The Online Citizen

Government must adopt mindset of 'servant leadership'

April 09
14:00 2012

~ By Ng E-Jay ~

A few days ago in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that his government has changed the way it engages the electorate in determining policy outcomes.

Describing it as a “two-way” process in which both sides work together to make Singapore succeed, Mr Lee felt that the change has been necessary and helpful. He said that this process calls for Singaporeans to not just speak out, but also to participate and to feel the responsibility to do their part.

Mr Lee also identified two social trends that worried him — a self-centered “mind your own backyard” attitude, as well as what appears to be a growing gap between Singaporeans and new immigrants. He cited the example of angry reactions to Chinese student Sun Xu who made derogatory comments about Singaporeans, and urged Singaporeans to maintain “a certain balance and not get worked up every time someone misspeaks”.

Result of voter pressure

The reason why the ruling PAP under PM Lee’s leadership has been trying hard to portray itself as being more responsive to the electorate is because the electorate has, through both the ballot box as well as through various feedback channels, put pressure on the government to loosen up and listen up.

The concerns of voters – from the rising cost of living including medical costs, to the high prices of property, to the rapid influx of foreigners who compete for jobs on equal terms with Singapore citizens – are not frivolous concerns of a fickle electorate, but genuine concerns of an awakened body politic that has been hurt by poorly administered and lop-sided policies that favour the elites over the less fortunate.

The government has felt sufficient pressure to change, or at least, to give the semblance of change, because the citizens have bravely spoken their minds and cast their votes accordingly.

Paradigm shift needed

If the government wishes to engage the people more effectively and elicit a greater degree of participation and active citizenry, it must first start by changing its own mindset and attitudes.

Not too many years ago, playwright and author Catherine Lim was told by the ruling authorities that if she wished to comment on political issues, she should join a political party and identify herself as a politician.

In the 1990s, former minister George Yeo was once quoted by the Straits Times as saying that one should know one’s place in society and show deference to the authorities when engaging on policy issues.

In Singapore, freedom of speech has not come easily, but only recognized grudgingly when the ruling party realized that the rapid technological progress has made censorship and many oppressive methods outdated and ineffective.

Starts with respect

If the government wants to earn the respect of the people and encourage them to step forward to engage the government constructively, it must first learn to respect them and treat them as equals.

It must learn to be tolerant of dissent and differing points of view, and not adopt the mentality that it can sometimes be “deaf to criticism“, as Lim Swee Say once famously remarked to Low Thia Khiang in Parliament.

The government must stop viewing the citizens as economic digits who need to “have spurs stuck in their hides“, or as people who should “repent” if they voted in the opposition.

If some have adopted a “them and us” mentality with regards to the relation between the government and the people, or between Singaporeans and foreigners, it is not because they are closed minded or xenophobic to begin with, but rather because they are angry that government policies have been so skewed and have at many times been pushed to such extremes.

If some Singaporeans appear self-centered, it is because the government has emphasized materialism above all else, and left them in the lurch in the face of global economic competition and uncertainty.

In order to effectively arouse the passions of Singaporeans and foster constructive dialogue between government and people, the ruling party must first adopt the attitude of “servant leadership“.

Embrace servant leadership

The term “servant leadership” was first coined by Robert K. Greenleaf (1904–1990), a management guru. Servant leadership implies a holistic view of the people under your charge and a sense of community. A servant leader regards himself first and foremost as a servant of those he commands, and places their interests above his own. Essentially therefore, servant leadership is leadership through service, and the emphasis on the well-being of others before one’s own.

Inherent in the idea of servant leadership is the principle that a leader must respect those he leads, and regard himself as their servant rather than as their master. This means he must not coerce his followers into accepting his methods, but instead educate, persuade, guide and nurture. Tolerance and inclusiveness are key in servant leadership.

Thus far, has the PAP made progress towards adopting the principles of servant leadership? That remains to be seen. They must strive to do so if they wish to be respected by the people. Or else, the people will continue to feel disillusioned and disenfranchised, and it will be the PAP which will lose more power over time at the ballot box.


This article first appeared on the author's website, sgpolitics.net

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  • iNOsueANYBODY

    urged Singaporeans to maintain “a certain balance and not get worked up every time someone misspeaks”.
    ………………………….     
     
    ha ha ha..asked YOUR father to do the same when some1s else MISPEAK… 
    is your father name SUE?

  • LIONS

    ya,ya,the PM is telling us that singapore 'stake-holders' must 'serve' the PM and his lapdogs.
    do common singapore 'stake-holders' fee tht they are being served or have been served?
    like maybe 'served' with a parking fine or served witha 'retrenchemt/replacement' letter from the 'servant-leaders'?
     
    saying is easy,doing is tough.

  • Monica Chew

    I am not convinced that Lee Hsien Loong and his team is genuine in the opening up and listen department.  He shed tears and asked people to "close rank". He said its imporant for Singapore "to get its politics right".  
    But at the same time he, his team and his brother threatens to sue over comments on the internet,even minor obscure ones. The government has said they are looking into internet governance seriously. In other words, speak only what they approve of.
    They have every intention to rule by the rod and when election comes around, just hand out some carrots.  This strategy has never failed them since everybody loves handouts.

