PAP and the Art of Name Calling

Jentrified Citizen:

An excellent article analysing the systematic and continuous verbal abuse thrown at Singaporeans by the PAP Govt. All of this party’s despicable name calling actions are manipulative and calculated to undermine the people’s moral, to control them and push the govt’s own agenda. No other government in the world has insulted its own people in the same manner as the PAP which has lost the moral right to govern.

Originally posted on The Bullshit Politician:

Bigotry

Ever wonder why Singaporeans are called many names? From time to time, we see Singaporeans being labelled ‘Xenophobic’ or ‘Bigot’ or ‘Infantile’ and many more names. It seems very convenient for the media to employ name calling all the time, but are we really what they called us to be?

Just recently we have been called a ‘Bigot‘ and ‘Disgrace’ when there is conflict over the Philippine Independence Day event where Filipinos being targeted online for planning to celebrate their Independence Day in Singapore. Well, I’m not going into a lengthy discourse over that phenomenon. Let’s explore the underlying interest of the PAP controlled mainstream media and the Art of Name Calling (or Labeling).

Name Calling is a form of psychological abuse which can cause devastating effects that affects your inner thoughts and even exerts control over your life indirectly. It destroys healthy relationships even relationships with…

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One Little Riot Opens Pandora’s Box to Many Big Issues

The riot involving a mob of over 400 foreign workers in Little India

The riot involving a mob of over 400 foreign workers in Little India

So much has been said about the Little India riot with blame implied by our Govt and unsubtly pinned on the supposed drunken fury of the workers. At this stage, the causes of the riot have not been officially defined nor has it been proven that the rioting was due to drunken states. Yes, the workers were wrong to have rioted but has our Govt ever considered that they are ultimately responsible in a way for failing to consider the infrastructural and sociology-psychological impact and consequences of shipping in 700,000 foreign workers (excluding domestic workers) onto a tiny island (just 710 sq m in size) to work in hard laborious jobs? Of these 700k, about 300,000 are South Asian blue collar workers.

When you have such a large number of lowly paid and over worked transient workers here, you must plan for them as human beings and not as mere digits to fulfill an economical need. Did the government work to ensure that their well-being and welfare is taken care of? Are these poor and powerless workers housed in decent lodgings, fed decent food, and given enough time to rest? Did our government plan for sufficient recreational outlets and facilities to cater to the workers’ interests and different needs? (sitting around and walking around Little India every single weekend as the main form of recreation can get frustrating even for a local so let’s get real here and view all the workers of different nationalities as people with genuine needs and feelings).

We all have different sets of experiences, values and customs. Some of us are more reserved, some of us are passionate and expressive. Some like to drink, and some hate drinking. Even among locals, we have many differences, what more with those of other nationalities?  The government’s declaration that foreigners have to live and behave the “Singapore Way” shows a complete ignorance of and a lack of empathy for human behavior and our individual needs. And it reflects this govt’s blinkered dictatorial mind – Do it our way or no way. Should they not consider the differences of our diverse population and learn how to manage and yet cater to the differences in a small melting pot?

The Govt wants the integration of these workers with our society but this is somewhat naive when dealing with transient workers who are here on short contracts. What integration are we talking about when some locals have even suggested building fences and gates to protect all public housing in Little India (will that be our new apartheid complete with signs saying “Foreign workers keep out”?). What integration when Housing Minister Khaw Boon Wan has even once suggested the possibility of housing foreign workers on outlying islands (a nicer version of Robbens Island with a curfew?).  What in the world are these people thinking of? Keeping the foreign workers out of the way is simply not right morally. Adaptation with minimal conflicts is a more realistic goal.

It is too late to put back the clock now with such a huge number of imported workers already here (and that’s not counting numerous others on other employment passes), hence the Government needs to get down to work fast to have a good grasp of the situation. Instead of just doing a technical Committee of Inquiry investigation of the riot, they need to do soul-searching and hold discussions with all relevant parties including transient workers groups. Instead of trying to put a quick ending to this riot, which must be mortifying to the Govt and is a huge slap to their proposed Population White Paper to jack up the population with more foreigners,  the G needs to do a holistic review of the foreign worker and population issues.

