Friday, October 28, 2011

Chen Show Mao’s Maiden Speech in Parliament is awesome!

image Uploaded with by dqwong at
Chen Show Mao’s Maiden Speech in Parliament is awesome!

There are many awesome points made by Show Mao which the ordinary Singaporean will identify with, at least i do and judging by the quality of the speech both in English and Mandarin, which is not a direct translation but a clever rewording to Chinese cultural history references. It is simply awesome.

This is my personal reflections on what makes Show Mao's speech awesome ( the views expressed are solely my own and does not represent any organization).
  • It is the intolerance of differences that will be divisive. Something i could not find the words to say with, but i feel as a Singaporean is reflective of the politics in sg.
  • reference to former Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo as the worker's party and many Singaporeans respect George as a person and a leader.
  • The simple drawing of a biological "logic" of life as diversification. An imposed unity is a false unity.
  • demystify that any other alternate party members simply oppose government policy but it is to challenge assumptions and offer different views with a heart of the people at the center of challenge at imbalanced government policy that favor economic growth at the expense of majority or some groups of the people.
  • alternate party do support "the government in its work" when it has the people at the center of government policy. 
  • imply that all party members are subjected to the boundaries of the law as the law is an expression of "the sovereign will of our people".
  • demystify that alternate party members are not patriotic, but reinforce the point that we all are patriotic and let's not lose focus for the greater good of the people.
  • more liberalization for "room to voice their views and grievances and participate in community affairs" that aims to strengthen social cohesion rather than weaken.
  • use of a wise Singaporean on Facebook demonstrates how connected his speech is to the people perhaps even the voice of the common networked people.
  • quoting the President Tan to unite the Parliament, in the area that is pertinent to everyday Singaporean like transport, education, healthcare & housing. 
  • to bring balance and realignment to the policy of the government to "put our people at the center of our government policies" instead of economic growth and viability for the country while citing United Nations’ inaugural Human Development Report in 1990s.
  • Lastly, the Chinese language which is not a direct translation but a clever rewording to Chinese cultural history references.
My own sense is money should be spend on education in informed, clever and low-cost investment can be made in the area of open content and licensing them all under creative commons attribution and share-alike such as open source physics work that i am involved in personally, rather than investing on projects with high cost and low benefits to the everyday classroom today, speaking metaphorically of course.


with some highlighting for my own educational and research purposes, no copyright infringement intended.