  • Chanel

    Pigs would really fly if PAP elitists adopt "servant leadership"!!!!!
     
    Getting PAP ministers and MPs to be "servant leaders" is far harder than to strike TOTO first prize!

  • Libran

    His policies only serve a small group of rich people well, while the rest of Singaporeans languish. Has life gotten better for Singaporeans with the flooding of cheap labour and immigrants, or the casinos? Has the GST been abolished, or NS been abolished?

  • Pingback: Government must adopt mindset of ‘servant leadership’ « SG NEWS BLOG

  • soundbites

    @INOsueANYBODY and @Monica Chew
    Agree with both your comments, what is good for the goose must be good for the gender.  No double standard on "misspeaks".
    Again the same old "do what I say, don't do what I do", problem with PAP.
    LHL went to Oxford, doesn't he realise by now that Singaporeans of this generation are much more discerning and knowledgeable than before…we can spot sincerity, or lack of, from miles away. 
    Please be sincere in words and deeds, SAY WHAT YOU MEAN AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY.  With this simple principle in life, you do not need any more motherhood statements of "servant leadership", etc, etc.

  • OLD SINGAPORE UNCLES

    ok PM Lee,for a start,can you ask the old-uncles in the govt to serve the singaporeans at food-courts by collecting left-overs.
    i don't seeany MPs serving singaporeans,only old singaporean uncles and aunties serving young ppl instead.
    how  to be served by servant-leaders who command you to work till you drop dead?
     
    i pity those limping senior grandfathers and grandmothers at our foodcourts collecting swills fora living.
     
     
    if we can sponsor the likes of SUN XU IN THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS,i can't fathom why we cnanot 'sponsor' the old uncles and aunties who collect rubbish for a mere pittance?
    PM lee,PLEASE GO WALK-ABOUT in disguise and you can see what you ahve done to the common citizens of thsi 'prosperous; high gdp nation.

  • Libran

    The fact that he even dares to mention Sun Xu the ingrate shows how out of touch he is with ground sentiment. If I were him I would hang my head low and not even mention his name, for fear of stoking anger and frustration again at PAP policy of giving scholarships in the millions of dollars to foreigners while Singaporeans languished. The people haven't forgiven him  for this yet.

  • LIONS

    sorry,PM,but you are obviously living in luxury in your ivory-towers and refuse to 'COME DOWN' to GROUND 'ZERO' to see what's really happening all over SG.
    not only did you think it is right to take away jobs singaporeans wer eonce doing most productively and reputably before your beloved FTs brought our nation to disgrace with our NATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY ratings dropping down notches;you also fail to notice that SUN XU is not an odd case like you said.
    there are countless 'SUN XUs,not only form PRC but INDIA,PHILIPPINES AND ELSEWHERE who think nothing of calling  old singaporean uncles like your  daddy,'DOGs' or other names.
     
    it is fortunate your daddy has got TIGHT SECURITY provided for him but countless old singaporeans uncles and even aunties get shoved and pushed about and must remian 'silent' OR be caleed'DOGS' or maybe 'BITCHES'?
     
    IS THIS RIGHT,SIR?

  • xlandjy

    Ask former civil servant (who is 70 or above), they would tell you that during the colonial time, they signed of their letter as
    "YOURS OBEDIENT SERVANT"!  But, they conducted themselves as MASTERS!

  • condy

    talk is cheap.  only actions mean anything.  the government's actions (or lack of them) since the elections have only shown they are the same, making only token changes while fundamentally things are the same.
     
    it will take a lot more action by the government for people to believe your latest effort at PR spin…

  • Saran

    As long as they hide in their ivory towers n remain diconnected which feels so (sadly that is the state of affairs even now) all these is simply empty talk. It is being hypocritical.
    As an aside:
    Singaporeans need to wake up and not be simply taken in by what is told to them.
    I am being cynical, just look around, each foreginer gaining a job (unfairly) is a loss to a local and there are too many loopholes in the system and employers are exploiting and benefitting.
    The transpiring reality is that many locals are losing out to foreigners simply cos of lower wages which wroks for them n employers. MOST are simply here for a while and can go back to whereever they come from. It is not possible for a Singaporean to do that as he/she has to factor in many things like buying a flat, raising a family and so many other costs has to be incurred along the way. The foreigner does not have to cos they do not plan to make roots here, it is a mere stepping stone or an economic opportunity. Very few settle here. However, the fallout of such ill-conceived policing and implementation has disadvantaged locals.
    It is fine to have foreigners when employers can show proof that a local cannot fill up a position. Is that happening? Why the inertia to legislate or implement something to that effect that prevents locals ffrom being discriminated? When the latter state (lack of law or stipulations) persists there is no such thing as level playing field or fairness!
    Fix the problem of ever skyrocketing so-called public housing (why PRs are allowed to partake of HDB?), fix the problem of locals losing out to foreigners simply cos of cheaper costs (labour) and one can add on more and one would see that the delivery so far has been utterly disappointing. Singaporean first means it must mean that , is that happening? I dont feel so and I m being cynical but how else can one be when that which is transpiring is beyond belief ! All that is transpiring now is a consequence of a policy and it has an economic/social effect on the nation. Two-way. Really?
    Whether it is people-centred or self-centred governance is best left to the discerning n ethical reader(s) to deduce.
     

