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Courage, gall, guts and balls – In celebration of all things daringly Singaporean

I was held up in Court over the past 2 weeks for the 2nd tranche of the Tak Boleh Tahan Protest Trial.  I needed a full week to recover only partially from that.

On one occasion during one of the stand downs, I ended up with Rachel and Seelan.  We ended up talking about the things which move us. We spoke of things that Singaporeans ought to do and see done. We questioned whether there was enough dare and courage in Singaporeans generally and whether there was dare and courage in the administration of Singapore.

In the discussion, I came to realise that i am very much of a rebel at heart and i admire the guts and courage displayed under varying circumstances of steps taken by certain people. My take on the following events are some of the things which reveal so:

I admire the Singaporean wife who risked breaking the law to reach for her hubby who was arrested on suspected drink driving. She was eventually charged for obstructing the police in their work if i do not recall incorrectly. Imagine such defiance towards the Singapore Police Force. And rightly so. Where do you see such devotion from a wife to a husband these days?

I sympathise with the Singaporean teacher who made the mistake of having a relationship with her student. In this day and age where the young mature early, they are far from being the innocent and gullible like in the past who needed protection. These days the young can be more corrupted than the old. Recall the case of the underaged girl who had sex with many men. The men all got traced and charged => but does the fact that the men got charged prove that the men are heinous sex fiends and the girl was an angel?

To be fair to the teacher, when she tried to end the relationship, the student had turned around to attempt to blackmail her. Now that is not something an innocent person would do. The teacher plucked up the courage and admitted to an embarrassing wrong – it takes courage for someone to do that. Not everyone has that kind of courage.

I respect the tactics and balls of drug kingpin and Singaporean Roland Tan in his legendary removal of a rival gang to take their place in the drug trade in Amsterdam. I understand from the papers that he was shot by a Vietnamese bodyguard and is currently recuperating at a hospital.The report on his shooting had traced his gangs humble beginnings of being a new gang in the block desperate and low on cash. They had, eyeing the lucrative drug business of the rival triad, bought pistols and took out the entire gang in a single strike and the rest is history. Word has it that this gang now operates in Holland, Bangkok and other places recruiting members which include disenchanted members of singapore society. I have to respect them for firstly their balls and guts, their determination and drive and lastly, for their soft spot for Singapore. How many Singaporeans still endear themselves to things Singaporean and fellow Singaporeans after they have left the country?

GIC and Temasek lost many many billions in their ill timed investment in the banks. When the purchases were made, many questioned the lucidity of thought in those who were in charge. Many people who were far less qualified or learned could see that the investment into the American Banks when the subprime meltdown was unravelling was a very wrong move. When shares fell to low levels after that and repeated writedowns in losses by the subject banks, MM Lee Kuan Yew had the gall to call the investment something for the long term which would show its returns in 20 to 30 years. Now that prices for the Citibank shares have fallen to new lows of hovering just between USD1 to USD2, the amount that we had paid for 11% shareholding for the bank, if invested only now would have given us the entire bank. 🙂

This morning I had tried with Choon Hiong and Seelan and Martyn to intercept a revolting ceremony at the Orchid Garden, Singapore Botanical Gardens where the Singapore Government would name an orchid after a General of the Burmese Military Junta. The ceremony had been scheduled for 8am but the event had been wrapped up before that and the General was seemingly whisked out of the Botanic Gardens before 0805hrs. When we arrived, there was a number of National Parks Board staff and non-uniformed police officers still present, we were told by the NPB staff that the event had ended and the guests had left.

We had planned to present a bouquet of orchids to the General for him to pass it to Miss Aung Sann Su Kyi for as she is the democratically elected leader of Burma, she should be the person having an orchid named after her and not a General who has his hands tainted with the blood of his fellow countrymen. He was certainly undeserving.

Plans thwarted, we headed to the Burmese Embassy attempting to pass it to the staff for the transmission back to Burma for Miss Aung San. The Embassy staff refused to turn up at the gate to accept the bouquet. We ended up reading out the message and the card and we left the card and the bouquet at the gate and left. Now was there anything daring about what we did? No. What we had done was a peaceful expression of our disgust and disdain at the love relationship between the Singapore Government and the Burmese Junta and the revolting act of our authorities here.

