22 Jan 2006

Addicted to Regulation

Singapore government is addicted to using regulation to solve or forestall problems. In recent months we saw the passage and reminder of a series of laws. Some of these are:

1) some schoolgirls were warned by police that they might break law if white elephant T-shirts were worn en masse. (To me, this really sound like bullying by the police.)

2) potential violent protestors, locals or foreigners, were reminded that they could be caned or jailed.

3) new law to punish Singaporeans who had sex with underaged girls abroad

4) tougher penalties for draft dodgers

5) possible jail term for bus and taxi fare cheats.

Regulation is addictive because:

a) it is a quick fix to solve or preempt problems

b) with all the fines and penalties it fattens the state coffers

c) it is probably gratifying for some to see the populace being prgrammed to become obedient and submissive subjects of the state .

However, like most addictions, it has its adverse effects:

1) the government would appear to be run by 3rd world leaders who typically are unwilling or unable to run the system by any other ways except through threats and the rule by fear.

2) those who find it too restrictive will leave the country, causing brain drain.

3) it leaves no room for flexibility and creativity, which means Singapore will be ill-prepared for the challenge of the 21st century: a race on ideas and innovations.

If the Singapore government is serious about building Singapore into a world-class city, then it should cure itself of its addiction.


Anonymous said...

lofty goals are a way to inspire people to pull together, and to justify administrative processes to keep people in line, which might be more important that the lofty goals

Anonymous said...

PAP feels very fine to impose fine as penalty all the times but i think they're absolutely not fine at hearts (kiasu). I view it as an insecure govt, trying very hard to secure much power and control over its citizens and always giving its citizens the impression that this is the only good way to have a stable security. They think that singaporeans are all dumb people.

Anonymous said...

it works, doesnt it?

locky2ky said...

yes, unfortunately it does. That's why we only have worker ants and no queen ants to venture out and start new colonies.

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