This riot is not something that can nor should be left to Home Affairs Ministry alone to analyse and handle.  The Manpower Ministry and community agencies across the government must come together and conduct proper research and thorough planning to ensure that the welfare and needs of these workers are met. There is also no better way to understand the situation, the frustrations and the needs by speaking to the workers themselves. Don’t interrogate them. Ask them what they think and feel. The answers may surprise.

Can ways be found to help these workers adapt? Can ways be found to give them better treatment? Can ways be found to provide them with more avenues for relaxation and recreation? Can ways be found to help Singaporeans understand and adapt to them better?  Can the government review and scale back the population targets and numerous construction projects to balance the influx of workers with the small size of our nation and needs of the local population? Can our government even begin to reflect honestly and ask themselves what went wrong and what can be done better for the foreign workers and for the citizens of the country?

Things often happen for a reason in life. This unfortunate riot has a silver lining in that it has opened a Pandora’s Box and reminded us that there are many deeper issues that must be examined and answered. Dealing with these underlying issues and treating people decently will be the necessary first step to having long-term harmony among vested parties on our little island country.

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Do anti-online harassment laws mask real intent of the Govt?

image“Satisfied people don’t have time to go onto the Internet. Unhappy people often go there,” said PM Lee Hsien Loong at a forum yesterday . This comment seems to be the latest sign of the PAP-government’s belligerent attitude towards the online world.

This comment by PM Lee was reported as part of the current spate of news reports, editorials and letters published in MSM – all seemingly aimed at demonising the online world and drumming up support for our government’s move to introduce new laws against cyber harassment. Many of the govt officials, reporters and letter writers cited the dubious survey by REACH (the govt’s feedback arm) to claim that 8 of 10 Singapore “residents” want tougher rules against online harassment.

I am against cyber bullying but I also believe many people may be supporting this move without being aware that the PAP-Govt could be using this as an opportunity to a) attack the credibility of the online world to diminish criticisms of the PAP and b) to tighten the laws such that netizens will have more fear and lesser freedom online to criticize incompetent PAP leaders, flawed national policies and the Party.

Some political observers believe that this is a strategic war move that the beleaguered PAP leaders are making to shore up their defences in the run-up to GE2016. The signs have already been there since GE 2011 when government leaders started referring to the online world as “the wild, wild west”; their online critics as the “lunatic fringe”; made numerous slurs about the “vocal minority” online and subsequently introduced the new MDA ruling earlier this year to curb the reach and proliferation of online sites and blogs that are increasingly critical about our incompetent government. Demonising the online world by describing it as a vile place full of trolls, hackers and crazy anti-establishment bullies is a devious political strategy to discredit it.

And now, riding on a flimsy survey by their propaganda arm REACH, and leveraging off the recent website defacements, the Government is making its move to tighten their invisible net on the Net by introducing tougher laws against harassment online. Just how far will they go with these laws?

Their approach to the new online laws betrays their real intent because if they were sincere about protecting those who are being cyber bullied while balancing not being a paternalistic nanny, surely they would have focused the new laws on cyber bullying? The fact that they have come out with guns blazing to say that they want to introduce tougher laws against online “harassment” implies a lot as the word harassment is very vague and the act of harassment spans a broad and grey continuum of behaviours.

What is harassment? How will it be defined? There are 1,001 degrees of what constitutes harassment. Is a political cartoon or a meme mocking govt leaders deemed as harassment? Is using an anonymous profile to question and critique a Minister on his Facebook page or to tweet a not so nice comment considered cyber bullying or even harassment of the minister? How many times must one do this to run afoul of the new laws? And really, shouldn’t the focus of the laws be to tackle genuine cyber bullying cases and not harassment which is so vague? In fact, if the G wants to tackle serious harassment, it should step up its efforts offline where it is much more common and worrying There are many cases of sexual harassment at work and bullying at schools for example, but I don’t see our government making a big deal out of that.

It is precisely the vagueness of this word “harassment” that benefits the increasingly defensive Government. Keeping it grey and the laws broad could give them wide powers to deal with unfavourable online comments and netizens as they deem fit, just like how the recent MDA online ruling has been kept very general.

