Archive for the 'media' Category



Brompton bikes, before the real story gets erased

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Today newspaper’s story about the prosecution of the officer behind NParks’ Brompton folding bikes purchase merely hinted at the origins to the case. It said that there had been “questions over whether the agency got value for its purchases.” By comparison, the news story carried more words about National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan ordering an audit last year, and how the ministry “said it had uncovered some discrepancies suggesting the possibility of bias in the procurement”.

pic_201310_17The story (dated 28 September 2013) is screen-captured at right.

Reading it, I became concerned that the real history of the case was being erased in preference to a new version that gave more credit to Khaw’s alertness and intervention and to the ministry’s internal rigour, than was deserved.  Continue reading ‘Brompton bikes, before the real story gets erased’

Holding hands, Straits Times and government walk into sinking sunset

pic_201309_28I discontinued my online subscription to the Straits Times earlier this year. The habit wasn’t easy to break. At first I found myself buying the print version about twice a week. Weekends, I often bought the Sunday Times — mostly for its Sudoku and two or three comic strips that I liked (most I didn’t). But lately, I’ve gone for perhaps two months without missing it.

Then a few weeks ago, I happened to leaf through a copy of the Sunday Times at a cafe and discovered that they had halved the Sunday comic strips. Sherman’s Lagoon was gone.

Well, that’s that, then.

Continue reading ‘Holding hands, Straits Times and government walk into sinking sunset’

Did Straits Times misreport Tan Chuan-jin?

pic_201308_22Several Facebook ‘friends’ recently shared a news article from the Straits Times, with comments along the lines of “Here we go again, a minister scolds citizens for criticising the PAP government and not helping them out”.

Following the link, I was led to a fairly prominent article which reported a speech made by Tan Chuan-jin  to his own civil servants at the Ministry of Manpower:

Singaporeans who are not happy with the country should try to improve things instead of running down the country, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said on Monday. Continue reading ‘Did Straits Times misreport Tan Chuan-jin?’

Re-introducing the climate of fear

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The People’s Action Party government has essentially given up on engagement. This change of tack is becoming clearer by the week as more and more instances arise where ministers and members of parliament go out to bash citizens trying to raise issues or comment on current affairs. Staircase railings, face masks and who-knows-what small thing emerging tomorrow are considered serious enough issues to roll out the government’s big guns.

The impression one gets from recent events is that they have concluded that engagement is a “been there, done that and it’s brought us nothing but grief”. Continue reading ‘Re-introducing the climate of fear’

Home Affairs hits out at filmmaker for ‘contempt of court’

He Junling

He Junling

A few days ago, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) issued a letter of warning to filmmaker Lynn Lee  for “having committed contempt of court”. It asserted that two video clips released by her, featuring interviews with former bus drivers He Junling and Liu Xiangying, “amounted to contempt of court by creating a real risk of prejudice to criminal proceedings which were pending then”. Choo Zheng Xi and Andrew Loh, writing respectively at The Online Citizen and Andrewloh.com, have criticised this move by the AGC, albeit from slightly different angles. Both however are concerned that this represents a usurpation of judicial power by an executive branch.

I can imagine a retort that the AGC’s warning is just that:  “rather than proceedings in Court to commit Ms Lee for contempt of court” (words from the AGC’s statement), it is a warning that prosecution will occur if she repeated her act. That said, the opening sentence in the statement itself — “for having committed” — would undermine such a rebuttal; it sounds like passing judgement. Amazing how AGC lawyers can’t even write clearly! Continue reading ‘Home Affairs hits out at filmmaker for ‘contempt of court’’

Parity’s a good idea

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Channel NewsAsia quoted Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim saying:  “It’s about making sure that our regulatory framework is consistent — that’s the most important thing. At the moment, whether we like it or not, Singaporeans are receiving news both from mainstream media and online sites.

“Our mainstream media are subjected to rules, you know… Why shouldn’t the online media be part of that regulatory framework? Continue reading ‘Parity’s a good idea’

Singapore creeps towards more acceptance of gay people

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In the bad old days, whenever a mainstream newspaper had any report about homosexuality in Singapore, reporters would be obliged by their editors to run to the nearest self-appointed guardians of ‘morality’ for some choice quotes about how terrible the ‘affliction’ was. Some such guardians could be relied on to say that all these ‘perverts’ should go for counselling and be cured. Those bad old days weren’t so long ago. I remember a case from May 2000 and from the ‘gay civil servants’ controversy of 2003. Continue reading ‘Singapore creeps towards more acceptance of gay people’

Vox squawk

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A funny thing happened on Tuesday 18 December 2012. Three mainstream media reporters called me asking the same thing: Do I know anything about construction workers going on strike in Yishun? They said that Andrew Loh had a story on Yahoo! and Publichouse about such a strike and they needed urgently to confirm the veracity of it.

“Is the story true?  Where is the worksite?” Continue reading ‘Vox squawk’

As bus drivers strike, government messaging goes into overdrive.

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I have three points to make about the industrial action undertaken by bus drivers of SMRT Corp earlier this week.  171 of them, all recruited from China, failed to show up for work last Monday; 88 were absent the following day (Source: Straits Times, 1 Dec 2012, SMRT has deep-seated issues: CEO).

My 3 points are:

1.  There should be equal pay for equal work;

2. The government is shooting itself in its own foot by abandoning principle #1 above;

3. The government pretends there is a process for labour justice, but there isn’t and its absence sows the seed for future instability. Continue reading ‘As bus drivers strike, government messaging goes into overdrive.’

Neither priest nor philanthropist welcome here

Father James Minchin arrived from Australia around midnight between November 7 and 8 and was told that he has been barred from entering Singapore. Immediately, one associates this turn of events with his appearance on a video talk show produced by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP):

Minchin was held inside a room, his phone taken away, with no access to the internet. Since there were no flights back to Melbourne till around 10pm the following day, he was thus confined for nearly 24 hours.

Continue reading ‘Neither priest nor philanthropist welcome here’


For an update of the case against me, please see AGC versus me, the 2013 round.

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