Google
 
Web www.scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com

The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Listen to the sound of the flames.

Actions speak louder than words. On Sunday, a man's actions, Ong Kah Chua, spoke very loudly indeed: he set fire to a Member of Parliament, Seng Han Thong.

70 year old Ong Kah Chua poured thinner over the back of the MP at a session at which the MP was handing out Hongbao (small packets of money) to the people. He then used a kitchen lighter to set fire to him. Seng Han Thong suffered burns to his right face, back and scalp. The burns amounted to up to 15% of his body.

Now, I realize that my international readers will be shocked to hear of such a thing in Singapore. Surely Singapore is the "safest place in the world", where crime exists only in pulp fiction and on TV? Surely, such a thing is an American phenomenon? Well, no. You see I think that the setting of an Member of Parliament on fire is much more likely to occur in Singapore, than in the USA. In the USA, there is freedom of speech and a strong democracy, the people have a voice and the voice is heard. In Singapore, there is a strange "democracy" in which only one party is allowed to exist (well, I always found it strange, myself). When I say "exist", I mean, live in peace. The non-People's Action Party (PAP) politicians spend their lives hounded by the powers-that-be. They don't truly have the necessary freedom to conduct political activities that is usual in democracies.

The people of Singapore, too, are used to the idea that what they want and believe and think is not heard by those at the top. They are used to the idea that power comes down from above and feel that they do not have the power to influence events. In such a climate, people can feel suffocated, they can feel that their voice will never be heard. Well, when someone thinks they are being ignored, they will tend to be driven to do something extreme to win attention. I think that is what has happened here: Ong Kah Chua must have felt that he was not being heard, that he had no power and no voice -so he did something that all the nation would hear: he set fire to an MP.

The MP in question Seng Han Thong, has got a talent for attracting trouble. In 2006, he was punched by a taxi driver who had a grievance. This indicates to me that this "random" attack is not so random. Seng Han Thong is good at causing people to be upset. It would seem, from this analysis that he might be especially good at not giving the people what they want (he was responsible for proposing taxi surcharges, for instance). Other MPs seem to manage to go about their work in peace, but Seng Han Thong has a gift for being attacked. There is always a reason for such a gift.

It is clear, from reading Singaporean blogs, that Ong Kah Chua has much sympathy for his attack. There is the sense, the rather surprising sense, given Singapore's law abiding reputation that Ong Kah Chua was doing what many Singaporeans fantasize about doing: setting a member of the PAP on fire. I found this a quietly shocking revelation. It made me realize that, perhaps, just perhaps, the Singaporean people have become a little tired of a style of government that external observers would not accuse of being overly accessible. Singapore's government is one that makes decisions irrespective of the will of the people then passes them down, as fait accompli. A lot of people are unhappy with this and have been unhappy for many years, even decades. Ong Kah Chua's little bonfire recalls, for me, Guy Fawkes - the annual burning of an effigy of a man who tried to blow up British Parliament hundreds of years ago.

Ong Kah Chua is Singapore's Guy Fawkes. The difference is that Ong Kah Chua was more successful than Guy Fawkes: Fawkes was caught before his plan could be enacted. Ong Kah Chua was only caught after Seng Han Thong was busily burning away.

Perhaps the government of Singapore would do well to listen to Ong Kah Chua's message. His message is not the action of one man, but the deed of a frustrated nation. For every one Ong Kah Chua who has the courage, or insanity, to act on such a wish, as to burn an MP, there may be a thousand, or a hundred thousand who would do so, if they could get away with it. Ong Kah Chua is not an isolated madman, I think, but a symptom of a system that has been too disregarding of the will of its people. Singaporeans want a more open style of government, a more sympathetic style of government, one that listens more, and cares more. They want a government they feel is there to do a public service and not one that seems, at times, to do a service to itself (one need only look at the multi-million dollar salaries of ministers to see where they got that impression).

Seng Han Thong is fortunate that Singapore is not an armed society, as America is. Were Singapore to have guns available it is fairly certain that Seng Han Thong would have been shot, not burnt.

