Sunday, January 10, 2010

So Singapore is not good enough for Singaporeans. Now what ?

There are a lot of unhappy people these days :

a) The single Singaporean man is unhappy that the government is not giving enough HDB grants for them to have flat ownership.

b) The petulent father of a boy genius who whines about Singapore schools being inflexible to their child's special needs.

c) The fat but fit father of three who hates being called up yet again for RT.

d) The artist who blames the government about not promoting arts enough for them to flourish.

e) The cat loving activist who crusades against the government's pogrom of cats in the neighbourhood.

This article will not talk about whether these folks are right or wrong. In every discussion, individuals are all capable of building sound arguments to promote their own political agenda. The problem arises when the governments makes the best decisions for the collective population when the people vote individually based on what municipal issues matters to them most.

I'm going to present my personal philosophy, you are free to criticize it as you wish. I respect my fellow citizen's right to complain, but i think that complaining is a highly inefficient exercise. Best leave this to those with time with their hands and nothing to prove ( I personally believe that being a Singaporean means that you have something to prove ).

My philosophy is that, fundamentally, Singapore is not good enough for Singaporeans. Singaporeans are also not good enough for each other.

But my philosophy is that actions also speak louder than words.

Singaporeans can, therefore, do the following to help themselves:

a) Vote properly.

Net liberals are always talking about voting properly. Please do so. If your party does not come into power then accept that majority still wants the status quo, respect other Singaporeans if they make a conservative choice again . Don't vote the party you don't like for economic stability and spend 5 years whining about foreign talent.

b) Vote with your feet.

As an investor, I really like our government policies on taxation, I can't help it when my dividends are taxed just once and pass over to me free of taxes in my account. Singapore happens to love investors. Low income taxes, high consumption taxes means that I can really preserve my wealth and have multiple sources of income. But I also sympathise with Singaporeans who are always whining about not having minimum wages and a welfare system. Governments around the world are competing for talent and there are governments around the world which have a tax and welfare program that suits your tastes.

Singapore is the country where you sell your right to freedom of speech for economic prosperity. Many other countries are not like this and they welcome talent too.

c) Vote with your capital.

A democracy is one man one vote. The genius scholar with 200 IQ gets one vote. The imbecile gets one vote. The nincompoop also gets one vote. That is rule for most political systems.

Economic systems run on a different set of rules. A person who has a 1000 lots has a thousand times more power than a person with one lot. he gets 1000 times more dividends every year. Regimes which are socially authoritarian but economically liberal will simply make it far more comfortable for people to be more concerned about economics than social ills.

Singapore is one such regime.

I think in summary, society does not deal every citizen with an even hand. You owe it to yourself to play your hand to the best of your ability. The YPAP dudes want you to blame your forefathers and your karma. Elite scholars want you to get out of their elite uncaring faces.

But I disagree.

I think it's better to forget your karma and forefathers and do well materially despite YPAP and the elite scholars based on some things which are difficult or hard to change here. When you succeed materially in Singapore, somehow the powers-that-be, who want to preserve their own capital, will begin listening to you.

Let me end with my take on living life in Singapore.

I was one of those guys who hated Chinese Language as my mother tongue. One semester when I was in NJC, I had straight As including GP, the only guy to do so but my parents were informed because i failed my mandarin yet again. I used to whine and bitch about ting xie and mo xie which sapped my my youthful energies away which would be better pursuing subjects which i was good at like maths and the sciences. All my complaints fell on deaf years. The son of an education minister ( an ethnically chinese education minister BTW ) in my time in JC actually did not need to take Cl2 and that made the experience much more bitter for me. After my AO level papers, I told my CL2 teacher that I had already given up after getting a D7, my priorities were to get CL2 behind me so that I can ace my university courses.

Chinese was as non-negotiable as NS in those days.

But look at what is happening today, massive changes country-wide in CL2 education.

The public news is that MM Lee admits he is wrong about CL2 and IQ because his daughter told him so.

I have a better explanation for this change.

I think that my generation X/generation Y Singaporean citizens are starting to realise that it is impossible to remain in Singapore if their children is going to be denied a university education because of Chinese grades. Frustrated with the political process, these Singaporeans are leaving with their human capital and CPF money to Australia and Canada. A thousand millionaires going to Australia means $1 billion of losses for Singapore.

That's gotta hurt the PAP. That will hurt any policy maker.

The government is changing because the economic losses are huge and Singaporeans are figuring out that voting with their capital remains the powerful leverage for political and social change.

So, no matter what you do, fellow citizens, do WELL, get rich. Do so amazingly well so that your capital matters to the people in charge.

When things improve, don't thank the powers that be, thank the fellow ex-citizens and quitters who did the painful deed by making a point by giving up their citizenships so that you can have a better Singapore.


  1. Apologies for missing your site. Love your perspectives. Your insights will be in 'Blogger Selections' from hereon, and in 'SG Blogger Feature'.

    Muchos Thanks!

  2. i second Mr SZ. Your views are sharp my friend!