12/19/2012

Natcon vs natcon


The Govt has taken the initiative to start a national conversation with the people. This exercise is to engage, listen and talk with the people to find out their aspiration, what the people want for the future, the type of country and society that they can help to create for themselves and their children. It is a massive exercise involving a lot of resources and fundings.

The mission of this Natcon is defined by the Govt and the discussion would be confined to this objective. The participants are likely to be talking about an ideal, and anyone going off topic will be hauled back. The mission and agenda are all set. The participants in a way are also set, invited by the organizers. There is a feel good feeling as it is all about a dream, about the moon and the stars.

It is kind of like an academic exercise like students in institutions of learning, a tutorial that would end up with a paper at the end of the conversation. Maybe there will be prizes for the best participant or the best papers to be presented.

There is another natcon (I am using small letters) going on among the people. It is spontaneous, uncoordinated, unstructured. Anyone can participate and it is happening everywhere, anywhere. It is free, no resources are committed to such a conversation. One major difference is that the participants are people who have something to say and wanting to say. The topics are unlimited and undefined and mainly about the realities, about their life experiences and their grievances. They are talking about the now, the immediate problems they are facing. There will be emotions and pains and anger as the issues are not something airy and fairy, not something that may or may not happen in the future.

Between the two natcons, a guided Natcon and a spontaneous natcon, the Govt is likely to listen to the Natcon it initiated. It must be as it costs a lot of money to organize such an exercise. And the findings cannot be put to waste. Would the Govt listen to the other natcon that it has nothing to do with, a natcon coming from the hearts of the people, or urgent issues that the people wanted the Govt to act on?

What would likely happen is that the findings of the Natcon will be compiled and may even be discussed in Parliament as the people’s aspiration for the future. The people have spoken. And it could even be the basis for the PAP’s position in the next GE, telling the voters that it has discussed with the people and they will deliver what the people want.

As for the spontaneous natcon that is unstructured and messy, it is likely to be regarded as voices from the disgruntled, from the losers, voices from the lunatic fringe, and likely to be ignored. To the people, their natcon is real and needs immediate attention. To the Govt, it is the guided Natcon that matters.

Is there a meeting of the minds between the Govt and the people? Yes, the Govt has spoken to some of the selected people invited. And no, the Govt is not talking or listening to the other people who wanted the Govt to listen to their problems. Which natcon is important and relevant is subjective and depending on who one is.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree.

oldhorse42 said...

When I was in service,I regularly took part in the grassroot feeback session organised by the Dept. In this session we fed back to the boss what we gathered from the people we interacted with. The boss would record the feedbacks and forwarded up the channel to the ministry.This was not only done by my dept but by many other depts across ministry that have dealings with public on the ground.So there were a lots of genuine feedback going up. Of course along the way many of the feedbacks were filtered and I suppose only the palatable ones were presented to our leaders.So our leaders only heard and saw what they were told.
As for the National Conversation,it reminded me of QCC meetings and brain storming session I took part and organised. So many paper works,so much efforts and little was achieved. The tea breaks and snacks provided were the only thing I enjoyed and remembered.
As for what I wanted for Singapore in 20 years time? I can't be bothered. I won't be around. Just make it affordable so that my children could afford to put food on the table.

Anonymous said...

rb
Can you please don't help PAP.
Why you tell them about natcon.
Better they don't know.

Let them continue to waste their time & effort with Natcon.

Anonymous said...

If only PAP take a serious look at its Grassroot leaders, many feedback can be obtained without the need to hold the expensive Natcon. The problem may be that the grassroot leaders are not doing their jobs or doing just to please the masters. I remembered during Moa's days, the party forced thousands of farmers to hold each a bunch of ripen rice stock and lay on the field. This was done so that when Moa's motorcade drove by, he see nothing but ready to harvest crop. The reality is that his policy failed.

Anonymous said...

NatCon is typical "efficiency" PAP style.
Got grassroots leaders.
Got People's Association.
Got feedback unit.
And still require NatCon to double confirm.

They want to keep asking until they get the answers they want to hear.

virgo49 said...

