03 March 2006

All of the people, all of the time

In Parliament on Wednesday, Minilee solemnly declares the workfare bonus is a one-off bonus; having it every year will lead to welfarism, which is bad for Singapore!

Any self-respecting journalist would've pointed out immediately that Minilee spent the entire past 2 weeks in Parliament selling workfare as an alternative to welfare, that it is NOT welfare and can never be welfare.

Yet Minilee now does a turnaround and say workfare will lead to welfare.

The Straits Times wrote a feature article over the weekend predicting that the workfare bonus scheme heralded a change in the Budget paradigm . Knowing the cosy partnership between state and media, and the tremendous coordination to get the message out, one wonders how Minilee's flipflop caught the Straits Times unaware.

Minilee keeps claiming that the workfare bonus is not an election sweetener. Now that we know the workfare bonus is neither a permanent reworking of the labour market, nor a shift in the Budget paradigm, and just a one-off event, what else can it be aside from an election sweetener?

How is it that Minilee and his lieutenants have once again appropriated an existing word (the workfare concept has been in existence for a long time), bastardised its meaning, and claimed it as their very own smart idea? (Shades of "cultural capital"!)

Let's not forget the million-dollar ministers and their elite backbenchers paid absolutely no attention, did no homework, and discussed nothing about existing implementations of 'workfare' in other countries during budget debate week.

Minilee also claims that increasing employers' share of CPF contributions cannot be done because that would drive up labour costs, making Singapore uncompetitive. Let's see, didn't he claim when he cut employers' contribution that it was a drastic but necessary, and therefore temporary move?

To top this all off, Minilee has his own Marie Antoinette moment. Rejecting opposition calls for unemployment insurance, Minilee says most Singaporeans have some form of retirement benefits anyway.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is either a fool or a liar. Impeach him, impeach him NOWWWW!


rench00 said...

good points. i think you should attempt to send this in to the ST Forum pages. or to Today.

however, you might want to change the tone slightly (without changing the facts and your POV).

better yet, you might want to, after changing the tone, email it to PM directly, cc to the FBU then see what he/they say.

akikonomu said...

rench, maybe you can edit for me?

I think it's an indictment of our democracy that we can only have a dialogue with our leaders by sending messages through the usual channels, with the proper tone and respect accorded due to their position...

rench00 said...

it will be my pleasure to edit for you (though i may not be the best person to do so...).

the reason why i feel that you might want to 'change the tone'is not so much to demonstrate respect to the position of who you are sending it to... rather... it is to make your message more focused, clearer and thus more convincing and 'yes-able'. it has nothing to do (or very little) with democracy you can send what you have written here to the PM as it is... just that it would probably not get much attention... analogy is... well... i can shout at my students to behave, sit down and keep quiet... but for some students... that will only incite them to rebellion... so whether one achieves the results one desires depends on what one says and, perhaps more importantly, how one says it. and how you say it depends on what you want to achieve and who you are trying to convince...

i will try to amend it... hopefully by Sunday... and email it to you... :)

the third wei said...

i agree with rench00.

the tone obscures the logic, and is thereby rather detrimental to message delivery.

i don't feel that it's an indictment of our democracy. it's more of a human relations thing. people are more likely to be persuaded of the merit of an argument if the tone is at least palatable and not off-putting. cognitive dissonance, dear fren.