atans1

Posts Tagged ‘Tan Jee Say’

Want a Pekatan here? It’s disunited

In Political governance on 21/07/2014 at 4:58 am

(Since I had posts on Sat and Sunday giving little known details on the MAS tragedy (herehere, here and here, largely extracts from BBC reports), I tot I’d continue the M’sian theme, today and tom.)

There has been a lot of noise that S’porean Oppo parties should unite (actually the term should be “confederate”) like M’sia’s DAP, PAS and TeamAnwar under the Pakatan banner*.

Those calling for this kind of alliance should have their heads examined by the doctor treating M Ravi for bi-polarism. http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/understanding-m-ravis-bi-polar-disorder/ (related article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25747068)

Confederating the SDP and WP is like the DAP and PAS fighting under one umbrella, a recipe for disunity in unity.

Rowing over chopping of limbs and stoning

The PAS several months ago wanted to introduce a law in Kelantan (their state) introducing Hudud, or Islamic penal practices. Hudud prescribes punishments such as amputation of limbs for theft and stoning for adultery..

The DAP, a secular and liberal (even though it was founded as the PAP’s M’sian Trojan Horse), was more than upset

Lim Kit Siang (the DAP’s LKY) has repeatedly said that that Pakatan could split over the issue**.

The PAS has postponed the tabling of a private member’s Bill in Parliament, which would have paved the way for the implementation of hudud, the Islamic penal code, in the north-eastern state of Kelantan.The postponement was to give sufficient time to a technical committee — proposed by the govt and involving both the federal and state governments — to examine how best to enforce hudud in PAS-governed Kelantan.

Many in the DAP are sore because they claim that the May by-election in Teluk Intan was lost because of non-Muslim worries over the hudud.

WP, SDP are poles apart

In S’pore while the SDP, NSP, the Chiams and WP are multi-racial (Yes, yes I know some Indians dispute that the WP is multi-racial, they want it to be run by Indians like it once was when it had candidates who looney and bicyle thieves) and secular parties, there are big differences. The WP portrays itself as a more compassionate, moderate version of the PAP, while the SDP positions itself as what in the West would be called a Social Democrat party with leftist tendencies. The Chiams and NSP are in between. The other parties are a joke esp the JBJ Remembrance Party, and the two parties led by scholars who didn’t make it into the PAP. The two scholars and s/o JBJ only became politicians when it was safe to do so.

Furthermore, the WP has made it clear that it is not in a position to be the govt, and has no interest in being part of an alternative coalition. The NSP has indicated that it is not ready to be the govt, while leaving the possibility of being in a coalition unsaid. The Chiams are happy to be part of a alt coalition govt. The SDP thinks it can form the govt but knows that it would never win enough votes to get a majority. And anyway, we know Dr Chee can go whacko, if his RI doctors are not vigilant.

How the WP and SDP can confederate under one party is beyond me.

Chop system works

We actually have quite a gd system here of opposing the PAP. Problem is that only 25-30% support the Oppo parties. And 70% of voters are comfortable with two ex-PAP stalwarts to give them their votes in PE 2011. And the ex-PAP member who dissed the PAP lost his deposit.

As I see it, leg lifting to mark territory or, to use more polite language, the system whereby the party that contests in a previous election (once upon a time, as recent as 2006, there were uncontested GRCs) is not challenged is working pretty well and serving S’poreans’ interests given the 60-70% support that the PAP has.

The system is not perfect and the WP interprets it on the basis of “might is right”. But hey it’sw the only oppo party that kept on going thru the 90s and noughties.

1963 revisited?

The danger in the next GE is that Team TJS (Singaporeans First), JBJ Remembrance Party, and Pwee Gang ( Democratic Progressive Party, DPP). will stand as third party candidates in areas where the Chiams, NSP, WP or SDP have a decent chance of winning. This is something I’m sure the PAP is expecting to happen, and will do its best to make sure happens.

S’pore has been here before. Here’s an extract of a letter to a British magazine written after the 1963 elections

We [Barisan Socialists] won thirteen seats at the elections, averaging 15.000 votes to each seat. The PAP won thirty- seven seats, averaging 7,000 votes to each seat. The United People’s Party, whose function was to split the left-wing votes, campaigned on a programme that was somewhat similar to ours but more extremely put. Only their leader, Mr. Ong Eng Guan, was elected. We received 201,000 votes (35 per cent) and the PAP 272,000 votes (47 per cent). The difference is only 70,000 votes out of a total electorate of nearly 500,000. The UPP took away 49,000 votes (8 per cent), causing us the loss of seven con- stituencies (apart from Mr. Ong’s), and saved four PAP Ministers from defeat.

http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/29th-november-1963/23/the-situation-in-singapore

So for those who want an end to the PAP’s hegemony in parly (self included), let us make it clear to the three stooges, TJS, Pwee and s/o JBJ, and the SDA: “Don’t fight in any constituency where the SDP, WP, Chiams, NSP fielded candidates in the last GE”. Pwee and YJS go play in KenJ’s or SDA’s playpens. They don’t respect the “chop” rules and have lost deposits as a result.

And tell Tan Kim Lian and Goh Meng Seng not to contest. If not for their clowning antics, we could have had Dr Tan Cheng Bock as president.

—-

*Example: http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/07/01/a-disunited-opposition-cannot-form-an-effective-govt/

We all feel buoyant and almost confident that the next GE will see a change in Government. Either PAP will be decimated, become the opposition party or lose its two third majority in parliament.

But lets not jump the gun just yet. There is a lot of ground work that needs to be done. Especially with the present group of opposition parties.

The present situation does not look too good. We have too many Opposition Parties such as WP, SDP, RP, NSP, PKMS, SP and etc. When PAP flatters in the next GE, we the citizens of Singapore want to be assured that our lives will go on as usual with some minor hiccups initially, but will normalise and in the coming months and years improve with the new Government. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT ALL SINGAPOREANS MUST BE SURE OF.

We do not want an Egypt or Iraq. We will be put off if we cannot see this clearly insight before we start to vote for better future without PAP’s overbearing control of our lives. When the opposition takes over the government and when there are too many Political Parties forming the government, this government will be weak. A coalition of such parties will be easily attacked and made weak, especially by the PAP who may be the opposition in Parliament. It will be easy for them to play the various parties against each other.

This will surely cause the coalition government to be very weak. A weak government cannot be an effective government to bring Singapore and its citizens forward to a better future.

IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT ALL PRESENT OPPOSTION PARTIES WORK AS HARD AS POSSIBLE TO FORM A UNITED DEMOCRATIC FRONT. A COALITION OF PARTIES TO FORM A SINGLE FRONT GOING INTO THE NEXT GE AND IN FORMING A GOVERNMENT.

This is much like the Barisan Nasional (National Front) and the Pakatan Rakyaat (People’s Coalition) of Malaysia. Both of them went into the GE as single parties.

We need a SINGLE PARTY to oppose PAP in the next GE. We need a two (main) party systems to ensure continued stability going forward after each election. Strong examples of these are the mature democracies of USA, UK, Australia, and most European countries.

