Tuesday, June 27, 2006

GRCs make it easier to find top talent | governmental brats

There are times when I fancy I can read the thoughts of an article's author, some sliver of personality that slips through the self-censorship and the editorial censorship and the professional censorship. The little part of the self, that stands behind the facade of objectivity and journalist responsibility, the bit that understands the difference between reporting what happened, and telling the story, the part called individuality that manages to nudge the article ever so subtly to hint at what the author really thinks.

In Li Xueying's case, I strongly suspect that it of having pulled a Charlie Brown, announced "Good grief", and handed SM Goh onto a professional, objective platform to hang himself.

I'm referring to the article in the Straits Times today: "GRCs make it easier to find top talent: SM". Mr Wang already commented on it here, and once again, thank you Mr Wang for posting up articles by the ST in their entirety. He made a series of good points, although the one that I found most interesting was the meta issue of why SM Goh said it at all.

(An aside: my memory isn't that good, but it does seem to me that SM Goh has been behind a series of governmental gaffes, or rather, the political faux-pas of plain speaking. Off the top of my head - pseudo opposition, upgrading, etc.etc. What's with that, Mr Goh? Were you always like that, or has the ST been given the signal to take off the velvet gloves?)

What Mr Goh Said:

'Without some assurance of a good chance of winning at least their first election, many able and successful young Singaporeans may not risk their careers to join politics,' Mr Goh said at an event marking the appointment of members to the South East Community Development Council (CDC).

I was going to say something about this, in a sensible reasoned manner. About the lack of risk in joining the PAP even as a toilet scrubber, about the contradictions between the government call for Singaporeans to take risks, before pampering and protecting their own, and how the government effectively undermines its supposedly policy of fostering a risk-culture. (although the last sounds like a contradiction). And then I said screw it. I need to rant.

I have had it with these little entitled pampered brats of privilege that the government is carefully bringing up. I've seen any number of scholars go through the system - sorry, make that scholarship recipients. There's a difference - Kwa Chong Guan and Brenda Yeoh are scholars. Mah Bow Tan is a scholarship recipient. Many of them come back fine young men and women, but I don't know any Singaporean who hasn't had a horror story to tell about the scholarship returnee who whinged about having to - eek - serve their bond without being treated as special. Despite the fact that their career path could only go up, protected by the institution that granted the scholarship, because they scored at the A-levels when they were 18.

(Disclaimer: Many are deserving young men and women, who'd have done well no matter what. I'm ranting, I don't do reason and logic when I rant, 'k? )

And this massive sense of self-entitlement - along with horrific indignation when things don't go their way - seems to be the message that is being sent from the top. Our PM is a brilliant man, I'm sure. But he seems to be the only leader of a First World country anywhere that complains, at a political rally, on how annoying it is to win elections, because he has to go and fix the opposition.

He'll say it overseas too:

'Prime Minister Howard spends all his time dealing with this party politics. The result is you don't have a lot of time to worry about the long-term future,' Mr Lee said.
-- Straits Times, 20 June 2006, Aussieparty politics behind
stalemate: PM (Credit: Yawning Bread )

Is this the same country, that just one generation ago, fiercely believed that Singapore could only depend on Singapore, that no one, not the British or the Malaysians or the Americans, owed Singapore a living?

What happened?

So stop calling my generation the generation of whiners, the Why-me? group, the famous "post-'65ers" that expect the government to do everything.

We bloody well learnt it from the generation just before us. We learnt it from you.


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