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Opposition – Where To? Forum Organised by the Singapore Democratic Party on 7th February 2009 at Copthorne Orchid Hotel

Opposition – Where To? PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 26 January 2009
Singapore Democrats

In an age of democratic change, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong continues to insist that a one-party system is good for Singapore. This is regardless of what the opposition and Singaporeans at large think and want.

But even as we debate on whether such a one-party state is desirable for this country, what are opposition parties doing to build confidence among the electorate for support? Is greater Opposition unity and cooperation a necessary, or even important, factor in attracting votes? Or is the authoritarian system making elections in Singapore a non-starter?

Also does civil society and the blogging community have a role to play in helping to develop a multi-party system? Given the state of politics here, is it desirable for the political opposition and civil society to work closer together to promote democracy? If so, in what ways?

These are important questions that will be tackled at a public forum organised by the Singapore Democrats entitled Opposition – Where To?:

Date: 7 Feb 09, Saturday
: 2-6 pm
: Aerides Room, Copthorne Orchid Hotel, 214 Dunearn Road
: Free

We are honoured to have the following party and civil society leaders as panel speakers:

1. Desmond Lim, Secretary-General, Singapore Democratic Alliance
2. Ng Teck Siong, Chairman, Reform Party
3. Sin Kek Tong, Chariman, Singapore People’s Party
4. Sebastian Teo, President, National Solidarity Party
5. Gandhi Ambalam, Chairman, Singapore Democratic Party

Representing civil society are:

1. Chia Ti Lik, blogger and activist
2. Mohd Jufrie, activist and former election candidate
3. Ng E-jay, blogger and activist
4. Tan Kin Lian, blogger and financial activist
5. Seelan Palay, blogger and activist

Was asked to speak at this event. I have agreed to do so, hopefully i won’t disappoint and hopefully i won’t break the rostrum in anger. 🙂


January 29, 2009 Posted by | Politics | 2 Comments

President Barack Obama, Lunar Ox Year, Pests And Pestilence, Silver Bullets, the Singapore Budget and Utter Rubbish

This would be the 4th Ox year i am experiencing in my life. Incidentally, i am born in the year of the Ox. This puts me squarely at 36 years of age. Incidentally, i note that President Barack Obama is also an Ox.

President Obama delivered a great inauguration speech. I was too tired to watch the telecast live but i managed to read the text of his speech. His words held hope and promise and of standing by lofty principles. It brought tears to my eyes.

The text of Obama’s speech was essentially a brilliantly eloquent distillation of the American current situation, her history, her psyche, her hopes and dreams. In this i am truly comforted and convinced that the system of political competition and democratic selection in the United States does in fact deliver some of the best men into public office. President Obama did just that straight into the Oval Office. He froze the wages of public officers in his administration earning above USD100,000  [Now…. was it annually or monthly? :)] telling them that Public Service is a privilege. I cannot say the same of Singapore. 🙂

Contrast these with our shameless PAP administration here which is firstly shameless to reward itself with the world’s highest salaries for public office. Furthermore, it is only with this downturn do we see how much the ministers are making off with. With announcements of the pittance that they are cutting from their salaries, we can now see that they have previously rewarded themselves with many many months of bonuses of the obscene amounts. Granted that there might have been arguable performance indicators used in the assessment 🙂 BUT one can never escape from the fact that public service being public service, returns, rewards and remuneration should never be the motivating factor.

Our ministers and civil servants should hang their heads in shame when they face the Singaporean people for they never understood the meaning of public service.

At my last count, we have as many as 31 ministers in our hopelessly bloated cabinet. The current plan under the much boasted budget for the recession hit Singapore ….. is to dip into its reserves.

How come no one has ever thought of cutting the salaries of the MPs and the ministers and elite civil servants to 10% of their original amounts?

Imagine the amount of money Singapore would save ….. i guess dipping into the reserves would not be necessary if such biting of the bullet was done. In fact i would be confident that not only would public respect and confidence would rise in the Government, the self-esteem of our leaders would rise as well.

Have they ever wondered what the people mutter about them under their breath for the manner and magnitude in which they have chosen to reward themselves?

