Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How Much Is Enough? Enough For What?

"IF SUCCESS could be measured, by any standards, Ms Teresa Hsu was one of the most successful persons anywhere ('Singapore's 'Mother Teresa' dies at 113'; Wednesday).

She achieved all she set out to do and more. She was a leader par excellence. She was a chief executive officer who was paid a pittance, had no car, posh office, a bungalow or a country club membership.

She may not have travelled first class but she was a first-class person. Her charity was immeasurable and crossed colour and creed. She is the role model for Singapore and I hope our children will read about her and emulate her selfless attitude.

She went as quietly as she arrived humbly into this world. She lived a great life and passed on in greatness.

She gave love, her example inspired many and her love changed lives."

Murali Sharma
[Link]

Someone once said that Singaporeans do not have a "sense of proportion" when they grudge their Ministers their million dollars salary.

"I say you have no sense of proportion; you don't know what life is about," he said last month. "The cure to all this talk is really a good dose of incompetent government," Lee said. "You get that alternative, and you'll never put Singapore together again."as reported in New York Times [Link]

What is this "sense of proportion'? Does Gerard Ee and his Committee for “Salaries for A Capable and Committed Government” have this "sense of proportion? By cutting the salaries of the mintsters, does the committee "know what life is all about"?

This "sense of proportion" got me thinking and comparing the work done by Sister Theresa Hsu [Link] & [Link] on one extreme and Grace Fu [Link] on the other. While one, without any fanfare, generated loving kindness, the other created unnecessary resentment.

Who did Sister Theresa worked for? Who does Grace Fu work for? Did Sister Theresa worked for the poor? Does Grace Fu works for the rich? Did Sister Theresa care for the down trodden commoners? Who does Grace Fu care for?

Before I get slammed and asked to "get off someone's elitist face" and get a life instead of getting the elephant off my chest, another thought came to mind.

Fans of PAP Mintsters Obscene Salary often state that PM Lee deserves 4 or 5 times President Barack Obama's pay because PM Lee doesn't have or use Air Force One. My question is: Does PM Lee pay for his 1st class air travelling out of his own pocket? If not, please make it clear that Air Force One doesn't belong to Obama. He's just using it like his predecessor did. Sure he can use it for medical emergency should any of his relative falls ill in London but hey, SIA can do the same for PAP politicians! A sense of proportion indeed!

Their thought that less than a king's ransom will lead to corrupt ministers in Singapore is awe inspiring! Shamefully no minister so far has come forward to challenge this denigrating insult! The thought that only the rich are incorruptible, committed and capable of good work may be leading Singapore to the road to Hell!

Then again, what the heck. The year is 2012 and some believe that time is nigh.

Thank Heavens for Sister Theresa and her ilk. How Much Is Enough? Enough For What? She wasn't rich like PAP elitists but Sister Theresa had Much More Than Enough. Enough for Everything to do peace, love, laughter, kindness and happiness!

"I hope our children will read about her and emulate her selfless attitude."

Aye!

feedmetothefish







26 Comments:

At January 11, 2012 at 7:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If high pay then can get incorruptible people, then we cannot get committed people.

 
At January 11, 2012 at 8:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir,

I was from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For your and your readers' info, our leaders do not pay for their first-class air tickets. Their overseas expenses are mostly covered by the civil service. In addition, they are also given a token overseas allowance during their trips.

 
At January 11, 2012 at 9:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Singapores' POLITICAL LEADERS ARE NO DIFFERENT FROM LEECHES.

patriot

 
At January 11, 2012 at 10:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that salaries are reduced, would our distinguished (extinguished ???) old man still maintains that only high pay will get incorruptible people?

 
At January 11, 2012 at 10:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

SALARY - TIME TO ASK THE MINISTERS
--------------------------------

Every politician must state in his election manifesto;

a)What he wants to accomplish in Parliament if elected

b)Expected salary

c)When he will return our CPF money back to Singaporeans if elected.

Now that's transparency.
Now everybody can vote wisely in GE 2016.

 
At January 11, 2012 at 11:02 AM , Anonymous ajohor said...

Agreed with Anon 8.42am

You can check with any middle/senior civil servants.
he is correct.
Further, all private holidays are paid for by themselves, not chargeable to singapore government and ultimately the people.

 
At January 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If any of our ministers is so good, may be google or apple would have poached lim h. Hua or george yeo or lim boon h. When they are available. Did any of the. Private firm jump at them ? I wonder...

