29 July 2012
25 July 2012
19 July 2012
17 July 2012
莫杭在1990年出版《複雜思維導論》（Introduction à la pensée complexe）。「複雜性」（Complexité）是支撐整部《思索方法》的重要概念之一。這個單字來自於拉丁文Complexus，指的是那些「被交織編排在一起的」。「複雜性」在《思索方法》裡指涉的是，我們缺乏獲得解釋正確清楚的必要知識。認知事物的複雜性便是承認我們無法獲得完善的解答，因此在找到更全面的知識之前，我們必需接受處於混亂的狀態，而非否認疑惑甚至摒除問題。許多事物在今日看來日益複雜也是因為我們認識事物的方法已經不足以認識這些被視為複雜的事物。我們得走得更遠，不能停滯在對事物複雜性的認知。因此，莫杭寫了好幾本著作來說明該如何面對事物複雜性的「方法」。
近幾年法國重新出版莫杭1960年代早期的著作《時代精神》（L’esprit du temps），令人驚訝的是，莫杭的學術思想在21世紀再次被檢驗時，非但沒有過時，許多思想觀念仍舊精采絕艷。如果將他在《大明星》一書中對明星現象精準的描寫與今日台灣娛樂版新聞相互對照，就算明星不同卻讓人對這重複上演的戲碼與結構看得更透徹。莫杭的作品不只在當時具有前瞻性，之所以耐得住時間的考驗，更是因為他試圖在研究中探索問題真正的本質，這也是為何他的書會不斷再版。
莫杭在1960、70年代法國的社會學領域相對沈寂。1962年《時代精神》出版，但是這本書很快就被社會學界排擠。社會學家布迪厄（Pierre Bourdieu）與帕斯宏（Jean-Claude Passeron）在隔年共同發表一篇文章名為《神話社會學家與社會學家的神話》（Sociologues des mythologies et mythologies des sociologues），認為學者應保持中立，研究不該受既有概念的偏見所囿，也不該受品味喜好的影響。莫杭被認為是捍衛大眾文化的可悲傢伙，作品因此被束之高閣。一直到1990年代法國媒體研究的學者重新回溯法國文獻，才從上述兩位學者的傳播理論史的註釋中重新發現莫杭。
在這無法盡談的一長串書單中，最後希望跟大家分享莫杭在2011年出版的暢銷新書《道路：通往人道的未來》（La voie, pour l’avenir de l’humanité）。89歲的他在強大責任感的催促下，冒著有失尊嚴的風險挑起一個知識份子避之唯恐不及的公共任務。這本書不只是為全人類而寫，更是寫給那些希望創造永續地球的人。這些人彼此互不認識也不受各大媒體與政府機構的認可。莫杭希望這本書能幫助這些行動者將想法放在一個更全面的全球視野，面對具體挑戰的同時也不遺忘其他困難。因為，要是在地行動者沒有更廣的眼界與同心一致的陣線，單獨的行動在彼此抵觸與消抵的情況下是無法產生豐富的結果。
16 July 2012
08 July 2012
Cast: Ai Ikeda, Ena Koshino, Reiko Fujiwara
Japan, 2011, B&W, 113min
High school student Izumi Kawashima, whose daily routine is rating newspaper articles, finds a wallet containing a large sum of cash. Instead of returning the wallet to its owner, Izumi decides to lend a substantial portion of the money to a middle-aged male acquaintance. She eventually returns the wallet to its owner, a wealthy high-school boy named Koki, who notices the missing money, and as compensation, asks Izumi to do something for his friend - to create a newspaper that brings happiness to its reader.
extracted from imdb
Keiichi Kobayashi was born in Japan in 1972. Kobayashi has directed numerous television programs, music videos, commercials, and Web‐based dramas. ABOUT THE PINK SKY (MOMOIRO SORA O) is his debut feature film. The film won the Japanese Eyes best picture award at Tokyo IFF in November 2011.
30 June 2012
13 June 2012
王昌伟先生在文章的开头说：“周六晚上，坐在电视机前看刘程强骂主流媒体，马上就想到我的许多在主流媒体工作的朋友，他们一定很不爽”（可能当时王昌伟先生和洪奕婷女士都正在电视机前“天涯共此时”，心情不同而已）。看来，王昌伟先生果然有先见之明，后来陆续登场之吴新迪先生的文章以及洪奕婷女士的文章，千言万语，读后感总归还是两个字 - “不爽”！
03 June 2012
30 May 2012
29 May 2012
Follow, follow the sun
And which way the wind blows
When this day is done
Breathe, breathe in the air
Set your intentions
Dream with care
Tomorrow’s a new day for everyone
A brand new moon and brand new sun
So follow, follow the sun
The direction of the birds
The direction of love
Breathe, breathe in the air
Cherish this moment
Cherish this breath
Tomorrow’s a new day day for everyone
A brand new moon, brand new sun
When you feel life coming down on you like a heavy weight
When you feel this crazy society adding to the strain
Take a stroll to the nearest water’s edge, remember your place
Many moons have risen and fallen long, long before you came
So which way is the wind blowing
What does your heart say
So follow, follow the sun
And which way the wind blows
When this day is done
Xavier Rudd is an Australian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He was born in 1978 and grew up in Torquay, Victoria.
He has developed a strong reputation for playing live performances at musical festivals and concerts in Australia North America and throughout Europe. His following is particularly strong in Australia and in Canada, where he has recorded several albums.
