Can PAP survive 2016?

This is an interesting question that many observers are wondering. In the last election there were signs that the ground had shifted. The support for PAP was weakening and all it needed was for the opposition to put up a stronger slate of candidates to make some inroad into Parliament. And we have seen a GRC fell. Actually another one or two could have gone to the opposition.

There was no lack of good candidates from the opposition camp to win a couple more GRCs. Goh Meng Seng was right in going at individual ministers that were weak and losing ground support with their bad policies. The fault was the dilution of opposition candidates, basically spread too thin. If they have adopted the same strategy like the WP, the NSP could have got Tampines hands down.

What would be the fortune of the political parties in 2016? The PAP will have a very tough time comes 2016. There is really nothing left to stand in favour of the party. After the ministerial salary debate in Parliament, all the political credits have vanished into thin air. The super talent and super salary myths have been shattered to pieces. Not many thinking people will find the super talents anything that super or unusual. The few good ministers could have held their grounds if not of flawed policies or the wrong direction that the country is being led to. And to keep to party line and direction, they could only go along but undermining their own credibility as super talents.

The policy of throwing money at problems is getting hilarious and comical. Money is not an issue. It is OPM. Just throw money at any problem. The more money is thrown the better the impression that great effort and intelligence are at work, and the problem will be solved.

The reverse is to make the people pay as much as they can afford, as long as there is money left in their pockets. Both do not need any intelligence to go with. Millions and billions have been blown away.

How many still believe that the PAP candidates in Parliament are the best people available to lead this country? Many of the opposition candidates in the last elections were many times better and several were even of ministerial material. It is regrettable that they are not in Parliament. It is equally regrettable that a few of the not deserving are now in Parliament.

Some corners of the public are lamenting that there are still not enough good candidates. Actually they were several very good candidates from the opposition in the last GE, definitely better than those from the PAP. And it is likely that more will be stepping forward in 2016. If each of the opposition party could attract enough good candidates to wrestle one GRC from the PAP and with the WP doing a little better, there is a good possibility of another 4 or 5 GRCs going to the opposition. It will deplete further the already dearth of real super talents in the ruling party.

The invincible wall of super talents has fallen. There were really no super talents to talk of. And with so many mediocre talents in the GRCs, if the opposition parties could concentrate their fire power with good candidates in their GRC teams, the balance can easily be tipped. The Tony and Hazel Poa, Benjamin Pwee, Vincent, Jee Say, Nicole, just to name a few, were equals to the PAP’s best and should rightfully be in Parliament. The electorate has seen them and is likely to place their bets on them and other equally good candidates that will show up in 2016.

What else is there in PAP to hold against a new slate of able and good candidates from the opposition when practically every minister is now looking so vulnerable? As for the rest of the MPs…well….

Can the PAP survive 2016?

$750m to solve ponding problem

The govt took less than a month to decide on spending $750m to solve a little ponding problem in Orchard Road. The recommendations by the committee of experts were revealed only a few weeks back in the main media. Looking from a positive angle, it is decisiveness, a govt on the ball and is trying to tackle the problem as fast as it could. I still remember that it needed one whole year of studies to decide to give those on public assistance $50 extra a month. I am not privy to how long the committee took to come out with the recommendations but the decision was made super fast and super serious.

I don’t know how many and how big were the ponds. If there were 10 ponds, it means each pond will cost $75m to remove. And looking at the works to be done, many of the facilities were meant to be for monitoring and data collecting purposes and not really to solve the flooding problem. I think the $124m map is one of them, plus all the CCTVs and early warning system. By the time they have the map ready and all the new data, another big sum of money will be needed to implement more new measures from the new findings.

Well, money can solve all problems. True or not? Or money down the drain into the ponds? What is $750m? May not be effective as the sum is too small.

Incompetence or negligence?

A contributor to the ST forum today, Woon Toon Tuan, wrote an article titled, ‘Why property prices will remain high’ and quoted some amazing numbers which he said were from official sources.

He stated that from 1995-2010, the population of citizens and PRs increased by 758,000 while 128,896 private homes were built. The 758,000 when translated into homes needed with a 3.5 person per household were 216,628 homes. Between the two, there was a shortfall of 87,732 homes needed. To date, there are 77,089 units of incompleted homes in the pipeline and these would still be insufficient and will thus not quench the demand for housing. Prices will thus remain firm.

I am not sure if public housing would affect his numbers as he mentioned that the 128,896 were private homes. Then he added that in year 2010, the population increased by another 107,000 foreigners. This would translate to another 30,000 units of home for them.

It is really very funny that if these are official data, how could they be missed and some jokers happily cut down on the building of public housing? Actually it is not funny at all when so many people were adversely affected and their savings kenna wiped out because of high demand and low supply of housing. Home buyers could have suffered a few hundred thousand dollars extra in the prices they paid because of this boo boo. Some would have to push back their buying decision only to end up seeing the prices rocketing to the sky. And they are stucked with no housing till today. Those that have to pay the exceptionally high prices would have no recourse to the monetary loss they have incurred because of this fiasco.

Nobody is responsible for the shit they have ended up in. Ya, they can blame it on market forces.


Obama - A contented man

In his latest State of the Union Address, Obama Barack came across as a happy, balanced and contented man. In his Presidential speech it was all about nation and people, nothing about self. He was not there to defend his pay or asking for more pay. The only time he did mention about his pay was to say that he was very satisfied with his meagre official pay and was more than willing to pay more taxes on top of what he was paying under the current tax laws.

Some may squirm and privately mumble to themselves that Obama could be paid more under the table. But no one has any evidence to say so. Given the American liberal and open system, any such wrongdoings would not hide pass muster. It is not so easy to be corrupt or be paid under the table without being discovered as the President of the USA. This is unlike Asian systems of opagueness, non transparency and non disclosure when many things could be hidden or undisclosed and plenty can be hidden under the sun.

The closest Asian system that is as transparent as the American, and clean, must be our very own system. The slight difference is that Obama is a happy and contented politician who is happy with his lesser pay than our politicians who are still feeling quite sore of the hair cut. A contented man, some say silly man, is a wise man. Of course this is very subjective and many in paradise will be laughing themselves silly at Obama for such a big job and responsibility and afraid to fight for more pay. He could simply use our model to justify his $600k pay upwards many times.

Whether he is wise or silly is a matter of opinion, a judgement call really.

Close down our Medical College

I read that it will cost a student about $600k to study Medicine in Australia or more in the US or UK. This is a princely sum of money to acquire a skill to earn a living. I can presume that the cost of training a doctor locally is just as much, though it may cost less to a student after govt subsidies. The full cost could be as much as a million to produce a locally trained doctor to practice as a GP. For the specialists, the cost will be much more.

In my view this is just not cost effective. When we can get fully trained doctors overseas, including specialists, without paying a cent for their training, why do we need to spend so much of our resources on training doctors locally? All the infrastructure, the manpower, resources, etc can be put to better use elsewhere. In a way, we can outsource our medical training overseas by recruiting foreign talents. And we can pay them cheaper than our locals with their unjustly high expectations.

Boon Wan is talking about cutting cost in the medical profession by increasing productivity. I think he should consider this option. The cost will definitely come down, without the costly investment and with cheaper doctors readily available.

In the name of efficiency, cost effectiveness, we can put this kind of thinking further by closing all our universities and recruit foreign talents and graduates to work in the professions and industries as well. Definitely cheaper, hungrier, and more dynamic and with cost advantage, will make our economy more competitive and vibrant.

As for the Singaporeans, they are quite expensive to train locally. If they can afford it, they can join the army of locals in their march to foreign universities which are deemed to be more valuable and better, and come back as foreign talents. They can foot their own training without the state having to fund the local universities and to provide subsidies on their tuition fees.

The net effect is that we will have cheaper doctors who are better trained by overseas universities to serve our people. It is a win win situation.

A jaw dropping act

The big salary cut for ministers and politicians is a jaw dropping act of sort. It is a very significant admission that the salary paid to politicians was way way excessive in all counts and that finally it came to the open, and no one in his right mind would dare to defend it. It is also a confirmation that it was wrong in the private thoughts of many people, maybe even among the recipients of the huge salaries, but all just buat bodoh and makes hay while the sun shines.

And now that the genie is out of the bottle, it is pointless and helpless to put it back. The ugliness of the high pay cannot face the light of moral justice, not even political correctness. It is just indefensible. It has to be dumped into the darkness and be forgotten.

The troublesome part is that, how could something that is so wrong be upheld and perpetuated for so long as something that is right? It can only happen in a country with unthinking people or absolute power.

So what is the new mantra? Greed is good, greed is normal, greed is the way to go, unstoppable. It has to be that way if we are to progress. Feed the greed and the greedy will be more motivated and will excel in what they are doing.

Actually one can be damn greedy without being productive at all. And one can spend all his energy trying to grab the money by all kinds of schemes instead of working for it.

I wrote the above before the Parliamentary debate. And I was completely wrong. There were still people staunchly believing in it and defending it with tooth and nail. We know who they are now. We also know who kept quiet throughout the debate, either they were against it or too embarrass to defend it, or wanting to enjoy it without being caught defending it.

The biggest sin in this issue is that the people who are benefitting from it are defending and justifying it. And the people who are against it have no avenue to fight it except for 6 opposition members. And if my poll is anything to go by, the majority of the people are against it.

