Daily SG: 8 Apr 2008

Prison Break, My Fault
– BP: Who Is Really Responsible For Our Complacency?
– The Itch To Write: MM Lee has given us the green light
– The Sun Shines on Singapore: Responsibility and Blame, Shame Shame
– vinyarb: Sorry, I screwed up.

Pedra Branca
– Random Thoughts Of A Free Thinker: The Pedra Branca Factor in Singapore-Malaysia Bilateral Relations

– The Universe Within: Good healthcare but the underinsured: reasons, proposed solutions, doubts and a suggestion

ERPains, Trains & Automobiles
– Simply Jean: As Singapore (*cough*LTA*cough*) embraces ERP, New York trashes it
– A Mind of My OWn: So, Commuters Should Shut Up and Accept?

Budget 2008
– Siew Kum Hong: Budget 2008: MICA, 29 February 2008

Singaporeans are fed, up with progress!
– Diary of A Singaporean Mind: Elderly Cleaners in Singapore
– Desperatebeep: Still the Fault of the Guards

Aesthetic Medicine and Snake Oil
– Angry Doctor: Confidence Goods 13

PM V1.3. Search for the next Prime Minstar
– Mr Wang Says So: The Search For Political Leaders

Freedom, Choice and a place for my Voice
– nussu the ridge online: The Ridge: Not a mouthpiece for SDP

Free Enterprise vs Government
– Endoh Pure Ranting Room: Streetdirectory.com will stay alive

Daily Discourse
– Yawning Bread: Why the Films Act should be trashed
– Singapore Patriot: Sunday Times to include ‘blogosphere’
– THE armchair critic: Woman request to ban smoking along corridors??!!
– the boy who knew too much: On the value of Beauty

Life, the universe and everything
– Celluloid Reality(s): 10 Misconceptions in Photography

This entry was posted in Daily Sg. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Daily SG: 8 Apr 2008

  1. NEW ARTICLE/BP 8-4-08 says:


    [This is a continuation from our interview series with J.Kompf. On this occasion Kompf directs pointed questions to Darkness about talent management and the selection of future leaders]

    Kompf Q: The PM has voiced his reservations concerning the low return rate of top scholars – he has even described this as a brain drain – what’s your take?

    Darkness A: I really believe we need to take a long term view on this subject – firstly, there is no evidence to suggest the trend of intellectual migration is any where near final. On the contrary its reversible. If one looks at economies like Taiwan, Hong Kong and even India, there is a wealth of incontrovertible evidence suggesting graduates do frequently return home after working abroad providing the right social and economic conditions exert a strong enough gravity to attract them back. My feel is there should be a proactive effort by policy makers to attract these intellectuals back instead of just lamenting they’re gone for good – that’s a defeatist attitude.

    Q: You actually believe your government should proactively woo these intellectuals back – what about trans migration wouldn’t that be effective to augment the deficits?

    A: Yes, there is a very simple reason why I believe this should be treated as a matter of strategic priority – professionals who have worked abroad in my view are significantly better equipped to contribute to the local economy than lets say professionals who have never ever been challenged to having worked abroad; for one the former have the benefit of international experience – that goes a very long way when you consider globalization is very much a fact of life these days.

    Of course you can say Singapore is already a global city, but I feel there is much more to the whole working abroad package, adaptability, breadth of exposure and learning how to be effective in a diverse environment are just a few traits one picks up from having worked abroad – this bears out only too clearly when one looks very carefully at the chronological factors which sparked the industrialization of Taiwan during the 80’s it wasn’t powered by the local Taiwanese as much as their compatriots who had mastered core competencies in Silicon valley only to transplant it back home – the same pattern of explosive growth bears out in India, where the Indian diaspora was cleverly reversed and this created a cadre of savvy intellectuals who once again returned home and spurred the programming and code boom in Mumbai and Bangalore – what we see very clearly here is there is an effective strategy to reverse the brain drain, it can have a very positive effect on the local economy as it regularly inures businesses with a higher level of innovation and creativity – this observation I feel should be treated as an opportunity and I for one consider it a travesty of logic that no government agency to date has even seriously addressed this matter head on with concrete steps – instead they seem to be resigned to this reality of playing zoo keepers instead of bee keepers. My feel is this generates absolutely nothing for the intellectual capital value chain – and instead sabotages the imperative of competitive advantage.