WP, SDP, RP, SP, PKMS and the rest MUST THINK DEEP AND HARD FOR THE SAKE OF SINGAPORE AND ALL SINGAPOREANS to work hard on this. PLEASE WE HAVE PLACED OUR TRUST, HOPES AND ASPIRATIONS ON YOU LTK, CSJ, KJ, and the gang we truly trust are fighting for the welfare of all Singaporeans and Singapore as one UNITED NATION.

Singaporean For Democracy

Submitted by TRE reader.

**At a party dinner a few weeks ago in Malacca, Democratic Lim Kit Siang warned that PR could break up if the parties’ disagreement over the hudud issue persists. Mr Lim said if the three parties did not remain united, PR would go the way of the Barisan Alternative, a short-lived alliance between PAS, PKR, DAP and Parti Rakyat Malaysia formed in 1999. The coalition was disbanded after the 2004 general election.

“In the past year since the 13th general election, supporters of Pakatan Rakyat have been increasingly concerned whether Pakatan Rakyat … could only survive for one general election,” said Mr Lim.

Punggol East: More Tak Boleh Tahan comments

In Humour, Political governance on 24/01/2013 at 6:06 pm

(Or “Who are WP, PAP Koh, s/o JBJ, & TJS trying to bluff?”)

Starting with WP, the “can’t stand” comments (Note unless otherwise attributed, quotes are from CNA)

– “Lee Li Lian said having another WP member in Parliament will strengthen the voice of the opposition party.”/ “Lee Li Lian said the Punggol East by-election will serve as a barometer of her party’s performance since the last General Election.

Ah Lian, Voice, what Voice? Performance, what Performance? Eight no sound, no action: one more make the difference meh? WP juz wants another 15k a month allowance.

– “Ms Lee said the by-election will show whether residents will have the confidence to give the party their votes.”

She means confident that WP is PAP Lite, without being able to give away goodies?

– “The Workers’ Party has urged Punggol East residents to use their votes to make the government work harder.”

I prefer what a PAPpy minister said, “Voting for PAP will make WP work harder.”

– Sylvia Lim said that some things (alternative suggestions on certain policies) are whispered to the govt behind “closed doors’’

This was what PAP MPs used to say, Auntie. Oh, I forgot: you are PAP Lite.

– “Chairman Sylvia Lim had said that this by-election is in some way an indicator of how the people feel about the government’s performance.”

So if voters like the way the govt is spending our money on ourselves, vote PAP is it, Auntie?

(I can go on and on, what with what PritamS and Low said on rally nights, but I don’t want to appear anti-WP. Still hoping to have a date with JG.)

But the PAP is just as bad:

– “Dr Koh also said he is fighting his own race in the by-election.”

Err, so so PM, DPM, Education Minister etc did not come, or attack the WP? Impersonators did these things?

– “[H]e feels that tackling local issues first will bring about more immediate reprieve for the residents.”

So Palmer was not doing his job as MP, preferring mangoes with Laura? So why didn’t PAP tell him to pull up his socks (and pants) and help residents? Why wait until now?

– “serving the people”

In Telok Blangah to be precise, not Punggol East or even Punggol. And the ST dares call him “son of Punggol”: err more like prodigal son, who preferred to “move on” to Toa Payoh, then Telok Blangah: anywhere except Punggol area.

– “I want to be a participant in this process of change from within.”

PAP MPs always saying this from time immemorial (“Go with the flow” Georgie said this once): were it not for GE and PE results, there would be no change on the policy of not spending our money on ourselves. The money would be allocated allocated for casino games. Post these elections, the govt has been spending our money on making life more comfortable for ourselves. Voters forced this change of mind-set on the PAP. It didn’t come from within. If change could have come from within, PM would not have had to apologise. Nor would George have turned like a cornered rat on the PAP in a vain attempt to remain a minister.

– Kate Spade Tin and side-kick Denise He were told not to sabo when they volunteered to run Koh’s social media activities.

As to the Sui Kees who think they are Tua Kees:

– “The Reform Party will be having their rally carried out as per planned … This is after being assured by the police that it would be safe to attend the rally and that security has been stepped up. Just a while ago, the fanpage announced that the party will not proceed with the rally unless Singapore Police Force ensures the safety of their supporters.” TOC

Wayang King, Drama Queen, this son of Lion King, JBJ, and Lion Queen, Margaret. They must be weeping in heaven, at how their son turned out. Never mind, the other boy is better, a lot better, even if he married into a PAPpy family. Err maybe, taz why he has high EQ, in addition to high IQ, and is one of us.

– s/o JBJ got flu after being in rain

How to be MP in S’pore? Always raining here. He will always be AWOL or MIA if elected MP.

– “TJS says he tried but failed to persuade RP) and SDA to withdraw” TRE

Wonder if KJ or DL said to him, “Juz following your example, Big Brudder.”. Someone posted this on TRE, “TSJ you yourself is a spoiler do you think as a spoiler you are more professional to talk to spoiler.Come on you are a jilted failure candidate.”

No, not criticising Desperate Loser because he deserves two cheers. He is a warning to Low and Sylvia and other arrogant non-fat people that fat, short, balding men should not be taken for granted nor pushed around: they can cause trouble, serious trouble if provoked. Remember Eric Tan? One day he too may have his revenge on Low, Sylvia and GG, Eric’s apprentice.

As for Mad Dog (or is it it Coyote?) Chee, he deserves a posting of his very own. Akan datang.

Anyway, voters of Punngol East, as the PAP used to say when the WP fielded bicycle thieves, Maurice Neo, loonies,  and JBJ, “Vote wisely”.

And if any voter wants to vote “unwisely” to send messages to the PAP and the WP, vote for DL: he is one of us, a true blue S’porean. He juz got mad as hell, fed-up of being pushed around. KennethJ is not one of us. He is low EQ, high IQ FT that juz happened to be born here, who thinks that S’poreans owe him a living because he is s/o JBJ. Give him the finger.

*I mean one LKY even said that the size of the reserves had to be kept a secret from S’poreans, lest we want it to be spent on ourselves.

Time for Opposition to rethink assumptions, lest it repents after next GE

In Political governance on 14/09/2012 at 6:01 am

Shumetime back, I blogged that PM in his National Day Rally speech came out with the message,”It’s yr money, let’s spend it to make you happier”. I’m glad to read that TJS has written, “PM talked about increased social spending supported by tax increases not now but in 20 years’ time, DPM Tharman laid out a case for active government policies “tilted in favour of those with less””. Well nice to know I and TJS have come to the same conclusion, more-or-less.

Which brings me to TJS’ main point, “Events in recent years have shown that the PAP is both incompetent and insincere. To save Singapore from the PAP, we have to focus on regime change … We do not need a national conversation to generate ideas on how to bring Singapore forward …

‘But the current leadership is not equal to the task – what can one expect from a PM who has no vision for the country or an ill-conceived one based on wrong facts, and a DPM who is full of hindsight but empty of foresight? The real salvation for Singapore lies outside the PAP and there are enough talent out there to form an alternative leadership team. It’s time for them to come together, get organised and stand ready to take over. A regime change is long overdue.”

I’m sure his sentiments are shared by the Opposition, even the WP.

