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kotmj

Philosophy

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There was some political discussion over on the What You're Reading Right Now thread. I would like to continue that discussion here.

 

I have had some time to think about the issue of corruption. The general feeling among people is that BN is corrupt like fuck and should be voted out for this reason alone. I am very wary of the wisdom of crowds, so on some matters I ask myself if the prevailing wisdom makes sense, and on what basis it is made. The waves of witchhunts in Europe are a constant reminder that crowds are failable, very. For instance, there is this common practice of buying an apartment the moment you would qualify for a bank loan. I know of people in their first job making a fraction what I make who would commit to buy an apartment. They say it's a guaranteed investment. I have serious misgivings about this.

 

Another prevailing wisdom I could never figure out is this business of "having a career". Even while at uni, while co-opting and interning, I could see that most people's day jobs are incredibly unsatisfying to them. I would look at them, and instead of seeing what I'm supposed to see -- highly capable, well-trained, decent project managers or engineers, or whatever, I saw people whose realities I want to avoid. They're like animals in a zoo. Trapped.

 

Back to corruption, before I wander too far off. What I know about corruption is this: nobody knows its extent. Is it 100 million per year? Is it 10% of the economy? I don't know. I bet you don't either. If you were to ask people for instances where they encountered it in the first person, some really vague stuff comes out, or they will give you instances of some civil servant doing some stuff.

 

Things which are not quantifiable have in them the potential to be assigned all kinds of values. Because corruption is not quantifiable, people can say all sorts of things about its severity without someone else being able to claim otherwise.

 

You don't know how bad, or how good, corruption is. I don't. You don't.

 

I do think there is corruption, the way there is crime. Where does it take place? I think some corruption takes place at the civil servant level. The bulk of civil servants remain even with a change of government. If you replace the government, you do not replace all civil servants. And even if you replaced all civil servants, the replacements are only human. I just do not think corruption is eradicated this way.

 

People would cite major cost overruns in civil construction projects as examples of corruption. If you tell me this, I find it difficult to take seriously everything else you tell me. Because even in the private sector, projects are always late and always cost more than anticipated. Eg. The Airbus A380. Or TollCollect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toll_Collect). There are major cost overruns in civil projects in first world countries, too. All the time. Actually, most of the time.

 

This is what I know about corruption. I doubt most people know more. What I know is not enough to conclude that the government needs replacing because it is too corrupt.

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The Scorpene case is a typical example of how things are run. Minister decides to buy billions worth of military hardware. The Ministry does not pay direct to vendor but goes thru a middleman who takes a cut from the deal. The middleman in question was a close associate of the Prime Minister, lets put aside the murder case for now.

 

Why can't the purchase be direct from the vendor, thus saving the taxpayers millions of dollars, instead of enriching a middleman who have absolutely no use at all, its not like the middleman provides aftermarket servicing, training or any value added service.

 

Corruption is robbing the poor and giving the rich. Changing the robbers does not make the poor richer but at least they have the pleasure of showing their displeasure. My 2 sens worth.

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Just spent the last hour reading about the Scorpene case and the murder. Most intriguing!

 

Middlemen/Brokers are a common feature in any transaction. When I rented my apartment, I never did see the landlady. It was the agent I dealt with, who makes a commission.

 

My father once brokered the change of ownership of a business. He was paid very nicely for little more than handholding the various parties.

 

Everywhere you look you see brokers in action. Lawyers are particularly fond of such jobs.

 

Baginda was probably hired by Thales to facilitate the transaction. It's no mean feat selling anything to the Malaysian State. They pay several years after services have been rendered. They are intransparent, unless you know the key players.

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http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5261&Itemid=178

 

People related to the case are dead of mysterious circumstances. Translator, Private Investigator, 2 of Najibs elite bodyguards, Lawyer of DCNS the French vendor.

 

Similar cases related to DCNS in Taiwan and Pakistan also resulted in multiple mysterious deaths. The French are bad news...

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This is a live recording of the public inquiry into the death of a political aide who was in the custody of the anti corruption agency.

 

I wonder why nobody was charged with contempt of court since it was so hard to control oneself from bursting into laughter, including the judge.

 

 

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Guest Antonio Panico

This is a live recording of the public inquiry into the death of a political aide who was in the custody of the anti corruption agency.

 

I wonder why nobody was charged with contempt of court since it was so hard to control oneself from bursting into laughter, including the judge.

 

 

This is hilarious in a sad way.

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That lawyer doesn't really speak English, does he?

 

Petia, you appear fascinated with Malaysian news! I go out of my way to avoid being exposed to it. It's all just noise.