    Q: Darkness you really believe working abroad makes such a difference?

    A: Yes, yes and yes! I really don’t think there is any comparison between a fresh graduate who returns home after his study tour, doesn’t matter how revered his alta Mater is. You’re not going to fool anyone. It’s really like comparing a local league kampong hero with a footballer who has been rotated in the English, Spanish and French league, there’s simply no fight – 10 out of 10 if you put him up to the quick draw with the Kampung hero, he will bag him.

    Q: What are you saying then, you people should actively encourage our scholars to go abroad and work?

    A: Yes, at every opportunity if possible, or even provision for them to be strategically relocated to these god forsaken places – my feel is our country lacks the economies of scale in both the service and manufacturing industry to create the requisite diversity or even intellectual landscape needed to train all terrain intellectuals to be highly adept, its simply not possible given Singapore’s social constrains – however, I feel govt’s may be at least 5 to 10 years behind the curve here, many who are funded privately or who may have worked to put themselves through college have already made that connection between the incontrovertible evidence that value can actually be generated exponentially from having worked abroad – most graduates after their master’s would have figured out if they really want to build up critical core competencies in their vocation, it simply doesn’t make one ounce of common sense to swim with Kampung heroes – why should they if they really had the choice? There is no Da Vinci code here – the really smart ones would have figured out, they cannot rely simply on their academic record only because when one starts working who really gives two shits about where you graduate from or how many gold medals you won? That’s all in the back burner, it’s not going to cut any ice when you have to explain to your boss how you managed to reduce a profitable business into a charitable organization. It’s no good; 99% of employers will judge your worth by the quality, delivery reliability and judgment of your output; how do you regularly manage yourself and others; can you work through problems and win the day with X, Y or Z resources; those sort of nut and bolt metrics in my view are worth immeasurably more because they have the capacity to produce tangible results – the rest is just talk and no action.

    My feel is local institutions disregard this new competitive calculus at their own peril and its not unusual because most of them do so for vest interest; job security features very prominently along with dead wood mentality, not knowing how to handle a maverick and labeling him a misfit is another, but if one peruse very carefully how firms and institutions in the West they have really identified these drivers of change. You will see that not only have they provisioned opportunities for these unconventional movers and shakers, but they have also raced ahead industries provisioning even havens for these mavericks to define their own metrics of individual and organizational success and this is very much reflected not only in the products and services they regularly produce, but also in their corporate culture. For instance, it not all together unusual to seek out CEO’s, Presidents and even Prime Ministers in the West who don’t even have the basic prerequisites to qualify if they were based Singapore! However despite their apparent limitations, the selection process has still managed to successfully separate the chaff from the wheat to regularly produce world class leaders who continually deliver not only a higher standard of living for their citizens, but they are also enjoy a higher quality of life and their industries lead the world – now if you say these things mean nothing, then you really don’t know what you are really talking about when we talk about talent management and leadership selection – its really as simple as that, unless you can tell me we managed to send a man up to the moon last week or something.

    To be con’t

    [Interview Series J.Kompf / Darkness – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

  2. NEW ARTICLE/BP 8-4-08 says:


    Kompf Q: Why do you think the West can regularly find leaders when the East is reduced to just producing more of the same wax works? Allow me to paraphrase what’s really working behind the scenes in the selection process of elites?

    Darkness A: I don’t really believe this is a condition that’s unique or specific only to the East. Its really a question of degree, Kompf. I think if we really want to understand this in greater detail, we need to appreciate there’s something called the politics of selection – now how elites perpetuate themselves is hardly a matter that requires lengthy elaboration, but one thing remains very certain in the last 3,000 years of mankind. Every oligarchy needs to indulge to a certain extent to myth making in order to seek a justificatory premise to render its selection process valuable and credible to the general public. In certain respects this quest for the Messiah, the one who will save us all from brimstones and rivers of fire is very much reflected in even the economics of folklore; the story of King Arthur and how he yank out Excalibur from the rock goes a long way to feed this myth of the uberman or superman and it goes a long way to color how we should all come to see a leader as someone who is special and has all the right stuff.

