another – even as change in our context and circumstances is the surest constant?


Slower Foreign Worker Growth vs Increasing Productivity
Asked how to balance the two, Chan pointed out the realities of Singapore’s citizen population, which is small compared with megacities that it has to compete with, such as Beijing or Shanghai.

“In any global economy, in order to be a niche, as part of the global value-added chain, we need to be of a certain size. The question is, can we do that … I won’t dare say it’s impossible, but I know it’s very difficult.”

Interpretation: I can only say that for someone who’s only aced Cambridge (BA Econs, First Class) and Sloans Fellows (MSC, Gen Mgt) but never worked a minute in the commercial world, his thoughts are mighty rich, to say the least. Words spouted from a head soaked in theories only – with zilch practice and proven records.

If SIZE was THE factor, Singapore wouldn’t be where it is today. Nor, for that matter, before, when or after Raffles, with his East Indies clerk background, bought us over and then ‘conceived a town plan to remodel Singapore into a modern city…devised a set of policies and regulations that outlined the objectives of the…free port… instituted a local magistrate who ensured peace and order…establishing an institution for higher learning’. All in 5 years from 1819 to 1824, by the time he was 35 years old on his own steam, not via a GRC walkover. Now, THAT’s TALENT – with incomparable foresight!!!

Yes, globalization changed the global economy. And, please Mr Chan, don’t be surprised if I tell you another phenomenon will sweep over globalization. How and when we know not yet. But the unchanging bedrock principle, pre-, current- and post-globalization, for economic relevance is ‘competitive advantage’- not SIZE!


You define your challenge wrongly, you bark up the wrong tree. You think size, you (wrongly) ‘add more (maybe wrong) people to Team Singapore’. You think ‘competitive advantage’, you do not end up like a ‘one-trick pony’ but more likely to succeed.

General Chan, you should know better than to assume the map to be the territory.

Prognosis
Not encouraging. But let’s evaluate his performance, his further utterances and not just this first scene in Minister Bigger Role’s first act as the newly Union Chief-to-be before we decide his fate come the GE.
2cents


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PAP’s Mind Games

7 Dec 2014, the PAP Sec-Gen rallied his troops with the never-before uttered, ‘the coming GE is a dead-serious battle’. The troops themselves lapped it up – unthinkingly. None questioned, ‘How come, from the default party of choice to dominance threatened, possible defeat even?’

Tellingly, too, the Sec-Gen was betting that non-party voters will be as unquestioningly daft to believe his assertion that ‘if the PAP is in trouble, Singapore will be in trouble’.

The ruler didn’t think that the previously daft electorate has been subjected, like the peasants of the French Revolution, to PAP’s own version of ‘let them eat cakes’. In place of a lack of food, we have been strangled, subjected to the non-stop treadmill of PAP’s rent-seeking, money-robbing schemes. In place of gathering outside the palace, the enlightened among the dafts have coalesced on the internet.


Deception is the key to cultivate the crowd

We’ll be mistaken to believe that the PAP are a clueless bunch when it comes to political strategy. Since overtly piling and playing on voters’ fears can backfire very badly, rationalizing for voters that their fears are intelligent, legit will serve PAP better.

Little wonder that the Sec-Gen scheduled a (rigged) Q&A session with his Propaganda Dept (14-15 Jan) to casually inform the GE is not yet. But, for good measure, Singaporeans must know that his successor remains at large. Voters should understand that they may well be voting in the Next Chosen One from amongst the new faces PAP will be fielding. Left unsaid, ‘So please, hor, give your vote to our new candidates.’

Yet another move in the well-crafted grand strategy to secure the long-time supporters while reaching out to FMMs (fence-sitters, marginal supporters and mal/mis-informed) is PM Lee’s Facebook Q&A. This exercise is not unprecedented. What is, is the follow-up masterstroke of Tea with PM for some 13 lucky fans 18 – 63 years old, all gullible as props to serve the PAP’s end. The guests to tea must be so impressed that they must tell the world of a ‘true, caring’, approachable, working-like-shit PM who is “the Man to lead Singapore for the next decade!”

Desperation is the kink in their armour
So, what gives with the paper-general Chan Chun Sing’s (CCS) new Union Chief appointment? A surprise? That would be an understatement in PAP’s 60 years in existence. The PAP Singaporeans know is one beast that leaves little to Lady Chance. PM#2 and PM#3 talked about succession even as they just ascended their thrones. The NTUC Sec-Gen position, with its hundreds of thousands of members and its historic role played in PAP’s ascension would rank high in importance – even if it isn’t the normal route to premiership.

