Population White Paper: 2030 will resemble 1959?

In Political governance on 15/02/2013 at 5:41 am

Why I see the White Paper no ak

A Citigroup report noted that the White Paper projects the dilution of Singapore-born citizens from 62% of the population to just 55% in 2030 based on number of new FT citizens that the govt plans to bring in projects to come in naturally: 15,000 – 25,000 annually.

In 1959, according to Singapore Correspondent. Political Dispatches from Singapore (1958-1962) only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here i.e. there only 45% of the voters were born here. The rest were the FT “new” citizens of the day.

Interestingly the author reported that when one LKY revealed the above fact in 1959, LKY also said,”we must go about our task (of building up a nation) with urgency … of integrating our people now and quickly”.

Maybe he repented of nation-building? And his son and the PAP is carrying out a policy of “return to the future”?

This isn’t the only example of back-to-the-future thinking. The ST managing editor “orders” us to trust the govt, saying that because we trusted it in the past, we “must” (his word) trust the govt on the issue of population. Great rebuttal by TRE. My critique of the piece by Lex Luthor’s double.

Problem is the White Paper as first published contains a simple, careless and stupid mistake that allows reasonable people to doubt its professionalism*.


We apologise for the misrepresentation in the Population White Paper that nursing is a “low-skilled” job. We firmly believe and agree that nursing is a noble and caring profession that requires a high level of clinical skill, dedication and passion. The White Paper has been amended accordingly through a corrigendum issued by the Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean in Parliament today.

Pauline Tan (Dr) RN, FAAN, Chief Nursing Officer, 8 Feb 2013

I was taught when I started work that a single careless mistake or typo in any document undermines the credibility of the document: if there was one mistake, what other mistakes were there, is a reasonable assumption the critical reader could make?

Then there was the issue of whether the author cared about the quality of the work done, if he didn’t bother to be careful. This was another reason not to trust it. (Yes I trained as a lawyer, and for my transgressions, worked in a PR firm for a year.)

Seems poetic justice and appropriate for the Population White Paper to contain such a howler that DPM Teo had publicly to correct the howler and PM to apologise for it. If they didn’t, they and their loved ones would be safer in using M’sian hospitals? Juz joking.

Because one can reasonably wonder if the assumptions in said paper were thought thru, or juz “cut and paste” from conventional wisdom macroeconomics. We know that macroeconomics conventional wisdom was found wanting in the recent financial crisis, so it is reasonable if standard macroeconomics assumptions on the importance of demographics on growth will be found wanting.

(And if four leading true-blue (they all did NS) S’porean economists are correct, the economic assumptions behind the White Paper are myths: BTW, all four are scholars, so all those TRE-reading scholar haters, “Sit down and shut up!”. Scholars are S’poreans too.)

What puzzles me is that  neither Mrs Chiam (she’s a British-trained nurse) the WP, nor NMPs, nor the “talk cock sing song” PAP MPs like Inderjit (see this earlier post)  who criticised the paper butwho  were whipped into voting for it, or who went AWOL on voting day) didn’t ask for this insult to nurses to be amended.

Now that would have hurt the White Paper’s and govt’s credibility more than their “sounding brass, or … tinkling cymbal”.

And before I forget, TOC has these two excellent pieces on more cock-ups in the WPW (“Yet, the misrepresentation is not limited to just footnote 12. Here is a selection of other misleading footnotes in the contentious White Paper.”) FTS coming than they did in the past? Are it’s a reduction?)

Unlike S’pore Auntie, TOC is using the online equivalents of botox and other rejuvenating aids to refresh itself. But then S’pore Auntie needs more than botox or surgery to become S’pore Gal once more. She needs a time machine. But that and the rejuvenation of TOC are two more tales for another day.

*Donald Low, a senior fellow at the LKY School of Public Policy and a former senior civil servant, has criticised the white paper, “wasn’t even a References section to show what research the writers of the paper had done, what social science theories they relied on, what competing theories/frameworks they looked at … There was also a surprising lack of rigorous comparison with other countries that have gone through, or are going through, a similar demographic transition.”

  1. I do believe that the authors of this white paper are highly paid scholars from the world’s top universities trusted by PM Lee and his top PAP lieutenants,so why such glaring mistakes ? designed to be seen by all,my conclusion is that these authors are on the side of the people,they dislike the PAP and this is the only way they can show to the world.PAP is finished,I doubt there is a way out for PAP!

    • One of the writers of the report is reported to be Ms Ngiam Siew Ying, Director of the Policy and Planning Directorate at the National Population and Talent Division. She is a super-scale high flyer probably related to ex top civil servant Mr Ngiam Tong Dow who obviously does not quite agree with PAP’s population policies..
      this video of her from an interview she did with CNA. Check out at 1:07.

  2. […] Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Population White Paper: 2030 will resemble 1959? – TRS: DON’T LOSE FOCUS ON THE ELDERLY – Where Bears Roam Free: Forget FTs, bring […]

  3. Agree with Jack. This is the usual modus operandi of the political “leaders” (note the quotation marks). They probably already decided on the outcome, and ordered their servants to fit the data to their preconceived outcome. With such a forced and artificial result, of course the pieces will not fit together. How to come up with a convincing case if those who prepare the paper are not convinced themselves?

  4. Will the author(s) of the white paper please come forward? I’m surprised that PAP has started to use Anonymous writers for policy white papers….

  5. Breaking from
    Immigration Issue Sparks Dissent in GOP
    Republicans are engaged in an intra-party fight over immigration, with supporters of more liberal laws working to discredit some advocacy groups pushing the GOP’s more conservative stance on the issue, according to The Washington Post.

  6. /// I was taught when I started work that a single careless mistake or typo in any document undermines the credibility of the document: if there was one mistake, what other mistakes were there, is a reasonable assumption the critical reader could make? ///

    I have a different take on this “boo-boo”. I don’t think it is a mistake. I think they truly believe that nursing is a low-skilled job, which is why they are trying to import cheap foreign nurses to make up the number.

  7. […] The fact that our police failed to secure a hard drive made me understand his parents apprehensions and anger: we were Hicksville USA or some third world country, and the Financial Times was right to report the story. The police had secured his PC and mobile phone but not a hard drive that was allegedly in full view on a table. If the police could be so sloppy, or worse, anything is possible. As the Population White Paper shows, a sloppy, slip-shod, careless mistake can undermine any attempt to be authoritative […]

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