The crowd at the SDP rally (3 Sep 2015) at its peak, while party Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan was speaking, approx 9:26pm
Unless new information comes in that casts a whole new light on what information is currently at hand, voters in Marsiling-Yew Tee constituency who are keen on a progressive, tolerant Singapore may want to signal their views by voting against the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) team.
I know John Tan and Wong Souk Yee personally and I have a high regard for both. They too are standing in Marsiling-Yew Tee. It is not easy for me to take the position I am now taking, but it is a matter of deep principle. Such is the nature of the group representation system that we sometimes have to make hard choices. Continue reading ‘The choice between ‘Wear White’ and those dressed in white’
Published 1 September 2015
politics and government
Independent candidate Samir Salim Neji
Out of nowhere, an independent candidate popped up to contest the Bukit Batok single-member constituency (SMC). His presence greatly upset some Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) supporters who were expecting a straight fight between their candidate Sadasivam Veriyah and the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) David Ong. This made Bukit Batok one of three SMCs that will see three-cornered fights this general election. Continue reading ‘How Bukit Batok came to have three corners’
Published 30 August 2015
politics and government
Even as signs of an election were building up in Singapore over the last few months, an incomparably absorbing story was unfolding to our north in Malaysia. However, the scandal at the sovereign wealth fund One Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) speaks to our election too. It shows how the lack of sufficient checks and balances is a bread-and-butter issue. Continue reading ‘Butter in the balance’
Wealth does not buy happiness. The state of Singapore society today is perhaps proof of this adage.
A newly-released joint study by Gallup and Healthways is a wake-up call to anyone who still thinks that prioritising economic growth is the master key to happiness. Especially coming, as it does in Singapore’s case, with a widening income gap and a shrinking space for self-actualisation (rights and freedoms) such prioritisation only increases tension, stress and conflict. Quality of life diminishes.
Out of 145 countries surveyed, Singapore ranked a miserable 97th. Continue reading ‘Rich but feeling empty, exhausted and alienated’
As news spread of the momentous decision by the US Supreme Court, ruling that marriage equality is a constitutional right, all over social media my friends made an unflattering comparison between the US and Singapore. I think it was Kirsten Han who pointed out that just weeks ago, prime minister Lee Hsien Loong displayed his total lack of awareness about a fast-developing court case by relying on the argument that gay marriage in America was a patchwork of Stop and Go, “state by state”. Continue reading ‘US Supreme Court demonstrates the vitality of America, shows up the weak DNA of Singapore’
They are wrong. The government is not considering a lèse majesté law. The Asian Correspondent used this term in its headline of 26 May 2015 for Carlton Tan’s opinion piece (A lèse majesté law for Singapore’s king, long live Lee Kuan Yew); The Online Citizen used it too in Tan Wah Piow’s piece of 28 May 2015 (Lèse majesté Singapore-style – the ultimate betrayal of the Singapore constitution). Continue reading ‘Saint Lee’
In a recent blogpost, Kenneth Jeyaretnam highlighted the imminent implementation of the Asean Agreement on the Movement of Natural Persons (MNP). He wrote:
While permanent rights to work in other member countries are excluded the fact that free movement is extended to Contractual Service Suppliers and Intra-Corporate Transferees means that the bar to stop businesses bringing in cheaper PMETs from other ASEAN countries is set very low.
The main text of this Agreement is not hard to find from the Asean website (but a key annex is missing). In its preamble, it gives a nod to “the mandate of the Asean Economic Community Blueprint” dating from 20 November 2007 wherein the “free flow of skilled labour is one of the core elements of an Asean single market and production base.” Continue reading ‘Asean single market and the free movement of skilled labour’
I have nothing new to say, because it is being said by — I am sure — thousands of people in Singapore. But I want to just add my voice to the chorus of boos.
Gaystarnews reported that Jolin Tsai’s song We’re All Different, Yet The Same has been banned from the mainstream airwaves. “Singapore’s censorship board, the Media Development Authority, recently issued a document to all TV and radio stations banning the broadcast of the song, which it said promoted gay marriage and therefore contravened Singaporean law,” Gaystarnews wrote in its story dated 22 May 2015. Continue reading ‘Different because some people want us always to be the same’
“SNP landslide” screamed the headlines the morning after the UK general election, held on 7 May 2015. Indeed, the Scottish National Party took 56 out of 59 Scottish seats. In the previous general election (2010) the SNP won just 6 seats.
The biggest loser was Labour. They had 41 of the 59 seats in the outgoing Parliament; it crashed to just one seat, retaining only Edinburgh South (red in the map). The Lib-Dems also crashed from 11 seats to one, holding only Orkney and Shetland (orange in the map). The Conservatives neither gained nor lost, keeping their one seat from 2010: Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale (blue). Continue reading ‘Great Scott! This is what first-past-the-post does’
Screen grab from BBC video and story of 17 May 2015
Unless Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia have a change of mind, over the next few days as many as 8,000 people, adrift on boats in the Andaman Sea, will die. They are a mix of Rohingyas from Burma fleeing persecution and economic migrants from Bangladesh. They’ve been put on boats by human traffickers, but when Thailand started cracking down — after discovering mass graves in Songkhla province — the traffickers have left the people en route on the water to fend for themselves.
There is no easy solution to refugee crises. But what is stopping Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia from doing the humanitarian thing — saving those on the high seas — is that governments seem unable to imagine even hard ones. I suspect they see no comprehensive solution that they can implement, and in the absence of that they are loath to encourage even more to come across the water by being kind to those who are now in peril. Continue reading ‘Rohingya refugee crisis: sea camps and economic sanctions needed’