Can the ministers walk around with heads held high, that the people approved their high salary? Did they ask the people about it. Or there is no need to ask at all? And some were very angry at those who spoke against it. They have decided how much they want to pay themselves and they will vote for it in a Parliament where they have absolute majority, with the Whip in force. They will have their way, all 81 of them, not the majority of the people who did not agree with them.

This is democracy at its peak. The rule of the majority in Parliament, by the people, of the people, and for the people. Maybe this definition of democracy needs a little tweaking.


Sinners not allowed in paradise

The gate of paradise is heavily guarded by no nonsense and morally upright prudes. No sinners are allowed to pass through that gate with no exceptions. The moral high ground is zealously protected. Everyone walking around in paradise has a halo above his head, a sign of being above temptations.

Paradise is only for the holiest of the holy. And they wear white, laundered many times a day to make sure their attires are really spotless. When dirty, just launder again and again. Incidentally laundering is good business in paradise. Many citizens need laundering services to stay clean and white.

Clinton and his Lewinsky friend will be a no no in paradise. Sinners, they will scream. Obama, getting richer and richer despite his paltry salary, is also a suspect. He must be a man of low repute, dipping his fingers in the cookie jar. Money must have come from less clean sources and no amount of laundering would make it clean. So are the leaders of the world, all suspects of recipients of unclean money. No wonder they are seen as leaders with low dignities. The angels have been instructed to keep these sinners out. And the citizens of paradise are happily playing with their fiddlers.

Be clean, so said the holy of the holiest, and the equally clean citizens roared with approval. And they walk around carry stones to throw at the unclean.

Jesus frowned. ‘Let the one who has not sinned be the first to cast his stone.’ And they cast their stones at the sinners. The citizens and the holies of paradise are clean and have not sinned.


The primacy of state or the people?

The state and its people are two sides of a palm. The first impression is that what is good for the state must be good for the people and vice versa. Can it be that what is good for state is not good for people and vice versa as well? There is this disquiet about the primacy of state versus its citizens. Should there be a test on which should come first, what would the govt do? There is a dichotomy between the perpetuation of the existence of the state and the well being of the people. Could there be a situation when putting one above the other could lead to the other’s demise?

There is a school of thought that the continued existence of the state is primary, that the state should go on as a continuous entity, a legacy, and the interest of the people can be compromised if necessary. And there will be a time when the citizen’s interest has to give way to the interest of the state. One good example is the importation of great numbers of foreigners to replace or reinforce the locals in the name of good for the citizens. Depending on how many were brought in, the original citizens could be diluted.

This to some is a necessary evil when the original citizens are no longer competitive, their DNAs and genetic codes have degenerated and a new set of DNAs and genetics are needed to replace them. Putting it simply, the people are dispensable and can be traded or discarded for better stocks to keep the state alive into the future and for economic growth.

Such thinking or approach may not be acceptable to those who see the primacy of the citizens, the people over that of the state. The state exists because of the people. It is not necessary to compromise or endanger the existence of the state just for the sake of its citizens. It is just a case of citizens first and their interests must not be adversely affected for the good of an inanimate construct, an artificiality called the state.

This brings back the conflict between state and people. The state exists for the people or the people for the state? For a state to exist for its people, then our policy of bringing in foreigners at the expense of the locals, to become locals, is not agreeable to the citizens. The policy makers may argue otherwise, claiming that the imports are necessary and really for the good of the people. To the believers of state primacy, the people or citizens are dispensable. Bad people or poor quality people can go and be replaced. Bring in foreigners, give them citizenship and make them instant citizens, no difference.

The above argument is not similar to a stateless situation where there is no state and no citizens, a to each his own, to make the best of his own according to his talent status.

The people, particularly the PMETs and top professionals, are feeling the heat. There is an angry perception with many case examples to show that many locals have to make way, becoming redundant or by passed for the top jobs, to foreigners who were not better than them. Many were judgement calls or for more flirtatious reasons. Is it really the case that no locals are found better than foreigners at the senior positions and at the lower levels, locals could end up jobless in favour of foreigners because the latter are better skilled, qualified or simply cheaper, or because of political reasons, office politics or whatever?

The bad bards pointed to the primacy of the state and if needed, the whole original local population can be replaced by more vibrant and cheaper foreigners just to keep the state vibrant. The assumption here is that the locals without the foreigners would not be able to keep the economy vibrant for the good of everyone. They are daft, too complacent and not willing to work. There are two sides to the argument or selective arguments that can be self serving. Some see it as a sell out of the original citizens.

There are now some indications of a change in direction, to be more local focused whether in form or in substance. This is a serious matter as it affects the well being of the original citizens and the viability of the state. Which wisdom shall triumph?


How to justify high pay

My human resource experience apparently has gone out of date as far as justification for pay or higher pay is concerned. Let me just recall some of the basic premises in designing the compensation package for employees. HR will normally look at the job specs, the qualifications needed, the skill, risk involved if applicable, health hazard, even look at environment. Then HR will mix these with the incumbent’s qualifications and skill, add in market comparables, stir them thoroughly in a pot, remove the flotsams, and there we have it, a pay package for the various jobs.

Today it is more complicated and complex and a totally new dimension. I am told that corruption is now a factor to be added in the pay package. There are a few variations to this. One is if other people are corrupt and the total income is more than their actual, this must be taken into account, eg the opportunities to receive bribe or under table money, to gain from issuing of licences or approvals. The other aspect is the infamous notion that since people are likely to be corrupt, let’s pay them upfront so that they need not be corrupt anymore.
Revolving door? I just heard of this new phenomenon. In short it is like jobs laying in waiting for top people who left their offices. The most common quoted examples are the American political leaders who have high paying jobs waiting for them after their terms in office. Actually in my time, or even today, this is nothing new. The top dogs are in demand when they quit their jobs. Many offers will come in from organizations or job hunters waiting in queue. Why should this be a factor to use to mark up pay of incumbents, I really dunno.

I am also told that if other people can go on lecturing circuits and collect millions, this is also a factor to consider. Also, along the same line of argument, people who can write books and sell because their country’s readership is big, and people like to read what they write, this can also be a factor to consider in working out a pay package. The reference point is always some American Presidents. I am just wondering what kind of conceitedness and arrogance would dare one to compare with American Presidents.

Oh, another thing, when one engages an employee, one must make provision for his retirement or his opportunity cost for coming on board. If he will lose out in terms of skill, seniority or contacts, this must also be compensated in the whole pay package.

The golden handshake is also quite a norm now for senior employees. Now this is fair as no one would want to move from their comfort zone to try out something new. This could be another substitute for the above. There have been many instances of great talents receiving a big payout for doing badly on the job or not even starting on it.

The most troublesome one is sacrifice especially in public service. How much to measure sacrifice? This is very tricky, trickier than trying to compensate for the temptation to corrupt. How to value what a person is sacrificing, family time, quality time with children or grandparents etc etc. Everyone it so family oriented. Another quality time which is ominously absent is time with mistresses or girl friends. But this is noted I am sure. And being ridicule in public forums and cyberspace surely command quite a price too.

Another thing to consider is to motivate the top management with a carrot dangling in their face. Do good work boy and the carrot will be yours. Blimey, top management needs additional carrot to do their very best. If not, even with out of this world salary, they will slack and not do their best. Is this motivation thing going a bit too far? In all my HR time, I have never doubt that the top management, with or without the carrot, will be there to do their very best, to lead by example. If their leadership example is to do mediocre work unless the carrot is big enough, they should not be hired in the first place.

I think I will be quite lost if ask to do the job again. I am already feeling inadequate. This will require new skills and mindset from the HR profession to be equipped to do a proper job in view of the new challenges and new social norms. Luckily I am no longer in the profession. I am sure I have missed out quite a lot of the new factors that I don’t even know.

During my time, HR’s job was much easier. You interview the candidate, lay down the package without having to worry what happens if the candidate decides to quit later. The responsibility is to offer the candidate a suitable package, agreeable by both parties there and then. If there is a separation for whatever reason, the candidate would have to look for a new job on his own merit. And that is a non issue as the candidate should be good enough to do that with his qualification and experience. The candidate is always a top dog or else he would not even be considered. Don’t they have any confidence in themselves to land another equally big paying job?


Disband all govt service organizations if….

Medical services, housing, education, public transportation, etc, are normally provided by the govt as institutions to serve the people. These organizations were set up using public funds to provide a cheaper alternative to their private counterparts. They have to be cheaper and decent enough to be of any use to benefit the people. They are the reasons why there is a govt and why people have to pay taxes.

Can the people accept the services of public institutions like hospitals, transportation, housing and education to be more expensive than private institutions when the former is fully paid by the public while the latter were established by private funds? The people should scream foul even if they are priced the same or slightly cheaper. It must be much cheaper as they are built using the people’s money. A large part of the cost is already paid by the people themselves. Bad or poor quality service of such institutions is not acceptable and might as well save the money if they are meant to be that way.

Can you believe it if such services are charged the same or similar as the private sector? If they do, they should be disbanded or sold to the private sector and the money be returned to the people. The govt should not be allowed to set up public service institutions with public money if they cannot charge cheaper than the private sector with privately sourced money.

It is simple economic reasoning and justification. It is common sense. Using public money to set up public institutions is like having them for free. And to charge near the same rate or more than the private sector is nonsense and unacceptable.

It is time that the govt reviews all the public institutions that are not competitive vis a vis the private operators, stop providing them and lower the taxes on the people. Let the private sector run them using private money. Public institutions that cannot compete with private institutions on better and cheaper services have no economic reason to exist. It is actually a waste of public fund and tax payers’ money.