In any event, I would see no cause for complaint, this is because the PM, SM, MM and our Nathan would still be drawing roughly $300-$400k annually which itself translates to S$30,000 per month or thereabouts – something that exceeds us “lesser mortals” by an order of 10.

Such a situation would see Tan Yong Soon spending roughly just $5000 on a cooking class. Likewise i cannot see any reason for him to complain in such a situation because as it is there are many people who would not even pay $50 to learn cooking at the People’s Association’s community centres.

What utter rubbish would  Charles Chong regurgitate in such a situation? 🙂

You keep hearing the comments about the budget that even though it put Singapore into a deficit that would draw upon S$5.9 billion of our reserves [if any are left] would not pull Singapore out of the recession. The recovery of Singapore is still dependent on a global recovery.

So what are they in fact telling us? “We cant solve the problem, we can only hope for the world situation to improve.” 🙂

I could be sympathetic and be kind to our ministers if they were not so high handed, arrogant and highly paid in the first place but as it is, they still remain the highest paid in the world.

I can put 31 Bangaladeshi construction workers together, give them cheap liquor and coca cola, several dice and packs of playing cards, I bet they can come up with something better.

Unlike the Wild Wild West where the Lone Ranger would come on a white charger, armed with a two silver plated pistols and silver bullets to solve the problems of the day, Kate Beckinsale in Underworld and our vampire killing hero in Blade could trade silver bullets with their adversaries to prove their Supremacy over the latter, the situation in Singapore is very much different, we keep hearing our leaders and mainstream media say that there is no silver bullet in this problem here.

This basically means, our self-touted heroes and self-glorifying, self-sacrificing reluctant politicians have no clue at all of how to solve our economic problems.

Singapore’s worst ever economic downturn has exposed the PAP to be nothing more than Pests And Pestilence.

In the ideal situation, each Minister for all that he is worth should be empowered a little more just like Kate Beckinsale, the Lone Ranger and Blade to solve the problems of the day.

Someone should T-Loan 31 Sig Sauer P226 pistols from the Ministry of Defence, indent 31 bullets and have them silver plated, load a bullet each into each pistol and arm each of our Ministers for their cabinet meetings with the instruction not to hesitate to use the silver bullet to solve the problem.

During this Lunar New Year, the prevalence of pests and pestilence will no doubt prevent many from enjoying their new year goodies in peace.

As for me, with regards to dealing with pests like bloodsucking mosquitoes, irritating houseflies, disease spreading vermin, usually a shot of pesticide should suffice. 🙂

However, come to think of it, having sworn to adhere to the principles of non-violence, i might not even be able to play a part in the same 🙂

January 25, 2009 Posted by | Politics | 5 Comments

Irrefutable proof of overpaid and underworked Leaders and Civil Servants :)

To make this easier to read i have reduced this post to point form.

1. Singapore is in deep deep deep  shit

2. Our leaders are the world’s highest paid and also our civil servants are just as highly paid

3. MP Seng Han Thong get burnt for whatever reason

4. Civil Servant Tan Yong Soon  spends $46.5K on a culinary lesson, people get upset

5. MP Charles Chong who speaks without thinking says lesser mortals are jealous of Tan Yong Soon

6. SM Goh reveals that PM and Finance Minister want to dip into the reserves to ride out the recession.

Have they ever wondered what how much money would Singapore save if their salaries were cut by 90% 🙂 God knows.

January 21, 2009 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

We must stop them at all costs. This cannot carry on :)

That is essentially what Wong Kan Seng said to the Straits Times over last weekend.

I take the words of Wong Kan Seng to be intended to dissuade people from challenging the administration. Rightly, it ought to be so since the measures he touted were clearly aimed at increasing the grip of the PAP on our little island.

The message might also be directed towards motivating the demoralised members of the Home Team. The message speaks of new laws and powers to be granted to them to be used to stifle political dissent. It also touches on new challenges which they would have to face.

Wong Kan Seng is however missing the point. Morale will never be high when the priorities are wrong. When service in the Home Team is aimed at stifling democratic movements, this essentially mean a betrayal of the nation for the fruits dispensed by a despotic government. The Home Team members  will have to face their own consciences and the challenges when they do so.

