5/22/2011

The naked truth

At long last, the emperor knew that he was naked. After all the years of deception, with his merry men telling him how beautiful his clothes were, he finally knew that it was all a lie. George Yeo did his part by being the first brave man, out of desperation, to tell it right at Hsien Loong’s face. This was George’s last and most valuable contribution to his party. Reading the Sunday Times today on the slaying of the sacred cow is comical and sickening. I wanted to throw out. Was it hindsight that everyone’s comment on the outrageous minister’s salary was spot on, that it was flawed from the onset? No, it was not hindsight, it was the emperor’s new clothes that no one dared to say differently. It did not help when it was resolutely defended by the undisputed power of the land. Would any sensible person dare to defy the living gods? The minister’s salary was not the only piece of emperor’s clothes that was defended furiously. The high HDB prices, high medical fees, huge income gap, were stoutly pronounced as sound and well till the eve of the GE. The volteface, the grudging admission of failures, and the reluctant apologies, only came about when there was no way out. The emperor has spoken, face the music, admit to one’s mistakes, and no more thumping down at the people, is perhaps a bitter pill to swallow to some. The years of high and mighty, and ruthless dismissal of discontent are over. At least it appears to be so. A more accommodating and earnest approach to deal with the people is emerging. This change of heart and change of style are at a nascent stage and can end up a stillbirth. The risk is high if the reform is not resolute, to back track to the old ways. Please, let the past go, let the yodas go. Still there are many voices clamouring for the yodas to continue with their influence. Do the people really want to revisit the days of brash, unforgiving and vindictive style of politics and flawless schemes concocted in seventh heavens? The yodas pervade the establishment at all levels. They were the power wielders, having tasted power and dispensing them at the misfortune of their opponents. The old thuggish way of political contest is inimical to a gentler, more gracious and less confrontational political system and culture. Let the past go. Start with a new slate, with new people and new mindset, for a new nation, more agreeable, more listening and more consultation, when everyone with a different view is not necessary an enemy. Would there be a new dawn, or the same old morning sun?

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is another snub in the face of Emeritus Senior Minister and is very telling.

During the election campaign Emeritus SM was trumpeting that the majority of Singaporeans have no more issue with high minister's salaries.

Now that PM Lee is calling for the setting up of a review committee, just to look into this, is plainly admitting that the issue still looms large and clear.

Only Emeritus SM, who is the only one having feelings in his bones, cannot differentiate between an issue and a non-issue.

Laughable. But, seriously, you cannot blame a wooden statue, can you?

Anonymous said...

A review on ministerial pay? I would have preferred a referendum. The problem with a one-party rule is that the govt of the day can bring in new legislations and ring in changes without any opposition. The fact that they, as the incumbent, can shout louder than you doesn't mean that they are right! Let's see where this review takes us.

Anonymous said...

Mr Redbean, I thought I am the only one who is nauseated after reading The Sunday Times today, glad to know that I am not alone and my reaction is normal.

I sincerely thank the voters of Aljunied. If not for them, our PM Lee would not have finally realised that being a minister is a calling to serve the people of Singapore.

I do not know whether I should be happy or sad. Happy that he has admitted that minister pay is out of the world, or sad that he is making a U-turn or rethink or whatever term they would like to call it) of something he has so stoutly defended previously.

How could i trust and follow a leader whose mind can change just like that?

Anonymous said...

They know, they did not know, they know, they did not know....

The need for a strong opposition voice has been clearly demonstrated in this GE. All the daft Singaporeans who still believe that any power can self check without the need for checks and balances please go to see Ang Yong Guan.

Would anyone seriously believe that the ministers did not know that their salary is obscene? Would anyone seriously believe that when you are getting $4m or $5m salary, possibly more, and walking around yayapapaya, really want to quit?

Don't worry, many daft Singaporeans will believe this kind of stories.