Is sexual misconduct a seizable offence?

The two senior civil servants were reported to have been arrested and released on bail. So far most of the reports are highlighting their sexual indiscretions with the same woman and with some inkling on the awards of contracts through tenders. As far as I know, sexual misconduct is not a seizable offence. Correct me if I am wrong. It may be conduct prejudicial to the good image of an organization and may lead to a dismissal or demotion, definitely no arrest is warranted.

Why were the two men arrested? I think the more serious offence is money related, some kind of corruption. Can’t imagine anyone being arrested for sexual misconduct. I think Changi would not be big enough to accommodate them all.

Poll on new minister’s salary

The poll has ended and 180 participants cast their votes. 3 said yes, 173 said no and 4 were unsure. The final result is that 96% was against the salary package despite it being supported and approved by PAP.

What to make out of this little survey? One thing, the participants are serious and thinking individuals and probably reflective of what the educated and informed Singaporean’s thinking. It is beyond any doubt that the people do not agree with the huge pay for ministers after all the reasons given. I think they are not against paying the ministers well, but what is being paid is still incomprehensible and apprehensible.

Did the PAP really have the blessing of the people by voting for their pay package in Parliament? It is obvious that the people and the PAP are having different dreams, one a frolicking wet dream and the other a nightmare.

I doubt the PAP will do anything to change what has been approved by them in Parliament and will continue with the new pay. They will take it as legally approved and thus there is nothing wrong to it. If the series of misfortunes, corruptions, flaws, flaks, faults, mistakes and acts of God continue to befall this little piece of rock, the big salary will weigh down heavily on their neck comes next GE.

The political price for going it alone without the blessing of the people is high and may be critical the next time round. This time the people is not with the PAP on this salary package. Perhaps, or maybe this little poll is not really representative of the feeling of all Singaporeans. Well, why don’t the authoritative ST with its wider reach, conduct a bigger poll to assess the pulse of the people on this same issue and give a more meaningful feedback to the PAP? Maybe it is better not to know the truth, just bury the head in the sand and all is well.

An intelligent way to fight corruption

Every country is faced with the disease of corruption and finds their own ways to deal with them. The easiest and quite effective way, in case the problem is too big, is to simply behead them when caught. For a big country like China, they have yet to find a better way to deal with corruption. India, an equally big country with equally big corruption problem chose a diametrically opposite way, to live with corruption. And this is a method that many third world countries have adopted. It also suits the power of the day, to share in the corruption and get rich as well.

In between these two, there are many different models, with law enforcement and anti corruption agencies playing their part. But all are destined to fail as they go against the grain of being human, human nature and human greed. As such, even the anti corruption agencies ended with corruption in their own ranks.

Human greed is just another desire like sex, hunger and thirst. It is part of human nature. Once this is acknowledged and accepted, it is easier to deal with in a more effective, efficient and humane way. Don’t treat it like a disease or a crime. Treat it like a business, in economic terms, a human want, a desire to be satisfied at a price.

This approach is the essence of the Singapore way to manage corruption. Accept that every bean is corruptible at some time, at some place, at some price. Satisfy this want, this desire, and the urge will be smothered. After a hearty meal, after an orgasm, the desire to eat or to have sex is gone. But prepare to feed the desire again when it arises.

The high pay to manage corruption is a brilliant and humane approach to tackling the problem of greed. Oops, shouldn’t call it a problem, it is just a human trait. Feeding the greed does not go against the grain of nature. It is living with nature, living with the weaknesses of being human. No need to put people behind bars, or behead anyone. And by paying to quench the thirst, everyone is happy, the payer and the recipient. And with more money in circulation, it is also good for the economy too. It lubricates and makes the country more prosperous, can buy big cars and big houses, making the GDP number better looking. It also creates jobs, especially services.

It is a unique way to deal with the oldest disease of human beans. And it works, and is good for everyone. Actually many countries are also doing it, except illegally. By making it legal, crime rate also goes down. People who are corrupt are just succumbing to the temptation of the flesh. Send them to a half way house for rehabilitation.

It requires exceptional talent and intelligence to see the brilliance of this approach to managing the human desire of greed. And it requires exceptional intelligence to truly appreciate it beauty.

I think I may submit this paper to the UN for consideration. May even get a Nobel Prize for championing human rights. But I am only stealing the credit. This is definitely not my idea. I am just plagiarizing.


George Yeo a blessed man

George Yeo may have misread the message from Him and was in despair at his lost in Aljunid. He probably would be asking, why did He do it to him? He forgot that He may have better plans for him. By pulling him out from the bandwagon, George is now a free man, free from the taint of the gravy train. He must have found some goodness in George to lift him up from darkness and cleanse him from his past.

And shall the gravy train crash, George would only have Him to thank for. For when the ship sinks, he will not go down together. Lucky chap.

A fair shot for all

‘We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.’ Hussein Obama

This is fruit for thought. Is it applicable to our city state? Is the number of people doing extremely well shrinking and a growing number barely getting by? Is everyone playing by the same set of rules? Is everyone getting a fair shot and doing his fair share?

The MSM should know when to shut up

Over the last few days when news of the two senior civil servants were being questioned for corruption and now officially confirmed that they have been arrested and on bail, there are still many articles in the msm crowing about how incorruptible this island is and how the high pay to prevent corruption is necessary and effective.

I think this is the time that everyone should just shut up about high pay to fight corruption. Well, some may still think it is working. Some say the evidence is all there to show that it is failing. Isn’t it embarrassing to show the two contrasting sides at the same time? But if that is the intent, then well, good. How many rungs has the country dropped in the ranking for incorruptibility?

By now there will be at least 10 countries ranked higher or cleaner than this island and without the need to pay out of this world salary. I got a suggestion, send a team to go and understudy them and learn from them. We should not simply rule them out as irrelevant, not suitable for comparison, we are different, Asian culture has corruption in their blood. Just like not comparing our ministerial salary with political leaders of the world. We are unique mah.

Netizens, hold your horses

The netizens are in flame. Practically every netizen is saying, ‘see, I told you, more pay does not mean no corruption.’ Just because two senior civil servants were arrested by CPIB, it does not mean that they are guilty. It also does not mean that all the civil servants are equally bad. Two swallows do not make a summer.

My view is that there is no such thing as no corruption, Only lesser. And the high pay no corruption policy has worked. That is why after so long, we are only hit by a handful of them. The high pay no corruption policy works.

The task now is how to fine tune it to make it work better. One area to look at is their salary. Maybe they are not paid high enough. If that is so, then it means that their pay was not managed correctly. It is important for their superior to monitor these super talents. If they have hinted that their pay is not enough, or perhaps hinting that they would resign, or that their lifestyle is affected, call them up and ask them how much they need to stay incorruptible. This is a pragmatic way to tackle such problems. They have a price and it is only to meet their expectation. There must be a meeting of minds of what is enough. Everyone’s enough is different. Now I am getting worried if ministerial salary is enough for every minister.

Another area to watch out for is what these super talents are saying. Did they complain that they are sacrificing too much? It can be a dangerous sign of trouble brewing.

Look at it this way. There are thousands of super talents in the civil service. If two failed the test, it could be only 0.1% failure rate, which is pretty good. While everyone is getting emotional about this, do not be hasty and throw out the baby with the water. High pay policy is an uniquely Singaporean solution to prevent corruption in high places. Every state leader is secretly admiring our policy and wish they could also be paid this kind of money to keep their hands from the cookie jar.

Form a committee to review the two cases and come up with a recommendation to improve the high pay policy. If it is not broken, don’t throw it away. It has stood the test of time, so far. All it needs is likely to increase their pay a bit more and things will be fine again.


Some riddles

Who is the biggest maid employment agency?
Who is the biggest employer of foreign workers?
Who is the biggest reseller of cars?
Who is the biggest insurance agent?
Who is the biggest property developer?
Who is the biggest toll collector?
Who is the biggest employer of cheap labour?
Who owns the biggest piggy bank?

PS. One more day for the poll on Ministerial Salary on top right of page.

The deception of basic salary

Just because someone used the basic salary for comparison, it does not mean that everyone must use the same for comparison and analysis. One must know what is the intent of the discussion, comparison or analysis. If it is just a theoretical exercise to compare for the sake of comparing or argument, then no matter. Just compare anything, everything or nothing. It is just a comparison for comparison sake without any specific objective.
What is the real intent of the comparison of the Salary Review Committee’s recommendation? Is it to compare how much our ministers are being paid with other leaders? Is it to compare how much they are getting now and before?

Using the basic salary as a reference point for comparison is a deception. Another committee can recommend a package with $30k pm basic salary but add on other allowances and bonuses to give a bigger gross salary and those using the basic will be saying it is so little, such a big cut, even less than Obama.

How foolish can daft Sinkies be if they can be led to see what people want them to see, and think what people want them to think? In the ministerial salary revision and recommendation, it is the gross amount that is material, not the basic salary.

I do not want to waste more time explaining why comparing the basic salary is misleading. If Sinkies are so daft and cannot tell the difference between the real and the deception, they deserve to be led by the nose and be blissfully delirious. They say ignorant is bliss. What is worst is unthinking but believing to be intelligent and spent so much time and effort on a wrong premise that will lead them to a wrong conclusion.


PS. Own target, own time fire! Who sets the target?