But if as TJS is saying the PM is calling for “increased social spending” and “DPM Tharman laid out a case for active government policies “” why shouldn’t some of the 40% of the S’poreans (self included) who voted for the Opposition, vote for PAP in the next GE? If the PAP government starts “walking the walk” of spending more to make life more comfortable for S’poreans, especially the poor, and “squeezed” middle: i.e. more than “talk the talk”, why shouldn’t some of us switch our votes. Remember that in last presidential election, 70% of the voters voted for two men closely associated with the PAP. What it shows that 10% of all the voters are willing to vote for the PAP. They are not members of the “PAP are bastards” platoon like KennethJ, TJC, and Dr Chee and groupies

The only answer to my question is that “The Opposition can deliver better policies and execute them better”.

My next question then,”Where’s the evidence?” Whether TJS and other members of the opposition like it or not, they had better hope the WP MPs start raising their game. So far, three are non-entities, one has underperformed expectations(Show Mao) by doing bugger-all, and two are clowning around (GG* and PritamS). Only JJ is showing his mettle. .

And I’m sure S’poreans remember that the WP have gone quiet on their manifesto call to nationalise the public transport system, shumething I’ve grumbled about regularly. I mean, it’s an open goal what with the tpt minister admitting openly of the heavy subsidies being given. So why is GG** and the WP refusing to take a shot at goal. Scared to miss? Or kelong?

So if there is regime change, there may be no change if the WP is the dominant party in the new government.

So getting rid of the PAP when it is using our money to make life more comfortable for us would seem to be a dangerous and dumb thing to do, neh?

Might as well back the PAP in that case.

The point I’m trying to make is that the governing PAP seems to have ditched the sacred cow  (no longer a Hard Truth) of being mean to S’poreans despite extracting money fromS’poreans via all kinds of levies and imposts: it is now willing to spend S’porean’s money on making things better for S’poreans.

If it spends our money on S’poreans, the Opposition should rethink their assumptions and premises, and the messages they want to send to voters. If not, come the next GE (which could be held before 2016, if the PAP senses that S’poreans have been won over by the spending), the Opposition will be repenting, not the PAP. The ground may be shifting.

Oh and I hope that this is the last time TJS imitates KennethJ’s attempts to portray changes in government policy as evidence of KJ’s genius his genius in pointing out its errors. S’poreans are not stupid, and neither is TJS. He is an RI boy and scholar, unlike KennethJ.

*Eric Tan (remember him) must be v.v. happy. I tot that GG was brilliant in 2009 or 2010, putting online the questions Sylvia and Low were asking in Parly and the responses they got. This showed S’poreans that they were not as quiet as the constructive, nation-building media made them out to be.

**In July 2011, GG wrote an ST article explaining why nationalisation is a gd idea. So it was surprising that went the trains started failing, that the silence from him and WP was deafening.

TJS, Hazel Poa and Tony Tan

In Political governance on 26/03/2012 at 7:38 am

Both Tan Jee Say and the NSP have refused to rule out contesting Hougang. But this isn’t the only link between the two has-beens of opposition politics.

As readers will know, former presidential candidate Tan Jee Say is setting up a centre for policy discussion in Orchard Road.  Known as Heart Beat, he plans to host weekly policy discussions there. And I assume sell drinks and light refreshments to the thirsty and hungry participants of these discussions. An integrated model that sustains itself. Bully for him and his Mrs.

He hopes to sign up 100 people for his policy discussion group by year-end. The plan is for the group to meet regularly to research and brainstorm ideas, and draw up a set of alternative policies by 2014. These will be offered to opposition parties for use in their manifestos in the next general election, or submitted to the Government for consideration. Hazel Poa and her hubbie Tony have agreed to help him recruit people for this centre. 

The aims of this centre is  an advanced version of what he was thinking abt before the 2011 GE. In his article (in his book A Nation Awakes) “From Essay to Ho Say”, talked of “my plan for a non partisan [huh? strange this] central resourse pool of 15 to 20 candidates who could be distributed to the various opposition parties to augment and strengthen their existing team of candidates.” He described this to that Dynamic Duo (Hazel and Tony) “who promised help me find candidates”. The plan never took off, and TJS ended up being a GRC MP candidate for the SDP. And the dynamic duo stood as NSP candidates.

Well now it seems they are trying again. Let’s wish them luck in their plans to research and brainstorm ideas, and draw up a set of alternative policies by 2014. These policies will be offered to opposition parties for use in their manifestos in the next general election, or submitted to the Government for consideration.

 
 

The “new poor” revisited

In Political economy, Political governance on 08/02/2012 at 6:05 am

“Tan Jee Say, an opposition politician, said such global accolades ["the top marks S'pore scores in global surveys on the ease of doing business and low corruption levels"] often had little bearing on the lives of Singaporeans, many of whom who have seen their incomes stagnate over the past decade” (article), reminded me of what the Sage (not Stag) of Hougang said in 1997 or 1998 during the Asian financial crisis.

Low Thia Khiang (then the sole WP MP) spoke of the “new poor” and was roundly condemned and attacked by PAP ministers and MPs, and the local media for using of this term.

Well he was right wasn’t he? “The new poor” S’porean is a growing species. Leong Sze Hian pointed out a few days ago that wages have stagnated for many S’poreans for the last ten years:

10 Years – hardly any increase?

If we look at the data for the last 10 years, for example, the income of Singapore citizens at the 20th percentile level, grew by only 25%, from $1,200 in 2001 to $1,500 in 2011 (excluding employer CPF contributions).

In real terms, I estimate the annualized growth to be about 0.2%.

This is a far cry from the 2.2% real annualized growth for the last five years (including employer CPF contributions).

(Full article)

And the “new poor” continue to face the triple whammy of high living costs, low wages & purchasing power.

And didn’t Low have foresight when he asked in the late 90s for help for the “new poor? Something that was again rubbished by government ministers, PAP MPs and the local media, but which is now the part of the PAP’s strategy for regaining lost ground in the next general election: Bread and perhaps Circuses. The government is even planning to strengthen the almost non-existent social safety net, something which was taboo in the past.

So while S’poreans are rightly upset with the silence of the WP (Low is the leader) and MP Yaw (a married man) over whether Yaw had an affair with another married WP member, let’s not go overboard in flaming the WP, even though Yaw’s demotion (OK resigning as Treasurer and leaving the party’s politburo) tells us everything.

Cut it some slack because Low got the issue of the “new poor” spot on all those many years ago, and because he (and Chiam) kept the flame of opposition alive in parliament and on the ground, when it was most unfashionable to be associated with the Opposition.  Example: one TJS was quietly working away in fund management. Remember too, Low has played a big part (he became the party leader in 2001?) in the WP becoming the force it has become. And finally, he did nuture two next generation leaders Yee Jann Jong and Gerald Giam.

So while I think the WP is damaging itself by being more PAP than the PAP itself by refusing to comment on “rumours” about Yaw, let’s hope the damage done is not too great.

In case if anyone is wondering, the WP did not pay me for this “ad”.

A final mean, very mean, unrelated tot: “Is TJS speaking from experience when he talks of ‘incomes stagnate’?”. Declaration of interest: My income has collapsed in the last decade. And even then it was a fraction of what I was earning in the mid 90s. I was, and am, part of the “new poor”. But no need to cry for me. Being poor is relative as Grace Fu and friends should realise.

And anyway:

Let what will be, be.

Tis labor lost thus to all doors to crawl,
Take thy good fortune, and thy bad withal;
Know for a surety each must play his game,
As from heaven’s dice-box fate’s dice chance to fall.