Many of Rudd's songs incorporate socially conscious themes, such as environmentalism and the rights of Aboriginal peoples. In addition to playing the yidaki in many of his songs, he has also included both Australian and Canadian Aboriginal vocals in some of his songs.
extracted from wikipedia
22 May 2012
16 May 2012
Snatam Kaur Khalsa (Punjabi: ਸਨਾਤਮ ਕੌਰ ਖਾਲਸਾ, born 1972 in Trinidad, Colorado), is an American singer and songwriter. She lives in Santa Cruz, California. Kaur performs Indian devotional music, kirtan, and tours the world as a peace activist. The name "Kaur", meaning "princess", is shared by all female Sikhs.
extracted from wikipedia
10 May 2012
在杨莉明工作的电脑旁边摆放了个很有意思的装饰品，上面写着“提出投诉的截止日期是昨天”（The deadline for complaints was yesterday）。
06 May 2012
我是做病理研究的。說到病理學，老百姓瞭解得不多。在國外叫 doctor's doctor，就是“醫生的醫生”。因我們每天干的活，都是給醫院裏每一個科的醫生回答問題。並不是我們有什麼特殊的才能，而是我們都有一台顯微鏡，可以放大一千倍，可以看到病人身體裏的細胞變成什麼樣子了，可以從本質上來認識疾病。
◎ 膽固醇愈低愈好？其實膽固醇在 220～ 280 mg/dl 的人，最長壽。
04 May 2012
26 April 2012
16 April 2012
by William Ernest Henley (1849–1903)
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
威廉·埃内斯特·亨利（1849 – 1903）
12 April 2012
Chong Leong Ang说：“为什么列车系统每天需要接载多达270万乘客人次，有关当局在情况发生前没有预警？是基础设施没有跟上需求？还是因为新加坡的人口突然增加？是谁负责监督交通基础设施的建设？是谁负责人口政策？为什么错误的政策需要人民来共同承担结果？”
吕德耀说，他已指示陆交局特别监督列车故障的平均间隔时间及关键部件的维修情况，并实行一套状态监测机制（On Condition Monitoring），优先维修某些关键部件或轨道。
09 April 2012
03 April 2012
25 March 2012
~~ 晴天曬衣服，想到即將要在城市發展下，被蹂躪的咖啡山武吉布朗（Bukit Brown），還有那裡的自然景色。
轉載自臉書(fb) Chong Leong Ang
23 March 2012
I thank the young intern in the middle of a chaos situation for helping me organizing list in normal day so that I can quick contact the family members of a residents in distress.
I think it is important to let all staff to know the meaning behind their work and share the glory with them. Any success involved participant of every single member of the group.
15 March 2012
11 March 2012
23 February 2012
Why we have to pay for a hasty wrong policy made? -- Bus Services Enhancement Fund comes under spotlight during REACH Budget dialogue
"What Singaporeans want are quicker solutions," said Mrs Teo. "They don't want to wait so long. So it's with Singaporean needs in mind that we assessed that the better way to do it, the faster way to do it, the more efficient way of doing it, is to partner the existing public transport operators to deliver the increased capacity."
~ Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo
It's the government, in the first place, want to have quick solutions on economics and population policy that it allows many more FTs coming into Singapore that cause the over crowded issue. IMHO, why do we need to pay the final bills for a hasty wrong policy government have made? And if this is so, then a parallel policy re-think or even revamp Transport Ministry need to work on for the public transport policy. We should not always have a short term solutions for issues affect every citizens of this nation everyday.
~ Ang Chong Leong
Bus Services Enhancement Fund comes under spotlight during REACH Budget dialogue
by Sumita Sreedharan Updated 10:01 AM Feb 23, 2012
SINGAPORE - The Government's plan to fund 550 new buses for operators SBS Transit and SMRT dominated Wednesday night's Budget dialogue session organised by Government feedback unit REACH.
Of the 15 questions raised by members of the public during the session, a third zoomed in on the Government's plan to boost bus capacity.
Some questioned why the Government is using public funds to finance private operators, while others felt if the S$1.1 billion set aside under the Bus Services Enhancement Fund could be used for other purposes, such as employment. Questions were also raised as to whether the current market structure of the transport sector should remain or be nationalised.
Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo, who chaired the session along with Reach chairman Amy Khor, pointed out that the S$1.1 billion set aside will be used over the next decade and was necessary to improve the levels of service to meet commuters' expectations.
"What Singaporeans want are quicker solutions," said Mrs Teo. "They don't want to wait so long. So it's with Singaporean needs in mind that we assessed that the better way to do it, the faster way to do it, the more efficient way of doing it, is to partner the existing public transport operators to deliver the increased capacity."
Mrs Teo also stressed that SBS Transit and SMRT are "expected to raise standards across the entire fleet they run". As more buses are added to the fleet, buses - including those plying feeder services - will be less crowded, she added.
In funding the new buses directly, Mrs Teo felt the Government has taken a "practical approach" towards the matter.
Speaking to reporters after the dialogue, and asked on whether it would have an impact on any future fare increase, Mrs Teo assured that "commuters should not be overly worried" as "the fare formula hasn't changed as a result of the bus injection". Public transport fares are determined by a fare cap formula, which factors in changes in inflation, wages and productivity.
While public transport made up 12 per cent of total responses gathered by Reach on the Government's Budget, building a fair and inclusive society topped the number of responses with 40 per cent of all inputs received.
At the dialogue on Wednesday night, some raised concerns over the Silver Housing Bonus and wondered if those downgrading were suppose to buy resale flats which were still as expensive. In reply, Dr Khor noted that the Silver Housing Bonus was just an option for those already thinking of downgrading and was "just an added incentive."
The Silver Housing Bonus provides up to S$20,000 - S$15,000 in cash and S$5,000 to CPF - for Singaporeans aged 55, who wish to move from larger flats to smaller units.
Dr Khor, who is Minister of State for Health, also reiterated that the Government's priority is for seniors to age within the community. Having elder-care centres within the community also makes it easier for families to visit their family members, she added.
Responding to suggestions to extend the MediShield illness insurance beyond 90 years old, Dr Khor said the result of that would be higher premiums. She said there is a need to strike a balance when it comes to affordability. Dr Khor added the Medifund endowment exists for Singaporeans beyond 90 years old and who need help with medical expenses.
(Photo taken from http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/current-affairs-lounge-17/transport-issue-%3B-crowding-trains-spill-over-onto-crowding-platforms-2859322.html)
19 February 2012
还是看不清 在那些时刻 遮蔽我们 黑暗的心 究竟是什么 住在我心里孤独的 孤独的海怪 痛苦之王 开始厌倦 深海的光 停滞的海浪 站在能看到灯火的桥 还是看不清 在那些夜晚 照亮我们 黑暗的心 究竟是什么 于是它默默追逐着 横渡海峡 年轻的人 看着他们 为了彼岸 骄傲地骄傲地 灭亡
小号：史立 Shit Lee
几个生活在Rock Home Town（石家庄）的闲散人士。长年吸工业废气，长年撒泼抒情，长年蒙受盲瓜（The Blind Melon）等90年代美国非主流摇滚乐队感召。90年代组队，02年更名。风格为非主流/独立摇滚及其他，过于低调的他们少有宣传，06年凭借网络独立发布的不插电单曲《不万能的喜剧》，受到众多独立乐迷的追捧和传颂，短时间内俨然已是国内独立摇滚界的闪亮新星。2010年11月12日，乐队发行首张同名专辑《万能青年旅店》。
07 February 2012
31 January 2012
29 January 2012
21 January 2012
Story of a village with only one restaurant: PAPCH Garden
January 17th, 2012 | Author: Contributions
There is a village that only has one restaurant. Everyone in the village has to eat at that restaurant PAPCH Garden which serves $10 XO Chye Tow Kueh.
