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Monday, July 13, 2015

Wanna Be Like Greece?

I have been following the Greek Euro Crisis with bated breath. It has all the elements of a Greek Tragedy (minus the iambic trimeter). I do think it beats K-drama any day!

Here is the story.

Greece is Europe's prodigal son, profligate and unproductive. It had poor lifestyle habits that prevented it from creating wealth.

Greece is a high risk borrower. There is a real risk that it will default. As such, banks will only lend to Greece if the returns on the lending are high (i.e., high interest rates). In other words, since Greece had a poor credit rating, lending institutions were only willing to lend to Greece provided that interest rates were on the level of loansharking. That made the problem worse. Greece had to pay off a huge debt, which got larger because of hefty interest rates.

However, Greece wasn't very good at making lifestyle changes. It could not become productive. Its economy shrank. It was incapable of creating wealth enough to pay off its debt.

Watching the Greek story unfurl, it makes me thankful and grateful that the new PAP is also good with finances and savvy (maybe not as good as the old PAP... but I know I am biased) in the ways of economic growth. After all, the Singapore economy is still holding up. The new PAP may have been insensitive about social issues. The new PAP may have lost touch with people's hearts.

It never lost touch with economic growth.

You know, the new PAP was like a husband whose sole way of showing love was to ensure the family had enough money. This husband loved his family deeply. He was serious and gruff, never smiled and did not understand other people's weakness. He was always working so hard to make money that he did not have time to show love and affection. He also drove his family hard and when his family did not work hard or well enough, he adopted foreign children to help support the family.

At the same time, he was supremely confident that he was a good husband and demanded the respect commensurate with his own self-view.

Yet, through it all, this husband did not stop loving his family. It may be hard to believe, but I think it is true.

The story continues...

A joker named Tsipras developed the delusion that Europe would have no political will to throw it out of the Eurozone. His government's reasoning was that Europe would lose a trillion Euros if there was a Grexit (see HERE). He believed that Europe would be so afraid of losing one arm that it would loan another arm. This is, of course, a sort of deluded logic (born of emotional blindsiding and a striking lack in Theory of Mind). Judging from Greece's track record, Europe has every reason to believe that in 3 years time, they could stand to lose both arms if they committed a second arm today.

As such, the world was treated to a spectacle of incredible infantilism on the part of Greece. Greece went into emotional convulsions, ran a referendum and tantrummed a HUGE "No" collectively to the austerity plan proposed by the rest of Europe.

Europe, like any wise parent, disengaged, left Greece to tantrum till it was tired. You can tantrum all you like but if I say no ice-cream until you behave, it is no ice-cream. Then, 4 days later, Greece responded by promising to behave. It really, really wants that ice-cream. Greece gave promises of even more disciplined and better behaviour than what Europe demanded at first.

But... but... but... by now, Europe was certain that Greece had no intention of keeping its promises to behave well. So, a Grexit is inevitable. Else, Greece needs to allow Europe to dictate to Greece how to change its lifestyle and send in supervisors to oversee lifestyle changes within Greece (which is really shameful). However, what is Europe to do? If Europe is to risk a 2nd arm, it needs to enforce discipline within Greece because clearly, the Greeks are unable to discipline themselves.

So, this lead to even more emotional convulsions - "Aaaaah! We are humiliated! We are one Europe (one family). We cannot break up this family! We are being bullied and exploited by the strong!" 

Strong people can get hurt too... and hurt badly. If it you were Europe, would you risk a 2nd arm for the chopping off? It is no coincidence that France and Italy support Greece's 3rd bailout. Both countries did not contribute much money to the bailouts. These 2 countries talk only!

Update: Greece is still able to stay in the Eurozone. However, it will be required to sell its most valuable assets (Greek islands and archaeological sites). Many Greeks feel humiliated and know that more suffering awaits.

Really? You want jokers like Tsipras in government who lead your country there? You want emo-emo convulsions in politics?

I read social media and see people write that none of our PAP politicians have "charisma". Hello... Tsipras is very, very charismatic leh... gosh, the fella looks like a Greek God! I look at that face and my heart skips 2 beats! I watch him swing onto his sexy motorbike and I cannot breathe! Ooooh la la!

My heart and my lungs work perfectly fine when I look at Lee Hsien Loong, Heng Swee Keat, Tan Chuan Jin (ok... this one quite hamsum but I still breathe good), Khaw Boon Wan and Chan Chun Sing. Of course, if we could have a Lee Kuan Yew (both hamsum and technocrat) it is good.

Else, I prefer my PAP politicians to a Tsipras any day!

The new PAP has gone through a gruelling 5 years. A wife confronted her husband on poor behaviour  in 2011. Much was said and through that the new PAP understood us better. The new PAP had the courage to break out of its previous delusions. The new PAP did not go into emo-emo convulsions of apologies and public self-flagellation.

It quietly changed its behaviour.

That is all I need to understand the sincerity of this husband, and his love for this country. The new PAP has wronged us to some extent but that happens in any marriage. You hurt each other because you don't know better. Then, you find out. You talk. You develop a better mutual understanding. Each side improves.

And you forgive.

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