Yes, anti-harassment laws could instill more civility in cyberspace, but if too broad and unfettered, they could also spread fear, yet again, among Singaporeans, who have only recently started emerging from their fear of speaking up for their rights and to criticise the government policies that hurt the people.  The net effect of increasingly repressive laws could lead to a muzzling of online criticisms of the government. A most desirable outcome for the PAP.

“Nothing is as it seems. Black can appear white when the light is blinding but white loses all luster at the faintest sign of darkness.” – Christopher Pike

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Lim Swee Say and his “Sayisms” ring hollow

Contradictory Circular reasoning by Lim Swee Say

Contradictory Circular reasoning by Lim Swee Say

It’s a good thing that Singapore’s Labour movement chief Lim Swee Say is Not an English teacher. Read the many contradictory things he said recently in a speech in which he claims there is a “mistaken perception” that grassroots leaders and organizations exist to help the People’s Association (aka the PAP govt). He then contradicts himself by saying “that is not a core mission”! LOL.

Hello, if it is truly a mistaken perception, then it means it is not true right? But since Swee Say, who is also a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, says it is not the “core mission” it means it is indeed true that it is a PA mission to help the PAP!

Next he goes on to erudite “Let’s invert this grassroots triangle. Instead of the Govt on top…your main focus must be resident-centric,” which means the triangle has always been the Govt on top as the main focus!  And he is indirectly admitting that for the past 48 years, the Govt and PA has been using taxpayers money and public funds not to focus on helping residents but to help the PAP. What a revelation! Duh. Tell us something we don’t already know.

Swee Say who was speaking in his capacity as Deputy Chairman of the People’s Association at a PA event, also said something mystifying:” PA advisers, we [the govt] are here to support you, not the other way around.” Huh?? But but, PA advisers are drawn from the PAP MPs and the govt! So according to him, it will still be PAP government leaders supporting PAP leaders who are also from the government?

And what’s this bullshit from him that the PA need to focus on serving residents to deepen bonds with them? Shouldn’t that have been the case in the first place based on the PA’s mission for its very existence? Swee Say also instructed the PA to involve more partners such as schools, government agencies and companies. Going by the PAP’s past political patterns, Swee Say’s latest exhortations sound like a self-serving agenda yet again – to use the PA to infiltrate deeper into the community and across the business and school networks to manipulate minds to win votes for the PAP.

We should also take note of the intricate unhealthy web of government-unions-grassroots in his portfolio - he is an adviser to the Prime Minister in the PMO, he is Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress and the deputy chief of the PA.

Lim Swee Say and his "Sayisms"

Lim Swee Say and his “Sayisms”

Although Swee Say really does need lessons in English and straight talking, we have to thank him for illustrating so clearly how the Ministers twist the truth and spin yarns so blatantly to fool the people. And we have to thank the MSM for reporting faithfully what the ministers say for the people to read with their eyes wide open.

BTW, Swee Say also said recently, in his capacity as a labour chief, that, although we do not have the minimum wage here, we have the “minimum wage ladder”! What’s that yarn about? That’s a separate story which you can read online. The Internet is full of his fabulously entertaining and hollow “Sayisms.

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Blast from the Past – Mary Lee’s testimony to the harshness of LKY

Ex-ST's reporter Mary Less tells of her terror after writing an honest article on the education system here.

Ex-ST’s reporter Mary Less tells of her terror after writing an honest article on the education system here.

Jentrified Citizen – The above is a screenshot of a letter from ex-ST journalist Mary Lee which was published in The Independent Singapore website. For more on this gripping personal story you can visit http://theindependent.sg/how-lky-changed-my-life/

I am sharing this as it is a very real and vivid reminder of the ugly terrifying side of rule under Lee Kuan Yew who has been glamourised and sanctified by the media and idolised by blinded fans as a holier-than-thou leader, a legend larger than the real person. I hope people will open their minds to hearing all sides of story to know the truth and not have LKY wrongly immortalised in history as a leader who did no wrong. (And get it right once and for all, LKY was NOT the founder of Singapore which existed long before his ancestors even stepped foot on this country)

Have things improved under his son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong? Is the state no longer using such dirty tactics to muzzle its critics? Not really. The difference is that the cold steel is now sheathed in velvet gloves and the muzzling is more subtly done. Vocal critics are still being monitored (just look at the ridiculous number of undercover police they sent to video the people who attended the Hong Lim Park protests).  Yes, we are still wary but we are no longer terrorised.

