Thursday, December 17, 2015

Challenge to Rule of Law – Mob Rule

A police report has been lodged by the Organizing Secretary of People’s Power Party, Mr. Augustine Lee, against Calvin Cheng over his remarks that we should kill off family members and children of terrorists. I supported Augustine’s move to lodge this police report. The police has confirmed that there are several police reports made against Calvin Cheng.

It took me quite some time to ponder over this issue of Calvin Cheng. I believe in Freedom of Expression with responsible speech towards the society. There have been lots of cases whereby both PAP and activists have raised issue with hate speech. Most of the time, PAP-related offenders were just let off with just mere warning whilst offenders who were critical of PAP governance were charged. Eg. Amos Yee. The Sedition law has somehow been over used by both sides. When someone lamented that we should lodge a police report against Calvin Cheng under Sedition law, I hesitated.

I felt that what Calvin has done is MORE than Sedition. What he has done is actually inciting violence against innocent children and he is basically challenging the well established Rule of Law we have in Singapore.

Well, not everyone who challenge the current rule deserved to be charged and put behind bars. Eg. Those who are against unfair law or simply law that people feel out-dated. It is definitely alright to challenge laws which we think need to be changed for the better, but not for the worse. Definitely not to challenge the law to become illogically violent.

Most people may just laugh off Calvin bigotry logic of wanting to kill children of terrorists but the truth is, such practice of killing whole family, extended families, associates, teachers, classmates etc was practiced in Ancient Chinese dynasties. This is called 诛九族 (massacred the nine relations of the offender). This is the subtle cultural mindset we had in our Chinese blood, to believe that it is “officially legitimate” to have such practice as the ancient Emperors have legitimized it. I believe Calvin must have thought that such method is legitimate as Chinese Emperors had used such method before.

The danger lies here. Singapore has a huge population of Chinese who might buy that kind of logic from Calvin even though our law is pretty clear that the family of criminals, less so of children, should not be regarded as criminals and punished as such. Some people may just extend that kind of logic and started to take law into their own hands and turn it into Mob Rule.

During this period of sensitive time, our multi-racial and multi-religious society is at its most vulnerable. There are already Chinese heard berating Islam loudly and deliberately in front of Muslims. We do not need public figure like Calvin Cheng to add oil to the fire, knowingly or unknowingly.

Due to the nature of Chinese inherited culture, it is easier to convince Chinese that it is legitimate to kill off innocent family members of criminals. We even have idiom to describe the legitimacy of such act, “斩草不除根,春风吹又生” (literally means if you do not cut off the roots while clearing the weeds, it will grow again when spring comes). Calvin Cheng might have mistakenly taken this as that "profound logic" that he professed to support his proposition of killing the children of terrorists.

We definitely do not want our society to turn into chaos like what happened in US, England and Europe whereby people mindless attack Muslims with the belief that they have everything to do with the terrorist attacks or terrorism, just by the mere supposed association of religion with the terrorists. Such situation of Mob Rule once started, is difficult to stop.

Thus after weeks of thinking through this issue, I come to the conclusion that such advocacy, which sound ridiculous to some, is dangerous and pose a potential problem in breeding Mob Rule in Singapore. It should be stopped and as a public figure, Calvin Cheng should retract it else the state should make its stance clearly against it.

Goh  Meng Seng

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ideological Fundamentals of Democracy

Is PAP "Indispensable" ? And thus Opposition parties are "Redundant"?

These questions were raised in one of the discussions I had with some opposition members. Some have started to doubt the value or "righteousness" of the existence of opposition since 70% of voters have voted against opposition. And they felt that these voters see PAP as the GOOD government which is "indispensable" and opposition parties are just "trouble makers" or "bandits", the "bad guys".

Opposition members may of course think we are the "good guys" but 70% of voters have "voted against" us. Thus in absolute terms, are we really the "bad guys" and PAP the "good guys" who are indispensable for the good of Singapore?

It is an interesting question put forward to us in the midst of facing "massive rejection" from voters.

My answer to this question is not so simple. First of all, voting PAP may not mean "voting against" opposition. There may be a lot of varied reasons that voters voted for PAP although they might still think we need opposition. The fear of losing PAP as government is one of such reasons. From the look at some of those "guilty conscience" eyes while doing our rounds it is really possible that they didn't know their voting pattern may end up this way. It may be a "freak elections results" to many swing voters.