    However, in reality, the selection is less that perfect, only because it has a tendency to calcify and this happens whenever the myth making machine is taken too far; under those conditions, the selection of elites can even assume grotesque shapes and forms like the Samurai’s who once instituted a ban on firearms to promote the cult of the sword as a highly stylized means perpetuating their class politics. Or in the case of the French aristocracy where élan, panache and aplomb replaced the skill of arms so totally that it even corroded métier and hard nosed expertise – One thing must be made very clear here, whenever a selection occurs, it’s nothing more than power play and this has long been noted by even anthropologist; this is kicker: perpetuation is never a rational process.

    IMO it’s more profitable to see the process of selection under this stark and cold cut light; perpetuation is not rational. Just keep that in mind through out this entire read, otherwise you will just end up confusing yourself. As every oligarchy has to take a certain shape and form, and this suggest preservation must feature to some extent and indeed this is very reflected in the intimate relationship between the form (the elite oligarchy) takes and even the social and political order to which it belongs too. Now where it gets really complicated is when we consider; how much influence that social and political order i.e the elites who are already in the inner circle influence the selection process? And more importantly why they need to take equity in the selection process, instead of just leaving it to a mechanical process; as we shall see what determines the relationship between those who are already in the system and those who aspire to be part of it may actually hold the key to how leaders are actually selected. Now to the perceptive reader, this is the point you will notice where meritocracy peels off and what we see instead is nothing more than simply the old boys network in operation. Let me give you an example of how certain pre-qualifications regularly militate against the whole idea of meritocratic based selection; tradition, for example, plays a preponderant role in influencing the choice of candidates; the Ottomans for example saw no problem in inuring their ranks with elite Janissary troops, yet they were strictly not given specific rights which made it possible for them to be integrated seamlessly into the local populace; why? We may even juxtapose this discussion on a wider canvas to ask ourselves whether Barack Obama will make a first class president despite his ethnicity? Or whether a foreign talent should one day be nominated as the PM of Singapore?

    Do you see the divide? Do you see the lines? Do you see the schism even?

    This goes back to what I mentioned earlier; perpetuation is not rational and if I had to pin it down it has to be because there will always be competing interest even within the fraternity of elites who will ensure their rights and privileges will be protected and perpetuated at all cost – what one really needs to understand is even within the fraternity of elites there is a pecking order, its not a monolithic oligarchy as it remains one where all the trapping of the social pyramid is reproduced, albeit this time on miniature scale – in this push and pull melee of factional interest lies the real keys of power of the selection process – its naïve to assume the selection of candidates can operate without interference from the patriarchs of power – as the motivation to take equity is so strong that it cannot be intellectually denied even for one moment; there is simply too much at stake and whenever such conditions feature in the decision nexus – its only fair to assume whoever gets selected will be the one who represents the least threat to these super duper elites within the ranks of the egalitarian elites. This in my view is the only way for the oligarchy of elites to perpetuate themselves.

    Q: So let me get it straight, what you are saying in effect is this; even within the oligarchy of elites there are factions and the most influential ones will always try to jockey to put across their own horse ahead so as to perpetuate their hold on power?

    A: Precisely. I don’t think one can sensibly deny this reality especially when so much is at stake – we don’t have to look very far to tease out the outline of these shadows; one just needs to peruse through the list of contributors who regularly donate to either the Democratic and Republican campaign and what clearly surfaces is the hidden hand of those who aspire to control tomorrow by shaping the events of today – this could range from the Jewish lobby who have always perceived the strategic value of political parlance in Capitol hill as a reliable means of shaping the political landscape in the middle east. Or even Christian fundamentalist who see – but please have no illusions, what you are in effect witnessing is a highly ritualized and stylized dance by elites to influence other elites so that they continue to stay in power.

    Q: Could you elaborate further on the Jewish lobby and how they have managed to secure their hold on power by successfully projecting into the political sphere in Capitol hill?

