To achieve HAPPINESS,prosperity and progress for our nation

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To achieve HAPPINESS,prosperity and progress for our nation

Postby daisyt » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:47 am

I would think, this is very well addressed.

http://www.wp.sg/2011/10/sylvia-lims-sp ... s-address/

Sylvia Lim’s speech (Debate on President’s Address)

May I first thank the President for his Address and the government for making the promises contained in the Address.
The Workers’ Party welcomes and supports the statement that Singapore’s success is defined not just by material progress but by our values and ideals. The Workers’ Party is ready to work with the government towards a better life for all.

However, it is important to point out that over the last few years many Singaporeans have faced harsh realities that do not match the sentiments contained in the Address.

A country’s headline figures, such as GDP growth, mask the realities of life for certain groups. Thus, to have segmented updates, such as the recent joint report by the Ministry of Manpower and Department of Statistics (released Oct 11), is helpful. One disturbing fact from that report is that after accounting for inflation, wages of Singaporeans at the 20th percentile of income have stagnated over the last decade. In other words, the real incomes of the bottom 20% of working Singaporeans have not increased in 10 years.

On the ground, we see that there are Singaporeans who feel unfairly treated vis-à-vis the foreign workforce. Divorces leave many families homeless. The demand for rental flats has risen. Seniors worry about healthcare costs. There are chronically ill patients who have even sold their homes to pay medical bills. As Dr Lam Pin Min said earlier, there are Singaporeans believe that they are better off dead than sick.

These issues, and the fact that they have been around for years, may lead some Singaporeans to question whether the vision in the President’s Address, will be translated to reality.

The Address is titled: A Home We Share, A Future We Build Together. With a vast divide between the haves and have-nots, how do we nurture such a shared home and future together?

At the Opening of the 12th Parliament, I believe that the government is seriously pondering over how to alleviate the ill-effects of certain policies. But moving forward, how should the government assess whether it is going in the correct direction and making a positive impact on people’s lives?
The Bhutan royal wedding hogged headlines over the weekend. As many of us know, the kingdom of Bhutan has an unusual way of measuring the country’s development. It is called GNH or Gross National Happiness. This indicator is garnering international attention, even among developed countries.

In July this year, Bhutan initiated a resolution at the UN General Assembly titled “Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development”. There were a total of 66 co-sponsors of the resolution and the General Assembly adopted it without a vote.

The resolution’s preamble states that “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal”, and that “the gross domestic product indicator by nature was not designed to and does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of people in a country.”

Member states have been invited “to pursue the elaboration of additional measures that better capture the importance of the pursuit of happiness and well-being in development with a view to guiding their public policies.”
With such international interest, is it now time for Singapore’s government to conspicuously focus on happiness as a national goal? Should policies be articulated to show how they will ultimately achieve happiness for Singaporeans as a whole?

This may sound too warm and fuzzy for some, but in fact our government supported the resolution at the United Nations. Indeed, Singapore was one of the 66 countries that co-sponsored the draft resolution.
Since Singapore was a co-sponsor, may I ask the government to elaborate on what will be the practical effect of the resolution on Singapore? What indicators does it it intend to put in place to measure whether Singaporeans as a whole are achieving happiness and well-being? Might the government also tell us how its policies over the next 5 years will be guided by such indicators?

In fact, the concept of happiness at the national level is not new. The American Declaration of Independence states that among the unalienable rights of men are “…Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.
Back home, our children pledge every day to achieve “happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation”.

Since independence, Singapore has focused on achieving prosperity and progress. Has happiness been forgotten, despite the words in our pledge? Or maybe it has been assumed that once there is prosperity and progress, happiness would automatically follow.
But has it? Does prosperity and progress come sometimes at the expense of happiness? Prosperity and progress are certainly important, but they cannot be ends in themselves. Surely they should be the means to an end – the happiness of Singaporeans as a whole.