TJS: The song, not the singer?

In Political governance on 29/01/2012 at 5:40 am

(Or “Why did people vote for TJS?”: Updated at 11 am)

After the 2011 presidential election, in which Tan Jee Say came in a decent third, he made the following points (to mask his second defeat in three months, remember he RI boy and RI boys not supposed to be serial losers, and make himself feel and look good?)

– More people voted for him than for the WP in the May general election (Actually it was even better than that as I wrote recently in TJS’s voice, “someone with 25% of voters behind me (5% more people voted for me than for the WP, and NSP combined and that the combined votes of all the opposition parties was only 40% more than the people who voted for me”): QED he was more popular than WP. Plausible, I tot.

– That many of his supporters would have likely spoiled their votes. This I found a bit rich: 25% of S’porean voters spoiling their votes? Come on pull the other leg. Even 5% would be 4% too many.

Anyway, I tot of  what he said about his popularity and his supporters when reading this recently from in Economist blog: The idea that political behaviour is expressive rather than instrumental—that we vote not to maximise the chances that our policy preferences will be implemented by government, but instead to send a message to ourselves and others about who we are, and what we care about—is meant to overcome a number of flaws in simple economistic accounts of voting … What message, then, does a vote for Newt Gingrich express? What message is so compelling that South Carolina voters were willing to overlook Mr Gingrich’s overwhelming liabilities as a candidate? “We think open marriages are great!”? “We love corrupt Washington insiders”? I guess not. Saturday’s expressive message, I think, comes down to this: “We’re not going down without a fight!

Translated into S’pore politics, could it be the 25% of S’poreans who voted for him, voted not because he was TJS but because he was perceived as the candidate that the PAP and government would have least preferred? If he did not stand, they would have voted for one Tan Kin Lian, who lost his deposit when TJS stood? Nothing to do who TJS is, but everything to do with his perceived anti-PAP and - govmin credentials?

So if he forms a new party, he and his alleged fan gal club (allegedly Jeannette Chong, Nicole Seah and Michelle Lee), may be surprised to discover that the 25% of the popular vote for presidential candidate TJS doesn’t translate into support for their new party (even with gal sepport). These voters have other ways of sending a message to themselves and others about who they are, and what they care about: They can vote WP or SDP.

Juz read this (11 am): He is setting up the the shared resource centre for the Opposition that he was thinking about before the last general election. Gd for him. Gd, astute tactical move. He can use this to research if he has the support needed to set up a new and credible political party. All the best.

(BTW, “The Singet Not the Song” was the title of a 1961 very forgetable British film about a priest and a gay attracted to him but not to his message. Priest was a Roman Catholic.)

Why TJS never got invited for tea and biscuits

In Political governance on 27/11/2011 at 5:47 am

(As I recently wrote about an RI boy, I tot I might as well write about another RI boy, especially one very, very proud to be from RI. So proud that it annoyed me.)

The JBJ Memorial event five weeks to the day yesterday (Saturday), entitled “Heroes in Our Hearts”, turned out to be more than a tribute to JBJ. What has gone uncommented (until now) is that a speech there solved a puzzle.

During the May GE campaign, Tan Jee Say told us that he had been told when he was a civil servant (in the early 1980s presumably?) that the PAP had considered him as a possible candidate-MP. But nothing happened and he never heard about the matter again. (Three other scholars born in the same year as him, 1954, Teo Chee Hean (in 1992), Lim Hng Kiang (in 1991) and George Yeo (in 1988) were tapped to become MPs and ministers.)

During the same election, his ex-boss, Goh Chok Tong, said that TJS was not gd enough to be a Permanent Secretary, and so he left government service.  TJS denies this. More details.

TJS’s speech at the JBJ Memorial tells us that he openly cheered in the 80s for JBJ at JBJ’s public appearances and rallies.

That he openly showed his support for a non-establishment figure and knowing the views that the PM of the day, one LKY, held abt JBJ, it is very clear (to me at least) why TJS was never invited to a tea-party, and why he couldn’t ever be a Permanent Secretary. He was “unsound”, likely to be unreliable when the call came to close ranks against the “enemies of the state”, and other trouble makers.

That he rose to be the Principal Private Secretary of the then Deputy Prime Minister (and PM in waiting), despite such open support for JBJ, speaks well of the system of meritocracy in the admin service in the 1980s, and how decent a man Goh Chok Tong was. (Regular readers will know I am usually no fan of GCT or of his policies.) 

Yes, yes, I know that a cynic should say that there is only TJS’s word that he attended and cheered at JBJ’s rallies. But I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt even though I know people who were his senior in Morgan Grenfell Asia in 1991, who are annoyed that he claimed the credit for MGA winning the privatisation mandate from SingTel, three months after he joined MGA: “He makes S’pore sound like Indonesia”; “MGA had been cultivating SingTel for years”; and “What else did he win?”.

(Reminding me of what George Orwell in All Art Is Propaganda: Critical Essays wrote,  “A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.” A good reminder why not to boast.)

My one criticism of his speech is that the speech came across as more about TJS* than about JBJ. But then brave men often have big egos, witness JBJ.

TJS is brave, not because of what he said he did 27 odd years ago, but because at age 57, he decided to do something very different and difficult, and which doesn’t pay well most of the time (he is out-of-pocket by at least S$127,000: enter politics on the side that always gets thrashed badly, like our national teams in sepak takraw, weightlifting, archery, basketball, footie, golf, dragon boat,  petanque, shooting, fencing and silat.

At the very least, even if he is an opportunist, he loves a challenge like Ulysses in Tennyson’s poem of that name which ends:

Though much is taken, much abides; and though

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are—

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

What the poem does not tell us is that Ulysses was drowned when a wave hit his ship and he was washed overhead. Heroes do not have the luxury of dying peacefully in their beds.

Finally, if anyone knows when he joined and left Standard Chartered, his designation(s) there, or whether he was in investment banking, fund management, or whatever there, please drop me an email. I know nothing of this period except that he was in StanChart. Likewise for his stint in Peregrine. BTW, interestingly, between 1991- 1997, he worked for  three different firms. I only worked for one.  

*It reminded me of LKY’s eulogy of Dr Goh Keng Swee. There was a credible rumour that some members of Dr Goh’s family were upset that the speech seemed more abt LKY than Dr Goh.

The financially savviest PE candidate of them all

In Financial competency, Political governance on 05/11/2011 at 4:08 pm

With the PM’s talk of a global financial crisis worse than that of 2008; and with three of the four presidential canidates having financial credentials (one an ex- banker, finance minister and SWF executive director; another an actuary and retired insurance CEO, and the third an “investment adviser”, I tot it would be fun to analyse their presidential election performance in terms of one indicator of financial savviness: see table below).

Tan Jee Say (the “investment adviser”, previously a senior civil servant with a background in economic policy, investment banker and fund manager, who, when he first entered politics this year, called himself an “investor”) was the most effective campaigner in $ terms in the presidential election. But among the four candidates, he flunked badly the first rule of high finance: “use other people’s money”. He had the most self-funding to do percentage-wise, 78.41%. He only got donations amounting to 21.59% of what he spent. TJS had the courage to spend what it takes to run an effective campaign, but he sure is no expert in using other people’s money.