Villager: Why can’t we have more than one restaurant?
Head Waiter: Our village is at a critical point in it’s economic development where more than one restaurant can lead to chaos, so we only have one restaurant. Also, if there are other restaurants, I might get distracted and be unable to concentrate on my job.
Villager: But the food here is really not good! And it’s very expensive because all the staff are paid so much. And it’s also full of outsiders from other countries eating in it – and you have them working in the kitchen too, taking away ours jobs.
Head Waiter: Our restaurant is a small one. If you were to open another restaurant, the prosperity of the village would be fundamentally threatened.
Villager: But can’t it be a little cheaper?
Head Waiter: That would not suit the conditions of our village; the restaurant also needs to develop. We need to pay top dollar to attract top talents for our restaurant.
Waitress who called herself Ms Eff You: When I made the decision to join the restaurant in 2006, pay was not a key factor. Loss of privacy, public scrutiny on myself and my family and loss of personal time were. The disruption to my previous career was also an important consideration. I had some ground to believe that my family would not suffer a drastic change in the standard of living even though I experienced a drop in my income. So it is with this recent pay cut. If the balance is tilted further in the future, it will make it harder for any one considering joining the restaurant.
Villager: But the employees of the restaurant are all driving Mercedes Benz! And living in bungalows! And some of them have more than 10 houses.
Head Waiter: To ensure fair and uncorrupted staff, you need to pay them high salaries. This is what it is called, a transparent wage. If you really want, we will form a committee to decide on the staff wages, then talk about it in front of you even though we have already made a decision.
Villager: But last year, you lent all the profits of the restaurant to Temashit store and Jee Ai See Corporation!
Head Waiter: This is the village policy, you don’t need to worry about it. We are in it for the long term.
Villager: I heard that the Jee Ai See guy in charge of purchasing bought all the worthless shares that have since lost all their value – 50 billion American peanuts worth.
Head Waiter: That type of employee is very rare.
Villager: Then why did you promote him to make him President of the restaurant company?
Head Waiter: We have already volunteered him to take a pay cut of 51%.
Villager: But he’s still the best paid President on earth!
Head Waiter: Let’s move on. You have misunderstood me.
Other villagers: And the water from kitchen flooded our houses the other day!
Waiter in-charge of drinks: Ah, that was just ponding which happens once in 50 years.
Villager: And what about the time your restaurant system broke down for over 4 hours and trapped over a 1000 people inside?
Restaurant Valet: Don’t worry, we will have a committee of inquiry on this matter. Also, that chef responsible has also left to pursue personal interests. And the second chef has also left earlier to pursue personal interests.
Villager: So when we’ve got so many problems, why do you still hang up certificates of high quality? Why do you tell outsiders that everyone is eating so well? There are some people in our village who have no houses and not enough to eat.
Waiter in-charge of drinks: What do you want, 3 meals a day? Anyway, you misunderstood me. I am sorry you are upset about your misunderstanding me.
Villager: The grain was grown by the peasant farmers. The village was built by the first generation villagers and the its security is undertaken by all our our young male villagers for 2 years of their lives.
Head Waiter: Look, New Singapore Shares!
Villager: I can’t even get a decent meal, what do these other things have to do with me? Why don’t other villages have all these problems that we have here?
Old Waiter: Whenever you talk about yourself, you only say bad things. When you talk about others, you say everything is good. You are so complacent. You need to have spurs stuck in your hide. You must repent!
Villager: Eh, but down the road there is a new hawker stall with a hammer sign. The food quality looks quite good and the staff wear blue uniforms. Also, they smile at you and try to help you. They have a chye tow kueh chef who was trained in Beijing to make XO chye tow kueh and many other things. He has even taken a pay cut to come back and help our village out.
Major General (NS) Waiter: But hor, even though they only charge you $1.50, you might not want to eat it because the quality is not good leh. (Turning to the other waiters) If you guys agree with me, Kee Chiu!
Old waiter (getting angry): If you choose to go to that hawker stall, then I say good luck to you. You have five years to ruminate and to regret what you did. And I have no doubts you will regret it. At the end of the day, you should ask yourself: Do you want a celebrity chef who has been away 30 years and a bunch of non-scholars to serve you?’
Head Waiter (quickly cut in): Please bear with us. We’re trying our best on your behalf. And if we didn’t quite get it right, I am sorry but we will try and do better the next time.”
Villager: Too late. 39.9% of us are going to try the stall. I hear it’s in Aljunied.
* From http://www.danwei.com/a-village-with-only-one-restaurant/ with some uniquely Village amendments.
* Personal note: I think the Chye Tow Kueh was the last straw for me after the spate of recent news about pay, SMRT and ‘ponding’. Anyone want to make a video/podcast with it? Might be interesting to hear it “acted’ aloud. At the end of the day, this is just a light-hearted post to blow off steam, laugh about it – then go eat at the other hawker stall in Aljunied in 5 years time. Hope they will be setting up franchises in different parts of the village. Please share and repost – and remind people to eat at the other hawker stall when they next have the chance.
* Editor’s note: Have also added some further amendments to Karen’s amendments. Feel free to add further and share it around
17 January 2012
50 Years of PAP Rule: Has PAP Fatigue Set In?
Below is the full transcript of my acceptance speech on being awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by the Online Citizen on the occasion of its 5th Anniversary, on 13 January 2012.
Following the shock results of the General Election of 2011 (GE 2011) there was, as expected, a flurry of commentaries analyzing the causes. But the analyses omitted what could turn out to be the most interesting and intriguing one of all. Thus while they examined, with forensic thoroughness, the people’s anger against the unpopular PAP policies related to foreign workers and the ministerial salaries, while they scrutinized the resentment against PAP arrogance, they paid little attention to what I have rather facetiously called PAP Fatigue, that is, an overwhelming sense of weariness with a ruling party that has been around for far too long.
