Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Is it in your interest to vote for PAP? (Part 2)


The chat between Mr Tan and Mrs Tan on the general election continues. Mrs Tan is growing increasingly impatient with her husband for his rising pro-opposition stance. Mr Tan maintains his cool composure throughout.

Mrs Tan:
Sometimes, the way you talk, you seem to think the PAP people are idiots. Why do you keep thinking that Singaporeans are discriminated in their own countries? How can any government be so stupid as to please the foreigners and antagonize their own citizens? Foreigners have no votes. Singaporeans have votes. Why should our PAP government which is elected to power through general elections want to do this? The government will be committing political suicide.

Mr Tan:
As I have said before, the government is doing seemingly stupid things like discriminating against its own citizens not because it is stupid but because they are just being too smart pursuing their own interests. Their salaries/bonuses are pegged to GDP growth. So, they are choosing the easy way out for faster growth like raising the influx of foreigners, opening casinos which is an almost sure-win money business at the expense of society at large …

Mrs Tan (cuts off Mr Tan angrily):
Alright! Alright! You say our government discriminates against its own citizens. Tell me about it. Don’t make such remarks irresponsibly. Where are your facts? Where are your evidence?

Mr Tan:
You want facts? Let’s deal with facts which you have seen with your own eyes and heard with your own ears. Recall our shared experiences. We studied and met each other in NUS (National University of Singapore). Did you remember the foreign students who got free education and paid allowance every month?

Mrs Tan:
Yes. They were scholars. We also have local scholars who got free education but err… perhaps no paid allowance. Anything wrong with scholars getting free education?

Mr Tan:
There is nothing wrong with scholars getting free education provided they deserve the royal treatment. Now, be honest with yourself. Did you remember all the foreign scholars as deservingly smart and hardworking?

Don’t forget, both of us did not enjoy any scholarship but our results were still better than some of those foreign scholars who got 3rd-class honours and below. I even got Singaporean friends who got 2nd upper and 1st class honours but they had to incur debts to get their degrees. Same as me. We had to accumulate huge sums of debts to pay for the expensive degree yet those foreign students with poorer results got paid to study here? What did we Singaporeans do our NS for? Where is the fairness??!! If this is not discrimination against local Singaporean students, then what is??!! (At this point, it is Mr Tan who is losing his cool).

Mrs Tan (she is slightly taken aback by the loss of composure by her husband. This is a rare sight. She tries to calm him): At least we met each other in the university. At least your heart was not grabbed by some foreign woman.

Mr Tan (touched by the warmth of his wife’s words): And your heart was captured by a Singaporean man.

(At this point, Mr Tan and Mrs Tan kissed and made up).

Mr Tan:
A lot of my older colleagues could not believe me when I told them that such discrimination against Singaporean students existed. It was a simple matter to check. After they asked their nephews and nieces who recently graduated from NUS and NTU, they were really shocked to know the truth.

Recently, a new colleague who is a fresh grad joined my company. I was quite worried when he said that most of his coursemates have no sense of belonging to Singapore. Most of them will consider migration after they have earned enough money.

What future does Singapore has if the brightest of our young who will determine our future want no part of their future to do with the country?

I do not blame the young Singaporeans for their lack of sense of belonging. I absolutely understood how they felt as I went through the same discrimination in university almost a decade ago. Before university, we were forced to sacrifice 2 years of our youth for National Service. After NS, foreigners who never lifted a finger to serve the country got to enjoy free education plus monthly allowance while we Singaporeans are saddled with heavy debts to pay for the expensive education. How can you foster loyalty for the country with such dumb, discrimatory policies? Should you blame the students for their lack of loyalty or the government for their stupid policies?

Mrs Tan (interrupts her husband):
Stop calling our government stupid. You don’t spend millions to hire idiots.

Mr Tan:
Again, our government is not stupid. They simply put their intelligence into pursuing their selfish goals to hit their career goals and fatten their wallets. If their job appraisal is dependent on Singapore becoming some financial hub or medical hub, they will go all out to reach this goal even if it comes at the expense of fellow Singaporeans. Their attitude is “If Singaporeans benefit from me hitting my KPI(Key performance indicator), fine. If Singaporeans suffer, I don’t care so long as I benefit.”

Mrs Tan:
These are serious accusations. They are just your prejudiced impression. You shouldn’t say such things without evidence. You have never worked in the civil service. Your impression is likely to be mistaken.

Mr Tan:
Ok. My words about the civil service carry no weight. Is Ngiam Tong Dow good enough for you? Recently, he gave an interview and mentioned that he was deeply opposed to the CPF Investment scheme which allowed people to buy shares with their CPF money. It was like sending lambs to the slaughterhouse because the average CPF member is not stock market savvy. Unfortunately, he was overruled because one of the KPIs of MAS was to promote Singapore as a financial centre.

As we know now, most CPF members lost money investing in the stock market. Fellow Singaporeans lost tons of money so that some civil servant inside MAS can get promoted. This was not the first nor will it be the last. Poor financial regulation led to toxic financial products like Lehman Brothers Minibonds being sold to fellow Singaporeans, mostly retirees who can hardly afford to lose their savings. Poor financial regulation again led to the rampant fraudulent S-chips that plagued the Singapore stock market. Just this week, 2 fraudulent china stocks China Hongxing and Hongwei got suspended. All in the name of promoting Singapore as a financial hub. The people suffered but I am sure some civil servants got promoted at the people’s expense.

Were the government stupid and incompetent at their jobs? No. They hit their KPIs. The problem is … they just don’t care about effects of their policies on the people so long as they get their promotion and bonuses. Well, they are so well-paid that if the country eventually crumbles, they will have enough money to migrate. Where is their stake in the country?

(Mrs Tan’s cheeks flushed red. She had just lost a heart-rending sum of money in China Hongxing and Hongwei. She still dared not break the bad news to her husband because a substantial portion was his money. She cursed the regulators who allowed the fraudulent-prone Chinese companies to list in Singapore.)

Mr Tan (uncomfortable with the awkward silence. He thought he saw his wife fighting back tears.): Anything wrong, dear?

Mrs Tan:
I absolutely agree with you now. The self-serving ball-carrying yes-men inside our government have indeed caused much suffering to the people. To wake them up, we have to hit them hard at where it hurts. In the coming election, we have to make sure enough of them lose their 5-digit part-time MP job.

Mr Tan (most astonished at his wife’s sudden change of heart. He is very pleased with himself at doing such a great job convincing her, oblivious that the price he paid was a significant portion of his savings): Let us vote according to what is best for us and our children.

(Moral of the story: Don’t wait until you are struck personally by self-serving government policies. Act now before it is too late. Vote wisely.)

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