THE TEMASEK TIMES

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PM Lee: ‘National Conversation’ is about managing expectations

Posted by temasektimes on September 10, 2012

Despite the media hype on the ‘National Conversation’ spearheaded by the government, it appears that it is nothing more but a PR exercise to manage public expectations.

Speaking to queries from the state media, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said ‘the key challenge for the national conversation on Singapore’s future will be that of managing expectations’ which will be different from the government’s previous attempts at ‘engaging’ Singaporeans:

“The last one was Remaking Singapore, which was 10 years ago. I think our situation has changed, our society has changed (since then). In the “Our Singapore Conversation”, we look at our problems afresh in a new situation, with a new generation, with a new perspective,” he added.

Responding to criticisms that the issues have been aired before and there is nothing more to discuss, PM Lee said:

“You cannot say, I’ve had a discussion before, there is nothing new to discuss. I think that is not the way the world is.”

The national conversation is led by a 26-member committee, comprising a mix of Cabinet ministers, academics and ordinary Singaporeans like students and a taxi driver.

 

20 Responses to “PM Lee: ‘National Conversation’ is about managing expectations”

  1. dog of the dogs said

    Elite’s expectation.

  2. Maximus said

    The PM said, “You cannot say, I’ve had a discussion before, there is nothing new to discuss. I think that is not the way the world is.”

    Yes, we still say that the government elites (particularly the President) are still paying themselves far too much in relations to the results they deliver (or under-deliver) after their pay adjustment exercise.

  3. Sinkaypoh said

    Kong jiao wei…🙂

  4. Lee Hsien Tau’s new dose of hot air and more hot air. Sinkies r sick of his hot air blowing which the above article writer rightly says is nothing more than a PR exercise and another wayang-kulit 2 entertain the ppl, but not 2 alleviate or solve their problems.
    Sinkies want solid action, not ‘solly, solly’ apology he played last GE and now ‘national conversation’ playing to the ppl but no solid solutions to housing, FT, transport, ministerial pay, education, NS etc issues where ppl’s concerns hv already bn made more than clear.

  5. Alvin said

    This is another perfect example of how the current administration attitude towards opportunities in developing a constructive engagement with Singaporeans. It is an apparent about turn from his National Day Rally Speech where no sacred cows will be spared in the re-evaluation of the National policies.
    Smoke and mirrors and Lip-services can only fool the public for so long before the reality of the current administration raises its ugly head. The current administration is on the verge of losing all credibility with the constant backtracking of supposed “sincere gestures of engagement”. As a astute man of the street – a taxi driver once said recently, “You need to be very careful now a days. The Government is great at telling two nice things and slapping you with the third.”
    If the current administration is really sincere in engaging Singaporeans in Singapore, engage us by having sincere and constructive dialogs. All the double-talk and lip-service will only enrage and it would never engage us. if you cannot come to the table without hidden agendas, why bother have the conversations to begin with.
    We are hard working Singaporeans who are trying their best to make the most of what is left in Singapore for us. If this exercise is just another wayang session, I suggest you do it quickly which the 7th month is happening. At the very least, you have some willing participations among the audience.

  6. Wicked Brian said

    The idea of National Conversation is good.
    But, why the need to spend time and money on such big scale event, when they should be able to figure out what are the needs and concerns of Singaporeans during their weekly “MP Meet-the-People” sessions?

  7. Ivy said

    The committee should be renamed the PAP Conversation.

  8. Ivy said

    Nothing new, as Lim Sia Suay had also admitted that PAP is DEAF to all criticisms.

  9. Seb said

    Tell me what “remaking singapore” has done?….this is nothing more than a bloody PR exercise….old wine in new wine skin. 10 years from now this elitist regime will have another “remaking and conversation” with a different name.

    I am sorry I have lost patience with the PAP and this pinky. 2016 is retribution.

  10. Robox said

    The PAP is merely electioneering, and it is to regain lost ground.

    Are Singaporeans going to let them do so, so that even less opposition politicians will get elected at the next GE?

  11. National Conversation not managing expectations said

    The setting of the committee is outright incorrect at the onset. It does not represent the minority. It represents those who already agreed with the ruling party. In other words, it is another show that the ruling party puts up to appease the 40% of those who did not vote for the ruling party in the last election. This conversation is a waste of time and resources of the tax payers monies.