How to survive in politics

Politics and politicians have received many bad names which is unfair. Politics is a very difficult art or skill to comprehend and to practise. It takes a lot of skill and talent to practise politics and to be successful. Many fell to disgrace at the end of their careers. Compare to engineering, medicine or even law, politics is perhaps the most difficult of the lot, or any discipline. Everything is right and everything is wrong in politics.

Don’t trust a salesman, an insurance agent and don’t trust a politician. That is how bad this profession has become, being compared with salesman and insurance agent. My apologies to the two professions mentioned. I am only quoting the wise cracks of the masses.

What is so difficult about politics is that one has to look honourable and morally right in everything one does. Personal conduct must be spotless, man of good character, honesty, incorruptible, no greed, always for the people, sacrifice etc etc when one is everything except these things. The contradiction and illusion are unmatched in any profession.

In a way, politics is an art of saying one thing and doing the opposite, being one thing but being another at the same time. Yes Jekyll and Hyde. It is about being principled but unprincipled, being dishonest but claiming to be honest, being corrupt but telling the masses otherwise. A religion will help. Some even hide behind gods and use gods to justify everything they do in politics. In the name of gods, in the name of people, in the name of country, but all for themselves. The list and examples of contradiction are inexhaustible to mention.

Politics is about hypocrisies and surviving it. It is about being dishonest and claiming to be morally righteous. It is about being corrupt and getting away with it, and standing on high pedestal lecturing people about the virtues of honesty.

How many good men can live, survive and be successful in politics and live to tell? Politics is an art of deception honed to perfection, to win/cheat the hearts and minds of the masses, ignorant or learned, for as long as one can. The masters of politics are those that can bluff some people some of the time, some people all the time and all the people all the time.

Don’t underestimate the skill and talent of politicians. They are superior to all the other disciplines and professions to be the master of all of them. They swear to everything that is a virtue to the daft masses but live by everything to the contrary. Politics is a master science according to Einstein. He could grasp all the complex theories of the universe, but could not comprehend politics.

Only the very best and craftiest of human beans can survive a political career.


Chiefs of SCDF and CNB under CPIB probe

One day after the Dragon came in with a big bang, the ST today reported that the Commissioner of SCDF Peter Lim Sin Pang and Head of CNB Ng Boon Gay were both under probe by CPIB. This is really startling news to start the new lunar year with a bang. Since the big hike in salary for politicians and civil servants, corruption is more or less a thing of the past. With the kind of salary that is being paid, who would need to be corrupt anymore?

But as the saying goes, greed knows no bound and no matter how much one is being paid, greed will triumph over human weaknesses. And the contrary is that a good man will never succumb to greed no matter how much he is paid, a lot or very little.

If these two cases proved to be true, then there is a lot of rethinking needed on the high salary no corruption policy. And for the CPIB to be involved and for the two men to be under questioning, it is likely that the CPIB would have enough evidence to make the move.

Not a good bang to have from the Dragon.

Survivor kit for Parliament

Our parliament is still pretty tame compares to those in Taiwan or Japan or even India. But then again, it is always good to go fully prepared in case things get a bit rough. I have briefly listed down some items that MPs, particularly opposition MPs, should bring along as a survivor kit to Parliament. But before that, MPs must note that no firearms are allowed, not even firecrackers. No bottles containing liquid, no scissors or sharp objects.
Okay now for the list of survivor kit.
1. A comprehensive list of notes and research material on the subject in discussion. A dictionary will also be helpful, or an electronic translation machine in case they speak in another official language that one cannot understand. Important thing is to know the subject matter well even if it is a discussion on judgement call or an arbitrary recommendation. A slip can be fatal.
2. Related to the above, a mobile phone is essential and make sure that there are some well informed assistants waiting to assist on call, when one is cornered. Get them to sit beside a computer with access to Wikipedia and Wikileaks to pull out information asap to make a proper defence when under attack.
3. Tape recorders. I did mention this. I remember there is another gadget in the market that gives a loud and long laughter by simply pressing on it, and I think this can be a good substitute to pretend to laugh at the enemy. Those comedy clips in TVs use this very often and very effectively.
4. Mirrors or pak kwas to deflect hostile and evil stares. The pak kwas will boost once confidence against more superior enemy, psychologically or spiritually.
5. Protective body gears. Maybe not needed with the present friendly ethos of verbal debates. Hope our Parliament will never see the days of those in Japan and Taiwan.
6. Sleeping bag in case the speaker refuses to stop. Just a precaution. But probably not necessary as there is a time keeper to keep everyone to 15 mins, I think. An inflatable pillow will do as some speaker can be real boring, or if one had a late night.
7. A mask. I think this will be useful so that no one can recognize you outside of Parliament. Just in case. It would be helpful for those who needed to doze off for a few minutes as well.
8. I think a thick skin is also important so that one does not feel embarrass too easily for saying the wrong things. This one is hard to buy.
9. Acting skill is a great asset, to pretend to laugh or to be emotional and cry. Crying is very effective and used very frequently. A greater art is choking, the precise moment before breaking into tears. The pause, the veins popping out on the face, the voice breaking, a little trembling, will make be perfect to win the hearts of the audience. A show of passion and zeal. It will be a class act. Get some training from MediaCorp.
10. Oratory skill is a must. Debating skill will come in handy. The main aim is to win an argument. Pick up the little mistakes the enemy makes and bite into it, don’t let go. Keep chewing on it to make it hurt. Use a bit of body language to bolster the effect.
11. As physical fighting skill is not permissible, a steely stare can be very effective to kill the enemy or make him urinate in his pants. There is a whole art to this skill, penetrating, timing and how to squint the eyes to increase the damage.
12. Make use of technology like videos and put it on the net for the public to see, over and over again, on how good one’s debating skill is and how bad is the enemy. If this can be put on air in the main stream media the viewership will be bigger and the effect multiplied. But a word of caution. Do not over kill or it may backfire. A video clip of real combat serves to improve one’s position and to destroy the credibility of the enemy when one is on the upper hand.
13. Not to forget, Vitamin B Complex to stare calm and compose and not getting too stress up. Relax and enjoy the session. Don’t be too serious. A cool mind can think better and not to get carried away and comes out looking like a gangster in Parliament.

The above list is not exhaustive. Political parties often have their own secret moves, recipes and tactics to defeat the enemy. It will be good if political parties have the resources to send their MPs overseas to learn from them, learn new and untested tactics to surprise the enemy.

Attending Parliament is not attending a tea party and there are risks and hazards. If one can find an excuse, it is better not to attend. Apply for leave to attend company business and overseas trips will be a better excuse. Board meetings may also be important enough for not attending Parliament sessions. Correct me if I am wrong. I have never been to Parliament so my knowledge on the intricacies of Parliament is just guessing, an educated guess at most.


Ministerial Salary -'Shen Guan Fa Cai'

Ministerial Salary Review – Look at both sides now(Shen Guan Fa Cai means getting rich on promotion as court official)

One of the key factors of the Review Committee’s recommendation is to peg minister’s salary to the top 1000 income earners, using the median with a 40% discount. Depending on the actual income, the salary could be near to the 501 of 1000 top income earners. Could it be above the 501 if the bonuses are added up? It should be rare for it to fall out of the top 1000 income earners. And this is the group of people that the PAP is targeting the future political leaders. They are probably looking at people who are able to earn this kind of income to be of ministerial material. The pool is going to be very small. But nonetheless it is a good area to look at and a good aspiration.

Turn it around and look at it from another angle. By pegging the salary to the top 1000 income earners and the 40% discount, it is very likely that the ministers will all be among the top 1000 income earners. Not bad at all. The only thing that is bad is that the PM may not be at the top of the 1000 income earners though holding the top job in the country. Then again I am being presumptious. As to whether the PM’s salary would be at the top it would depend on the actual income of the top 500 earners and if the PM is paid anything else from his other appointments. Hypothetically, if the 500 incomes were marginally higher than the median income earner, then the PM’s salary could go right to the top of the 1000. This should look more proper.

This new salary will be a good incentive for those aspiring for political office. If they can make it to become ministers, they could be among the top 1000 income earners in the country. There is a Chinese saying, I translated, ‘Beneath one man but above a million’ to describe the Prime Ministers of the dynastic era. Here our ministers can be thankful that their income is beneath 500 and above 5 million. Not bad at all I shall say. As for the PM’s salary, could it be near to the top or at the top of the heap? This is like returning to the imperial dynastic days when ‘shen guan fa cai’ was the aspiration of the elite and the poor scholars.

‘Shen guan fa cai’ is a good new year greetings for all Singaporeans.



Starting with an agreeable year

I must say that we have an auspicious start for year 2012 with a more stable foundation for an agreeable year. The two political parties in Parliament have came to many common view points and policies. For a start, and the most important point to note, is that the PAP has commented and is happy that the WP has accepted the Salary Review Committee’s recommendation for ministerial salary. Though the WP had voted nay, the fact that they have agreed to the principle of a high and competitive pay for ministers, to attract top talents and the final sum of money which was very similar to the Salary Review Committee’s number is cause for celebration. The WP should play along and stop trying to say that it is the principle and methodology that are important and theirs were different.

The sum is something that PAP is comfortable with and with WP’s concurrence, there is no more fear that WP would in the future dare to cut it down further or they would have a hard time for changing their position. A warning shot has been fired (figuratively of course) that they must stick to the position and cannot change or it could be seen as hypocrisy or political opportunism. That is why PAP has never changed its policies and has been very consistent in defending all their policies. Or else they will be explaining and explaining every time there is a change of policies.