The People’s Voice ,Tan Kin Lian (actuary and retired CEO of an insurer), wanted $2m a year in presidential salary, but was only willing to spend other people’s money, not his own to campaign. He was even trying to get donors to fund his deposit (Knew would lose deposit?).  But he ended up in second place to TJS when it came to self-funding, percentage-wise. Right attitude, incompetent execution.

Tony Tan has his presidential salary to console himself for having to spend the most (in absolute terms)  from his own pocket,$165070. His many endorsements (especially from the unions) didn’t result in much money. Could this show the meanness and insincerity of those S’poreans who “endorsed” him? Or that they are a bunch of cheap skates?

Tan Cheng Bock MD can console himself for his very narrow loss by congratulating himself for doing better than the financial experts. He outspent everybody else by a big margin, but did it largely on other people’s money. He spent $60424.65 of his own money, only 10.33% of his total campaign expenses. TKL spent more of his own money (in absolute terms) than TCB.

“Tan Cheng Bock Ho Say Le”.  Read the rest of this entry »

Who was the most effective campaigner in the 2011 PE?

In Political governance on 05/10/2011 at 8:34 pm

Table 1 below shows that the most effective campaigner dollar-wise is investnment adviser, Tan Jee Say. For each dollar he spent, he got 3.31 votes and he spent only 30 cents for each vote he got.

The most ineffective campaigner dollar-wise was ex-NTUC Income CEO, Tan Kin Lian. Taking into account his forfeited deposit of $48,000, for each dollar he spent he only got 0.88 of a vote, and he spent $1.14 for each vote he received.

As to the two Doctor Tans, Tan Cheng Bock’s numbers showed he was a lavish spender vis-a-vis the winner (and everyone else): see Table 2. He spent 42.7% of all monies spent (including TKL’s forfeited deposit) but only got 34.85% of all the valid votes cast. By contrast, Tony Tan spent 36.7% of all monies spent but got 35.2% of the valid votes cast. Table 2 below also shows how effective TJS spent his money. He spent only 11.85% of all monies spent but got 25.04% of all the valid votes cast. Read the rest of this entry »

The losing Tans: What they now doing?

In Political governance on 02/10/2011 at 7:07 am

As its Sunday, thought regular readers might like to read the gossip making the rounds of the chattering coffee-house classes. Take u/m with a large pinch of salt as its all based on hearsay, much of it secondhand.   

Dr Tan Cheng Bock is not planning to form a new party. He is believed to be advising  Benjamin Pwee and other SPP members who helped him in his recent presidential campaign. He is helping them plan the transition from brand Chiam, and how to get support in Western S’pore, his territory. Tony Tan came second in the West. Tan Jee Say and Tan Kin Lian were nowhere to be seen.

Hopefully,  the Chiams are onside on these issues. Otherwise, the SPP will die when Chiam departs from the stage. Mrs Chiam is a very capable grassroot activist. But she is no leader of a political party, few people are.

Tan Jee Say “has plans to build up a coalition of forces, reaching out to those dissatisfied with the ruling party. He did not give details as to which party he intends to join”. He is keeping open the possibility of setting up a new party. The rumour is that Michelle Lim and Dr Ang Yong Guan will resign from the SDP and join the new party. That they are not on the mgt commitee of the SDP is taken as a sign of them wanting to leave.

People close to Nicole Seah, celebrity superstar, and  Jeannette Chong Aruldoss both on the NSP mgt committee, deny that these two ladies will join the new party. But with the rumours of tension in the NSP leadership (most of the mgt didn’t turn up at the birthday party of the NSP’s Malay Bureau), the speculation is they may jump ship. Superstar Nicole has also been criticised by long-time NSP cadres for being TJS’s polling agent.

But if they jumped party again, they would look like fickle, airhead bimbos. They joined NSP from RP only before the May GE, and they had joined RP only last year.

People who know but don’t like TJS say that all this talk of unifying the Opposition shows he is trying to leave politics gracefully. But then, these same guys said he applied for the COE because he wanted to leave the SDP gracefully. They said he thought he wouldn’t get it but kanna played-out. But whatever the truth, he fought hard and wisely, unlike Tan Kin Lian who fought hard but not wisely.

TKL is still makes pronouncements on public issues on his FaceBook page and blog site. But less and less people are visiting the sites. People close to him say he still feels the hurt of being rejected by voters and losing $48,000 and more of his own money. They also say he is in denial abt his defeat, refusing to accept that his campaign was badly run, and hence accident prone. He still thinks he could have been president, but for the Yahoo! survey and TJS.

TJS: Right attitude, wrong project?

In Political governance on 30/09/2011 at 6:49 am

I’m one of those 75% of voters who didn’t vote for TJS in the presidential elections. I wasn’t convinced that he was sincere (to be frank,I thought he was an opportunist); and the lack of a verifiable track record, career-wise, since 1991 was of concern. My thoughts on whether he was a hero or bad guy.

And there was the issue of S$60bn. “[S]mall change”, but not to his fan websites, and the party he resigned from the SDP.

But 25% of voters voted for him which shows that he convinced a quarter of adult S’poreans that he was sincere and competent. I accept their judgement. I am happy that he has rewarded (or should it be repaid?) their trust by saying he will continue fighting for his articulated principles and convictions.

But is trying to unite the Opposition a good use of his passion and talents? I think not.

Chiam tried it twice. First with the setting up of SDA and then by trying to help KennethJ take over the SDA. The latter ended with Chiam taking the SPP out of the SDA, and with both Chiam and KJ looking stupid and arrogant. Chiam recovered his reputation, KJ never did. But KJ was playing for high stakes. If he had taken over the SDA, he would have established himself as a master tactican.

Next, why would the WP and SDP want to team up because of TJS? They have distinct brands, and appeal to different voters. If the parties worked together closely, WP would not be able to attract the swing voters. They would not to be associated with the “radicals” of the SDP. Although not true, that is the image that the swing voters have of SDP members, an image that the constructive, nation-building local media, PAP and government helped build and maintain. Though to be fair, until very recently, SDP members made it easy to caricature themselves.

It is no surprise they have not commented on what he has said.

Then there is the state of the other parties. The SPP punches above its weight because of brand Chiam. The NSP (forever reinventing itself between elections), RP (remember who this is?), and SDA are sick parodies of political parties.

See who are the parties that welcome his initiative, and are willing to join the “Coalition of the Hopeless”: the SPP, NSP, RP and SDA.

Finally, the present arrangement of all the parties not fighting three-way contests suits everyone except the SDP.  In particular, the WP benefits from having the SDP’s supporters having no choice except to vote for it. See this.

True in 2011, the WP refused to give way to the SDA in one area (but it was vindicated when the SDA candidate lost his deposit) and there were rows between the WP and NSP, and between the NSP and RP on seat allocations. But the bigger party bullied the smaller party into submission in both cases. Goh Meng Seng was bullied by the WP, and he in turn bullied KJ.

This co-operation may not be possible after the next GE. The parties, especially the WP and SDP, may raise their ambitions, but that is in the distant future.

So I hope TJS finds something more doable and constructive, taking into account his talents and weaknesses. What that could be I hope to explore in a future post. 

Meanwhile, “Tan Jee Say, Ho Say Leh”: so long as he repays the trust that 25% of adult S’poreans have in him.