The weariness would appear to be part of human nature, a natural disposition to react negatively to an imposed environment of oppressive sameness and uniformity, the reaction being all the stronger when there is no prospect of change.
For nearly 50 years, Singaporeans had never known any form of government except the one-party rule of the PAP, had never been exposed to any but the authoritarian and peremptory PAP style, had never experienced democracy except the carefully edited PAP version.
Some years ago, on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the party’s rule, then Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew declared that since the PAP government was the best, it should be around for the next 40 years. If he had his wish, it would mean that Singaporeans would have to live permanently with PAP fatigue.
Yet into the twenty first century, conditions in Singapore were already ripe for political change. For the society was arguably among the most technologically advanced and globally connected in the world, and the most aggressively capitalistic. This meant that Singaporeans were well exposed to other forms of government, to examples of properly functioning, two-way government-people relationships, examples of robust civic societies.
Why then, for nearly half a century, did the Singapore electorate choose to endure PAP Fatigue?
The reason must lie in the special compact between the PAP government and the people, which though only implicit, was nevertheless strong and binding. According to this compact, the government would provide the people with the highest possible level of material prosperity, political stability and social orderliness, and the people, in return, would show full co-operation and support for whatever decisions the government made and whatever policies it chose to enforce.
So under a rule far longer than any seen in other countries, during which the PAP exerted control in virtually every domain of life, the fatigue factor, because it was not allowed free expression, simply settled into a general docility and conformity of thinking, feeling and behaving. If it dared rouse itself into political agitation, it was quickly smacked down by that fearful instrument of control, the Internal Security Act or ISA, by which activists could be detained without trial. And there was also that equally feared instrument, the defamation suit by which political critics could be financially crippled for life.
Through it all, the people must have constantly reminded themselves that it was still a very worthwhile trade-off, for they were enjoying a degree of prosperity unmatched in the region. In any case, even if they wanted an alternative government, there was simply no prospect of any, since the existing opposition parties were just so pitifully small, weak and helpless. Taking into account all these factors, Singaporeans must have come to the conclusion that their lot, though somewhat complicated, was by no means a bad one.
Hence, it did not matter that outsiders were making unflattering observations of us, for instance, that Singaporeans had become a nation of unquestioning and compliant subjects, incapable of acting on their own, with no interests beyond bread-and-butter concerns and the famous 5Cs of social success. Singaporean students might perform brilliantly in exams but were woefully lacking in independent thinking, creative expression and social skills. The Singapore media and other public institutions were predictably, boringly pro-Establishment. Most of all, there was no identifiable Singapore culture beyond the ubiquitous food centres and shopping malls.
If in a general election, PAP Fatigue managed to surface in little pockets of angry voting, it made no difference whatsoever to the general state of affairs. This was true of all the previous 11 elections; after each one, the antagonism duly subsided, the people went back to their accustomed acquiescence and the government to its accustomed strongman methods. It was business as usual.
So what happened in the 12th election to make GE 2011 so different as to be called a defining election, a watershed, after which things could never be the same? Had the fatigue factor finally reached the stage of ‘enough is enough’, and struck back as a retaliatory force that took by surprise even the supremely confident PAP? Had it managed to link up with the other causes of voter discontent, to form one huge, super anti-PAP force that actually did the unimaginable, that is, compel the PAP leaders, led by the Prime Minister himself, to offer public apologies in an amazing display of contrition, humility and earnestness never seen before?
And did this extraordinary outpouring imply something that was just too good to be true: that in future the government would think twice before ramming through one unpopular policy after another, such as the deplorable one of the ministerial salaries?
Indeed, it may be said that what the people accomplished in GE 2011 was nothing less than historic—putting an end to fifty years of political apathy, fifty years of a losing compact with the government.
At this stage of my deliberations, a very pertinent question may be asked: Is this a true picture of GE 2011 and its outcomes? Or it is somewhat exaggerated, overly optimistic?
We’ll see. Going further in the deliberations, I am now going to suggest that the main reason for the obvious effectiveness of the fatigue factor was the concurrence of two special happenings, unique to GE 2011, which interacted to produce an effect that neither on its own could have achieved.
The first was the emergence of a group of voters who, by virtue of a natural restlessness and impatience were the most likely group to turn PAP Fatigue into an active fighting force. These were the young voters, in their twenties and thirties, many of them first-time voters, with the natural tendency of youth to get easily bored and start clamouring for change.
Thus even the mere fact of the PAP’s very long presence in the political scene would have been enough for the fatigue factor to kick in and make a difference in votes. But what seriously aggravated this fact was the perception of the young voters, accompanied by strong resentment, that the PAP government had become totally indifferent to their needs and aspirations.
They were, in the typical language of youth, ‘pissed off’ by certain well-known attributes of the PAP which, though generally detestable, were especially repugnant to the young.
These included the overbearing, intolerant and patronizing approach that was so stifling to their vibrant and creative energies; the elitism, superiority and highhandedness that offended their youthful ideals of equality and fair play; the inflexibility, stiffness, and formality that were at odds with the casual, spontaneous, friendly manner that they favoured.
If additionally, this group shared the overall voter perception that the PAP, despite its claims of high standards of leadership, was becoming too lax, complacent and arrogant, and losing touch with the common people, then the hostility would have been that much greater.
The second mentioned special happening in GE 2011 was the emergence of a force which provided exactly the hope that these disaffected young voters needed, exactly the channel for their blocked and frustrated energies. This was the amazingly revitalized Workers’ Party, the clear star of the opposition.
It quickly came to represent for them all that the PAP lacked: a simple, casual, unassuming style that dispensed with pomp and ceremony (there was a post-election picture in the newspapers showing the party chairman in a Hawaiian shirt riding a bicycle and another one of him conferring with his new constituents in a Spartan setting of basic furniture set up in an HDB void deck); a bold, creative flair for new ideas, as seen in the party slogan of ‘A First World Parliament’ that clearly resonated with these young voters ; a calm dignity throughout the hurly burly of the hustings, which must have impressed them deeply because it contrasted so sharply with the shocking display of vindictive anger by a senior PAP member.
