A random conversation with a PAP loyalist

A random conversation with a PAP loyalist threw up many indignations of the other kind.

He asks who is Nicole Seah? How is a 24 year old going to speak to Banbang Yudhoyono as an equal? But Nicole Seah was only campaigning to be a member of parliament. She wasn’t campaigning to be a foreign minister. She only needs to be able to speak to residents with empathy and understanding and to work for them.

He justifies ministers’ million dollar salaries by pointing out:

1) Their much greater responsibilities compared to those of a CEO’s.
2) Corruption in neighbouring countries that cost so much more than the millions we are paying our ministers.

1) The government is an organisation more like that of a charitable organisation than a company. The government, like the charitable organisation, provides services to its constituents using funds paid for by the public. The people do not expect the heads of charitable organisations to enrich themselves obscenely. That is why they felt repugnant when they learnt of TT Durai’s excesses. Similarly, the people feel repugnant of ministers’ excesses.

2) How can corruption in other countries be the reason to pay millions to our white on white PAP ministers? Is he saying that the PAP ministers despite claiming to be spotlessly white, cannot be trusted but must be fed millions to remain corruption free? Isn’t that an admission that they are corruptible?

He justifies the government’s mass import of foreign workers by pointing to:

1) a certain French semiconductor firm employing 400 Singaporeans and 600 others.
2) the multitude of foreign worker nurses, construction workers and others doing jobs that Singaporeans don’t want to do.

1a) He should question the figure of 400 and ask if it refers to Singaporeans or Singapore residents. Many don’t distinguish between the two but there is a world of a difference between them. A fellow colleague formerly from the semiconductor line says that out of 400 Singapore residents, probably less than 100 are Singaporeans, the rest are Malaysian PRs. We have nothing against our foreign friends. If we had limitless land we would have imported 50 million. But there is a limit to how much we can cope with. We must recognise our limits.

1b) We should ask ourselves what is the point of importing industries that provide jobs that Singaporeans don’t want to do? Why do we still churn out so many engineers, bring in so many factories when many of our younger generation are already leaning towards business, finance and service related studies and industries? Is job creation merely a job for those in the MTI never mind if people want them?

2) No one begrudges the need for foreign workers in jobs that Singaporeans don’t want to do. But have we ensured that when it comes to jobs in food courts for example, many of the older, less educated Singaporeans are given priority over cheap, easily available foreign workers?

He justifies government’s decision to retain manufacturing by saying that Hong Kong has China as a backside whereas we don’t have a backside. But China is not just Hong Kong’s backside. It is the world’s backside. All of the industrialised world has set up manufacturing operations in China. There is no reason why China can’t be Singapore’s backside as well. But he counters, saying China restricts foreigner employment in engineer jobs. Perhaps that is reason enough to adopt Mr Tan Jee Say’s plans to transform Singapore into a knowledge economy?

He justifies the government’s housing polices by:

1) Comparing how a diploma couple’s combined salary today can pay for an HDB flat faster than the income of a fresh graduate during his days
2) Comparing Singapore housing price with those of Hong Kong’s
3) Blaming high HDB resale prices to Singaporeans’ greediness in wanting to sell high

1) He is not comparing apples to apples. In fact, what he has shown is that during his days, a family can survive on one income. Today, the family has to depend on two incomes. So isn’t that a decline in quality of life? With both parents working, many kids have grown up neglected, imbibed the wrong values, went up the wrong path and became problems to society. So by jacking up the price of flats which is a primary determinant of cost of living, the government has forced everyone to work, increasing GDP while bringing other costs to society.

2a) Why must we always be compared to the world’s most expensive in order to appear not so expensive? Doesn’t that in itself show that we are actually pretty expensive? Why not compare with places like Australia, Europe or America? The response was: they have plenty of land, we don’t have. But as plentiful as land is in Australia, not every inch is inhabited by people. There are hundreds of miles of wilderness from one city to the next. The people are mainly housed in cities just like ours. But they have made it a point not to overcrowd their cities. Have we?

2b) He agrees that asset appreciation is a bubble but nevertheless tries to justify for the PAP by saying that if the assets are churned fast enough, things might be okay. It will never be okay. With each churning, the seller will gain, the buyer will lose, the country as a whole gains nothing and the price goes up a notch. So the faster we churn, the faster the price will escalate, the worse the situation will become.

3) Singaporeans cannot sell high unless there is an overall shortage in the market. That shortage is caused by a spike in demand caused by the mass import of foreign workers and slowness in ramping up supply to cope with the increased demand. Since supply of land and housing comes from the government and demand also comes from government’s immigration policies, who else to blame but the government? Another example of undersupply leading to increased prices would be the slashing of COE quotas causing car prices to jump up. He counters that by asking why not buy second hand car? If we bring his advice back to the housing issue, it would be like asking: why not buy resale flats? It is precisely because people have no choice but to buy from the resale market that sellers were able to hold them to ransom.

He vouches that the older generation of leaders have done good for Singapore. Not many people will disagree. But we are no longer voting for the older generation of leaders. We are voting for the current crop of ministers. We should base on judgment on this current crop of ministers, not past ministers.

Looking at Thailand, he says politics doesn’t benefit the country. He is right. If we look at China, there are no elections, there is no democracy but there is economic progress just the same. But while politics doesn’t bring in the dough, it does determine who gets a bigger bite. If the government continues to reward itself with astronomically high salaries while every new generation struggles with ever increasing cost of living, is it any wonder that the younger generation is showing dissatisfaction?

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4 Responses to “A random conversation with a PAP loyalist”

  1. Ron Says:

    Hi,

    Nice post… With skull so thick, you’d need a sledge Hammer to break through it… 🙂

  2. Char Kway Teow Says:

    Many PAP supporters r selfish n wouldnt even think of how those who r earning less r suffering due to the stupid policies in placed. They would only think of enriching themselves rather than empathising those who r less fortunate.

    If we just look at the housing policies which r market-priced, it just does not make sense as prices will not continue to rise forever. The people who suffer ultimately would be the younger/future generation. In fact, those in the 20s/30s r already feeling the pinch.

  3. hahaha Says:

    LKY says Singapore cannot be auto-pilot. That’s because we havent yet got a good system going. We are now having good men running a bad system. So he is fearful that Singapore will fail if we have daft men in a bad system. So our ultimate objective is to have a good system, so that even if we have sub standard men, like TPL, we have the opportunity to correct it.

  4. ME ME ME Says:

    The truth is he knows all his arguments are flawed. The only reason he is a PAP loyalist is because of the benefits he gets himself. He will get his PBM, get appionted as TC chairman or GM. Gets network for his business and his brandname a PAP member does carry weigh to clinch the contrcats. Simplae as ABC

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