I think it likely that the government will learn something from this, but perhaps not the right thing. They will learn to pay more attention to the security of their MPs...but they will probably not do anything to reduce the palpable anger and resentment that many Singaporeans evidently feel at the way their nation is ruled. (One need only look to the internet to find abundant evidence of such dissatisfaction).

So, yes, Singapore is a safe country - but perhaps not, anymore, if you are a member of government. There is a price to pay for a closed style of government - and Seng Han Thong is, today, paying that price.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: http://www.genghiscan.com/ Thanks.

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication prohibited. Use Only with Permission. Thank you.)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 6:07 PM 

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Cawley,

In my opinion, the metaphorical significance of this incident has been overblown. Firstly, is the Singapore government so unpopular that the people are contemplating (if you will) regicide? Secondly, there are reports that Mr. Ong, the perpertrator, may have been of unsound mind.

Also, I wonder if you give too much credit to the anti-establishment brigade in the Singapore blogosphere (actually, these two bodies may be synonymous). More often than not, I find that these blogs border on the sensationalist and are somewhat unsophisticated in their analysis of political issues. I can think of two which I find to be well-written and thought-provoking (incidentally, these two blogs have not made any mention of the incident).

In any case, I think it is very bad taste and a mark of the blogging community's political immaturity to lionise an act of violence.

Regards.

5:31 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

The very fact that the blogging community, in some quarters HAS lionized this event, indicates that there is considerable emotional investment in the idea of a change of the way things are done. A lot of people, in Singapore, don't seem happy with the way things are.

Now, I note that you dismiss the blogosphere as unsophisticated (and therefore unworthy of consideration) - however this is precisely the mode of thought that leads to anger and resentment in the people: the idea that they are not qualified to have a say. This is the kind of thinking that provokes Mr. Chua's kind of reaction.

Whether or not someone is sophisticated, I would suggest that they are worthy of consideration. If not, you don't really have a democratic process at work...

It is interesting that you chose the word "regicide" for consciously or otherwise, you are making comparison of the Singaporean system to a monarchy. In some ways, you would be right...it is somewhat monarchical, the way power is retained for generations without change. The style of rule is also rather like that of a monarchy, rather than a typical western style democracy.

Whether or not Mr. Ong Kah Chua was of unsound mind, it is notable that this is the second violent act on Mr Seng in two years. The only thing in common between them is Mr. Seng himself. That would seem to indicate that there is something about the way he conducts himself that leads to animosity. It could just be, of course, that he represents the PAP and people are taking out their frustrations on him.

Finally, I agree that violence should not be praised or lionized...in cultures in which it is, the results can be terrible.

Thanks for your comment.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allow me, my comments.

Having lived not just in Singapore currently, but in other countries before, as per regard to this tragedy, where I find the insanity is that this appeared so badly like a real targeted form of assassination means of attempt towards an unarmed leader. Never mind the assailant was of unsound state, still, it is an act of assassination, which I would say, to highest degree. But insanely this fact appeared to be outright unsaid, perhaps even dismissed, as though it never had happened.

A point I like to share is that if this was to take place somewhere else, that assailant would had clearly been given several rounds through his skull, before and after he flicked his weapon.

The other side to the insanity was that not just was this act of assassination dismissed, but it is highlighted heavily as though some unsound elderly had missed on his dosages, (hence he got burnt by him).

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lol... Mr Cawley, if u constantly criticize singapore, why stay here? It's as if there's nothing good about this place. Everything and everyone is flawed in your eyes- From the people's behavior to the govt. Is it really that terrible here?

If there were a perfect country, perhaps it is time for you to move on to that country, where you can perhaps live more happily.

I'm pretty grateful for my life here, though imperfect it is. I have a loving family, an education (now in university), and friends. We may have our own complains about singapore, but we (the local), do not feel that it is all that bad.

It is here that i feel a sense of belonging.

