Thursday, December 29, 2016

Nero fiddled while Rome burned

There is sadly a general feeling that the narcissistic PM Lee Hsien Loong may be suffering from some kind of myopia in that he could not or would not want to face up to the deteriorating economic situation in Singapore or in the region. When questioned, he had the gall to dismiss it as a seasonal trend urging the people not to worry over it instead of coming up with any possible solution to mitigate the beleaguered big and small businesses from their hardship. The happy-go-lucky Prime Minister  would rather spend his time playing with babies and mingling with his constituents. It goes the same with his millionaire ministers except one or two who would harangue the populace on the imminent threat from Islamic terrorists and the measures to mitigate it should Singapore be attacked.

Depending on how one would look at it, it could not escape the indignity of the public that it is a kind of travesty of justice for the Prime Minister and his ministers to draw such obscene salaries from the taxpayers' money for giving such run-of-the-mill service. And the one who takes the cake is PM Lee himself who could make such stupid and insensible statement about the deteriorating economic situation. They fit the Chinese saying:"Pocket and pocket till contented" (袋袋平安) which is a pun on the real adage:"Generation after generation to live peacefully” (代代平安).

Now it takes the hard-hitting words of the Chief Executive of the Singapore Business Federation to jolt the inebriated PM Lee from his deep slumber. He painted not only a deteriorating economic situation this year but a worsening situation in 2017 for businesses big and small in Singapore. He also urged the PAP Government "to consider measures to assist businesses to overcome headwinds in the upcoming Budget 2017, even as it considers longer-term strategies."

Is it not an apt title to describe Singapore :"Nero fiddled while Rome burned"? How on earth can the 70 % electorate vote in such a mediocre PAP government is still an enigma. But they will have to face up to the unpalatable fact of voting in a self-serving government giving mediocre service to the public, a result of their incomprehensible ingenuity to cast their sacred votes for the PAP. There is an appropriate Chinese saying: "A wrong step will lead to an eternal regret" (一失足成千古恨).

Friday, December 23, 2016

A heavy slap in the face for the high-falutin PM Lee Hsien Loong

It was pointed out in my post titled "Is China flexing its muscles against Singapore?" on 29-11-16 that the issue of the nine Terrex armoured vehicles detained by Hong Kong Customs on 23-11-16 could evolve into a complex problem requiring an infinite time frame to resolve. Even the dispatch of a high level SAF Team to Hong Kong and the imploration of the Ministry of Defence (reported in the Straits Times today) could not appease an intractable China to relent. This shows the level of misgiving that China's President Xi Jinping has towards a so-called untrustworthy PM Lee Hsien Loong who has evidently exasperated him with his pro-American antics to the point of disillusionment. It may not be too far-fetched if President Xi insists on the personal imploration of a demagogic PM Lee Hsien Loong before any benevolent move could be made to resolve the Terrex armoured vehicles issue. It may be a test of the mental prowess of the two leaders and if PM Lee foolishly stands his ground, it may be the end of the Terrex saga.

There is another interesting angle that may have been overlooked. In order to further humiliate Singapore and PM Lee (which again is not too far-fetched) China may lithely decide to impose a storage fee and a charge for providing guards to protect the armoured vehicles of a sum of a million dollars or more before the vehicles can be released. Of course there will be no problem for Singapore to pay up but it will have to live with it for a long time.

From this episode it may not be too brazen to say that President Xi may regard PM Lee as an American poodle which may affect his hitherto exemplary relationship with PM Lee. Hopefully this unfortunate narrative may transcend any deleterious effect which may befall on the economic front between Singapore and China which is mutually beneficial but more in favour of Singapore. President Xi is too magnanimous for that but on the other hand PM Lee must make a genuine effort to divest himself of his pro-American image to show a more balanced world view which is in Singapore's interest.

American President Barack Obama has shown exceptional affinity towards PM Lee in their relationship which may have an intoxicating effect on on PM Lee in relation to his pro-American antics. Whether the maverick President-elect Donald Trump will continue this brotherly relationship after his inauguration is questionable because of his unpredictable character. For PM Lee this will be a lesson gained and, if learned, should stand him in good stead.