His life is in the hands of a few men

Vui Kong's family kneeling in front of the Istana to plead for mercy

Many Singaporeans have been campaigning to save the life of Yong Vui Kong. His story, the court trials and appeals – both to the Court of Appeal and the President – have been reported and documented. You can read about these here.

Appeals and pleas have been made to the authorities, namely the government and the president, by Vui Kong’s family, friends, supporters and especially by Mr M Ravi, Vui Kong’s lawyer. Ravi, who is also a good friend of mine and one whom I am truly proud of, has fought Vui Kong’s case for some 3 years now. Continue reading “His life is in the hands of a few men”

Moving beyond the fear

In his book, “Hard Truths – to keep Singapore going”, former prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, was asked what he thought Muslims “needed to do to integrate.”  (“Hard Truths”, Page 229.)

Mr Lee replied: “Be less strict on Islamic observances and say, ‘Okay, I’ll eat with you’.”

The Straits Times reporter who raised the question, Ms Zuraidah Ibrahim, followed up with: “But there are other ways to integrate without sharing a meal, surely?” Continue reading “Moving beyond the fear”

The stories we tell… so far

One of the things we set out to do at http://publichouse.sg was to tell stories of Singaporeans who are doing their bit in making their community – and perhaps their country – better. People who give of their time and effort in lending a hand to those in need, and stories of those who themselves are in need. I am glad and proud that we have done this through the stories that we have told so far.

Here’re some of these, in no particular sequence of importance, for they all are:

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The little Home fighting for its life

Biddy Low

Back in the 1960s, Mr Then’s mother, Madam Lee Ah Mooi, took it upon herself to care for the destitute in her neighbourhood. Most of them were Samsui women and ah mas, labourers and/or celibate women who found themselves alone with nary a cent to their name in their old age. Not content with sending them to relevant authorities for aid, she began housing them in her own home and later rented a house in Jalan Kayu which for 13 years was the place where many spent their last remaining days, sheltered and well-cared for.

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S$1.87 per hour

Picture from: http://www.inter-asia.org

“Millions of men, women and children around the world are forced to lead lives as slaves. Although this exploitation is often not called slavery, the conditions are the same. People are sold like objects, forced to work for little or no pay and are at the mercy of their ’employers’.” – Anti-Slavery.Org.

In Singapore, a bustling, modern city in an ever-hurried pace to the top of nowhere, cheap labour is the ticket to get there, wherever that is. In the last 20 years and in the last 5 to 10 especially, the emergence of spanking new buildings, roads, highways, shopping malls, condominiums, have sprung up like mushrooms after the rain.  Continue reading “S$1.87 per hour”

And then the sun came through the trees

The picture above reminds me of the time in January 2010 when I took a walk at Sembawang Park. I’d moved there to live with some homeless people in a shelter (which I did for some 3 months). The home was conveniently located just across the park.

The very first morning there, I woke up early and decided to explore my new environment. I crossed the road to the path which leads up to the park. I had taken about 10 steps when I turned my head up – and froze. I had never been awed by the sight of Nature as I was that morning. Continue reading “And then the sun came through the trees”

A mother’s love does not require rest

“Motherhood has a very humanizing effect.  Everything gets reduced to essentials.”  ~Meryl Streep

I was having my usual cuppa at the coffeeshop this morning. It was raining, the ground was wet and people were more careful than usual, not unexpectedly, of course, with every step they take.

I was on my way home, having had my fill of carrot cake and a hot cup of coffee, when I saw this woman in front of me:

As you can see, she’s got both hands full. She is, I gather, about 60-years old. On one arm, she had 5 plastic bags of stuff; on the other, another 4 packages. She was apparently returning home after having done her shopping at the wet market nearby and the coffeeshop.  Continue reading “A mother’s love does not require rest”

Don’t rape. Full stop.

My two cents on SlutWalk and victim-blaming

The recent SlutWalk event in Singapore has triggered arguments on both sides – those who oppose it and those who support it. On one side, we have those who want women to, basically, take responsibility for the way they dress, how they behave, etc. This borders on saying women who get raped or sexually assaulted have themselves to blame because of the way they dress, for getting drunk or for going out with strangers, among many other reasons proffered.

One such opponent of SlutWalk even demands “academic studies” and “scholarly” proof to show that there is a victim-blaming culture in Singapore, at least. Apparently, he fails to understand the nature of such assaults, and the psychological impact and confusion faced by victims who, more often than not – and aided by certain legislations in law which prevents them from reporting such violence, let alone subject themselves to “academic” or “scholarly” studies which the writer demands as proof – are too frightened or terrified, or too ashamed to step forth.

Continue reading “Don’t rape. Full stop.”