I've spent the week in Singapore. Prominent in the political news was MM Lee Kuan Yew, taming the controversy on salary for top government officials. "Let's call the whole thing off," the great old man said, going all the way to the brink. "We'll lose talent, and then we'll lose some 210 billion dollars of yearly business."

"Our women will serve as maids in other people's countries," he threatened.

Strong language. But I think back on home, where our government can no more draw talent, cannot offer self-esteem and dignity to the rare one who works with commitment. I say what the Singaporean doesn't need to hear: Don't spoil a good thing. MM is right.