Tuesday, November 10, 2009

That's Such An Insolent Remark

We live, we learn.

I did not know of
Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate from Nigeria, until I read an article where ST senior writer Cheong Suk-Wai interviewed him on "colonialism and human rights activists". Here are some interesting Q&A.

  • Q: "On Singapore?"
    A: "I find it well laid out, very orderly with a kind of antiseptic atmosphere."
  • Q: "With globalization leveling playing fields, it would appear that everyone might soon have an equal voice".
    A: "At the moment, Western powers have built up a tradition of commercial dictatorship with all nations, with the encouragement, very often, of leadership of our very own societies, who find it very easy to collaborate. They become the darlings of their trading partners but, in fact, they are degrading the collective worth of their own societies."

  • Q: "But isn't being open to trade beneficial to their peoples?"
    A: "I've heard statements from so-called democratic leaders such as: 'I know what is best for my people.' That's such an insolent remark."

  • Q: "Why so?"
    A: It's no different from the language of the former colonial masters. So you are quite right that we are still aspiring towards the level playing field.

  • Q: So the colonialism still prevails long after the colonialists have left?
    A
    : It is so. The British, when they were leaving, decided which part of Nigeria was to rule over the rest.

  • Q: What would you advise other countries with similar competing ethnicities and histories?
    A
    : The only advice that I can offer is exactly the formula which we are proposing for our nation, which is this: We know this nation was founded on a lie. But let us sit down now and decide the protocols of co-existence, because as long as we have not done that, we are fulfilling the mandate of our colonial masters. We are not yet free.
Singaporeans are always reminded by leaders of how lucky we are in not living in a peaceful fishing village but a vibrant city where providing gambling dens has become a pride and joy of a government devoid of other means and ideas of sustaining a country's (or is it city's?) economy. Some would prefer a laid-back fishing village than a over-crowded money-crazed $ingapore where friendliness, kindness and compassion give way to greed, power and insolence. Where everyone is just a cog in the wheel, a mere digit, to serve the gods of CBF. No, not the Face of the female sexual organ (in Hokkien) but be part of a Cheaper, Better and Faster cog in the wheel of Lim Swee Say!

Interestingly, I also read about MM Lee rubbishing opposition parties in Singapore. "Come election time, they talk a lot of things, which is rubbish," said Mr Lee. [Link] and singing praises of PAP's politicians.

"MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew yesterday hit out at critics of People's Action Party politicians, reiterating that the Singapore system works precisely because the ruling party takes great care when choosing its candidates, including some who forgo high-paying careers to become ministers.


To drive home his point, he pointed to the examples of Law Minister K. Shanmugam, an MP of Sembawang GRC, and Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Indranee Rajah.

Ms Indranee is a lawyer with one of Singapore's top legal firms, just as Mr Shanmugam was before he became an office-bearer last year.

Mr Shanmugam, Mr Lee said, could make $6 million a year while in private practice, but now makes $1.5 million a year as a minister.

'(Opposition MP) Low Thia Khiang says, 'Oh, so much money.' I tell you honestly, if I am not a minister, I myself could make two or three times what I am making now. Every time I talk to foreign companies, they offer me $100,000. What do I do with the money? I give it (away) for scholarships, donate to it schools,' he added.

Likewise, it was hard to find an MP like Ms Indranee - well-educated, earning a good living, but who yet took the time to nurture her constituency and push residents' interests and help improve their living conditions.
" [Link]

Shanmugam may lose some but does Indranee make more by being an MP?

Such self adulation makes the little guys in Singapore want to puke.
Some swear. With money that may last till the world ends (but some Chinese say only 3 generations), what is one to do if not spread some around in some charity for good karma? With due respect to the MM, if he wants more money, he should just go do his thing, not stifle his son and give Lee Jnr the chance to prove his mettle as a Prime Minister.

Just because Indranee and Shangmugum earn less now (but still in the millions) does it mean that they are sacrificing their bloody selves? Hello, do we want to put them in the same league as Mother Theresa or Mahatma Ghandi next? Let's have a sense of proportion.

For goodness' sake, politicians chose to be in PAP for their own benefit. Whether it is altruistic (for the
good of others) or for their own fame and glory, who knows? Only they themselves know. Maybe, just maybe, they want to be in the limelight so that they can get paid $100,000 as a guest speaker in a foreign company like their mentor. God knows!

"Come election time, they talk a lot of things, which is rubbish".
In the words of Mr Wole Soyinka, "
That's such an insolent remark."

In the eyes of some, I'm may be equally insolent, as in disrespectful, to an old man. However, as "speak from the guts" Greatgrandma of my granddaughter teaches me, "Respect needs to be earned, not demanded."

feedmetothefish

Insolent: [Link]
adj.
1. Presumptuous and insulting in manner or speech; arrogant
2. Audaciously rude or disrespectful; impertinent.


