Downgrade by the US on human trafficking?

June 16, 2010


Recently Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam all got the thumbs down from the U.S. State Department for their “crappy,” efforts to battle the trafficking of human beings for labor and commercial sex.

Three Asian countries were placed on a watch list as well, putting them one level above the worst offenders such as North Korea, Myanmar and Saudi Arabia, the report said. Malaysia was upgraded from the worst ranking, while Cambodia and Pakistan were removed from the watch list.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded in typical el dente style. “It is rather puzzling because the U.S. has not satisfactorily explained how it had arrived at its conclusions.” The Singapore government went on to described the report as more of a “political ritual” than an “objective study.”

What really puzzles me about the puzzled response of the MFA is would they have been puzzled if the subjective report upgraded Singapore?

What I am trying to say here is; since we place so much emphasis on how others may choose to rate us ranging from how competitive we are; to how fast it takes for us to get out of a straight jacket – then why take exception to a negative downgrades? Why not go with the flow?

I mean to me the case is crystal clear – all reports, surveys and ratings (without exception) are essentially subjective and at best anecdotal; so there is no such thing as an objective report -I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT THE MFA IS TALKING ABOUT. AND YES, YOU GUESSED IT. I CAN EVEN PROVE THAT MATHEMATICALLY AS WELL!  An objective survey or rating is like talking about snakes in Scotland! The thing doesn’t exist! You can only agree that there is such a thing as an objective rating – if all participants can agree on what comprises their objects of interest along with how much weightage is to be allocated to a performance indicator. And no survey or rating system operates under those perfect or absolute conditions. It doesn’t exist – not even Moody’s or Standard & Poors can satisfy those unrealistic expectations.

Secondly, I can’t for the life of me figure out – if we can get so worked up about negative ratings – then why is it, whenever we get a positive rating; no one in the public sector ever bothers to take issue with the methodology, the formula, along with questioning whether it is a ritual or motivated by some secret agenda.

What puzzles me no end is how positive ratings are usually milked right up to the hilt by both the government and the state controlled media to showcase how life is beautiful. But when it’s a negative rating, the response goes the other way. Again no explanation is given as to why two different approaches may exist for one given set of conditions.

I mean why not just make up your mind? Tell us once and for all, all ratings are crappy and not worth the paper they are printed on – better still consider them ALL dodgy and not worthy of attribution. That way we could make sense of the world without getting all confused and flustered with causing pain to thinking folk. Then again what is to be gained from cherry picking the outcomes of ratings and surveys (duh…I wonder lah!) – and how does that attitude really differ from a petulant child who simply takes his toy away huffing and puffing, just because he can’t seem to make the rules up as he plays.

Darkness 2010

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