  • BK

    Of course the government knows all these things, what servant leadership, what 2-way process, what respect the people first. In fact they have been talking about it when they feel pressured. The critical point is we have not pressured them enough to pratice it. That is why till now, it remains "talk only". 

  • Libran

    @Saran
     
    Agree with you. The situation is dire and urgent action is needed, not just lip service. The longer a Singaporean PMET stays out of work, the less competitive he becomes. If he is out of job for a continuous period of 6 months, he loses touch and can't keep up with the ever changing job requirement. He then becomes a long term unemployed, and out of frustration, drops out of the job race altogether.

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Don't waste your time with the PAP. Its in the PAP DNA to be dictatorial and to put the blame on citizens rather than making a sincere effort to change. The PAP cannot change. The future of Singapore lies in a multi-party democracy and it is Singaporeans who are going to make that a reality via the ballot box.
     
    In any case -  should the PAP still hammer the citizens instead of changing itself -  than I am sure that Singaporeans will eventually see the light in what SDP has been preaching i.e. Civil Disobedience.
     
    So the way I see it – there is no future in the PAP….

  • mice is nice

    Dr Syed Alwi,
     
    i totally agree with you.  :)

  • Fed up

    If you had been someone else's son, I doubt you will still be there yapping!  After all that you have done to the Singapore people despite the $mils paid to you and still paying to you, this would never happen in a democratic country. This is why you are so scared of democracy, it is not really for the good of Sg but yourself.

  • lagi fed up

    so many sinkies have already been condemned to the abyss,what future are we talking baout with the PAPies.
    they can't evn be bothered with the cries of the poor n needy,profferring to take in more FTs to sielined more sinkies.
    if sinkies do not condemn the papies,the papies will no doubt condemn them.

  • is it a joke?

    can anyone serioulsy expect this 'how-lian' face to serve them?
     
    i mean serioulsy…

  • Damn

    Daddy has a hatchet in his bag which he'll not hesitate to use on anybody who is viewed as a threat and the Son wants us to believe his "servant-leaders" talk?! We are really not that daft. The arrogance and I-am-never-wrong attitude runs in the famiLEE. 

  • son of s

    Servant – leadership has never crossed the minds of Saddam, Gadhafi, Mubarak the military regime of Myanmar etc until it is absolutely necessary. The prizes of hegemony are legion. Free to suckle at the honey pots of the country, extorting King's ransom as salaries, free to replace the population with better productive units, free to pretend as grand architects of the GDP etc. Why, why should the PAP knuckleduster subscribe to such an dubious  notion of governance as servant -leadership?
    Presumably not until they emerge from the sewer asking for a second chance like Gadhafi.

  • Damn

    @iNOsueANYBODY
     
    ha ha ha..asked YOUR father to do the same when some1s else MISPEAK… 
    is your father name SUE?
     
    Well said! Totally agree with you!

  • Ovs Singaporean

    It is expectable that a leader with such backing and power does not want democracy. What boggles me is the educated Singaporeans being governed, agree with him that democracy is bad for the country. Absolute bonkers of a citizenry.

  • Sgcynic

    Simply put, the PAP must put the interest of the nation before its own, at least on par. Did it? Will it? Can it?

  • Gjion Beyonce

    The utter disregard of human feelings has become deeply embedded in the collective PAP psyche that the possibility of a 'servant leadership' is only plausible 'baloney'. I don't want to believe their 'servitude' can only be reined in through the ballot boxes. But what other choices do we have to chastise unforthright 'servants'?

  • Challenger

    Action speaks louder than words, bring your salary back down to earh and scrap the nonsensical national bonus, other bonuses, bodyguards and perks. Only then would we believe you.

  • black_dot

    King and peasants is what PAP is!
    Just get rid of them..that's the way, ha ha, ha ha!

  • Robert Teh

    PAP's rule is a servant leadership? That is a joke lah. For 46 years, what do we see of its doing but all the talk-down lecturing of people and use of their power for their own self-interests to stay in power with PAPitocracy trying to pass off as PAPsudocracy.

    Its chief tactics include PAPigulating of laws and regulations called rule of law which is not for them to obey but only the peanuts. They will use their power to go to the parliament and without proving their talent force the parliament with falsehood to vote and pay themselves the  highest salaries for their ministers producing only world's worse form of exploitations of the people.

    Their MPs are present in parliament not to work for people's needs and aspirations but for their own PAPPYSUCKING to the power to win their next million-dollar promotion.

    They are there to PAPisify for every policy aimed at sucking more monies or clamping down on critics with ISA or libel suits. If there is any problems,with the foreigners trying to bully local citizens, they will PAPibaey for their interests and protections in competing against the citizens' jobs at the expense of our citizens.