I tumbled out of my sofa laughing till my sides ached. I would have thought that the Straits Times would have chosen a nicer way to screw him than to use a picture which revealed a worried look together with such an article.

If the minister in charge fails to realise, his attempts at controlling civil and political space will put the entire administration in bad light. I sincerely hope that he has obtained the agreement of his comrades before he opened his mouth. This is because despite all the fanfare and pomposity, the speech betrays a deep seated fear within the administration.

Fear of greater dissent, fear of political expression, fear of civil disobedience.

Fear is natural. As Yoda would say, “Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering.”

From the face of Wong Kan Seng, it is evident of some degree of suffering. The suffering comes from the ignorance of the way things are.

Stifle a people long enough and they will eventually make you pay (not monetarily).

Wong Kan Seng thinks that non-violent action is bad. I would suggest that he trot over to SGH’s ICU unit and ask the burnt Seng Han Thong for his opinion on whether non-violent action is a good idea and whether it should be encouraged.

For this, I am sure Mr. Seng and his family will have much to say to Wong Kan Seng. 🙂

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Lessons from the Singapore Flyer, Seng Han Thong and our MOM Protestors [PRC & Singaporean]

The commencement of 2009 brought about a few surprises. And a few lessons too! 🙂

Last Friday saw me in an accident that sent me flying through the air. Nursing an injury from my first traffic accident, i also found out that it is not easy typing with just one hand.

Over the end of the year and the New Year, we also had a much touted Singapore flyer which not only failed to impress, it failed to work properly. In as much as the physical operation of the flyer could teach us, the lesson we must all draw from its failure is that what goes up must come down :). True enough, critics might say that, it is precisely that the flyer stopped operation that those at the top were stuck and could not come down. However, one should never forget the fact that the need to abseil to the rescue did not put the flyer in good light. It basically meant, if you resist nature, the high fliers will eventually have to come down to earth – unceremoniously.

On Sunday, we had PAPpy MP for Yio Chu Kang SMC Seng Han Thong attacked for the second time in his present term of office.

With regard to Seng Han Thong’s current plight, what lessons should we draw from this?

A close friend remarked that lightning should not strike twice on the same head. I agreed that it ought to be true.

However, when lightning does in fact strike twice on the same head – we inevitably question – why must it be him? Several questions in fact quickly come to mind:-

1. Did Seng Han Thong’s tenure so offend so many people so that he deserved to be attacked? Perhaps instead of trying to play up the alleged fact that the assailant was an IMH case, should not Seng and his PAP reflect a bit on their actions to see if they had in fact caused this second attack to occur?

2. If an MP was attacked once, you could say it was an isolated incident. If it was twice on the same MP, either Seng has to bear part of the blame or his PAPpy masters have to do so.

Now, now, please don’t misunderstand me, i am not using this perfect opportunity to run down the PAP. I have merely a foreboding of doom. With the Singaporeans’ lives made ever worse year by year by this useless government, it is no wonder anger would swell from the ground. AND Anger unresolved can explode. How often do we hear our PAPpy MPs complain that their hands are tied in the respective areas that the people grouse about. Do we ever wonder who tied those poor hands of the MPs? 🙂 I would say its the senior management of the Party 🙂

Therefore, it is apt to say that, if anything, part or all of the responsibility has to fall on Seng’s esteemed party leaders. 🙂 AND No amount of well wishing from his PAP colleagues can assuage the fried skin and burnt hair especially so when there is absolutely no remorse and self-reflection coming from the incident.

The PAP leadership in pretending that it still has the support of the people will tell its MPs that this was an isolated incident, the assailant is a mental case and they have to remain accessible to the public in discharging their public duties etc etc etc is actually putting its MPs at risk. The PAP’s shit that is being dished out to the nation as a whole will inevitably expose its MPs to the dangers of the world. Perhaps the PAP does in fact feel that its MPs are placed under acceptable risk since they are being paid so much, it is only fair that they be made to carry some burden for the party.

Perhaps also, if the PAP does not relieve Seng Han Thong of his duties and seat and allow his prompt resignation from Parliament and hold a prompt by-election in Seng’s Honour, the PAP actually expects poor Mr Seng to carry the cross of his parliamentarian undertaking to baptism. And it is a baptism of fire indeed.