Who is the Opposition Kingmaker?

In Uncategorized on 23/09/2011 at 7:00 am

Following this year’s two elections, I could reasonably argue that the core PAP vote (any donkey even if it is Tin Pei Ling, so long as it is a PAP donkey) is 35%, the core anti-PAP vote is 30% (any ass even an SDA ass, so long as it is an anti-PAP ass) and the remaining 35% are the Animal Farm sheep aka the swinger voters. 

(I’ve not used the term  “Opposition” because all the Opposition parties define themselves as being anti-PAP or its values.)

Given that the WP has five MPs and two NCMPS (while no other Opposition party has an MP, and the SPP has the only other NCMP) , one would think that the WP best presents the angry S’porean voter. I think not.

The WP has done well because it can attract enough swing voters with its moderation (or waffliness or BS, if I wanted to be unkind) while relying on the 30% of voters who are angry with the PAP. It does not have to appeal to these voters because the Opposition parties try to avoid three-way contests in the belief that such contests only benefit the PAP.

True, the PAP benefits most in such contests, But the WP benefits most among the Opposition parties in two-way fights. Its discipline, moderation and willingness to walk the ground between general elections, plays well to the sheep of Animal Farm.

The biggest loser is the SDP, the natural home of these angry voters. SDP supporters in areas not contested by the SDP, have no choice but to vote WP, SPP, NSP, and SDA and RP; or spoil their votes.

Think I exaggerate? I’ve been told by a usually reliable source that in the Aljunied GRC, Tan Jee Say polled a decent close second to Tony Tan. Tan Cheng Bock was nowhere. And look at the TJS rally, and even the booing of TT on Nomination Day. These bear the hallmarks of SDP activism; in the latter the Dark Side of SDP activism, not the mainstream SDP.

And remember Tan Kin Lian, who lost his deposit? He and his adviser, Goh Meng Seng, thought they had the angry vote stitched up, allowing them to focus on the swing vote. Then TJS got his COE and performed well in the presidential election. TKL could only get angry publicly with TJS.

True, TJS was not endorsed by the SDP but he had the active help of many of its activists, though the MSM and bloggers focused on the endorsement he got from Nicole Seah, the super celebrity. Incidentally, I was told that in Marine Parade, TCB was second to TT. So much for her endorsement.

My conclusion? The SDP is the kingmaker of the Opposition. Remember how the Communists destroyed David Marshall and the WP in the early 60s? They told their supporters not to vote for the WP.

It could happen again. The SDP could withdraw its support of the WP, and even field candidates to fight the WP if the WP doesn’t pay Danegeld to the SDP or move leftwards. But by doing either or both, it will lose its attractiveness to the sheep of Animal Farm. Not a sweet spot to be in, Mao.

 

TJS: a coming victim of the Sirens?

In Political governance on 11/09/2011 at 5:21 pm

In Greek mythology, the Sirens were three bird-women, who lured passing sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck and death on the rocks around their island.

In the S’pore context, the Sirens are those anonymous voices on the Internet who lure men with large egos and deep pockets to enter politics as voices of the oppressed, only to abandon them to ridicule, shame and monetary loss when elections are held.

When KennethJ (remember him and the Reform Party?) was thinking aloud of entering politics, many anonymous voices on the internet encouraged him to emulate his father, JBJ, to stand up and speak out for the oppressed. When he did in 2009, even more voices came out to tell him that he was their hero and they would support him.

I was one of the few Cassandras who posted anonymously on TOC that he should be aware of the Sirens. I cited the example of one Tan Kin Lian who in 2008 received emails asking him to stand for election in the coming 2011 presidential election. He then organised a petition asking for 100,000 people to petition him to stand for the presidency. In 2009, he got less than 1,500 names and renounced all presidential ambitions.

Well we know now how much support KennethJ received. Very few joined the RP, and most of them left soon afterwards. The share of the votes RP got in the 2011 GE was pathetic. The Sirens made a fool of him.

Then there was TKL. Not satisfied with being played out by the internet, he flip-flopped (I am thinking of standing, I will stand, I am thinking of standing) his way into the presidential election. And was humiliated when he lost his deposit. Did the Sirens fix him, hehe, snigger, snigger. Funniest of all, he and, Goh Meng Seng, are in denial over his loss. TKL’s media statement and GMS’s comments (see comments).

Coming back to Tan Jee Say. His performance was very credible. He got 25% of the votes. The Sirens failed to humiliate him after enchanting him to stand for president. True he budgeted S$200,000 for his campaign and we don’t know how much he got in donations. But waz money for an ex- investment banker active in the early to mid-1990s (I was only an equities dealer and salesman but I made more than enough to spend most of noughties unemployed) and an ex-Scholar? 

The Sirens are now telling him to set up his own party. Still trying to fix him.

If I were him, I’d give them the finger. There are a certain number of voters who will always vote for the anti-PAP candidate. In the late 1960s this was abt 10% of the voters. After the 2006 GE, this figure had become abt 20%. After the 2011 GE, there was an estimates that this could be as high as 31% of the voters, with the most conservative estimate remaining at 20%.

Taking into consideration, the votes that went to Spoiler Tan, TJS could have gotten 30% of the hard core opposition vote, almost all of 31%. In a GRC or SMC in a GE, this would mean certain defeat, if the fight was between the PAP and an opposition candidate.  If the hard core were only 20%, then taking into account 5%-Tan, he could have gotten 10% of the swing voters. Still not enough swing votes  to win in a straight fight.

OI course, the Sirens would sing that 30% is a gd base to start from but look at how long it took the WP to win a GRC, over a decade. And the WP had very complacent PMs, and MPs in Aljunied. And TJS isn’t young.

At his age, he would be better off counting his dividends, and making sure that his very pretty daughters date only the “right” boys. And joining me for walks in the neighbourhood. Lots of nice areas to walk in Frankel Estate, Siglap and Marine Parade.

Easy & cost-free way of uniting S’poreans

In Political governance on 09/09/2011 at 7:07 am

The president and PM have called for unity.

 The PM for the fifth time. Read my take on his call.

Well since about 7,000 votes separated the winner of the presidential election from the runner-up, one easy and popular way of making the 35% of voters that voted for the runner-up happy and contented is for the PM and president to announce that one of them is offering to appoint Dr Tan Cheng Bock as a member of the presidential council. Remember the government and the president (at his personal discretion) can each appoint two persons to the council.

This will show the 35% of the electorate that voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock that their views matter.

If the PM is wily, he will offer to appoint Tan Jee Say to the council, thereby making about another 25% of the electorate happy that the government recognises their voices. Whether it would be wise for TJS to accept is another matter.

The only reason why no offer will be made is that the PAP and the government (and the president has been in both) has a mindset that has problems distinguishing between “popular” actions and “popularism”. They seem to think that the words are synonymous. They hate “popularism” because by definition it is opposed to rule by the elite. Fair enough but then they think that being popular is being a populist.

Worse they think that the way to go is to do “unpopular” things. Witness LKY’s boast of not doing popular things to win elections, and Philip Yeo saying,”My greatest fear now is that the government is terrified of the people. You cannot have a system where the people are pampered.”