This style of not changing policies or not seen as having changed its policies is the trademark of PAP. And it may be the reasons why so many things were changed without an explanation for the PAP because there was no change in the first place.

It is implicit, without many words spoken, that both parties also agreed that the current pay was too much and needed to be cut. It is also explicit that some of the allowances were, well, needed to be thrown away as well. It is also implicit that pension is something that is not right to start with for politicians and definitely unbearable at that kind of numbers and for a life time.
It is politically unacceptable to pay ministers pension when they reached 55 years, which means taking two salaries at the same time, while the people’s CPF withdrawal date is becoming an elusive appointment date with the maker.

It is also not right to peg the minister’s salary to the top 48 income earners (something like that, I don’t have the resources to get me the exact formula), so pegging it to the top 1000 would be less elitist. Someone please do some work to see whether the final outcome of the change will lead to a different result ie the minister’s salary vis a vis the top income earners, would it still be in the same band of top income earners, plus or minus 100.

It is agreeable that pegging to the top 1000 is the same or better than pegging to MX9. The latter is bad because it is not the median or income of average Singaporeans. I think it is reported in the media that this is the income level of the 94 percentile of income earners. Wonder, just wondering, what percentile will be the median of the top 1000, or what percentile will be the minister’s salary if it has not been cut at all.

The PAP is happy, the WP is also happy, that the salary of ministers will henceforth be unlikely to go lower. There are also many ordinary people who are happy as well. One taxi driver told me that he aga aga the right amount will be about 50k or 60k and he was so happy that he guessed it right too. In the kopitiams every Ah Peh is also happy because they also computed the amount correctly with some winning big time in their bets using their abacus.

Confidentially, I too was happy as I dreamt of the number $55k also. And this is the same as the number the little bird at Serangoon Road picked.

It is a big coincidence that $55k is the number that everyone picked. For the superstitious or believers of supernatural forces, this must be a sign that the gods also agreed.

We now have many happy people in an agreeable mood to start the new year with a happy salary. I don’t think anyone needs to explain anything about this happy coincidence. Nothing really changed and it is after all a judgement call or an act of god. Let’s be happy and keep everyone in the happy mood instead of bitching around like a dog in heat. Otherwise many people will have many explanations to do when policies changed.

And a happy lunar new year to every one. Be happy. With the GDP out of the formula, hopefully this distraction will no longer be a preoccupation of those who are counting their bonuses and time can be well spent on improving the lot of the people. And there is no more guilt of being paid too much as it is done by an independent body with the approval of a compensation specialist agency and the Parliament.


Lawrence Wong - Change also must explain

Last night it was in the news, repeated several times to make sure that everyone heard it, that Lawrence Wong, Chairman of PAP’s Publicity and Publication Subcommittee, wrote in the PAP’s website demanding that the WP explains its change in position on the pay of ministers. And there is a half a page article in the ST today to signify how important it is and how strong the PAP attached to the issue of explaining.

I quote, ‘This is what it means to be accountable and transparent, …Otherwise, how can voters be sure what to make of their future election promises and manifestos?...they never mentioned their past positions, much less explain their policy reversal…It is honourable and logical to change one’s position as circumstances change and new information becomes available. I hope that is why WP has changed its position. But when political parties and their leaders change positions, they have a responsibility to explain to the people.”

He added with a query, “if the change was due to a ‘principled approach’ or ‘political opportunism’.” This broadly sums up the importance of transparency and accountability of a responsible party like the PAP. Every major change and decision must be explained clearly to the people. This is a very honourable position to take. Tell the people the truth, the whole picture, do not hide anything, so that the people know exactly what the party stands for.

As the ruling party and govt, and the champion of transparency and clean wage and clean everything, perhaps the PAP should take the lead to show the smaller parties what transparency and accountability mean. Before the WP try to explain anything, which may not be up to the standard of the PAP’s KPI or sort of, and be asked to explain more, PAP may want to set a few examples like say, why the change to cut ministerial pay when the pay was actually raised recently, including those of the President? And there should be more disclosure of what the ministers were actually paid over the last 3 years, 2008, 2009, and 2010. The people are still in the dark despite all the claims of transparency and clean wage. Set the example by explaining and telling the people about them.

This revelation is more relevant as lack of understanding, like the MX9 issue, could lead to improper conclusion and understanding of the matter in discussion. In fact, all the numbers quoted of percentages of salary cuts were wrong if the actual total payout is not known. They were all talking about the basic salary. It is vital to know what was the take home pay and what is the new take home pay to know how much will be the cut. It could be 5% or 50% or more, no one really knows and everyone arguing like they knew.

This is quite disappointing really. Unless there is full transparency and disclosure, all the discount or salary cut percentages are misleading. At best they were only reflective of the basic pay. I found it disturbing that the both parties had based their proposals of salary cuts without knowing or mentioning what was the total payout to the ministers, at least last year.

The PAP may also want to explain why the three ministers were dropped from the Cabinet so that the people would know the reasons behind the droppings. It is about explaining and communications.

To quote Lawrence Wong and to satisfy his hunger on ‘they never mentioned their past positions, much less than policy reversal’, and also his morally correct stand, ‘when political parties and their leaders change positions, they have a responsibility to explain to the public’ it would be good for the PAP to set the standard of explaining and public disclosure. This will definitely raise the standard of good govt and something that we can all be proud of and expected of future govt.

Let’s do it, show the way, and the smaller political parties can learn from it. Follow the leader with the highest standard of transparency and accountability. The smaller parties must know what should be explained and how much to tell as they did not know how high the PAP has set its standard on these matters. It is like the KPIs which no know really knows what they were and one can set KPIs for self and for others without telling or transparency.

I am impressed by Lawrence Wong’s call and support it and hope all parties will abide by this clean call for more transparency and accountability. “It is not always easy or popular to take an honest and principled approach. But Singaporeans expect no less, both from the ruling party and the opposition.’

It is all about honesty versus hypocrisy. I am glad that the PAP can stand on high pedestal and talked about principled approach. That is what the people expect of an honourable political party that frown upon political opportunism.


Poor thing - Tan Chuan Jin

"Minister of State Tan Chuan-Jin, choking over his words said: “I’m pained by the knowledge that I’ll miss the many moments when my children are growing up and time with my family. My parents are not getting any younger. Those moments missed do not return. Ever… In time I will look back and there will be gaps. But that’s life. I’m not sure how one considers it a privilege to miss these precious moments. It trivialises all of us who do cherish these.” Copied from CNA video/FeedmetotheFish commentary.

I am starting to feel very sorry for all these good men and women making their terrible sacrifices for the country and people. I am sad to hear this. We must not allowed such a painful state of affair to go on and do nothing about it. The Americans got the best answer to this and we should see if we can borrow their ideas so that our leaders do not have to make this kind of big sacrifices.

The Americans put Obama and his families in the White House, although in so doing they paid him a little lesser, but it is a good thing. Now Obama cannot claim that he is making a big sacrifice on his family life. He could work from his bedroom or his family could be playing next to his office. Now that is a humane way of looking after the welfare of their leaders.

We should send a petition to the govt to make such an arrangement so that our ministers need not have to suffer so much. This is all about inclusiveness, about taking care of our people. And ministers are people too. Poor thing.

What did Parliament approve?

The approval of the Salary Recommendation by the Review Committee also means that all the assumptions and logics are accepted as valid. The major points are, need to pay high salary to attract talent, right to peg ministerial salary to top 1000 income earners, right to pay allowances and variable bonuses based on the formula submitted.

The other things that are accepted include a clean wage bill. Clean here means everything that is approved by parliament. Just wonder if clean means whatever is paid, now that it is public knowledge, be reported in Parliament? What if there are other additions, other appointments, would they be part of the approval as well and Parliament be informed as well? One thing for sure, they are definitely clean as they are known, and unclean if unknown to the public.

After the big debate, I thought something is missing? Are the people involved in this debate? Are their opinions important?

What is really important is that the MPs are representing the people in Parliament and voted for the salary recommendation. One question, did they ask the people they represented for their opinions? When they voted, were they voting as an individual or voting on behalf of the people? Is this a matter that concerns them only or a matter that concerns the people?
How many MPs have consulted the people on this matter, please kee chiu.

Poll on Ministerial Salary(at top right of page)

Parliament has approved the recommendation of ministerial salary by the Review Committee. Technically, the MPs are representatives of the people and when they support the bill, it means the people also support the bill. So technically the MPs have spoken and voted on behalf of the people and voted for the new salary package.

I have just created a poll on this to find out how many people support this salary package and whether the MPs position is reflective of the people's position and aspirations. This will act as a kind of feedback to the MPs to confirm that the people are with them or the people and the MPs are going in different ways.

The warcraft of parliamentarians

MPs elected to parliament quickly learn that parliament is not a kopitiam to sing song and talk cock. Parliament can be a treacherous place, like a war zone or battle field and requires special skills to survive the day. Maybe that is a reason why so many MPs chose to disappear during parliament sessions.

The democratic process of parliament is the culmination of a contentious way of pursuing political power between opposing parties. And that set the tone for debates in parliament, and also the behavior of parliamentarians. Once in parliament, it is me against them. There is no good idea or bad idea, it is our idea against your idea.

