PM should try changing the way he makes decisions and communicates

In Political governance on 18/02/2013 at 5:43 am

After listening to PM’s speech on the population White Paper, I wandered if one of PM’s problems bis the deliberate, methodical way he makes decisions and communicates with ordinary S’poreans? Even his “choking” had me wondering how he rehearsed it.

In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman describes the two different ways the brain forms thoughts.

— fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypical, subconscious; or

— slow, effortful, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious.

No prizes guessing which way the PM and the PAPpies think and communicate.

The Economics Nobel Prize winner argues it would be a mistake to assume that logical thought somehow trumps automatic reaction. The former is often highly sensitive to subtle cues, the source of the “fight or flight” response that kept our ancestors from being eaten by other predators.

To gild the lily, in his book Blink,  Malcolm Gladwell argues that we live in a society dedicated to the idea that we should spend as much time as possible in deliberation, “As children, this lesson is drummed into us again and again: haste makes waste, look before you leap, stop and think. But I don’t think this is true.”

Gladwell argues that there are lots of situations when instant judgments are better than considered though,  “I think its time we paid more attention to those fleeting moments”, suggesting a general policy of intuition would result in a happier world.

In PM’s case maybe a happier PAP, and S’poreans. And a relieved Low. He needn’t worry about governing a city.

And it isn’t as though his use of slow, logical thinking has helped PM think thru how to solve the problems we face*. Based on the questions he is asking himself and us, his slow, logical thinking results in a parroting of daddy’s Hard Truths.

Penultimately, three great responses from TRE readers to the above link which TRE republished:

— PM’s questions remind me of an incident onboard a flight to America some time ago. The flight attendant in response to a passenger’s question, said in a jest “Yes, there is a choice for your meal – Eat or Don’t eat”.

Needless to say, the passenger had to eat whatever was left, because he was not in the first class cabin.

— Mr PM.

If that is the case, can I just ask the following:

1. Are you going to control the costs of housing or do you want us to vote in the Opposition?

2. Are you going to address the rising transport costs or you want us to vote in the Opposition?

3. Will you be completely transparent about the Aim/Town Councils issue, or you want us to vote in the Opposition?

4. Are you going to relax the foreign worker’s policy according to each industry’s need or you want us to vote in the Opposition?

I am asking you these questions in the same style you are using. Nothing personal. It’s just Hard Truths.

— The question I want to ask everyone is, “Do you want a caring Government or do you want PAP?”.

I love the last one. After all, VivianB is still in the cabinet.

Finally, here’s a great quote from a reader of the Economist on how the Swedes made the decisions that resulted in its :“If there is a secret to the Swedish model it is that we try out one stupidity after another. Occasionally we stumble on a useful idea and keep it as part of our society…you could call this the smorgasbord mentality…I guess the good currently outweighs the bad.”
-RS_3 on “The next supermodel”, February 4th 2013


*Goh Chok Tong, he  and their ministers are largely to blame for the overcrowding, and infrastructure failings caused by their “FTs First” policy.

  1. […] from the ‘protest’ at Hong Lim Park” – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: PM should try changing the way he makes decisions and communicates – Singapore Recalcitrant: The Population White Paper Conundrum – Of Kids and […]

  2. but the dark side is not accustomed to binary digits….only hexadecimals (come up with an alternative answer to your question by yourself for a mess that was created in the first place by them)..just saw the Swiss Standard Goh’s FB post on Hong Lim Park participants not coming up with viable alternatives…..

    it’s not that “do you want us to vote for opposition?”………we’re going to vote for opposition irrespective and let’s hope the dark side becomes a good opposition party to offer viable alternatives in 2016…….

    a good addition to your article….

  3. According to a seasoned Grassroot Leader here our PM seems to be listening to the wrong people all this while, clouding his perspectives.

  4. Maybe he is listening to the person who dresses him too much; (check today’s Stroked Times for the group photo….the only one with any taste, the guest’s wife!)

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