Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Paradox Of Government

DPM Teo Chee Hean told the gathering of Singapore's top public servants that there are difficult decisions which the Government must not shy from. Taking him at his word, the Hougang by-election and the punishment awaiting two former senior public servants arrested by the CPIB will come about, it's just the timing that will be slightly more difficult.

Not so difficult are the decisions affecting the lesser mortals: bull dozing Bukit Brown cemetery for the convenience of those who afford $80,000 COEs and steaming ahead with building eldercare facilities at Toh Yi where 3 other sites nearby are rejected because they are "reserved for future development". Never has the great divide been made so obvious.

The curious part of his speech is the special praise levied on an ex-civil servant who did not bother to change his travel schedule to be on hand to receive the effusive tribute crafted by Teo. Mr Teo (no relation) retired at 60 after 36 years of a good life at the civil service, last appointment being superscaled Permanent Secretary i.e. can afford pastry cooking holiday in France type. Unlike mere mortals who have to worry about the loss of income when let go before the compulsory retirement age of 65 (or is it 67?), Teo - the ex-civil servant, not the DPM - has already been made chairman of MediaCorp. In Japan there's a special term for this, it's called "promoted to heaven."

DPM Teo talked of a "paradox of government" whereby there will be some who expect their government to play a bigger role, while others think the government should take a step back. Maybe it's something in the drinks served at the Administrative Service Dinner or he simply had one glass too many, but it's difficult to imagine any sane Singaporean thinking that the government should step back from tackling the shortcomings of transportation, housing, health care and foreign imports. On the contrary, the sentiment is more like jia you, jia you (加油! 加油!).


  1. //Maybe it's something in the drinks served at the Administrative Service Dinner or he simply had one glass too many..//

    haha..I am reminded of the "PAP cocktail" with this recipe
    3 oz passion
    3 oz action
    3 oz singaporean's hopes
    2 cubes of accountability ice cubes
    2 tblsp of honesty & gratitude
    3 cups unity

    LMAO - how can I forget their cubes of accountabiity are meant to be like the ice cubes..melting away. Still waiting for the oozes of hopes to come from the despair, and i'm definitely seeing more division than unity thanks to all the priorities given to other non locales. Their actions in BBC/TohYi is admirably 'hard' decisions when they didn't have to budge at all.

    What can I say. I'm sure we can look forward to more drama 8 that espouse the goodness of gahment.

  2. Yeah..the timing is like a rubber band.
    Been 3 months since CPIB investigations of the senior officers. And they still can't account to the people.

    Reminds me of this SSC case (SG Changi) motorsports hub 1 year ago where CPIB was also involved in the irregularities of the bidding. Yet, the case has no conclusion. This one machiam another black hole. The fox guarding the hen house, so who's guarding the fox? 无声无息

    1. Are you referring to the 'IT split cobra Cecilia and the two itchy monkeys?'. Maybe they try to cover up. Hopefully all will be forgotten! Really langgar!

  3. "... there are difficult decisions which the Government must not shy from. "

    Is that what the high salary is for?

    Oh! Wait a minute.
    What about President Obama?
    Since Obama's salary is so low.
    I don't think he is making any decisions that will have impact on the entire world.
    And that lazy overpaid bum has been in office for more than 4 years now.

    What's that?
    Obama actually presided over and engineered a rescue from the brink of worldwide economic disaster.

    Hey! That's nothing compared with our Singapore investment talents.
    They made a small fortune during the 2008 financial crisis.
    Yah! They started out with a BIG fortune in 2007.

    1. Buy high, sell low. Uniquely singapore. Must have helicopter view to be able to do that

  4. The true paradox of this gahment is that they were elected to serve the people, but instead are self-serving and look after their party's and their own interests first. Instead of removing the home affairs minister after the Mas Selamat case, he was kicked upstairs (promoted to heaven). Very difficult decision. And instead of calling for an immediate by-election in Hougang, they continue to pussy-foot. Building a road through Bukit Brown is a very difficult decision - I wonder what development plans are ahead that will futher increase the government coffers, and their bonuses. Populist policies are anathema to them, but when elections are around the corner, you even get free porridge! Paradoxes paradoxes paradoxes. Makes one's head spin.

  5. On one hand they say difficult decisions have to be made but they forgot on the other hand the pay they demand to be paid is still world class. So are they trying to tell us it's a very difficult job ?

    Isn't that a paradox by itself ? I suppose a cunning one also, isn't it ?