Consider, as early as 2011, PAP tried to sell Ong Ye Kung as a ministerial potential with his NTUC background.

Therefore, the staggeringly surprising change in CCS’ appointment, usurping Heng Chee How (NTUC Dy Sec-Gen since 1999) as the next Union Chief (all formalized in one day) speaks of a decisive if desperate move by PAP. But is it ‘strategy’?

Consider this angle. PM Lee did publicly assess that ‘Singaporeans want PAP to govern Singapore’. If this is the assessment (actually, he cannot possibly say otherwise), then how would that inform PAP’s GE strategy? We already heard that the PM-in-waiting has yet to be anointed, so please hor, vote our new candidates. PM Lee also tried to seal the image of a hardworking, friendly servant of the people via an ‘unexpected’ FB Q&A – orchestrated a week after a live one with the Press..

Are these seemingly casual moves or well-planned ones meant to reach out to the FMMs?

So, whither CCS’ new appointment?

I submit that it is THEIR chess move to subtly focus the minds of the electorate. The voter needs to see PAP’s (voter’s) future in PAP’s (voter’s) choice of PAP’s next possible PM (voter’s personal future situations or children’s) secured – or at least steps taken to the effect.
Leaving little to Lady Chance, PAP even enlisted their has-been PM Goh CT to chime in that CCS is destined for a ‘bigger role’. Goh, in blind service to the PAP instead of the people of Singapore, saw no disconnect in his endorsement of CCS whose record is as follows;

1987 – 2011
: Military career. Achievement, Chief of Army.

26 Mar 2010 – 25 Mar 2011
: Chief of Army (Paper Chief for all of 365 days). Achievement, not publicly discussed.

27 Apr 2011
: Elected MP on Nomination Day. Achievement, rode on MM LKY’s coattail.

21 May 2011 – 31 Oct 2012
: Acting Minister, of Community Development, Youth & Sports. Achievement,                                                nothing to publicize even by his boss, PM Lee.

1 Nov 2011 – 31 Aug 2013
: Acting Minister of Social & Family Development. Achievement, promoted to                                                 full minister. Achievement, no notable citation of specific KPI reached.

1 Sep 2013 – now
: Minister of Social & Family Development. Achievement, nothing but                                                             nonetheless, got Goh’s ringing endorsement as the next ‘bigger’ thing in Singapore politics.

(N.B.: There’s zilch in his whole life that he’s shown even an inkling of working for workers’ welfare. Absolutely zero.)

If a jack-of-many-trades-with-quantifiable-achievements-in-none is premiership material – in PAP’s current configuration – then shit has hit the fan. When LKY dissected PM potentials in the 80’s, he carefully explained both their strengths and weaknesses. Remember ‘wooden’, ‘Indian’ to explain why PM-shortlisted but not PM-anointed? What’s more, LKY had 4, 5 to pick from. Now, PAP has only one – perhaps, he’s the only one who gleefully ‘kee chiu’ (volunteered) for the job?

So, for all the razzmatazz (‘excited action or impressive display’ or is it ‘evasive or misleading language; double talk’?), signs of desperation writ large as a kink in their strategy armour.

Mind Games
Summarizing, CCS’ dazzling ascension can be read as the normal, predictable almost, way of the PAP we have come to know – i.e. succession planning. But now his inexplicable butt-up into Union Chief territory, coming less than 2 years into his 2 achievement-less Ministerships, leaves us wondering if this is a desperate or reckless or bold move by the PAP?

Recall once again why would PAP Sec-Gen Lee say that the next PM choice “is not entirely certain, because I will bring in some MPs and some new people with leadership calibre in the next General Election” on 16 Jan, then barely a week later, agreed to NTUC’s request to second CCS to be their deputy Sec-Gen – all within a day.

Rounding off with Goh’s unabashed endorsement. Goh’s not known for verbosity. That’s impossible for anyone wooden, except in the hands of the late ventriloquist Victor Khoo as Charlee. From his brief 61-word 25 Jan FB post lavishing praise on CCS, he found it necessary to draw voters’ attention that with the CCS’ move ‘Singapore needs to look forward’.
Therefore, does not the whole affair smack of PAP’s grand strategy at mind games; to calculatingly, psychologically assure party supporters while simultaneously manipulate FMMs with a view to intimidate the one or confuse the other into voting a ‘certainty that what we have now is going to continue’ come the GE?
Now, opposition parties and anti-PAP troopers, what are you going to do about that?

2cents