     

  • LIONS ROAR

    what are you saying pm lee?
    by right,the govt ministers are the 'servants' of the voters/citizens,are tey constitutionally not?

  • mice is nice

    how can PM let Hougang to be without a servant? if must self service then can have extra tax relief? if parliamentarians are voted to serve the people who voted for them, why is it that the people are often made to feel beholdened to the servant? & why are some policies less pro-citizens as they should be?
     
    no wonder Complaints Choir of S'pore kenna banned. sometimes i really what are we voting for?…

  • Dreams

    Be realistic lah.
    Asking for the moon or wat?
    This isnt Jesus' time.
    Servant Leadership?
    People have familes to support and a peaceful life to lead.
    Bright & talented peole would rather then become CEOs and earn fat bucks, eat good and travel round the world.
    Servant leadership? The pay now is even worse off than small time CEOs in Singapore today.
    Yes, there will be plenty of servant leader potentials around. Ever ready to serve given the power to destroy others and earning some money (when they have none currently).  Right?
    With mediocres or so-called brainless altrustic people taking office in Singapore then it's high we all migrate (well, only the wealthy and bright can do), the rest crying for change type (for worse) will face amaggedon.
     What can a tiny resourceless island provde others without the brains behind.
    Fortunately, we arent ruled by UMNO. Imagine, a richly blessed resource rich country like Malaysia gaining indepedence much earlier than Singapore is still in the 3rd Wortld when S Korea, Hk, Taiwan Singapore and Japan have all taken off. The ordinary, average Malaysians cant be too pleased today given its GNP.

  • notalone

    Our people has been spending Millions for each Minister since the mid-90s, and what do we have now?…. 
    After almost 20 years under their Million-dollar leadership, in the Year 2011, they suddenly realised there is a need of change on their leadership style? 
    Did Singaporeans suddenly change our expectation only in the Year 2011?
    This is rubbish, craps, zero-visionary leadership, products of Million-dollar-team of dreamers.
     
     

  • Rodolfo

    I wish the PAP success in this regard. But I think it will be a challenge to change the entrenched collective mindset of the mandarin class they have bred over the years.
     
    This mandarin class has been nurtured to think that they know better, are destined to lead and show fellow SIngaporeans the way without spending too much time engaging in frivolous debate about meaningless matters. From their behaviour, many of them appear to believe this to be so and appear to believe they are far superior to others. This mentality will take a long long time to reverse.
     
    At the same time, these mandarins seem to think other SIngaporeans live and think like them. The policies they formulate appear to assume that if they can, so can everyone else. Which is unrealistic. They talk about empathising with ordinary folk. But I wonder if these high and mighty people have ever seen the ground and if they know what it means to emphathise.

  • busybody

    A servant government enriched the public and her citizens by facilitation. A master government enriched themselves and their tribe so as to own the people.
     

  • harry kek

    the anger expressed in this forum has taken the form of satire.  The name calling portends disgust.
    Its not only a TPL who stomp feet and don't know what to do.  It seems the entire Leadership don't know what to do.  There is no strategic direction; merely baby steps to placate.  And if cluelesslycarried out, it becomes a hoodwink.  Its a bit more difficult to merely just move on!
    The empty seat at Hougang is an unnecessary focal point for the Party that should have been addressed urgently and yet, it is allowed to fester.  Soon, even the flies will die from stench!
    Time to resurrect that Old Bugger with his hatchet and herd those troublesome ungrateful fools into a cul de sac and rivet the spurs into their hinds?  Ignore their cries and soon they will repent and come to their senses.  Back to the good old days of Fear, More Fear and Even More Fear.

  • oh boy

    Servant leadership?

    Please lah, he actually meant we citizens are the servants and they are the leadership.

    The pap should stop playing with words and show real actions.

  • Another ovs Sporean

    @Dreams
     
    Just one question:  Why are Chinese Malaysians not flocking to live in Sg? Mind you, most of the Chinese in Malaysia are successful and rich, the type who Sg welcome with open arms.  It is only across the causeway, not as if they have to fly ten hrs. Says alot that they still prefer to stay put in "3rd world" Malaysia.
     
    You can keep saying to yourself that Sg is the best first world country.  Other countries are not bothered with your silly competition, they are bothered with running their countries properly, for their people.

  • Harry Li

    PM Lee, please match your words with your actions. So far, many speeches on 'People Servant', but didn't see that kind of attitude. Same as before, no action, talk only.

  • From The Reader

    From all I have read, it seems that lots of educated Singaporeans are totally against the reckless open door policies. Lousy immigrants are allowed into the system. Yet, those on top favor their own nationality. Worst, the politicians do not provide social mobility to Singaporeans who slog day n nite. Instead they condemn them as daft, lazy, choosy. If this continue, no Singaporean will vote for any white shirt sh*t in future.

  • adam

    If  there are to be any CHANGES in the PAP the passing of Lee Kuan Yew with his 'my way or no way' is the only way.

  • Smudger

    “a certain balance and not get worked up every time someone misspeaks"
    Exactly the point! Do not get worked up and sue someone that misspeaks. Walk the talk before becoming preaching.