    A: Nope. My lips are sealed! Look here Kompf, there is a real danger a few Mossad agents are probably reading this and the last thing I want to do is get myself red flagged. Because I could just as well be drugged and bundled off into an El Al cargo flight and find myself snuggling up to Mat Selamat having to share body heat only to spend the rest of my days clearing landmines in the Gaza with a pair of Bata slippers – so I really cannot elaborate further. I am so sorry Kompf. Please don’t ask me any more questions about the Jews – there is one thing I have learnt about the Jews in the virtual, don’t ever fuck with them! Now I am Kosher!

    Q: You know Darkness, I thought we were conducting a serious interview and your last retort just tells me you are not serious…(cut off)

    [This interview with J.Kompf ended prematurely as Darkness rode off on his bicycle very suddenly – we are very sorry for any inconvenienced caused – the brotherhood press]

    [Interview Series J.Kompf / Darkness – The Brotherhood Press 2008]


  3. KKP says:


    Just to relate what is written to real life events. I think a big chunk of why B.Obama is so popular is, he is not allied or beholden to any of these elites who try to control tomorrow by manipulating the events today e.g Jewish lobby.

    If you look at McCain and Clinton most of their contributors are from the so called traditionalist elites, National Steel Workers, Portland Docks even the National Rifle Assoc. These are really big orgs which clearly have an vested interest in preserving the political status quo as it clearly serves to enrich them.

    So I do agree with what the author has written concerning the selection of elites, its very true to say it is “never just a mechanical process of selection.”

    However, in the case of Obama he is getting mainly small fry donations from the small fries. That makes him very real and authentic.

    There is nothing worse than a fake. Dont you think so?


  4. g says:

    Obama does make a point to reach non traditional power bases in young voters in colleges. Interesting to see how this American Idol/Facebook voter demographic might affect future campaign strategies, not just in the US, if Obama pulls it off.

  5. Darkness says:

    If I really had to assign one reason for the mass appeal of Obamania, it is simply this, he has managed to successfully sell himself as a real agent of change. This may seem unusual since most ppl will say every president brings along with him a new broom that will sweep away the old, but I feel what most people don’t realize is a presidency is really like one of those Mongol traveling camps – that’s to say it comes with a whole lot of people, baggage and stuff which are tied into entrenched vested interest etc. Now I don’t want to make it sound conspiratorial, but if we really look at lets say the Bush administration it’s so allied to certain groups e.g The Christian right / neocons that one really needs to ask whether the president is more of a puppet than someone who really has the latitude to facilitate real and meaningful change.

    That brings into sharp focus the crux of the issue; for the very first time at least in the American primaries. One reason for this is because the internet has successfully smashed the traditional assembly lines of reality fashioning machinery – it’s really a slug out between the small guy vs the juggernaut of big businesses this time around.

    As much as I would like to believe Obama will win by leveraging on the power of the small. It’s just impossible. You see he’s going up against really powerful oligarchies which will ensure that their hold on power remains intact; at every cost! And these oligarchies have been around for a very long time, they have networks like co-axial cables which just run from here to eternity. They have too much to lose. You see these elites don’t mind dealing with even compulsive liars or even a brain dead politician – providing he doesn’t rock the boat. However, they can never accommodate someone who is really bent on doing good as it has the effect of the changing the rules of the game. The risk is just too high. And this is where you simply need to appreciate, politics is a very dirty game, anyone who doesn’t know this is simply living in a cave. My feel is these men who are looking on from the shadows will bring Obama down under their own terms, they always do and you can even say that’s the only thing they regularly do so very well – bring a good man down.

    He cannot win.

    Darkness 2008

  6. patriot says:

    What happens there, happens here!

    Thank You, Darkness 2008!

  7. patriot says:

    And Obama better not win the Presidency, otherwise he will have to clean lots of shits left by a white man. No disrespect! Just facts.

  8. KKP says:

    Hi Darkness,

    Actually I was just going to donate US$100 to Obama, but after reading this, I guess, I needn’t have bothered. This is not the reply I expected, but it really doesn’t surprise me coming from someone who has fought so many wars in the virtual. I guess after a while the future just looks like a boot in a man’s face. While it lasted it sounded good, true and honest, that may be all there really is to it.

  9. dentist Jan says:

    Ok that explains why H.Clinton doesn’t even bother with the Botox jabs and she keeps wearing those irritatng pant suits.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s