Dr Chee: The Maggi Noodle nation

A GROUP OF children skipping home from school impatiently chants Maggie Noodles fast to cook, good to eat, fast to cook… They arrive home to find mother dishing out the three-minute mee (apparently, it’s been reduced to two) to instantly satisfy their hunger. No wait, no fuss.

For those of you old enough, you’ll remember the commercial back at a time when ramen was still a novelty.

The ad reminds me of our economic development. We built up this island at a phenomenal pace. No wait, no fuss.

We needed to kick-start our industries, so we threw open our doors to MNCs while crushing trade unions and workers’ rights.

Then we found our labour productivity lagging, so we opened up immigration and imported foreign talent.

Then we needed foreign funds, so we amended the Banking Act and built casinos to attract the world’s billionaires.

Then we needed to build up our R&D, so we gave generous tax incentives to research companies to relocate to Singapore.

Then we wanted to promote higher education, so we recruited academics with impressive lists of publications.

Now we say we want innovation, and so we attract foreign entrepreneurs by removing financial requirements for them to set up shop in Singapore.

But like instant noodles which provide little nutrition, these quick-and-fast schemes do little for our economic health. In fact, they may have done longer-term damage to our competitiveness and stunted our development.

How so?

After decades where their rights have been emaciated, our workers are not a motivated bunch – in fact, they are the unhappiest lot in Asia. Unhappy workers, need it be said, are not productive workers.

Our success at buying R&D brains proved ephemeral. Pharmaceutical companies have moved out of Singapore after the generous incentives from our government lapsed. Eli Lilly (who stayed for nine years), Pfizer (ten years) and GlaxoSmithKline (eight years) have all shut down their R&D operations here.

As far as academe is concerned, the questionable strategy of recruiting widely published academics from overseas to inflate the international standing of our universities has been at the expense of home-bred research talent. Associate Professor Alan Chong from the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies commented: “My impression is that many of the foreign faculty are here for the higher salaries and expatriate perks, relative to those in North America and Europe. They have no abiding interest in helping Singapore establish itself as a long-term hub for good social science.”

Our bring-in-the-billionaires scheme and casinos have made us a tax haven and enabled money laundering here. Together they have precariously perched us at the top of a murky and unstable global financial system.

The recent move to attract entrepreneurs from overseas, announced during the Budget 2017 debate, is the latest in a long-running effort to simply buy what we do not possess. Tan Min-Liang, a Singaporean CEO of a gaming company based in San Francisco, underscored this point when he said that the government should focus less on bringing in foreign talent and companies and more on investing in Singaporeans.

We don’t inspire, motivate and invest in our people. We don’t give them the time and space to develop. We don’t build a foundation where citizens are confident achievers steeped in a knowledge-driven society and adept at change and innovation.

Instead, we call them quitters and upbraid them as daft and lazy. We liken them to dogs who must be brought to heel; a people who cannot be trusted with a free media or, for that matter, their own savings.

Even when we’re fast running out of rope, the PAP continues its unseemly strategy of quick-and-easy development which has left us unable to think and prepare for the longer-term.

It is banking on the fact that it can step over Singaporeans and shop in the global marketplace to buy everything from academe to creativity and, in the process, leap-frog time to become the next big thing in the world of innovation.

Good luck to us all.

Chee Soon Juan

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27 Responses to “Dr Chee: The Maggi Noodle nation”

  • Not fooled:

    You know the reason LKY rushed?

    Because he wanted to make sure we became a First World nation before Malaysia so he can show the Malaysians what he believed they were missing.

    This was all done at the expense of true blue locals because of the massive importation of foreigners who took away education, housing,employment and other basic opportunities from true blue locals.

    That’s why the ones who can migrate have already done so. So all that’s left in the end are Singaporean citizens who weren’t born here and didn’t grow up here coming up with public policies affecting us all without truly understanding the significance of those policies.

    If you’re born and bred in Penang but work in Singapore and get PR then convert to become citizen,are you better placed than one who was born and bred here, who also attended school and university here to know what’s in the best interest of true blue locals?

    Now you know why some of the government’s policies don’t make sense.Even our neighbours don’t give out PR or citizenships just like that.

    We are First World but it has come at a heavy price.

    Don’t sacrifice our children’s future anymore.

    Think wisely the next time you vote.

    We sympathise with racial based policies that discriminate some of our cousins up North but true blue locals must always have priority,be it for education, employment or housing. Put Singaporeans first.