  • As

    Servant? My foot

    Leopards never change their spots!!!!!!

  • Bent

    it always has been master slave relationship in singapore that created fear and yes men every corner.
    what he said is not wrong, it always has been that for singapore.
    singaporeans have small balls, only complain, that is what we are good at.

  • Peter Sellers

    E-Jay, you articulate your ideas so well and you always have your fingers on the pulse of the nation.
     
    I am not familiar with Robert Greenleaf's work but the concept of service has always been implicit in the term "public servant". Elected officials are there to serve the people, "service" meaning the greatest good for the greatest number. Yet, in Singapore, we have a "we know better" syndrome, a case of the tail wagging the dog. This is exemplified by comments of people such as Dreams above. 
     
    Make no mistake, change must and will come. 

  • LHL is full of crap

    LHL is full of crap.  Now he is trying again to repackage his mediocre leadership.   Singaporeans are fed up with his bumbling, pro-alien party.  They are just waiting for GE2016 to force a regime change.    

  • http://www.singaporeenbloc.blogspot.com The Pariah

    OUTPUT versus OUTCOME (economist Umair Haque's book "The New Capitalist Manifesto") .
    This PAP Govt put Output (eg, GDP growth) over and above Outcome (eg, Homes not Houses, Citizens not Big Biz, Sustainability not Mindlessness)
    That's how the Govt (PAP + Civil Service) LOST Public Trust, Public Credibility and Moral Authority.
    Too little, too late for too long. 

  • TG

    40% and still growing… because there is no change in attitude.

  • http://www.singaporeenbloc.blogspot.com The Pariah

    PAP's 3Ds: 
    DUMB Cows – Dr Toh Chin Chye, interview in 1981
    DEAF Frogs – Mr Lim Swee Say, parliament in 2010
    DAFT – Mr Lee Kuan Yew, dialogue session in 2010
    DIM-sighted - I say of Singaporeans who gave PAP 60% vote in GE2011: "None so blind as those who have eyes but see not". 

  • View Finder

    It is curious to me why such pronouncements are made whenever he is abroad.
    Are these "sayings" of his really because he wants to engage with Singaporeans or are they assurances to his ASEAN and foreign cohorts that he still has the pulse of Singaporeans. In other words, he has everything in control. Hence BUSINESS AS USUAL.
    If he really wants to engae with Singaporeans about the things that are important to us as a nation, why not hold press conferences regularly on our own soil.
    Who exactly are these words for?

  • Robert Teh

    View Finder,
    Very good observation that he made all these pronouncements for his overseas audience. They are not real. He would have a lot of difficulties in justifying these pronouncements in the presence of citizens.

  • mice is nice

    ok, so our leadership is not servant/leader, its more salesman/leader. & most salesman only have sales targets to meet, a narrowly defined goal. & most companies in S'pore do not have the interest of customers at heart. very rare to meet a salesperson who isn't eager to make sales at the expense of the customer.
     
    those who got burnt buying toxic investments should know. banks have very friendly "relationship" managers, can't remember the exact term.
     
    no wonder i have less "relationships" now, no money no talk. everytime i walk pass credit card salesperson from any bank who ask me sign up for card, i say "i just went for job interview…", smile & walk away quickly.   =D

  • David

    Based on facial fengshui, he has a very arrogant looking face.  In the international arena, he talked big and no other country reporter wanted to go near him to ask him any question concerning the world.  He and his father speech if a forgetable entertaining show because the questions are phrased so cautiously to avoid getting a lawsuit.  It is only local msm reporters that tried to make a show for him. So staged indeed.  As whether Singaporeans are happy in general? all statistics point to the fact that we are not happy under PAP leadership. There is no denial and even Khaw Boon Wan tried to play down about Bhutan happiness. All these so-called high on the air and self-proclaimed as walking buddha want you to retire in JB or Batam if you can't afford a place in Singapore, your country and yet the "walking buddha" paid only $8 to have his heart zipped for good. If this is the kind of leadership I want non of it. 

  • http://www.moneysmart.sg Ryan

    Of course it's a servant / leadership mentality. They are the leaders, and we are the servants! Ha ha!

  • Confucius

    Dr Syed Alwi 9 April 2012
    I wonder if you're the same person of Arabic descent who professes to be a staunch UMNO supporter in all your threads elsewhere.
    May I take the opportunity to enquire what great moral values you see in UMNO that everyone here can learn from through you, other than the former US Ambassador to Malaysia, Mallot's  hard-hitting criticisms of UMNO's open racism in the AWSJ.
    UMNO stands for its half-century old disccriminatory Affirmative Policy that has driven out literally MILLIONS of Malaysia's minorities, especially the Chinese (replaced by millions of Muslim Indonesian "talents"), elsewhere in search of a livelihood since the late 60s. Many have taken roots in Singapore like myself.
    UMNO is also known for its corruption amongst its top brass from Toyoland to Attatulya's submarine to public cows to condos to Rashidah's AP. In fact, the reason for the PM siding with ex-Minister Shahzirat is the wife (sleeping beside the husband, let alone the director sons) doesnt know a darm about the whole thing. LOL.
    So?