Anonymous said...

well written, thanks. In China, there is a saying "your bottom decide how your brain think", a person will think very differently depends on where they sit on. A millions dollars minister will never know the suffers of common people.
Although the minister pay is an important issue, but i think the pension issue is greater. it affects our children. We should not set policies and pass the burden to our children. It is so sensitive that ST did not make any mention of the minister pensions.
another issue is transparency, i see no reason why they could not reveal the minister remuneration package.

Anonymous said...

Only the daft will believe that reform will happen in Sin.
It is precisely that Singaporeans were so easily pacified by some sweet talks and empty promises that had let Sin to it's situation today.
And it is very sad to see that many are behaving as daft as ever, hopelessly waiting for the Leaders to repent.
Singaporeans are not only forgetful, they like to be suckers too.

Anonymous said...

Food for thought...

The committee that review the ministerial salaries released its findings that our Ministers are underpaid under the current 2/3M48 formula.

The new formula would be revised to 3/2 of highest paid wage-earner in SIN.

The justification : How dare any mortals in SIN make more $$ than the living GODS?

This is the greatest SIN!!!

Anonymous said...

Hope the "review" of minister's salaries are real and not re-package as lower salary but adding back to allowances or into other forms (zero sum game).

After the review, it has to come together with declaration of minister's:

1) total revenue (whether is his pay as minister or any other income he/she receives from elsewhere)
2) all properties here and overseas
3) all stocks and shares held
4) declaration of companies in the name of their themselves, family, relatives (this will prevent corruption and conflict of interests).

Otherwise, whatever "review" is just talk.

By the way, today's newspaper said PM Lee's pay in 2009 was $3.04 mil. Why they did not disclose how much he's earning currently? We would like to see how many % jump in salary he had within just 2 years, while the rest of us only got around 4% adjustment from NWC's recommendations.

Anonymous said...

I hope they are not so dumb as to try fooling us again. This is not the age of our parents and grandparents. This is the age of netizens where brainwashing using the MSM is out of date.

Even when they tried engaging netizens, they have been dismal failures so far. Yes, only the converted still follow their blogs. But it is more important to reach out to the unconverted if they want a better showing in 2016. And for that, they better not try pulling wool over Singaporean's eyes again.

Anonymous said...

There can be huge difference between salary and total renumeration. $3mln pay, and still can have $9mln renumeration for the year. Basic salary, gross salary, cpf, allowances, performance bonus, gdp bonus, pensions, the list go on.

Insider information and power that can be acted upon can make huge difference in profiting from buying/selling land, properties.
Discounts, 1st in queue from developers, when to increase/decrease influx of people and capital, when to increase hdb base prices, when & where to build 2nd link, mrt stations, re-zoning, change in use, when to increase/decrease supply, etc.

Need facts whether these info acted, used and how often by yodas & yodiis esp malboro-ten.

Accountability and transparency will restrain weak human inclinations.

Anonymous said...

PM Lee's pay was reported to be $3.04 million in 2009. Is this his salary alone or total remuneration including bonus? What about his total remuneration for 2010?

There is talk that they got 8 months bonus last year. If that were true, his total remuneration in 2010 must be too obscene to be revealed.

I guess we cannot count on transparency, looking at their wishy washy manner of telling us about their pensions. Worst case scenario they will tell us that it is a secret and revealing it would jeopardise our security and all that shit.

Anonymous said...

As long as they do not restore the freedom of speech and press freedom, the root of all problems is not eradicated. Please read the root of all Singapore's problem from owlcritic.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Going with the same theme: "The People Get The Government They Deserve", consider for a moment and apply it to the story of the Emperor's New Clothes.

All the people bought into the story of the emperor's invisible clothing except for a little boy. People need not to look like fools, so what better way than to surrender to human evolutionary 'hard wiring' and 'go with the herd'.

Frankly, I don't have an issue with the high ministerial salaries. I will joke and comment about it, but hey...if I were in charge, I'd do the same and so would the great majority of people -- especially those who arrogantly take their moral 'high road' and consider themselves 'holier than thou', and are convinced that they themselves are pristine and uncorrupted, or incorruptible.