Top dollars can only draw top greed. Especially in the buz of politics. Wake up, how much is enough, one only needs a shelter and 3 meals a day to live. One does not need to Live lavishly to be happy!

 
At January 11, 2012 at 11:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now that salaries are reduced, would our distinguished (extinguished ???) old man still maintains that only high pay will get incorruptible people?"

Since PAP links higher pay with low corruption.

Now that their salary is reduced which means by PAP standard that the ministers are even more liable to corruption. So what measurement and accountability is there to assure the public that the ministers will not be corrupted due to lower pay ?

Can they allow independent body to check on their bank accounts ?

 
At January 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM , Anonymous Alan Wong said...

Just ask LKY one simple question, were politicians like Marcos, Suharto & Chen Shui Bian not already rich enough before they become more corrupt ?

Whether a person is basically honest, dishonest or greedy, it doesn't really matters whether he is rich or poor. It all depends on the person's character.

Of course there will be those honest (rich or poor) souls who become greedy later because of temptation. But money is not sole solution to prevent such dishonesty or corruption, we can make our laws tough enough to make sure it doesn't pay to be corrupt.

But if one were to use money (especially lots of it) to prevent corruption, is it then not simply a case of greed disguised as honesty ?

 
At January 11, 2012 at 1:05 PM , Blogger NIZHEMOSHOU said...

No amt of money can prevent corruption. All this talk now of Obama got the benefit of Air Force to jet around while PAP leader dont, goes to show what? The PAP is running out of excuses and looking for every tiny scrap of excuse to defend the indefensible ie their abominable highest salaries in the world. PAP days are numbered. Their incompetence and insatiable greed have been xposed for all to see. Good men like CSMao, TJS,Nicole, VincentW will not want to taint themselves by joining them. Teresa Hsu, bless her, lets hope our society can have more mini Teresas instilled into their values system than the mini emperors that the yrs of leeritocracy has bred in our society and schools.

 
At January 11, 2012 at 1:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no limit to greed.

patriot

 
At January 11, 2012 at 6:40 PM , Anonymous ajohor said...

To all those who claim elsewhere pollies salaries lower especially OZ

Please see this report from SMH in OZ on Aussie state premiers in NSW who are raking in millions.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/revealed-millions-of-dollars-worth-of-claims-made-by-former-premiers-20120110-1ptm5.html#ixzz1j8qLLXvl

 
At January 11, 2012 at 7:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

to ajohor,
i wonder whether you are aware of GohKS, LimKS, EWBarker, Rajaratnam, TohCC, etc,
none of the oldguards received obscene pay and were they corrupt?
did they underperform for Singapore ? complained about their low pay in comparison to the private sector?
Why not ask LKY himself ?

While you are at it, ask him why PM Lee and his stooges need obscene pay despite all his mentoring...LOL
ps: don't take too long to ask the oldman himself, he is already 88.
And very soon he will ask "what am i doing in parliament?"

 
At January 11, 2012 at 10:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear ajohor, if you think that we need high pay to attract talent, I recommend strongly to you to read
the story of 伯乐相马.

 
At January 11, 2012 at 11:03 PM , Blogger FeedMeToTheFish said...

Dear Anon (January 11, 2012 8:42 AM),

Thank you for your kind contribution. If by any chance you and/or your civil service friends may know and wish to share, I have the following questions:

1. If the pension on ministers no longer applies, will past ministers like LKY, GCT, Jayakumar, WKS, 'FatPayCheck' Nathan and even LHL forego their pensions they previously received before this "committed and capable" recommendation by Gerard Ee?

2. Are the luxury cars (with number plates S1, S2 etc. ) used by ministers in their official duties paid for from their own pocket? Or Mintsters don't use such cars anymore? Does Chief Justice still use SJ1?

3. Do ministers pay for their servants and security officers from their own pocket like Singaporeans pay for domestic help (plus Maid Levy)?

If you do not have the answer, I hope some MP (ruling or oppo) will raise the question in Parliament to show that transparency is not wayang kulit with shadowy screen.

Thank you.

feedmetothefish

 
At January 12, 2012 at 11:38 AM , Anonymous ajohor said...

Anon

Unless you want to live in communist system.

High pay as per new present scheme makes more sense as bonuses tied to the average wage earner.
And some ministers in past should not be able to receive the Performance bonus.