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  • cyleung:

    YOU said it all, nailed iT! need there more to say, gutless and doggy Singaporeans so why the need to fend and fight on for them, immigrate, ball less Sg pple, get a life, ? no, get fuss over lives and when there is crumb on the table for the throwing to the dogs, there you are, licking faithfully and quietly liken worst of animals, so such is the state of Singapore and Singapore people, 70% and counting more …

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  • Sharon Ann Gabriel:

    The PAP wanted a garden city and used instant trees. It wanted instant success in sports and used FTs. Dr Chee is right to condemn the PAP for creating a Maggie Mee nation. There is not much to show after 50 years, of the ‘instant success’ formula employed by the PAP government. Its failure to take a longer view has allowed mistakes to rule and idiocy to be entrenched. The nation’s goose is cooked and is not good to eat.

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  • PAP Contempt of Citizens:

    Superb article Dr Chee.

    At times the PAP even undercooked their 3 minute noodles because of fasterest, betterest shortcuts to short change noodle consumers, the 70% monkeys.

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  • oxygen:

    OUR ECONOMY MAXED OUT, the restructuring since 2005 (of massive foreign influx) is finally admitted NOT to be working – the BIGGEST BEWILDERMENT is this – the Committee for Future Economic made NO RECOMMENDATION whatsoever to shake up a single one of all our FLAWED INSTITUTIONS and ECONOMIC ARCHITECTURE.

    It is still dreaming in fantasyland of fiction protecting failed sacred cows, political hegemony and preserving political longevity.

    How to progress from here with DEADWOODS and WALKING CORPSES fill the top seats of power decision-making in FAILED INSTITUTIONS?

    It is a mystery how such naivety thinks Sinkieland still got hope The mindset is still ancient as if history and future walks backward of memorial past worship of irrelevance.

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  • PAP Contempt of Citizens:

    3 minute sop to cook noodles but PAP undercooked in maybe 2 mins. Simple reason but PAP lied and refused to admit, claiming they don’t know why productivity was never never in existence for over 10 years.

    And Have the bloody moral to over pay themselves millions of $windled money from dumb voters, in comparison, the worlds POWER HOUSE Germany Chancellor Merkel paid so much lesser, a tiny fraction of Loongs obscene salary for years.

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  • Heart of glass:

    Thank you dear Dr Chee.
    Every word of yours is the living truth.
    Hope by crook or by hook you get to be our PM..in the near future.
    SG Needs You n like minded honest professionals.
    Kick all those stick in the mud PAP relics out.
    ..and yes, Good Luck to us all.

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  • Bapak:

    Sinkies are walking dead, cannot compete outside. In the name of total control, they are intimidated to follow, not lead. No hope.

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  • Chris:

    That is a piece of well written article from Dr Chee who never fail to be sharp to see and point out the problems sg is having. Only genuinely caring souls with hearts that yearn for positive change to bring citizens and sg forward would care to speak up.

    The papiggs especially the current bunch of self-serving, corrxpted worthless dirt won’t care to be frank to face the music and worse they are doing and saying all they can to cover up their arrse. All they care is taking the maximum money from us at our expense and leave citizens to go through difficulty they intentionally created. Indeed, it is a prophecy came true – a monk before the evil, ego bigger than the world , oppressive spoilt brat, sissy dou loonng took over prophesized that under evil dou loonng citizens going to have difficult time.

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  • Uncle Lim:

    MIW only make a show of investing in Sporeans. If you ponder on the issue, you will come to realise MIW invest only IN THEMSELVES.

    They abuse their authority by robbing us to pay themselves.

    Everything must be fully priced and every department must be self funded.

    No independent judiciary, SPF and a robotic President and rubber stamp Parliament all have led us to this dead end.

    Don’t have misplaced hope that things will turn around. It’s too little, too late.

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  • Mad House:

    Grand prize and award for their many short cut solutions!

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  • Maggie Mee Island:

    High costs. Not over, make it higher. Water hike, Tpt hike, then Gst hike.

    Island is too congested to move from point to point, too hot, too many cars, too many pollution and construction dusts, too many road works, too many diggings, too high petrol to drive, too high public tpt to travel a small distance…lastly, too high costs,…

    …too hard a life, in an extreme island, better to stay at home & rest, until sun sets not too hot, people less outside, less cars, less costly, …

    Too much msg. No nutrients.

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  • Donald J Trump:

    Why Maggie Noodles

    It is very cheap
    Eating out is very expensive

    The Ruling Party made an effort to control the price of Property Estate
    But when it comes to food prices it another standard

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  • nizhemoshou:

    Leegime prefer migrants to local Sgs for these attributes . They are ignorant or care little about the skeletons in their closet whereas loyal Sgs are hoping to kick them out of power and unlock their closets. Two , they are mercenary opportunists who will ensure the leegime stays in power as the leegime is for them . with them and against their own local Sgs. Three, they lack of sense of loyalty to SG and more mobile than local Sgs which mean they are willing to go home or migrate elsewhere should they ever be unhappy with the leegime for any reason. To the rogue leegime, loyalty is not a value they want to inculcate or promote in the SG They have implied or otherwise with statements like SG is not a country, the national pledge is jus an aspiration and the oft heard not happy migrate.