To Anon who said please dont help PAP, better they dont know,

I said I fully agreed with you.

Come 2016, BIG BANG just lick them out of the Parliament.

Cheers

Matilah_Singapura said...

redbean:

>> Is there a meeting of the minds between the Govt and the people?

It is an illusion to think that there are 2 separate and different "minds".

One group has been handed ABSOLUTE POWER by the other group. One group is PRODUCTIVE, and is forced to relinquish some of their produce to the other group with absolute power for "redistribution" to fund various "policies".

Singaporeans basically don't respect each other nor do they trust each other simply as people -- the basis of a "genial" society.

Visit Thailand. OBSERVE and TAKE NOTES on the way Thai people interact with each other on a day to day basis. So respectful. Polite. They smile. They wai (bow).

You might think this is "old fashioned" and "quaint". If you look beyond that, you will see that the bedrock of their culture is a basic respect for another person, and a warm manner of day-to-day communication.

Observe the body language of your average Singaporean. Closed body language. Protective. Kiasu. Disinterested.

"Conversation" is part of how humans communicate. If there is little trust and little respect, good luck with finding anything useful in the exercise -- other than the fact that both parties need to work on their own PERSONAL SHIT ISSUES.

Singapore NatCon is like two village idiots trying to have a dialogue based on objectivity.

Got tragic comedy?

patriot said...

Deaf frogs chose not to hear.
Some pretend they are hearing but hardly listen. Eg, when the people told him HDB Flats hve became smaller, the Prime Minister talked about houses in the kampong with plot of land. Was he listening, does h knows how to listen?

Then there were those that needed attention, donned funny costumes, acted and talked liked joker so that people would gave some eye balls to him.

Now that the Rulers have initiated the Natcom, Folks like Amy Khor, the One incharge of Reach got to know conventional wisdom better and not sing praise for her male colleague when the Latter had to leave the Cabinet due to adultery with a Peoples Association Executive.

It will be very difficult for the People to Natcom with Leadees that defy logic and convention.

patriot

Anonymous said...

That is why I think this Natcon is an exercise in selective hearing.

There are three main issues that have been around for ages, namely HDB prices, high hospitalisation costs and cost of living in general. Don't tell me the PAP did not know what people are talking about all this time? Natcon is a waste of time, a mother of all wayangs.

Anonymous said...

Blah Blah Blah ...

Blah Blah Blah ... ... ...

Workers Party is The Best. PAP is the Worst ! No need wayang with Natcon, people also not interested.

Workers Party will be able to solve all our problems.

Let LTK be our PM, CSM our Fianance Minister.
Huat ah, Huat ah , Huat ah !!!

Income go up, Cost of Living go down. HDB become cheap cheap nobody wants, COE is $10. Hospital is free for sinky, live bungalow drive porshe also free. Foreigner is $1000 per visit. This is to discourage FTs from coming here to snatch away our jobs. Baby Boommz.

Huat again ah !!!

Cannot Deliver ??? Pay millions cannot ??

2020 vote WP out. Vote SDP in ah!

Huat ah! Huat ah !

True Patriot

Anonymous said...

Huat ah!

People tell Sylvia his house so small. Sylvia says relax bro, Sylvia got lobang can no no need be A* results can live big big house and cheap some more. No need to work so hard, no need to take risk. Gahment will take risk for you. Everybody is equal. Every sinky is equal. We are one united people. Sylvia listen to my problems.

Huat ah!

Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah

Whatever lah! Cockraches, lizards, monkeys, we just vote for them in 2016. As long as it is not PAP!

Sick, tired, fed up, tak boleh tahan, buay song.

patriot said...

Just saw on Ch 8; Lawrence Wong having Natcon with a group of students.
And
he was repeating the Same few points he used since the Day he was tasked to do the Natcon Thingy.

Whoever is participating musy have wasted their time ti listen to the Same Rhetorics.

It also makes one feels that it is pretty easy to be a minister nowadays. No need to think of solution, just tell the problems and maybe in future retort the people by claiming that he or she had highlighted the problems before.

Sad, disappointing and let down.

patriot