Hsien Loong and Heng Chee – An uncomfortable conversation

I took time to listen to what I thought would be a conversation that was best forgotten given the fact that Chan Heng Chee has been the establishment’s top diplomat for over 3 decades. I was just curious to see how much Heng Chee has changed in her thinking and would the conversation turn out to be a farce. My conclusion is that it was a conversation best forgotten for several reasons, not that Heng Chee did not try her best. She did ask very uncomfortable questions and Hsien Loong was very uncomfortable with the kind of questions posed.

Heng Chee raised pertinent issues that have contributed to the angst in the internet, issues that Singaporeans are very agitated and emotionally upset about though some in the establishment chose not to know or chose to appear surprise that they existed. And yes, she was most uncomfortable and obviously frustrated at the replies but had to remain polite without lashing out in exasperation. You could see it in her face.

The main concerns were about the future of Singapore, the influx of ‘foreign talents’ and the fate of PMETs. While Heng Chee was probing for answers on the welfare of the PMETs and how the Govt were responding to improve their lot, Hsien Loong as usual was talking about foreign workers. Who cares about foreign workers? That is not the issue, they are acceptable to provide the cheap labour. It is the host of problems faced by the PMETs and the lost of good jobs to ‘foreign talents’ that put these PMETs in a very precarious and financially disadvantaged position that needed to be addressed. You could see the tense expression in Heng Chee’s face when the answers were deflected by talking around foreign workers.

Some general statements were volunteered like the Govt was working very hard, honestly wanting to improve the lot of the displaced PMETs, but how, when they lost their jobs and could not find similar jobs, to accept lower paying jobs in their 40s and 50s? Is that helping them, solving their problems, or let NTUC suggest sending them overseas, to earn even lesser incomes?

Heng Chee reminded Hsien Loong that his concern about the next 50 years is one thing, but was Hsien Loong concern about the present, yes the problems the PMETs are facing today. Some vague answers came forth towards what the govt is doing to alleviate the plight of the PMETs today and his Govt is doing all they could, honestly, to help the PMETs.  Hsien Loong appeared to be very comfortable with the situation at the moment, balanced and about right, everything is fine now. He was only worried about 50 years in the future. He seemed so out of touch from the realities on the ground. And when Heng Chee persisted by talking about now and the next 25 years,, Hsien Loong responded that it was a tough question. 25 years difficult to deal with, what is the point of talking about 50 years? To him, there is no problem today, but in 25 years time, very difficult but not to worry. Let’s worry about whether there is still a Singapore and a Singapore identity in 50 years time.

It was a most awkward conversation and you could see it all over Hsien Loong and Heng Chee’s body language. Thank God she did not come across as someone trying to carry on a conversation for the sake of a conversation. She posed pressing and tough questions that the Govt has no answers. And thank God the agony lasted only 30 minutes for both of them.

Now you understand why the conversation is best forgotten, not for the lack of effort and seriousness on the part of Heng Chee trying to get Hsien Loong to focus on the immediate problems faced by the PMETs and the people and not about some airy fairy futures 50 years from now. I am not disappointed with Heng Chee for her attempt to strike up a serious conversion on the future of Singapore and the pathetic fate of the PMETs. Unfortunately the conversation led to nowhere and both were so relieved when it was over.


Anonymous said...

He did not even bother about the fakes and the cheats. All his darling good foreign talents are invited to create jobs for the daft Sinkies.

Anonymous said...

Prof Chan though just returned from NY not too long ago appeared to be more aware of the problems on the ground than the PM. She told him the problems but he did not want to know or did not think there are problems.

Anonymous said...

Paying millions for a one trick pony.

Anonymous said...


Winning the election is one thing.

Winning the heart of your people is another.

Have you won them?

Please think about it!

Now! Yes Now!

ℳatilah_$ingapura said...

Relac lah you childish, emotionally-challenged cheebyes.

This is only one conversation. We have no idea how any conversations are in private, by email/ phone etc. It is natural for some people to become "awkward" when a conversation focuses on "stressful" issues where there are no easy answers, or perhaps no answer at all: i.e. "It is what it is. Grow a pair of balls and...Deal with it, like an ADULT!"

All the "issues" are actually non-issues. Given time, they will just pass and demonstrate their insignificance, because humans will simply ADAPT to changes in their environment.

Move on lah. It's all good.

Anonymous said...

RB, the smelly shit is here again.

Anonymous said...

So be it lah, uncomfortable or best forgotten conversation, or whatever RB want to call it.