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Confucious,
     
    If you don't like UMNO – then you better be prepared to like PAS and company. DAP can never win the Malay heartlands. In case you haven't noticed – Malaysia is a MUSLIM country. There is no chance in heaven that DAP can lead Malaysia. Its either UMNO or PAS. The choice is yours to make BUT you have to live with the consequences of your choice..
     
    As for the PAP – I say it publicly without fear or favour – there is NO future in the PAP. Deal with it dude !

  • tiredsingaporean

    to the PM and his papies, if you want respect from the people, you have to earn it, not forced to get it, understand? you bunch of useless clowns are facing your doomsday soon….

  • adam

    @Dr.Syed Alwi
     
    I tend to agree with you,but you have forgotten that  there is a conduit for Malaysia to be truly Malaysian where you mentioned ever so often that there should be Unity in Diversity.
    That conduit is PR and Bersih – you will note that both this organisation or political party has very strong Malay SUPPORT with a minimal of Chinese participating.
    Singapore on the other hand is cherry ripe to see a New Dawn rising,PAP is way past its expiry date unless the Gap passes away – the shadow is too large to be erased,it must be removed by natural causes.

  • Paiseh

    One of our new MP feels "maloo"/"paiseh" if he talk to the directors & bosses of the private companies because he feels that his MP salaries is not comparable to theirs.
    Forget about the servant thing;. It's better to replace them.

  • Lord?

    Look at ALL the large banners around Singapore heartland, showing our MPs LORDING over the residents. If this is not MASTER mentality, what is?  Oh ya, why should the armies and policies in NDP salute to a bunch of white clowns? these clowns should sit separately from the president at the opposition stage facing the backside of those in uniforms.

  • son of s

    There is no capability within the PAP to think new thoughts. All 80 of them are reduced to waiting for the spasmodic declaration from the top. What a waste of taxpayers' money to pay 80 of them, each very well , some millions per annum and have them be lamp-posts afraid to think, afraid to speak. In the rare occasions when they do speak they create guffaws to irritate and entertain the populace. The GRC system must have been the brainchild of the greatest of them in the innermost circle, devised to keep their hegemony. That brain has of late years produced nothing but guffaws. We don't t expect that anyone in the Government is able to rethink the GRC system and indeed anything but to pour more and more  foreign workers into Singapore, sterengthen the secret police, get the judiaciary  absolutely compliant  and in short the knuckleduster governance.
    In Cybernetics the control system should have at least equal variety to the thing controlled. Here in Singapore , power and control is of one man or at most two. All 80 odd brains are shut.  There is no requisite variety in the governing body to govern the body..

  • son of s

    Long time rule demolishes the  servant – leadership relationship between the government and the governed.Mubarak, Saddam Husein, Gadhafi, Shah or Iran, Suharto they all fall into the same mode.

  • Ovs Singaporean

    @Lord?
     
    Ya, Sg has many features of a Communist Govt (notice I didn't say Communist system of country, this is because wealth is not distributed).  Crazy to think that the contingents at NDP must salute to a certain group of people, like paying homage, in this modern day democratic society.
     
    Other strong features are controlled media (functions as propaganda dept) & one-party rule. And Singaporeans support this? And even want Yale Uni to learn the Communist way of governing?  Seriously, what kind of people do we have in Singapore?  How to come back like that?  I don't fit anymore.
     
     

  • mice is nice

    a truer democratic country will not have bootlickers blasting each & every critic & they would not be that concern about the govt not getting "enough" credit for the country's success.
     
    the worries a progressive country have is a govt that thirst for more & more power to control, and the shut the voices it does not like to hear, the lack of accountability in practise and not putting the interests of its own people at the forefront of the many national agendas.
     
    that said, the Hougang by-election should not be held at one's pleasure. the feet dragging only goes to show how insignificant the people's concerns are.

  • son of s

    Democracy, Human Rights, Servant-Leadership etc.
    These do not figure in the context of governance in Singapore.
    Yet the propaganda machine is so good that the International Community is not aware of what motivates the Government in Singapore.

  • saran

    The fact that MBT ignored n implemented a policy where a foreigner can partke of public housing w/o nary a care nor consultation/feedback suffices that what is being mentioned by LHL is certainly not true excepting futurzing!
    One has to be wary cos it is being hypocritical n deceptive
     

  • So obvious

    @sarah
     
    "hypocritical n deceptive"
     
    LHL was addrressing other audience, he had no choice because he knew that is what or how others work.  If he had addressed them the way he did with Singaporeans (that we have to be pragmatic, see big picture & what nots), he knew it would not go down well, others would not be impressed as they know these are con words.

  • Half-Truth Again?

    son of s 11 April 2012
    "Mubarak, Saddam Husein, Gadhafi, Shah or Iran, Suharto they all fall into the same mode."
    Are u ok? Check out the per capita income i.e.  average income of the populace of these 3rd World countries first vis-a-vis Singapore's. 
    Intelligent argument? LOL.