-Always look on the bright side of life-

Regards

12:14 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I don't always criticize Singapore...I look at all aspects. If you look at my recent post on paparazzi I actually PRAISE something Singapore has done.

As for other countries: we will see. If Singapore allows to do what we need to do, there is no need to move...only if it does not allow us to do what we need to do. Then we would move.

I have found my time in Singapore interesting: it is unlike anywhere else I have lived, sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way.

Thanks for your comment.

1:21 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Furthermore, you misunderstand the nature and intent of my writing. I am not criticizing, in this post (and in many others) I am just stating how things are. There is a big difference.

Best wishes,

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With regards to your latest comment that "I am not criticizing, in this post (and in many others) I am just stating how things are"

Are you sure? "just stating"? Normative or positive statements?

In this post alone- You use the words - "feel", "felt", "think that is what has happened here". Surely that is your opinion, not facts.

Facts are based on statistics, not your opinions and limited knowledge of how everyone thinks and feels. Just because you read of people who are against the govt does not mean you can extrapolate it to the entire population. It is evidence no doubt, but not conclusive enough. You will require hard numbers, or else, your opinion will simply be an opinion presented as "facts"

Cheers

1:49 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Boy, oh, boy…you don’t know much about statistics do you? There are many blog writers in Singapore. They are, in fact, for all practical purposes (ie. The real ability to count them) innumerable. What I have noticed, from reading blogs, at random, over the past few years, is that almost ALL without exception, are anti-establishment. It is very hard to find blog posters writing in support of the government who are NOT in fact part of the government (PAP MPs etc writing on behalf of the government). No. “Hard numbers” are not needed, to come to an assessment of the situation. The experience of a few years of blog reading says one thing very clearly: the overwhelming majority of the blogosphere is critical of the government – and in respect of the burning of Mr. Seng, the same observation applies.

Now, if you are at all familiar with statistics you would know that a sample of a few hundred (ie. The number of different blogs I have read in the past few years is at least this), you would know that this is a statistically meaningful sample. One CAN extrapolate from this to the ENTIRE population of bloggers based in Singapore. Doing so WOULD be accurate within the limitations of statistics.

Many of the bloggers have criticized the government for “arrogance” of various kinds… so, too, you appear to be showing arrogance of some kind in the way you structure your thoughts on paper. We can be fairly sure that at least one person loves you…you do.

Isn’t it wonderful to criticize someone else’s thinking in complete anonymity? You should note that I am not anonymous: I stand by my words for they are well-founded. Personally, I have never come to the conclusion that those who choose anonymity to attack another are at all brave.

As for not being able to extrapolate the huge predominance of bloggers who write in support of Ong Kah Chua to the entire population – err…why not? If we are not to extrapolate to the entire population, which is a basic statistical practice, you would have to prove to me that statistics DON’T apply to this situation. Why does statistics fail in Singapore?

Have you ever done any population statistics? I have…and I can tell you that they do apply to the blogger situation and would be solid, if used. This is pretty easy to tell given the predominance of anti-establishment opinions in the blogosphere.

Now, if they don’t apply you would have to have a situation in which pro-establishment people were UNABLE or NOT interested in blogging – and that they ALL or almost all, decided not to blog. Now, why would that be? Why would ALL those in favour of the government (apart from you…which may indicate that you are something to do with the local government in some way), choose to be silent?

Now, I have no OPINION on whether or not people should be anti-establishment. I am neither for nor against: I stand outside the issue looking on but COMMENTING FAIRLY given the evidence I see before me.

You, however, seem determined to attack whatever I write – with no evidence of your own for what you say. Yours is JUST AN OPINION MASQUERADING AS FACTS…as always.

Use of the words “feel” etc shows only one thing and nothing more: I have feelings. Do you?

7:32 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I raise two kinds of matter: one is my view and my view alone and these I signal with "I think that..." etc. The other kind has no such signal and is my best attempt to summarize the view of the blogosphere.

I think that should be clear.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Valentine

You are absolutely wrong.
1. Mr Ong is not courageous. He was merely desperate.

