Can a Smart Nation be led by Dumb Asses?

Singapore is in the throes of change. MRT stations and many other places where monetary transactions take place – including at hawker centers –  are going cashless, food courts deploy robots, robots fry our rice, parking coupons will soon belong to museums, etc etc as we plunge ahead to become the world’s first Smart Nation.

Change, however, cannot be foisted on people.

Most people, no matter how old they are, grapple with change.

Some cope better, some struggle and are traumatized by change, especially the less educated and the elderly ones. To paraphrase Dickens, this could be the best of times, as well as the shittiest of times.

As we aspire to merge technology into every aspect of life on our small island, it is vitally important to ask several questions:

  1. What is the real intent and urgency to become the world’s first Smart Nation? Not all government decisions are smart; see how the latest presidential election is such a butt of jokes. Look, after all the clumsy political subterfuges, legal wrangling and revisions to the Constitution, Halimah Yacob is now our new president. The poor woman will forever carry the burden of knowing that she was not popularly elected, but that she ascended to the highest office in the land in a walkover.
  2. Have we been hoodwinked by some CONsulting firms into buying their services that will push us towards Smart Nation status? Most of these scumbags running consultancies can’t even find their way to their own homes. I should know, I have dealt with some of these fucktards for 40 some years.
  3. Is this just another pathetic attempt to make Singapore yet another first in something? We already boast of being the most “e” government, the highest man-made waterfall, the first prime minister’s wife to wear slippers to the White House, the first president in the world to have resigned due to alcoholism, blah, blah, blah, what more do we want to be first in?
  4. Are there truly actual benefits beyond our wildest imagination or is it a political move to distract hoi polloi from the real bread-and-butter issues of the day?
  5. To what extent are our people ready for massive, monumental change?
  6. What will be done to enable them to cope?
  7. Will there be enough communication to “sell” the benefits, if any?
  8. What steps will be taken to ensure there is a sense of ownership of the change so as to minimize resistance?
  9. Will there be enough people who really understand the psychology of change to provide adequate training and coaching to ensure that everyone can adapt to change?
  10. Will those who embrace change early and readily be singled out as positive role models to encourage others?
  11. Are the different organizations able to effectively work together in a coordinated fashion to bring about these changes with minimal disruption to people’s lives? I mean, if those clowns can’t even run the SMRT well, I seriously have my doubts about this.
  12. Will testings, trial runs, parallel runs, dry and wet runs, post-change audits, as well as incremental, bite-size initial steps be taken to get people used to the “new world order”?

More than three decades of helping organizations and companies lead and manage change – yes, welcome to my life! – have convinced me that unless and until these questions are sufficiently answered, failure is almost certainly guaranteed. Ask those clowns at SingTel. (You jokers there know what I am talking about!!!) This will lead to disillusionment, widespread skepticism and cynicism, and even the potential of sabotages, and any more talk of further change in the future will be even more strongly resisted and fought against. You cannot force change down people’s esophagus especially when leaders themselves are the last to accept the changes they preach about. Furthermore, such outcomes may lead to societal upheaval, dividing Singaporeans into “haves” and “have-nots,” “cans” and can-nots” – no longer a “united people” as per our national pledge, surely something our founding fathers do not want.

No joke, those dumb asses and clowns in charge ought to know that change is no laughing matter.

But do they?

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