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10/26/2008

Myth 193 - We think we know what we are doing

We are a small country, a small economy but with an ambition that is bigger than the universe. We made the world our hinterland. Instead of closing up and retreating into a small corner, we took on the world, open up, liberalised and become a player punching above out weight. We have our successes, and in fact very successful in many areas. We are a role model for many countries. These days, we are starting to feel the pain of liberalising too rapidly embracing everything the world could offer, the good, the bad and the ugly. We forgot to put on the french cap and we are exposed to all the slimes and the sophisticated cocktails of drugs in high society, disguised as a must have for those who have arrived. We forgot to discriminate! The financial fiasco, not only the minibonds, but the stock market and the whole financial system, is leading to a lot of simple questions. Why are we going into things that we don't know, or things that many do not know? Even the financial experts and professionals, the people who make a living in selling these products, in selling derivatives, are fumbling to try to explain things that they too found difficulty to grasp. And we expect the tellers, the retirees, the unschooled, the general public who are not financially trained, to know them. Isn't this amazing? It is good that we now admit that we don't know. It is good that we start to think that we have erred somewhat, that we should not think too highly of ourselves. The financial experts who really understand and know what these products are are very few in between. Most of the Relationship Managers, their bosses, the financial advisers, even the stockbroking agents, did not know their products or the complexities of how these things work or are able to take advantage of them. They ended up being losers. These instruments are only for specialists, not the man in the street. But we keep churning them out, expecting or pretending that people will know, from sellers to buyers. Complicated instruments and derivatives demands full time attention and monitoring, including the assistance of softwares, nothing like buying and selling ice creams. Do we know what we are doing? If not, we must stop doing them and roll back our plans. It is criminal to keep pushing these financial instruments and derivatives when the people and market are not ready for them. Stop deceiving ourselves. Then in education, we want to turn ourselves into an education hub. A good strategy and very lucrative. But do we need to let the slimes to come in? The slimes are like tainted milk. Once our reputation for integrity and quality is destroyed, all our effort will be gone and it will take generations to rebuild them. The latest fiasco of unaccredited university, West Coast University, banned in some American states, is not a laughing matter. It is silly and it undermines everything STB is trying to do. And WCU is only one of them. Do we know what we are doing? We believe we know. We know that if we adulterated the core Singaporeans that we have imbued with our Singapore brand of discipline and culture with too many foreigners, we will lose our cutting edge. So we tell ourselves, the foreigners content must be limited. So we know what we are doing. In reality, in practice, we are doing exactly the things that we want to avoid. We have about 5 mil people here and 3 mil are Singaporeans. So as long as the Singaporeans out numbered the foreigners, we are ok. What if we increased the Singaporeans to 90% by making all the foreigners Singaporeans? Statistically they are Singaporeans, 90% of them. But are we not diluting our base? The new citizens, despite the pink ICs, are not the Singaporeans that we know, that were nurtured from our system from young. It will take them years, maybe a generation or two to be what Singaporeans are. Having a few new and good genes to cross breed with old local genes are good. But to add in so many in so short a time will dilute whatever there is left of the original Singaporeans which we believe are the ingredients that make us different and competitive. Of the 3 mil Singaporeans, how many are Singaporeans like us? Do we know what we are doing?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is too much on table today for me to digest but I loves all different kind of dishes you lay out.

May be the myth is a little harsh!

May be we should ponder on a proverb, "Poverty without complaint is hard, just as wealth with arrogance is easy."

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering how could a basic degree course be so short, two lectures a month, and lasting only a year to 15 months. How many subjects do these people on the course really take? A full time university course takes three years. I have heard people persuading those going to the local universities not to waste time because an overseas degree conducted here takes only a year to complete because their kids were in it. I knew this was impossible, but true.

redbean said...

wait till the sleepers wake up and told to publicise a list of not recognised uni in the paper and all ministries be informed to disregard them. they everyone will be hoping mad on why they were allowed to conduct these degree courses here.

just like the minibonds. no complaints mean good. but the bubble will be pricked.

Anonymous said...

There may come a day when degrees(tertiary) are worth only as much as toilet papers. The establishment of commercialized schools everywhere(Worldwide) will taint the certifications(of Degrees) and bring them(Degree Holders) shames instead of recognitions.

The World is not only perverse, it is going crazy!

patriot

Anonymous said...

Redbean;

it was'nt too long ago that many Singaporeans(local born) believed that they were been led by a god-liked super talent.

Today, I see and hear many educated and working professionals lamenting the state of our national affairs. Have they lose faith in a demi-god?

Btw, I suspect that Local Born Singaporeans may be conquered by ADOPTED SINGAPOREANS SOON without a drip of blood, do You believe(agree) me?

patriot

Anonymous said...

Yes, I believe you patriot. They are already telling those Singaporeans who complained on this blog to leave. Singapore is really going to the dogs!

redbean said...

the local born singaporeans will be murdered without knowing why. that's for sure. we have given our inheritance to strangers who are wearing a smiling face at the moment. you do not know when that smile will disappear and knives be drawn.

wisdom my foot.

when everything is in the name of money, profitability, growth, progress, it is getting dangerous.

we have forgotten about building a nation. we just prostitute for money and 'growth'.