A little about me

I’m just a wannabe writer and observer of socio-political matters. I founded The Online Citizen in December 2006 with 3 others. I held the posts of Deputy Editor, Managing Editor, and finally Chief Editor being involved in every aspect of the website – and spending 4 1/2 years there until June 2011.

The current website I am now with is http://publichouse.sg which I started with several friends. We went online on 1 September 2011 and I am very proud of what we’ve achieved in this short period of time. I’m especially happy and grateful for the friends at PH whose passion is very much alive.

I also write for Yahoo Singapore on a weekly basis.

I consider myself extremely privileged and blessed to be able to do what I do – to meet with those at the lower end of society, and to also have the opportunity to engage those at the top as well. But my passion is in going out there, speaking to people and telling their stories. That is what I love to do above everything else.

The people I meet are the ones who keep me going and I am eternally grateful.

When my time comes to finally be called up to the Great Unknown, I would like to think that I have done my best, and that I have done it honestly, sincerely, and with a clear conscience.

One of my favourite quotes is from the Mahatma:

It applies to all things in life, really.

You can contact me at: andrew@publichouse.sg.

3 thoughts on “A little about me

  1. Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back.

    Thanks!

    Harry

  2. What you do is noble and well intentioned (and actually I personally agree with many things that you do and say), but as long as most Singaporeans don’t appreciate it, you will be a marginal person.

    I remember attending two events where Chee Soon Juan was the speaker. He was reasoned and well informed and well intentioned – and treated with the utmost hostility and contempt by Sinkies. (BTW these were not political rallies but academic events and they took place after he entered politics.)

    Let’s face it. Partisanship/ politics matters. People with interests in one side of the political spectrum will always be hostile and angry if there are things that threaten their interests. I’ve attended town hall meetings and political debates while in college in the US and spoken to lots of people from different political stripes – and over time it became obvious to me that fundamentally, political views will always differ and there will always be a high degree of partisanship precisely because there are opposing value systems or interests in the world.

    We don’t live in a world where the Roman Catholic Church (or Confucian mandarins) can impose One Value System. So disagreement, and violent disagreement, always exists.

    Frankly, if I were a rich and powerful person, I would be more than happy to see HOME disbanded (under whatever legal reason a big firm lawyer could help me formulate) and Jolovan Wham detained under ISD. It’s nothing personal – you guys threaten my interests and must be made toothless, simple as that.

    I remember attending a party several years ago where (by total coincidence) about half the attendees were civil servants of some sort (ie apart from scholarship holders, including a PA employee, an SPH employee and an SAF regular). I was surprised at how hostile they were to The Online Citizen. Because I really do not visit TOC very much (ie am not familiar with TOC), I may have missed the arguments that followed. But my impression was that the civil servants actually did not visit TOC, they did not read anything that showed up in TOC, but they were damn willing to spend a lot of time and energy opposing the existence of TOC. Someone could refer to a very mild criticism brought up on TOC (which in the first place isn’t an anti-government rant site), and the normally-mild civil servants reacted with surprising hostility. They reminded me of the Sinkies whom I’d seen bombarding Chee Soon Juan.

    Which brings me back to the references to the Church and Confucians above. In the past, they proscribed literatures (eg non-Catholic writings; Taoist writings) that were opposed to their interests. More importantly, a person who identified his interests as being congruent with Church or Confucian orthodoxy would usually dismiss ‘heretical’ writings and refuse to look at them or read them. In the 1860s, when there was a campaign in China to adopt Western sciences, a lot of Chinese academics and scholar-officials were very angry and refused to even glance at any information presented to them They did all they could do to proscribe Western scientific writings introduced to China, and even got reformers arrested and tortured.

    Why? The Confucian literati knew nothing about these subjects, that was why. These are alien and threatening. So they opposed. It wasn’t about China, or Knowledge, or Principles. It was about something that they personally felt was threatening and therefore had to be opposed ferociously.

    There are many things that are alien and threatening to Singapore’s power elite (the patrician public) and their servants aka public servants. They will always be opposed unless it becomes in their interests not to be opposed. (EG Singapore’s civil servants won’t be so pro PAP once Workers’ Party is in power because they can’t afford to make enemies with their political masters; rich bankers won’t dare publicly criticize Workers’ Party to avoid political repercussions. All of them benefit from being friendly to government, so they will always support or at least not publicly oppose the party in power)

    Until Singapore develops a democratic opposition much like the Democrats in the US, we will probably be the most right-wing developed country (in terms of conventional right wing definitions such as regressive taxation, censorship and social controls) in the world.

    I don’t believe for a minute that we can be non-partisan. I’m not a Worker’s Party supporter and I have never attended their rallies. But without a viable Political Alternative (it could even be called the Singapore National Socialist Party for all I care) that can garner 45% of the votes consistently, there will be no checks and balances in the Singapore system and it will keep reflecting the interests of the current elite.

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