Poverty simulation – nothing wrong with it

Poster from SICC website

Poster from SICC website

The reaction of some people online when news first broke that the Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) was going to hold a poverty simulation exercise for its members was one of incredulity.

“How could one even simulate poverty?”, some asked. Others were aghast at how the exercise shows the chasm between the rich and poor, so much so that poverty had to be simulated for the well-off to understand.

But let’s hold the horses. Woah!

I think first of all, do we even know what “poverty simulation” is exactly? I suspect those who criticised it within minutes of the news reporting the event were just knee-jerking their reaction on social media.

Ok, so here are some facts about the poverty simulation exercise or – I’d prefer – programme. Read More…

Recent court rulings & police shortcomings show system needs changes


In recent years, the actions of the enforcement agencies in Singapore have been called into question not just by the public, but also by the courts.

Such intervention by judges is welcome and is necessary to rein in the authorities’ sometimes over-enthusiastic application of the law.

Calls for the government to relook some of these legal provisions have been made consistently over the years, and in light of the courts’ recent decisions, it is worth looking at these again, and reiterate the need (and urgency) of putting them under the microscope of review. Read More…

Boy’s death – a police review of procedures not enough

courtThe death of a 14-year old boy now puts the question of access to lawyers for an accused at the doorstep of Parliament.

The boy, a secondary three student, had apparently committed suicide after being interviewed by the police for an alleged offence of “molestation”. That was the offence he is deemed to have committed, according to the police statement released on 1 February 2016. (See here.)

The police also said that it “will review and address” the issue of whether “to allow an appropriate adult to be present when a young person is interviewed.”

First, let us be clear about one thing: no one knows exactly why the boy took his own life. Any suggestions on the reasons are at best speculation at this point in time, given that police investigations are still ongoing; and that eventually the coroner would also have to weigh in on the matter.

So, let us hold off on the finger pointing, especially that directed at the police. It would be most unfair to lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of the police officers involved. Read More…

Thanks, Lilian; shame on you, PAP

Photo: New Paper

Photo: New Paper

Reading news reports of what transpired in Parliament the last few days has been disappointing, to say the least. And particularly so is the People’s Action Party (PAP)’s politicking over the decision by Workers’ Party candidate, Lee Lilian, not to take up the Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) seat.

PAP MPs such as Lee Bee Wah, Edwin Tong and Charles Chong, along with minister Chan Chun Sing, all cast aspersions of various kinds on the WP and Ms Lee.

I do not think it is worth repeating them here. Suffice it to say that the attacks (even if they are veiled ones) reflect badly on the perpetrators.

Here they are, casting aspersions on a lady who had stepped forward to serve her community, and had and continues to do so for 10 years now, including her two years in the highest lawmaking body in the country. Read More…

So, Yang Yin is part of this “Singaporean core”?

Yang Yin, Chinese national and Singapore PR

Yang Yin, Chinese national and Singapore PR

The issues of foreigners and foreign labour have been in the spotlight for many years, going way back to the 1990s, in fact. If you do a search on parliamentary reports or speeches, you realise that Members of Parliament way back were already raising concerns about opening the door too widely to them.

And so, it is no surprise that the issues have in fact gotten even more intense attention in recent years, especially with the influx gaining ground up until recently (at least according to what the government is claiming).

So now, because of political and public pressure, the government has decided to maintain a “two-thirds” “Singaporean core” in the economy, or workforce, according to Manpower Minister, Lim Swee Say, on Thursday. Read More…

Pity, Calvin



Calvin Cheng is an acquaintance of mine. I even had him on my Facebook “friends” list. But not anymore. I removed him after his latest Facebook posting which insinuated that the writings or work of playwright Alfian Sa’at were such a potential threat that “the Government should watch commentators” like Alfian “closely”.

He then accused Alfian of “irresponsible rhetoric”, and likened Alfian to “domestic agitators”.

Read in context, these unsubstantiated claims and their insinuations are obvious.

Many have taken Calvin Cheng to task, and I shall not go into arguing against the points in his posting.

They are clearly pure nonsense.

What I am more interested in is Calvin Cheng’s membership in the Media Literacy Council (MLC), a government-appointed outfit which advises the Government on “research, trends and developments pertaining to the Internet and media, and appropriate policy responses.” Read More…

Hanging offenders with low IQ – where is mercy?

MohammadIt was nothing but a blip in the news cycle here.

39-year old man hanged for a vicious murder of a 69-year old woman.

He had stabbed her more than 110 times during a robbery in her flat 10 years ago, in 2005.

His brother was also arrested and sentenced to death for being accomplice to the crime – but he was later found not guilty and was released.

It all looks like any other “normal” case of murder – until you realise that the man in question, Mohammad bin Kadar, has an IQ of just 76, which is below average for an ordinary person.

He had appealed his sentence but it was rejected by the appeals court.

His petition for presidential clemency was also rejected by President Tony Tan.

And so, on early Friday morning, 17 April 2015, Mohammad was finally hanged in Changi Prison. Read More…


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