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Due to election fever my facebook news feed is flooded with posts from Malaysian friends or ex-Malaysian but now Singaporean friends.

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There is a species of Malaysian Chinese here in KL which crawled out from some God-forsaken deep province and who go to school at some Tunku Abdul Rahman place or another and who have infested a certain McD I am presently in. They are so goddamned irritating. They are loud, unbelievably loud, with their high pitched Mandarin going on non-stop. They don't talk to each other, they shout at each other. In all my time in Kota Kemuning you do not see people like these. It's just in this McD. It's stupid chatter too, totally pointless chatter with no intellectual content.

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It's like with the Africans. When a bunch of them get together, they sound like they are starting a riot.

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Lol.

Not exactly a court proceeding in Singapore, but here's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's grandson in a World Debating competition.

"They make it a wasteland and they called it peace ..."

 

 

 

This is hilarious in a sad way.

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He seems too clean to be involved in politics , but only time will tell if his debating stance is but a veil of words. If he enters politics, tongues WILL definitely wag, if they aren't already wagging.

 

He was my senior in school and was already brilliant. I'm told by my cousin that his debating style is widely emulated and used as a model for juniors till this day.

 

Here's an article on him:

 

"IT HAS been a good year for 24-year-old Li Shengwu. The Singaporean graduated five months ago as the top economics student at Oxford University.

 

And as the decade turned the corner, he was crowned Best Speaker at the just-concluded World Universities Debating Championships in Turkey.

 

Mr Li, a master’s student in economics at Oxford, took the top individual honour at the event – known colloquially as the ‘Worlds’ and regarded as the most prestigious debating tournament in the world.

 

He is the third Singaporean to receive the award, cementing Singapore’s status as a debate powerhouse. Since 1981, when the competition began, all Asian winners have been Singaporean.

 

The Best Speaker prize goes to the tournament’s most consistently exceptional debater and adjudicators were on Tuesday full of praise for Mr Li.

 

‘Without doubt, Shengwu is the finest Oxford debater of his generation,’ said one judge, Mr Daniel Warents. ‘This is a fact now recognised by the whole world.’

 

http://blog.omy.sg/alvinology/2010/01/07/singaporean-li-shengwu-%E6%9D%8E%E7%BB%B3%E6%AD%A6-grandson-of-mm-lee-is-top-debater/

Now we know the reign will only be for two generations.

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Do you think Shengwu would win a debate in a kopitiam? Or would he have a bottle of Tiger broken over the back of his skull instead? (a sort of point of order you might say)

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Hypothetically speaking, I personally, don't think whether he gets his head smashed in by a Tiger is contingent on location, but on whom he's debating with.

 

If he's debating with rational, sane people, be it at a Kopitiam at Wisma Atria, or a coffee house in France, I think it'd make for an enlivening discussion. A few frazzled nerves maybe, but his head intact, and a little bigger at the end of it all. That happens to be my stance, but feel free to disagree.

 

Now, if he were debating with cretins more interested in a brawl than in a discussion (or cretins looking for 'Yes-men'), he will get his head smashed in (be it at a Kopitiam at Wisma Atria or a coffee house in France) and then those guys will be charged for causing grievous bodily harm, or he can sue for battery.

 

In fact, coffee houses saw the birth (and subsequent refinement) of many a philosophical idea, and were where paintings were critiqued, with Sartre well known for engaging in his discussions on existentialism in Cafe De Flore, Paris.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caf%C3%A9_Philosophique

 

 

joonian, on 28 Jun 2013 - 6:41 PM, said:

Do you think Shengwu would win a debate in a kopitiam? Or would he have a bottle of Tiger broken over the back of his skull instead? (a sort of point of order you might say)

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In that case he'll probably have better luck in the Singapore Parliament compared to, say, the Taiwanese house of representatives. 

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Yes, probably. Or the US House of Representatives/Senate, English Parliament, HK Parliament, and the majority of parliaments where members conduct themselves with a little more dignity and civility, and where the battle of ideas doesn't degenerate into a battle of fists.

 

Though I must say we were on the discussion of debates/discussions in kopitiams and coffee houses. So, what do you think? You think debates/discussions at coffee houses are inopportune and will result in broken bottles and a hospitalized man?

 

In that case he'll probably have better luck in the Singapore Parliament compared to, say, the Taiwanese house of representatives.

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whether or not he is hospitalised depends on the toughness of his skull, surely. and to be the world's best debater, i reckon you have to be somewhat hard-headed. but yes, bottles have been known to be broken in kopitiams. 

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