Monday, April 11, 2011

Robust and Open debate

Excerpt from "Talent? Yes. Passion? No." April 7

Management consultant David Thian, 26, noted that the PAP could be 'a casualty of the global war for talent', as today's young Singaporeans have many options and joining politics is of a low priority.

Indeed, he argued, there should be a bigger pool of capable and well-educated people for the PAP to draw from today compared with earlier decades, as the overall educational level of the population has increased. He also suggested that one way to partially attain the benefits of a two-party system would be to allow the policy-making process to be more transparent.

'Right now, we don't really see or hear when PAP folks disagree. The Big Things are all thrashed out behind the scenes. However, if we were allowed to see the data and analysis, and the policy debates, we might have a little more faith in them,' he said.

'Even if we disagreed with their eventual decisions, we would at least respect the robustness of the debate that took place before they made the tough decision. Democracy must not just be in action, it must be seen to be in action. Politics is one area where perception is part of its reality.'

[If only. It also depends on what you mean by Democracy. It also depends on what is being discussed. Assessment of responses and reactions can be sensitive. Assessment of cultural and religious sensitivities may cause more trouble expressed openly than discussed quietly and candidly within a responsible group. If everyone is mature enough to handle such issues in a frank open and rational manner, there would be no need for government.]

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