Dissent leads to creative thinking that is essential for productivity

Singapore Democrats

In a letter to the Straits Times, writer Mr Peter Heng said that dissent has little to do with productivity. Dr Chee Soon Juan’s reply to Mr Heng has been censored. The Straits Times has refused to publish Dr Chee’s reply (see here). 

Another letter writer advised Dr Chee to work with other social groups so that his voice can be heard. We reproduce Dr Chee’s replies below (The first two of Dr Chee’s six replies were published yesterday).

Dissent leads to creative thinking that is essential for productivity

I ask Mr Peter Heng to be slower in concluding that dissent has nothing to do with productivity. (Rebellious nature may not lead to productivity, ST, 17 Apr 2010)

There is significant empirical evidence to show that dissent reduces conformist behaviour and groupthink, traits that do nothing to foster creative and innovative minds. And it is innovation and the willingness and ability to thing out of the box that enables productivity to rise.

Studies have shown that dissent experience in groups increase behavioural tendencies that demonstrate creative or divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is, in turn, vital for effective decision-making in groups, and consequently vital for businesses that are hoping to raise productivity levels of their employees.

Dissent which takes place within a set of rules is healthy for a society. In Singapore this set of rules is enshrined in our Constitution. Dissent is like pain. Nobody likes pain, but without it, we would not be able to live for very long.

Dissent does not lead to violence and chaos. This is the scaremonger’s propaganda. It may help the ruler to perpetuate his control over society but it does absolutely nothing for Singapore’s progress.

In fact clinging on to such archaic thinking in the modern economic world will be the undoing of Singapore.

Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party

Read Mr Peter Heng‘s letter, (3) Rebellious nature may not lead to productivity, here.


Singapore needs a pluralistic society

Mr Aloysius Lau is correct that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to a country’s problems. (Chee’s passion for democracy admirable, ST, Apr 17, 2010).

This is why we need a pluralistic and democratic society that allows a diversity of viewpoints to be canvassed. It is from an open debate that the best and most workable ideas will emerge.

The present system run by the PAP Government is anathema to an open and inclusive approach in politics.

Such a system breeds groupthink that gives rise where the cross-pollination of ideas and viewpoints cannot occur. This leads to a diminished gene pool from where robust policies, no matter how multi-pronged they may be, cannot be born.

Mr Lau’s suggestion that the SDP should work with social groups and organisations to ensure that our views are heard is a very good one.

The reality, unfortunately, is that most, if not all, such groups come under the control of the Government. Either that or they are fearful of being seen to collaborate with an opposition party. Such is the sad reality in Singapore that will lead this country down the path to mediocrity and stagnation.

Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party

Read Mr Aloysius Lau’s letter, (4) Chee’s passion for democracy admirable, here.

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