“I don’t think anyone of them comes here for the money. They come here to provide a better life for the next generation… One of the reasons why I stepped forward was because I know I’m joining a team of people that are not here for the money.”
He added that the key is to find the right balance.
He said: “Money should not be the one (factor) to attract them in. On the other hand, money should also not be the bugbear to deter them.
This is where it gets a little bit interesting, or fishy…
“(For example,) you go to Peach Garden, you eat the S$10 XO Sauce chye tow kuay (fried carrot cake), you can be quite happy right? Because you are satisfied with the service and so on. On the other hand, you can go to a hawker centre, even if they charge you S$1.50, you might not want to eat it if the quality is not good.”
BAM! Own goal! Once again, my favourite MG Chan Chun Sing has provided a beautiful answer that carries within it the keys to the destruction of the status quo. (You can check out the last time he did this here.)
Okay, you’re thinking. What is Visa talking about? What has he been smoking, and can I have some? Wait, wait- let me explain. Chun Sing’s argument is as follows:
1: People enjoy $10 carrot cake because the quality is good.
2: People don’t like $1.50 carrot cake because the quality is not good.
The food analogy is particularly brilliant, because EVERY Singaporean knows- the best food isn’t necessarily the most expensive.
In fact, the best food is often holed up somewhere in some ulu coffeeshop, made by some uncle who’s using his grandfather’s secret recipe. The food is made with passion, and love. In comparison, the most expensive food often sucks, because the chefs feel like they’ve “made it”, and don’t need to try anymore.
Of course, not all cheap food is good and not all expensive food is lousy. But the point is, the co-relation is senseless. Good food is good food, regardless of cost. And good civil servants are good civil servants, regardless of pay. In fact, there is substantial scientific evidence that suggests that higher pay equates to worse performance, in anything that involves non-menial tasks.
Sometimes I wonder if MG Chan is secretly doing a grand covert operation. There were many writers and thinkers in the past, for instance, who defended the Church- because the Church was all-powerful, and could destroy your life and livelihood if it wished (why does that sound familiar?).
So what many of them did was pretty genius- they defended the Church, (collecting their pay in the process- why does that sound familiar again?) and attacked science, rationalism, atheism and all of the wonderful things we have today.
But they used weak, flimsy arguments for their defense, and they made themselves look like idiots against the elegant effectiveness of the opposition. The Church wasn’t sure what to think, because they professed support and claimed loyalty.
The philosopher’s intellectual integrity was not compromised- future generations would learn of their wisdom. And they lived happy, comfortable lives. I wonder if MG Chan is doing the same. That would be freaking awesome.
Let me explain. What MG Chan here is doing is something universal rather than local. He’s arguing that pay is not related to quality. You could see that as self-sabotaging, but that’s only if we assume that the PAP’s goal is to maintain the status quo.
Ultimately, what Chun Sing is doing here is that he’s helping Singaporeans see that quality matters, not pay. I described it as an own goal for the PAP. But really, the PAP is large and complex, and no monolith. It’s an own goal for the negative elements of the PAP. And that’s a good thing for everybody- except, of course, the negative elements of the PAP.
So MG Chan is only a moron if he expects his lot to be bettered by trying to defend a sinking ship. He could be a genius who’s thinking much further than anybody else at this point. And here’s the deal- you don’t become Chief of Army through political naivete. He’s very well educated. He might seem silly now- or he might be sowing the seeds for a new future, for Singapore and the PAP.
Personally, I’m quite excited to see how things turn out.