Perhaps the most attractive attribute of the Workers’ Party for these young Singaporeans was something that the PAP had routinely and contemptuously dismissed as irrelevant in leadership, but which the young, in their media-saturated world, prize highly—charisma. A newcomer in the Workers’ Party, was quickly seen to embody this quality: he had not only the dazzling credentials of a top academic, entrepreneur and CEO, but also the glamorous good looks of a star (A female newspaper columnist wrote gushingly about his choice of a certain style of shirt, showing him in three pictures smiling like a true celebrity basking in the adulation of fans)
In short, these young voters saw the PAP as old, dull and stale, belonging to the past, and the Worker’s Party as new, bright and hip, pointing to the future.
The prominence of this group of voters on the electoral stage may irritate some PAP sympathisers and provoke this question: Why bother about them when they do not, after all, comprise the majority, and, in any case, will soon outgrow the immaturity of youth?
The conclusion which the PAP leaders have probably already reached is this: this group of voters cannot be ignored; on the contrary, they must be singled out for special attention and wooing, for numerous compelling reasons.
Firstly, they will be active voters for a long time to come, and must therefore be quickly weaned from their present hostility. Secondly, they are the young citizens, in an ageing population, whom the government will have to depend on for the country’s future development, and who must therefore not feel alienated enough to want to leave the country and emigrate. Thirdly, they belong to the increasingly powerful world of the Internet and the social media, which no government in the world can afford to ignore. Fourthly, because in GE 2011, they clearly had the support of a large number of older voters who could easily identify with them, they might be setting a dangerous precedent—starting a trend of strong generational unity within the anti-PAP camp that could only work to its advantage.
Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, the exuberance, boldness and defiance of the young voters, operating in the new media world of instant, dazzling communication, could be infectious enough to have an unstoppable snowball effect, engulfing other groups of voters, including even those normally sympathetic towards the PAP. In fact, something like this could already have happened, as may be inferred by the 40% vote against the PAP in the General Election swelling to an alarming 65% vote against the PAP-endorsed candidate in the Presidential Election some months later.
In short, possibly for the first time in Singapore’s electoral history, a small core of young voters had provided the sparks that started a fire that could set off a whole conflagration if not stopped.
Thus it was not surprising that the PAP quickly swung into a massive campaign of damage control, repair and rebuilding. The Prime Minister announced, almost immediately after GE 2011, that the PAP would ‘re-invent’ itself in order to win back the people’s trust. The term is a much stronger one than ‘self-renewal’, used to describe an on-going exercise in which young potential leaders are systematically recruited and trained to replace the older leaders, to prevent complacency and carelessness from ever setting in.
‘Re-invention’ implies much more than self-renewal—it means a complete overhaul, a transformation, a born-again PAP that has an entirely new compact with the people. As if to convince the people of his utter sincerity, the Prime Minister used another, even more impressive-sounding word: he told the nation that from now onwards, he and his team would be ‘servant-leaders’. (I remember gasping at the use of the word) ‘Servant-leaders’—the ultimate oxymoron that must have made many people sit up and ask: did I hear right? Never had a prime minister so earnestly pledged so drastic a change of leadership style, so soon after an election.
At this point, I have to come in as a skeptic, and show the other side of the GE 2011 picture, which I fear is not at all pretty. I believe that the PAP is incapable of re-inventing itself, because true re-invention would require the opening up of one crucial area, that the PAP seems determined to keep under control at all cost. This is the area of political liberties—open debate and criticism, independence of the media, public assemblies and street demonstrations for a cause, etc., all of which are taken for granted in practising democracies.
Over the years, the government had reluctantly made small concessions, such as allowing a Speakers’ Corner, relaxing some censorship laws, tweaking a rule here, tinkering with another there, never going beyond these small, meager offerings that Singaporeans had no choice but to accept because there was nothing better.
In this regard, PAP Fatigue has an additional meaning for political critics like myself—a frustrating, exhausting weariness with the PAP government, not because it has been around too long, but because during this long period of rule, it has not seen fit to nurture the people politically, and has failed to provide the proper environment for political education and growth. This right of the people is so basic and fundamental that no amount of material wealth can compensate for its denial or loss.
Still, assuming that the Prime Minister is sincere in his pledge and that he understands the mood of high expectancy in what may be described as Singapore’s version of the Arab Spring, the following questions are pertinent. Just what can the PAP government do to win the people’s trust, and once and for all, establish a proper basis for a working government-people relationship? To match the watershed expectations generated by GE 2011, what watershed act of re-invention is it prepared to undertake? With special reference to the by now obvious threat of the PAP Fatigue phenomenon, what can the government do to prevent it from ever appearing again, not only among the young voters, but the entire Singapore electorate?
Some months ago, a group of 16 ex-political detainees jointly petitioned the government to set up a commission of inquiry to look into the allegations against them. The petition was promptly dismissed; the government later issued a terse statement to say that since all the proper procedures about the matter had already been taken, no further action was needed.
I was acutely disappointed. For I thought that the PAP had missed a fantastic opportunity to prove to the people that it had the honesty and courage to face up to its past excesses and take responsibility for them, or, as the case might be, that it had the strength and dignity to stand by the principles on which it had acted. Either way, it would have won the respect and regard of the people. Moreover, it had also missed the chance to show Singaporeans what is surely the noblest quality to come out of any conflict—the grace and magnanimity to reach out to former foes in reconciliation and new amity.
Indeed, a Commission of Inquiry with its urgency of purpose, potency of authority and high public visibility, would have been the ideal combination of powerful symbolism on the one hand and political will in real action, on the other, to bring about the event needed to signal the dawn of a new era. In one fell stroke, it would have banished that long-standing affective divide between the government and the people, an emotional estrangement that neither side wants. In the practical language of Singaporeans, it would have been a win-win situation for all—the government, the ex-detainees, the people, the entire society, even future generations. If only. If only.
The unfortunate truth is that the PAP remains adamant on keeping a tight lid on political and civic liberties. While it takes a generous and liberal stance in the opening up of all other areas—education, the arts, entertainment, lifestyle—it has built a firewall around the political domain. While it has readily agreed to commissions of inquiry for national mishaps such as the Nicoll Highway collapse, the escape of top terrorist Mas Selamat, and more recently, the major breakdowns in the MRT, it draws a line at matters that might engulf the whole nation in political questioning and debate, for which it has the strongest antipathy.