Mr Speaker, Thank you, and congratulations.
Following our two elections this year, some commentators tell us that Singaporeans’ political differences are rising to the surface. Many of our leaders have expressed their concerns about the differences. They warned of divisions and called for unity. I’d like to remind us that differences are not divisions. It is the intolerance of differences that will be divisive.
I would like to quote a man who is not able to join us here today. In a newspaper interview, former Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo related what a Roman Catholic cardinal told him about the late Pope John Paul the Second. The cardinal had drafted, “Even though we’re all different because we speak different languages, we are one”. The Pope corrected him. “No, it is not even though we’re different, we are one. It is because we are different, we are one.” Mr Yeo then said, “I thought that was so profound and beautiful. In my first speech to the United Nations, I repeated that story because in the UN, it is also because we are different that we are one. To be a human being is to be different. The whole logic and driving force of biological life is diversification. An imposed unity is a false unity; it’s a contradiction in terms. To me, that is a core position, and Singapore is an expression of that core position.”
Singapore is an expression of that core position of diversity, and this must include political diversity in this day and age. Let me state quite clearly how I see myself as an opposition member of this parliament. I may challenge government policy in parliament, but I do not by definition oppose government policy. It does not mean that I do not support the government in its work. It is very simple. I am an opposition MP and will perform my role to voice alternative and opposing views in the law-making process, based on my party philosophy. But I submit to laws properly made because I believe they express the sovereign will of our people. You see, I do not believe that Parliament is just form, and no substance. I have been elected to serve in this Parliament and will do what I can to help make it work for Singapore, make it a First World Parliament after our own fashion. As an opposition MP, I am not the enemy of the government, I am a Singaporean and a patriot.
I believe that our community will come out of robust debates stronger. Not just in Parliament but in larger society as well. Social cohesion will be strengthened when we give people, including our young people, room to voice their views and grievances and participate in community affairs. This is being recognized in households and at work places around us and is affecting how they are run. There is no reason not to learn from it. But we must start from a position of difference, not a forced unity.
How do we move forward from a position of difference?
A wise Singaporean wrote to me recently on Facebook, “the key is always to set our ‘devilish’ pride aside and for both parties to communicate.” He did not mean political parties, but any two parties in a position of difference. He goes on, “The aim is not to impose one’s view over the other but to find as much common ground as possible for the good of the common objective both parties have… And yes, I have always practised this in the office and with the wife…so far so good.”
How do we expand the areas of common ground to accommodate political differences? I believe it will be best done through strengthening institutions that are non-partisan and capable of commanding the respect and allegiance of all Singaporeans in spite of their political differences. The office of the Presidency, for example. President Tan clearly intends this. In his swearing in ceremony he said, “I will strive to strengthen our common bonds and our core values that underpin our society. …Whatever your political views,… I will strive to the best of my abilities to represent you.”
The government in the addenda to the President’s address said, “The building of friendship, understanding and trust amidst increasing diversity will be supported through organisations such as the People’s Association and grassroots platforms such as the Inter-racial and Religious Confidence Circles.” We welcome this.
Let us Singaporeans take our cue from the President. Look for what Singaporeans’ different visions have in common and take our next steps in these areas of common ground. Let us ask ourselves “is there more we could do?” I believe that it would always be possible to find common ground among Singaporeans, even if it might now take greater efforts on the part of those of us here in this House. But it is possible – they call politics “the art of the possible”.
Mr Speaker
In the addenda to the President’s address, the government announced its plans to, “significantly enhance the transport infrastructure, quality and opportunities in education, healthcare and housing”. We endorse the goal. And we will hold the government to it.
We believe that Singaporeans in recent years have been underserved by enhancements in these areas. We believe that most of these enhancements are best thought of, not just as increased expenditure, but as investments in the human capital of our country, with long term benefits to our society, such as the productivity increase that the government calls our “fundamental economic challenge”. Adam Smith wrote many years ago about investments in a person, such as by the acquisition of new talents, he wrote, “such acquisition of talents always costs a real expense, which is a capital realized in his person. [but] Those talents, as they make a part of his fortune, so do they likewise that of the society to which he belongs.”
Many economists have long regarded expenditures on education and healthcare as investments in human capital. They produce income and other useful outputs for the individual over long periods of time. They also produce external benefits for the rest of society. When growing disparity in wealth suggest that more and more households may not be able to make the investments that may be needed to give their children a place at the same starting line as their cohorts, it is even more appropriate for the government to increase public investments in the human capital of our young people.
This is one of the goals the government set in the addenda to the President’s address: “Through our investment in Education, we ensure that every child, regardless of family circumstances and background, has access to opportunities.” That access to opportunities has to be meaningful and available to everyone.
Similarly, for many expenditures we make outside the areas of education and healthcare, If we just take an expanded view of the returns from these investments, we will be able to see their long-term benefits.
Take elder care for example. Our investments in this area do not just benefit our elders alone. They enhance the productivity of working family members who worry about their care. They sustain and unlock the rich social and cultural capital embodied in our elders, which enhance the efficacy of our economic capital. More importantly, taking good care of our elders who built the nation is the right thing to do in the “fair and just society” that the President wishes for Singapore. It strengthens our sense of community. It is consistent with the values that we wish to impart to our children. These are all intangible but significant returns on our investments.
This is part of our nationhood: these are the bonds that will hold us together in times of trouble.
Our social harmony needs to be sustained and cultivated, carefully ministered. We must invest in these efforts.
“People are the real wealth of a nation”, declared the United Nations’ inaugural Human Development Report over twenty years ago. “People are the real wealth of a nation,” this is especially true for our nation. Let us put our people at the center of our government policies.
Let us invest in Singaporeans. Invest in the future of Singapore.
Significant investments cannot be made all at once. In addition to fiscal discipline, we would need to watch out for inflation, for effects on our currency and competitiveness. But the investments must be made. So we should start now and engage in a long term sustainable investment pattern for the good of our people.
Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister concludes in his National Day rally speech that “ours is an improbable nation”. I cannot agree more with his call for all Singaporeans to treasure and fight for our improbable nation.
I would like to add that an improbable nation will be made more probable for future Singaporeans by the politics of possibility.
Mr Speaker, sir, I support the motion. And now in Chinese.
他们有人认为新加坡有政治分裂,不利於团结与将来发展。但是各位想想,这分裂是怎么造成的? 是因为社会出现了不同的声音,还是因为不能包容不同的声音才会造成分裂?
“政者正也, 子帅以正,孰敢不正”,“为政以德,譬如北辰,居其所而众星拱之”,“风行草偃”,这些都是孔子说的来形容好的执政者,意思就是,一个好的领导者,只要有 信心,有正确的方向,有好的道德与能力把政绩做出来,人民自然会乐意跟著他走。不需要害怕国家分裂,强调团结。
李前总理在演说中也说了他担忧我们年轻人,生活太过安逸。可见李前总理也想过这问题。真正完整的人格、独立的精神,是不可能在一个凡事听从独大的执 政党,凡事唯唯诺诺的环境下生成。我们要我们下一代有创新、有独立自主精神,就不能不在政治上、精神上给他一个自由竞争的环境。这要求及这深深的忧虑不安 其实是隐藏在许多新加坡人心中,在全球化激烈的竞争下,我们的竞争力难道只能靠执政党的完全控制来达成吗?

