Looks like the CPIB did the trick. More accurately, the mention of the “CPIB” did the trick.
The childish bickering between the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the Workers’ Party (WP) was becoming a national embarrassment. It was not unlike quarrelling children at a playground pointing fingers and making funny faces at each other.
So, it was good that Ms Lim stopped the unbecoming behaviour in its aimless track when she challenged the PAP to report the WP to the CPIB for any transgressions the PAP might think the WP was guilty of. The PAP has since not said a word in reply. In fact, the PAP has not responded at all. Read More…
In April, the Government accused Mr Nizam Ismail, the former chairman of the Association of Muslim Professionals, of allegedly “[pushing] for racial politics”.
In a letter to the Straits Times forum page, Mr Ho Ka Wei, the Director of Corporate Communications, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), explained the danger in this:
“If any ethnic community were to organise itself politically, other communities would respond in kind. This would pull our different communities apart and destroy our racial harmony.” Read More…
The last time I saw so many police officers at a Hong Lim Park event must have been some time back involving the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). You know how paranoid the police are when it comes to the SDP. So I was a little surprised to see them turn up in numbers – I counted at least 20 of them, in plainclothes – at Speakers’ Corner on Sunday where Jolovan Wham had organised a solidarity with M’sians event. The only other speaker besides Jolovan was Alfian Sa’at. Read More…
“What is clear from the comments made from Nizam is his wish to be more politically-active. The government considers AMP as an important Malay/Muslim self-help group like Mendaki, and offers assistance to help AMP handle social and education issues in our community. However, this assistance should not be used to aid political activities or self-help groups to carry out political agendas.” (Yahoo Singapore)
What about the president of the Young Sikh Association (YSA), Mr Malminderjit Singh? The YSA also receives funding from the Government. Yet, Mr Singh is a PAP member, in fact he was elected Chairman to the PAP Policy Forum last year, 2012.
News agency AFP asked me for a comment for its report on the demands by the Attorney General for several websites and Facebook pages to remove certain postings and comments. The AG made the demands because it felt that such comments – about the judgement of 25 months jail for a Chinese national who had hijacked a taxi and subsequently killed a cleaner in an accident – would “pose a real risk that public confidence in the administration of justice would be undermined.”
My comments to AFP, which it subsequently published in its report, were:
“Our public institutions and public officials should accept and allow a wider threshold for criticisms from the public, including those online.”
All these reports carried the AFp’s original headline too: “Singapore judiciary demands apology for web backlash“.
They all also carried the comments I made about public institutions and public officials. Read More…
When I first read this article by Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, I thought it was a rather badly written article. I still do.
What is (un)surprising is that the Straits Times finds such bad writing worthy of publication.
Incidentally, The Economist recently panned Mahbubani’s latest book, the grand-sounding “The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World”. Unfortunately, The Economist had this to say about the book [emphasis mine]:
But he provides few reasons to believe that the world will now follow his prescriptions—such as an overhaul of the United Nations—desirable though many of them may be. It hardly helps that Mr Mahbubani can be sloppy with facts. In arguing that it was Asian “engagement” as opposed to Western sanctions that produced reform in Myanmar, for example, he keeps Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest a year longer than the Burmese authorities did. He is also guilty of argument by non sequitur. He suggests that allegations of American torture invalidate American reservations about academic freedom in Singapore. And he can be cavalier with evidence. The claim that China’s government began to worry about its environment only after warnings from the United Nations Development Programme is attributed to a sole, anonymous “Chinese policymaker”.
Much of the book reads as a continuation of disparate arguments Mr Mahbubani has made over many years in his fulminations against the shortcomings of Western political leadership. The theme of “convergence” and his optimistic take on it are not enough to turn a disjointed flotilla of a book into an ocean-liner. [Economist]
I was going to write a rebuttal to his Straits Times article but then I thought, why bother with a pretentious article which doesn’t really say anything worthwhile.
Instead, I point you to two articles by New Nation – that website which promises “50% real news”.
Kishore wants you to respond to his article and – get this – the Straits Times will “pick 10 readers to get tickets to a dialogue between Kishore Mahbubani and National University of Singapore law faculty dean Simon Chesterman on Mr Mahbubani’s latest book.”
Well, good luck to you.
The article in question: Read More…
“Although the official abolishment of Apartheid [in South Africa] occurred in 1990 with repeal of the last of the remaining Apartheid laws, the end of Apartheid is widely regarded as arising from the 1994 democratic general elections.” (Wikipedia)
One of the most poignant symbols of apartheid in South Africa were the townships, part of a system of racial segregation enforced through legislation. The non-white population had to be segregated from the whites.
The word “township” was used pejoratively during that period which lasted from 1948 till 1994. It continues to be a reminder of that era of blatant state-sanctioned racism. Read More…
From the People’s Action Party (PAP) to the Workers’ Party (WP), from the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) to the National Solidarity Party (NSP), from the Reform Party (RP) to even the smaller Singapore Justice Party (SJP), virtually all the major political parties subscribe to the policy, belief or idea of “Singaporeans first”. Each has put this in public statements from their respective parties the last few years. And so have the NTUC, presidential candidates Tan Cheng Bock and now-president Tony Tan. All agree that Singaporeans should come first. [See below.]