I surmise from Media reports is that the PAP has used the opportunity to glorify itself again and is totally unsympathetic towards the pains of Mr Seng and his family. I understand that a number of ministers have granted interviews and made comments on the issue and yet the family of Mr. Seng has declined to be interviewed.  This is understandable, for I verily believe that the anger they have at the PAP for endangering its MPs in such a manner would be immense.

Someone told me that i come down very hard on the PAP. Perhaps so. Perhaps I should not see things only from my point of view, I should also try to be sympathetic to the interests and causes of the PAP.

The PAP is after all a political Party bent on enslaving a population and is truly on focused on its own benefit and retention of power and in so doing, its MPs are merely pawns in the game and they would be dispensable given the fact that there are many waiting in line to be on the PAPpy ticket in future elections. That is perhaps why we will see some MPs not lasting more than a couple of terms even though they may not be unseated or burnt off. 🙂

Now that was Sunday.

Yesterday (Monday) also put me into a position. My friends Chong Kaixiong and Seelan Palay were arrested on a pavement outside the Ministry of Manpower. They had tried to bring the plight of Burmese activists to the forefront of attention. [The Singapore Government sleeps with the murderous Burmese Military Junta and willingly denigrates and subjugates itself to be a lowly servant of the Burmese Generals. The Government has no sense of shame, they refuse to renew the work permits of specific Burmese who have protested during the ASEAN Conference in November 2007, is anyone supposed to believe that this was not done at the instruction and request of the Burmese Generals?]

Seelan and Kaixiong had conducted everything in accordance with the law and there were only 2 of them. However, they were promptly arrested and handcuffed and brought to Police Cantonment Complex. They were told that they were being investigated for criminal trespass. This was what i found out when I went down on the evening of yesterday to bail them. It was fortunate that Choon Hiong came down as well as the police insisted that there had to be 2 bailors for the 2 of them. This was something new. 🙂

I am very intrigued by such a requirement. Why is it that we would need to have separate bailors for each accused? 🙂 Contrast these 2 Singaporeans with the 200 PRC who protested outside the MOM standing not at the pavement by the road but right at the door of the Ministry of Manpower. Not a single bailor was required of them. Why? because none of the 200 PRC were arrested or investigated. The Singapore authorities had absolutely no balls to take action against PRCs 🙂

Perhaps the Police, the MOM and the AGC [if the AGC were directing this] have got different considerations when it comes to treating Singapore Citizens and foreigners [in this case PRCs]. We can either surmise that different laws and standards apply to different groups in Singapore or the administration was cowered into inaction by 200 angry PRC, perhaps the balls of the administration shrank to nothingness when it comes to dealing with people that they feel they cannot bully.

They often say that the administration in Singapore only knows how to bully its citizens and they are foreigner lovers. How true this adage has become! I also agree with it. However, I am more inclined to believe that the civil service is now staffed by many foreigners which might explain why the disparity in treatment when it comes to distinguishing Singaporeans from foreigners.

On a lighter note, I noticed a report in today’s Today newspaper which acknowledges the cause that Seelan and Kaixiong stood for is morally superior. I must say it is about time such acknowledgments came. 🙂 This is an indication of the times to come. As to whether Seelan or Kaixiong will be eventually charged, we shall have to see 🙂

All in All, i must acknowledge that the first fortnight of the new year had been extremely instructive.

We have all learnt that 1) what goes up must necessarily come down, 2) PAP MPs, albeit subtly but sadly, are deemed dispensable by its leadership, 3) the administration applies different laws and standards depending on your nationality [mind you being a Singaporean is not an advantage :)]

4) Most importantly, I also found hope and instruction from the events in that, there is a baptism of fire that awaits us irrespective of whether we are Motorcyclists, Singapore Flyer Commuters, Members of Parliament, or Civil Rights Activists.

5) The baptism might be more painful for some than for others but nothing can compare to the fires that await those who whilst in positions of power persist in doing deliberate wrong – to burn eternally in the depths of hell.

January 13, 2009 Posted by | Politics | 2 Comments