Monday, December 17, 2007

Thoughts on Minister pay rise

I'm late in commenting on this, and prior to reading the Spring and Autumn Analects, I dont even give a damn to this round of pay rise. Why?

1. Knew about it before they publicly announced it.
2. Save myself from some anger and focus instead on some of my hobbies, like playing old PSX games, collecting a certain magazine of a certain genre, reading more crap on wikipedia, attending EOY 2007...
3. GST, CPI, inflation is not going to be solved by someone's rants.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon this particular entry in the Spring and Autumn Analects. The original text below:

初,楚伍参与蔡太师子朝友,其子伍举与声子相善也。伍举娶于王子 牟,王子牟为申公而亡,楚人曰:“伍举实送之。”伍举奔郑,将遂奔晋。声子将如晋,遇之于郑郊,班荆相与食,而言复故。声子曰:“子行也!吾必复子。”及 宋向戌将平晋、楚,声子通使于晋。还如楚,令尹子木与之语,问晋故焉,且曰:“晋大夫与楚孰贤?”对曰:“晋卿不如楚,其大夫则贤,皆卿材也。如杞、梓、 皮革,自楚往也。虽楚有材,晋实用之。”子木曰:“夫独无族姻乎?”对曰:“虽有,而用楚材实多。归生闻之:‘善为国者,赏不僭而刑不滥。’赏僭,则惧及 淫人;刑滥,则惧及善人。若不幸而过,宁僭无滥。与其失善,宁其利淫。无善人,则国従之。《诗》曰:‘人之云亡,邦国殄瘁。’无善人之谓也。故《夏书》 曰:‘与其杀不幸,宁失不经。’惧失善也。《商颂》有之曰:‘不僭不滥,不敢怠皇,命于下国,封建厥福。’此汤所以获天福也。古之治民者,劝赏而畏刑,恤 民不倦。赏以春夏,刑以秋冬。是以将赏,为之加膳,加膳则饫赐,此以知其劝赏也。将刑,为之不举,不举则彻乐,此以知其畏刑也。夙兴夜寐,朝夕临政,此以 知其恤民也。三者,礼之大节也。有礼无败。今楚多淫刑,其大夫逃死于四方,而为之谋主,以害楚国,不可救疗,所谓不能也。子仪之乱,析公奔晋。晋人置诸戎 车之殿,以为谋主。绕角之役,晋将遁矣,析公曰:‘楚师轻窕,易震荡也。若多鼓钧声,以夜军之,楚师必遁。’晋人従之,楚师宵溃。晋遂侵蔡,袭沈,获其 君;败申、息之师于桑隧,获申丽而还。郑于是不敢南面。楚失华夏,则析公之为也。雍子之父兄谮雍子,君与大夫不善是也。雍子奔晋。晋人与之鄐,以为谋主。 彭城之役,晋、楚遇于靡角之谷。晋将遁矣。雍子发命于军曰:‘归老幼,反孤疾,二人役,归一人,简兵搜乘,秣马蓐食,师陈焚次,明日将战。’行归者而逸楚 囚,楚师宵溃。晋绛彭城而归诸宋,以鱼石归。楚失东夷,子辛死之,则雍子之为也。子反与子灵争夏姬,而雍害其事,子灵奔晋。晋人与之邢,以为谋主。扞御北 狄,通吴于晋,教吴判楚,教之乘车、射御、驱侵,使其子孤庸为吴行人焉。吴于是伐巢、取驾、克棘、入州来,楚罢于奔命,至今为患,则子灵之为也。若敖之 乱,伯贲之子贲皇奔晋。晋人与之苗,以为谋主。鄢陵之役,楚晨压晋军而陈,晋将遁矣。苗贲皇曰:‘楚师之良,在其中军王族而已。若塞井夷灶,成陈以当之, 栾、范易行以诱之,中行、二郤必克二穆。吾乃四萃于其王族,必大败之。’晋人従之,楚师大败,王夷师熠,子反死之。郑叛吴兴,楚失诸侯,则苗贲皇之为 也。”子木曰:“是皆然矣。”声子曰:“今又有甚于此。椒举娶于申公子牟,子牟得戾而亡,君大夫谓椒举:‘女实遣之!’惧而奔郑,引领南望曰:‘庶几赦 余!’亦弗图也。今在晋矣。晋人将与之县,以比叔向。彼若谋害楚国,岂不为患?”子木惧,言诸王,益其禄爵而复之。声子使椒鸣逆之。

The gist of the above text was that, "Its better to lavish rewards than to enforce harsh punishments". I believe this is what the current Government has been doing in regards to recruiting and keeping its current portfolio of Ministers. To keep the few good ministers, they'll rather risk bureaucracy than to have people leave.

At least, that seems to be their rationale for the never-ending minister pay rise. If you read further into the text I've extracted from Spring/ Autumn, you may also get the impression that our former educational policies have failed to produce State-caliber talents. Or State-caliber talents have all flowed away, like in the case of the Warring State of Chu.

What does these mean to a state which seems to be as precarious as the Warring State of Jin?

Ironically, the reverse is also true for Singapore. Restrictions and punishments are just as strictly served to the people. Some of which are said to stifle creativity, encourage obedience, reliance of government. So much so that population growth are now fuelled mostly by immigration. That 5 persons in a group is technically a crime. That speaking out is only "offically allowed" in Hong Lim park; upon a police permit, or only through public forums and dialogue sessions conducted at who know where.

To the extent of our policies effectiveness will determine Singapore's future to come...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I accept the pay rise of the ministers. Firstly, it is justified for them to increase their salary, for they have done an impressive job of building Singapore. The economy has progressed to a stage whereby it is terrifyingly remarkable. The reputation has spreaded across the world as well. This is something not an ordinary government can achieve. Unless you prove to me that you can do much better than them.

Secondly, with private sectors increasing their salary, the government will risk losing more capable leaders to them. You may think that the ministers' salary are very high. But let me tell you that salaries in private sectors are even more higher. With this happen, the ministers will either jump to private sectors or resort to corruption. I know many will say the 21% increase is a form of legalised corruption but again, let me tell you that corruption will not just the 21% but the 200% will be eaten up. Left no food to you, the people, but bones.

Lastly, I afraid the rise of the ministers' salary is not going to destroy the country, but the political apathy and ignorance of the people. With such an ignorant population, Singapore will risk a major decline. If you have study the history of Venice, you will understand why I say that.

Think first, angry later.