Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Shocking Response

"My concern is this: Yes, we can give wages a shock but in the process, are we also able to give productivity  an equal shock." The speaker happens to the worst example of the productivity malaise in Singapore.  After relinquishing his short stint as Second Minister of National Development in 2005, Lim Swee Say (林瑞生), he has been minister without portfolio up to today. Meaning, he's good for nothing special. Unless you count dressing up as Zorro and generally making a fool of himself on stage with ditties like "Upturn the downturn".

One of those high income earners losing sleep over Professor Lim Chong Yah's radical proposal of a deep wage freeze, Lim Swee Say conceded that driving wage growth through productivity gains will take time. And that's the way these guys like it: the longer it takes, the bigger his bank account will swell. Hence the hentak kaki pace of bringing to justice the two top uniformed officers caught bedding the same IT vendor. Ditto the Hougang by-election.

"Every month, when I receive my CPF statement, I feel so rich," he once told his captive audience of grassroots supporters. In office since 1999, this guy still hasn't mastered the art of public speaking. Makes you wonder how he survived as Deputy Managing Director of the Economic Development Board when he was based in New York City from 1991 to 1993.

Prof Lim told Today: "If the NTUC secretary-general Mr Lim Swee Say has serious reservations for my ER2 (Economic Restructuring 2) proposal, then the logical sequence is to keep it in deep freeze, instead of temporarily freezing the salaries of the highest income groups as suggested by me." Stay tuned, the spirit of wage reform will remain, to the march of the spirit of GE 2016.


  1. Poor Singaporean4/14/2012 1:13 PM

    well said prof. give the man a tiger !

  2. That Lim SS guy almost lost his GRC, therefore he better do some self reflection and think of how to at least maintain his "performance". Improve on his grammar, pronunciation, go for language uograding etc. Lim CY has been around way longer than the him, so he obviously is not talking c**k, like those we heard regularly at CC events.

  3. The alternative is having others - state, charity, family, whoever, subsidize the production costs of a business without sharing the profits. In SG case, the State has no safety net. There isn't Charity to rely on. So the Family is the one holding the burden once again. So you have couples who have to work or take 2nd or 3rd jobs. Of course like everything else, the Family also bears the ever-rising inflationary cost of healthcare, housing etc.

    This is the same PAP team that wants maximum pay for themselves, but no minimum pay for workers. Reason why they won't peg their bonus KPI to bottom 1000 but the highest-paid 1000 workers. Enough said, is time to turn-over LSS.

  4. For yrs now, papers published by universities like Berkeley, Princeton and the LSE, endorsed by Harvard etc in every 1st world nations have pointed the case FOR minimum wages and argued no impact to unemployment. This has-been Labour Minister has yet to give us concrete study or proofs other than some slick rhetoric, catchy slogans & fancy costumes. The only thing that is "protected" is his ass.

  5. Is called 'shock therapy' for good reasons.
    ECT are used in mental hospitals to treat severe depression & schizophrenia illnesses. This seems appropriate to MIW.


      Can I hire Dr Jiajia..he coined a word called 'fooding' leh.
      After watching video, we can agree with this shock treatment.

  6. The core of "Sweesay-nomics" is unmistakably the cheaper-better-faster 'zombie economy' (thing that should long dead but still alive).

    When it comes to the real-world economics, do you trust the words of an engineer turns minister or a highly regarded economist? Clever is one thing but 'act clever' is quite another.

    The pain of raising low-wage earners' pay by 10% is actually much less painful than freezing the high-wage earners' 10% annual increment. 10% of $800 is only $80 per month, but 10% of $15,000 is $1,500. No wonder some people are 'shock' enough to jump off their chair and 'rubbish' any attempt to freeze their pay.

    Government should be held responsible for the loss of productivity achieved during the 70's and 80's due to its 'reckless' immigrants policy. Yet, the way LSS put it, low-wage earners 'deserve' their low pay because they are not productive enough. If LSS is living in the same world as us, he should know the income gap is widening and reaching a dangerous level. The fruit of labour and increased productivity is enjoyed only by a small group of people and not trickling back to the low-wage workers who are the main producer of goods and services. As thing is, there is no incentive to be productive unless pay is increased and not the other way round.