2. Mr Ong did not feel that he had no voice. Everyone non-elite Singaporean knows and accepts the fact.

3. Burning a PAP MP is not a Singaporean fantasy. Most Singaporeans have no idea who they are.

4. Shooting? Duh. We chinese have more imagination. eh nevermind.

5. Not all singaporeans are against PAP. There are those like anon at 12.14 (who is still in school) and the anons who never had the chance to go to school. the stupid and the naive already forms the majority. Throw in the cowards (like moi) and PAP gets a easy walkover.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Anonymous of 3.28pm: you have contradicted yourself. Your second point denies itself. By this I mean that if every Singaporean knows he has no voice, then OF COURSE, Ong had no voice: the difference is he decided to speak up, in his own way. Not every Singaporean accepts voicelessness as easy as you think.

"Burning" is just one method of harm. It is a metaphor for striking back. From the tone of many blogs on the internet that it is clear that many Singaporeans would like to be able to strike back, in their own way, if they had the chance. Each might find their own way.

Mr Ong was certainly more imaginative than to use a gun - but that may have been because he didn't have a gun. If he wanted to strike at an MP/the PAP, a gun is far more effective than lighter fluid. If he had had the choice, between the two methods, I wouldn't be surprised to have learnt that this was a shooting.

It is true that the naive and stupid will form the majority or near majority of Singapore's people - but that is because of the way IQ is distributed: HALF of people will be below average in intelligence. Thus, in Singapore's case 50% of people have IQs BELOW 104. This is not very bright. So, of course, such people are easier to control. This is not just Singapore's problem...all nations have a large number of people who are not very bright.

I am an outsider to the Singaporean system. I do not vote. I am just an observer. I have no say on the matter of Singapore's government or system (nor do I really want one: it is not for me to decide such matters for another poeple). I will say this, though: Singapore is highly unusual in having such continuity of government these last four decades. That is unique in all the world. Normally, what happens in democracies is that people choose a party and stick with them, until they do something wrong, then they choose someone else. So, one can conclude one of two things: EITHER the PAP have never done anything significantly wrong in four decades OR the people of Singapore don't really have a choice.

Which is it? Comments please.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Wang said...

Noted on your comments.

My opinion would be any conservative leaning person would not bother to inform anything much since there are plenty of avenues available to lobby via avenues given.

Hence, the predominance of comments which would be left of centre in the blogo. This applies vice versa for left of centre thoughts in many places which predominates.


Up to now and except for some instituitional hubris, the govt of the day has been relatively competent economically and very realpolitik as against the prevalent situation in this geographical locality. If you were to compare to others further maybe, but as known, the immediate situation next door definitely catches the eye as compared to something furthet away.

Regards

7:12 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes. There is a lot of comparison made to relatively hopeless nearby nations. I think this does Singapore no good at all. It should be comparing to the best of the best, not to the worst of the worst, or to indifferent nations, at best. For instance, comparing one's intelligence to the dumbest person in the school, does not make one intelligent. It just makes the other person stupid. The same reasoning applies to comparisons made locally.

Singapore has a very practical way of doing things. However it does disregard many issues that would be regarded as fundamental in many other developed societies, in so doing it becomes quite a hard, uncaring place, in many ways. At least, it seems so to one who has lived in countries with different systems.

Best wishes.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Wang said...

My comment would be that the govt of the day does compare to the best worldwide but only in certain areas which unfortunately is based on real economic returns rather than pure research except in education/defence/medical/public infrastructure/foreign policy/public policy and certain areas of interest.

For welfare, they do tend to follow Aesop's fables of the hare & tortoise or ant & grasshopper. hence, your comparison to the so called "best welfare " would fall short.

Hence, why economists and basically the economic intellegentsia prefer here or wealth generators.

It does create certain issues but which tend to be resolvable by wealth distribution but which creates certain tendencies and conumdrums to the economic philosophy espoused by the present intellegentsia.

As to your comment that it is fundamental to the developed world , shall I say that you would be shaped by your perspective which I used to espouse but unfortunately was hit by the reality.

