Why is PAP going to China to look for the mythical dead end?

March 23, 2009

72870126SWX01_PekingOperaThis has to be a quick one since I am trying to polish off my sandwich double quick and type this out at the same time in my shrunken keyboard – so lets dive in straight into the deep end. Tell me; why did Teo Ser Luck go to China? – to be honest with you; I’ve never heard of him before till I read this excellent article in TheOnlineCitizen recently – 16 March 2009 – The PAP’s fascination with communists – and who is Ah Teo, he happens to be the Chairman of the People’s Action Party (PAP)’s youth wing – the Young PAP (YP) and very recently he led a five-member delegation to Beijing. (See here.)


Now let me just get one thing straight from the onset; I have nothing against China; in fact, I think there’s a whole lot we can learn from them; like how to control our rat population (by cooking them into tasty delicacies like curry puff)– apart from that I don’t see anything in China that’s worth emulating, copying or transplanting; not unless you consider their lackdaisal human rights record as something that’s worth replicating – so naturally, you can understand why when Ah Teo decides to pack his bags and head East like Sun Wukong – some of us got pretty nervous; and just when you think Ah Teo could have perhaps provided some clarification, when a journalist asked him whether he was worried about YP associating with a Communist organisation, he replied:


‘We’re not worried because it’s the governing party and Singapore-China relations are so close. We don’t talk about political philosophy.’


Now this is the part where we all find ourselves suddenly transported to Panadol land; what does he really mean? We are “close,” but we “don’t talk about political philosophy.” Now don’t get me wrong, but this is a bit like saying you’re married to someone; but all you do is play xbox all day long – what about checking out her other box? (get my drift, wink)


You know what? I’ve cut to the chase: I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT AH TEO IS SAYING HERE! And I suspect he doesn’t have any idea either why he’s decided to lead a delegation to China; I am serious.


I even trawled around the internet to find out what was his objective was to go to China; even went down the Singapore ghost stories site P-65 where those shrunken heads are hanging out – absolutely nothing on why Ah Teo has decided to go off to China.


And neither does the author of this article: The PAP’s fascination with communists. Granted Ravi Philemon has a handful of theories but even he doesn’t really know either; maybe we should all just remain open minded about all this – the problem is our brains may threaten to spill out – and why do I find this so disconcerting; because: I DON’T BELIEVE CHINA IS A GOOD ROLE MODEL.


Might as well go and build an organization using the 7 habits of highly effective dodo birds – and let me tell you why just to add to Ravi’s list.


Firstly, do I deny that China’s meteoric rise has garnered its share of admirers (such as perhaps Ah Teo and his bosses?) – Nope, but I am also mindful of that it has its fair share of valid detractors and I am NOT only talking about human rights concerns here only, that’s maybe 10% of the gripe. As I am sure, some people may say, well it always comes down to that doesn’t it.


My concern relates directly to hard nosed business of maladministration aka lousy management – specifically bad governance that remains the unwritten narrative of the China story – all too often when China admirers speak of her stellar success, they wax lyrical and focus ONLY on the positive side of China’s economy; as a result the underlying societal ills and the exorbitant human and spiritual cost of how they have managed to secure their economic primacy is frequently never discussed.


We are not only talking here about cloudy abstractions like human rights but jugular how-do-you-run-your-country-into-the ground issues like severe environmental degradation and public infrastructure that’s so riven with endemic corruption and favoritism that it seriously militates against the whole idea of holding out China as a role model – unless you want to commit hara-kiri on a national scale of course.


At the root of the concern is NOT whether China’s GDP this year will outstrip the US or the EU; or even whether it will continue to break records in being able to balance it deficits payments – all this is given – RATHER at what cost does all this come about? To paraphrase at what price are these goodies purchased? And are these attributes really worth emulating and replicating in Singapore.


