atans1

Town Council Debate: Cocks posturing & preening

In Political governance on 22/05/2013 at 5:30 am

Yes,yes Aunties’s not a cock but she sure behaved like Khaw and  Dr Teo. All these three, and the other supporting speakers didn’t try to bother to explain what the facts were. They juz tried to slime the other side, hoping that some mud would stick. No one drew blood.

I won’t bother to go into detail critcising what the PAPpies said as Sg Daily has done a gd job over the last few days providing links to a critique of the PAP’s position and its attacks on the WP. All I will say is that it confirms my view, many yrs ago, that the idea of town councils would come to haunt the PAP. It wasn’t even a gd idea at the time. Ah well, another black mark to Goh Chok Tong and one Lee Hsien Loong and their team.

I’ll juz make some points about what I found astounding about the WP’s position and netizens’ views.

I find it really strange that the WP thinks its OK for it to give a contract to its supporters but that it is wrong for the PAP to give a contract to a PAP linked company. The distinction escapes me. To me, “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice”. (Deng Xiaopin).

The other point is Auntie telling Dr Teo to report the WP to the CPIB if he had evidence of wrong-doing. Err Auntie, why so more PAP than the PAP? Imagine if when Auntie first made her allegations, those many noons ago, the PAP had said the same to her. I mean she, WP and netizens would be bitching at the PAP for trying to hide something. And rightly so. So why like that Auntie?

Which brings me to the point that netizens are so anti-PAP that they unthinkingly cheer the WP’s position on

— it’s OK to give contracts to supporters, but not party-affiliated organisations; and

— trying to win the argument by telling other side to report the matter to the CPIB.

While the PAP has the 120% support of the constructive, nation-building media, netizens are 99.9% anti-PAP. Here’s a tot for the PAP: if the local media were less servile to the PAP, would the internet be a less hostile place to the PAP. Could the hostile environment on the internet be a reaction to the power of the PAP over the local media.

To end, it would be nice if both sides respected the other side so that we the public can learn the truth of the allegations. Here’s an interesting excerpt on the benefits of respecting one’s opponent, though the author readily admits it’s damned difficult,:

Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticising the views of an opponent? If there are obvious contradictions in the opponent’s case, then you should point them out, forcefully. If there are somewhat hidden contradictions, you should carefully expose them to view – and then dump on them. But the search for hidden contradictions often crosses the line into nitpicking, sea-lawyering and outright parody. The thrill of the chase and the conviction that your opponent has to be harbouring a confusion somewhere encourages uncharitable interpretation, which gives you an easy target to attack.

But such easy targets are typically irrelevant to the real issues at stake and simply waste everybody’s time and patience, even if they give amusement to your supporters. The best antidote I know for this tendency to caricature one’s opponent is a list of rules promulgated many years ago by social psychologist and game theorist Anatol Rapoport.

How to compose a successful critical commentary:

1. Attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly and fairly that your target says: “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”

2. List any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).

3. Mention anything you have learned from your target.

4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

One immediate effect of following these rules is that your targets will be a receptive audience for your criticism: you have already shown that you understand their positions as well as they do, and have demonstrated good judgment (you agree with them on some important matters and have even been persuaded by something they said). Following Rapoport’s rules is always, for me, something of a struggle…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/may/19/daniel-dennett-intuition-pumps-thinking-extract

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  1. Your first para implies that not many people had accepted MND’s investigation; being a Government body, MND is to be independant, non-partisan and impartial. If we were to gauge the comments on the Internet, trust in government bodies executing and serving the people impartially isn’t all that high. We can infer, of course, how this came about. For one, the oft-heard message that the ruling party spewed about linking votes to upgrading of estates in past GEs didn’t help.

    While there is a lot of (unwanted albeit not surprising) mud being tossed around, it was the WP which highlighted this in the first place and the ruling party responded with another. What isn’t in the ruling party’s favour is the negative publicity surrounding the Town Council’s use of funds a few years ago. Now with the AIM issue, there are questions thrown up about how much influence the ruling party has in the control and management of the Town Councils. This isn’t good for the perception the public has for both the ruling party and the Town Councils, whereas the WP started on a relatively clean slate and a little leeway might have been given to them since Aljunied was the first Town Council they managed.

    Our political maturity as a nation has never grown since Independence. In fact, it has regressed. An indication of this is how, as you have mentioned, there is a lack of tespect and critical thinking from all parties (including the netizens). Politics is a dirty game but the level of mud-slinging and thinly veiled insults is perhaps the result of attempts to hide the inconvenient facts. It will take a very long time before we mature as a nation politically. While our neighbours up there aren’t really better, they are streets ahead of us.

  2. Apologies. A correction:

    “… Aljunied was the first GRC-level Town Council they managed.”

  3. Do anyone think PAP TC’s vendors will work for WP? Most may have some historical links to gahmen ministries. What do you expect WP to do immediately after winning the GRC? She can’t possibly let the rubbish pile up?

    Telling them to report to CPIB will put the case to rest. Its a waste of everyone time to have a see-saw argument and get no answer. At least CPIB will dig out everything or almost like the CHC case.

    TCs belong to residents or to political parties? All vendors should serve out their contracts faithfully irregardless who takeover the TCs when the contracts are in force. Isn’t this the norm to protect the interest of the residents? Wonder why these vendors including AIM can’t be penalised when they want to terminate without good reason like not being paid. They are afterall commercial transactions. Of course if they chose to close down their companies then nothing can be said. But there is such a thing as banker performance bond which will be forfeited if they can’t perform.

  4. WP has valid argument. Let me paint it plainly, if you have been bullied by your competitor and their supporters all these years to pretend you from using public facilities, would you continue to trust PAP and their supporters to manage your own town council? AIM episode is a good example why WP decided to use FMSS instead of PAP’S AGENT, who would have guess what further damage will PAP create to opposition ward if WP did not appoint FMSS. It is not like WP has not learned a lesson from PAP bully tactic in the last couple decades, even Mrs Chiam also decided to stand behind WP in this AIM saga. Why made the main issue so complicated by politicising FMSS (for reason started by PAP) when the main culprit like AIM is still on the run until another oppposition win GRC and this problems will resurface in parliament.

  5. @Root: atans has alluded to the fact that both sides have departed from the issues at hand and resorted to “posturing” in this debate. IMO, it isn’t a debate anymore and have begun to detract from the issues and fudging the facts. Politics is and will always be dirty. Politicians can, have and will say a thousand things. I will never put it past them to tell the whole truth; sometimes they won’t, even when their political demise is at hand. This is where the Fourth Estate comes in to play its part in giving citizens the ability to form their own perspectives on the matter through balanced and objective reporting. This leads to the question: What’s with the Fourth Estate in the country? The answer can be found in the 7th para of this post.

  6. “it’s OK to give contracts to supporters, but not party-affiliated organisations;”

    Why, of course it’s a no-brainer. If I am employed by a company to be HR manager and my job is to employ more people, I will get people who will work loyally for the company to become employees. Contrast that with I get employed by the company, then I employ someone from my family or relative. Substitute “I” with WP or PAP, “company” with town council, “people employed” with contractors and “family” with my own party-affiliated organisations, and anyone will get the picture.

    I’m surprised atans1 is even asking this no-brainer question and pinning imaginary crimes on WP.

  7. […] AIM-Gate – Andrew Loh: The AIM of serving the public’s interests – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Town Council Debate: Cocks posturing & preening […]

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