In defence of Ministerial Pay-Hikes

If we do not pay Ministers adequately, we will get inadequate Ministers. If you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys for your Ministers. The people will suffer, not the monkeys. - 1993, Goh Chok Tong (transitionary PM between Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Lee Hsien Loong.)

source

As a country is moved from its potential collectively empathetic nature to a self-absorbed, self-interested, and materialistic one - that is stage 1 - it is rational to peg the salaries of ministers to that of the private sector. If not, the government, that hopes to instill in a people that amount of self-absorption that it takes to be apathetic enough for a self-aggrandizing government to enjoy political longevity, will be undone in spirit.

When the government becomes opportunistic and view the people as a means to a self-aggrandizing end, the people will thus be nurtured, over time, to think, ‘if the government thinks its alright to do that to us, why should we not be able to do that to each other?‘ - and especially since they need to do so in order to contend with the financial pressures that come with top-down exploitation - That is stage 2 of the empathetic underdevelopment of a people. Stage 3, cements it when the government themselves say, ‘well, if the people think its alright to do that to each other, why can’t we?’ In this, the people are silenced, except for a few irrational people who actually think that it is alright to do unto each other that which they do not accept from the government.

For the government to maintain an austerity policy when it comes to their own salaries is a direct contradiction of the spirit that they brought about amongst the people. So why should not the government increase their salaries over those of other states’ leaders? How many amongst the populace will spurn the opportunity to make millions a year at the expense of their neighbours? And why should not the government have the opportunity to do likewise given that they maintain the socio-cultural-economic environment for you to do as they do? Why should the devil not enjoy the selfsame benefits as do his kingdom of demons? And via the same approach as they take toward each other?

People think of the Han period in Chinese history as the ‘Golden Age’. I view it as an evil age where the top-nurtured nature of the Chinese people, since the Qin dynasty, had been underdeveloped to a particular level, and from that low point, they achieved the best that they could, whilst losing the personality to appreciate or want more
When we reach that phase in (un)civilisation, that is when we reach the ‘Golden Age’. People think of the Han period in Chinese history as the ‘Golden Age’. I view it as an evil age where the top-nurtured nature of the Chinese people, since the Qin dynasty, had been underdeveloped to a particular level, and from that low point, they achieved the best that they could, whilst losing the personality to appreciate or want more - as did the people of the Chou period that came before the Qin. It was a period when the path that Qin Shih Huang Ti set the Chinese people on (in 221 b.c.) was realised and the people became like the government and the government used that to justify their own continuing to be as they are. That is when Chinese history ended and has been replayed ever since. It was the conclusion of a totalitarian past and democracy was born - with democracy meaning that people had a right to do unto each other that whilst attempting to get around the consequences of it being done unto them by the government and the people.

In essence, the political longevity of an evil government is justified by the spirit of the people. When people complain about the salaries of ministers, they take issue not with the right of the government to earn more than them, but for the government not facilitating their right to do unto each other and hopefully earn as much to put up with cost of having such a government.
That is why I always react with a fearful ‘oh oh‘ whenever i hear of anyone talking about a ‘Golden Age that is upon us‘ as that tends to mean that the evils perpetrated by a government or socio-economic-cultural system of the past is coming to fruition by way of underdeveloping a peoples’ collective persona to the point that they can think that all that a human can naturally desire is going to be supplied in said ‘Golden Age’. A ‘Golden Age’, in essence, refers to a period where people pass from the aforementioned Stage 1 to Stage 3. In other words, a people become the government in persona, and the government uses that as a justification for continuing to be what they had always been. Till we have a ‘Golden system’, all ‘Golden ages’ are nothing but periods where the undeveloped personality of the masses have come to accept and incorporate the spirit that their foreparents might have taken issue with.