  • Confucius

    Dr Syed Alwi 10 April 2012
    Please dont digress.
    What are the virtues or values you see in UMNO that any upright Muslim so to speak is proud of supporting?
    "Malaysia is a MUSLIM country.  . . . . .BUT you have to live with the consequences of your choice.'
    What are you implying? That non-Muslims living in a MUSLIM majority country have to face consqences and  accept the bullying from or kowtowing to the Muslims?
    This is not happening in non-Muslim majority Singapore.  There are NO discriminatory laws legislated by the majority non-Muslims to oppress or suppress the minority races. There isnt any mass migration of the minorities to speak about.(unlike Malaysia) In this resourceless island where the majority (private sector taxes) provides the revenue to upkeep the minorities who may be the needy or are in the public or quasi-public service sector. Why cant your beloved UMNO do the same (not beyond) for Malaysia's minorities when in fact the non-Muslims there are primarily the contributors of State revenue?
    So there is "no future in PAP" that turned this resourceless island into a 1st World city but in there a future for your much beloved UMNO that openly advocates and practises aparthied – Bumis (Malay- speaking Muslims) vs Non-Bumis? 
    Btw the indigenous natives or Red Indians of Malaya are the Orang Asli (whom you people yourselves call "tulen" (original)) as many bloggers have cleverly pointed out in the various threads.
    What is diificult to understand among humankind is an assortment of Muslim migrants by sheer numbers – Indian, Pakistani, Middle Eastern and Indonesian decsent coming together and calling themselves "constitutional Malays" begian bulldozing all kinds of one-sided discriminatory policies and laws against the non-Muslims in Parliament.  Right?
    Search Your Heart, Oh God

     
     

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Confucious,
     
    Malaysia is a Muslim country so you either deal with UMNO or PAS. Make your choice. I support UMNO because PAS vision of an Islamic State is far too extreme.
     
    Meritocracy discriminates against the poor of all races because the rich can afford all the extras needed to stay ahead in the game.
     
    The Speak Mandarin requirement in job ads – even for positions that do not require a knowledge of the language – discriminates against minorities who don't speak Mandarin.
     
    Malaysia is more tolerant of dissent. The fact that you can speak out and protest against so many things – is proof that democracy is alive.
     
    Singapore is less corrupt at the price of astronomical salaries for politicians who decide their own pay !
     
    Need I say more ?
     

  • http://A humble

    Its good to see that the govt has finally to some extent agreed to listen to the Singaporeans voices. Basically Singaporeans are not anti foreigner, but by bringing in too many of them affects the livelihood of the ordinary Singaporeans and their quality of lives.

  • http://- semuachakap

    "Mr Lee felt that the change has been necessary and helpful. He said that this process calls for Singaporeans to not just speak out, but also to participate and to feel the responsibility to do their part."
     
     Come ..come, PM. Where  and when is your gahmen listening? 
    And how can we complain when the ST does not publish our letters…..for you to understand our feelings. 
    So how can it be a two way street?
    Until you ORDER ST to print every letter.. nuffin will change.
    And all this is just WAYANG..on the gahmens part.
    Or maybe the gahmen should have a  forum online page ..so people can write directly to you and your gahmen.
     

  • Read ST at your own risk

    ST even censor readers comments that are unfavourable to the PAP and you want them to print such letters?  If ST changes its position, PAP is finished, understand?

  • Nothing but a Jargon

    Servant leadership?  I hate the word leadership. It sounds so nice but in fact, very few real leaders really exist who work for the good of their followers.  It is naive to think that most political leaders would care more for the people than for their votes.  Money and power corrupt. This I believe, almost thoroughly.

  • AsT

    Change of mindset?
    Nah…
    change soup don't change medicine they are doing

  • Rodolfo

    LHL and the PAP can say whatever they like. But what matters is what they do. And if they pay lip service again, they may do even worse at the polls at next GE.

  • Confucius

    Dr Syed Alwi 12 April 2012
    There's little I wish to add. Your words expose the true person in you to those who read your thoughts.
    "I support UMNO because 
     
    Meritocracy discriminates against the poor of all races because the rich can afford all the extras needed to stay ahead in the game."
    *Singapore the resourceless little rocky outcrop is what it is today i.e. 1st World Country because of MERITOCRACY. Don't blame you. Economics is not your forte. MERITOCRACY creates the spin-offs and multiplier effects downstream to benefit especially the less endowed. For our information, the per capita income of our average, ordinary Malays is so much higher than say, Malaysia's or Indonesia's  (mind you, they are managed by Muslims). Why? The wealthy 1st World Far Eastern countries are all run along the same line of MERITOCRACY. On the other hand, racism, nepotism & cronyism don't create wealth.  They eat into other's wealth. Check it out across the causeway.
     
