Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Who said: "FOOLISH ENOUGH to build MRT"?

On the one hand, we had President Ong Teng Cheong (then Minister of Communication):
"The MRT is much more than a transport investment, and must be viewed in its wider economic perspective. The boost it'll provide to long term investors' confidence, the multiplier effect and how MRT will lead to the enhancement of the intrinsic value of Singapore's real estate are spin-offs that cannot be ignored."
- 28 March 1982

"The MRT will usher in a new phase in Singapore's development and bring about a better life for all of us."

On the other hand, we had a "visionary" Minister who went out of his way to deliberately, publicly, and rudely slam President Ong - the chief advocate for the MRT system - as being "FOOLISH ENOUGH":
"The construction industry has become over-heated and if Singapore were to be foolish enough to want to build its proposed mass rapid transit (MRT) system now, it will find itself in trouble."
- Forum on economic affairs at NUS, 17 December 1981.

Question: So, who was this "visionary" Minister who was not as "foolish enough" as President Ong?

Answer: Who else, but (again!) that very same man who "face thick thick", is now everyday busily (passively) shaking the hands of fishmongers and saving fainting children (on camera), desperately hoping that such comical last-minute manoeuvre can help him to get $4,000,000 per year as our President.

Meet Tony Tan, the "not-foolish-enough" Minister for Trade and Industry in 1981.

Yes, this is the same Tony Tan whose forecast that Singapore had too many university graduate went wrong (again!), and whose forecast that pumping billions of dollars into failed western banks is good investment went wrong (again!)

Oh, by the way, when he made that wrong forecast on education, he was the Minister for Education.

When he made that wrong forecast on investment, he was in charge of GIC.

And yes, you guessed it, when he made that wrong forecast on the impact of MRT on the construction industry, he was the Minister for Trade and Industry!

Just what's wrong with this Minister? 他妈的,he made the wrong forecast in every ministry he headed and when he had finally done enough screwing up all these ministries, he went right into the "private" sector (i.e. GIC) and immediately proceed to lose billions of dollars of our CPF money!

Is this the kind of President you want?

Not me.

I am not "foolish enough" to want to listen to any of his Presidential "visions"!

More importantly, I am not "foolish enough" to vote him to let him scold me; Notice that President Ong Teng Cheong was then his colleague in the cabinet and yet, despite having already had the opportunity to counter Mr. Ong privately during cabinet meetings, he was not contented. No, not enough! He had to 'suan' his colleague publicly and make sure the "nation-building" newspaper reported on it!

So, do you think he will have any problem labelling you - an ordinary citizen - as "foolish enough", when he becomes the President.

His good friend LKY has already called you "daft". Not enough meh? You want to be called "foolish enough" next?

So, Singapore did "foolishly enough" went ahead with the MRT construction. Did Singapore "find itself in trouble"?


soccertitan said...

You are taking it out of context. It's the timing that was not right. Did you not see the word "NOW". If anyone is foolish to write such a blog... It's you! Sad...

humchimpeng said...


OTC's comment was in 1982 and TT's comment was in 1981.

Given the benefit of doubt, the comments were made at different times and different economy status.

P.S. I wasn't born yet when the comments were made, but a year apart between the two comments? Cumon you can make a better complaint!

young-pap said...

Nothing has been taken out of context. Don't pretend to be a smart ass: I do not need you to remind me that it is about timing. Of course it is about timing and that's why I carefully stated the exact date when the two fellows made their comment. The timing was right to start building the MRT "NOW" (i.e. start of 1982), but Tony Tan wrongly forecast (in DECEMBER of 1981) that the timing was wrong to start building "NOW". But, Less than 3 months later after his rubbish warning, the government started building the MRT "NOW" and none of the dire consequence Tony Tan warned occurred. If anyone is foolish to write such a comment, it's you! Sad...for you.

OTC's comment was in MARCH 1982. TT's comment was in DECEMBER 1981. That's merely 3 months apart. Had there been an "overheated construction industry", as Tony Tan nonsensically claimed, it would not have reversed sufficiently in merely 3 months. Thus, there is no "different economy status" and therefore no benefit of doubt to be given.

P.S. You weren't born yet when the comments were made, but you can read up on the old newspaper article to see that it's merely 3 months apart between the two comments! Com'on, you can read better!

Yik said...

Since now that you have verified that Tony Tan made his comments on Dec 81 which was before Ong Teng Cheong's comments in in Mar 82, how could TT be 'deliberately, publicly and rudely insulted OTC?
This article seemed utterly biased to the core..

Bo Cheng Hu (没政府) said...

Lol, why do u even bother to reply to the comments, its obvious they are trying to "avoid" the facts.

young-pap said...

