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4/07/2006

ge round 26: qualilty of pap candidates

I couldn't believe when I heard the comments over TV about the quality of PAP candidates. Some even remarked whether they can do the job. My view is very simple. These are the best brains in their professions. They are people who have proven that they can work and can be successful. Their credentials are impeccable. Only reservation, which no one is wiser, is whether among them is another NKF potential. Other than a personal flaw that may surface over time, these are people that can and will do very well in their careers. Lets not doubt their abilities and intelligence. The only problem with such excellent profesionals coming into politics is the system of manpower management and allocation in a talent deprived nation. By our size, we have very limited talents in all fields. I find it a very bad idea to put these brilliant men and women into politics at a time when they are just peaking in their chosen fields. Allow me to elaborate. The general career pattern of a professional singaporean will conform to this pattern. At 25 to 35 years, a learning and skill acquisition phase where they try to establish themselves in their work. 35 to 45, established and accepted as a bright star or a potential bright star. 45 to 55, achievements and recognised as a leader in their respective fields. 55 to 70, assume leadership in society, in politics, business, trade or community. This last group is what I would think is the ideal final phase for a talented individual before he faded away. What the PAP system is doing is actually upsetting the naturally development of people and their career development. Pulling people in the 35 to 45 age group into politics is a bad move. First, they are just reaching the peak of their career but not really there. And uprooting them into politics will deprive them from achieving greatness in their profession. The profession will also be deprived of a rare talent and suffers as well. And because they were nearly there, they could not acquire all the dues, monetary and reputation, which are due to them. They will enter politics hungry, or fairly hungry, in money terms and in personal achievements in their trades. Yes they can gain fame and money in politics too. But that should not be their motivation. Politics is to serve, to help chart the nation, and at times can be very demanding and requires self sacrifices in many areas. These brilliant young people are expected to sacrifice their chosen professional career, family, and money. And if they come into politics thinking that money can be compensated, then it is bad for them and for the people. If they take the natural path, develop and acquire fame and achievements and earn all the money they deserved from 35 to 55, and then having done what they have done as a successful and recognised leaders in their fields, they can then come into politics, wiser, stable, secure and rich in their bank accounts and assets, they could be great leaders without craving for fame and money. And the nation will benefit from their professional contributions at their best. Now coming into politics when they are half way there, and have to quit politics probably in their late fifties, they ended up neither here nor there. This is a sheer waste of talent and our precious human resource. This, in my view, is a system fault. The system is upsetting the apple cart. I would agree that not all should follow a standard pattern of progression in their life/career. But to institutionalise or systemise this is not very good in the long run. When these good men are disrupted and asked to give way to new blood when they are in their fifties, they will be hanging in midair, neither here nor there. Ok, they can line up as directors of companies and use their contacts as leverage to earn director fees. This is hardly an option that will benefit from their real talents. A rather parasitic relationship.

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