Would there be real change in govt policies?

The first session of Parliament is showing some promise that the ruling party has finally got the message, that the people are pissed off with the arrogant attitude and past policies. Many are now questioning why now when things had already gone badly wrong in the past. The younger MPs are saying that they need to listen, really listen, seriously listen, and engage the people about their unhappiness and their aspirations. I think they are speaking from their hearts. The years of blanket policies and parroting party positions they did not agree may be changing. Cheng Bock is telling them to be themselves, to speak up for the people, not for the party.

While talk is easy, just like blogging, what is real is the substance. Could there be real change? While on one hand there were talks about changing with the time, the moribund mindset of the old quickly appeared. Believe me, some of them still did not know what is going on. They are still deeply embedded in old mindset and old ways of doing things, and would not question if those ways were right in the first place.

The empty your wallet policy must go. Oh dear, none of them will understand what this policy is all about. They did not know there is such a policy in the first place. They must be scratching their heads now, first time hearing this. One even suggested that 3 room resale flats must be reserved only for the lower income group. See how thick it can be? The 3 rm flats are no longer cheap. And the problem, where is the problem? Do they know what is the problem, what is the cause of high demand for flats? It is the empty thy wallet policy. Affordability is the govt’s pet catchphrase.
Why is it a sin for people who have a little more savings, or earning a bit more but to want to buy smaller flats? Why can’t people be allowed to save for their old age or other needs? Why must people be forced to buy bigger and bigger flats or private properties? This is sick thinking. And it is sicker that many Singaporeans did not even know that they are being forced to buy bigger flats or more expensive properties they do don’t need, do not want, or cannot afford because of other commitments and priorities. Some still quipping happily that no one is forcing the people to buy flats they cannot afford! Heard of daft Sinkies?

Public housing policy must change to meet the needs of the people, not the needs and demand of the govt. And the govt got the cheek to complain that the people have very little savings for retirement? How so? Don’t need to search, it is the affordability policy, the empty thy wallet policy.

And this policy is also practiced in hospitalization. The very mean testing procedure is meant to empty thy wallet. Why must people be forced to use more expensive wards and pay for bigger hospital bills?

Oh, the supply of C class wards is limited. So is the supply of smaller flats. Come on, stop the bull. The supply is not enough because the govt does not want to provide more C class wards or smaller flats. Is it that difficult to provide more C class wards or build more smaller flats when every flat is going to empty the wallets of the people?

Will there be real change? Unless the basic assumptions and thinking are changed, there can be no real change. How about flushing the brains with a water hose? And they may harass the people again by the use of authority. And all will be back to square one. Talk is cheap. The people are trying to engage the govt for real change that will be good for them and the country. Will the govt be willing to change for the good of the people and not using its own parameters and prescriptions? More bulls coming?


Anonymous said...

Why not Singaporean "Occupy SG Parliament"?Then the fewer than 500-seat Public Gallery is easily full-house. And the visitors sit comfortably in air-con environment for 3 to 6 hours "to protest"

Anonymous said...


Singaporeans hoping for leopards to change their spots and Hyenas to stop robbing others' of their efforts?

The Natives of Sin have been living on hopes for too long, unfortunately their hopes and wishes ain't going to be fulfilled anytime soon.


Anonymous said...

It is still too early to tell!

so1trg said...

Indeed. It is the entire your wallet at all cost policy. In an attempt to boost GDP dear sir!

Social concious is evolving. People everywhere are standing up against greed, where the 1% owes 90% of the wealth. Change will come; it might take time, but all we got is time.

Hope in a better future.

Anonymous said...

Affordability means 'gum gum ho'. Everything just enough, nothing more nothing less.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, none of the MPs understand what empty your wallet policy is all about as there has never been nor will there ever be such a policy. The actual policy is to not raid the future reserves (by lowering the price charged by government monopolies), and the present filling of Temasek and GIC coffers with the giant Ponzi they call CPF contributions.


Anonymous said...

'Flush the brain with the water hose' ... great idea, but better if u can add a big dose of chlorox in the water , then brain can think a lot clearer

Anonymous said...

It is the fault of the buyers for pushing up HDB prices. It is the fault of those with higher salaries for wanting to buy smaller flats. It is the fault of those with bigger pay and still want to buy HDB flats.

Get it?

Jonathan said...

Means testing has its justifications under the free market price mechanism in order to help the lower-income groups. Like what Anonymous (October 18, 2011 10:47 AM) said, the "rich" can push up prices simply by competing with the "poor" for the same good. Thus, in order to protect the lower-income groups and let them have the opportunity to actually buy a flat, restricting the "rich" from entering this market becomes a justifiable solution.