I prefer that a solid economic bloc would be made although for this, they are still rectifying past erratums. Hence, whatever carps may be made, it is from the viewpoints in the main between economic haves and the economic have a lots.


Regards

6:20 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you, Wang, for your comment.

Your understanding supports my own view that Singapore is an incomplete society: it has focused attention and tried to develop skill in some areas, but ignored other areas completely. This leaves a society with gaping holes, in some way. These holes may not discomfit the "have a lots" but they sure can discomfit those less fortunate.

I wonder if Singapore will ever be a rounded society?

7:00 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Mr. Wang, Political realities are not like physical realities: they can be changed and in all parts of the observable world (apart from Singapore so far...) they do change. Even in places where change was thought impossible, such as the Soviet Union (what Soviet Union?) and Communist China, changes have occurred to a greater or lesser degree. Yes, the reality of Singapore is against some fundamental benefits of modern Western democracies - but it may not always be so, especially if the people come to understand, en masse, what it is that they don't have. It will be interesting to watch what happens on this small island over the next few decades.

Best wishes

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Wang said...

Mr Cawley

Thanks for the comments.
Would opine the reverse to your comments on Singapore, it confirms my humble suspicion that "Developed" has forgotten its basics and have incompleteness on too many high sounding PC comments or philosophies or sophistries.
Shall I opine that the pendulum has swung too far from Max Webers description.
This from observations on the "inequities" inflicted on the nones of which are not in current flavour in UK/Australia/USA/Ireland/NZ.

Regards

8:57 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Mr Wang,

I am curious as to what "inequities" you refer to. The nations you mention are welfare states - meaning that even the poorest are not so poor as they would be in other countries - for they have state support. It is possible to live fairly well in these countries without ever working. Just try that in Singapore and see how long you live if not born into a wealthy family.

Perhaps you should live in a few of the countries mentioned (as I have) before drawing too many comparisons. Singapore is good at some things, yes...but it is entirely missing other things which are generally prevalent in developed nations. This is largely the fault of a lopsided system with a myopic view of what is best for its people.

Nevertheless, I find Singapore very interesting to watch: it is unlike, in many ways, what I had come to accept as normal for a society.

Thanks for your comment.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Wang said...

Mr Cawley,

Thanks for the comments but had my fill of living and working and studying in those aforestated countries personally and witnessing the personal attributes of those elites as you term them which never quite matches the rheotoric.

Lets say you fall in the easy assumption that I have never stayed or worked or even socialised as such.

Have a good evening

Regards

9:35 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Mr. Wang, I have not made an "easy assumption" that you have no exposure to these countries. All I am doing is observing that you have NO UNDERSTANDING of them. Therefore, it was safe to assume that you had no real acquaintance with them.

If you have indeed worked in any of these countries, you cannot have experienced all sides of these countries because your remarks reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of these societies. Western democracies are a lot more supportive of the have nots than Singapore is. In Western democracies (except one major exception) there is free education and healthcare for all as a basic right. If you have no job, in almost all these countries, the government will give you a free HOUSE. I don't see the Singaporean government handing out free houses with every case of unemployment. The Western democracies are socially far more supportive than Singapore's rather uncaring system.

Singapore is efficient at certain things...but it sorely lacks in other areas.

You say that Singapore's education is the best. It is not. It is the most rigid, inflexible, uncreative system I have ever experienced - and I speak as one who has taught in local and foreign schools. Some of the educational practices in Singapore left me stunned with their inherent stupidity (they can only damage the children). You have said that Singapore's healthcare is of the best. How do you define best? Is it something to do with expensive? You see in Western democracies healthcare (except, again for one major exception) is free. They even give free organ transplants. Compare that to the several hundred thousand dollars such a transplant would cost in Singapore.