    Prof Lim may not be able to realise his 'shock therapy' but Singaporeans can. Give PAP 50.1% winning votes in the next election and we will see miracle of change. 'Doomsday spirits' will suddenly disappear and all the 'cannot' and 'impossible' become 'can' and 'possible'. Don't believe? Just try.

    1. Hey Anonymous 12:57 AM, you are good! Hope you write a blog too ala Tattler (perhaps on different topics), another one to fan our flames and spread the word till 2016!

      For those are new to these opinion-changing blogs, this is another good one... Breaking out from the cycle of cheap labor and low productivity...

  7. 2016 won't be wake-up call. It will be boot-out call!

  8. Many of these low wage earners(SG citizens) are competing with jobs with the FTs and Malaysians.Those across the causeway commutes to SG to work, and they enjoy benefits which helps them lower their living costs. Medical RM$1,subsidied petrol (lower public transport),cooking oil,flour,lower housing costs and exchange rates, besides the SG males have to serve NS and reservist liability. Those FTs who families received money also benefits from the lower costs of living in their home country and exchange rates (now that the SG rates is set to go up again. Daily transport+Meal ($3+$4)=$7. A month expense 24x$7=$168.If you earn $800, what is left?. Can we equate Singaporean and FTs?

    The word productivity has been sung for at least the last 20 years, its a failure. Former NPB has been absorbed into SPRING whos favorites is looking for whales, not ikan bilis $800.

  9. Minister in the Prime Minister's Office - isn't this just a sinecure which allows a person to draw a ministerial salary with minimal responsibility? Talk about productivity! That's why he's telling the whole world how rich he feels, and how blessed we are under the benign and enlightened rule of this government.

    When he masquerades as Zorro isn't this sheer travesty? Zorro helps the oppressed, not oppress the helpless - the cheap, cheaper and cheaperest.
    Don't you get the impression that most policies favour the employer eg no minimum wage, high influx of foreign workers, etc...?

    Talking about shocks, since this government is so skeptical of any form of shock therapy (economic restructuring) to reduce income inequality, maybe we should apply a shock treatment guaranteed to send shock waves through their inertia: Vote against them in 2016.

  10. This chap can't speak for nuts

  11. The Pro Alien Party.
    Frozen in time by their outdated party ideologies.
    They are unable to change their ideologies.
    So don't expect anything new from them.
    Other than cheaper, better and faster exhortations on the Sinkies.

    But it's never cheaper, better, faster on the Ministers.

    Singaporeans are the problem.
    More anti-Singaporean policies is the solution.

    The Pro Alien Party and their anti-people policies are the problem.
    Voting Opposition is the solution.

    GE 2016.
    You decide.
    Choose wisely.
    Your family & children's future is in your hand holding the ballot paper.

  12. If we really want to talk about productivity, our PM should be the first to have been sacked long ago, isn't it?

    Take so long to even think about when or whether to have a by-election ? If he had been a quick & firm decision maker, no need to drag & waste the court's time arguing about something which may end up as a non-case mah ?

    Anyway, where in this world other than this red dot can we have so many Ministers & helpers in the PM's Office ? Don't tell me our PM likes to eat snake meh ?

  13. This "cho bo lan " betterest minister is the PAP's CLOWN.

  14. THANK GOD he's still minister WITHOUT portfolio..

  15. His million$$$ pay makes him talk on behalf of MIWs and employers although he is the labour union chief.

  16. LSS has not even any self respect for himself by banging his head and dick into the ground whenever commanded by the PAP higher ups..

    How do u expert this zorro or zero wannabe to respect others...

    Respect has to be earned and re-earned everyday...

    Only those not right in the heads in the 1st place or made into one will never understand the above until its too late.

    For themselves and their loved ones. pathetic.