Dennis, a reader of this blog, shared these thoughts below in response to an earlier post. I thought it deserves a space of its own.
There is a lack of talent of the preferred mound that the PAP traditionally prefers, trained from a certain predictable pool, ex-scholars, first class honours perhaps, subscribed to the same right wing political philosophy, favours the rule of the elite, etc.
It has now reached a time in our country's history when many well-educated Singaporeans do not feel sorry for lack of such talent any more. People coming from this traditional pool have largely run out of passion and ideas.
Obsession with GDP, the yawning gap between the rich elite and the ordinary Singaporeans, consistent failure to do more for our poor and disadvantaged policies, elitist education policies, government making money out of the people at any opportunity, opening of IRs, strange liberal foreigner employment policies, the list goes on and on. We debated over these in the last two elections this year.
Running out of passion
Why passion? Because the ethos of promotion and high pay have become a given in civil service such that many are driven by pay. Ministers do not realise but their frequent admissions of so called talent not joining political service if pay is reduced, is a de facto admission that the people they thought fitted the bill are driven by money, not passion.
Singaporeans should be relieved that these people do not join in the first place as their heart is not with the government and the people. I shudder to think how many 'wrong' people have joined political and administrative service because of the motivation of money and promotion. Maybe that explains the kind of policies we have had over the last 20 years.
"Singapore Inc" is nothing to be proud of. It is an ironic tag symbolising how the PAP government has gone off tangent over the past 20 years because of the love of money. The love of money is the root of all evil. Without the right passion, our people will perish.
Running out of ideas
The PAP government subscribes to a set of right wing politico-economic theories. We cannot assume that the government or the civil service will always be right in their policies. The last 5 years have convinced many people that they are making mistakes in their policies which have serious repercussions for the country be they economic, social, political and even moral.
In the past few months, I met so many educated, well qualified and well placed Singaporeans who have become very concerned with these erroneous policies. Yet post election, basic policy making has remained the same.
PAP is clearly not able to think of their little custom-made box anymore. Clear examples are transport and housing: essentially the government has shirked from taking the hard decisions.
I, like many Singaporeans, are rightly concerned about this business as usual attitude of the PAP government. If the PAP government does not indeed change from within, this serious lack of ideas and the continuance down the same path from last 5 years are quite a worry for our country. Perhaps many other Singaporeans not used to doing their own critical assessment of government policies do not share this view.
However, I take heart that in the past few months, I have met many many Singaporeans who share the same concerns I have (they are well educated and successful in their own careers, well travelled and well versed in world economics and politics).
We are united by one thing: our love for our country and our wish that our country can do better in many areas than under the present regime. There are many Singaporeans whom I am confident will step up to serve because they will not see their country fail or go down a certain undesirable path to which increasingly Singaporeans do not subscribe any more.
There are many Singaporeans who have passion and also, better ideas. We do not need to rely on the current elite in government and administrative service. Many Singaporeans are willing to think out of the box. The challenge for any political party now is how they can harness the passion of us Singaporeans to make a difference, to make Singapore an even better country and nation.
Finally, it leaves me to thank my friend and fellow corporate counsel, Chia Lyn Lynn, for permission to use the image that appears in this post.
Perhaps, the committee reviewing ministerial salaries will take a page from Lynn and Dennis.
Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this? Feel free to react below or leave a comment.