Every session in parliament is a battle. Anyone stands up must be prepared to be shot and then returns with counter offensive from supporting forces in the background. Some use small arms, some use snipers, some big guns and artilleries and air power. These are figuratively speaking of course.
The most effective or often used tactic against the enemy in parliament is the steely stare. Many have used them quite effectively. The way they manipulated their eyes to meet the enemy’s eyes, eye contact. To look straight into the enemy with big wide eyes or to squint the eyes to shape like a cutting blade of a knife, they all look very intimidating. It all ends up with the cold hard stare, in silence and measured in minutes.

Another effective way is to giggle or simply laugh the enemy away. This tactic is only effective if there is a superiority in number so that the laughter can be coordinated and the volume raised at the same time. Any MP speaking when everyone is giggling or laughing must be a frightening experience. He may even be made to have doubts on what he is saying to draw the giggling and laughters.

An alternative to this tactic, to dismiss an enemy MP, is to simply walk out, and this is even more effective when done in numbers. The psychologist will explain this as a kind of humiliating act, to humiliate the enemy, to make him question his own ability to make people listen.

The pedestrian style of picking at every wrong use of words or comments and raining blows at them may not be too effective after a while. Some comments in the media about new MPs jumping up like little frogs at on queue to attack the enemy’s viewpoint showed that this methodology is frown upon by the audience. It looks pretty childish, like school boys in a debate. Score points, score points. Damn clever like dat. Clap, clap, clap.

There are many tactics that were used, and one only needs to observe closely to detect them. The use of position power, authority, and the ‘I will fix you later’ body language are also quite common. The effectiveness of all these tactics basically boils down to power in numbers. Those without power and small in numbers will definitely be at the losing end. There is no way that one can use guerilla hit and run tactics inside the parliament house. There is no where to run and no where to hide.

What I thought would be a good weapon is to bring a tape recorder with tapes of laughters and giggling and play it out loud when the laughter offensive comes on. As for the cold hard steely stare, perhaps a big enough mirror may be able to deflect some of the venom. Or a wear a big pak kwa in the front chest could give an MP some cold comfort that a pak kwa has a defensive ability to ward off evil stares.

Parliament is a serious place and serious things are being discussed all the time. But there are interesting and humorous moments as well. And there are frightening moments too. Political parties must train their MPs in the art of war in parliament and armed them with offensive and defensive tactics before they step foot in parliament. And make sure they bring a tape recorder and some protective gear for their own protection. The naïve may thing good ideas is all they need to bring to parliament. As I said earlier, there is no good or bad idea in parliament. Only our idea or their idea.

Political appointments are part time jobs

MPs are part time jobs as they have another job or can have another job that requires them to work full time or 8 hours a day officially. MPs that resigned from their full time jobs to go full time are the full time MPs. This is easily understood.

When I say that political appointments are part time jobs, I can see many eye brows being raised. The smarter ones could see immediately where I am coming from and could see the logic of my statement. Ok, let me explain it to the slower ones who are still unable to grasp the logic of part time political appointments.

A full time job requires the incumbent to be on the job for about 8 hours a day, depending on how many days and the organization. A 44 hour week is the norm. Take for example a minister. He could be a minister of a ministry and a second minister of another ministry. He is also an MP. He probably holds several other appointments, like Chairman of A or B organizations, or sits in several committees.

A minister who is in charge of a ministry and nothing else will have all his 44 hours a week working in the ministry. If he has two ministries, he has to split his time between the two. He also has to split his time for his MP role even though some were taken care of by other MPs or grassroot leaders. If he is chairman of two organizations, he would need to spend some time there as well. The more appointments a minister has, the more part time is he in his primary job. It depends on what is the nature of these other appointments and if they are really that important as a ministerial job or if they must be part of a minister’s jobs. If they are not necessarily a minister’s jobs, or if they are of much lesser importance, and if they are taking too much of the minister’s time, what it means is that the minister is paid a ministerial salary to work part time in his main job and part time in other jobs that should not be paid that kind of salary.

For a minister to justify his high pay and devoting full time to his ministerial responsibility, he should be doing lesser of the other lower level or non ministerial work. He can do his MP duties, which is part time anyway, during after office hours, which is fair.

So, depending on the hours and the number of part time or other appointments, a minister is part timing his minister job to look after other part time jobs or appointments. Unless those other appointments and part time jobs are part and parcel of the minister’s main responsibility.
How many of you now agree with my statement that a minister’s job is a part time job? It can only be a full time job if the minister devotes all his working hours on his minister job. And this interpretation can be applied to all the other political appointees.

A political appointee who spent too much time in his secondary appointments like sports clubs or other social and civic or even commercial organizations is part timing his main appointment. The more he spreads his time, the lesser will he have time for his main appointment.
With the kind of world class pay that the political appointees are getting to perform his main job, it is better that he reduces his time on other lesser jobs to justify his pay, I think.


Singapore Education - A feel good system

The O level results have just been announced and so many students and their parents are elated with their straight A1s. Throw a stone and you will definitely hit one with at least 5 A1s and often more than that. Getting anything less is probably a rarity.

I do not want to dampen their spirit as the Chinese New Year is around the corner. How many of these A1 students will make it to the top JCs, or how many will go to the lower rung JCs?

We have a feel good education system that makes getting straight A1s today as easy as getting straight passes in the past when getting just an A1 was a dream come true. What did all these say of the grades?

The top 4000 or 5000 students from the top schools did not even bother to sit for the O level. One day, don’t be surprised that employers may not want to look at the O level result in the future. Don’t ask me why. The two most important examinations today are the PSLE and the A level. With the bulk of the top students not taking the O level, one could simply slide the bell curve backwards on the grades of those taking the O levels, and viola, a new batch of A1 students is manufactured.

Getting O level results today is such a happy moment for many students and their parents. In the past, it was a nerve wrecking experience for both students and parents. Then they did not know of things like the bell curve and moderation or massaging. It is worthwhile paying for a good massage, definitely.

Please ask why the top schools and their top students are not taking the O level examination. And if they do sit for the same examination, how would the distribution of straight A1 students be like? Would it be that 99% of the top school students be getting 10 A1s? Maybe that is too high a number, 90% should be just right. Or would they slide the bell curve back to where it was supposed to be?

If all the top school students would to sit for the O level, it is not surprising if there will be a few hundred 10 A1s students and a few hundred 9 A1s students from each cohort. It is simply possible.

The people who truly sacrificed for their country

It really makes me sick to hear people whining that they are sacrificing for the country. So ‘jia lat’. The ruling govt must be damn ‘chek ark’ to turn these people into martyrs of modern Singapore. When a Sinkie is called to stand for political office, the first thought that came to his mind is ‘sacrifice’, despite the world’s highest paid salary, with many even getting more than the President of the USA. My God, young men and women being paid that kind of money had sleepless nights worrying about the sacrifice they are going to make!

Of course it is not a calling. Many had left their high paying jobs when God called. For modern Singapore, the Brits used to pay their soldiers hardship allowance for a posting to the Far East, ie Singapore. Going into politics today must surely be a kind of hardship posting to Siberia.

Do we really need people who cried sacrifice so readily? Are they thinking that the people owe them a debt for their big sacrifice to go into politics to earn a miserable pay? Are they demanding that the ungrateful and unappreciative Sinkies kneel and bow and praise them for their sacrifice? Wan suay, wan suay, wan wan suay.

The opposition MPs in Parliament (never heard any of them griefing that they are making a big sacrifice without the big pay) should ask those who feel so aggrieved to stand up and be counted, and tell them there is a beeline of equally if not more able people who are willing to take their places. Just tell them, prease, no need to sacrifice lah. Just go home and be happy, there will be someone more willing, more committed and more capable and happier to do the job.

Do they believe that Sinkies are so untalented and the 80 plus are all the talents in this piece of rock and no one else is more able than them? Tell them they are not irreplaceable and not indispensable, that without them the island will not sink. How about a walk out, all resign and see if the country will sink? Don’t they feel embarrassed at all?

Where is the pride, the sense of duty and honour, the sense of recognition and satisfaction to be called upon to be leaders of a nation? Hey, the whole machinery is so well oiled to serve and put you into office, with all the grassroots running around at your becks and calls. These are the people who really sacrificed their time, money and energy to help the politician wannabes. Without them, the machinery and the GRCs, running for election is not going to be a cake walk. Many would not even make it. What a sacrifice!

But the people who sacrificed the most are the NS men. Some are even treated worst than new citizens, can’t buy public housing, not even invited to sacrifice for the country to be politicians, to be paid world best salary. New citizens who have not done any NS are called instead. And looking at them and looking at the Sinkies around, what is so great about the new citizens that the Sinkies are inferior to them? Why are good Sinkies left out of the great sacrifice to serve the people and country?
I think all the Sinkies will be queueing up to sacrifice themselves and happily say thank you Sir with the kind of pay they are not happy with.

An arbitrary salary package based on judgement call

The ministerial salary recommendation was passed after three days of debate. Though there were some attempts to take issues with the recommendation on grounds of principles and methodology, eventually all was convinced that there was really nothing to discuss as it was a judgement call. And there was elation when a common number was found and a hurry to move on with no regards to how it is derived. The only agreement was that there is a need to pay well to attract the right calibre of candidates for the important position of ministers.

Though I have been away from the human resource industry for a while, I cannot help but to see a reluctance to really do a thorough proposal based on what should be the relevant factors and inputs to come out with a less subjective recommendation. The main flaws in the recommendation are the insistence on the use of top income earners and the refusal to use comparative salary of politicians of other countries. The latter was pooh pooh away by raising a few strawmen as justifications, that because of these flimsy excuses, comparing them would be unsatisfactory. I will come back to this later.

