I probably should not be commenting on the GE on this space. It might draw flak, haters and anyone who opposed my view.
While we saw less of flaming for this GE, we could still see angsty comments, heated arguments and even mud slinging for politicians. It was a far cry from the nice Singapore we saw in March where everyone was tolerant and kind.
Some parties offered carrots such as minimum wage. I wondered if they had done a global study, weighed the pros and cons of this policy.
Some offered monthly monetary reimbursements of $500 to an elderly and $300 to a child. Where would the money come from? It would be $6000 and $3600 annually. I didn’t even need to pay so much income tax after enjoying the working women relief (of having 2 kids) and the parenthood tax. When I was doing my Postgraduate course, I also enjoyed education relief. Would I want to pay more taxes to fund that policy when I was already spending on my 2 kids and giving allowance to my parents?
Some offered to focus on hiring Singaporeans because foreigners would take jobs away. Let’s take the unfair job discrimination cases aside. Let’s address Singaporeans’ working attitudes, capabilities and commitment. The unfair employment practices were caused by human beings who were probably Singaporeans most of the time. We had so many Singaporeans working together, why did no one voice out the unfair practices and stand up for fellow Singaporeans? In the companies I had worked, they had always been pro-Singaporean. Even the lack of worklife balance was an issue caused by fellow Singaporeans. The government had always been promoting worklife balance but whether companies took it up was another thing.
Taking away foreigners would affect rentals, F&B, retail consumption and drive up operating costs of companies. We had so many MNCs based here. If they had to pay so much overheads from high office rentals and high labour costs, what was stopping them from uprooting and returning home to create jobs for their own countrymen? Our unemployment statistics might be low but how many companies had we heard of going through retrenchment exercises? Are we not taking today for granted? We assumed those jobs would always be there.
Abolishing PSLE was also suggested. While some children were late bloomers, Singapore offered sufficient opportunities for late bloomers. No one has been denied of a bright career or future because of their PSLE score. How many hiring managers look at the PSLE certificate? However, an examination was required to identify the really smart kids. We still needed our innovators, our bright sparks to inspire the rest. Not every child can be in the top 10% and most parents could not accept the harsh and brutal fact. What had gone very wrong was the kiasu parents’ mentality that inflated the importance of PSLE. It was a social issue and hadn’t the government try to lead the path by harmonizing treatment of civil servants with different qualifications? Hadn’t the government spoken against over-tuition?
I did not doubt the intentions of these political parties but I thought with 4.5 years of preparation time, they would have conducted sufficient research and develop more wholesome proposals instead of building the castles in their microscopic dreams. It was true that we were talking about managing a nation, not a corporation in this context.
However, being a human capital-based nation and a tiny country in a global stage, how could we not be highly adaptable, open, knowledgeable and sensitive? Besides, it was important to know macro economics. Wasn’t it? Shouldn’t the political parties have sufficient knowledge and not lead us with rose-tinted glasses? Domestic issues were important, but we were such a small country that international issues were just as important. Perhaps studies were done, could they explain the mechanics so that we would not need to worry for the future? Their policies might not affect our short term future but what about my children’s future? Would Singapore become a place without jobs, would my sons have to pay more taxes for a “welfare state” or would they have to go overseas to seek jobs?
The government could be more caring but we could not deny some of the policies which worked for and against us. It was impossible to satisfy everyone’s demands. Perhaps it was to look to ourselves and ask how we could make Singapore more pleasant for each other. Not everything should be legislated.
We could be kinder coworkers.
We could fret less over results.
We could take care of our own parents and children.
We could plan our retirement and make sure our finances were in order. We should be clear minded and not be swindled when we had lump sums of cash.
We should take care of personal issues and not expect a nation to solve them for us.
There were many more things we ought to do on our own.
Think of what we could do, before asking what the country could do for us.