    So tan kuku the rogue leegime will invest in local Sgs . They already reaching their mark to reduce Sgs to a minority marginalised people in their own country and onward to turning SG eventually into a land for people to come and go where they shall be the lord and owner of the land.

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  • Why MIWs don't support locals:

    1) Successful locals meant their deliberate strategy of subjugating the populace will be threatened. The strategy is MIWs and cronies are 1st class, FTs are 2nd and locals are 3rd.
    2) The dafts will now have heroes other than the MIWs to look up to.
    3) Should the successful locals who are not pro-establishment speak out against the regime or join the oppos, there will be new threats for them (so Joseph Schooling better pledge your allegiance early).

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  • BuyMeBakKutTeh:

    Thumb up! Thank you Dr Chee… n shit you the 70% idiots!

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  • Ah Peng Kia:

    The government realise that Singapore will not have an innovative, creative and entrepreneurial populace because that means relaxing the rules of engagement, opening up the media and loosening the reins over education structure. In doing that, the populace will be analytical and have a curious mind and will critique policies. Even LKY recognised that that’s why he said China will never have an innovative economy unlike USA.

    LKY wants to keep the populace docile, obedient and subjugated to him. That is his legacy, and that was how our policies, from education to social to political are all written.

    So how to advance the Singapore economy without a creative, innovative and “street smart” populace? Buy them from overseas. Where Singapore lacks in innovation, it has plenty in cash (people’s CPF and all the hidden taxes that don’t go to building our infrastructure). Singapore’s success is built on a false facade which will all crumble if PAP returns the people’s CPF.

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  • Soulless Papist:

    Great analogy! PAP has already introduced the new Maggi ‘frog-legs’ noodles. Delicious because the frogs (70% dafts) are being cooked live.

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  • Lye Khuen Way:

    ” BuyMeBakKutTeh “, your comments was spot-on. Our predicament is largely due to the tida-apa attitude of the undecided 40 odd %..

    Perhaps even more higher levies, tariffs and more disruptions would hasten the waking up of these as-yet happily half asleep fellow countrymen of ours. Yes, more pain is needed. And it’s not my power prayer or cruel wish. It’s the unstoppable, inevitable consequences of decades of muddled policies.

    Meanwhile, have a good weekend with family and friends.

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  • Christopher Bong:

    If Singapore has a coup by a patriotic general, he would have the entire parliament in front of a firing squad for treason. These people has betrayed its citizens in favour of foreigners, putting the interest of its people last.
    There is an additional line to the maggi mee jingle that may truly reflect what Singapore is all about, “maggi noodles fast to cook, good to eat and hard to shit”.

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  • clorox:

    we had the chance to have a voice like this in parliament – but denied him that opportunity!
    now all of us, and our future generations will have to pay for this “limbo” that we are trapped in for all eternity. thank you 70 percenters!

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  • Kena-Bala-Chan:

    Innovation and creativity comes from people who are:

    Not controlled from the cradle to the grave, children attend pap kindergartens to be indoctrinated by the pap in subtle ways, then attend public schools made to learn false history, rote learning to simply pass exams, like rats those that are weak are weeded out early, survival of the fittest, go for tuition, go for ballet, go for piano, still no innovation coming from here. We have whole generations of young people who have been pushed and pushed by the nation, including parents to succeed or else there’s no future for you here. Yet we have not produced any innovators, maybe the last was Creative Technology, even that had to supported by pap.

    Then serve ns, more pap indoctrination to take orders, and to curb 18-20 year olds from developing any revolutionary ideas against the pap, of course in the name security and giving our young men expensive toys to play with as they go about screaming “enemy, enemy.” So whose the enemy?

    Then with the little left up there sent to the local uni to try to jump start the brain and put some think skills, but its a bit too late by now, little creativity is needed in uni cause most already know how to pass exams and get good grades, again controlled by pap’s agenda and stooges who now prepare people to be so-leaders in a controlled environment. If you take orders well you get to join pap ranks now but there is master no-brainer who will control you from behind the scene, so the world would think we live in a free, democratic society. No hope in hell for innovation.

    Mind control is what the pap is good at from the past 70 years, just like the Nazi’s, even the two emblems resemble each other. Singapore is a maze with rats running after each others tail, no way out, you just enter the same space, go round and round until you drop dead. Then a FT will take your place, if they don’t like you they will kill you.