  12. Goh Tong Seng said

    Doesn’t anybody realize that expectations are dangerous?

  13. I have to say that the article “PM Lee: ‘National Conversation’ is about managing expectations” did little to give an accurate analysis of the Prime Minister’s comments.

    While I encourage my fellow citizens to examine the messages that the media puts out to us, it is important that we remain discerning and objective when reading and interpreting what the state media or the new online platforms publish.

    Let us first take a close look at the article carried by Today newspaper. Comments about which the article is based on are:

    “”But some stones, after we look at them, the original place was quite nice, we put it back. There has to be a balance,” said Mr Lee, as he pointed out that managing expectations would be a key challenge of having the conversation.”

    If you look carefully at what the Prime Minister is saying, he has made it clear that we should be willing to leave certain issues be, if there is no need for a change.

    On the other hand, the commentary by the newspaper or reporter noted that there will be difficulties in managing expectations in the conversation.

    To put it in layman-speak, the conversation will not shy away from slaughtering sacred cows, but it will not go on a Sacred Cow culling exercise. At the same time, we must manage the expectation that the National Conversation will be about making any and all changes demanded by the vocal majority (as opposed to the silent majority), some of whom may already expect that their views and ideas will result in radical changes or immediate action, and are ready to dismiss the National Conversation.

    Now that we’ve dealt with this confusion, I would hope that the Government will take note of the phrases they should avoid, because the citizens have begun to associate these words with negative connotations or negative experiences.

    (1) Manage expectations – enough said. Citizens do not want to be heard only to have their expectations managed, they want to be understood, and have solutions offered, even if such a solution is actually an exception to a policy that must be applied consistently across the board.

    (2) Xenophobia – the citizens do not fear foreigners. They fear the loss of their jobs, career progression, salary increments, seats on buses and MRT trains and the way of life they have built up and served to protect (militarily and socially). I think we can just call this “anti-foreigner sentiment”.

    (3) Foreign Talent – citizens do not see talented foreigners as key contributors to the economy any further. Foreign talents are now merely new immigrants who compete for space, jobs, housing, education and more. Citizens seem to think of “FT” as wage suppressors, alternative to Singaporean voters, and more. Let’s call a spade a spade – FTs are merely “locally-employed foreigners”.

    (4) Engagement – citizens seem to think of this as “I talk, government listens, in one ear and out the other, and they decide on whatever they feel is right”. No need to re-word this term though, we should just work on engaging Singaporeans.

    (5) Opposition – while the legal or traditional term of the non-ruling party might be the “opposition”, this term seems to imply that the Government is calling the other parties “opposition parties” as the ruling party is unwilling to work with alternative voices. Since we are able to coin “Uniquely Singaporean” terms on our own (think ‘Integrated Resort’, ‘foreign talent’, ‘group representative constituencies’ etc.) I think we can acknowledge that the opposition parties are merely “Non-ruling Parties”.

    (6) Integration – Singaporeans want harmony, but they do not want to be integrated with locally-employed foreigners, new citizens or other non-NS contributing groups unless their interests are taken care of. While integration is key, we need to give Singaporeans sufficient resources and advantages to survive and thrive on the very land they grew up on, defended, built on, and lived on. Only when Singaporeans are less disadvantaged will we be able to fully integrate and harmonize Singaporean society.

    Just my two cents worth.

    WONG WEIMING

  14. Ron said

    There has been a Feedback forum for decades. What happened to that?

    There are weekly or regular Meet-the-People sessions. No conversations took place? There are regular visits by MPs. No feedback?

    And what about the vast machinery that is supposed to monitor the blogs and cull feedbacks? Maybe we need another building next to Parliament and called it the Peoples Congress.

  15. Ordinary Citizen said

    So thats the real agenda ?

  16. Possitive Light said

    Dear Temasek Review,
    Why do you purposely put up this picture out of All the Proper pictures of you Country’s Leader. Show respect.
    The Editor must be a Indian.

    To all Netizen,
    Don’t get easily controlled by Temasek Review comment. Complains after Complains…. so what happen at the end. Still the same.

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