‘To cow play harp "对牛弹琴!"
Following SDP’s detailed proposal for a NOM public housing scheme, many well meaning citizens have voluntarily cracked their heads to come up with many meaningful proposals to salvage the mess created by the housing policies. This is a really thankless task, not being paid a single cent, and at their own time and resources, they are passionate enough to do the sums. This is not the kind of thankless task that are paid in the millions and no answers. The thinking, effort and solutions should rightly come from those that are paid in the millions. True or not?
Another thorough proposal was in the Sunday Times yesterday by Chua Mui Hoong, a veteran establishment spokesperson. She was given more than half a page in the paper on her proposal, ‘How to cool the HDB resale market’. This effort is not the free labour type like those of SDP or other citizens but still free in a way as she is not responsible for the housing policies and the mess. Her job is to write for the paper.
What she suggested in her proposal made good sense, and so were the proposals in the SDP paper. All were made with good intentions to help the struggling minister and ministry to do a better job. But I must say again that it would all be in vain as the ministry and minister were thinking that they have done a damn good job. So what is the fuss and all the unnecessary proposals and recommendations for?
There are many reasons why all these proposals will end up in the dustbin. Firstly, they all assumed that there is a big problem that needs to be addressed. Secondly, they assumed that the ministry and minister did not know their stuff or did not know how to solve the problem. Three, accepting the proposals is as good as an admission of incompetence. How could lay people not paid for the job have the audacity to think they know better? And how could the professionals be made to look dumb?
The last point is always a hurdle and a big farce whenever an institution or person asked for suggestions. Accepting other people’s idea is acknowledging one’s own incompetence or shortcomings. And not accepting after opening the mouth to ask is an act of insincerity. Think Natcon.
What I don’t believe is that the highly paid super talents could not think of all the recommendations put up by the laypeople and the public. They are paid humongous salaries not for nothing. They are exceptionally talented and how could the less talented ignoramus think they could think better? Doesn’t make sense right? So, what is happening? To scratch or not to scratch?
The ‘to cow play harp’ is not really a good analogy. This phrase applies to the hopelessness of playing music to one that doesn’t understand music at all. Here the cow is no ordinary cow but a wise cow, a clever cow who knows what is happening and how to solve all the problems. What is holding back the cow or preventing the cow from coming out with a complete and effective solution really beats me. Excuse me for the pun.