There comes a time in life when many of us,  as decent human beings, are pushed to the edge of our tolerance. Ultimately, our conscience and human desire to resist and speak up against wrongdoings overcomes our fear. Ultimately, good must triumph over evil as the saying goes.

Mary Lee, kudos to you for not being cowed and for bouncing back stronger and braver.

 

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Compassion Deficit: Singapore Ruling Elite’s Attitude towards the Poor

Jentrified Citizen:

Jentrified Citizen – The one thing the PAP government lacks is heart. This shows in the heartless way they treat the citizens, the poor and needy and in the way they hold us ransom through fear and dirty tactics over the decades.

Originally posted on Singapore Armchair Critic:

Hong Kong has a hugely popular reality television show that invites the city’s yuppies and tycoons to experience the life of the underclass. For a few days, affluent participants of “The Battle of the Poor Rich” (窮富翁大作戰) had a taste of the daily struggles of the homeless, the sweeper, the garbage collector, the eatery helper, and the single mother etc. trying to stay afloat in one of Asia’s most expensive cities.

(Cantonese with Chinese subtitles).

In one episode, a power broker spent barely a few hours collecting garbage before he asked the show’s producer to give him a less tedious job. Another young businessman who gamely took up the challenge of sleeping on the streets and earning his keep, shed tears of frustration when he lost his job as a eatery helper after working half a day.He said this after a sobering night as a homeless:

The…

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“Fair consideration” – a govt pleads

Jentrified Citizen:

JENTRIFIED Citizen – I just have to share this blog post by Andrew because it expresses what I feel about the Feeble framework on hiring introduced by the Ministry of Manpower . Why has our country descended into this pathetic stage where we have to implore employers Not to discriminate against hiring Singaporeans just cos they have easy access to millions of cheaper foreigners who are allowed by our weak govt to work here? And why did MOM have to keep apologising as it were to employers to assure them it is not aboit hiring us first??? What kind of government treats employers and businesseses like Kings and citizens like a burden? ONLY the GDP obssessed PAP goverment. It is galling and insulting to be mistreated in our very own country. Shame on PM Lee and his band of culprits. And shame on ex PM LKY for breeding such wrong mindsets and a society that discriminates against the people and the poor.

Originally posted on Andrew Loh:

pop

What stood out for me with regards to the Fair Consideration Framework, announced by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on 23 September, were these two lines in the ministry’s press release, attributed to Mr Tan Chuan Jin:

“The framework is not about ‘Hire Singaporeans First, or Hire Singaporeans Only’. What the government is doing is to help them get a fair opportunity.”

The same minister had said, in May, that like TAFEP, he preferred to use the “moral suasion approach to tackle the issue of discrimination at the workplace.”

Mr Tan “was quick to add that for now, the Government prefers to stick to its approach of persuading companies to change. It “is working for us”, he said, as the root cause of discrimination in Singapore is employers’ mindsets.” 

His latest about-turn seems to imply that the “moral suasion” route in fact is not working, but at the same time…

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The PAP’s Policies Give Singaporeans Heart Attacks?

Jentrified Citizen:

Apologies to my followers for not blogging for a while due to my heavy work schedule. You can join me on Facebook to read my occasional short posts there if you wish. Meantime do read this excellent analysis by Roy to understand the truth about that UN World Happiness Report which said Singapore ranked 30th happiest in the world. Read the in-depth statistical analysis and you will find Singaporeans actually rank very low on generosity and happiness. There are valid reasons causing this. – Jentrified Citizen.

Originally posted on The Heart Truths:

The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) released the World Happiness Report 2013 a few days ago at “an international workshop on September 8“. This is the second annual report. The first one was released last year.

I will jump straight into some of the findings.

According to the report, Singapore is ranked the 30th happiest country, among 156 countries (Chart 1).

photo 1 (16)

Chart 1: World Happiness Report 2013

30th looks good, right? Let’s delve further into the statistics. The happiness ranking is actually made up of a few indicators. I will look at a few of them below.

Interestingly, the happiness ranking also includes a country’s GDP per capita. Among the 156 countries compared, Singapore is the second richest country (Chart 2).