Fear of losing PAP as government may be construed as PAP to them, is "indispensable" as a "good government" but this may not be "right" although 70% of voters think this way.

From a philosophical point of view, there are two schools of thoughts in Chinese Confucius teaching. You either believe human beings are inherently "good" people or "bad" people. I believe human beings have the tendency of turning bad, no matter how good he or she was initially.

That is also the basis of Western concept of "Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely".

Since there is no "absoluteness" in the "good" of any human beings, then it must be the case that there is no "absolute" good governance of anyone, any kind, over time. If that is so, how could any ruling party be "indispensable" in any sense?

Thus the value of Democracy exists. Democracy is built upon the unreliability of human goodness and the belief that the tendency is for human to become bad over time, under the spell of power. This has been proven empirically in history. Even the BEST Emperor of Qing Dynasty might have been a "Good" Emperor for the first few decades but the last decade of his rule, became "Bad", partly because he turned senile or that he was too full of himself or over confident that he started to refuse to listen to his court officials.

To extend such belief of the unreliability of human good nature, we will conclude that what we need is a whole system of governance must be constructed with the concept of Separation of Powers so that Real Checks and Balances are being institutionalized in it. It would mean that parliamentary diversity as a means of Checks and Balances is totally inadequate.

This is the ideological foundation of People's Power Party's Democratic Vision for Singapore.

Goh Meng Seng

Thursday, December 10, 2015

SGH Hep C Outbreak: Systemic Deficiency, Human Resource Mismanagement & Proper Compensation

For Immediate Release Date: 09 Dec 2015

SGH Hep C Outbreak: Systemic Deficiency, Human Resource Mismanagement & Proper Compensation

We refer to the report put up by the Independent Review Committee (IRC). We are glad that the report has shed some light on the timeline of events and the weaknesses of the current system.

However, we noted that all the stakeholders, including the various departments in SGH and Divisions in the Ministry of Health, lack a fundamental sense of urgency in handling this outbreak. It took more than two months for SGH and the divisions of MOH to determine that this outbreak is a serious case that warrants a Serious Reportable Event (SRE). It is even more amazing that it took more than one month for the CEO of SGH to decide to hold a face-to-face meeting with MOH to report on the seriousness of this case and to decide on whether to make public the outbreak.

The key method of controlling the outbreak of such diseases is first to isolate or quarantine the source of infections followed by timely announcement to the public of the outbreak. It is apparent that both the SGH and MOH staffs and management did not regard timely public announcement of the outbreak as an important measure for public safety.

This is unacceptable as we expect MOH and its group of hospitals to have learned from 2003 SARS outbreak that timely public announcement is one of the most important measures in curbing further massive infections. We view this as a serious systemic problem inherent with the current bureaucratic practices which needs to be addressed thoroughly.

We also note that the IRC has stated that there were serious lapses in the hospital’s staff whereby they have not adhered to established protocols as basic as hand hygiene which subsequently caused contamination to other medical equipment. We suspect that this is a symptom of a bigger fundamental problem of MOH’s Human Resource policy.

Our hospitals have employed a substantial number of foreign healthcare providers over the decade. This is due to various reasons which include increasing demand of hospital care due to explosive population growth in the past decade. We also learn that many locally trained nurses have left the industry due to unfavorable shift work schedule.

Nursing is a professional job but apparently the salary scale for nurses in Singapore is only half of the salary scale paid by Hong Kong hospitals. It is apparent that MOH has allowed hospitals to employ cheap foreign substitutes from Third World countries instead of making the effort to look into the shortage of Singapore nurses seriously. Training and certification of nursing in these foreign countries may fall short of our expectations and this might have compromised the safety and standards of our healthcare system. This may well be the reason why SGH nurses have breached even the most basic requirement of hand hygiene.

People’s Power Party strongly advocate a change of mindset, HR policy and hiring practices. Nursing is a profession that involves the matter of life and death. It is not the so-called “low skilled job” as opined by PAP Minister. Nurses should be professionally remunerated and at the same time, more stringent requirement, far more demanding than the mere paper qualification from Third World institutions, should be set out in the employment of foreign nurses. They should be put through the similar tests or examinations that our local nurses have gone through before they become qualified nurses. We also recommend that the shift scheduling system be standardized according to other uniform groups and essential services.