if you key in the Chinese text into google translate this is what happens. Enjoy! the blue text are my attempt to make the text more readable and understandable.

In this year's two elections, many of our leaders have mentioned the importance of unity. People across the country must now be united and consistent pace to move forward.They suggested that Singapore has a political division, is not conducive to unity and the future development. But you think about how this split is caused by? Because of the emergence of different voices, or because they can not accommodate a diversity of voices will to be divisive?"Politicians are also, to being handsome son, what am straight," and "government in Germany, such as North Star, home of their arch of stars," "popular grass Yan," When government is righteous, political leaders will be righteous, the citizens will naturally follow Confucius said, these are described as good those in power, means, a good leader, as long as confidence in the right direction, there are good ethical performance and ability to do it, people will naturally be willing to follow him. Without fear of national disintegration, emphasizing unity.Patriotism is not the right to be an exclusive right of any political party. No matter how A great party and then it remains only a small part of the country only, not all the countryies ah! Chen said, "no outside party, imperial ideology." In a democratic society, there are different views and different proposal is a very natural thing. This is a good thing.In fact, Confucius had three thousand years ago said, "Gentlemen and diversity." Harmony, can not the same. All man are the same. Yan Ying said: Orchestra played only one note, and who can bear continue to hear? Drinking water on top of water, who can continue to drink? A harmonious society, not only a voice. But each person is enabled peace within the scope of the law to publish his views, engage in political activities. We do not have anti-people such as Fangzei. to be on the guard against the citizens as if they are thieves.Greatest in the history of China's Golden Years is not one-man-style national unity, there is this statement like to  say the truth like Dong afraid of being hated Emperor Wei Zheng, only the Golden Years. to speak truthfully without fear of the wrath of the emperor, and the emperor supports officials to speak up freely, is the way to rule for more good years.In this term in Congress, hope the ruling party can hope to as do the sensible Emperor, and we do follow the lead the country Wei Zheng, out of peace and prosperity, rather than a dictatorial ruler, and the villain submissive generation.I have repeatedly into contacts with foreign countries, we seem to have a feeling that Singapore to continue status quo is competent  Conservatism to create a surplus, but less than, it seems to lack the ability to innovate. In this global competition, we should train more countries are not promote opinionated youths to have their own views and thus more likely to be innovative  assertive, creative generation of it? for the good of the nation?In his speech, former Prime Minister Lee also said he worried about our young people, life is too comfortable. See also former Prime Minister Lee thought about this problem. Truly complete personality, independent spirit, it is impossible to follow everything in a dominant ruling party, always submissive environment generation. We want our next generation innovative, independent spirit, it will have in the political, spiritual to give him a free competitive environment. This requires a deep thinking anxiety, and this fact is hidden in the hearts of many Singaporeans, in the fierce global competition, we do rely on the competitiveness of the ruling party to achieve full control of it?Therefore, we the opposition is good for the country, was put forward suggestions and criticism, patriotism is not the ruling party's patent, I hope we can put on a good job in their own roles, so that our country can be a dynamic, creative, forward progress .Finally, I want to remind the ruling party in addition to the self-confidence outside of the people have confidence. But I also like to thank the ruling party, the Singapore building into a mature rule of law, let the opposition parties in a legal ruling on the basis of the coexistence, competition, and serve the people.Thank you.

In closing, i want to say that i blog about this not because i am anti-Singapore, but it is precisely i am a Singapore that a choose to share my views for the betterment of our beloved improbably nation, a little more probable in the politics of possibilities (Chen, 2011).

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