So while I hope Dr Tan will be appointed to the presidential council, I won’t hold my breath. As to Tan Jee Say being offered an appointment, pigs will fly first, even though there are advantages to the PAP and government offering him an appointment. Offering him an appointment, will be a poisoned chalice. He is damned either way. If he refuses, the label “confrontationalist” can be attached to him by the government and PAP. If he accepts, his ex-SDP pals will unfriend him for selling out.

As to PM’s “reinvented” PAP, I’ll acknowlege it when I see it.

“Divining tonite’s results”: where it all went wrong

In Political governance on 29/08/2011 at 6:45 am

This http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/divining-tonites-results/, was written on the morning of 27th August. The predictions of the various percentages went badly wrong, but the conclusions (see below) didn’t.

But first where the divination methods let me down badly. The two Drs between them only got 70% of the votes cast , not the 85% divinated. They only got between them the 35% of the electorate that will vote for any donkey, so long as it is a PAP donkey, and 35 percentage points of the sheep (swing voters who constitute 45% of the total votes). TT must have got all the donkey votes and TCB all but 10 percentage points of sheep votes.

Anyway, did get it right that it was too close to call between the two Dr Tans.

Tot that the ass vote (20% of the electorate) would be be split between TKL and TJS. TJS got all the ass votes (any ass so long as it is an Opposition ass). To great surprise, 5 percentage points of the sheep supported him. Had tot that no sheep would vote for a former SDP candidate. But then Nicole Seah supported him. Young sheep adore her.

Right in thinking that TKL would lose his deposit, but didn’t expect any sheep to vote for him. But it would seem he got his votes (5% of the total votes)  from the sheep. Must be super daft sheep.

Very, very wrong in thinking that 5 percentage points of the asses would vote for Dr Tan Cheng Bock. They remained solidly in the TJS camp. Tot that not all asses were daft, was wrong.

Finally an even bigger majority, 65%, are not happy with PM, not the 50ish% predicted.

Conclusion

PM better wake up his his ideas. The majority of S;poreans are unhappy about the

– unjustified commuter fare rise;

– repeated failures to secure MRT carriages and depots;

– attempts to tell us how we should vote on 27 August;

– Central Mediation Centre’s and MinLaw’s refusal to tell FTs that they are guests here, not our overlords, and must tolerate our culture and eating habits; and

– continued fixing of the Opposition by the PA (a government agency of which he is the chairman).

The vast majority of S’poreans are too smart to buy into the Kin Lians and Jee Says of this world. They know when people talk rubbish.

The vast majority of S’poreans are conservatives.

Brand PAP is toxic.

Mandate for PM to carry on fixing?

In Political governance, Wit on 28/08/2011 at 8:33 am

If I were a PAP spin doctor (which regrettably I’m not, they pay very well while I only have my CPF and dividend income to live on), this is how I’d spin Tony Tan’s very narrow win over Cheng Bock (7,000 votes*) with only 35% of all the votes cast and Jee Say’s good showing (30%?)**.

During the 2011 General Election, the PAP only got 60% of the popular vote. The Opposition got between them 40%. During the presidential election, the two candidates that had only just resigned from the PAP, got between them 70% of the votes. This is 10 percentage points more than the PAP got during the GE.

Not only that, but Kin Lian, the PAP member who resigned several yrs ago when his job specification no longer needed him to be a PAP member, and who has since been attacking the party, did badly. He may even lose his deposit***. It could be spun that S’poreans don’t like PAP traitors espec9ally those that did well from being PAP members. He was CEO of NTUC Income for 30 yrs.

So the PM can reasonably argue that he has a mandate from 70% of the voters to use government agencies to fix the Opposition something the PA (where he is chairman) and the HDB did in Aljunied. And he can allow:

– every TLC, or, or government department or agency to raise their charges until the pips squeak;

– LTA and SMRT to get away with repeated failures to secure MRT carriages and depots; and

– Central Mediation Centre and MinLaw to continue telling FTs that FTs can be intolerant of our culture and eating habits.

Carry on as usual PM, 70% of S’poreans are on yr side. Sigh.

Update on 28August 2011 at 9.25am

*7,269 to be precise

**25%

***lost his deposit with only 4.9% of the vote.

Divining tonite’s results

In Political governance on 27/08/2011 at 7:04 am

(Update on 28 August 2011, 7.15am –My divination methods let me down badly. The two Drs between them only got 70% of the votes cast , not the 85% I expected.

I also got wrong the belief that the swing voters would not vote TJS, abt 10% seems to have done so. I was very wrong in thinking that 5 percentage points of the asses would vote for Dr Tan Cheng Bock. They remained solidly in the TJS/  TKL camps.

What I got right — TKL could lose his deposit, and my conclusions. It’s even worse for PM. Bigger majority, abt 65%, not happy with him, not the 50ish% I predicted.)

Assumptions

35% of the voters will vote for any donkey so long as it is a PAP donkey; 20% of the voters will vote for any Opposition ass if it is an Opposition ass; and the remaining 45% are the sheep who think they can think for themselves.

Predictions

The two doctors will between the two of them get 85% of the votes. The donkeys and mules will vote for either of them, and 5 percentage points of the asses will vote for Dr Tan Cheng Bock. The result will be a close one, with neither of the doctors getting an absolute majority of the total votes cast by the animals.  I hope TCB wins but it’s only a hope. Dr Tony Tan could win.

The remaining asses will vote for either Tan Jee Say or Tan Kin Lian. It is very highly probable that TKL will lose his deposit. But TJS could also lose his deposit.

Conclusion

PM better wake up his his ideas. The majority of S;poreans are unhappy about the

– unjustified commuter fare rise;

– repeated failures to secure MRT carriages and depots;

– attempts to tell us how we should vote on 27 August;

– Central Mediation Centre’s and MinLaw’s refusal to tell FTs that they are guests here, not our overlords, and must tolerate our culture and eating habits; and

– continued fixing of the Opposition by the PA (a government agency of which he is the chairman).

The vast majority of S’poreans are too smart to buy into the Kin Lians and Jee Says of this world. They know when people talk rubbish.

The vast majority of S’poreans are conservatives.

Brand PAP is toxic.

Why S’poreans must unite and send another message to PM

In Political governance on 26/08/2011 at 7:37 am

Since 27 August is only a few days after the 100th day of PM’s cabinet being sworn in, we should use that day to tell the PM that we will not tolerate the:

– unjustified commuter fare rise;

– repeated failures to secure MRT carriages and depots;

– attempts to tell us how we should vote on 27 August;

– Central Mediation Centre’s and MinLaw’s refusal to tell FTs that they are guests here, not our overlords, and must tolerate our culture and eating habits; and

– continued fixing of the Opposition by the PA (a government agency of which he is the chairman).

TJS and TKL supporters, please vote with yr minds, not yr hearts. Do you seriously think yr candidate can win?

You may hate Dr Tan Cheng Bock, but hold yr noses and vote for the Tan that swing voter mules (45%) are most comfortable with,  and who is not the preferred candidate of the PAP.

PAP supporters, by not voting for Tony Tan you will help those members of the CEC who want the party to change. Remember the PM has said he will work with the winner, but do you want the winner to be TKL or TJS? TCB was until recently one of the MIW.

Anyway Tony Tan is meant for bigger things (like returning to GIC). The presidency is too small for him.