It is only when our hospitals start taking nursing as a serious profession which makes a great difference to life and death, instead of treating it as “low skilled job”, then we could avoid the risk of having more unfortunate medical incidents such as this current Hepatitis C outbreak.

Last but not least, we urge the Minister of Health Mr. Gan not to avoid the important issue of compensation to the victims as well as their families of the dead patients. This is a serious healthcare crisis and a proper compensation should be made to all those affected. This is the least SGH and MOH should do in being accountable to the whole saga.

Goh Meng Seng
Secretary General
For People’s Power Party CEC

Saturday, December 05, 2015

PAP's Elitist Entitlement Mindset and FAILED Meritocracy

Prime Minister Lee has recently lamented about "Singaporeans' entitlement mindset" but I would say that he should take a good look at himself in the mirror as well as his backyard of Elitist cronies.

Through over 50 years of autocratic rule, his party has created a whole system of pseudo Meritocratic Cronism which lacks the very fundamental principle of ACCOUNTABILITY that TRUE Meritocracy is built upon.

Those so call "High Flyer Scholars" along with the various cronies in the whole system has taken the strong foundation which our forefathers have built up, for granted. These people milk and feed upon the wealth of the system with no accountability nor shame with FULL ELITIST ENTITLEMENT mindset. They abuse the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to the max by setting dubious standards which put up pseudo accountability system which most of the time rewards themselves with undeserving salaries and increments. Worse of all, when they indulge in doing whatever they can to meet these KPIs so that they could gain their perks and rewards, instead of doing good to Singaporeans as a whole, they have instead brought more undesirable results to the Nation as a whole.

It started right from the Top Political Leadership. When GDP growth is the single most important KPI used to judge whether the Ministers should get hefty bonuses and salary increment, we end up with the Growth At All Cost strategy which resulted worse quality of life for Singaporeans.

The same applies to many other sectors under PAP Government control. Look at SMRT. The trouble started when Saw just have that singular pursue to increase profit so that she could increase her bonuses and salaries throughout the years of her "glorious years". She went to such an extent that SMRT maintenance has been grossly compromised.

We thought that with her departure, we would get better people to run the system but we were proven wrong by PAP. They sent an Elitist PAPER GENERAL who has ZERO Corporate experience in running a train service to run the show! This elite continue to enjoy increment in his salaries while the train services continue to suffer numerous small and major breakdowns throughout the years! Yet, by using some OUT OF REALITY TOUCH KPI, he tried to justify how the train system and services have "improved"!

He has totally disregard the reality that Singaporeans have experienced on the ground and SMRT just avoid the label "breakdowns" whenever they can by putting up a false front of "delays" to mask away the reality! This is how they tried to GAME the system of KPI!

Similar thing happened to other GLCs like NOL. Another PAPER General was sent there and he continued to enjoy millions of dollars paid every year, with increments, while the company continues to bleed profusely! How? By showing that he is able to "cut cost"! But that doesn't help as the company continues to suffer great losses over the years and eventually, Temasek Holdings is going to sell it off!

It is a total shame that we are going to sell off our Nation's Flagship and key assets. NOL has special iconic value for a nation like Singapore which pride itself to be one of the busiest port in the world! But these Elites have no shame. Why? It is because they only have this Elitist Entitlement Mindset and they could just explain their GROSS incompetency away by hiding behind that KPI system.

PAP must understand that KPI should be a means to an end, to serve the people and Nation, not just a silly ploy for people to get hefty bonuses and salary increments. One may excel in ALL KPIs set but in the end, due to the methodology used in achieving these KPIs, they may create more harm than good to the Nation as a whole!

Most importantly, PAP must understand that no matter how elite you are in paper qualifications, if you do not have the necessary skill sets and knowledge of the business, you will fail! This especially true for top civil servants, government scholars and Army Paper Generals! If PAP continues to abuse the system of GLCs to feed their elitist cronies instead of assigning such important positions to people with real talents and expertise in the various fields, Singapore will be doomed with the fake Meritocracy buried under the dubious KPI system.

Goh Meng Seng