To those loud arseholes incessantly complaining about ministers high pay, I would be very careful in dealing with such people. I would not trust them.

As the bard said "The lady doth protest too much" -- the loudest ones are usually the ones with the exact same propensity to dishonesty and favoritism.

Beware, your fellow citizen is less than what he morally claims to be.

Anonymous said...

There are always a remiant of capable truthful people. Chen Show Mao is one, based on facts. Probably was making $5mln to $10mln a year, now lowered to $15,000 a month as MP. Can sit in driven S500 Merc but taking MRT, can be eating in 5 stars restaurant but eating at kopi-tiam at Aljunied, can stay in GCB but now in HDB. If we are willing to see, sometime it as clear as sky.

The said...

/// Was it hindsight that everyone’s comment on the outrageous minister’s salary was spot on, that it was flawed from the onset? No, it was not hindsight, it was the emperor’s new clothes that no one dared to say differently. ///

redbean, not true to say that no onedared to say differently. Catherine did that in Sep and Nov, and was whacked by GCT and challenged to join a political party if she wants to comment on politics. I quote the sixth paragraph of her article "One Government, Two Styles", written on 20 Nov 1994:

"It is a chilling thought that in the writing of future history books, the date of the passing of the White Paper will draw a precise line of demarcation separating the old leadership of Singapore, motivated by raw guts, nerve and passion, from the new leadership motivated by the opulence of a lifestyle equal to that of the top company executives in the country."

http://catherinelim.sg/1994/11/20/one-government-two-styles/

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

There are many shades of grey, and people can quibble and argue about them. When grey turns black, when blackness is so clear even to those who argued that it is not black, only fools will still insist that it is not black.

The ministers's salary is an example of something that is so black that even the perpetrators are embarrassed themselves to say that it is reasonable.

I think some of the recipients too feel embarrassed and would welcome a change to cut it down to size. It is not a case of highly moral or lesser moral. It is about simple decency, to take what one deserves. Taking more than one's contribution is only acceptable to those with a skin as thick as crocodile hide.

Anonymous said...

Decency, morality and honour are worth too little to live on lah.

Anonymous said...

Decency, morality and honour are worth too little to live on lah.

Anonymous said...

"I think some of the recipients too feel embarrassed and would welcome a change to cut it down to size"

Now, Emeritus SM would be one of those who will dispute that. Only before the election he was still full of himself and his argument that the majority of Singaporeans have no issue with ministerial salaries. It means he is hardly feeling embarrassed, my friend.

And now, would the Hen come out to say that he was earning many more millions had he stayed in private practice, so he is not embarrassed too, I should think.

Finally, Gerard Ee's task to make a reasonable calculation of how much should be paid for different ministers and different ministerial jobs. How on earth is he going to do that? A mortal deciding what should immortals be paid? Currently basing ministerial pay on the top 8 top earners is as arbitrary as a kangaroo court in Africa.

Hahaha

Anonymous said...

When 600Ks was a peanut to Mrs Goh Chok Tong, how much does anyone think must Goh Chok Tong make for his wife to feel that he is at least paid a coconut(10,100 X peanut?)?

Anonymous said...

How many people are making $500,000 per month, or about 1 peanuts monthly?

Plenty last year when performance bonus and growth bonus were included.

Anonymous said...

Come to think of it. There was a time when there was really no "Groupthink"

That was when PM decided to donate part of his increase, NOBODY else did so :-)

Anonymous said...

The arrogance of the "ruling class" is apparent throughout the whole organization. This is my encounter:

A new family moved into a ground floor unit of my neighborhood, They were "given permission" to install CCTV to monitor people passing by their flat.

They even tried to get the "authority" to remove an open-air badminton court behind their flat citing that it is very noisy - but the court has been there for since day one.

It turned out that one of the family member is personal assistant of a MP and the husband - a plain detective 'with gun' .