Tuesday, February 22, 2005

GK's Real Question.

The name of the game is Petals around the Rose.
The name of the game is significant.
The answer is always zero or an even number.
There is only one correct answer to each toss of the dice.
- Rules of
Petals Around The Rose challenge.

GK, in his blog The Real Question, asks "What are Singapore's Long-Term Economic Prospects?".

GK notes that the "large numbers of Singaporeans are emigrating" (which is an observation I
disagree with). GK then proposes the hypothesis that the "chain of negative economic events since 1997" have made many people reconsider if Singapore is going to survive in the future. Many come to a negative conclusion and decided to leave permanently.

GK then proposes to investigate Singapore's Long-Term Economic Prospects" by turning to the recommendations of the Economic Review Committee (ERC) of 2001, which formed by an
act of Goh. [ Okay, terrible pun. But I could not resist! ]

In any case, I maintain a health skepticism on any findings or recommendations of the ERC. Take a gander at the roll of representatives on the ERC. See if you can find any information on the process (preferably independently audited) by which feedback was collected from the masses.

I believe it is a German proverb that translates as: He whose bread I eat, his song I sing.


If I may humbly and quietly suggest (since
dissent by serfs is not affordable in Singapore), that GK may perhaps wish to reframe the question. But I suspect that GK already knows. The blog entry ends with "recall that this blog, The Real Question, is essentially selfish in nature. So what does the above really mean for me?".

The real question to be answered then is not where Singapore will be economically in the nebulous future. The question that concerns us is different from the one that the ERC was attempting to answer back in 2001.

There is also an unstated assumption that I wish to query: That vibrant economic growth of Singapore as an economic entity would correlate to economic prosperity of a specific class of citizens, or of the individual citizen.

Not all citizens have their personal economic fates indissolubly anchored in lock-step with the economic future of Singapore Inc. To extrapolate the government-reported economic growth rate of a economic entity, to assume it correlates to the economic well-being of the general citizentry without defining the specific economic class(es) of citizens leaves a gaping logical gap in the argument.

The fact that Singapore reported economic growth of 8.1% in 2004 means nothing to an unemployed serf burdened by debt. The inflows and outflows of Singapore foreign direct investment (FDI) numbers are meaningless to a parent struggling to find economic support for special-needs child deemed as an economic liability by the Powers-That-Be. The fact that Singapore is a transport / education / biotech / computing / research / whatever hub is of no value to the uneducated structurally-unemployed generation facing an inadequate retirement in their 60s and 70s.

I have blogged previously about using
The Right Tools to attack a problem. But equally important is the need to make sure we frame the problem appropriately to ensure we are addressing the correct question - as illustrated by the Petals Around The Rose game. [ NB: For those who have solved the Petals challenge, please do not post the answer as it will spoil the challenge for others. ]

The way I propose re-framing GK's question is:

Given my current available knowledge and trends of Singapore's economic policies and the political conditions*, what are MY economic prospects if I choose to remain in Singapore for the next 10 / 20 / 30 / 50 years when I am past my economic prime? [ * because the political conditions provide the framework under which economic policies are formulated and implemented ]

The answer would, of course, differ significantly for different individuals in the different economic stratas of Singapore. It is a complex multi-faceted problem not easily addressed. However, like GK, I suspect that those who have left Singapore permanently for economic reasons have looked at this question and come to a conclusion that the survival rates are better elsewhere.

You are neither right nor wrong because other people agree with you. You are right because your facts are right and your reasoning is right – and that is the only thing that makes you right.
- Warren Buffett
I believe that quote is very apt when it comes to thinking about the emigration decision as well.


As for GK's question: "What are Singapore's Long-Term Economic Prospects?". My answer is that Singapore will most likely survive economically, although not necessarily in a form that we will recognise.

But the real question is: When that happens.. will you?


Anonymous mrs budak said...

I have only 1 question.... how the F*** do you solve the Petal Around The Rose game???

Apparently the smarter you are, the longer it takes to solve. Yeah right.

February 22, 2005 6:25 PM  
Blogger Calamity Man said...

i feel a world war 3 coming. without going into further detail due to a lack of time, what we are going through now is pre world wars 1 and 2 - combined.

February 22, 2005 8:21 PM  
Blogger True Flight said...

Aha, you are right. In fact, before reading your post, I already realised that I had framed an inaccurate question, and had edited it to be:

"What is Singapore's Long-Term Economic Strategy?"

The next step, of course, is to identify how, or if, I fit into this long-term strategy -

taking into account various factors such as my qualifications, industry, work experience and so on.

As I said, my blog is essentially selfish in its own outlook.

February 22, 2005 10:23 PM  
Blogger Singapore Calamari said...

Haha.. I got it.. within 15 minutes...
Damn, am I stupid ?

February 23, 2005 12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! Thanx for dropping by there =) Luckily i rem yr blog addy! hahaha! *mich

February 23, 2005 2:19 AM  

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