Thursday, July 09, 2015

Petfish or Public Transport?

The SMRT (Singapore's train service) has a massive breakdown affecting 200,000 commuters and what does the nation's main newspaper write about?

"Did Otters eat Koi worth $80,000?"


When the train service breaks down - stranding over 10 - 30% of the working population and causing traffic chaos that affects the entire nation - who cares about the overpriced pets of an extremely rich individual??

How can the editor have condoned such a piece? There are so many things to write about - and they write this - someone's overpriced pet fish????

I think its symptomatic of the elitist mentality of the current regime.  A bit like the la-la attitude of the French govt and Russian govt prior to their revolutions. 

Clearly there is a huge disconnect in the Singapore regime - when the mainstream media are more concerned about the overpriced pets of the rich when there is national chaos.

That's how you can have leaders like Mdm Saw - the former CEO of the train system who can condescendingly remark - "People can board the train – it's whether they choose to"

That's about just as inflammatory as that other infamous (but not true) historical remark ""Qu'ils mangent de la brioche"" ("Let them eat cake").

Public perception is very important in running any country. You of course can overrule it by ruling with an iron fist like Mao, Stalin and Kim Jung 2 of North Korea - who executed people for not mourning sufficiently when his father died. Is that how you want to rule the country - through fear?

The Singapore Govt at the moment is confused - it draws its strength from the past - when the PAP was supreme, always right and when LKY ruled with an iron fist - even jailing dissenters and political opponents without trial for decades. But you can't coast along on past glories. The French tried it in Indochina and Africa after WW2 - the Italians tried reviving the Roman Empire during the 20th century - both failed badly.

Right now the PAP seem caught in its own propaganda - that Singapore's success and future are inextricably entwined.  That's why their minions come up with ridiculous statements like Singapore was a fishing village when the PAP took over.  Or when LKY got upset in the 1980s when 1 or 2 constituencies "defected" to the Opposition. Looking at the rhetoric it looked like it was the end of the world to him.  Whenever anyone wants to wonder where the kia-su culture came from - now you know.

Its breeding this sense of entitlement among the ruling party - that they own Singapore - or Singapore owes them - so you get someone well connected talking about an aristocracy. 

Good grief. Please lah don't say that. Its going to haunt you for a long time to come yet.

What next? Will one of Ministers say that the senior citizens collecting cardboard and selling tissue paper are doing it for fun? 

Photo sourced from: credit

Seriously, my advice to the ruling party is this:
1. Improve your grassroots connection.
2. Listen more to the people.
3. Do more to help them.
4. With regard to public service. Put the people first. Profit second; a govt should not exploit its own people. In that regard stop the practice of placing ex-SAF scholars in charge of key govt infrastructures like transport. In this regard it might actually be better to source foreign talent (from Japan or Hong Kong).

5. Please hire a darn good PR team to vet all your remarks and advice you on public relations. If you don't want to do 1 - 4, all the more you should do this.


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