we shall ride on the chinese indian locomotives

our success formula was to be ahead of our competitors. we did that very well in the last 40s. we were lucky that our competitors were less tenacious as us. it was easy to stay ahead. can we apply the same formula to the compete with the chinese and the indians? two huge economies with equally intelligent and hardworking people? can we stay ahead of them? at the pace that they are catching up, soon we will be left behind. these are hungry people but with a will to succeed. they are as intelligent and hardworking as us, and better. they are prepared to work for less. they can do what we can do, and cheaper and faster. what do we mean by riding on their growths? can we supply them with our labour, supervisors and management? fat hope. labour and skill labour they have plenty. what we could perhaps contribute or add value to what they are doing is capital, which they will welcome at this point in time, and some senior management staff. other than these, they have no use for us. can we afford to raise the cost of our labour? if not, how are we going to improve and raise the quality of living of our people faced with such competition that we have no comparative advantage? the future looks pretty dim and gloomy. will we be returning to where we were? back to the future?


Matilah_Singapura said...

The answer is Laissez faire Capitalism - i.e. freedom, founded on individual and private property rights.

That's no longer a hi-falutin' theory. It squares with the evidence.

Wanna be rich? Be free to be rich, first!

redbean said...

there will always be room for the little individual to play around even if the world is collapsing. the freedom to choose the path, regardless of all values and contraints is always there. some are completely free to take advantage of a situation, some will be constrained by some real or unreal forces to hold them back.

shall man behave like animals and just do it, for selfish interest, with no qualms?

Elfred said...

Both ain't quite correct...

For some reasons, I very very very much doubt, that given our current way, Singapore itself will generally benefit from these two locomotives.

And I'm willing to stake a cup of copi on my stance.

I shan't explain more. It's just a pity cos it'd at most serve to widen the rich poor gap, and nothing else.

redbean said...

hey elfred,

it is what we believe and what we want to do. will people allow us to hang on to their coat tails, or are we able cling on to them is a different thing.

we have our schemes of things and other people have theirs. whether the two schemes meet are yet to be seen.

Elfred said...

The problem is this, there are... people of the world of which China is finding a handsful of trying embrace capitalism.

It's all the same when you base things on 'locomotive', or economic issues; it's the same as you base nationalism on economic issues.

You see... a representative from XXX asked me a question that struck a cord recently.

Now, it's the same sort of attitude Chinese holds for Singapore whilst the XXX-ers hold for China.

Shanghai is getting more polluted, and starts to look horrendously over its peak.

The main issue is this... China is stretching itself too hard in too short a time, as Singapore does, though both stretches on different grounds.

Given such basis, international cooperation between Singapore and China won't really go far and really generally benefit Singapore.

The drive of capitalism has gone beyond control, giving rise to a huge aristocracy in China which no matter how I see it, is a time-bomb in the make. And the problem is, the bomb will grow stronger with the growth China.

And India and China share a common issue here.

The scheme of China, India and Singapore, although not apparent, is inherently politically unstable at best. Now the problem is Singapore lacks what it takes to balance itself politically as required as and when the need be. It's as if a naked bet, without hedge.

Of what advantage we'd have for now would be tons of disadvantage we'd put ourselves in in the future.

Very hard to explain. So just digest accordingly.

redbean said...


every nation, like individuals, have their own interests and priorities to take care of. individuals may sometimes be complicated by relationship. nations are freer to do away with feelings. friends today enemy tomorrow.

singapore can only ride onto the locomotives if we are useful. or else we will be dropped like a hot potato. so we will have to engineer our usefulness. it is not simply i want to ride the locomotives.

Elfred said...

Now the good thing about thousands of years of political wisdom is bent on one simple thing: strategic alliance which is based sheerly on political wisdom (or sense).

All across histories, by sheer usefulness is pure suicide because for one, when we are eager to participate in their growth, we can never forget that from thereafter, we'd enter their triangular game of political turbulence in the future.

It's not as if we only have the west to take care of as in the past.