The naming of an orchid after a foreign guest, traditionally bestowed upon deserving celebrities and visiting Heads of State, was this morning degraded and denigrated to being offered to a murderer who is 4th in the chain of command in the Burmese Junta. The event was conducted in a hush hush manner but i do not believe that such things can be kept away from public eye and ears for long.

Defiance towards the police and dare in the game of gangland battles count for nothing against the backdrop of one who is able to admit the mistakes of committing an embarrassing wrong.

That cannot compare with the cheek to call a failed share investment involving billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money as investment as one that is meant to break even over 20 to 30 years.

But even that pales in comparison to what the Singapore Government did, to laud and worship a murderer, and in doing so, denigrate all past illustrious recipients of similar honour to the low level of despotic military rulers who doggedly cling on to power and would not hesitate to shoot their defenceless countrymen.

To me, that kind of courage in cavorting with the Burmese Military Junta and being shamelessly brazen about it, is the most daring act of all.

Well done, the Government of Singapore. 🙂

March 18, 2009 Posted by | Life, Politics | 4 Comments

Rumblings of an Election, the apparent clash of interests, opposition revealing cards too soon

I read on Saturday yesterday’s Weekend Today that Singapore People’s Party SPP’s Chiam See Tong has indicated his intention to fight for a GRC in this coming election and one of GRCs he might contest is Bishan Toa Payoh GRC. Chiam did name a few other GRCs to be fair. SPP enjoys proximity and the spillover effect from its seat held in Bishan Toa Payoh. Bishan-Toa Payoh sits just on the fringe of Potong Pasir. In fact if Potong Pasir were to be absorbed into a GRC, it would most likely be Bishan-Toa Payoh. It seems like a natural choice.

This was reason enough for WP to respond. I was directed to a blogpost by Workers’ Party WP’s Yaw Shin Leong on the WP’s CAC (Central Area Committee) which was formed to cover Ang Mo Kio GRC, Bishan Toa-Payoh GRC and Yio Chu Kang SMC. Therein i detect clearly interest by WP’s CAC in Bishan Toa Payoh. To be fair, WP’s CAC was set up shortly after GE2006 which did express interest in Bishan Toa Payoh amongst others.

But that’s not all.

Being non-partisan has allowed my to obtain information on interests expressed by other people and parties in certain hotspots. And this information now has proven to be useful.

Bishan Toa Payoh GRC according to my knowledge is also visited by the NSP National Solidarity Party in its activities.

The Singapore Democratic Party led by Dr. Chee Soon Juan has also made visits to Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC – this part i am fully aware.

This interest apparently is also expressed by NSP’s Goh Meng Seng. Which at one stage i expected to eventually contest with Tan Kin Lian in the same GRC. Could this put Tan Kin Lian onto the path towards Bishan Toa Payoh as well?

What are the merits in each of the groups claims or impending claims? Should the parties meet to lay the ground rules for deciding which party makes the bid for the hotspot?

And that’s not the end.

I have friends in the Reform Party as well. I would shudder at the thought that there would be a Reform Party team aiming to contest in Bishan Toa Payoh as well as I have reasons to believe that a number of them are resident in the area.

The worst thing that can happen is a wildcard to come into the picture. Independent candidates which i am told are contemplating entering the electoral fray might make a bid for Bishan Toa-Payoh as well if they feel that their candidates are up to the mark. This would make the clash of contests a forgone conclusion with the PAP winning in the end.

I would predict and hope that all parties contest the areas which they have contested in the last election. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, it is only natural and wise for a party to re-contest an area which it has built awareness, familiar and recognition in a previous contest.

I do not know how active has been WP’s East Area Committee after I left but I do wish that my beloved East Coast gets its second chance at having an opposition slate as its MPs.

How would the opposition decide the horsetrade that would traditionally go on in the prelude to nomination day? First to lay claim? Most activities done? Strength of the candidates?

The horsetrade avoids wastage of opposition resources. The only impediment to a successful horsetrade would be the pride and ego of each party. But that is not the end. If the area is such a hotspot, be prepared for a wildcard to come into the picture, independents who might make a bid for the same GRC.

March 1, 2009 Posted by | Politics | 3 Comments