Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happiness Is Not For Everyone

Conceived as a measure to relieve traffic congestion, the ERP system was a stillborn from day one. Whether one is rushing to work, or heading home for quality time with the family, the rare alternative route, if one is available at all, would be destination to another traffic jam. Take the train, and risk another hold-up, as in yesterday's instance of disruption at two sections of the MRT system. Both were attributed to train faults, probably euphemism for mechanical failure or another botched maintenance job.

So exactly how does changing the operating hours of the north bound CTE from 5.30 to 8pm, instead of till 10.30 pm on weekdays, ensure a smooth traffic flow? It doesn't. The real reason behind the scam is found in Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew's Freudian slip, that there was room to shorten the evening ERP hours in selected areas, "especially if personal benefits outweighed economic ones." Need we expound on who benefits from the ERP charges collected?

When extended evening ERP hours were introduced for the CTE in 2007 - right after GE 2006 - motorists had highlighted the move will hit those who value dinner time with the family, instead of another night out at the karaoke lounges. It took them till now - after the election setback of GE 2011 - to "give motorists greater flexibility in timing their homebound trips."

No wonder Sylvia Lim's call for more a more holistic economic indicator, one that includes happiness, fell on deaf ears. "Prosperity and progress are certainly important, but they cannot be ends in themselves. They should be the means to an end - the happiness of Singaporeans as a whole," she said. Trust the dense Cedric fool to insist that happiness is not a universal attribute, that a smile in a Bhutan is different from a smile in Singapore. By his logic, because "we are exposed to the seas, exposed to the onslaught of competition from the world, we were dealt a different deck of cards", we should wipe the smirk off our faces. Except for those laughing all the way to the bank to collect their GDP-linked bonuses.

19 comments:

  1. That US$2k per capita GDP in Bhutan can still make them the happiest people, but S'pore $43k citizens are very unhappy; something must indeed be wrong with the way we live our lives. And I don't think that even if we double it to $86k its going to make us much less unhappy.

    Cedric Foo's quip which implied that somehow having a monarchy all along, and lately ONLY 2 opposition members might very well have explained Bhutan's citizens' high happiness offends on many fronts...

    firstly, it insults the intelligence and discrimination of those good people; mocks the principle of democracy and opposition; and shows he is stubbornly yet clinging to his party's old notions that GDP is all that matters, everything else will take care of itself.

    Can we expect real change from here on? I will only believe it when I see it.

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  2. I am surprised that Mediacorp aired Cedric Foo's rebuttal to Sylvia Lim's speech. The substance of his speech and his demeanor in its delivery clearly exposed the lie that the A Team is with the PAP. Unless those in Chua Chu Kang are very dense or very happy, they will remember not to vote for him again.

    Saycheese

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  3. Bhutan and many other insulated countries or territories have similar high levels of "happiness" or more correctly "satisfaction". This is becoz of 3 factors that are present:

    1. Equity among vast majority of citizens, that is visible and held to be true. Low Gini coefficient.

    2. Acceptable quality of life --- good enough housing, enough space and greenery for each person, conducive pace of study and worklife, available jobs for all even if it's just simple farming.

    3. Affordable cost of living such that bottom 10% can have standard of living similar to those at 70th percentile. Low Gini remember?

    Having the above 3 factors present will cause citizens to have (i) high levels of social unity & conscientiousness, (ii) protective of own culture & country against foreigners and outside influence.

    Actually Japan used to be like the above, but is being undermined by 20+ years of economic malpractice and mismanagement.

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  4. Selling soul is the quickest way to make money. Bhutan is definitely a dissimilar country to compare Singapore with. They have chosen to keep theirs.

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  5. Cedric Fool is not engaging the issue head-on. I thought it was not clearly answered at all. The issue is simple. Maybe we should check if citizens are less happy with the economic progress. So either you think we should or should not include. If not why?

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  6. Cedric Foo is opposing for the sake of opposing. Sylvia has raised a valid issue which needs to be addressed not mainly for our generation but for our future generations. What kind of Singapore do we want our children and grandchildren to inherit?

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  7. The Americans, Japanese, Taiwanese and even the Malaysians must be the most unhappy people in this world according to that Cedric Fool.

    What exactly make a PAP MP like that this idiot to conclude that the people of Bhutan must be quite happy because they only have 2 opposition members - either he has pig brains or that he is merely trying to impress LKY that the running dog in him share his same kind of brains ?

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  8. PAP Ideology is as old as the Party itself.

    Economy(money) is everything to PAP Members.

    There can never be change in Sin unless the
    Sin Regime is changed.

    patriot

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  9. Cedric Foo is one of the rare few happy S'poreans, he will not understand the average Joe. What will his constituents think of him? An overpaid substandard part time politician.

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  10. This is the answer you get from the "A" team. In other words they are not interested to know whether Singaporeans are happy or not because they do not give two hoots about it. Well, Lim Swee Say is certainly happy when he sees his CPF statement, all the Ministers are happy when they see their monthly salary and bonus. LKY is happy when he sees how much he is being paid for travelling the world and dispensing words of wisdon which no one cares about. Well for the simple folks who become sad at the end of every month and worried as to how you are going to survive, happiness will arrive when you kick the PAP out.

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  11. The PAP ideology is in fact as old as the founder himself. Whereas he will be put up the gun carriage soon, his ideology unfortunately is inherited by his successors.

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  12. It is sad that PAP could not perform better than opposition in the parliament. Are these the best that PM has promised Singaporeans? Really? If people like Cedric Foo can be MP for such a long time, where is the real meat in the party?

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  13. The cooking of frogs continues although the cooker's fire has been turned down somewhat. Don't mistake it as a change in direction. The new normal is using lower fire to reach the same old objective: a nice pot of cooked frog soup. Frogs which know the truth remain where they are for fear of jumping out of the cooking pot into the fire. Either way, they will be cooked.

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  14. Anyone here wonder where PAP gets so many despicable people to join them? In my books, this Cedric FooL is on his way to replacing MBT as the most hateful S'porean!

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  15. Cedric Foo is a Fool. LOL!!!

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  16. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/10/16/reutersworld/20111016171555&sec=reutersworld

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  17. You are right that happiness is not for everyone. Our gct has already spelt out that it is not possible to have happiness for everyone in the society. It is more important to have net happiness in the community as you can not please every one mah! NET Hapiness man!

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  18. I think you title says it all. (I assume you are being sarcastic).

    How can anyone not want to be happy?! We are all motivated by incentives because these incentives makes us happy! Cedric Foo should perhaps change his surname to Fool!!!

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  19. Well, there is a Chinese Saying 'pa zi ci de kuai le jian cai bie ren sheng shang' meaning to say
    having ones' happiness built(derived from) on the woes of others.
    Indeed there are such sadistic characteristic,
    however, to have a cabinet full of them is just frightening.

    patriot

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