To Fix a Mocking Peasant

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Optimum Degree of Unhappiness

In the latest twist to Singapore's politics, it has become perfectly normal to be unhappy. Just don't be too unhappy.

Not happy you also shouldn't quit.

PM Lee:

"We have to persuade young people eventually to conclude that: In Singapore, I can do something, I don't like this, let me get in and change this.

"If you say 'I don't like this', and say 'I am fed up, let's go', that's a great pity. We would have lost somebody in whom we put a lot of hopes and I think Singapore is worse off.

"What is it you are unhappy with, let's get that changed, that's how we got here today. If we were happy with what Singapore was 50 years ago, we would not have created Singapore today.

"And, if you are just happy with what Singapore is today, we are not going to change either. You must have the optimum degree of unhappiness, just right and the conviction to make it change."

There are at least two ways (perhaps not necessarily accurate ways) to look at what PM Lee said:
1. He doesn't seem to understand how deeply Singapore is alienating its own people. He knows people are unhappy but he thinks they can be convinced to stay.
2. He understands how deep the sense of alienation is but doesn't want to address it, preferring to come up with the same old promises of that have been variously called "participatory," "open," etc. The promises that many no longer think will be genuinely.

One is tempted to first ask where one has to get "in" to change things when he said "let me get in and change this." Get in where? The Parliament? The PAP? The idea that we have to get in(to?) something to change things is already pretty ironic. If we are Singaporeans, we are already in Singapore. What else do we have to get "in(to?)"? Perhaps the very thing people want to change is the need to get in(to) this unspecified thing in order to be supposedly able to change things.

So dear peasants, now you are supposed to be display a childlike innocence and believe that you can change things. (Don't worry, there might actually be people who are naive enough to think that peasants still have capacity for such innocence.) You may be unhappy but it's GOOD to be unhappy! Just as long as you are not too unhappy and start to threaten certain aspects of the status quo. And you must have the conviction to change things. But don't be like Dr. Chee Soon Juan. He has conviction, but his degree of unhappiness has obviously very much exceeded the optimal degree.

For a long time already, peasants have been told that they can participate and change. And for the longest time, they have been disappointed. Sure, there are the machines to simulate their ability to change things. There's the Feedback Unit which, I think, is being revamped into a better machine. There is the ST Forum page (which happens to publish letters that show lots of conviction to maintain the status quo). But beyond that? Has anything changed?

Perhaps the most important change that peasants want to be able to effect (which is different from saying that they want to effect it) is the ability to change their government and the style of governance. And that, many peasants are convinced, will never change. Perhaps it will really change, but if people have stopped thinking that it will... Good luck.

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(Deleted comment)
If you are so unhappy that you don't make babies, then you have exceeded the optimum level of unhappiness. Can't win this argument, can we?

you must be very happy,,so you got plenty babies ah?hehe

Cats shouldn't have babies. What for give birth to these cute kitties and let people kill them? Similar theory for human beings?

I do not thing that animals n humans beings are quite the same. If you have a bit of doubt, you can do a google search about debates.

Talk so much. He wants change, why not just get the gahmen to resign and hold full elections for the entire population? Free the civil service from any indirect influence while he's at it.

He should feel optimal levels of unhappiness and discomfort for once.

Optimal but not for him...

Thermometer to monitor optimal degree?

Now I am convinced that our bio-science industry is going to have a major breakthrouth soon ...

Ah loong is going to market a special kind of thermometer to measure and monitor your degree of unhappiness.

There would be a in-built thermostat to indicate when the optimum degree of unhappiness is reached. This optimum, I suppose would differ from country to country. As we are the dunno 137th happiest on earth, so our thermometer would be a very big long one to measure all that unhappiness.

When the optimum is reached, it will signal to the user to do 2 things:

1 get in (somewhere?) to change the thingy that caused you unhappiness

2 change yourself to feel happy

Since no 1 is very very vague, Ah loong is just telling u to do no 2 lah.

If you boil over beyond the optimum degree hor, I think they might work on a later upgrade to the thermometer to automatically fix you before you get into any body's way or proven system of governance.

I think Dr Chee will not be issued one such thermometer. He is too human unlike our PM whose feelings can be measured nicely in degrees.

Re: Thermometer to monitor optimal degree?

Better still, there should be a mechanism that helps regulate responses, so there's no need for us to choose 1 or 2.

Re: Thermometer to monitor optimal degree?