Why the preoccupation with the top 1000 income earners and how relevant is this? The perceived intrinsic bias to use these high numbers is that the salary will have a higher base to start with and thus self serving. The cynics would not be happy for many obvious reasons. The PAP’s argument to favour this selective pick of the top 1000 is that the potential candidates should come from this pool of people, apparently logical but not really.

I will just point out two fallacies from this assumption. One, top money earners are not necessary top political leadership material. Political leadership means many more important things than just about ability to make money from any means or profession. The second point is that top income earners are likely to be so wealthy that they would not be distracted by a few million dollars, plus or minus. Money is not really an issue to attract them as they have plenty of them. And this is well pointed out earlier by another MP.

Money is only important to the talents that are not making that kind of money, and wanted to earn more, or near to what these people are making. The disconnect between this logic and the target group is pretty obvious. It is a flawed argument, a flawed basis to work on.

The second point I want to make is the quick dismissal of using foreign political leaders for comparison. Why? The often quoted reasons are related to corruption and tangible and intangible perks or benefits. As far as benefits are concerned, it is easy to find out and easy to quantified. For people who shoot freely about Air Force One or about trying to pay peanuts, these are foolish arguments that should not be entertained as quoting them showed that they are not serious. Second home allowance or travelling allowances of UK politicians are only relevant to them as the country is big and it is costly to travel from Scotland to London for Parliament sittings. Armoured plated cars for Obama is not a benefit but a necessity as his head has a big price. When mentioning benefits, one must be serious and not spurious just to win an argument.

All the perks can be tabled and the compensation specialists can review them for their relevance. This is something very lacking in the whole process. The dismissal of inputs from the compensation experts and every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks that designing compensation packages is about commonsense and anyone can do it. Maybe they are right if it all boils down to judgement call. The taxi driver too can come up with a set of numbers.

Some benefits are specific and unique in nature and are simply inappropriate for consideration. Whatever perks that are official are obtainable and can be monetised in some ways. Intangible perks may be a problem if relevant. Getting a proper list of all the perks for consideration cannot be a difficult task for such an important matter.

The corruption part is more tricky but not unsurmountable either. We are talking about developed countries and not lawless dictatorships which should not even be part of the equation. Under table payouts cannot be considered as morally they are wrong and illegal. No sensible govt will dare to quote corruption as something that must be paid in a country that is incorruptible and makes corruption illegal.

Then again there are ways to by pass such issues of morality by creating a corruption index to help the incumbents from being corrupt. Of course this kind of thinking would not be tolerable to many. Assuming that it can be bulldozed through, then make a provision for it by calling it under whatever terms, or make a judgement call.

What I find disturbing is that there was no serious attempt to use the salary and perks of foreign political leaders for comparison when this is the most logical thing to do. All the exceptions and differences, in terms of size, economy, population, land mass, uniqueness etc can be moderated or massaged, with different weightages attached, to make them meaningful.

By brushing aside the most appropriate source of comparison and plunging into something that is really of no relevance to political leadership makes the recommendation and approval by Parliament a bit rancid and distasteful. Quite disappointing really, when the top and bestest talents were involved to challenge the recommendation or supporting it. At the end of three days, hook, line and sinkers were all swallowed in one big gulp and everyone seems so please, and with a sense of great achievement.

Where are the inputs from the human resource and compensation specialists?


The days the world fought with China

Below are 7 short clips of WW2 films about the Japanese invasion of China and how this poor and unprepared nation was battered to pieces. It was only their human will and the spirit to live a life of freedom and the assistance of foreign forces from the West that helped the Chinese people defeated the overpowering and well equipped Japanese invaders.

All peace loving and anti war human beans should watch how destructive and painful war can be. The West, particularly the Americans, should view these short films produced by the Americans, to have a better understanding of what it was when Americans and the Chinese and people who suffered under the brutal Japanese war machines fought together, side by side, for freedom and for mankind.

It was a very painful history of China on film for every living Chinese to remember the times when they forgot to stand up as a people, as a nation.

Subject: Fw: Battle of China

This is excellent footage and archival material on the invasion of China by the Japanese. I sat through the 7 videos to see how our ancestors fought back the invaders despite overwhelming odds and unspeakable atrocities committed, particularly in Nanking in 1937. Now we know why China had to be what she is today, for never again will she suffer humiliation from foreign invaders. China has come of age, reminiscent of days of old, with a culture that goes back four thousand years. How true: “China may be invaded but never, never conquered†.


World War II Films about China - Produced by US Government

A very good history lesson. Worth viewing the whole 7 segments.

Every Chinese should watch this wonderful series of documentary films, to really learn about China and the true history.

The amazing adversities and abilities of our ancestors can inspire us to take it easy with any difficulties we may have in our life and become a winner.

The film is in English with very good CHINESE subtitles. Now go to:

WW-II 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQTWtokeF5Q

WW-II 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcjVWe3xgAo&feature=related

WW-II 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKTIylgLDHE&feature=related

WW-II 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6z-fZwpmME&feature=related

WW-II 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKHk6eepm0E&feature=related

WW-II 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_zntg-eFF0&feature=related

WW II 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0hZiD5Uk5I&feature=related ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0hZiD5Uk5I&feature=related

The Aussies celebrating ASX

The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Jan 2012

Had the ASX deal gone ahead, Bocker could have comfortably hidden the far deeper downturn in equities trading experienced by his group than ASX over the past six months (although many a local stockbroker suffering loss of hair, sleep and a job might contest that view).
Acquiring the ASX would also have reduced (although in some ways deepened because of Australia's weighting to resources) SGX's currently heavy reliance on equities trading for revenue generation because the ASX is, in spite of perceptions, less dependent on the cash volume in the equities market....by Ian McIlwraith

The above is the first para of McIlwraith's article about how lucky ASX was in not merging with SGX. Good reading the whole article.

Hsien Loong still thinking of career development

Hsien Loong is still thinking about promotion and career development of his employees. This kind of anomaly only exists in one country and no where else. No where in a democratically elected govt does a head of a political party has the privilege of career planning and development, and a salary scale for politicians as if they were employees of the state. In a normal healthy democracy every term of appointment could be the last term before the next general election.

Would Obama or Cameron be talking about career planning for their ministers with salary increment and promotion to come with it? What is happening here is a unique situation that could no longer exist in the next general election. It is not going to be the same anymore looking at how things are developing. Any political party that is elected to power should count themselves lucky. And to be reelected again, is not going to be a sure thing. In many countries, a two term party is a great achievement that many could only hope for.

What happens if a new govt is elected to power in 2016 and subsequently political offices change hand more regularly? It is something that can happen. To be elected again and again is no longer going to be a guarantee as the political system matures, as the people get wiser and more demanding and more selective.

Confirmed, Sinkies are not good banker/CEO material

David Conner is retiring from OCBC after 10 years. He took over from Alex Au, the previous CEO. Alex was a Hongkie. The successor to David Conner is none other than another Hongkie, Samuel Tsien. DBS too did not have a local bred CEO for nearly two decades. The only local bank that still has a local in charge is UOB, which surprisingly is out performing the foreign run local banks if the value of its share price is an indicator.

What should be done to get our local boys and girls to be good enough to be the top dog of local banks in the banking industry? Why is it that they are all found wanting? What is so lacking in the local talents. Maybe the real talents are all into politics, making sacrifices to serve the people.

One way to make this situation less embarrassing to the Sinkie bankers and Singaporeans in general, is to include a citizenship application form when a foreigner is offer a CEO position in any large Singapore corporation. And the appointment will only be confirmed on approval of citizenship. Then all can be happy that the CEOs are Singaporeans, that Singaporeans also got talent.

Filling the ocean

This guy was at a public tap with a big hose and filling water into a big tanker. Standing beside him was a long queue of human beans each with a pail or plastic container waiting for their turns.

They have been waiting for hours but the tanker is so huge and may take several hours to fill it up. And several tankers were also waiting. Occasionally the guy at the tap would turn around and slosh a few seconds of water into a couple of empty pails and then turn back to fill the tanker.

Just for a few minutes, many of those in the queue would have their pails filled and can go home happily to continue with their lives. But because the tankers must be filled, probably owned by some big shot, the rest of the peasants would have to wait for their turns, and a little mercy from the dispenser.

The moral of this incident is similar to someone trying to fill the ocean that is full of water and ignores the little ponds, rivers and streams, leaving them high and dry. This is what is happening in countries that believe in pure meritocracy, when the more the merits, the more deserving one should be, and their bank accounts should be continuously be filled even when they have no time to spend the money. The lesser merit or undeserving ones can go on and be hungry. Randians? Wide income gap is natural and nothing can be done about it, so said the meritorious and deserving. Get out of my elite uncaring face.

This is the basic pillar of a pure meritocratic system, pure capitalism. This is the road we are marching on.

Exceptional country, exceptional solution

We must see ourselves as the number one place to live for exceptional people. We must be an exceptional country and for that, the pay of our political leaders must be exceptional. We want the best and we shall pay the best salary in the world to get the best talent the world can provide.

So far every suggestion and proposal for the minister’s salary is arbitrary. The logic is arbitrary logic, selective and some may say self serving. The team making the recommendation chose who they want to compare with, chose the criteria they want to ensure that the pay is still in the millions. Chose to treat ministers like employees, call it pragmatic or to be unkind, mercenary. Chose to motivate them like employees of a company instead of leaders of a country leading the people by their exemplary conduct and dedication.