Indeed, so averse is the PAP to the subject that, as many of us may have noticed, it even shies away from using words such as ‘democracy’, ‘human rights, ‘ ‘political reform’. And yet these are matters at the core of a government-people relationship if it is to be based on transparency, respect and trust.
I will maintain that as long as there is no real political opening up (two weeks ago, in his New Year message, the Prime Minister spoke about a ‘political transition’ but I don’t think he can ever bring himself to talk about ‘a political opening up’, or ‘political reform’) and as long as political dissidents feel they may be punished in one way or another, for instance, by new and subtle uses of the ISA which the government has made clear it has no intention of repealing, the so-called transformation after GE 2011, will, at best, be a partial one only, and at worst, a travesty of all the noble promises that had been made. What a pity. Once again, the ‘if only’ sigh of wistful longing!
If only, to their very substantial material achievements, the PAP could add the non-material, but equally important achievement of enabling the society to move steadily towards political liberty! I am not talking about the disruptive, wild excesses of democracy seen in some countries; I am talking about a sensible, responsible exercise of democratic rights that surely Singaporeans are capable of, at this stage in the development of our society.
The skeptic in me wants so much to be an optimist. I am terrified that if nothing comes out of GE 2011, nothing ever will, out of any future election. It will be business as usual, in the most hideously fatalistic sense of the word.
My best hope lies in the young Singaporeans I have been so enthusiastically talking about, those young voters who, in GE 2011, converted the fatigue factor into a voice that the PAP government was forced to listen to. Over the years, as they continue to be exposed to the outside world, as they become more discerning, more critical, more engaged, I hope that they will continue to use PAP Fatigue as a tool for change, always constructively and wisely, always with the well-being of the society in mind.
Most of all, they must persevere in nudging forward, respectfully but relentlessly, an exasperatingly resistant PAP government that prefers, if at all, to take such painfully slow, such painfully small steps along the path of political reform. Reform there must be. For only then can Singapore come into its own, only then can it claim to be a successful society in every sense of the word, and take a proud place among other societies in the world.
"I believe that there are successful people in Singapore who are willing to put aside their corporate perks and power suits to serve in a cause they believe in."
~~ Ms Denise Phua
Parliamentary speech by Ms Denise Phua, MP for Moulmein-Kallang GRC, on ministerial salaries, on 16 January.
Ask 10 different people how much they think their political leaders should be paid and you are likely to get 10 different responses. Sir, that was my experience when I studied the views of Singaporeans in the public, private and people sectors through desktop research, face-to-face discussions and polls.
To the passionate who are fighting for causes they deeply believe in, sacrificing part or all of their salary is not an issue.
To the low-wage worker who earns $5 an hour, a million-dollar pay is unimaginable.
To a PMET (Professional, Manager, Executive, Technician) earning the median Singapore income of less than $3,000 per month, the million-dollar pay is an unattainable dream.
There are others who are concerned with the Golden Parachute effect of entrants to politics who enjoy big windfalls in pay although they had no prior appropriate leadership experience.
Yet to some in the private sector, the Ministers’ pay is a bargain compared to the typical $3m to $7m annual CEO packages of local banks, telcos and others. On the ground, someone quipped that the annual pay of for instance, a local CEO which in a good year can skyrocket to $20 million, could pay for more than half the Cabinet. The Straits Times reported recently that the annual incomes of second tier senior executives in some big local firms amounted to between $1m and $2m.
Sir, the mixed reactions reminded me very much of the parable of ‘The Elephant and the 6 Blind Men’. Each man described the animal according to the part of the elephant they are touching. And according to John Godfrey Saxe’s poem of the same parable, all men ‘disputed loud and long’.
The truth of the matter is, all of them are right except that each view is but a partial view. The same can be said of Singaporeans’ descriptions of the ministerial pay issue. The disputes are similarly ‘loud and long’ and ministerial pay is one of the most divisive subjects in our country.
To heal our land, it is critical that each of us take the time and be open enough to find out and accept that there are other perspectives.
LEADERS WHO ARE WORTH THE MILLIONS
When the subject of Ministerial and Top Civil Servants’ pay was debated upon in April 2007, I was very uneasy. Till today, I believe that there are successful people in Singapore who are willing to put aside their corporate perks and power suits to serve in a cause they believe in.
Sir, five years on, I have learnt to recognise my view, like the blind men describing the elephant, is but one perspective based on my own values and season in life. Mind you, there are indeed people who would still give up successful careers to do what they believe in. In fact, just last week, yet another young banker hung up her corporate suit and joined the charity I run. But there are insufficient. I could not find enough of them who had the right mix of passion and technical and leadership competencies I need to help me construct our dream 21st century charity. Through a mix of monetary and non-monetary measures such as culture-building, we were able to attract and retain barely enough talents to sustain our rapid growth.
Sir, I can imagine how the challenge of attracting sufficient people with the right character and skillsets to enter politics, is multiplied.
The ‘new-normal’ political culture appears to call for ‘superhero’ politicians who are even rarer species. Ideally, the leaders of the future should be able to:
1. Inspire our people (especially those who have options to leave) to not only stay on but also actively construct our dream country together;
2. Connect and engage their constituents both face-to-face and in cyberspace;
3. Facilitate, gather differing perspectives and resolve multi-faceted issues with stakeholder groups who sometimes have opposing interests;
4. Harness continued support of their constituents and teams and do well at the polls; and to me most importantly.
5. Exercise not only courage to question but also the skills to provide solutions and exercise reforms in sacred-cow areas which are complex and deeply entrenched; but if nothing is done, will lead our country to demise. I am talking about the complex challenges such as trimming the $700-million tuition industry which appears to be a grudgingly accepted feature of our education landscape; the creation or re-designing of jobs to elevate the incomes and dignity of vulnerable citizens such as the elderly, lowly educated or the disabled; the potential of transforming private enterprises in essential services such as public transport to social enterprises.
Sir, MOE has developed a framework of the 21st century competencies essential for the survival of our students, our political and government leaders need the same. The dream leaders who are closer to the ideal profile I described are worth many millions. That is the additional perspective I wish to offer to the topic of ministerial pay review.
HALF-FULL OR HALF-EMPTY – ANALYSIS OF THE REPORT ON MINISTERIAL PAY REVIEW
Sir, I would like to turn now to the specifics of the Report on the Ministerial Pay Review, from a leadership and HR professional’s perspective.