What difference can this make? Let me give an example of an issue that might need to be dealt with very differently by the government if it pursues happiness, rather than maximum GDP growth, as the overarching goal: Singapore’s low fertility rate.
Singapore’s total fertility rate (TFR) should concern us greatly if we are worried about preserving our culture and identity for future generations. I note that surprisingly little emphasis was placed on this in the PMO’s Addenda.

In recent years, home prices have risen sharply. For couples who want children, one of the factors they consider in deciding when to have children and how many to have, is the affordability of housing.
A young couple who wants children but who is stretched by high housing payments over a long repayment period may delay having them, and may even have fewer children than they would ideally like to have.
In Hong Kong, a study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong suggests that housing price inflation could account for up to 65% of their decrease in fertility over the past forty years. (J Yi and J Zhang (2009). The Effect of House Price on Fertility: Evidence from Hongkong. Economic Inquiry, Volume 48, Issue 3.)

In Singapore, analyses by local economists show a similar link. Assoc Prof Tilak Abeysinghe, Deputy Director of the Singapore Centre for Applied and Policy Economics, NUS, has been studying the issue of housing affordability for some time. He notes in an article in the Straits Times on September 1st this year, that in Singapore, the data showed that between 1977 to 2010, there were generally “fewer children when house prices head(ed) north”.
He notes that the total fertility rate of Singapore has a close link with how affordable housing had been two years earlier. When housing was more affordable, the fertility rate in Singapore actually rose two years later. He concludes the article by saying: “Although the fertility rate is stubbornly less responsive to many factors, it is possible that sustaining housing affordability may help at least in arresting the decline in the fertility rate.”
Improving the TFR is a critical issue if Singaporeans are to remain the core of our society.

If economic growth is overwhelmingly the government’s goal, then achieving higher housing prices at the expense of fertility may not be considered a problem.

But if the happiness and the sustainability of Singapore society is the overarching goal, then there is a need to unravel the exact relationship between high property prices and fertility, and what responses might arrest or even reverse the decline in fertility rates. We will have to look beyond immediate procreation incentives to the bigger picture.
My point is: Since the government has co-sponsored the resolution to stress the importance of happiness and well-being in guiding policies, what tangible changes can we expect in the government’s general approach? Will government policies from now on be framed to focus on whether they lead to happiness and contentment for Singaporeans as a whole? Will we be coming up with our own national index of happiness and well-being?
Our founding elected leaders believe that happiness is important to be included in our national pledge. Let us continue to put these beliefs to action. We have been achieving progress and prosperity; let’s give happiness the rightful place in our pledge for this Parliament – “so as to achieve HAPPINESS, prosperity and progress for our nation”.

POSTED ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2011 AT 6:47 PM 
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Re: To achieve HAPPINESS,prosperity and progress for our nat

Postby raysusan » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:06 am

love WP
so sad that they didnt come to my area in GE 2011
i envy those pple in HG and Adjunied

MPS after Parliament !!
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... e=1&ref=nf

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Re: To achieve HAPPINESS,prosperity and progress for our nat

Postby pinky » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:18 am

well said :udawoman:

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Re: To achieve HAPPINESS,prosperity and progress for our nat

Postby concern2 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:40 am

I like GNH :wink:

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Re: To achieve HAPPINESS,prosperity and progress for our nat

Postby Strparent » Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:33 am

raysusan wrote:love WP
so sad that they didnt come to my area in GE 2011
i envy those pple in HG and Adjunied

MPS after Parliament !!
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... e=1&ref=nf


DaisyT, Raysusan,

totally agree. They are so down to earth, and have the common people at heart always. Finally, we can see real MPs doing what MPs should be doing, and not just tagging along / hitching a ride. :wink:

post pic from Raysusan's link ( how many PAP MPs would you see doing this ? and at the void deck, tsk tsk - petty petty :rant: )

Image

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Re: To achieve HAPPINESS,prosperity and progress for our nat

Postby concern2 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:40 am

:love:

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Re: To achieve HAPPINESS,prosperity and progress for our nat

Postby tyut » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:26 am

Personally, just feel that "not all" MPs are serving the people with their heart as compared to the old guards. Briefly followed the recent Parliament news, some MPs are still saying they have been doing right, just that their intentions and objectives for their polices have not been fully understood or heard by the commoners.