What is most important for Hsien Loong is that the Sinkie opposition is not united and also not ready to be govt, and Teochew Ah Hia's party could only contest 28(less than 1/3) out of 89 seats, so that 60% are very scared to accidentally vote PAP out of govt.

And so PAP continues to have at least 2/3 majority in Parliament, never mind some PAP MPs elected with only 35% votes, to pass any laws and bills they want, and the opposition unable to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

Matilar what have u been smoking today, u cheebye? Too much sex from your incest activity is starting to corrode you brain man!

Anonymous said...

He is desperate, can't afford to pay anymore. Incest is the best. Free.

Anonymous said...

Let's put it this way. Was talking to a 8-year boy who is the son of an old friend. He was asking what was the fuss about all these walkabouts recently as seen on TV news ...... Quite a curious young boy asking arguably many adult issues ......

It was a relatively long conversation bcos there were many things that he kept asking why, why, why but in the end, his expression and his many follow up questions in between showed that he understood.

To cut the story short, many social and economic topics were touched on ( omg, an 8-year old, can u imagine ...? ? ? ) during the "Q & A session", and a 8-year old being the "interrogator" ......

After telling the boy about the situations regarding many matters on the social and economic fronts, the common question shot back was "Then why did the government NOT act?"

After a few times, something struck .......!

Even an apparently "少不更事" 8-year old knew those in charge should have acted and done the necessary. ...... how can scholars who are obviously way much smarter arguably gazillion times more DUNNO?

Certainly to 101% they are NOT STUPID!

Now how to square the facts. ....?? ?

Things that need to be done that even an 8-year old knows should be done but an authority staffed with the most elitist and the best talents money ( $€£¥$€£¥$$$ ) can buy dunno?

So what is the answer?

99.999999% they know and know better than anybody else ......?

The CONUNDRUM is "why they didn't act or didn't want to act and continue not wanting to act"?

Ha ha ha ......

The boy also asked the same question. .....

What was the answer gave?

Oh sorry, need go toilet ( and anyway time's up ) ......

Sound familiar?

Ha ha ha

But who has voted this garment all these years since 1959 and 1965?

Surely not the youngsters or the "strawbelly" generation or even the generation "X", right? Bcos in those days either many are not born yet or not old enough to vote or have the chance to vote. ....

Moral of story?

Dun EVER let anybody ezLEE CON YOU in life .....?

Ask yourself, "why they didn't act or didn't want to act and continue not wanting to act" on several fronts that are now at the stage whereby they are "precariously hanging by the thread"?

The "biggest conundrum" in half a century?

Will this "conundrum be unlocked" on this special occasion?

AnyboLEE know the answer?

Kee Chiu!

Btw, when a 2-star MG in 2011 made many people fell off their chairs with his (childish) army's "Kee Chiu" antics, what could a potentially incoming 3-star LG in 2015 come up with in terms of some other army's antics? Or should it be Air Force's antics .....?

Time will tell ......

But better not sit on high chairs this time round when they deliver their "maiden political speech" ......?

Anonymous said...

Why so much discomfort? Surely all questions to be asked during the interview should have been presented to LHL before the event. He should have all the answers ready at his finger tip. There should not be any discomfort. Maybe RB was not interpreting correctly. RB saw the " discomfort " where none existed. Been smoking again RB?

Anonymous said...

You know Chan Heng Chee?

Anonymous said...

Say all the "correct" things.
Do all the "wrong" things.
Another CON-versation.

If you want action now and not 50 years later.
If you want solutions now and not 50 years later.
Please vote Opposition.

Anonymous said...

Definition of Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein

You have been voting PAP over and over again to be government.
So how's that been working out for you over the last 20 years?

Anonymous said...

Definition of Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I think the confusion behind this statement is best illustrated by these two words:

Perseveration: the pathological, persistent repetition of a word, gesture, or act.

Perseverance: steady persistence in a course of action in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Some forms of dementia, traumatic brain injury, anxiety and OCD can cause people to perseverate.
They repeat words and tasks or try repeatedly to solve problems, but are left frustrated and unsatisfied.
They're not necessarily insane, but stuck in a non-productive pattern due to a glitch in brain function. Some medications or CBT tools may prove helpful.

Is it true?
Either Singaporeans are insane because we keep voting for PAP?
PAP is insane by repeatedly staying faithful to their ideology of "Hard Truths" despite increasing evidence (e.g. MRT breakdowns and Little India riot) that it's no longer working?
Or are there some other explanations?
What do you think?

patriot said...

Whence it comes to issues pertaining to social and political affairs, Redbean gets almost full score.

