Wednesday, November 16, 2011

'Final year' syndrome

Although that man has claimed he will be announcing plans on the future of the S-league in the coming days, if not weeks, I am not interested or excited not just because I have grown awry of his words and promises but rather he is showing symptoms of a leadership style I will call 'Final year' syndrome.

This is defined by me as one who try to build a legacy in his final few moment of that administration but which will fail due to lack of time or successors.

I am that negative as examples are abound of such administration style.

The current economic crisis affecting United States was due to years of US presidents putting off the need to bring down their deficits and leaving it to their successors.  

One can trace it all the way back to the 1990s, when then-USA President Bill Clinton having build a surplus, after the deficits years of the 1980s under Regan and Bush, did not go on to tackle the deficits problem that was already building up until his final year.

At the point, he finally unveiled a plan to bring down the bulging deficit within a decade but of course we now know what happen after that.

By pushing the problem until then, and to the next generation, Bill Clinton did not solve a problem that was still under control.

He was only seeking a solution at that point as he needed to build a legacy and yet not wanting to suffer the consequences of his action, the time frame was way after he is long gone from office.

That is no solution and even in Singapore, we see traces of it.

During the recent General Election, transportation issues was one of the topic that pop up after a sizeable increase in Singapore population.

The claims was there was a lack of foresight as the problem is now not expected to be resolve until years from now but it was not so for back in 2000, there was already a Master Plan to deal with that.

It was unveiled by then-Minister of Communications and Information Technology (It was not called Ministry of Transport yet) Mah Bow Tan and had taken into account the abilities of Singapore transport system to take in a sizeable population.

If the Master Plan had gone to plan, many of the transport system (still building) will be in place by now, was it not so.

Yet Yeo Cheow Tong and then Raymond Lim, who took over, had their own plans as they wanted to build their own legacy, not Mah Bow Tan ones.

Yeo Cheow Tong was occupied dealing with the Free Air Agreement with other nations Ministry while Raymond Lim time saw him changing and chopping the Public Transport Council makeup and it role.

In a decade, there was not a single railway opening so our transport system was sterile.

Of course, the Nicoll Highway collapse delayed any action but the truth, even if it had gone to plan, the process was still lower than anticipated in the Master Plan; which we are seeing now.

Indeed in the next decade, Singapore will have two (and even three if we count the Johore line which is in discussion) more new lines opening in addition to the Circle Lines so we have build and finish three (or again four) in 10 years when we build no transport lines in the decade precessing it.  

A result of a plan released by a Minister that was never en-tasked to look after it.

Then the answer must be to appoint a successor who think likewise.

But the question is will any successor, like in the USA election back in 2000 which even if a Democratic had won, follow a plan that was not of his own doing and be prepared to suffer it consequences if it ended in failure while sharing, if not give, credits with his predecessor in success.

We all know the answer to that question.

For a better example, across the Causeway, Malaysia longest-serving Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad took his own time to appoint a successor he thought will maintain and build on his legacy but that was not the case.

However, one cannot blamed his successor Ahmad Badawi as even a strongman Mahathir had to leave tough problems until his final years.

Like the bullet train line and the teaching of English, Mahathir only touch on all these plans when he was on the verge on retirement.

The Bullet Train Line will have 'killed' off Proton - Malaysia national carmaker - while the teaching of English have displeased both the Malay and the Chinese language nationalist and the government count on for votes from both these sectors.

Now both plans are dead and buried.

All these examples have a common beginning and a common ending.

There was a plan to tackle problems but it was only released in the final years of the person leadership and his plan never survive long or even die in still-birth after the person have left his post.

Now looked at our FAS President, he is releasing a plan in his final 15 months in charge, what does that that tell me.

He is suffering from 'Final year' Syndrome as he has neither the time to build things now nor the influence to ensure whoever is appointed by PM Lee will follow his plan.

That man just want to build a firewall to protect himself as he has done virtually nothing for three years other than blow more hot air. (See Viewpoint or Point of View menu for too many hot airs over the years to list and new addition over the months that I have not listed)

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