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Re: To achieve HAPPINESS,prosperity and progress for our nat

Postby raysusan » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:43 am

Chen Show Mao
国会发言
Parliament speech in Chinese
在今年的两次选举之后,我们许多领导人都提到团结的重要。全国人民现在必须上下一心,步伐一致地向前迈进。
他们有人认为新加坡有政治分裂,不利於团结与将来发展。但是各位想想,这分裂是怎么造成的? 是因为社会出现了不同的声音,还是因为不能包容不同的声音才会造成分裂?
“政者正也, 子帅以正,孰敢不正”,“为政以德,譬如北辰,居其所而众星拱之”,“风行草偃”,这些都是孔子说的来形容好的执政者,意思就是,一个好的领导者,只要有信心,有正确的方向,有好的道德与能力把政绩做出来,人民自然会乐意跟著他走。不需要害怕国家分裂,强调团结。
爱国的权利不是任何一个政党可以独占的。一个党再伟大也只是国家的一部分而已,不是国家全部啊!陈独秀说过,"党外无党,帝王思想。"在民主社会里,有不同的意见,不同的建议,是很自然的事情。这也是好事。
其实孔子三千年前就已说过,“君子和而不同”。和谐,可却不尽相同。晏婴说过:乐团只演奏一个音符,谁听得下去?白开水上再加白开水,谁喝得下去?一个和谐的社会,不只有一种声音。而是每个人很和平的在法律的範围内发表他的看法,从事政治活动。我们不必防民如防贼。
在中国历史上最伟大的贞观之治就不是一言堂式的全民团结,就是有喜欢諌言喜欢说真话不怕被唐太宗讨厌的魏徵,才有了贞观之治。
在这国会的任期里,希望明理的执政党可以做唐太宗,而我们来做魏徵,开出太平盛世,而不是一个执政者独断,而小人唯唯诺诺的世代。
我屡次与国外的人接触,大家似乎有一种感觉,觉得新加坡守成有馀但开创不足,似乎欠缺了那创新的能力。在这全球化的竞争下,我们国家不是应该培养出更多有主见、有创造力的新一代吗?
李前总理在演说中也说了他担忧我们年轻人,生活太过安逸。可见李前总理也想过这问题。真正完整的人格、独立的精神,是不可能在一个凡事听从独大的执政党,凡事唯唯诺诺的环境下生成。我们要我们下一代有创新、有独立自主精神,就不能不在政治上、精神上给他一个自由竞争的环境。这要求及这深深的忧虑不安其实是隐藏在许多新加坡人心中,在全球化激烈的竞争下,我们的竞争力难道只能靠执政党的完全控制来达成吗?
所以我们在野党是为了国家的好,才提出建言与批判,爱国不是执政党的专利,希望我们能在各自的岗位上演好自己的角色,这样我们的国家才能有活力、创造力的向前进步。
最後我要提醒执政党除了对自己有信心以外,对国人也要有信心。但我也要感谢执政党,把新加坡建设成一个成熟的法治社会,让我们在野党,可以在一个合法的基础上与执政党并存,竞争,为人民服务。
谢谢。


http://www.facebook.com/ChenShowMao/pos ... 0328553235
any way to watch this speech?

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Re: To achieve HAPPINESS,prosperity and progress for our nat

Postby concern2 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:37 am

Is Parliament being aired on TV these days?

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Re: To achieve HAPPINESS,prosperity and progress for our nat

Postby raysusan » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:20 am


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