To say that something can be learnt from the oldest civilization in the world that once discovered gunpowder, paper and magnetic North – goes witht the whole territory of exploratory missions – only I don’t know whether Ah Teo sat down and did a lightning calculation; as I said, he never ever shared with any of us what his agenda in China was – I mean if you say; you’re there to learn; then what thoughtware are you really loading in your brain? Is it the good type that produces good while edifying human beings or is it the bad variety; where everything is reduced into faceless numbers and percentiles which come at the greater detriment of the mind, body and spirit?


My point is its very easy to be enamored by China’s seemingly successful track record – very much in the same way, most of us were blinded by the Lehman’s, Madoff’s and Satyam’s of the corporate world – till of course the dream spluttered ran out of petrol, keeled over a died – I am not saying for one moment China’s economic growth is going to fizzle out and they’re going to turn into a financial version of a giant and lumbering AIG and the sum of all our fears; ONLY when we speak about China as a success story; it pays dividends to be circumspect and drill deeper.


There remains serious concerns about the whole fairytale narrative of the China story -For one I don’t see how China or for that matter any country can continue it economic growth in perpetuity given the persistent flaws in its economic institutions and structure that are the result of impromptu, misguided and self serving government policies. Neither do I see how its possible for the Communist Chinese hegemony to continue it vicious policy of pursuing economic and industrial primacy whilst neglecting the fundamental aspects of society’s welfare – and this one observation that Ah Teo should consider very carefully – even the western educated Chinese no longer perceive the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) as a credible way to move forward any longer – there’s evidence of growing disenchantment, especially within the educated middle classes who have been begun to tune off state TV, state newspapers and even state radio and ridding themselves of everything that isn’t state inspired – the moribund communist system no longer has the cultural authority it once had over the collective consciousness – if that were really true; then why is there even a need to build a virtual fire wall that equals the length of the Great Wall of China?


All this suggest far from being a success story; China is in effect one giant choreograph wayang kulit of success – step back stage and don’t be surprise if you discover the same social, economic and political risk factors swept underneath the carpet— such as heavily subsidized soviet styled industries, growing inequality, trans migration, poor and inefficient use of labor—they remain, they fester and there lies the ticking time bombs.


If the truth be known; the communist party remains an old relic of the past and it neither has the imagination or verve to reinvent itself; hence it relies solely on economic growth to legitimize and mythologize it’s raison detre – it’s the equivalent of cheap cigarettes and circuses to keep the masses in a happy stupor.


By focusing exclusively on short-term monetary growth instead of long-term human sustainability, such as health care, education, creation of job opportunities and environmental protection – all this has been neglected for the cult of instant gratification.


The end result is a moth eaten state built on weak kneed political, economic and societal foundations with a potentially unhappy and restless people.


What we may be seeing right now when we look at awe and wonderment at China may well be the seemingly harmless and benign great Chinese firecracker, somewhere beneath all the razzmatazz, polish and sheen lies the disaster of the mellinium waiting to happen and all it takes is for someone to light the fuse.


All that glitters; is not gold.


Darkness 2009


Authors sidenotes:

Perhaps Ah Teo should reconsider once again – I stand corrected as always; but that’s only because he never once bothered to share with anyone his the full reason for his fabled journey to the East.


OK twenty minutes is all you are worth Ah Teo and I am not even going to bother with the spell check or grammar.

Remember take this constructively; I pay my taxes, so I have a right to ask a question that may affect me and my friends, as you never ever bothered to explain even so much as once – why you decided to go to China; and bear in mind there is much more where that came from and it just took me 14 minutes to bag you – btw always remember, the internet is a place full of lies and we dont have any credibility.



Darkness 2009

We highly recommend that this essay should be read in conjunction with this: http://wayangparty.com/?p=6756



PS: Dear readers: do take the trouble to check out the thread of The PAP’s fascination with communists ; somewhere along the line you can see Singaporedaddy, our friendly internet liaison officer of the brotherhood slugging it out with what we believe is a (My feel is if this is the quality of personnel they have assigned here, then they dont even need enemies) cyber internet counterinsurgent (who goes by the name of smallvices or voices – not sure) – read it, its hilarious! Happy hunting – Darkness 2009

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