    *The Speak Mandarin Campaign. 1st, he who pays the piper calls the tune. IRAS would have told us from where the taxes (revenue) come from to paying public servants, vernacular teachers and of course the Speak Malay Month or Speak Mandarin Campaign, TV and radio stations, etc. Furthermore the money involved is small. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce can easily foot the bill. Minorities are not compelled to learn Mandarin in the first place. The world is learning Mandarin fast because the wealtiest and largest market today is China. Mandarin makes the guanzi stronger. The benefits derived from trading with China benefits all directly or indirectly.  Taxes (revenue) turn to annual State dividends and bonuses for all Singaporeans. Even PM Najib's son is learning Mandarin. In the private sector, the bottomline is profit. Mandarin or watever is therefore subjective. We therefore not dictate to private companies how to run the business when when LABOUR is a factor of production.  Btw, in Singapore all mother tongues are treated equally in public schools and colleges and are counted for prizes and progression. The opposite is true in Malaysia. There, the Malay language is treated as EL i.e. one fails all if one fails Malay. Who sets the paper? Who marks the paper? When I was schooling then we had to check a box on the script i.e."Muslim" or not in public schools. Why erh? Somehow that language appears to be the TOUGHEST for the minorites not the Sciences or Maths. Few pass. Surprise? I leave it to your imagination.
    "Malaysia is more tolerant of dissent. The fact that you can speak out and protest against so many things – is proof that democracy is alive."
    *UMNO today has no choice given that the minorities are pro Pakatan and the Malay vote is split between. Why? It's Economics. The haves and have nots when resources are scare and Malaysia is heavy in public debt today. The milk cows are leaving and only the UMNOputras are getting fatter. The average Malays not in public service, is poorer and poorer.
     
    "Singapore is less corrupt at the price of astronomical salaries for politicians who decide their own pay !"
    *Value for money. This resourceless rock is the wealthist in ASEAN and the 2nd richest per cap[ita in Asia and 4th in the world. It's economy is even larger than huge rtesource rich Malaysia. Speaks volume. Jealous? Why?
     
    The cabinet therefore deserves every penny.  Pay for Lexus or Proton . The choice is ours. Need I say more ?
     
     

  • LIONS

    SERVICE TO CITIZENS SHOULD BE TOP PRIORITY ALL THE TIME.,THAT'S WHAT GOOD GOVT IS ALL ABOUT.

  • mmh

    Lips are flapping, but legs aren't walking the steps that reflect what was spoken.

  • eaglefly

    JUST
     
    "KICK   THEM     ALL     OUT"

  • bola bola

    PAP should stop their cronyism,nepotism,generalisim,gerrymandering First…

  • http://A humble

    The truth is that the majority of Singaporeans vote for them for good governance. But to be bullied? What a pity. Sigh!

  • Singaporean

    Based on the writer's comment on respect, i do agree with what the writer had written. There is alot of unfair policies which currently are still in place. For example, the housing price, national service injury compensation act, did not nationalise the public transport although SMRT is doing such bad job by the frequent breakdown of MRT etc. It seems like the government is just doing 'on the surface job'.
    For example, HDB's price shouldn't be tag way too high like 100k-600k for 3 room – 5 room given the fact the HDB's policy is to allow average people to have a roof over their head etc. By pricing the house at such amount, it will cause people to have second thought about starting a family and purchase the house if their salary is not high enough to substain the daily expense and the loan. As regard to one of the cabinet minster about combine 1 k salary is enough to purchase a smaller flat. It is totally unacceptable comment. Calculation as given: housing loan took about a few hundreds dollars, daily average minimum expense (10-30, which means average monthly about 300-900 dollars), transport allowance about 60-150 dollars monthly. Plus the average electricity bills, phone bills etc-another few hundreds dollars. If fall sick, additional sums of money. total amount at least 1.5k – 2k. So as based on the 1k salary, it will surely burst the ceiling of the salary.
    As for the National Serviceman's compensation scheme, to tag with the WCA/WICA, it is totally unacceptable. The reasons are very clear – average pay for NS man is 450 dollars – 1.3k dollars but average workers (ITE-Poly fresh graduate), it is 1k-2.2k. Hazard for normal NS men is much high as compare to normal worker (except for those refinery/plant worker but generally they are paid much higher) and recent reports of NS men died during training etc which has hightlighted the danger the normal NS men are facing. Also if i'm not wrong, those occupation with slightly higher hazards (oil and gas industry), their insurance policy payout generally much higher in order to compensate those people who are injury due to some unforeseen circumstances. So in general to tag along WCA/WICA, it is a move that i felt is not fair to the guys who are risking their life in the name of doing national duty but yet the government's replies to their tagging along of the policy is to ensure that NS men are not paid less than the normal worker (in the area, generally not a good explaination due to such high difference in pay package and the hazardous condition) furthermore NS men are not worker but are singaporean guy who are doing their national duty as one of the citizen of Singapore.
    For the SMRT, the government's explaination is to allow better transport for the people and not to put high financial burden on the people. But the recent frequent cases of MRT breakdown and the government's financial help to SMRT (official reason is to prevent the price from being increase for their expansion, seems to be unacceptable given the fact since they are so-called being allow to run this transport as private corportion, then they should bear all neccessary costs which were/are incurr due to their inability to substain low cases of breakdown. If they are unable to do so then the government should outsource to another transport company who can do a better job than SMRT rather than providing them financial loans etc to help them pull through. This kind of action totally diminish the whole purpose of privatise the public transport system

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