Policy-making is totes like project work (General Elections 2015 Singapore)

(General Elections 2015 Singapore) Let’s try to remember a time when life was simpler, you were a student in school and all you had to worry about was homework and being cool. Imagine you were assigned group work and you had to choose between having just two group-mates – the smartest students in class who are known to solve tough problems – or having 10 group-mates – vocal and charismatic students, not always the sharpest tools in the shed, but always opinionated with loads of ideas – who would you choose?

Photo of a cross-peen hammer. Image found here http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/materials-science-and-engineering/3-a04-modern-blacksmithing-and-physical-metallurgy-fall-2008/forging/
Photo of a cross-peen hammer. Image found here http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/materials-science-and-engineering/3-a04-modern-blacksmithing-and-physical-metallurgy-fall-2008/forging/


Now, some of you might argue that it depends on the nature of the group work. Is it something that requires problem-solving like a complicated math equation? Because if that’s the case, why of course 2 brilliant students is enough. You don’t need too many people voicing their opinion and distracting the brilliant students from actually getting the job done right? But if the group project requires physical activity like building a house then of course you would choose 10 vocal group-mates to get the job done right? Because they are vocal and passionate, their energy makes the task more exciting.

So, would you consider national policy-making a problem-solving project or a physical activity project? And after deciding that, which team would you choose? The quality team with just 2 groupmates, or the quantity team with 10 noisy but so-so group-mates?

At his walkabout at Hougang on Wednesday morning (Sept 2), Workers’ Party Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang said this, “The number counts! Let’s face the facts — I was in parliament for 20 years, and spoke on a lot of issues, but nothing has happened! When I moved out (of Hougang) in 2011, and we had 7 elected MPs, you see the changes, so let’s face the facts; numbers count!”, in all his Cadbury eyebrow glory.

“Numbers count,”

says The Workers’ Party Chief Low Thia Khiang as he reiterates his point that at least 20 opposition MPs are needed to keep the government in check. #GE2015 #sgelections #sgvotes


In the same breath during the first PAP Radin Mas Rally at Tiong Bahru on Wednesday night (Sept 2), Labour chief Chan Chun Sing said in mandarin,

“It is not about the quantity for this election. What we’re after in this General Election is quality. Regardless of whether it’s the ruling party or opposition party, we have to compete on the same standards of quality. Regardless of whether ruling or opposition party, we want to elect leaders of the best quality, of top calibre, to represent the people in Parliament and to serve the people. What we want are people who deliver the promises made. We do not want people who say one thing and yet do another. That’s really easy, anyone can do that.”

(At the 10 minute mark)


Yes, yes I’m going to get hatemail telling me I “can’t compare policy-making to project work you fool, you are a snail with the brain of an amoeba BECAUSE SNAILS ARE SLOW AND AMOEBAS ARE SIMPLE AND THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE YOU STUPID YOU blah blah blah…”. But really, all I’m saying is that if you have two good people helping you solve a problem, do you really need 10 others to stand at the side telling you you’re doing it wrong but without providing any feasible solutions?

In the Batte of the Red Cliffs, Cao Cao’s numerically superior forces lost out to Sun Quan and Liu Bei because of some quick-thinking by Zhou Yu and friends. This despite Cao Cao’s own group of advisors and generals by his side. Of course Cao Cao would go on to say that it was his own errors and misfortune that resulted in his defeat, and that Zhou Yu was just “claiming credit”, because really, what is politics without claiming some credit?


  1. If numbers really count and good for Singapore’s future then why not enshrine this into the constitution? I have suggested that during the election to have a referendum as well to let Singaporeans decide if having opposition is a requirement for the well being of the country. If the referendum shows that Singaporeans are in favor then a certain a minimum number of opposition seats can be allocated. As a matter of fact the NCMP seats can be used for this purpose. And, if opposition do not win any seats, they can fill up what used to be NCMP positions.But, no one has taken up this idea. Anyway, its too late now.Maybe next election…

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