Wow, now they are "managing" our happiness too. What is next? What time I need to go toilet. This is the "I am concerned about your well-being" spinning. Fire fighting is at work. After weeks of warning you "not to do this and that". Trying to sound softer. Spin me round and round...

Re: Thermometer to monitor optimal degree?

It's all for our own good.

Re: Thermometer to monitor optimal degree?

they not only want to manage our happiness, smile also need to be taught, what do you expect?

long time no read liao~~ lol, this is funny!
maybe pm lee needs to do something instead of talk talk talk...

But, er, suicide is illegal.

PM is so pathetic, he needs mercy killing.

Don't anyhow say! And hor, the idea is that he needs to do something. If someone kills him, he isn't doing something.


It's a sick country. first it systematically alienates its ethnic minorities, and then the people at large. apathy breeds apathy. If the chinese can allow the government to alienate people on the basis of 'race', then why can't the government alienate the non-malays/indians on the basis that they are not part of the government. The chinese in the country have a lot of soul-searching to do - if they can find it after all this time that is.

Re: wonderer

Who really cares? Most of the idiots don't even know something got stolen from them right in front their eyes. The level of ignorance is incredible. When people don't question, don't think and they "outsource" their brains to some other entity that actively abuses that privilege which isn't even God-given, they won't know what really hits them.

Re: wonderer

At the risk of sounding cruel and unsympathetic, based on experience... those bullied must stand-up for their own rights or continue to suffer being bullied. It is not just a chinese or ethnic minority thingie. This not-standing-up-when-bullied syndrome is so prevasive that it even infects those highly-skilled FTs that Singapore "welcomed" in. The bullying is not restricted to gahmen either, it happens even in foreign MNCs (big name/capital enough to be listed on stock-market) where if the same happened in the MNC's HQ home-country, the bullied would be sued till his/her pants drop.

What happens when a member of majority stands up against such unfair treatment? I'll tell you from my experience... the highly-skilled ethnic minority FTs continue to cower and even advised that member-of-the-majority to keep-mum since he/she is not the prime target, saying that it'll only hurt the subordinate to go against boss even if the boss is wrong. And indeed it was true, bosses continue to bully the cowards and schemed to rid the non-conformist who dare speak-up for his/her soul's conscience.

Well, I'm the non-conformist who believes all human (including myself) deserves better, and seek my better fortunes elsewhere. For those who continue to accept such behaviour, it's really up to them. The reality of power play is that those who bully others from their position of power will not give up such power willingingly. The victims who wish to improve their lot must take actions for themselves.

Re: wonderer

Whoops, typo error: "where if the same happened in the MNC's HQ home-country, the bully would be sued till his/her pants drop."

What action is there to take here in the first place?

All PM Lee actually need for Singapore to succeed is for 99% of Singaporeans to think they have the choice to change things, even if they were only aware of the choice at a near unconscious level.

But maybe he wants people to think they have the choice without really having the choice.

Yeah, like what the Merovingian said to Neo that choice is an illusion introduced by those with power to those without power.

If Singapore can indeed be viewed through the "Matrix" schema, then certainly yes, for Singapore to succeed, Singaporeans must always think they have a choice. The moment the majority of them realize the truth, Singapore would collapse.

Perhaps this explains why we are similar to North Korea and China, and yet still different.

I really think that if there is no authorties, this place will be very chaotic. Do we really want to beddddbate about every issue? Thhhere are so many things to talk abt. What is more important is, the survival of a company, or a country.

We need progress, as many of the asian cities is catching up. The areas of technlogy is very important. I hope that the authorties can be more agressive in helping those who needed help. Teach a man to fish, he can feed himself for a lifetime. My point is assist everyone, so that their future is comfortable in this fast changing world.

Assist everyone? You are forgetting that the human nature is selfish, and any notions that the PAP is altruistic should be thrown into the gutter faster than we even contemplate migrating. Seriously, the country offers very little for most people, and one should not be surprised that people are leaving.

And talk that the "Singapore brand" makes us attractive to foreign employers is nonsense. You are only as capable as the company sees you as it is based on your qualifications and experience. This is obviously a propaganda nonsense.

It is sad that citizens in singapore is unhappy. There must be many reasons for that. Life in singapore is very stressful, i agree. people have to work extremely hard. And there is not much enterainment entertaining enough. I would like to suggest tat, bring in more technology to assist in our work.

For the economy, sg sld create something competitive enough. So that the technology or product can sell to the world. For service wise, i thing there r many areas to improve upon. Those japanese prefer the Thais than singaporeans.

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