The issue of means testing boils down to whether we treat the good (flat) or service (C class hospital beds) as entitlements or as privileges. If we treat them as entitlements, then whether it is rich or poor, everyone has the right to buy the good or service. On the other hand, if they are merely privileges, then there is no foundational or intrinsic justification to argue against means testing. Imagine a millionaire and a cleaner going to the same market and they both want to buy the last commodity there, according to price mechanism, the millionaire will bid up the prices soon before the cleaner can no longer afford to buy it. Thus, by treating such market behaviour as a privilege (and restrict the millionaire from entering the market in the first place), the cleaner is protected.

But clearly, means testing does not hurt the rich, but the middle class. Middle class is neither here nor there. They are not poor, but they are definitely not rich. One-size-fits-all policies (such as means testing) always hurt the middle class more than the other two.

As such, one way of improving the means testing is to stratify the categories. More categories, the merrier. This is because by having a lot more categories (theoretically), the risk of being assorted into a wrong category reduces. Currently, there is only one benchmark for HDB flats application, which is at S$10,000. It hurts the borderline families. If there are for example 20 categories, then the impact will definitely be smaller even if one is assorted into the "wrong" category.

Nevertheless, the above justification and improvement for means testing as a way to protect the interest of the lower-income group must rest upon an unwavering believe in the paradigm of the current economic framework. Advocates of free market system (including the PAP) are justified to use the means testing precisely because the free market system will create undesirable outcomes in the first place. The PAP (as fervent believers) must use a market-based solution to solve the problems created by the untamed free market.

But what if the free market is a wrong paradigm to work in the first place?

Well, once we ask this question, we enter the unexplored and dangerous area beyond the boundaries of "free market economics". We enter politics; we enter a place where many people can be accused of all sorts of labels, like "Marxists", "Chauvinists", "traitors"......

Thus, means testing is a nasty contradiction in terms of ideology that exists with our system today. Unless a new political and economic paradigm can be kicked started to replace the old one, means testing will remain as part of the Singapore Government's strategy to help the people. The truth is, the PAP will not, and cannot, be part of this change because doing so will be comparable to suicide in terms of its own beliefs system and ideology.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Now this is what I called, Elitist Truth.

Anonymous said...

You miss the whole argument. When there is no restriction of supply, nobody will need to be protect. If there are 10,000 wanting to buy 3rm flats, you build 1,000 and blame it on those who are richer, what kind of logic is that?

There are enough restrictions in owning HDB flat. Why can't a millionaire buys want if he is comfortable to live in a 3rm flat?

Anonymous said...

The PAP paradigm has always been and always will be operated on two key words..Create "Scarce" and "Scare" mentality. Thereafter, you can ruled the sheeple forever. It works in Singapore. Look deeper and everywhere, that's all it has.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

When Apple sells its iphones, it will want to max price by controlling the supply. No one is going to complain against them as long as the price is bearable.

When a govt confuses its role, that is to provide goods and services at the best price to improve the life of its people, and instead manipulates the supply to max profit, and the people have to bear the higher prices, it is asking for trouble.

It is like squeezing as much money from the people as it could. They have forgotten who they are and who are the people, the people they pledged to serve. Now, are they fleecing the people they pledged to serve?

Public services and public goods must be treated differently from commercial goods and services. The govt should not limit its supply to make it more expensive.

Anonymous said...

The believe is that they can squeeze as hard as they could and Singaporeans will just let out a whimper or two, because they always assume that Singaporeans cannot do without them, the PAP.

Therein lies the problem for the people, and the solution for the ruling elites. Everything is so predictable for them that they are always a step or two ahead.

Singaporeans will never do an 'Arab Spring' or 'Occupy Wall Street' and the Governement is so cocksure about that and that is why the powers that be can just act deaf and blind.

So, would there be real change in Government policies? Just dream about it.

Anonymous said...

re the ruling party has finally got the message: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

re the younger MPs r saying they must listen... say very easy one.
do is another matter. can listen also, but act as suggested? too populist!

i so stupid i cant figure out what's wrong with being popular. or with carrying out good suggs of the people. or accepting what pple say is actually true. i must be blinkered i guess. heh.

new mantra these days: pain is good!

Anonymous said...

Do not speak too soon about the younger MPs. very soon they will be all chanting "four legs good, 2 legs bad!!!!" Wait till another few more parliament sittings and we will see the real deal. Do you think they will toe the line or face the firing line?? 15k monthly allowance is a lot to scarifice.