So, when we look at the case of Singapore, those whom are objective would be forced to wonder if the government is not justified by the inculcated spirit of the people. In essence, the political longevity of an evil government is justified by the spirit of the people. When people complain about the salaries of ministers, they take issue not with the right of the government to earn more than them, but for the government not facilitating their right to do unto each other and hopefully earn as much to put up with cost of having such a government.


ed

2 comments:

  1. If the justification for paying senior civil servants and ministers high salaries in Singapore is to minimise corruption in the public sector, and that they should be paid high salaries that they deserve to ensure honest government. Then do we have the right people to run the nation? The comprehensive nature of Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA) and the power given to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) is already an effective combination for the eradication of corruption in Singapore. One may say that you need to pay those running POCA and CPIB enough to run the system. That could only justify the beginning stage.
    PAP may believe that the way to retain political power forever is to have a monopoly on talent. But does talent always come with such an exorbitant price tag? How much is enough? The PAP created a socio-economic condition that becomes too costly for the people to live in, and to continue subsidising the living styles of the ministers, we need to increase their salaries while the people may have to down-size their HDB flats, ‘buy cheaper products’ – the advice from Lim Hng Kiang, Minister of trade and Industry for families hit by higher prices (source), etcetera, etcetera. Do we need such government? They are supposed to be the workers for the people. Where can you find workers that are far-wealthy than their bosses? The gap is ridiculous!

    If the singaporeans do not find the ministerial pay hikes an issue critical enough to take up with their government, then they have either become the government in persona or it is the consequences of the Legalist-Confucian state – mindless follow. Just brush everything off with the standard response – Is like that one, lor!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is this Chinese 'like that one lor' policy that enables the government to do as they please as they know that they can rely on their people's 'like that one lor' approach toward things to make up for their losses incurred by governmental policies through each other's pockets.

    This is an age-old phenomenon that has been China since 221 b.c. You can't have a government like this till you have a people well-adapted to take it. Hence, the government's stating that singapore must always have a chinese majority a couple of decades ago. That was needed in order to get the young chinese to imbibe what is claimed to be 'chinese culture' - but which is, more accurately, China's legalist-confucian culture'. In this, the Chinese became victims, and in the face of difference and independent thought, marginalised it. People don't know how to 'connect the dots' between these events and they wouldn't be inclined to do so either as it requires them to engage in self-critique. A monocultural people are generally averse to that as it leaves them without an identity to be proud of.

    As for having a monopoly on talent, that too is an age-old Chinese (as in China's) approach toward nation-management. 'Talent' there refers to keeping the people dumb enough so that they can be controlled. If you observe carefully, even in the work milieu of today, the Chinese look for people 'they can control'. Those who come across as more intelligent or confident are usually shunned with a, 'this one cannot control one'. Bigotry is also one of the consequences as a known other is always preferred to one who is relatively alien.

    Hence, the non-Chinese, like the Chinese earlier, over time, have learnt to shut up, don't think too much, don't ask too many questions, and don't critique anything in order to 'get along', get by, and increase the chances of 'get promoted'. That is a consequence of a top-down view and approach toward things. That is how everyone gets incorporated. And that is the true meaning of 'Singapore Incorporated'.

    That is one of the ways that 'talent' is monopolised. In other words, the people are rendered dumb enough to rarely know better than their leaders - not that the leaders truly know better. Rather, they are trained to confuse mass intelligence for being able to get and hold a job and produce a family. When you look at China's history, you will see an identical parallel. There was hardly any popular intellectual individualism there after Shih Huang Ti too power in 221 b.c..

    India was, relatively, the opposite. One of the reasons why Indians are generally quicker and multi-angular thinkers is because their culture did not generally evolve in acceptance of top-down oppression or a top-down monopoly of intellectual development. In fact, Indian oppositional movements have thrived from before the time of Christ to the present. Additionally, they weren't monocultural.

    The problem with the Chinese of today is that whilst some attempt to take on the government politically, they tend to perpetuate their approach toward things at the popular level through expected subservience, marginalisation of difference, apathy and self-absorption, etc. In that, they prolong a regrettable status quo from the ground up and in a symbiotic manner.

    ReplyDelete

The Inquisitive venture is a collaborative one. Let's collaborate.

Ad hominem is fine so long as it is accompanied with an argument, as opposed to being confused for an argument. In the latter case, deletion will follow.

Blogger Template by Clairvo