Saturday, April 28, 2007

MM: My job to look after those who built nation

MM: My job to look after those who built nation

He pays tribute to S'poreans who did the 'hard and dirty work' for country

By Sue-Ann Chia
Apr 23, 2007
The Straits Times

MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew had this message for Singaporeans who did the hard and dirty work to build the nation: I am here to look after you.
'I do not believe 50 per cent of Singaporeans can emigrate,' he said at the Young People's Action Party dialogue at the St James Power Station nightspot.
'So as a government, and personally for me and my colleagues, my responsibility is to look after those who cannot migrate.'
Paying tribute to them, he said: 'Without them doing the hard and dirty work, I would not have had a decent life, I would not have been a leader, my children would not have been educated.
'You would not have been educated, so I owe them a responsibility, an obligation.
'I've persuaded them to follow me, went into Malaysia, got kicked out from Malaysia, had to make a living for them.
'To make a living for them, I had to make a good living for the people on top by educating them and getting them into the modern economy, and bringing the modern economy to Singapore.'
He was responding to questions from participants about where their future lies, given the growing opportunities in other countries that are seeking talent, just like Singapore.
He said that while most Singaporeans could not leave, he is aware that the better-educated and talented ones could do so.
He noted that the top 20 to 30 per cent of educated Singaporeans have the skills and abilities to emigrate to anywhere in the world.
And many do, with about 150,000 Singaporeans working in companies, setting up businesses or living abroad.
'We are now into a globalised world where people who are well-educated, well-trained and especially English-educated have enormous options,' he said.
But his point to them was this: 'Can you leave with a clear conscience? I cannot.'
He urged them to think hard about what they owe the country. 'If we lose our top talent, then we will decline as a nation,' he said.
The key, he believed, was to inculcate a particular message in the young - especially those doing well in schools, colleges, polytechnics and universities.
'You are here, you are getting this education, you are getting these opportunities that make you mobile, that make you desirable because this mass of people had discipline, (were) hardworking, provided the stability, the base on which you mounted your career.
'Can you in good conscience say, 'Goodbye! Thank you very much'?'

I belong to the 50% of Singaporeans who cannot emigrate and I shudder at MM Lee's proclamation that the govt will look after us. Will that mean another round gst hike, from 7% to 10%? Remember not so long ago they said to help the poor they have no chioce but to raise the gst from 5% to 7%?

Or worst still, would they ask the women folks of the 50% Singaporeans not to be fussy but to work as maids for their beloved foreign talents? Haven't they told us many times that foreign talents are here to create jobs for singaporeans?

To MM Lee I would like to say, 'No thank you very much Sir, we can take care of ourselves, you just enjoy your retirement.'

Monday, April 16, 2007

Power Makes People Stupid and Insensitive

i was extremely upset over the ministers pay hike until i read the below article emailed by a friend. i then realised it is human nature that given power, people would soon end up living large and acting like idiots.

The Rich Are More Oblivious Than You and Me
By RICHARD CONNIFF, Op-Ed Contributor, New York Times
Published: April 4, 2007


Let’s begin with what I call the “Cookie Monster Experiment,” devised to test the hypothesis that power makes people stupid and insensitive — or, as the scientists at the University of California at Berkeley put it, “disinhibited.”

Researchers led by the psychologist Dacher Keltner took groups of three ordinary volunteers and randomly put one of them in charge. Each trio had a half-hour to work through a boring social survey. Then a researcher came in and left a plateful of precisely five cookies. Care to guess which volunteer typically grabbed an extra cookie? The volunteer who had randomly been assigned the power role was also more likely to eat it with his mouth open, spew crumbs on partners and get cookie detritus on his face and on the table.

It reminded the researchers of powerful people they had known in real life. One of them, for instance, had attended meetings with a magazine mogul who ate raw onions and slugged vodka from the bottle, but failed to share these amuse-bouches with his guests. Another had been through an oral exam for his doctorate at which one faculty member not only picked his ear wax, but held it up to dandle lovingly in the light.


The researchers went on to theorize that getting power causes people to focus so keenly on the potential rewards, like money, sex, public acclaim or an extra chocolate-chip cookie — not necessarily in that order, or frankly, any order at all, but preferably all at once — that they become oblivious to the people around them.

Indeed, the people around them may abet this process, since they are often subordinates intent on keeping the boss happy. So for the boss, it starts to look like a world in which the traffic lights are always green (and damn the pedestrians). Professor Keltner and his fellow researchers describe it as an instance of “approach/inhibition theory” in action: As power increases, it fires up the behavioral approach system and shuts down behavioral inhibition.