S’poreans vote tactically. Vote for the Tan who the PAP doesn’t want to win but who is not a radical or a friend of the SDP and Dr Chee, or who is from the Dark Side, pretending to be the “People’s Voice”.

Vote for Dr Tan Cheng Bock, the guy who wants to unite us thru footie and multiracialim. OK even I  admit this is corny. But at the very least, he is not the candidate of choice of the PAP, or Dr Chee and the SDP, or of Goh Meng Seng or the NSP.

Are you OK Doc Tan?

In Political governance on 21/08/2011 at 3:01 pm

I’m wondering if Tony Tan realises that the president is only a security guard when it comes to guarding the reserves?

The speech he gave at the NTUC financial and business services cluster National Day observance ceremony on Friday morning, was a good one. He talked abt the worsening global economy and the uses that the reserves can play.  But it was the speech of a player, not a security guard. ://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/singaporescene/gov-t-prepared-economic-uncertainties-tony-tan-071802754.html

So maybe he is hinting to the PM that he would like to return to GIC where he can play a meaningful role in helping S’pore steer through the crisis. He has after all helped built up the reserves to the extent that Tan Jee Say can say spending S$bn of the reserves on Jee Say’s plans is “small change”.

I for one prefer him to return to GIC. The elected presidency is too small a role for him. It was too small for LKY, it is too small for Tony Tan. http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/gic-not-reported-in-st-cna-or-today/ Link was inserted at 6.25 pm on 21 August 2011.

 

Tan Jee Say: Shane or Tom Horn?

In Political governance on 14/08/2011 at 7:52 am

When I think of Tan Jee Say’s presidential bid, I can’t help thinking of two Westerns.

In Shane and Tom Horn, a stranger rides into town.

Tan Jee Say metaphorically rode into  town early this year with his very detailed and interesting analysis (summary) on Singapore’s economy. We were reminded that he was once a upon a time a scholar from a very humble background,  then a high flying, high ranking civil sevant specialising in economic policy issues. In particular, he was GCT’s Principal Private Secretary (PPS) when the former was DPM, though we subsequently learnt that GCT didn’t have a good opinion of him. We also learnt that since leaving the civil service in 1991, he has worked in Morgan Grenfell, John Govett and Standard Chartered before becaming an investment adviser, whatever that is.

He has only given details of his stint at John Govett.

In April 2011, he joined the SDP and contested the GE under its colours. There were allegations that he tried very hard to get onto the WP’s slate. Apparently the WP didn’t want him. In July, he resigned from the SDP so he could contest the presidential election. 

He has talked of “moral courage and conviction” but these in his case only became evident a few months before the GE

No matter how one looks at it, his public track record on socio-political issues and activism is pretty thin. The public records only stretch from the beginning of this year. Despite his very strong stand against the casinos, I don’t recall any report mentioning his name when there was a debate about whether casinos should be allowed several years ago. Surely, I would have remembered a report that GCT’s ex-PPS had publicly spoken out against the casinos?

And spending a few months with the SDP is not a positive. This can either be spun as opportunism (to get onto their MP slate) or that he is an SDP mole out to subvert parliamentary democracy (remember SDP won no seats) by capturing the presidency. Those who believe the latter will cite the support the is getting from sites that are believed by many to be aligned with the SDP.

Coming back to the Westerns. In Shane, Shane turned out to be the people’s hero. He killed the gunfighter brought in by a rich cattle rancher to intimidate the farmers. In Tom Horn, Horn turned out to be a hired killer of the wealthy cattle ranchers, killing those suspected of rustling their cattle. He was the bad guy.

Some websites that are alleged to have links with the SDP are actively promoting him as the man that will defeat Tony Tan. A Shane.

But is he more like Tom Horn? I am not suggesting that Jee Say will go round killing the other two non-Tony Tans. But could he, albeit inadvertently or accidentally, turn out to be the guy that kills off any chance of Dr Tan Cheng Bock or Tan Kin Lian of defeating Tony Tan? These two Tans, by any criteria, have distinguished records on socio-political issues and activities, and in the case of Dr Tan for decades.

Remember that based on the last GE and a study by the Institute of Policy Studies, about 35% of the voters will blindly support any donkey if it a PAP donkey, and 20% will support any ass so long as it was an anti-PAP ass. The remaining 45% were the “thinking” swingers.

Before Jee Say got his COE, Tony Tan was widely perceived as the candidate that the PAP would like to win, Dr Tan Cheng Bock was the centralist, and Tan Kin Lian was the perceived anti-PAP candidate. It was thought that in a three-Tan race, Tony Tan might lose while in a one-to-one with Cheng Bock, Tony Tan would lose.

Now there are two perceived anti-PAP candidates fighting for the 20% core vote. And four candidates fighting for the 45% swingers. And Tony Tan still has his core 35% vote.

I am glad that Tan Jee Say got his COE because it shows that the Presidential Election Committee is taking a very liberal and enlightened view of who can qualify for the COE. But those S’poreans who want to use this election to vote in someone less identified with the PAP will be disappointed. One or two too many to choose from.

Some background info on Tan Jee Say

In Political governance on 19/07/2011 at 6:54 am

According to a CNA report, Tan Jee Say said, as regards the eligibilty criteria, “he was chief executive officer with the title of regional managing director of John Govett (Asia) and its successor company AIB Govett (Asia) from February 1, 1997 to March 6, 2001.”

John Govett in the 1990s was a specialist fund mgr headquarterd in London. It focused on smaller cap Asian shares and had a gd reputation among investors.

Unfortunately in the second half of 1997, things started going badly wrong for Govett. There was an economic crisis in Thailand and the contagion spread to Indonesia and other Asian countries like S Korea. The crisis affected Govett more than it did other fund mgrs because the stocks it invested in, smaller cap companies, fared worse than blue chips in the crisis.  Many “emerging blue chips” failed to survive or were permanently crippled. Often because they lacked the “fat” of their blue chip contemporaries when they had to refinance their loans.

“AIB said the Asian crisis of 1997 to 1998 crippled Govett’s business, which is largely focussed in Asia, and despite ‘substantial restructuring’ the business lacked the scale and was not expected to return to profitability in the near future.”: from an article in November 2003 when AIB sold Govett to Gartmore for a mere 14m pounds sterling.

What SM should say have said abt Jee Say

In Political governance on 02/05/2011 at 8:48 am

So “Let’s be civil” Goh has kicked Tan Jee Say in the balls , making Jee Say sad.

I don’t know the truth about why the latter resigned, but was it necessary for SM to say that Jee Say was not gd enough to be a Permanent Secretary and so Jee Say left?  True Jee Say and the SDP are getting a lot of mileage that he was a senior aide of Goh.

But against that 20 years have passed. If Jee Say had stood for elections say five years after he resigned, then it would be fair for Goh to say that he wasn’t good enough to get promoted. Taz politics.

But as 20 years have passed, the decent (and devasting) thing for Goh to have said was, “That was a long time ago, his being my PPS. Mr Tan Jee Say should be judged by what he has done since then. What is his track record as fund manager, investment adviser or investor.

‘And he shld also be judged by the quality of his arguments. Not the fact that he was my senior aide 20 yrs ago.”

Anyway, this incident further confirms my view that Goh Chok Tong should never have been prime minister. And disproves the theory that serious money attracts gd people into politics.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 199 other followers