Let me suggest another selective arbitrary proposal. Pick ten of the world’s top countries, on any criteria, logically should be first world or developed advanced countries, not kingdoms or sheikdoms, and take the salary of their heads of govt for reference. Include all the perks that are measurable and relevant. Forget about Air Force One. It is a stupid comparison.

Convert all their perks into monetary terms and add them to their salaries. At the end of the exercise, take the average number, in monetary terms, and pay them to our head of govt. The rest of the ministerial salary can be a percentage of that. No one then can argue that there is no real comparison because these leaders have other perks. We add in the perks.

I think this formula should provide a handsome income to our ministers. And make it clean, no more other incomes or perks or bonuses. It is arbitrary but arbitrarily fair and logical. And like the Worker’s Party suggested, make the total payout public. It cannot be a case of clean and transparent but cannot tell. There should be nothing to be ashamed of that cannot be made public. Unless all the claims of transparency and clean wage is hogwash. Please tell.

The only unfair bit is that the talents may not live up to it as our talents come from a small pool of self proclaimed elite. Nevermind, be generous and aim to be an exceptional country with exceptional leadership. It may look like an aspiration, an idealistic goal, but we need to start somewhere. And starting with an exceptional salary for our leaders is a good start in the right direction.


Alvin Yeo makes good sense

Be realistic and compares apple with apple. Alvin Yeo brought out an interesting point, that the political leaders of UK and US came from wealthy background and could afford to take lower salary. He quoted a few British politicians with net worth of 4 or 5 million pounds with the Cameron’s waiting to inherit a 30m pound fortune. For those with 4m or 5m pounds, actually ‘sub sub suey’ compare to our politician’s wealth.

The American leaders are worth more, in the region of $100m or $200m. So they can afford to take in lesser salaries. This is an excellent point.
I do not know how wealthy are our ministers, but I think they are worth not less than the Brits and Americans, except for a few. Or they were not that rich before joining politics.

What is important is that if we want to attract the best, the rich or big income earners, we must go for it, get the really rich to serve. And the irony is that the really rich in the US and UK don’t need to be fed more to be fatter. Are our really rich the same as them, or they are different, that they need to be fatter cats? Even without taking the calculator or computer, one can easily conclude that the top 1000 high income earners would worth as much as the British and American leaders and should not be eyeing for more money.

The whole argument seems to go round and round. They are so rich, they need not be paid so much. And then we need to attract these very rich and need to pay them more? They would not be happy with less? Maybe as a non talent, I am unable to grasp the brilliance or logic in the argument. Really pai seh.

KPIs are good and bad

Heard everyone screaming for KPIs like words from the mouth of gods. KPIs are the answer to work performance and an objective way to measure performance of an employee. HR professionals would tell you that it is just a tool. And a tool is as good as the person using it. It is not something so simple to set.

Does anyone know how much time and effort to write a good and reasonable KPI and how much time and effort to monitor it? It is a very tedious process. But some employers think it is so easy. Either they write it in 10 minutes and tell the employee to write his KPIs which he does not have any clue whatsoever. And the discussion is over in 30 minutes or less, to meet again in 12 months time. And the appraisal is to do the appraising thinking he knows what the employee did all this time. The other flaw is that the result may be achieved by means that have adverse and harmful consequences.

Another issue, who sets the KPIs? You the people who are being affected by the KPIs or the PM who decides the KPIs whether you like it or not, or benefits you or adversely affecting you? The assumption is that the KPIs are good for the intended people and country and the people agree to it. An excellent example is HDB. What should be the KPIs for the minister in charge? Build more and cheaper flats? Build less and charge higher and bring in more profits? Hold back the building to shrink the supply for higher profits? Or tell the buyers, you buy according to my schedule. I need to maximize profit and minimize waste.

Would an employee blindly pursue the KPIs at the expense of other issues for his bonuses instead of long term good of the organization, inn this case the people? Many organizations are caught by this short term KPI trap. There are many conflicting interests in govt than in a private organization. The latter is so much simpler. Governing is not a black and white issue and often more grey and compromises.

Should the people set the KPIs instead? Why should the PM be setting the KPIs? Is there a conflict between what is good for country and people and what is good for party? No, anyone say no? Think of the Whip.

Would there be KPIs for MPs? Who is going to set KPIs for opposition MPs and are they entitled to the same kind of reward and bonuses? It is public money you know.

There was nothing self serving

The debate on the Ministerial Salary has started. A brief description of what I heard and read is that everything about high ministerial salary is for the good of the country and people. There is nothing about self serving.

The island needs strong, good and capable leaders. And how to get them is through paying them well. The ministers and MPs are arguing for more money not for themselves, but for the country and the people. Bad leadership will turn the country upside down overnight. They are preparing the groundwork for future able leaders to come on stage.

Bad leaders are likely to be corrupt and self serving. Only more money can keep them from being corrupt and self serving. Like the gardener, pay him less and he will help himself with the apples to make himself richer. It is human instinct, natural human traits.

The choice of not comparing with foreign leader’s salary is that they are getting much more in undisclosed perks. Ours is clean and everyone knows how much our leaders are getting, from the types of allowances, the number of months of bonuses, the other appointments etc etc. All their income is clean and transparent. These are nothing compare to what foreign leaders are getting in other kinds of perks.

Pegging them to the top 1000 income earners has a logic, not arbitrary. We need people from this group of high income earners to step forward to serve. Never mind that this group of people are high achievers and not really in need of additional money to live on. Many would have been comfortable for life without having to earn another cent. But there is a need to be fair to them, to their families, that their lifestyle is not affected by stepping forward to serve the people and country. The high salary is for this purpose, to attract these people, to tell them that they will not lose out in monetary terms.

Not all people are altruistic and selfless. We got to be pragmatic and realistic. People who made a lot of money are motivated by money. And it is good to provide more monetary incentives to motivate them to work better which will end up better for the people. Bonuses, variable bonuses will be a good start to lure these people into public service, like bait in a mouse trap. We used to have daft and selfless people coming out to serve the country. But that generation of leaders is over. We are living in a brave new world where the ethos is self first. We must accept this and the high salary for ministers is really a recognition of a new reality.

The people must support this high salary recommendation. It is good for the country and people as we go forward. We are talking about the future leadership, about the well being of our children. There is nothing self serving to support such a recommendation.

The Civil Service is the backbone of the country

The obsessive attention on the politicians and their political pay package has distracted the people from the vital role the civil service plays in the running of the country. The politicians come and go, by choice or by being ousted by the people when they are no longer trusted. The civil servants are career employees who will be there to serve whichever govt that comes to power. They will only have to leave with the politicians should they be compromised or be beholden to the incumbent political leadership and leaving is the only option when the benefactors depart.

The core of talents of the govt is in the civil servants. They are really the talented ones, the scholars. They will do a very good job under good and dedicated leaders. They will only go astray under misguided leadership or compromised to work for politicians instead of the people.

A politician is a politician. The honourable and selfless ones will devote their energy and effort to serve the people. The less honourable ones will be less for the people and more for self. They will keep telling you how much sacrifice they have to take to serve the people, loss of privacy, loss of income, lower quality of life etc etc. It is always about themselves and their own interests. There are plenty of examples in history of good and bad political leaders.

What in my view are good political leadership? A sense of commitment to serve country and people. For these, you don’t need rocket scientists or top surgeons or top lawyers or top money earners. What is needed are people with a heart in the right place and good or above average intelligence to know what is good for country and people. Too clever people with the heart in the wrong place, in their pockets, are unsuitable for political leadership. There must be honour and moral righteousness in people assuming political leadership. Nothing less.

A good political leadership can always count on the pool of top talents in the Civil Service to do the meticulous work of running the country. And they are there to set the right direction for the people and country, not for themselves. They are there also as the guiding light, to lead by examples, to control the civil servants to do the right things. They can only do that when they are upright and honourable, and above money and rewards.

Yes it is about leadership, lead by examples. The idea of paying leaders to motivate them is rubbish, ludicrous. Leaders don’t need to be motivated by monetary rewards or any rewards. They lead the way, they show the way. It is ridiculous for leaders to ask for rewards to do better. Unbelieveable! They can even be paid lesser than the civil servants who are professionals in their work who are there as career employees, not someone parachuted from somewhere, without a clue about govt or the technical abilities of specialised ministries and starts to act and behave like experts.

Political leaders are decision makers, acting on the advice and recommendations of the professionals, the civil servants. Their main concerns are nation and people’s interests, the good of the people and country. They are the checks and balance on the civil servants. The civil servant may be ruthlessly efficient in their jobs, cold and calculative, living by every rule in the book. It is the politician that is there to make them more compassionate and people centric. The decision making process is important and the self serving may argue that this is more valuable, money wise, than just getting the work done. Agree. But such thought already disqualify a political leader from leading as the thought is self serving, greed.

It will be good for political leaders to be as technically competent as the civil servants, but not a pre requisite. In reality it is not always possible. But a good mind and a good heart will lead to good decisions. A misplaced heart will never lead to good decisions, but self serving decisions.

The civil servants and the politicians have different roles, complimentary and also in contrary to each other. They support and assist each other as well as checking on each other. When the interest of the two merges, for the good of people and country, things will be well. When their interests merge for their own good, then there will be chaos and the interests of people and nation compromised.

It is vital to preserve and maintain the integrity and independence of the Civil Service from politicians and vice versa. When the two are in cahoot, the people and nation will fall victims to their self serving schemes and policies.