    Talk about innovation.

    Further indoctrination on media censorship, not that the local papers are great, they are run by pap stooges there as well and ex-ISD people, each looking at each others back, who will be stabbed next for writing the wrong thing. No hope there for innovation.

    The Lees got educated overseas, where’s their innovation? Earning a tripos from Cambridge is not good enough, is it?

    Now there are cameras all over the island, so more control in the name of keeping us safe, but cameras are a failure in stopping crime of any kind.

    Pap water is medicated water fed to the people, makes your mind numb and rot. No innovation can come from here.

    Because our minds were not made to be controlled by other human beings and machines. History shows societies controlled over 50-100 years deteriorate just as fast.

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  • Dumb 70%:

    The real beneficiaries of PAP’s instant noodle success are the local elites and so called foreign imports.

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  • LIONS:

    Frankly,Dr Chee is more than an ordinary politician,he is a genuine SOCIAL ACTIVIST. Sg needs more if the likes if Dr Chee to make SG INTO A BETTER SOCIETY like what we have in the past before MINISTERS ACT LIKE CORPORATE FEUDAL CHIEFTAIN$.

    If we are honest as we look around us,our once caring SGPOREAN SOCIETY has been turned UP$ide Down into $$$-faced society.
    It all starts with the LEEder$,the NEW GUARD$,can they hobestly say not?

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  • zultan:

    Great article Dr Chee. It’s so sad to watch Singapore slowly rotting away with this bunch of PAP clowns.

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  • PAP Contempt of Citizens:

    zultan:
    Great article Dr Chee. It’s so sad to watch Singapore slowly rotting away with this bunch of PAP clowns.

    These PAP classic clowns murder own citizens in broad daylight methods disguised as lapses, aftermath of which is UTTERLY SHAMELESSLY COVERED up in lieu of NO BLAME CULTURE, blamed own immoral dishonesty as mistakes that has to happen, failed massively in QUANTUM LEAP economic progress blamed on globalisation, made SG into a FOOLISH NATION because of votes buying every year, refused to accept blame when I T was misused to control information (disinformation by State library in Are U Sure campaign, WITHOUT REGARDS TO wise USE of tax payers money to achive selfish political ends), and useless multi millionaire minister absolved from allowing a limped terrorist to escape.

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  • RDB:

    Dear Editor,

    I can provided English translation as required for the Hokkien dialect part. We still have enough Singaporeans & Residents who understand Hokkien. Unless your moderator has problem with my version is why your Mod mod this from me out?

    RDB: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    March 17, 2017 at 4:40 pm (Quote)

    PAP is kia-nan-boh-kia-si chin ku liao! Tia tio ki-yim-hu eh lar! By then si liao gao im-hu kwa tiao gui liao a ka bun liao bui har!

    Si pun tio ai kia nan min. Si a ka gu pian kar 24 ka 08 pai KIA DAN – kia lai kia ki bui sian meh? Yi nan 24 ka 08 si mm si chow ka “bo-lum-pa” lan lan hor? Chu a ni cho tao siam siam lai siam ki bo ti sek e. Chee kwan si kian lan meh?

    This is MY chute pattern kong wei lor! Angmo kio chor You get my drift about Pee AND POO?

    Dear TRE Editor, like dat can you pass to post or not? Thank you if can. As dis stylo style is for dam 70% gullible not only DA-Pen-Dan de. But actually their Da-Sha-Kua enriched of lky or made poor too he saw them as surely with children not worth fir elected PAP GaGamen to educate for to become REAL-WORLDS. But he and they his henchmen PMs, ministers etc all agreed with him to have Graduate Mothers Scheme so dat only graduate children will surely be born in his made Singapore in his SINKYland lar! Bo Tio Meh? WHY?

    Ass… how come his own parents & grandparents too are not uniVarsity graduates, yet HE could become a UK Cambridge graduate with double honours some more leh? He not elitist and they PM@ & PM3 too meh? All uniVarsity graduates dat stupid cannot figure out dat Lee Kuan Yew was absolutely flawed in many of his reasoning har? Because by their unison agreeing with dat Lee Kar You, it means only by some FLUKE DISTORTIONS OF NATURE THAT they all BECAME uniVARSITIES gRADUATES SI BOH Har? aH nI kWANG pun wu 70% a PAP kian lan kong yi Lee kwang Yio tiam tiam tio a meh? Yi Lee Kwang Yao si chab chuan chab mui eh lan si wu yah boh a tia chi. Ho siong seng meh Prof. Tommy Koh! Li nan ching kian meh?

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