Stoking hatred and ill will – MCI replies

tnpOn 19 October 2013, I posted an email on this blog, titled, “Stoking hatred and ill will”, which I had sent to the following:

-          Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim.

-          Acting Minister for Manpower, Tan Chuan Jin.

-          Minister of State, MCI,  Sim Ann

-          Perm Sec, MCI

The email was in response to various government ministers’ accusations of netizens “stoking hate and ill will”, in the words of Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin.

In that email, I highlighted instances of the mainstream media engaging in seemingly xenophobic and racist behaviour in its reports.

The Press Secretary to the Minister of MCI replied to the email on 31 October, almost 2 weeks after the email was sent.

Here is the content of that email, and my subsequent response: Read More…

Stoking hatred and ill will

The following is the content of an email I sent to several ministers on 18 October 2013.


Dear Minister,

I write to express my deep concerns about the mainstream press promoting and stoking racism and xenophobia in their reports.

On 18 October, Minister for Manpower, Tan Chuan Jin, said, in reference to complaints about discriminatory job advertisements:

“It is important to not stoke up hate and ill will as some are doing. It does no one any good.”

Indeed, over the years, especially the last few, the government has taken pains to remind and urge Singaporeans not to fan the flames of hatred, in particular through racist or xenophobic expressions, among our people.

It is therefore with great concern that we are seeing such postings in the mainstream press which the government had described as “accurate, timely, and balanced” and “professional”.

On the same day that Mr Tan urged Singaporeans “to not stoke up hate and ill will”, The New Paper carried this on its front page: Read More…

“Fair consideration” – a govt pleads


What stood out for me with regards to the Fair Consideration Framework, announced by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on 23 September, were these two lines in the ministry’s press release, attributed to Mr Tan Chuan Jin:

“The framework is not about ‘Hire Singaporeans First, or Hire Singaporeans Only’. What the government is doing is to help them get a fair opportunity.”

The same minister had said, in May, that like TAFEP, he preferred to use the “moral suasion approach to tackle the issue of discrimination at the workplace.”

Mr Tan “was quick to add that for now, the Government prefers to stick to its approach of persuading companies to change. It “is working for us”, he said, as the root cause of discrimination in Singapore is employers’ mindsets.” 

His latest about-turn seems to imply that the “moral suasion” route in fact is not working, but at the same time, he is reluctant to introduce legislation to protect Singaporean workers – and is only willing to pussyfoot around the matter by introducing instead a “framework”. One which he at the same time has to reiterate is not about “hire Singaporeans first”.

There are several things about the above two latest sentences in the MOM statement which are disturbing.

One, that the minister needed to clarify that the framework is not about hiring Singaporeans first. For all intent and purposes, the framework is indeed about hiring Singaporeans first, in fact. How else could it be? If it were not, then why even bother to go through this whole exercise?

Or is the minister saying that all he wants employers and businesses to do is for them to just “consider” Singaporeans first only? Like, you know, all you need do is to think this in your mind, the 2 weeks advert on the MOM Jobs Bank notwithstanding.

Read More…

Govt mouthpiece at it again – F1 revs up the economy!

I’ll keep it simple because it really speaks for itself. So, here we go.

This is the Straits Times front page on 19 September 2013:

st 190913 fp

There are more than a few problems with the report by Melissa Lin and Chia Yan Min but I won’t go into them now. Just the headline alone makes you squirm – you could replace the word “F1″ with say, “foreigners” as in “Foreigners rev up the economy”, and it would be true too. Or the word “exports” as in “Export revs up the economy”, or any relevant word, really. “Cats rev up the economy!” Read More…

Deplorable and contemptible statement from MHA


Her son died in prison 3 years ago under very controversial circumstances – and she has been hoping for some explanation into the truth of how he died.

As the matter is now before the courts, I shall not say too much about the case itself. However, I will give my two cents about the entirely deplorable statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 13 September 2013.

The statement was issued in response to the Writ of Summons served on the government, through the Attorney General, on 12 September, by lawyer for the family of Dinesh Raman Chinnaiah, the 21-year old who died in Changi Prison on 27 September 2010.

The writ sought aggravated damages from the government, and laid out the family’s version of the events which took place on that fateful morning in Changi Prison. The writ says that several prison officers had “intentionally assaulted” Dinesh Raman and caused his death. Read More…

Nothing epochal – only tweaks


“The most striking thing was how Singaporeans will continue to be dependent on government handouts for even basic things like housing and health care,” I told the Wall Street Journal, which asked me for my views on the Prime Minister’s National Day Rally speech.

“Singaporeans should ponder this: Why do we have to continue stretching out our hands to the government, even though we are supposed to be one of the world’s wealthiest countries, with one of the world’s highest savings rates?”

While some have apparently got carried away and praised and used superlative adjectives to describe the speech – “brilliant”, “landmark”, “epochal” – I can’t help but notice that the rally speech is not unlike the Budget speech. And that in effect, each year, we have two – what I would call – “handouts” speech.

At the Budget, the government announces an entire slew of initiatives, whereby invariably the handouts take the limelight. Increasingly, under PM Lee Hsien Loong, the National Day Rally speech is a second Budget speech of sorts as well – with him announcing handouts too. Read More…

Misusing the S’pore flag – MDA’s double standards?

This is a report in the Straits Times on 8 August 2013:


A blogger wrote about it here: “National flag dropped in Wild Rice play“.

This picture below is from a rock concert by the foreign band, The Used, held at the Hard Rock Cafe in Singapore in May 2013: Read More…


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