Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Election fever!

So the long awaited election date has been announced, and the main stream media has predictably been insufferably carpet bombed with stories of huffing and puffing politicians doing their rounds and making promises.

Cynically, I must say the so far the most interesting stories have been about Tin Pei Ling's feet stomping on YouTube, and Mr Lim Boon Heng being moved to tears on the suggestion that the political leadership suffered from a 'groupthink'.

Made me wonder what the definition of groupthink actually was.

According to my most reliable source of knowledge, Wikipedia, "Groupthink is a type of thought within a deeply cohesive in-group whose members try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. "

Is the political leaderhip at the highest government level deeply cohesive? I believe so. Are they trying to minimize conflict and develop consensus? No reason to doubt that. So what is the problem? Really, it is about whether the consensus are reached without critically testing, analyzing and evaluating ideas. Herein lies the the difficulty. Can ideas be fully tested and evaluated behind closed doors within a small in-group, especially where there are strong ideological positions? I am not so sure. Even when discussions are taken beyond the inner sanctum, as long as they operate within party constraints, can truly critical evaluations be made? I seriously doubt it.

So while Mr Lim Boon Heng insisted and believed there was no groupthink, I am not so convinced. I for one believe that Singapore will be a much stronger and cohesive society if the political leadership could trust civil society a bit more, and would allow for more and broader public debate on critical issues.

Having said that I must qualify that I don't believe that the problems we have on the ground are fundamentally a result of any groupthink occuring at the top. In my opinion, the problems we see all over the place are largely related to the middle managers implementing extreme forms of a 'monolithic logic' derived from otherwise 'sensible' policies generated at the top. And by middle managers, I refer to that thick layer between the top echelons of political leadership and the workers.

What have these to do with Gigamole? I think health and education have been badly affected by this. Lots of giraffes.

What have giraffes got to do with this discussion? Read here.


auntielucia said...

Hiya Giga, welcome back fm long hibernation, that little rant against Dr Andy Ho not counted.

Think LBH was only shedding crocodile tears lah! Or what's he going to do with his garden long overgrown with lallang!


gigamole said...

Haha....No lah, I don't think they are crocodile tears. Looked to me like some serious forced-to-retire-angst buried under the amiable facade.