Dear Prime Minister,
I absolutely <strong>hate</strong> it when <a href="http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/269866/1/.html">you compare our home country to a company</a>. We have invested more than just our money. If Singapore were really Singapore Inc, things would be vastly different.
Not many <abbr title="Chief Executive Officer">CEO</abbr>s can <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaksin_Shinawatra_%241.88_billion_deal_controversy">lose $1.5 billion on an error in judgement</a> and keep their jobs. You can't <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_road_pricing">charge employees a fee for coming to work</a>. The list goes on. Maybe the more enthusiastic readers can list these discrepancies in the comments.
I offer an alternative analogy.
The national football team is probably the strongest collection of Singaporean football players we can muster on local soil. It's hard to put together another team of Singaporeans that can beat them. They've also enjoyed some measure of international success, most notably winning the Tiger Cup (Go Lions!). But for the most part, they are players in our local S-League. Should we pay them what other top football players in the world get? Should Daniel Bennett be paid 2/3 of what David Beckham receives?
My analogy is flawed, of course. While our football players are free to prove themselves in England, Spain or Italy, our politicians can't quite jump into the driver's seat at the White House. The assumption the Government is making is that <strong>all</strong> ministers would have been the top dogs in whatever industries they went into.
That's a really big assumption. Even <a href="http://sg.news.yahoo.com/070411/1/47qxy.html">our international friends find the salary range ridiculous</a>.
Note that I'm talking only about political appointments. Permanent Secretaries manage the operational aspects of government agencies, a task that rivals the running a medium to large corporation. I expect different things from the political leaders I elect (or who walkovered whichever constituency I belong).
I expect ideological leadership more than operational leadership. We already have the civil servants for that. I still don't understand why we need <strong>3 Prime Ministers</strong>. Or why <a href="http://www.yawningbread.org/arch_2007/yax-728.htm">some receive pensions while drawing full pay</a>.
When I came back from the States, I realised that I am ideologically lost as a citizen of Singapore. But if Singapore is our country when she asks us what we can do for her, and becomes Singapore Inc the company when we ask what she can do for us, I am ideologically doomed here.
This is Sparta.
Dear Prime Minister,