Friday, 23 April 2021

Heng Swee Keat passes on the PMship

 So April 8 2021 was a day of shock for Singapore.

The presumptive PM-apparent/PM in waiting/PM designate Mr Heng Swee Keat announced that he would not be taking up the PMship after all, and would rather another younger person be the PM-designate. His reason, or his publicly stated reason was that he was 60 years old this year, and by the time the Covid-19 crisis was settled he would be close to his mid-60s. He would have limited time to provide leadership and stability for Singapore.

In other words, he had already been selected as the next PM of Singapore. If he had just coasted along, taking things one day at a time, and just making sure that he doesn't screw up big time, he would be Singapore's 4th PM.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

There was a survey on the political stance of Singaporeans:

"While almost half of Singaporeans were somewhat undecided on their political position, nearly a third leaned towards the left, outnumbering the one-fifth who preferred right-wing politics, a survey has found."

The approach of LKY and the other founders has (historically) been pragmatic. LKY actually started out more left-wing. It was in a sense practical, pragmatic, and a response to a colonial government. However over time, and when the PAP became the ruling party, the tactics of the opposition became irrelevant, and the PAP had to learn how to govern and to use the tactics of the ruling party. And divested itself of the sackcloth of the opposition.

And as the ruling party, the PAP had to adopt policies that WORKED for Singapore, and to abandon frivolous and impractical ideologies. And the touchstone of the PAP government has been to ask, "does it work?" and "would this work better?"

Saturday, 23 January 2021

If not Covid19...

Some people have observed, that since wearing masks, and observing heightened hygiene their children have had fewer or no minor illnesses. One noted that his child used to fall sick every month since attending childcare. Now, no. 

I don't have any statistics to back up this observation, but fewer colds, and coughs, runny noses, since all this mask-wearing.

This mask-wearing might have something to it after all... maybe we can't eradicate Covid19, but maybe... If no one is falling sick from colds, if the transmission of the cold virus is broken, if the virus dies out...

Maybe we can't eradicate Covid19 with masks alone. But maybe, the common cold? Not as deadly, but... something.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Trump - Gump or Chump?


This video tries to present Trump's 4 years with his achievements and failures.

Do you agree?

First, let's call a spade a spade. This is (or was) the "Trump Presidency", not the Trump Administration. Because calling what they did over four years, "administration" is arguable and generous. Just consider the turnover of the Cabinet members (not covered in the video, because rightly, it is not usually considered an achievement or failure, but is indicative or symptomatic of a dysfunctional... "administration". Or "Dysadministration".) So it is NOT in question that Trump was the 45th POTUS. So call it the Trump Presidency. "Trump Administration"? Laughable. Arguable. Debatable. But I will let it pass as a customary nomenclature rather than an objective and accurate descriptor. 

Second, some of the achievements or failures are subject to the judgement of history and/or are multifaceted and would depend on the perspective and the lens thru which it should (or would) be seen. For example, was Trump's confrontation with China good or bad? Achievement or Failure. It's not easy to say at this point in time/history. Or you might say, it depends on your perspective. US perspective? Even so, that depends on the long term objectives and US's role in the unfolding history. If the US is on the decline (from the perspective of history) and China is in ascendency, then though Trump was not ready to concede the 2020 election weeks after the result was obvious, he readily ceded US global leadership (in some/many aspects) to China. 

Third and finally, this video assesses Trump's "achievements" and "failures" as if this presidency's endeavours were thought out and thought through. That the achievements are intentional, and failures were just badly executed, unfortunately timed, or undermined by opponents or historical events. That is generous. The evidence suggests that Trump "Forrest Gump" his way to the Presidency, and his achievements. As for his failures, they can all be traced back to his lack of understanding, interests, and intellect. Or his bias/prejudices. 

And some of the achievements in this video were wrongly attributed to him. Getting to pick 3 conservative Supreme Court Justices was due to the machinations of Mitch McConnell more than the astuteness of Trump. 

It may be too soon, but eventually, history will ask, "President Donald Trump - [Forrest] Gump or Chump?" Or maybe some are already asking. Or some believe they already know the answer.

[Edit/ Addendum: From a Washington Post newsletter (The Daily 202), of 25 Nov:

Trump will be the first president since Herbert Hoover in the Great Depression to leave office with fewer Americans employed than when he started. More problematic is that, as a lame-duck, Trump is aggressively trying to box in his successor with new rules, regulations and orders that are designed to tie the hands of the incoming administration.

The federal budget deficit was $3.1 trillion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, by far the biggest one-year gap in U.S. history. Trump promised as a candidate in 2016 to eliminate the national debt over eight years. When he took office, the debt was $14.4 trillion. It now stands at $21.1 trillion.

While Trump has lost in the court of law, he was won to some degree in the court of conservative public opinion. By baselessly sowing doubt in the integrity of the results, and with the complicit consent of Republican lawmakers who stayed silent for so long, Trump is convincing millions of gullible supporters that his successor is somehow not legitimate. This will make it harder for Biden, who strives to be a healer, to bind the national wounds into which Trump has been rubbing salt these past four years.

Friday, 20 November 2020

Prelude to war

Pure, Simple (or Simplistic) Democracy. Consider that this - DEMOCRACY - is a Sacred Cow. It cannot be questioned. The process cannot be questioned. The System cannot be questioned. Yes, this system threw up a Donald Trump in 2016. But this system also threw him out in 2020. The system WORKS!

Tell yourself that. Convince yourself that this is DEMOCRACY WORKING. This is the age of disinformation. And there is no greater disinformation and deception than to see something, and BELIEVE THE VERY OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU ARE SEEING.

The simple matter is if democracy works as advertised, then ok, maybe people are tired of slick politicians and Washington insiders, and are sold on the idea of an outsider, a maverick, someone who will rock the boat and get the rats off the boat. So 2016 - Trump. Besides Clinton was *bleargh!* Trump won? Understandable really.

Litigating Democracy

In the aftermath of his defeat, Trump is alleging, without any evidence, that Biden has stolen this election from him.

And his lawyers are filing lawsuits in various courts to challenge ballot counting, or to stop the process of ballot counting, or to allege impropriety or illegality.

And his supporters believe him.

The truth is, Trump has lost.

He's just playing a role that 71 million voters (his supporters) require.

If the Democrats are so clever as to win the Presidency fraudulently, why didn't they win the Senate as well? If the Democrats could control the outcome of the election, in what universe would they allow Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham to win and win so comfortably?

If the Democrats had the power to control to election, why did they lose seats in the lower House (House of Representatives)?