"Sucks to be you" - The real message

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"Some will succeed, others may not, but all must be prepared for change." This was what the government had to say regarding the liberalisation of Singapore's economy to attract more foreign talents. (Liberalisation of legal profession worries lawyer-MPs) Allow me to rephrase.

"Some will succeed"
Yea, competition's really cut throat out there and that's why only some will succeed. It's just too bad if you aren't one of them. It simply means you aren't good enough. Sucks to be you. As your government, I bear no responsibility whatsoever. You gotta be independent you know.

"Others may not"
Oh comeon, somebody has to lose right? Besides, it's your fault for demanding such high wages and choosing not to eat frozen meat. These others aren't a significant portion anyway. (cos hey, our GDP is still growing and uh the GINI coefficient? That's a bad measurement of income inequality, we aren't actually worse than China you know) But you get the point, human lives only matter when they come in big numbers.

"but all must be prepared for change"
Hello you low-skilled worker, change is the only constant, so well, start lowering your standards of what being full means cos you know, there's gonna be change. Besides, you could always just take a few years off to take a degree at some ulu university that employers won't recognise anyway. In the meantime, don't worry about your kids having to starve, I'm sure Straits Times Pocket Money fund will make sure they have good recess meals that'll last them through the day.

(Note: This comment was made in reference to Singapore's foreign talent policy in general, and not to the issue of liberalising the legal scene)

But honestly, reading the aforementioned article was quite painful. For one, critical questions were sidestepped by Law Minister Mr Shanmugam. To make it worse, Senior Political Correspondent Lydia Lim's writing was so blatantly biased and quite unprofessional too. But to top it all off, I'm left wondering exactly how attracting foreign talent helps us all.

I don't really want to rant on the unprofessional and biased part, but it is as hard to resist as it is blatant.

"Yesterday's debate stood out from many others heard in the House because it is rare for a policy to hit PAP MPs so directly where it hurts - their pockets.

For once, these MPs were not speaking on behalf of poor and underprivileged constituents hard hit by restructuring. They were speaking up for themselves."

Ouch, a dig at our PAP MPs who were finally standing up for Singaporeans. (or were they? maybe they should sue the writer. hah, that'll teach her.) Anyway, I quite disagree that for once, these MPs were not speaking on behalf of poor and underprivileged constituents hard hit by restructuring. I may be wrong, but I certainly do not recall any PAP MPs voicing opposition to other foreign talent related initiaves. Insidious attempt by Lydia Lim to change history indeed.

"Economic restructuring has been part of the local landscape for a decade but the lawyer-politicians on the backbench are only now feeling its shockwaves".

Ouch again, another low-blow dealt. So now these lawyer-politicians are just backbenchers whose comments matter not and their credibility is called into question since they only feel the shockwaves now.

Yesterday's debate showed that those at the top are no less resistant than those at the bottom to change that forces them out of their comfort zone.

You hear that? Get out of your comfort zone people, it's time to WORK HARDER. Take 2, no 3 jobs. Sleep 3 hours a day, eat trash food, save money. It's REALITY boy.

In his response to the lawyer-MPs, Mr Shanmugam stressed that in making policy decisions, one has to 'leave aside emotion' and focus on where the benefits to Singapore, as a whole, lie.
Whenever you oppose the PAP, you are being emotional. Furthermore, you gota understand something son, to be a good MP, you have to leave your heart at the door step, suppress those sentiments of injustice, make sure you only think about how high a GDP growth we'll get next year. The standard of living of poor Singaporeans don't matter, it's just an emotional issue you know.

That pretty much sums up the sarcarstic bit. Now on to the crux of the issue, will liberalising the local law scene do us all good? This was the reply by Mr Shanmugam.

"Did it lie in protecting local firms, or in opening up the market and 'allowing broader competition and broader choice to our young lawyers, and hoping that one day, both in the foreign law firms and in Singapore law firms, you will have a substantial number of Singapore qualified lawyers at management positions, and as a result create a more vibrant economic legal market?'"
SO VERBOSE. What a lousy lawyer, honestly. He needs to learn how to communicate in simpler language. (or is he just trying to hide his flawed logic with confusion?) Let me break it down anyway. What Mr Shanmugam is saying is,
1) Allow more competition, and you give young lawyers more firms to choose from (a good in itself I guess)
2) Do that, and the next step is to hope that one day, in both local and foreign law firms
3) You will have a substantial number of qualified lawyers at management positions (local ones of course)
4) The end result - a more vibrant economic legal market. (honestly, what's an economic legal market?)

And here is also the censored version of my response: Huh?

Okay, what I mean is, he hasn't really addressed the contentions raised. They were,
1) "foreign firms, with their bigger names and deeper pockets, would cream off the best young lawyers and leave local firms bereft of top talent. "
2) We'll become like Hong Kong, "where the dominance of foreign firms had stunted the growth of local firms, and prevented their development into major regional or international players."
3) enlarge the economic pie, but for who? locals or foreigners?

All he did was ask Singaporeans to hope. Yes, hope we shall, but only that we'll get some wiser leaders.