If political figures are involved, he seems to become emotional and even personal, his Right of course. He appears to rever the Dead Old Man much and have great respect for his(LKY) performance and deed.

Redbean is also highly hopeful that Folks like George Yeo, Tan Chuan Jin and Top Civil Servants and Career Diplomats like Tomny Koh, Chan Heng Chee and Lim Chong Yah etc could be working 'FROM THE INSIDE' for the Wellbeing of tge People. Some Others are even beginning to believe the Same of MP Inderjit Singh who had been in PM Lees' Team in Ang Mo Kio for about 2 decades. I beg to differ with the Ever Hopeful Folks, birds of the same feather flock together. A member in a pack will be cannibalized if it goes counter with the Pack.

With more Military Men getting into PAP, the Intent to back-up PAP with the SAF(Singapore Armed Forces) cannot be ruled out, especially so when the Horrible Man had warned in no uncertain term.

Sinkies have a final and last chance to sack the Pappies; not necessarily to get a better and people friendly regime, BUT TO AVOID GETTING FURTHER EXPLOITED AND BULLIED.



Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous August 03, 2015 11:30 a.m.
>>>>>If you want action now and not 50 years later.
If you want solutions now and not 50 years later.
Please vote Opposition.<<<<<

Such "snake-oil and simpleton" comments like the above likely would put off swing voters and drive them back into the incumbent's arms .....

Just bcos a husband sucks then the solution is for the woman to choose another Toad, Duck or HareLEE? Then miraculously the problem solved?


or YEW think swing voters r kong cum?

Which is which?

Unless the non-incumbent displayed sufficient commitment, capabilities, integrity, trustworthiness, reliability. ....etc, why should YEW anyhow let your daughter married another TOAD, Duck or HareLEE just bcos her current husband sucks, screws up big time or screws around big time ......

Does jumping from one fire pan to another solves or resolves anything other than getting fried one more time .......?

As far as each ward is concerned, likely for swing voters it is whether the candidates are there to serve the residents, have the hearts to serve the residents, able to serve the residents, can be trusted to serve the residents....... Obviously there will always be some protest votes that will go to whoever is the alternative but will the majority do that such as to make a difference?

Dun EVER be kong cum and presume that the majority swing voters' voting pattern will be just protest-based and not rational assessment of their options.

Even for checks and balances, typical sinkie will still want creditable candidates .

Otherwise the First World Parliament would long ago have at least 30+% opposition and not the current 8% despite many "big time Cock up" pre GE 2011 ......


Anonymous said...

Swing voters are not brainless voters.
They have eyes, ears and brain
like the elites and aristocrats.
They only lack their rights to dictatorship.

Anonymous said...

'lost' to replace 'lack', in above post.

Anonymous said...

Historically and anecdotally, it probably is better under a benign dictatorship than under a malfunctioning or anarchic democracy......


Asked the Iraqis......

Whether they prefer to be under the current democratically elected garment or the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein?

More than 10% of the population has perished, being displaced or crippled in their perennial conflicts after the fall of their dictatorial strong man .... It is rare to find a single family without a member being killed, maimed, raped, plundered or ravaged by the anarchy set forth since 2003 after Saddam was forced out of power ......

Dictatorship historically acts as invisible glue that keeps a society intact and stable......

Democracy and human rights are inherently undeniably good but that does not necessarily equate to being suitable to any society or culture regardless of which development stage they are .....

Do u think democracy will work and thrive in those tribal societies?

Sinkieland probably is almost there yet not really there.....

Are the buffers strong enough to hold Sinkieland together if the "democratic baby" is forcefully and prematurely delivered despite not being due yet .....?

Sinkies being kiasi are unlikely to be collectively brave enough to go for a radical and drastic route so as to better the number of "birds" they have in "their hands" ......

Sinkies dun like show hands lah ..... Many scared they ended up empty-handed and losing all the birds that they now have in their hands, then how .....

Human are unlikely to collectively take huge risks when most still have "birds" in their hands .....

Unless most are already empty handed and therefore the opportunity cost to a wrong turn makes little or no different.

Now the OPPORTUNITY COSTS are too high for many kiasi sinkies ......

Anonymous said...

Shake the Boat and it will sink fast. This is the Fear of Kiasi Sinkies.

Sinkies do not mind the Boat sinking in Deeper tumultuous water.

Anonymous said...

Don't shake the sampan or it will sink.
But prepare to keep paying millions to stay afloat.

Anonymous said...

Based on GE 2011 analysis, kiasi sinkies are willing to give non-incumbent the benefit of doubt only up to a limit and win some seats as witnessed in the Aljunied GRC eventual outcome. But probably that's about it.