Slide1

Chart 2

For the next few comparison charts, I will compare the top 20 richest countries.

For the indicator of social support, Singapore actually ranks at a…

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Singaporeans want a more Compassionate Society

untitledThe majority of Singaporeans want a more compassionate society and a slower pace of life according to a study by the Institute of Policy Studies. BUT the surprising headline in TODAY newspaper screamed “S’poreans want compassionate meritocracy“!

A note to Today’s editors – there is a big difference in meaning between wanting  a “compassionate society” and wanting a “compassionate meritocracy”.  The former, as explained in the survey is based on Singaporeans’ desire for a society that is “less stressful, with more family time” and “a less competitive, more holistic education system, and one that is more inclusive, where students learn with others of different abilities and backgrounds.”

The survey, based on 4,000 Singaporeans  across different age groups from 15 to over 70, also showed an overwhelming majority supports the building of eldercare facilities in their neighbourhoods and they want strong preservation of green spaces and heritage spaces over infrastructure developments.

Interestingly, The Straits Times reflected the correct headline “Majority want a slower pace of life” on its front page and even had a sub-headline that added “Also a less competitive education scene and fewer foreigners“. The part on fewer foreigners was strangely missing from Today’s report.

Based on the survey findings, I was curious as to why Today would use the wrong term “Compassionate Meritocracy”, a term recently coined by ESM Goh Chok Tong when he asked those who are successful to lend a helping hand to those who are not quite up the ladder. The term compassionate meritocracy is in itself an oxymoron and an odd phrase. And now it is further misused by the media and unnamed researchers.

According to Today report, it was one of IPS researchers (unnamed) who referred to our desires as wanting “compassionate meritocracy.”  The reporter clearly doesn’t understand the term and since there was no explanation, we  will assume he did not question this unnamed researcher as to how he justifies using the wrong term here. Was it the reporter’s  fault or was it an overly protective editor’s decision to use that term? Notice how they placed the term ‘compassionate meritocracy” in quote marks in the headline and even took the trouble of mentioning high up in the report (a standalone liner in second para) that this term was used by one of the survey researchers.

One wonders as the findings, to a large extent repudiates what the PAP led-government still wants to do, which is to push forward relentlessly in developing Singapore as a highly competitive economic hub and to keep importing large numbers of foreigners and new immigrants to hit their goal of a 6.9 million population.

I hope with these latest findings, our country’s leaders will hunker down and give serious consideration to what We the people really want. As NUS Asso Prof Paulin Straughan said in the report,  the ranking was also a reflection of the “stressors that have built up over time”, given the Government’s focus on economic health, and “we’re reaching the point where the stressors are felt by a lot of people”. She also added that the findings suggest “a disapproval of elitism”. That, my dear readers, is putting it mildly.

Back to my point of this article, the glaringly wrong heading used by Today highlights once again why we should use common sense and critical thinking skills when we read news reports. Ironically, Today’s brand tagline is “We set You Thinking”. They certainly do, often with some good insightful articles, but sometimes, there is that left-field ball that is tossed at us. If you do not want to end up being misled or read the wrong things, do think about what you read.

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Healthcare Financing: Tweaks or Tricks?

Jentrified Citizen:

JentrifiedC– Agree with Singaporearmchaircritic, our government needs to take on a bigger role and spend more on healthcare to lighten the people’s burden.

Originally posted on Singapore Armchair Critic:

In his 2013 Budget announcement earlier this year, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said the government would look into lowering Singaporeans’ out-of-pocket health spending.

On Sunday evening, we learned more about how this may be achieved through Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s 2013 National Day Rally (NDR) speech. In summary, these are the tweaks to healthcare financing Singaporeans can expect in future:

  • Medisave usage will be expanded to more medical conditions;
  • Medishield coverage, renamed Medishield Life, will extend to those above 90 and will be universal. It will be expanded to include those with pre-existing illnesses;
  • There is no opting out of Medishield Life and premiums will be higher;
  • A “Pioneer Generation Package” will be introduced to help elderly Singaporeans in their late 60s and above pay for their premiums under Medishield Life;
  • Medisave contribution rate will increase;
  • State spending on healthcare will increase;
  • The Community Health Assist Scheme will…

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