[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Thursday, November 06, 2008

[The masked socialist model of PAP]
By now, one would know what the ambition of the PAP is for the next 50 years - to win elections. As promised, I would share about what Dr Vivian Balakrishnan had shared on how the PAP can win elections for the next 50 years.

But first, he did mention that Singapore has some socialist traits - something which I had observed and wrote about when I was taking a module on Democracy. I had argued that as social factors around the world changes, the Singapore government wold adopt strategies and policies to suit the climate. Therefore, it would mean a marked shift from left to right and vice-versa. So when Dr Vivian had spoke about that, it struck a bell.

I would say it is not an outright socialist model but something along the lines of "masked socialism". At a party convention last Sunday, he reiterated that Singapore would not be like a welfare state - one which gives out incentives for anyone who applies. And that is why he says the model of having a social security net cannot work for obvious reasons. By saying that, he means that having a social security net would be equivalent to a welfare state. So while we do not have a social security net, we have the Workfare scheme. If you ask me, it is just the use of terms - Workfare is indeed a welfare scheme to help the lower income earners and there is no doubt about it.

Back to the main point of this post about winning elections.

The first question he answered was how to win elections. Perhaps he was referring to the rise of Obama mania - to win votes offer change. The second is a more pragmatic strategy - offer more. He did mention that such strategies can allow a party to win one to two elections. Maybe he was indirectly trying to tell the opposition something.

The way to win elections for the next 50 years is the PAP way (for a lack of a better term according to Dr Vivian). And how would the PAP do it? That is where the four goods that the PAP can deliver on - freedom, fairness, opportunity and security. Dr Vivian had asked those present to rank the four items. I am an individualist so no doubt about what I would choose - to each his own.

What made me think hard about was how we take things for granted. That is something all Singaporeans should learn not to do. And youths should not feel disillusioned - that what they say is not heard and not taken into consideration - because that would in turn lead to rebellion and maybe even extremism.

12 Comments:

Blogger Donaldson Tan said...

In Singapore, workfare for lowly paid workers is basically reducing the employee's CPF contribution while increasing the government's and employer's contribution to CPF. In this way, the take-home pay of the worker increases. The underlying requirement of workfare is that the workers must be employed. In another words, the jobless remains in the same worst position they have always been.

Friday, November 07, 2008 8:33:00 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Workfare scheme ?

What nonsense are you writing about ?
How many people apply for Workfare scheme ? Why is it that workfare scheme is the solution when the very poor get to apply ?

How about those who struggle very hard to make a living but not "poor" enough to qualify for these schemes ? Aren't these person deserve to save when the PayAndPay and TaxAndTax scheme come down hard on them ?

Stop using the excuse of Workfare scheme to justify that Singapore has good system. Like most "too good to be true" thing from gahmen, it is more like something you can see but cannot touch.

Friday, November 07, 2008 4:48:00 pm

 
Blogger Ephraim Loy said...

I think it is practical for someone to be employed to be able to receive subsidies from the government unless of course one is old and/or sick then there is social assistance. If you show that you want to help yourself by working, then it is ok for the government to chip to supplement your income. I think that is the basic idea.

The cost of a welfare system is high. The question is do Singaporeans want to pay higher taxes to supplement such a system. If the answer is no, then where will the government find the resources to keep the system going? One can argue that Singapore has a lot of reserves but then what happens when it depletes?

Friday, November 07, 2008 6:38:00 pm

 
Blogger Ephraim Loy said...

Who are the people "who struggle very hard to make a living but not "poor" enough to qualify for these schemes"?

Are you referring to the middle income earners?

Friday, November 07, 2008 6:40:00 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The cost of a welfare system is high. The question is do Singaporeans want to pay higher taxes to supplement such a system. If the answer is no, then where will the government find the resources to keep the system going? One can argue that Singapore has a lot of reserves but then what happens when it depletes?"

Either way why are you mention reserves when the citizen doesn't even have the right to know about about the reserves ? How much do you have in reserves ? Did you forget LKY says that citizen do not need to know reserve during his interview. Such audacity !
For all we know, the reserves may have been depleted by poor investment of Temasek and GIC.

Mr Ephraim, I would rather the government spend reserves on reducing tax ,fare on these things on citizens rather than put the reserves that gone in less than two years on lackdustre investment. It is time the government be more transparent and accountable to those loss. No more bullshit and nonsense from them.

It is incredible this government can even talk about for rainy day when the reserve can just be gone in less than five years. LKY must be treated Singaporean as moron when he says up to 30years to recoup. Who is he trying to kid ?

"Who are the people "who struggle very hard to make a living but not "poor" enough to qualify for these schemes"?"

Mr Ephraim, just ask the people in HDB flag whether they want workfare. Everyone want it, why even deprive of such thing ? Come on, it is not that we didn't know government work ? Increase the cost then come out wayang scheme to say that we will help if you meet requirement.

What a bullsit system is that ? Have been to Taiwan, HongKong etc ? gov have justify the price hike , GST , don't just increase it and then react to it, and talk nonsense of saying too much surplus is good. Good for who ?

Saturday, November 08, 2008 12:04:00 am

 
Anonymous zj said...

if paying tax for the right cause, i wouldn't mind.

for example; universal healthcare
for Sgporeans, free or at the very least heavily subsidized education for all SGporeans, unemployment/retrenchment benefits (with a reasonable n specific time limit) for Sgporeans, xtra allowance for Sgporeans' elderly n disabled.

i know there wil b plp who would disagree w me.
although s a supporter of freedom and minimial regulations that impede one's freedom to growth and to be one's 'true' self, i believe a supportive environment is just as crucial for the individual in fulfilling his/her potential too
;-)

Saturday, November 08, 2008 1:31:00 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worrying thing is that it was reported in the newspaper that the government is asking Temasek holdings to consider a stake in the LV Sands casino project at marina in case the latter goes under. It seems that the government is staking all its future electoral hope on the casino, gambling away the money of the people. Nothing good can come of it. Our future is doomed. :(

Saturday, November 08, 2008 2:58:00 pm

 
Blogger Ephraim Loy said...

I am not sure about the transparency of GLCs in other countries. Maybe you can find out and let me know. But I do agree that accountability is important in such companies that manage monies belonging to fellow countrymen.

I do strongly agree that how increased taxes will be used is important.

As for the Government asking Temasek Holdings (or maybe GIC) to consider a stake in Marina Bay Sands by LV Sands due care has to be exercised. In view of the economic downturn, some investments by GLCs have already been seen as not profitable on hindside therefore we should assess the options carefully.

Saturday, November 08, 2008 8:26:00 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ephraim,

Interesting that "transparency" is mentioned. Do you really think that there is transparency for S'pore Govt?

Case in point: Town Council funds invested in lehman-linked products that are worthless. Did the PAP Town Council come clean and be "transparent" about how much is lost? Is this just the modus operandi of PAP?

I rest my case.

Saturday, November 08, 2008 9:48:00 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion, there is only 1 way, and that way never ever changed:

Climate of Fear and Intimidation.

Sunday, November 09, 2008 4:01:00 am

 
Blogger Ephraim Loy 黎传志 said...

With every investment, there are risks involved. I believe that some people have already written in mainstream media about the laws for investments with regard to Town Council funds.

Sunday, November 09, 2008 3:25:00 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fuck off pap dog
fuck off wannabe

Monday, November 10, 2008 11:12:00 am

 

Post a Comment

<< Home