23 August 2017

What do you think of PM Lee's National Day Rally Speech 2017?

I post this topic at first on Facebook and received some comments. I am posting it here to see whether Blogging is still a popular media. Here are my thoughts on his speech.
What do you think of the PM's Speech? 

Some feel, using their word, "Forgettable". They wanted him to address the pressing issues such as MRT breakdowns, foreign policies, and relationships, etc. But if those are being addressed already, there is no point mentioning them to stir-up more attentions. 
In Chinese strategies, we learn about 避实击虚 avoid the strength and attack the weakness,避重就轻 avoid the heavy and handle the light. Even Jesus uses parables when He addressed the crowd. GuiGuZi tells us to address the heart, gain the listening ears first before selling your reasons. Grace must come before truth.
The 3 issues he mentioned are actually the long term and important issues. The 7 Habits Habit 3 First thing First teaches us to address the important issues now before they become urgent where we don't have the time for a right solution (e.g. MRT breakdowns come from many years of neglect on maintenance for chasing after profits). I only have one issue that he did not address, i.e. the increasingly high costs of living and doing business in Singapore. But may be he did subtlely in the SmartNation project.
  1. Pre-School issue addressed two key problems - declining birth rates and qualities of the future workforce and hence of wealth in the future.
  2. Diabetes issues address the health of the people. Most people are aware of cancer and heart problems, but as he said, diabetes is important but neglected and hence he must bring it up to get people's attention.
  3. The smart nation issue is about addressing the work force skills and productivity issues of organizations, private and public. We must make use of technology to increase productivity and create jobs. The long term solution for us is to better skilled and organized for better productivity. Using technology to extend our brain and body to compete better especially we cannot rely on labor only but on value-adding. The richer we get, the more productive and value-adding we need to do.
    (See https://venturebeat.com/2017/09/07/automation-replaced-800000-workers-then-created-3-5-million-new-jobs/)
They are long terms issues that must be addressed now when there is some time to put them right. Once we got the message and internalize them then may be we can happily forget them because we are already doing them.

Some friend commented:
  •  "But a National day rally is like a "motivational" speech for what to look forward to rather than being health consultant/ techie consultant? Child care issues have been around for so many years. Many say it's way long over due by at least 1.5 decades."
  • But I agree with you on increasing cost of living and cost of doing business here. A few of my friends already shut down shop/business to venture overseas...
My Response:
  • It was a motivational speech to encourage you to take care of your health by more check-ups, more exercises, and less sugar. Go ahead to have more babies and not worry about their education, the govt will take care for you. Learn hi-tech and use hi-tech in your business. 
  • He put money to support the programs and not just empty talk. How many politicians talk without money or commitments.
  • To address an issue late is better than not addressing it. Besides adding facilities, he is upgrading the teachers' skills. Essentially, he is asking MOE to address education from pre-school rather than from Pri 1.
  • He has been held accountable now to those 3 programs and next year they have to report progress.
  • On High Cost of Doing Business in Singapore:
    • In a way, when we need to go overseas to start businesses, it may mean that the value-add that we are creating cannot exceed the local high costs. Companies like Apple, Facebook etc do not have to go overseas because their value-add is so much higher than the high salaries and the great environment that the talents they employed.
    • Nationally speaking, high costs actually pushes out the low-value adding industries. It looks cruel in the short run but if we can make it, our people will be wealthy. So the govt is trying very hard to help all kinds of SMEs. We may disagree with their specifics, but that is their programs.

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