Wednesday, July 15, 2020

事前孔明, 事后曹操

Calvin Cheng has said on his Facebook that a lot of social media commenters are "事后孔明", basically acting as hindsight 20-20 election strategists telling PAP to wake up their ideas and start soul searching because the electorate no longer tolerates bullying tactics. Others have been very liberal in sharing conspiracy strategies. Calvin was mocking keyboard warriors for being hindsight 孔明s, brilliant at strategy but only after the fact.

That is fine and good. I think Calvin Cheng's got a good point, but what is the alternative to that?

What I want to explore in today's article are possible alternatives to being armchair hindsight psephologists, so put my D7 in AO-level Chinese to good use and I inverted "事后孔明" and added a little bit of Three Kingdoms flair into the title of the article shown above.

This is a better alternative to being hindsight strategists this GE2020.

a) We should be brilliant strategists before the event - 事前孔明

孔明 was one of the most brilliant military strategists who served Liu Bei during the Three Kingdoms Era. An artistic  representation of Kong Ming is as follows:

Shokatsuryō Kōmei | Koihime Musou Wiki | Fandom

The simple alternative is to make your predictions before the fact.

One actual tool is the premortem, something we always try to do in investing, since our best-laid plans tend to fail quite often. It is useful to consider every scenario where the retirement plan fails and figure out what needs to be done before the fact. One of the things we have to do is to ask ourselves " If PAP fails in Seng Kang, what would the probable reason be?". Unfortunately, this has to be asked prior to the voting and I was more too fixated on the US elections to care about what happened in Singapore. But in five years time, WP supporters can ask themselves "If WP fails to hold Seng Kang, what would the probable reason be?"

In finance, we already know that one way a good plan can fail due to "sequence of return" risk. The best practice would be to build 2 years of cash reserves before quitting their day jobs.

a) After the fact, we should brutally execute our plans - 事后曹操

曹操 or Cao Cao was the tyrant and main antagonist of the Three Kingdoms storyline. My favourite artistic  representation of Cao Cao is as follows:

Sousou Moutoku (Koihime Musou) - Koihime†Musou - Zerochan Anime ...

Once all the strategizing is done, the only thing left to do after the fact is brutal execution. Cao Cao executed entire villages to meet his agenda. If you look at the behaviour of keyboard warriors, their mode of execution was limited to asking PAP to do some soul searching and stop bullying tactics.

One area where brutal execution can possibly work is where the keyboard warrior does his own soul searching. Parties don't have souls but people do regardless of party affiliation.

In finance, we adjust our Bayesian indicators. WP is gaining traction. This has to change our portfolio mix. At a personal level,  I immediately adjusted my greater portfolio to be more defensive because I believe that PAP ( and not Jamus Lim or WP ) will enact their own policies to increase labour's income share. It will not be called minimum wages or universal basic income, but it will shift the balance of labour over capital.

At a more brutal personal level, I felt that I misread Seng Kang because I was personally alienated from my own kind. I can see Millenials being angry at being underemployed, but I underestimated Gen X's resolve to teach PAP a lesson. 

But what is the source of this alienation?

I feel that I have fewer friends than the average Gen Xer because I find conversation between most  40-something-year-olds really boring. My secondary school chat group were swapping pictures of luxury watches this week. I think whoever started this was really tone-deaf and not everyone in the cohort did well in life to own a Rolex so this was very cruel. I also have nothing in common with my peers. Case in point, I refuse to attend any U2 concert. Instead, I prefer watching anime like Kono Suba and Rise of Shield Hero.

Brutal execution for me would be to double down my engagement with Millenials and Gen Z who I feel much in tune with because they are still hustling and doing their best to find their place in this world. I still see my life as a work in progress.

I think if keyboard warriors do their own soul searching, they probably could benefit from having a greater sense of urgency in the brutal execution of their life plans.

Suppose you are happy and Seng Kang has to the Worker's Party, has your life situation changed? PAP still has more 66% and you need another 5 five years to give another GRC to the Worker's Party.

But those who are unemployed remain unemployed.

Those who are underemployed remain underemployed.

Those who are BBFA remain BBFA ( although I suspect they remain happy to be that way ).

If your political convictions were driven by your personal situation, I fail to see how your personal situation has gotten better.


Unknown said...

Maybe gen X experiencing midlife crisis? Lol.

Christopher Ng Wai Chung said...

Yes, I think it's bad.

WTK said...

Different people have different perspectives. There are no right or wrong decisions.