Do Singaporeans fear voting out ministers and potential ministers?

Before WP’s first GRC win, Singaporeans believed that losing a Minister or incoming Minister had a great impact on our future. After the lost of George Yeo, we recovered. Singaporeans also failed to elect Mr. Ong Ye Kung, then touted as part of the 4G leadership. Singapore didn’t fall apart.
A lot of military men in government
In the latest election, Singaporeans discarded high profile military man and former Minister Ng Chee Meng. There was no evidence Singaporeans had much unhappiness against the Minister, but there was much frustration against the ruling party in favour of the Workers Party. In addition, future PM Heng Swee Keat won with a razor thin margin of ~54% against Workers Party.
The slow and steady rise of Worker’s Party
Will Singaporeans be even more courageous in future elections just to send the right message? I bet they will. If the PAP continues to employ the tactic, placing important Ministers in GRCs against WP, they will continue to lose.

In the near future, if we may less technically sound MPs. Less of them will come from military and GLC backgrounds, more of them will come from SMEs, normal households. By then, Singaporeans can enjoy a better mix of ideas that take care of the general Singaporeans.

Who will govern Singapore in 2025?

Singapore had their elections again in 2021. Like before, the PAP dominated seats in Parliament. Facts are Singaporeans prefer a stable government, same faces, same party, same philosophy. 

But things will change quickly in a few years’ time. PM in waiting, Heng Swee Keat, beat the Workers’ Party 53 to 47%. That is slim. Certainly Singaporeans should have given the future PM better mandate. But this didn’t happen. Singaporeans certainly feel positive about younger and more talented oppositions. The Ramus Lim and Nicole Seah effect highlighted how easy it is for opposition to 1) win over younger talents to run as candidates, and 2) challenge incumbent ministers. 

Former PAP MP Dr. Tan Cheng Bock’s PSP, challenged the incumbent PAP government and almost beat the PAP in West Coast GRC. Slowly, but surely, as the political climate matures in Singapore, we will see more opposition victories. This does not reflect a weakening PAP. This simply reflects the fundamental need for pluralism and differing voices in Parliament. Singaporeans want this even if the opposition candidates seem to be less qualified than those candidates in PAP. 

I fear that politics in Singapore is getting more divisive in two extremes, with new citizens and relatively well to do Singaporeans voting for PAP, and the “others” voting for opposition. I expect WP to win more than 2 GRCs in the next election by 2025. If Dr. Tan Cheng Bock manages PSP well for another 3 to 5 years, Singaporeans can expect Dr. Tan’s team to attract even more talent to take away 1 to 2 GRCs from PAP. 

It is possible that by as soon as 2025, PAP may not have its 2/3 majority. This means, PAP will still govern Singapore. Singaporeans will have about a decade to prepare scenarios where PAP does not form government.

Some questions Singaporeans have to answer for themselves 

  1. Do Singaporeans want to accept the establishment, where government linked companies (“GLC”) still dominate businesses. In addition, we still field a lot of candidates from GLCs. Does this create a perception that GLCs are somewhat politically linked?
  2. Do Singaporeans want Ministers that may not be as technically competent, but actually care a lot more for the heart of Singapore? I.e. Will Singaporeans prefer Ministers that fight for rights of Singaporeans even if these policies are less effective to grow the economy?
  3. Do Singaporeans want a parliament where one party cannot pass new laws as and when they please? Do we want a parliament that can hold different views? Do we want opposition parties strong enough to check on the ruling party?

Stop wasting time in meetings and emails

Tips on presentation

In most situations, you have no more than a few minutes to pitch an idea. In my experience, you should cut the fluff. Focus on key information. In today's fast-paced, digitally connected world, people are constantly bombarded with information. They have no time for you. Most are sceptical and quick to pass judgement.

There is a big difference between what you think you need to say and what you need to say. We tend to say more than we need to. In my experience, just tell them what's in it for them, tell them specific numbers, be upfront. Avoid passive tense. Say it as it is.

For technical questions, come prepared show answers in reports and annexes. Leave time for Q and A. Open the meeting by telling them why you are here. Tell them what you need them to decide on.

Tips on writing

8 Golden rules

·         Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech, which you are used to seeing in print.

·         Never use a long word where a short one will do. (Be direct!)

·         If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. (Be concise!)

·         Never use the passive where you can use the active. (0 passive allowed!)

·         Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

·         Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

The price of Singapore cheap labour

We employed cheap foreign labour for low value-added services to increase margins in sectors such as construction and shipping. There are unseen costs to society, such as displacement of Singaporeans, lowering of wages, and the environment.
It is heartwarming for human rights organizations to address low living conditions for these foreign workers. Many have done the right thing to feed them, help them and push policymakers for better living conditions.
But we are not addressing the main problem. Should labour be this cheap?
This is a suitable time to ask this question. As we try to house foreign workers in better dormitories, space them out further, business bottom line will be affected. What if we increase the pay of construction workers, foreman, and attract Singaporeans to take on these jobs?
Businesses and government previously shared how Singaporeans are unwilling to take on these hard jobs. Any job will be unattractive if the compensation does not commensurate with effort.
We have seen how global pandemics can impact the supply chain of labour, raw materials and even food. We need to reduce our dependence on foreign workers. Businesses may claim that they need these workers to balance their books. But they do not see the real costs (addressed above). Increase the wages, put more locals back in these positions.

You need simplicity

Bullet journals, desktop calendars, online to-do lists … with so many productivity apps and hacks floating around, it's surely never been easier to reach peak productivity, right?


All those apps and life hacks promote organization and efficiency. And that's great! After all, living with chaos is stressful. When you're disorganized, important tasks and memos slip through the cracks, and you fall behind, which is enough to make anyone stressed.

But downloading a plethora of productivity boosters is not the answer. Apps like these are inputs – systems you use to receive and manage information. Excessive inputs are probably keeping you from achieving peak productivity. To actually boost productivity, you need to streamline your inputs.

Do you get emails to three different addresses? Divert them all to a single account. Do you get paper and online bank statements? Keep one and cancel the other. When you get a message on one social media platform, are you immediately notified through another platform? Mute those notifications. In fact, mute all your non-essential notifications!

Information overload can induce serious stress. Streamlining your inputs limits the channels through which information can reach you and makes coping with it much more manageable.