Sir, I hold this glass of water in my hands. Is it half-full or half-empty? Some of us optimists will declare it is half-full. Others who are less positive will say it is half-empty. The cynics amongst us will wonder who drank the other half. I say it is both – half-full and half-empty.
HALF-FULL – POSITIVE RECOMMENDATIONS
Although I do not completely agree with the recommendations carried in the Report of the Ministerial Salaries Committee, I cannot, in good conscience, say that the Committee has done a poor job. By boldly recommending pay slashes up to 50% - measures which are hardly cosmetic, the Committee has moved in the right direction.
Like many in Singapore, I thought it was important that if reference was drawn from what I felt was a more punishing private sector in terms of pay and accountability, then it was only right that common compensation principles in that sector be applied.
I am heartened that some of the recommendations I made were considered and applied, and in some cases, enhanced.
1. An independent and external Salary Review Committee was set up, for the first time so that executives do not write their own;
2. The line of sight linking an incumbent’s Pay and his Performance is now clearer;
3. The previously simplistic link of Bonus to GDP growth rate is now expanded;
4. The Salary Benchmarking formula now targets a much bigger group of 1000 instead of 48 top wage earners;
5. Keeping the annual base pay package to comprise only monthly salaries and a 13th month bonus by removing items like Special Allowance and Public Service Leadership Allowances is a more acceptable compensation practice; amongst others.
HALF-EMPTY – ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS
Sir, to help further fill up the Glass, I would like to offer 5 recommendations:
1. Peg Pay to a Broader Base of Income Wage Earners and Discard Discount
The proposed salary benchmark of the entry level minister, is now pegged to the top 1000 wage earners, instead of 48, in Singapore. A discount of 40% is then applied.
Sir, the selection of the 1000 top wage earners, albeit more reasonable, is arbitrary and smacks of elitism because the base is about 0.05% of the workforce, assuming a workforce size of 2 milion. The application of the discount, whether the current one-third or the proposed 40%, is also arbitrary and often forgotten and unappreciated.
I propose that political leaders’ pay be pegged to a simple top percentile income bracket, eg 10% of 20% of Singaporeans.
A quick poll I conducted revealed that more Singaporeans are likely to understand and accept that their leaders belong to the top 10-20% income bracket in our country.
2. Strengthen the Line of Sight between Pay and Performance
a. Remove 1 of the 3 components of the Variable Pay Component ie the Annual Variable Component (AVC) and retain only (i) Performance Bonus which relates to the performance of the individual portfolio; and (ii) National Bonus which is linked to how the country performs;
b. Publicise the Key Performance Indicators or KPIs for individual portfolios so that Singaporeans have a better understanding of how they are linked to Performance Bonuses of the office bearers. Developing and publishing KPIs that relate to both the routine operations and new initiatives in, especially essential services such as housing, transport, social services, and education, are important for better understanding of the size of the individual portfolios and promote better quality dialogues;
c. Expand the National Bonus indicators which are now 100% linked to jobs and incomes. This is to reduce the potential of excessive risk-taking or undesirable tactics to boost the numbers. For instance, starting a third casino to boost the economy may well boost all 4 components of the National Bonus - real median income growth rate; real grow rate of the lowest 20th percentile income; lower unemployment rate; and enhance real GDP growth rate; but the move may well be an easier path to developing or own tourism products and is detrimental to the long term competitiveness and social well-being of our people.
3. Review the Benefits Package and Not Over-Extend the ‘Clean-Wage’ Principle.
Sir, it is a little ludicrous that the dental benefit of our Prime Minister and Ministers is $70/- per year and outpatient subsidy capped at $350 a year. Consider the provision of common benefits such as car and annual health screening packages that are typically provided to executives. Do not over-extend the application of the principle of ‘Clean Wage’ so far that it becomes artificial.
4. Clarify the job scope and expectations of Political Appointment Holders.
Sir, one of the underlying factors leading to the constant unhappy undertone when the subject of political pay is discussed in our country is the lack of awareness of the duties of political appointment holders from Members of Parliament to Ministers and even Speakers.
a. Members of Parliaments have differing views of their roles. The latest episode during which several Opposition MPs opine that it is the job of Government to help their poor and needy residents and referral is the right strategy; caused a debate of its own outside the House. The clarity of duties and goals would be useful even to MPs of the ruling party.
b. The man in the street, for instance, does not understand the role of the Speaker of the House and does not have sufficient information to comprehend how it equates to a Cabinet Minister.
c. Clarity is also useful in the case of office bearers who hold multiple portfolios, sometimes up to 3 roles. It takes more than a human being to do 3 roles effectively and leave little time and space for the incumbent to reflect and reform policies where needed.
Sir, instead of sweeping these under carpet, it is needful to clarify the job scopes and expectations of political appointment holders.
5. Conduct a Review of the Civil Service Leadership Pay
One of my deepest concerns is that the Review excluded the some 300 top civil servants in the elite Admin Service. The title of the Report is entitled “Salaries for a Capable and Committed Government” but the review has deliberately excluded top civil service leaders specifically the Permanent Secretaries and others in the elite Admin Service. This is the group that has been often been kept below the radar from public eye though they play a significant role in supporting the Prime Minister and his Cabinet in the development and execution of national policies. Due to their critical role, some of these elite talents are pegged on the same salary band with the ministers.
Sir, if and when the recommendations of the committee of political pay review are accepted, some civil servants will receive much higher packages than their ministers. Unlike the political appointment holders, they will continue to enjoy the retention of benefits such as the pension schemes which will be removed from the former.
a. Sir, paying for top talents especially for those who opt for a career in the civil service is not an issue. However, the same principles of rigour in job evaluation, accountability for KPIs and disclosure must be applied. If private firms and charities are expected to disclose the highest paid executives and their salary bands, there is no reason why there should be a cloak of secrecy over the Admin Service incumbents.
b. Sir, I ask the Prime Minister to conduct an independent review of top civil service leadership that will go beyond pay to attract, develop and retain talent for a capable and committed government.
CONCLUSION - HEAL OUR NATION
In conclusion, Sir, the review of political salaries is a work-in-progress. It needs further refinement but it is moving in the right direction. To reject it and to wait for it to be perfect and acceptable to every interested Singaporean, will mean the current system stays. And that to me, is not an option.