However useful we'd be to any sides, in any matter, it only that meagre in relation to what usefulness we'd be. I am not really optimistic that China'd trust Singapore to be a permanent ally nor protect it to the end at such time when Singapore itself is so much political impoverished and cling to the west; nor would I expect the west to value Singapore to such extent where Singapore is so much reliance on the growth engine of China and India...

We have to be very honest with ourselves here, China and India carries an unusual amount of political nature of a varied nature unconventional by the usual Western standard (eg) applicable in the past decades. So when Singapore is to embrace the economic goodies now, let's not be naive that we won't get involved/over-reliance on such locomotives.

Laissez Faire Capitalism is a concept never to be separated from international politics when it concerns nations, especially huge powers.

redbean said...

dear elfred,

today you are in a very grumpy mood and seeing only dark clouds. singapore is only a little boy in a crowd of big guys. and we need to survive and find a niche for ourselves. we try our best in strategic alliances, to position ourselves as a useful partner. but to put it crudely, we are prostituting ourselves to survive. what choice have we got?

to some countries when our bargaining power is stronger, we may pride ourselves to be able to talk a little louder. but with the big guys we have to tread very carefully. fortunately everyone is looking after their selfish interests and at times we fit into their gameplan, and all is well and good. when we are no longer useful we need to reinvent ourselves and pop up in a different corner to play our game of survival.

it is always a balancing act, a never ending balancing act.

Elfred said...

A bullet is also very small, but it's lethal if it's used well.

What I am saying is pretty simple. If that's the manner Singapore manage its way, we'd never be a bullet or we might have/be a bullet but instead of firing, we simply throw the bullet, and waste it.

The entire issue is not whether USA, China or/and India are huge.

The issue is also not whether we are useful or not. It's a pretty direct thinking. The focus is as such: We can't even effectively (eg) involved indirectly in Taiwan, we can't dream of getting positively involved in (eg) a meaningful role for China.

Which means, when we focus on being useful, yet we can never be useful. What's the use?

Huge or little, it's always the quality that matters. A party as huge as KMT crushed down to its knee to a smaller Ming Jin Party shows the political impact/meaning behind.

There is no necessity for Singapore to prostituting itself, and its people's fortune, as far as I see it. But it's still a deciding issue in the hands of the political leaders.

There is never a balance in a squeeze if we always decide powers in such manner.

I was and am definitely small in term of ratio (with Lai, Mosh, Friedlice, Modeus, etc to one Elfred). But there is no such thing that I must polish their boots.

There is no need to unless things have to be, Redbean. Lest Singapore wanna prostitute itself, there is no need to, so far that's how I see it.

redbean said...

singapore has to live with the fact that we are small and inconsequential. at best we can be a little catalyst to start off some events. but our usefulness can be shortlived. we can start a suzhou. they learnt and pop, we are no longer useful except if they want more money from us.

we need to constantly reinvent ourselves, and yes to keep ahead. politically world events and the inter play of forces give us some breathing space to be useful. but things can change quite dramatically and we may be elbowed out at any time. we need to be nimble and create more options for ourselves.

that is the life of being small.

Elfred said...

Maybe that's why we got the reserve and where it'd go...

...to not my pockets but others', to remain useful.

Put it this way, we reinvent and reinvent and reinvent... to be useful.


Can we be useful in the first place reinventing? I am not laughing at you, I just find it interesting that when we need to reinvent but we ain't really readily inventor. So what is the outcome of this reinvention is anybody's guess.


redbean said...

let me see, our next mission is to transform ourselves into a sports powerhouse. we will win all the cups the world has. gold cups. silver cups, bronze cups, paper cups and plastic cups...we can also get some monkey cups from botanic garden.

Elfred said...

Maybe I'd get a job melting those cups for precious metals... instead of having need to pay taxpayers' monies for W(orld)T(oilet)C(ollege) to be a professional toilet cleaner...

Now... who in the tiny island comes up with such fantastic idea...?

Oh ho ho... That's reinvention all going bonkers so it appears...