Sunday, August 25, 2013

LHL’s strategic shift in shifting our focus

I was looking for the significant “shifts” that some commented on his NDR 2013. And found these significant hints instead that reflect his mindset/values:

“And overall, the Government creating the conditions for a vibrant economy and for good jobs, investing heavily in our people through education, through housing, through healthcare but keeping state welfare low and targeted, stringent. Some people call this tough love but it is tough love which has worked well.” (bold prints are mine)

LHL’s statement above indicates a continual defence of his “low welfare” value for the PAP-led government against any public expenditure increase across transport, housing, cost of living and healthcare where in reality, the policies of his government are the root cause of these rising costs.

The Pioneer Generation Package and removal of age limit for MediShield Life coverage etc are attempts to shift our focus onto the wrappings of the same old gift, so that we will be oblivious to the content beneath the wrappings which is the “tough love”, ie. low welfare spending.

Charge the people a high price but spend as little on them as possible.

“The values of homes has appreciated and even poor people are not poor by any international standard.”

Shifting our focus from doing more to help the poor or to close in the income-gap to the discovery of the good fortune of our poor compared to those tribes living in the Amazon forests. Goodness, these tribal people do not even have a roof over their heads and they feed on grass and air!

His denial of the existence of the poor means that there is never the need for a real strategic change in the current policies on the poor. Current schemes for the poor suffice. Income gap issue will be swept under the carpet.

“….each poor household has on average $200,000 of net wealth in the HDB flat.”
“No other society in the world has done that. We have achieved in Singapore growth with equity and spread the fruits of growth widely in Singapore.”

Shifting our focus from over-priced HDB flats to his self-compliments. There is no poor in the ivory tower of Singapore. He has helped his poor to strike rich and that is an endorsement to his policies:

(1)  Creating a property boom is the right strategy that benefits the wealthy and the poor alike. Nevermind if the wealthy can afford to flip properties and make quick bucks while the poor can only flip their flip-flops. The poor can sell off their homes and scum off to rental flats provided they can fulfill the criteria.

(2)  The open door immigration policy that allows human tsunamis to wash ashore Singapore from all corners of this globe to sustain or increase the heat in the property market.

(3)  Speculation of HDB flats is encouraged and to be enabled for the boost in the private property market which will in turn set the pricing for new HDB flats. LTA’s profits rely from the sale of over-priced flats.

“We can talk about other models we may experiment, but the core of it, home ownership. 99-year lease, it is yours. (bold prints are mine)

Shifting the focus from the hefty price of something that you paid to be “rented” to you.

What is on a “lease” cannot be fully “yours”. No change to the rule of the HDB game on our flats. Securing the ultimate ownership of the flats for HDB, aka the PAP-led government.

Singaporeans are not entitled to own anything in Singapore for good even after paying them. HDB flats, COEs and CPF are some examples.

“…because the cheapest flat is just $150,000.” (bold prints are mine)

His choice of word “just” reveals his thought on prices of HDB flats. $150 000 is peanuts. LHL’s peanuts is still cheaper by the standard of Goh Chok Tong’s wife who regarded $600K as peanuts. In this regard, HDB’s strategy of maximizing profits from the sales of HDB flats to citizens will not halt at this stage. The prices are affordable and the word “affordable” will become the most hateful word here.

HDB will continue to be the cash cow for our reserves and Singaporeans should resign their fates of being milked.

“…we will means-test these additional subsidies so that we know we can target them to the people who need them.”

Shifting our focus to see that he is genuinely helping those who need help instead of looking at the root cause of income inequality and inflation.

The means-test result could very well be so stringent that chances are higher for people to die off first than to lay their hands on the subsidies. The target is not about targeting those who need the subsidies, but employing means-test to disqualify the bulk of those who need it.

“Medisave rates have to go up. It has to be.”

This is the core value.

Expect no help from the PAP-led government. You are on your own. While there are 101 innovative ways to extract money from the citizens, there is only one way of getting even half a cent from the PAP-led government—paying our own money to get it.

“But the best way for us generally to keep healthcare costs down is to stay healthy and especially for older people because for older people exercise is not just keeping fit or keeping well but also making friends, having the social contacts, the networks, the mutual support.”

The message is still the same: do not expect help from the government of curbing the healthcare costs. You are on your own.

“I think it is also good that we have top schools nationally”

Trying to shift our focus onto his empathy for us. Whatever he tries to empathize on the educational stress for our parents and children, at the end of the day, he still needs the elites to distinguish themselves from the daft. And the elites be rewarded for being elite.

“If we have a completely flat and featureless system – every school is exactly the same as every other school, no difference – you will have not excellence, but mediocrity.”

Shifting the blame onto mediocrity for all the woes and pressures of our education system. There is only one way to success by his definition. Not just the parents who think this way.

“please be very careful when you touch the PSLE, because the problem is not the exam. The problem is that parents think that the exams count for everything in the world.”

The above was taken from someone who has emailed to LHL on his thought about PSLE. LHL used the above illustration to shift blame from the education system created by his predecessors onto the citizens themselves. The parents brought it upon themselves and their children.

Nothing new about this finger-pointing trait as it is a consistent exhibition from the PAP-led government throughout the decades in blaming the people for their own incompetence and lack of foresight.

Even Orchard floods were caused by litter-bugs.

“Meritocracy has to remain the most fundamental organising principle in our society.”

Meritocracy will continue in PAP-regime. Where the definition of merit is narrowly defined by those who heads the regime. Where the super rich can absolve from the game of meritocracy and still rise above it. Where those with merit will serve the welfare of the regime itself and not necessarily to the welfare of our country.

“Other countries have tried to do similar things in the past with the best intentions but ended up with unwanted outcomes. America has the highest healthcare spending in the world. Their outcomes are worse than many developed countries, including Singapore. Finland has comprehensive protections for workers, yet 20 per cent of its youth is unemployed despite a good economy and a good education system.”

Shifting our attention from the need to address our bad policies from the root to others’ failures. And at the worst, rejoicing at their failures without a full comprehension of the causes of their problems and using others’ failures as a justification for not doing the right thing for ourselves.

We have to tread our path ourselves and find our way don’t we?

“And finally of course, all good things have to be paid for.”

There again. It is about footing the bill.

However, it does not necessary have to come directly from the people’s pockets but from the amount that was already extracted from the people and the foreigners.

Shifting the focus from exploring alternative funding and re-assessing current public expenditures to mislead people into the belief that they have to pay everything directly out of their pockets. 

Too many shifts in attempt to veil the intention of preserving the fundamentals of all existing policies. 

And no shift from his 6.9 million population plan.