Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dissent leads to creative thinking that is essential for productivity

Source: Singapore Democrats

In a letter to the Straits Times, writer Mr Peter Heng said that dissent has little to do with productivity. Dr Chee Soon Juan's reply to Mr Heng has been censored. The Straits Times has refused to publish Dr Chee's reply (see here).

Another letter writer advised Dr Chee to work with other social groups so that his voice can be heard. We reproduce Dr Chee's replies below (The first two of Dr Chee's six replies were published yesterday).

Dissent leads to creative thinking that is essential for productivity

I ask Mr Peter Heng to be slower in concluding that dissent has nothing to do with productivity. (Rebellious nature may not lead to productivity, ST, 17 Apr 2010)

There is significant empirical evidence to show that dissent reduces conformist behaviour and groupthink, traits that do nothing to foster creative and innovative minds. And it is innovation and the willingness and ability to thing out of the box that enables productivity to rise.

Studies have shown that dissent experience in groups increase behavioural tendencies that demonstrate creative or divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is, in turn, vital for effective decision-making in groups, and consequently vital for businesses that are hoping to raise productivity levels of their employees.

Dissent which takes place within a set of rules is healthy for a society. In Singapore this set of rules is enshrined in our Constitution. Dissent is like pain. Nobody likes pain, but without it, we would not be able to live for very long.

Dissent does not lead to violence and chaos. This is the scaremonger's propaganda. It may help the ruler to perpetuate his control over society but it does absolutely nothing for Singapore's progress.

In fact clinging on to such archaic thinking in the modern economic world will be the undoing of Singapore.

Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party

Read Mr Peter Heng's letter, Rebellious nature may not lead to productivity, here.

Singapore needs a pluralistic society

Mr Aloysius Lau is correct that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to a country's problems. (Chee's passion for democracy admirable, ST, Apr 17, 2010).

This is why we need a pluralistic and democratic society that allows a diversity of viewpoints to be canvassed. It is from an open debate that the best and most workable ideas will emerge.

The present system run by the PAP Government is anathema to an open and inclusive approach in politics.

Such a system breeds groupthink that gives rise where the cross-pollination of ideas and viewpoints cannot occur. This leads to a diminished gene pool from where robust policies, no matter how multi-pronged they may be, cannot be born.

Mr Lau's suggestion that the SDP should work with social groups and organisations to ensure that our views are heard is a very good one.

The reality, unfortunately, is that most, if not all, such groups come under the control of the Government. Either that or they are fearful of being seen to collaborate with an opposition party. Such is the sad reality in Singapore that will lead this country down the path to mediocrity and stagnation.

Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party

Read Mr Aloysius Lau's letter, Chee's passion for democracy admirable, here.


Robox said...

If the SDP's civil disobedience campaign could be regarded as an expression of dissent, then it was a genuinely well-conceived effort in that it has sparked off the creative thinking that results in higher productive capacity all round.

I am sure that the SDP has been paying close attention to the parliamentary debates on the proposed amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). The quality of those debates as assessed by the quality of the language and arguments during the debates is a direct result of the SDP's civil disobedience campaign, the subsequent court cases, and the scathing criticism and the exposure of incompetence in the judiciary that followed.

Notwithstanding the continuing criticisms of the proposed amendment, one PAP backbencher, Michael Palmer even hailed it as a moving out of the Dark Ages. (Though I would disagree violently with anyone who thinks that we are already out of the legal/judicial Dark Ages as evidenced most recently by the crudest of constitutional rulings anywhere in the world in Yong Vui Kong's appeal, I wonder where Palmer's voice was when we were still in the Dark Ages.)

When for example has the PAP government ever been interested in "procedural fairness" - a term they have no doubt gleaned from scouring this website - "balancing the rights of the individual and the might of the State", "levelling the playing field for the prosecution and the defence", or the "assumption of innocence before guilt can be proven"?

Well, they are now even if nothing has changed yet.

And that is only thanks to the dissent inherent in the SDP's civil disobedience, although I also see that the debates over the death penalty whose abolishment is also part of the SDP's policy platform, has contributed to this.

Anonymous said...

I see more and more clearly why it is right to target the PAP government in any productivity drive; their constipated thinking is the true bottleneck that needs breaking, though I'm absolutely sure that they have no intention of rewarding me for it.

On why Asia is growing faster, though 'faster than whom" we are left only to second guess him, Tharman Shanmugaratnam recently said: "People work hard, they adjust easily, there is an insatiable demand for training, learning English, learning technical skills. Everyone wants to improve, and every parent wants their kids to do much better than them. So, that is the fundamental driver."