Like our opinion on this glass, some will continue to insist that it is half-full whilst others will insist that it is half-empty. And then there are those who will provide constructive ideas on how to completely fill the glass and make future reviews even sharper and more acceptable. This is the group who will help in the healing of the differences that have arisen out of the controversial subject of political pay.
On this note, I wish to thank the Prime Minister for slaying one of the sacred cows that has been a source of division and unhappiness amongst Singaporeans. I want to thank him too for graciously donating all of his pay rises in the last 5 years, in order to defend the policy of attracting and retaining talents to run our country.
I urge all of us as leaders of this country to develop a dream for Singapore that is so compelling that more leaders with both character and competence will come forward to serve, come what pay.
16 January 2012
Chen Show Mao
"Because political service starts with our election as parliamentary representatives of the people, MP allowance should be the starting point. The Cabinet is the constitutional extension of Parliament not an extension of the private sector."
Chen Show Mao’s speech on Ministerial Salary Review
Mr Speaker Sir,
The Workers’ Party view the committee’s report with a sense of hope because it is a step in the right direction. We agree with the three principles that political salaries should be competitive, that political service is a calling and has its own ethos, and that wages should be transparent.
Political service is a calling and not be treated as discount factor
However, the order by which the principles are applied has produced in our view a flawed new benchmark. Because competitive salary is placed as the first principle ahead of political service, the committee has pegged ministerial salary to the median salary of the 1000 top-earning Singaporeans and then applied a discount for political service.
If the new benchmark is accepted by the Government, it would continue to send the message, to potential political office holders and the people of Singapore alike, that top pay is the benchmark by which the importance of the office is to be judged, and that the value of political office can, in the final analysis, be monetized. It cannot be，Not even at the highest income levels. Political service is a calling; it is a privilege accorded by the electorate to serve the largest number of our fellow Singaporeans. It is primarily a privilege, not primarily a burden or sacrifice. The principle of political service should come first and not be treated as a discount factor.
Whole of Government, People-up approach
Because political service is in the genre of public service, we propose a whole-of-government, people-up approach that benchmarks Ministerial salary to MP allowance, which is in turn pegged to the pay of the civil service bench-marked to general wage levels. Because political service starts with our election as parliamentary representatives of the people, MP allowance should be the starting point. The Cabinet is the constitutional extension of Parliament and the institutional expression of the legislature’s control over the executive. It is not an extension of the private sector.
This whole-of-government, people-up approach is a pragmatic reality in many well-governed, developed countries and territories around the world.
Is Singapore unique? Of course. But it is not so dissimilar to others that we cannot learn from their best practices and how they apply good principles.
For example, the committee writes, “As is international practice in Westminster Parliamentary systems, the … political appointment holders will also receive MP allowances as they have the dual roles of being MPs”.
Parliament Sovereignty is paramount
We agree that the Ministers should receive their MP allowances. But that is because, Ministers are MPs first, they are not merely also MPs. We must remember that in our system of government, Ministers are first of all MPs elected by the people as their representatives. Not selected by the Prime Minister from the private sector into the Cabinet and then also MPs. Parliament is the highest authority in our system of government, and MPs, as elected representatives of the people, should be the starting point for the determination of ministerial salary. The committee’s benchmark to the private sector clouds this fact. Worker’s Party recommends pegging ministerial salary as multiples of MP allowance. This expresses the fact that ministers are first and foremost elected as MPs to serve and represent the people.
So in what multiples should Singapore peg ministerial salary to MP allowance? We propose that an entry-grade minister’s monthly salary be 5 times the MP allowance, and 9 times for the Prime Minister.
As DPM said, there are no right or wrong answers, and this is ultimately a judgment call. We propose multiples based on the increased responsibilities and additional capabilities and experience required of the different political offices in Singapore. We also believe that this is where the principles of competitive salary and transparency can come in, to take into consideration some of the factors cited by the committee as to why the system of Singapore may be different from those in other countries. In the words of DPM, we believe the pay should be sufficient to not deter potential political office holders with desire and ability, from serving in political office without undue concern for their standards of living.
Of course we would like to see capable men and women in the Cabinet. But I do not believe that our best people for political office are only those who make the most money. Many of our former and current Ministers did not come in from the private sector or the top earning professions, that is as we would expect. Many of them were public servants who heeded the call of political service by standing for elections.
Political service is in the nature of public service. We believe that MP allowance should be set with reference to the salary of senior executives in the regular civil service. This is consistent with the general practice in most of the countries and territories we surveyed.
The starting salary of entry-grade senior civil servants in the regular civil service — a director of MX9 grade in the Management Executive Scheme of the civil service (outside of the Administrative Service) is approximately $11,000 a month.
In our proposal, MP allowance would be about $11,000 per month, Ministerial salary would range from $55,000 per month for entry-grade ministers to $99,000 per month for the Prime Minister.
We support the clean wage proposal for transparency, in which compensation is fully accounted for with no hidden items. In addition to a fixed 13-month salary that is keyed to MP allowance, we propose that the ministers and the prime minister receive variable pay of different bonuses that add up to no more than five months in any year (compared to 13.5 months recommended by the committee). Many Singaporeans may take home up to 3 or 4 months of bonuses in a very good year, compared to 13.5 months for the ministers as recommended by the committee. In fact, if the maximum bonuses recommended by the committee were awarded, the reduction in entry-grade minister pay would be 8% and not the 31% calculated by the committee.
In our whole-of-government approach, since civil service salary is aligned to general market conditions faced by Singaporean workers, MP allowance and ministerial salary will move with the income levels of many more Singaporeans than with the total employment and trade income of the top-earning 1000, including their bonuses, commissions and stock options. The Workers’ Party’s benchmark will better help our leaders empathize with the majority of Singaporeans and not just the very few.
Inclusivity vs Exclusivity
The Workers’ Party’s proposed approach aims for enhanced inclusivity and sensitivity to the progress of Singaporeans, rather than discounted exclusivity pegged to top earners. We believe the committee has taken the right step forward with the three principles. It is up to the Government now to go further to apply the principles in the right order by recognizing political service as the first principle, anchored in the primacy of parliament. Let us place ministerial pay on a sound footing in order to ground political leadership in a strong sense of service to all Singaporeans.
Thank you. And now, if I may, in Chinese.
当然, 新加坡的国情向来就是独一无二的。但再怎么特殊, 也不至于完全找不到其他体制值得我们学习的地方吧？