Screaming “xenophobia”

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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. Continue reading “Screaming “xenophobia””

National Conversation doesn’t wanna talk

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?

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No more “light touch” for the evil Internet?

internetcookiesevilIt 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.

Two such occasions of respite occurred recently – “Online social norms need time to evolve” by ST’s Tessa Wong on 9 May 2012; and “From covert vigilantism to communal vigilance” by Carol Soon.

Tessa wrote:

“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. Continue reading “No more “light touch” for the evil Internet?”