18 Comments:

At November 11, 2009 at 12:12 AM , Anonymous Insolence Breeds Contempt said...

MM Lee said that the PAP takes great care when choosing candidates, and that the system works because of that.

I have some questions for him:

1. If what he said is true, then why GCT was only his second choice as PM in 1990? What had happened to his first choice? Why didn't he gave Singaporeans his best choice in 1990? What kind of selection is that?

2. Why after Mr Goh Chok Tong, there was no other possible candidates to take over as PM, except only your son LHL? What kind of selection is that?

3. Why LHL has to tell us repeatedly that there is no potential PM material in his present Cabinet? Therefore, PAP is still searching for that next PM? What kind of selection is that?

4. Why is it necessary to pay the Ministers the world's highest salaries in order to prevent them from becoming corrupt? Didn't the 'great care' in selecting candidates also include character assessment to ensure these are totally committed, devoted and passionate people who are more interested in serving the people than serving their own pockets?
What kind of selection is that?

5. Why, just before the GE 2006, he had to say that the PAP candidates were only the second best? Why PAP didn't field in the best that Singapore can offer? What kind of selection is that?

Last but not least, I believe the system works because of the obedient and subservient civil service system PAP inherited from the British, and not because of the quality of the PAP candidates, who spend more time on their own personal careers than being a part-time MP to serve their constituents.

 
At November 11, 2009 at 3:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feed Me To The Fish,

you should too highlight the lies of the ministers. eg Law Minister says earn less as minister but everyone forget that law minister is just part-time job. He still has other job as senior partner in law firm, and can earn much more due to ease of securing government contract and high-profile cases as he is the law minister. In other words, there is a conflict of interest and advantages of been a law minister far outweight his already huge salary as law minister.

 
At November 11, 2009 at 8:17 PM , Blogger Alan Wong said...

Another question for him :

Why must the old man be so obsessed and always harp on the fact that his PAP Ministers or MPs would have a much higher earning capacity if they choose to remain in the private sector ? Is this his most important criteria in the choice of any potential PAP candidates ?

Are there really no Singaporean left who is noble enough to do a proper and decent enough job as a Minister ?

 
At November 11, 2009 at 9:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that if a potential minister wants to do something for Singapore, he can keep his old job, and donate half his salary to the country. It would make more sense.

Besides, some of the current ministers honestly will not command a high salary elsewhere. Would a private company be willing to hire Wong Kan Seng, Ho Ching , Wee Siew Kim, Yeo Cheow Tong or Lee Bee Wah with their now famous screw-ups?

I guess the article is mostly about minister's salaries. Perhaps this is not directly related to the article, but allow me to continue.

During the last GE, Low Thia Kiang said that it is wrong to benchmark minister's salary to the top earners of Singapore because entrepreneurs take a lot of risk: It is likely that many people who try to start their own business end up bankrupt.

He argues that ministers being public servants should draw a salary that is a fixed multiplier of the lowest earning Singaporeans. This would motivate the ministers to work out policies for the benefit of these Singaporeans. He does have statistics to back him up, like the lowest earning 20% of Singaporeans not earning enough to get by.

I think that is a good idea, and the formula can be improved to take into account housing prices, NS allowance, and other factors.

 
At November 14, 2009 at 7:04 PM , Anonymous thumos said...

preach on, bro!! :)

 
At November 16, 2009 at 7:21 PM , Anonymous old fart's system said...

to Nov 11, 12:12 AM

MM Lee is right. Great care is needed to choose stooges, otherwise his system will not work.

1. selection for a seat warmer

2. selection based on nepotism

3. selection remains spineless

4. selection to ensure common religion of worshipping money

5. selection of stooges logically can never be the best


and this is LKY's system.

 
At November 17, 2009 at 10:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fish, alway enjoy reading your post.

As we look back at history, when do we ever see any great leader worth remembering who did great works because of financial considerations. The fact that MM had to repeatedly say that our leaders had to sacrifice much financially to get into public service is really making a mockery of their work assuming that they had a desire to serve the public in the first place.

Great leaders lead by passion and sacrifice that they do not trumpet. Sad to say all of our ministers are managers (not competent at that as well) and not leaders by any measure. They are just mercenaries. Nothing more nothing less and the MM knows it too.

 
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At February 2, 2010 at 9:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The writer of feedmetothefish.blogspot.com has written a superior article. I got your point and there is nothing to argue about. It is like the following universal truth that you can not disagree with: The truth always hurts you most when you're trying to protect a lie. I will be back.

 
At February 24, 2010 at 12:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There can be no big fish in a small pond(tiny dot Sincity)

and

there will and shall be no greatness in any despot.

 
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