As surely as we know that "Asian" values are really code for the racist PAP government's imposition of what it calls "Confucianist" values on the unwilling which includes many ethnic Chinese Singaporeans, we can be sure that the "Asians" that Tharman refers to are only the ethnic Chinese, be they Singaporean or something else.

The qualities that Tharman Shamugaratnam attributes faster economic growth in Asia to are the same ones we have been always been bandied about as the "positive stereotypes" of the Chinese, even and especially by the PAP government.

But on closer inspection of those stereotypes, it is not difficult to come to the conclusion that they are the same ones we have been told are the exclusive preserve of ethnic Chinese and no other Asians. Take a look:

1. People work hard (decode: "The Chinese are hardworking.")

2. They adjust easily (decode: " The Chinese are an adaptable people")

3. There is an insatiable demand for training, learning English, learning technical skills. (decode: "The Chinese value education.")

4. Everyone wants to improve, and every parent wants their kids to do much better than them. (decode: "The Chinese are a driven lot.")

5. So, that is the fundamental driver (decode: "Economic success is due entirely to the Chinese.")


Robox said...

PAP Racism And Produvtivity: Part 2


Conversely, those not implicated by those stereotypes - Indians and Malays - are deemed not to posess those positive qualities.... See More

It is the consistent racist discourse by the PAP government such as this that makes Singaporeans as race concious as they are. That race-conciousness is really the conciousness about difference, real, manufactured - as the case usually is in the PAP's racist discourse - or perceived.

Anyone, no matter what their ethnicity is, internalizes messages such as this. Singaporeans then bring that race-conciousness into every interaction with members of ethnicities other than their own. The Chinese stand to be privileged by it after recognizing that what is contained in it is a rehash of what we have always been told they are; Indians and Malays are disadvantaged and marginalized for it in situations where hard work, adaptability, and placing value in education are prized.

Such as in educational settings. And the workplace.

And Indians and Malays gradually come to believe these lies somewhere in their subconcious, and I can only surmise that many in these groups then go on to underperform. That's the productivity deliberately lowered by the PAP government.

Indians and Malays productivity levels do go into computations of productivity measures, don't they?

Which employer would hire someone who does not work hard, is unadaptable, doesn't want to improve, and is not driven?

Which employer would promote existing employees who have been prejudiced into believing the PAP-manufactured lies?

What then do we make of an Indian individual from the PAP delivering a message that is essentially one about Chinese supremacy?

Easy. By getting an Indian individual to repeat this age-old message it is hoped that charges of racism may be deflected from the PAP government.And there is no shortage of Indian PAP members who are willing to do this job of colluding with their racist Chinese colleagues to undermine the interests of the Indian community, except this time Malays are affected by this as well.

Make no mistake, though. The Invisible Hand is still a Chinese one, and it belongs to Lee Kuan Yew.

Robox said...

The point that I'm making is this: does the dissent inherent in my anti-racism efforts against the PAP - "confrontational politics" as some would call it - preferable because it stands Singapore better chances in productivity gains, or is the politics of avoidance in which problems such as the problems in productivity levels are not fully understood much less identified a better alternative?

Robox said...

For the sake of completeness, and im continuing anti-racism efforts, I will now to unpack the economics-based lies in Tharman's statement.

When Shanmugaratnam uses the word "faster" he is unconciously - or not - comparing Asia with some or all other continents. However, when it comes to matters of the economy, I sincerely doubt that Africa or ... See MoreLatin America figure prominently in the minds of Chinese chauvinists and those who enable them, the... See More Chrysanthemum Club

I am thus going to assume that he is comparing Asia to to the mostly white-identified first world countries because of Singapore's Chinese sensibilities-induced sense of keen rivalry with them.

Tharman's economic analysis is devoid of any depth. If he knew the first thing about economic growth in mature economies, he would have known that having built up capacity for a far longer period than all of Asia outside Japan has, mature economies are closer to saturation point at any one time than developing or newly-emergent ones. Hence, a mature economy tends only to post lower growth rates, but they are stiil more advanced economies in spite of it.

What Tharman has chosen to do instead is to fall back on the time-honoured PAP government's appeal to ethnic and cultural arrogamce - the Chinese one, specifically - as a way of explaining the growth rates; they are all attributable to an Asian (read: Chinese) cultural exceptionalism.

'Asian' governments, the governments of countries where the Chinese are the majority, have only created conditions for greed to thrive, and while admittedly greed does go some way towards the amassment of financial capacity, it has usually not been premised on strong economic fundamentals.

It is only a short term strategy, and it will evoparate in no time, relatively speaking. Singapore and China are classic case studies of that phenomenon.

I remain convinced that the PAP government can only oversee the economic growth of developing economies and newly-emergent ones.

So why IS Asia growing faster? Because there is room for it.

That's all.