I did not speak of the Western elites. I spoke of how Western countries ensure there is no real poverty in their countries. Singapore does not ensure that. You have called Singapore a place of "haves and have a lots". This is absurd. Singapore has one of the greatest disparities between the rich and the poor on Earth. In Singapore it is possible to be very, very rich and very, very poor. There is no meaningful support system to stop people falling to the bottom. It is a country of people who have almost nothing...and have too much...with a middle class in between of people who have barely enough.

Your words give Singaporean readers an inaccurate impression of what Western democracies are like - and overseas readers an inaccurate view of what Singapore is like.

Singapore is better organized than its immediate neigbours. It has a better infrastructure than its immediate neighbours. It has efficient healthcare available at a price...but it does not compare to Western democracies in social security, or in what life is like if you have little money/no job.

It also, of course, does not have all the freedoms that are common to all Western democracies.

Finally, I am sorry that you didn't enjoy your experience in the West. Perhaps you should have had a broader social circle. There are all types of people there...and you surely would have met people you would have been comfortable among, had you striven to do so.

Thanks for your comments.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Wang said...

Mr Cawley

Noted your comments.

"Umbrage" seems to be taken on my comments given. I did enjoy my time on my part my social, volunteering, medical and work and other activities in those aforesaid countries.

Also meeting a wide circle of people from those working in the factory/supermarket floor to the most wealthy.

However, as stated, when the rubber hits the road, the programmes aims and the rheotoric espoused definitely did not match the aims, especially when you have 3rd generation welfare "families" and the continued increase in such despite more and more funds.

Singapore does provide destitute housing/shelter and food and you can even inform as such to the authorities.

Leaving aside welfare, Singapore espouses education for all and provides opportunities for that.
However, for encouragement of personal fulfilment, you would have a point. Hence, the more collectivist as against a more individualistic agenda.

I did not state that Singapore was better or could not be improved.
I just opine that it depends on a persons perspective.

Thanks for your comments again. Will stop here for any further comments and appreciate your sincere comments.

Will continue to enjoy your wonder on the childs future and your wonderment on the idiosyncracies of culture,values, countries, peoples.

Au revoir.

Wishing you and your family salaam on the coming Lunar New Year.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Dear Mr. Wang,

No "umbrage" has been taken. I am sorry if that is the impression given. I was just acutely aware that you had missed fundamentals in the societies you had surveyed.

Yes. You are right. There are some long term welfare families. However, that is the price paid to afford everyone "social security" - which means, in this case, protection from the social ills caused by loss of a job etc. I can assure you that this price is worth paying for the difference it makes to people's sense of safety in a society. It also helps with job flexibility. In some European countries, people change jobs quite frequently and are not scared to lose their jobs, because the State will ensure their continued income between jobs. This can help employers and employees alike. It also means a lot less social suffering.

The idea of the welfare programmes is to protect the population from poverty, when job loss strikes - and it does that. It is true that some families take advantage of the programmes to live without working,all their lives. However, look at it this way: that it is possible to do so, in Western societies indicates an institutionalized supportiveness and care for the welfare of its people which does not exist in Singapore, at this time, and is unlikely ever to exist.

The support programmes you speak of in Singapore are shockingly low in level of support. They do not bear comparison at all. I find it impossible to believe that anyone can live on the level of support the provide. They are the lowest I have ever seen, in any country of the world in both real terms and in comparison to the cost of living. They are NOT a welfare programme, they are a face saving exercise for the PAP government so that they can say they are doing something.

In Western democracies, if you lose your job, you will not lose your house. The State will pay "housing benefit" to pay your mortgage. They pay off your mortgage, over time...but YOU own the house.

I admit, these programmes are expensive. However, they do make for softer, kinder societies, than the kind Singapore exemplifies.

European countries are all quite keen on education too. In all of them, that I am aware of, education is free (even at University level, with the occasional compromise at work). You will note, for instance, that Finland topped the world's PISA education standards survey, if I recall correctly.

Thank you for your well wishes. Please understand that I was not offended by your words - I just wanted to ensure that the truth was clearly delineated. The pity of the internet is that tone of voice is missing from what one writes.

Happy Chinese New Year, to you, too.

5:17 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape