The following is my maiden address as Secretary General, Socialist Front to the press on 29th October 2010 at 107 Rowell Road, Post Museum.
Ladies & Gentlemen, thank you for attending this morning. I am the Secretary-General of the Socialist Front. I will first address this conference on the objects and ideology of the party and our Chairman Mr. Ng Teck Siong will touch on the issues which are pertinent in the coming election, our treasurer Mr. Mansor Rahman will also say a few words.
The administration of Singapore is bound by its Constitution. The Parliament is part of government and owes its existence to the Constitution, it therefore has no authority to unilaterally disregard the Constitution or amend it without a referendum.
Article 4 of the Constitution states that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Republic of Singapore. Any laws passed by parliament which is contrary with the Constitution shall be null and void.
The Judiciary if it wants to be seen as independent must ensure that the Constitution is obeyed and upheld and it cannot adopt an attitude of nil supervision or non-interference with executive action or hide behind the argument of parliamentary supremacy in the powers of legislation.
When Singaporeans elect a party to majority in Parliament, it does not mean that they have relinquished all their rights to the ruling party. The supreme authority of running this country remains with Singaporeans. No one single person or entity should be allowed to control legislative and executive powers failing which further influence on the Judicial branch will be inevitable and the supposed guarantees of freedom and democracy will no longer exist.
Singaporeans must therefore resist any attempt to concentrate power with one party. Abuse of power will be likely if this is not prevented. Power must be divided to be checked so that citizens can be protected against abuse. This logic is also irrefutable.
Singapore has a long history of one party rule. The ruling party measures progress by economic prosperity. Singaporeans have to decide for themselves if their lives have changed for the better or worse over this period. Singapore’s economic development even if true must improve the lives of its citizens for it to have any real meaning to Singaporeans. The government must better the lives, further the aspirations and guarantee the freedom and well-being of Singaporeans.
Economic factors cannot be the only consideration of a government administering Singapore. We are a nation not a corporation. As a nation we cannot be obsessed with economic growth and expansion and neglect political and social progress otherwise problems will arise.
The current economic policies propagate indirect state control of the economy for profit and depresses the people’s wages and increases their cost of living. Singapore’s income gap has widened over the years and left unchecked will create an unstable society.
Every Singaporean will understand that with obligations of citizenship come rights of citizenship. Every Singaporean holding public office must understand that as there is recognition and reward for such office, there exists a duty to carry out your responsibilities, an obligation to serve the people and a calling for personal sacrifice owed to Singaporeans at large.
Singaporeans cannot be expected to contribute and sacrifice unilaterally, to bear the burden of citizenship and to have no slice of the rewards of a country well run. This is unfair and unreasonable – an administration continuing to ignore the rights of the people can only do more harm to itself than it thinks.
This is where the ruling party has brought us. Singaporeans will have to decide where they wish to go.
Objectives of the Socialist Front
- to further the fundamental rights and liberties of Singaporeans;
- to contest the Parliamentary Elections and establish a socialist government for the benefit of Singaporeans;
- to encourage ownership and active participation of Singaporeans in the affairs and politics of the country;
- to make Singapore a home for all Singaporeans based on the socialism model;
- to do all ancillary and related acts which espouse and promote the aforesaid objectives.
The Socialist Ideology
Socialism believes in setting economic and political policies for the good of the common people.
Socialism believes in the principle of “From each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution”.
Socialism believes in providing equal opportunities to all citizens to allow them to maximize their fullest potential. Socialism will further and not restrict the freedom and dreams of the common people.
A socialist government will put the basic welfare of Singapore citizens first before everything else.
A socialist government will take control of key industries within Singapore’s economy by nationalizing and running such industries and essential services for the benefit of the Singaporean people. The key industries and essential services that will be nationalized will include: defence and security, food and agriculture, utilities, transportation, hospitalization and medical services, education, land use and housing.
A socialist government shall strive to raise the quality of life of the average Singaporean.
A socialist government will restrain the unbridled greed of capitalism and prevent monopolization of industries by any party, individual or corporation for profit and ensure sustainable growth of the country.
A socialist government will regulate the economy and the essential industries by legislation and allow true competition to surface to control prices and excessive profiteering.
A socialist government will cut all unnecessary expenditure and wastage and remove all inefficient and unnecessary tax structures and regimes that impede economic growth.
A socialist government will restore the security of government officials and the civil service in line with the ideals of public service.
A socialist government will uplift all levels of society by making basic essentials available to all at affordable prices thereby reducing fear, materialism and greed amongst all and liberate the people to pursue their dreams.
A socialist government will free the Singaporean people to build charitable, social, religious, communal, and political power structures that develop leadership at all levels and sectors and deepen and strengthen the Singaporean Society.
A socialist government will liberate and empower Singaporeans to institutionalize democracy so that Singapore remains forever sovereign and free.
This is our promise to the people of Singapore.
The symbol of the Socialist Front – The Single Five-pointed Red Star
The meaning of the Five-Pointed Star
Each of the five points on the star refers to the ideals of:
The meaning of the colour red
The colour red symbolizes the socialist ideology or socialism.
The meaning of the Single Star
The single-minded objective of the party to achieve the above through national unity
The meaning of the White Background
Purity, transparency, accountability, integrity, honesty, the rule of law
Honey, Chocolate, Cooky, Goobne Chicken, Naeng Myun, A – Solution?
I was getting too fat and so i put myself on diet. As i watched the calories, my thoughts wandered to fried chicken, chocolate, honey and cooky and naeng myun [cold korean buckwheat noodles]. As the diet was slow to take effect, i began to question whether I was depriving myself for nothing and whether the diet was A-Solution?
In life, we choose what we eat, who we befriend, the goals we seek, what path we set for ourselves. As always, consequences arise from the decisions that we make. The effects flowing therefrom neither immediately obvious nor necessarily good or bad but they are certainly there.
If I choose to have huge steak for dinner, i run the risk of clogging my arteries. If i choose to indulge myself with fried chicken, I run the risk of a bout of heatiness. If i choose to deny myself, i feel the pangs of hunger and lack. If i endure the hunger, i might get slimmer. I choose a fancy sportbike as transport, can i complain of sore back and wrists on a daily basis?
If i choose to cling on so tightly, my pain of loss will be so much more unbearable. If i choose a less trodden and difficult path, it is inevitable that the journey will be lonely but destination will be no less sweet .
In short, our actions and decisions will also set off a reaction, however minute, to set the stage that eventually will come. And when we meet the stage that we set for ourselves, we should know where it came from.
Talking about stages, the stage was set by Sones for So Nyuh Shi Dae recently on 23rd October 2010.
23rd October 2010 was So Nyuh Shi Day – the day when So Nyuh Shi Dae (SNSD) [Girls' Generation] came to Singapore.
The newspaper reports on 25th October 2010 were all aplomb with acknowledgement that the loudest cheers and applause went to So Nyuh Shi Dae. The reporters, however, might not have perceived the reasons for SNSD’s popularity correctly. Some wrote that the loud cheers were due to the short and dark blue sailorette outfit which emphasised the long slim legs and high heels. According to one, SNSD’s songs were of secondary importance and the girls even went off key.
This to me was not an accurate description of what had happened. My vicarious experience of the concert obtained from observing youtube uploads and conversations with eyewitnesses corroborate my belief that the girls performed impeccably and that overzealous fans who could not stop cheering completely drowned out Seo Hyun and Jessica’s voices when they tried to address the crowd.
Why that kind of popularity and adulation for 9 Korean Girls singing merely 4 songs in a foreign land? How can some 9 dancing girls become so popular?
To me, SNSD is the symbolic example of how a conducive environment and culture + potential + talent + hard training + proper planning = outstanding results. The SNSD story is in short inspirational.
The night of 23rd October 2010 saw me languishing at home when SNSD was at the Expo Singapore Hall 2 less than 3km away. I did not have any right to complain. I had chosen to not camp out overnight for a concert ticket and deservingly i had to be excluded. There was no chance i can get my SNSD poster or album autographed. As i had no cause for complaint as the plight was my own choosing, A – Solution was for me to indulge myself with Honey, Chocolate, Cooky, Chicken, Naeng Myun.
The good thing to come out of the indulgence is the inspiration for yet another blog posting
Contrary to what some might expect, Honey, Chocolate, Cooky, Chicken, and Naeng Myun referred to here are not food. These are in fact the titles / sponsors of SNSD songs.
Honey (a.k.a Perfect For You) is an early SNSD song released in 2007.
Chocolate Love is an SNSD song sponsored by Samsung and used to promote Samsung mobile phones.
Cooky is an SNSD song and a cover of Hey Mickey sponsored by LG and is used to promote LG Cyon phones.
Goobne Chicken is a Korean restaurant chain serving fried chix and had adopted SNSD as its mascot or should i say SNSD adopted Goobne Chicken as its restaurant. Either way it seems to some people that Goobne Chicken = SNSD.
Naeng Myun i think is a song sponsored by some noodle brand delivered extremely well by SNSD Jessica and Park Myung Soo.
A-Solution is a brand of cosmetics with endorsed by SNSD Taeyeon.
This is by far my 3rd tribute to SNSD and an upcoming blog post likely titled the “So Nyuh Shi Dae Phenomena” is in the works. If this goes on, i just might get inspired enough to write poetry once again.
As the saying goes in one peculiar song: “One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble.”
Question: Now what does seven nights in Swatow, China do to an average Teochew Singaporean?
Answer: It changes his view of China.
That was what happened to me.
Swatow is the key county and city in the teochew area [Chaoshan district] of Guangzhou Province, People’s Republic of China. It is also where thearea’s only small airport is located.To get to Swatow, I had to take a flight to GuangZhou Baiyun Airport and a domestic transit flight to Swatow Airport.
The first thing i noticed about Swatow airport is that it is small. It is also not only small, it also shares the runways with a small People’s Liberation Air Force airbase. The military planes i saw were clearly fighter aircraft with camouflage markings and there were also hardened and camouflaged bunkers for the planes.
Before i accepted a client/friend’s invitation to visit Swatow China, i had thought that Swatow was some idyllic village with an emphasis on either cycling, simple agriculture and fishfarming or fishing. I had thought so because i myself grew up in a Kampong in Changi, Singapore and a bicycle shop in Joo Chiat, i had found out that my ideas of where my ancestors came from were very much influenced by the imagination fuelled by childhood memories.
Before i left for China, another friend warned me that China was mighty busy busy and that there would be people everywhere and that the place would be very crowded, i would be more tired out by the jostling with the crowded than i was jostling with the crowd in Singapore.
However, when i reached Chaoshan [ChaoZhou plus Shantou(Swatow) and others], what struck me was that Swatow is not actually crowded. Each of the counties might have a population much bigger than Singapore’s but it is certainly not as crowded as Singapore.
Chaoshan has a road traffic system that is nothing short of unnerving for the obedient Singaporean. Over here there are no traffic rules it seems, when you approach a junction, everyone just starts turning or going the way they want, nobody acutally stops. The key is that you just have to not go too fast and everythingwould sort itself out by way of your reflexes and control and the other road users’ reflexes and control.
The bulk of ChaoShan’s vehicle population is a curious mishmesh of old Suzuki bikes and Honda scooters and copies of the same, most are well-worn and dusty but there is certainly no doubt that they serve theirmasters and their purposes well. The riders do not wear any helmets. They very often carry more than two persons per bike. I have seen toddlers in sandwiched between their riding parent and the handlebar. I have seen bikes carry up to 3 adults or 5 children at one go.
There are also numerous modified vehicles adapted for further transportaton, and bulk freight use. Large numbers of bikes and scooters and modified bikes and tractors. You have to see the contraptions to appreciate the ingenuinity of the people who modified them.
I have eaten a plate of dumplings for RMB5 [In Singapore something like that would have cost SGD5/-], A soup for RMB6. I am also being pampered by my client in being brought to various restaurants and treated to all sorts of teochew delights. I have been personally responsible for the deaths of several fish, frogs and fowl which were slaughtered simply because I agreed to step inside some restaurant.
The people are friendly, hospitable and unselfish and simple folk who go about their daily chores. No one harasses or accosts you on the street simply because you are not a local. One of my bosses’ employees took me out for breakfast on a scooter yes without helmets. at the roadside stalls, parking is free, the police do not bother about where you park. There are no traffic wardens. I get the impression that people are generally poor. Average worker takes home about RMB1000 per month or less but that is enough to cover their living expenses. Though the impression is that the place is thoroughly 3rd world and the people are generally poor, they do not seem to be unhappy, in need or destitute unlike some people in Singapore. I saw not a single beggar or homeless person in my trip here so far.
I am brought out on many day trips about the various counties and i made a trip to a part of Tenghai which could have been my ancestral hometown if identified correctly. Therefore other than getting fat from all the good food in Chaoshan, I also receive daily lessons on the use of Chanshan language or teochew dialect. I have learnt several things which i can bring home.
ChaoShan is a huge district many times of Singapore. People can buy a new scooter for several thousand RMB. Choose from the list of availablelicence plate numbers without any extra cost. The people do not seem to be taxed much or the place seem overcrowded and everything seems to work.
The title of this post is actually incorrect. I slotted to spend 8 nights in Chaoshan. So far its just the 5th night, and i am getting impressed.