Gilbert Goh, founder of support site for the unemployed, transitioning.org, has championed the same call – for a Singaporean-First Singapore. His latest initiative saw some 5,000 people supporting such a call at Hong Lim Park in February, following the Government’s release of the population White Paper which, among other things, included a “planning scenario” of a population of 6.9 million people in 2030. Read More…
With all the talk and publicity about the National Conversation the last few months, I thought it was rather curious that no news reports (and no reporters, apparently) had asked a pertinent question of the committee – how much has been set aside as budget for the one-year endeavour.
So, seeing how the National Conversation is all about being honest, upfront and transparent about what we want Singapore to be in 2030, in that same spirit, I wrote to the secretariat to enquire about the sum of funding set aside for it.
My original email to the National Conversation committee/secretariat was sent on 18 December 2012.
On 26 December, “Tim” from the Secretariat replied to say that he will get back to me “shortly with a response”.
Having heard nothing from him the next one week, I emailed him again on 2 January 2013.
More than a month passed and I still hadn’t heard from him. So on 15 February, I sent him another email.
And again, there has been total silence.
I’d thought that if I go through the “proper channels” that I would be given answers to my query (as indeed “Tim” promised).
But seriously, taxpayers have a right to know how much is being set aside for the National Conversation, a one-year endeavour. Sadly, though, more than 2 months after my original email and with 2 reminders, all that I have received is total silence.
This doesn’t really inspire confidence in the entire project. Not when it looks like you either have something to hide, or you do not keep to your promise of replying, or even simple basic courtesy, let alone providing answers to queries.
Does anyone know how much its budget is?
It is not often that you read articles defending – or at least not demonising – the Internet, and netizens or the blogosphere, in particular – in the mainstream media. But when you do, these articles come as respite from the incessant nonsensical drone from some ministers (including the prime minister) and their supporters like the Straits Times’ chief editor, Warren Fernandez.
“Giving netizens latitude and time to do it on their own is important as online discourse is still evolving and finding its equilibrium. One example is the number of blogs and netizens that have popped up in recent years to express moderate views or support for the Government. The variety of voices has helped even the anti-Government tilt in online discourse.”
Carol cited the recent incident of the two brothers who were killed in a road accident in Tampines to show that netizens do know when the line is crossed. Read More…
It’s 10 February. It’s the first day of the Lunar New Year. It is also the 61st birthday of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong – the man whose job I would not want.
The parliamentary debate on the White Paper on Population has just concluded. The House has given its approval and the government will proceed as indicated by the Paper, in spite of the public protests against it.
Be that as it may, there are two instances during the past week which makes me feel somewhat sorry for the prime minister.
The first was during his speech which he made on the last day of the parliamentary debate. PM Lee, at one point, held back his emotions when trying to explain to Singaporeans how they are at the heart of government policies. It is a point which several other ministers tried to make during the week. And from the PM’s emotional explanation, one can tell that perhaps the government feels a certain sense of desperation that S’poreans must believe what it is saying. Read More…
So, the White Paper has been approved – overwhelmingly – by Parliament. No surprises there. There is rumour, however, that PAP MP Inderjit Singh, who spoke up against the White Paper, absented himself during the vote in the House. I should add that this is unsubstantiated and unconfirmed rumour.
UPDATE: The Straits Times of 9 February 2013 confirmed that Mr Singh did not cast his vote:
Anyway, the sadness of this whole process this past week is that in spite of the huge and very heartfelt outcry from Singaporeans against the White Paper, there is really nothing anyone can do about it – not your opposition MPs, not your PAP MPs who have to vote according to the party whip no matter what they may think of the paper.
The Cabinet - 17 men and 1 woman – decides on it and PAP MPs, who make up the majority in the House, will have to toe the party line and vote according to what the Cabinet dictates. Read More…
“As for childcare centres, Mr Teo said these will be difficult to facilitate as they are no longer the representatives for the area.” – Channel Newsasia, 5 February 2013.
The above comment is made by Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Mayor, North East District – just as Parliament is debating the matter of our future population and how the welfare of Singaporeans are at the core of our government’s policies.
Mr Teo’s remarks also come on the same day that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu said “marriage and parenthood is central to maintaining a strong Singaporean core.” (See here.) One wonders why it would be “difficult to facilitate” the establishment of childcare centres in Punggol East, since the welfare and well-being of our children should not be subject to the political winds. Read More…
Naturally, the White Paper on population – grandly titled “A Sustainable Population For A Dynamic Singapore” – is the talk of the town. The numbers “6” and “9” have never been so closely scrutinized as they are at the moment. The White Paper speaks of grand ideas and even bigger hopes – of the “three pillars” which will be the foundations of the aspiration in the Paper’s title; it speaks of “maintaining a strong Singaporean core”; of a “high quality living environment” and so on.
However, the Paper comes across as bureaucratic speak, with its customary charts and even smiling faces of children. [It’s a little strange to see such pictures in what was expected to be a highly-technocratic piece of document.] The Paper, with all its grand ideas, fails to inspire. Instead it has stirred up an entirely different reaction from the public, a reaction not unlike a swarm of bees awaken unceremoniously from its sleep. Read More…