Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday rantings. 15 July 2012.

Straits Times Saturday 14 July Pg A43.

This piece by David Brooks from The New York Times made me sit on my throne longer than I expected. I re-read the article twice as it was so insightful. I recommend you read it again, if you have not done so. If you have thrown away your Saturday papers, you can read it from the NYT website here.
The actual header as in NYT is "Why our elites stinks" but it seemed to have been changed by ST. (for local readers?)

It is a commentary by NYT columnist David Brook on a book called "Twilight of the Elites" by Christopher Hayes. The book talks about why the elites are misleading everyone in the US. When you read this article you will suddenly come an epiphany that ...hey, he might as well be referring to Singapore?

"...meritocratic elites may rise on the basis of grades, effort and merit, but, to preserve their status, they become corrupt. They create wildly unequal societies, and then they rig things so that few can climb the ladders behind them. Meritocracy leads to oligarchy."

" Today's elites are more talented and open but lack a self-conscious leadership code. The language of meritocracy (how to succeed) has eclipsed the language of morality (how to be virtuous). Wall Street firms, for example, now hire on the basis of youth and brains, not experience and character. Most of their problems can be traced to this."

He goes on to cite examples of how parents send their kids to enrichment classes, prep-test schools in the quest to be better than the next.  This 'corruption' has now crept into the whole of high finance, gov, et cetra, et cetra...

Is this symptomatic of why people right at the top of their game are now caught in more and more scandals?

Pg A45. S'pore way works, but only with tuition.
Ironically, the very next page. A parent in Singapore wrote a letter to the Forum Page.
The header says it all.

Sunday Times Pg 8. VISA, Mastercard, banks to pay $7.6b
A class action suit was won by almost 7 million merchants against VISA, Mastercard and banks in what is known there as 'swipe' fees. This is the fee merchant have to pay to the companies for allowing customers to use credit cards. These range from 2% to 3.75%. VISA, MasterCard and banks will have to refund the amount to the merchants.
Isn't this also happening in Singapore?  Don't we get hit by all sorts of charges especially if we use their cards overseas? The merchants get refunded but what about the consumer who ultimately bears the costs? Will CASE champion the case of collusion? I wonder. Not so easy to prove I guess.

Finally, my pet peeve - Cyclist against pedestrians. ST Page 40 THINK
A non-committal response from the Asst Director Media Relations, SPF.
Cyclists should dismount when using crossings
"Cyclists who ride dangerously across pedestrian crossings and endanger the safety of pedestrians and other road users can be booked for a traffic offence." Ah then? how does that help me?

 * Sunday Rantings are my thoughts on a lazy Sunday morning after reading the Sunday papers. This may or may not be a regular feature depends on whether I have the energy after breakfast. Also Sunday Mass has a calming effect, so the more I pay attention to the sermons, the less I rant. The long rants probably mean I fell asleep during Mass. Don't mind the spelling errors, it's a lazy Sunday.

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