Yik said "since now that you have verified", thus deliberately creating the false idea that I had somehow initially withheld certain info (which I am only now verifying). That's mischievous BULLSHIT on his part! The dates has always been clearly stated in the article and there was no need for me to "verify" (or "clarify", which is the right word) anything. The only thing I did in earlier comments was to tell you tony tan supporters to read the dates carefully for yourself!

Ong Teng Cheong had made his case for the MRT system *before* Dec 81 (In fact, he had advocated for it persistently since mid 1970s.) It was precisely in response to President Ong's *previous* championing, that Tony Tan made his rude (and factually wrong) *rebuttal* in Dec 81. Otherwise, are you suggesting that Tony Tan was not rebutting, but was a mad man who out of the blue suddenly said that it was "foolish enough" to build the MRT system, when nobody had said previously that they wanted to build the MRT system?

Ong Teng Cheong's comment in Mar 82 was his polite subtle answer to Tony Tan's Dec 81 rebuttal (which in turn was made in response to Ong Teng Cheong's earlier argument etc, in a long series of to-and-fro debate since 1970s, which had always been diplomatic and/or private within the cabinet except for Tony tan's rude public outburst in Dec 1981). This Mar 82 comment was made when the whole cabinet had finally adopted Ong Teng Chong's excellent proposal and publicly announced that it was going to build the MRT system "right now" (i.e. Mar 82).

That's barely 3 months after Tony Tan's rude public rebuttal and wild claim that the construction industry was over-heated. It was a wild claim because if true, the over-heating would not have subsided sufficiently within 3 months for the govt to go ahead with the MRT construction. Indeed, neither the construction industry nor Singapore found "itself in trouble" during or after the MRT construction. So clearly Tony Tan was talking cock in his warning/forecast (in addition to being rude to Ong Teng Cheong publicly - he could have restricted his rude "foolish enough" personal attack to the cabinet meetings).

Thus, it is you who seem utterly biased to the core!

(By the way, given that Tony Tan finds no problem with being so publicly rude to his equal counterpart, it is clear that as Prsident, he will have no problem being publicly rude to his "subordinate" i.e. ordinary citizens like you and me. So I do not know why you want to defend such a tyrant. Maybe you need him to tell you directly in your face that you are "foolish enough", before you see his true colour?)

Yihao said...

Well we all probably need more facts to ascertain whether the judgements were right or wrong, or presented in an right context.

But there's no denying that this is a poorly presented argument. You probably can help other presedential candidates better simply by not writing anything at all.

young-pap said...

The facts are already all laid out for all to see. But you are in denial. You insist on more "facts". Maybe you can invent a few or pluck some from thin air?

You claim that this is a "poorly presented argument". How convenient for you to make such a wild accusation! But you are not able to offer even one single reason to support your nonsensical accusation!

Thus, you can probably help lick the ass of Tony Tan better simply by not writing anything at all! Because when you write like that - insisting on more "facts" when nothing more is available, and making wild accusations that you cannot back up - you make people think poorly of Tony Tan's supporters, and by extension, Tony Tan himself!

Another Tan said...

Calm down people. First of all, I believe the author deserves some credit for digging out these "ancient" articles from the achives. Not many people go the extra mile nowadays in pursuit of the truth.

Putting together bits and pieces from your post and the old articles gave me the impression both TC and Tonii had different views about the area the government should invest at that point in time. Let me explain. First, Tonii being then Minister of Trade and Industry, stated his priority for the country in the article very clearly - HDB flats. The key reason he gave for not supporting the MRT project was high building costs driven by an overheated construction industry. I would give him the benefit of doubt that by "foolish" he meant investing in a project when its costs were at the highest possible instead of a direct rebuke at TC. The benefit of doubt is reinforced by the lack of understanding of events prior to the article (come on, I was only born in 1981). Of course, the language Tonii used in the article could have been better and that probably did not help his defence here.

Second, TC gave justified reasons in support of the MRT project despite some not sharing his vision. Even though the MRT project was not within his scope of work (I assumed given a role as Minister of Communications), TC deserves much credit for his perseverance in pushing through the project after strong objections from his fellow party members. Again, this example highlights the deficiency of visionary policy makers like TC in our current government. I would prefer we celebrate TC’s excellent vision here rather than putting the magnifying glass on Tonii’s short-sightedness back in the 1980s.

Finally, the author is welcome to provide more evidence of Tonii verbally attacking TC before the dated article. At best, I see it as works of a petty man unhappy that TC is doing his job and better at it.

Thanks for reading.

Another Tan said...

Hi, I have analyzed the debate about ISA between Tonii and JS during the TOC Forum in my blog.

Hope to receive some feedback. Thanks!