National Day Rally 2007

PM Lee attributed the astronomical high salaries of those at the top (presumably the cabinet) to our winner-takes-all society. He cited the example of golf, where Tiger Woods earns a lot more than number 2, Jim Furyk. But sports isn’t reflective of the way our society functions. Sports is a zero sum game whereby one person winning the gold medal denies another from getting gold. What Tiger Woods wins, Tiger Woods deprives of others. Society however, doesn’t function like that. There can be many top surgeons as long as their skills are demanded. Likewise there can be many top bankers, accountants and lawyers.

It is however true that there can only be one CEO in a company and one prime minister in a country. But even then we see a difference between Tiger Woods and the CEO or the prime minister. Tiger Woods is a one man show. No one doubts that it is through his own hard work and gift that he accomplishes all that he achieves. A company on the other hand, is not a one man show, let alone a country. The success of a company or a country cannot be solely attributed to the CEO or the prime minister and much has to be considered of the contributions of employees and the people.

A better analogy would have been that of an orchestra. The conductor knows that all the members of his orchestra are truly talented people and the best that he could find. Without them, he alone would have amounted to nothing. So rather than taking all, credit and rewards are shared amongst all members.

The PM says that we cannot hold down top salaries for otherwise talent will leave. We can do an experiment and hold down the salary of say Mah Bow Tan and see if he leaves. For the experiment to work, we have to ensure that no government linked company would employ him and see if he can make it just as good in the private sector.

PM Lee also said that western countries cannot attain the growth rates that we attain. Let’s us wait till we reach their per capita GDP levels before we say so. The reasoning is this: US got 90 marks last year and 93 marks this year – an increase of only 3 marks. Singapore got 70 marks last year and 78 marks this year – an astounding increase of 8 marks. But which is better at the end of the day, 93 marks or 78 marks?

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3 Responses to “National Day Rally 2007”

  1. Desmond Lim Says:

    hear, hear. i think all ministers should do this not only mr. mah, then we’ll see (for sure) how much our “we are the best” ministers are worth.

  2. James Chia Says:

    When you pay someone big bucks to be a minister, the person may be able to make the economy move forward but doesn’t mean he can feel for his fellow Singaporeans because ultimately money motivates him and not his passion for the nation.

  3. Curry and Cars in Singapore | It Doesn’t Get Any Hotter Than This! Says:

    […] Puff Bandit” by the media, he was directly accused by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally in May. He was accused, and is now convicted, of tax evasion. Seems he made about $1 million or so […]

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