Tuesday, November 24, 2015

HDB ISSUE~ Unfinished Business

I was having coffee with a couple of friends and they started to talk about HDB issues. One of them is actually a property agent.

As usual, most of the time Singaporeans will just complain. But these friends are slightly better because they somehow have some ideas what are the root problems.

When they started to say that PAP won big because they have solved most of the problems raised in 2011 GE. I laugh. What about HDB prices?

They know the prices are sticky upwards. It is a concept in economics which is less well known. Well, why sticky upwards?

I told them the reasons and how it could be solved. And I told them I didn't bring this up since 2011 because people have this free rider mentality, be it voters, political parties or otherwise.

2015 GE results are not that unexpected to some party in retrospect. It is because there are too many opportunistic free riders waiting to ride on the waves of issues created by others. Contrary to popular belief, PAP has not solved the fundamental problem of HDB as basic public housing. But no one knows how to pin point the problem straight.

I didn't want to do it because I have to focus on the Minister I am tackling. I also think that for any opposition who is worth his salt, should show his own strength and should not be opportunistic in being mere wave riders.

Well, HDB issue is definitely an ongoing problem which cannot be solved by the current PAP methodology of merely increasing supply and policy tweaks.

Let PAP cracks their heads over it or young Singaporeans continue to suffer from their incompetency. It will come to a day of reckoning when the system collapses. It is a painful lesson needed to wake PAP up.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, November 23, 2015

Post Mortem Fever~ Free Rider & Failed Internet Outreach

After two months, people are still talking about the results of GE2015.

I have made my views known earlier on, written on my FB and blog but there are new inputs by some keen political observers.

A substantial number of people raise the anger on internet blaming Workers Party for the mediocre performance in parliament (which they have defended themselves with statistics on the total number of questions they have raised in parliament) and the AHPETC saga (despite of Sylvia Lim denial of the vast impact on the Election results) as the key issues which made the Middle ground lost their confidence in opposition as a whole.

Although I think these are important issues but may not be the only main issues that caused the overall fall in opposition support.

I have raised the Fear of PAP losing power as the main issue which somehow orchestrated partly by PAP as well as some fence sitting Middle ground. I was told that some people have circulated a "Vote Wisely" Whatsapp message right before polling day. I do believe that created a major impart.

On the other hand, I think despite of WP trying to defend their performance in parliament, it is undeniable that it is a public perception and Consensus that it has not been effective nor competent in parliamentary debates, regardless of how many questions they have raised.

If you observe carefully, the only issue which WP made noise OUTSIDE parliament is about the AHPETC saga! And this is done as a defensive posture instead of offensive stance against any important current issues!

Thus it is no wonder that voters, Rightfully or wrongfully, had the impression that the only things happening is WP AHPETC problems! WP has never spoke up on any other ex-parliamentary issues like speaking up for the activists who were charged for the heckling saga nor Amos Yee nor any human rights issues.

Neither has it raised its voice timely on current issues in support of any cause of justice or Democracy.

It is contended to its sole platform in parliament and none of its MPs has participated in any protest or activism outside parliament or its constituency activities.

WP was lucky in 2011 that a huge wave was created by other people, be it netizens, activists, other political parties or otherwise prior to elections. It took the opportunistic approach of not making any noise but rode on the waves of anti PAP policies, in particularly the most unlikely HDB issue which it has never objected before, to win Aljunied GRC.

It came in at the very last minute to capitalize on the waves of public sentiments but what it eventually presented in parliament on its views on various issues from ministerial salary to HDB suddenly differed greatly of what it has said during Election rallies or written in its own Manifesto.

This is the result of being Free Riders. As Free Riders, you are forced to ride on the same waves and sing the same tune without being the opinion leaders to craft or manage how the waves pound on PAP. But after Elections, when you are in parliament, you sing different tunes which sometimes contradicted badly with what you have said during Elections. Thus the Perception of mediocre performance was formed by such flip flopping.

In GE201, the new media was very influential, though they have internal competition among them. TRS, TRE or Temasek Review, TOC etc, have more diverse reporting on different opposition parties.

Unfortunately for GE2015, the most influential TRS was forced to close down while TOC and TRE acted like WP mouth piece! (Most likely they thought it is wise to focus on the best horse WP so that it will win more seats but it has definitely backfired.) Thus, they lost so much credibility and people tend to compare them to MSM like ST and ZB which are regarded as PAP mouth piece.

Thus opposition as a whole, lost the New Media war. This is one crucial reason why IPS survey reflected that Middle ground trusted MSM more, instead of other New Media which sound more like WP or SDP mouth piece.

There are many lessons to be learned from these post mortem. But I guess people will definitely get sore and angry at people like me who just have the courage to go against all adversary to point out the simple Truth. It hurts, of course.

Goh Meng Seng

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Singapore Sidelined by Historic Meeting between Ma and Xi

Some people (political commentator cum scholar?) has said that Singapore is great in getting both Ma and Xi to meet in Singpaore. This gives an impression that this meeting is an initiative carried out by Singapore PAP government. This is FAR FROM THE TRUTH.

First of all, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs has clearly stated in its press statement that they were "requested" by both China and Taiwan to facilitate this meeting. Xi's visit to Singapore is important to PAP government (after so long, Xi has visited so any other countries including some ASEAN countries) and such meeting between Xi and Ma will undermine and overshadow Xi's visit to Singapore. It will be unwise for PAP to do that but it has no choice but to accede to the requests.

This also explains why the news were first broken by Taiwan instead of Singapore and it was a reluctant response from Singapore MFA to confirm the arrangement when asked. This will steal the limelight of Xi's visit to Singapore. This is also why there is a premature release of information on what deals Singapore will sign with China when Xi comes, as this is a desperate attempt to regain media (both local and international) attention and limelight.

Secondly, according to news reported in Hong Kong, the idea of meeting was mooted in casual talk between two high level officials from China and Taiwan. Taiwan has suggested Philippines when both leaders will attend APEC in mid November this year (this was somehow Taiwan's FIRST CHOICE). But China has turned down that suggestion but counter-propose Singapore while Xi is having his visit! This is to avoid international media to view the meeting as "Equals" between two sovereign states!

At the same time, Xi will have an upper hand as to show that it is Ma who is willing to take the trouble to fly all the way from Taiwan to Singapore just to meet Xi while he is on official visit! Ma is indeed desperate enough to take the bait, to lower his status a bit, basically "gatecrashing" Singapore PAP government's party with Xi!

The sad part is, although Ma does look bad and desperate enough to do that, but Singapore is as desperate as well, to accede to such a request or risk agitating Xi... This is the sad part of diplomacy: small country like ours will be pushed around by the bigger boys.

The irony is this. There is really nothing to be proud of but there are fools and jesters who will try to play this up as something GREAT and Glorious when in fact, people are just treating us like calefei (part time actor)!

Goh Meng Seng