The key issue to me is that the ministries should have proactive measures to take care of problems and to resolve them.
if not cut their bonuses etc.

Let me see, following your argument, in that case, why not agitate to reduce all CEOS and executives pay especially non-family owned ones

For GKS,EW barker et al, yes, they did sacrifice but you seem to expect the sacrifices to continue despite the fact that the general populace income has grown.


FTF et al

for your first query,

why backdate, frankly, this would opine is being facetious and very personal

should we than backdate for your own personal incomes and all taxes should be backedated?

for 2nd query,

official cars can only be used for official use/functions per civil service handbook

for 3rd query

for servants/domestic helpers.
they are not entitled.
for private security officers eg security guards, they pay themselves, except for
for official functions, the civil service pays and that applies to all civil servants.

regards

 
At January 12, 2012 at 12:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

to ajohor,
isn't serving the country at the highest level a calling, something not to be equated with money?
No one here is asking PM Lee and his stooges to do it for pittance.

Where is the sense of proportion when PM Lee's pay is 8 times that of Obama and umpteen times that of communist leaders HuJT or WenJB ? How about comparing to those leaders in Europe, Australia, NZ, HK, Japan, S Korea ?

Mind You, their responsiblities are also umpteen times that of PM Lee.

Did any of these leaders mention about their low pay in comparison to the private sector?
Do you have any evidence that such leaders are corrupt.

The comparison with the oldgurads is for PM Lee and his stooges to draw some lessons from them, or take inspiration from them. It is obvious all the mentoring has come to nothing.

I wonder who has been teaching you all these years.

We all make sacrifices now and then, (e.g NSmen with their meagre pay) and it is expected of POLITICAL leaders at the highest level.
Afterall, they can always choose to return to the private sector if money is their motivation.

 
At January 12, 2012 at 3:53 PM , Anonymous ajohor said...

Anon 12:42

Having lived in Oz (pls see the article on the millions they claim as retired premiers and privileges) , Kiwi, UK in past.

The system is as follows
salaries + (perks for life) + pensions.

The singapore system is salaries
and they pay taxes on it.

For China (lets just say the less said the better).

Seems you prefer form over substance.

Regards

 
At January 12, 2012 at 6:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear ajohor

In order to avoid all this endless debates to justify salaries;

Let's just ask all the politicians now and in GE 2016:

1.As my representative in parliament, what do you want to accomplish?

2.In return, how much salary do you want for your effort?

3.What is your view about returning my CPF monies back to me?

The voters can then decide whether they like the politicians' platform.

Isn't this simple, transparent & straight-forward?

 
At January 12, 2012 at 6:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

to ajohor,
"form over substance"...really?

do you think PM Lee and his stooges have substance? that they deserve such humongous salaries?

mind you, the only PM in the world supposedly in charge of an island but needs to be prop up by one mentor minister, 2 SMs, 2 DPMs, 7Ms in his PMO.
i cannot think of any island or country of similar size that has so many MPs and with some playing the role of town mayor.
it is not even transparent whether those in political office with dual or more portfolios are actually collecting additional pay...mind you, not a few bucks extra.

did it occur to you there are ministers collecting pension as well as their current humongous pay?

Nothing wrong bringing China into the picture. you should learn to be fair to their current leaders, not their fault that they inherited a rotten system since the days of Mao, you ought to give them some credit, that they are trying real hard to overcome many inherent problems, the shere size of the country and its population.

i will wager you one bottle of the finest australian wine, if you can conduct a poll to show that the general public believes PM Lee and his stooges have substance.

 
At January 12, 2012 at 11:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

PM Lee has good academic results, no doubt about it. But because of the environment, no matter how good is he. 他是只井底蛙。He is having problems in judging the decisions of his ministers and knowing what is happening until he saw the video of opposition rally.
only then he realised the problems! What was he doing and where was he during the last 5 years

Please read 公子重耳流浪十九年。

He is trying to run the country as good as he can, but 眼高手低.

substance?

 
At January 13, 2012 at 9:10 AM , Anonymous ajohor said...

Anon 7:14


Your queries, thanks reminds that "Anyone who is unhappy with the party's either performance or manner of performance" will begrudge the pay of the person they are unhappy with, no matter how small or big'

What relevance your questions to the topic of pollies remuneration system.

Further, your queries are applicable to any economic field as long as you are not satisfied with the service provider.

Good weekend
regards

 
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