For non-incumbent to wishfully think that votes will fall from the sky by sitting back and watch the incumbent shoot their own feet or make mistakes cannot be more flawed .......

Swing voters need to see a lot more from non-incumbent before they commit more by giving them more seats.

Seasoned political observer and accomplished international writer Catherine Lim recently commented that this election could turn out " bland and boring" than the 2011 GE. Such comments are obvious "giveaways" her unspoken "prediction" what the end result would likely be as of now ......

Given the possibility of many multi-cornered fights, would the headlines in the national media the morning after polling day screams: "Record number of opposition members lose their deposits" .....?

Looks like some non-incumbent prefers to donate $16,000 deposit to the garment than donate to charity ...... if current gamesmanship and brinkmanship in non-incumbent horse trading stance persists till nomination day ......

Anonymous said...

I am General.
When I plan, I plan to fight a war that will happen only 50 years from now.
But what about the battle that will take place tomorrow?
That one I dunno leh.

That is why I am a hopeless Leeder.
My Leedershit will sink Singapore in the next 5 years.
Even though I have plans for Singapore to prosper in 50 years time.

This is called mental masturbation.
I mental masturbate about the next 50 years.
So i don't have to fuck my ugly wife tonite.

Anonymous said...

Dear unemployed Singaporen PMET
Vote PAP if you can wait for our Prime Millionaire to give you a solution in 50 years.
Vote opposition if you want a solution to your unemployment now.

Think about our MRT breakdowns.
How many years we have been suffering already.
Vote PAP and you will have a solution in 50 years.
You can wait or not?
If cannot wait, then better vote Opposition.

Anonymous said...

vote PAP for a better Singapore in 50 years time.
vote opposition for a better Singapore right now.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing natural about importing so many immigrants in so short a time, let alone having targets. First, this population surge is incredibly disruptive to the economy, and more important livelihoods. It is still is an experiment with many unknowns. The government's previous obsession of English over Chinese, 2 is enough policies, at one point dabbling with eugenics(those to young to remember pls ask your parents), demolishing heritages sites have proven over time to be little follies. This time, the consequences of this massive population transfer/experiment will be far greater, and even a threat to the government itself, because the FT is not as sheepish as Singaporeans. Little India, little riot, just wait and see.

Second, what the deal about a 6mm or 7mm target? Economics is not an exact science, yet have our dear/genius leaders seem to be so confident about their economic models generated by the EDB/MITI that they can pinpoint the exact level of immigration needed for growth. Have they even considered secondary effects of such a move? Do they reach for a dictionary when you say "secondary effects?" Why ignore important and useful feedback/data from the man/woman of the street complaining about crowded trains/hospitals or inflated housing prices. Are you too smart, is your GPA so high that you can float above empirical data.

Perhaps these little details do not fit into the governments Grand Design or Grand View of how the world actually works. Maybe, listening to a McKinsey consultant or the interest of a foreign Multinational is more comforting than using your own brain to think for yourself.

Anonymous said...

PAP is so lazy and incompetent on the FT policy.
They cannot and did not distinguish between the lowest level FT, PMET FT, highest level wealthy FT.

We need and want numerous lowest level FT like construction workers, maids, cleaners, delivery men, rubbish collectors, factory workers, etc. But all on 2 to 3 years work permit. And only those with decent performance review will be given renewal. While new workers are taken in on this basis. With the same process.

We don't want any, and should not take in any PMET, unless most necessary. We should reverse and get rid of all PMET in banking and IT, etc. Singaporeans must hold the jobs on all these important industries where our people are educated, and be trained and be experts. Why do we have the most rigorous education system for our children and deprive them of the best opportunities and give them to FTs and even many fake FTs. Crazy! Singaporeans are the best and most hard working PMET in the world. The irony is we got the most overpaid politicians we cannot even appreciate its own citizens strength. How ridiculous!

We want the super wealthy and top business FTs. But they must invest or create businesses and most key jobs must be held by Singaporeans. For the privilege of being and living in one of the best cities in the world, the corresponding obligations to Singaporeans is required. Is PAP stupid?

Anonymous said...

They are not stupid. They simply betrayed the people for their selfish interest. When they said it is good for Singapore, it means good for them, not the ordinary people.

Anonymous said...

The CONversation with PM Lee was a bloody waste of time.
Wasted 28 minutes of my life watching two idiots pretend like they care for Singaporeans while earning million dollar salaries from taxpayers.

Vote Opposition.
Vote them all out.

web lol said...

kul post