I would vote for SDP

Sharing this blog as it lists many valid and strong reasons to vote for Dr Chee Soon Juan. It also debunks the threats and myths that Bukit Batok residents may lose their upgrading if they do vote for him. Let’s get this straight, BB will still get the upgrading as they are already in the works. Secondly, please remember you are not voting in an estate manager but an MP who is involved in much bigger issues including debating vitall policies that affect all of us.

Some of you may have misgivings due to the negative impression created by the PAP and the MSM,. Ask yourself how valid is that stigma?

Do consider voting for Chee because it is indisputable that he does have the courage to stand up to the mighty PAP and the intellect to speak up for us in Parliament. He does have the determination to speak up against policies that are not good for us. Lastly, he has shown that he does genuinely have our interests at heart. We can count on him to add more diverse and balanced views to the debates in Parliament.

BB residents, this is a win-win situation for you. Vote for Chee and you get the loving attention of not one but two Parties. Vote for a better future for Singaporeans please.

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I lived in Bukit Batok from 1985 to 2007.  If I were still a resident of Bukit Batok, I would vote for Dr Chee.

For as long as I have been eligible to vote, I have voted for an opposition candidate for the primary reason that there is a need to bring some balance to Parliament.  The motivation has not been about replacing the PAP immediately as the government of the day but about having sufficient number of non-PAP MPs in Parliament.  2 reasons:  Diversity of views & Checks and balances.

Diversity of views and ideas is sorely lacking in our Parliament and debates in Parliament regularly echo the same thought processes, the same arguments and the same assumptions.  Non-PAP MPs from multiple parties will help to introduce that diversity into Parliament.  WP MPs do provide alternative ideas in Parliament but they tend to be weak-voiced not due to the…

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A Mud-Slinging By-election, again

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This witty drawing by Cartoon Press aptly captures the character assassination of Dr Chee Soon Juan by senior ministers and the Prime Minister no less during the Bukit Batok By-election. What kind of appalling values are they imparting to our youths and Singaporeans in general? That it is ok to behave like goons and to hurl insults at opponents to get what you want? How can the leaders of our country behave in such a deplorable manner when they are supposed to be role models? 

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On Integrity, Hypocrisy & Setting Bad Examples at Bukit Batok By-election

Presentation1

When leaders set a bad example – PM Lee and Minister Grace Fu continues the demonising of Dr Chee Soon Juan during the Bukit Batok by-election.

For those who are unaware, the persecution of SDP’s chief Dr Chee Soon Juan has been going on for over 20 years! And the PAP leaders are still at it, doing their unethical best to demonise this man without any regard to how their attacks would affect Chee’s wife, his children and his parents.

It was really shameful to see our Prime Minister and senior ministers behave in a despicable manner during the Bukit Batok by-election. Ministers Grace Fu and Halimah Yacob continued the PAP’s bashing of Dr Chee Soon Juan last night at the Bukit Batok rally. They threw various slurs at him such as mocking him for being “unemployed” and for being rude to former PM Goh Chok Tong, something that happened eons ago.

It is very ironic and hypocritical that we have highly educated Singaporeans buying into the character assassination of Chee based on what the PAP-govt have claimed and what the local MSM have reported including over some flimsy allegations. Yet these same people have never spoken up against the numerous unethical actions committed by Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP against the citizens (including likening us to dogs)  and against hundreds of innocents who were jailed for opposing them.

So it is really laughable to hear PAP supporters and some Ministers bitch about petty little things like Chee being rude to Goh ONCE when they have never objected to the numerous reprehensible injustices committed by the PAP leaders against the people of Singapore.

The top leader of this country PM Lee Hsien Loong also joined in the demonising of Dr Chee during a support visit to Bukit Batok the morning after the BE rally. During media interviews, Lee disparaged Chee (which was unsurprising). What was shocking was he actually called Chee crazy when there is no truth to it!

Quote LHL: “So, when I read the Wanbao interview with Dr Chee I was saddened but not surprised. Because he is not sorry for anything he did. He is not – he is proud of his record, he is proud of his craziness streak. And yet when he comes today, he presents himself as a changed man.”

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Does he look or sound crazy in any way?

Bad habits die hard indeed. LKY used to excel in sticking labels on people to stigmatise them and now Lee junior is continuing with this tradition. In 1988, ex-President of Singapore Devan Nair wrote in his letter to LKY :”Your genius for sticking labels on people does Singapore no good. The truth of things often requires the removal of the labels on them. Nowhere more so than in the brand of politics you have developed. Thanks to you, Singapore has rapidly become a vivid illustration of the political adage: ‘Give a dog a bad name and hang it’.”

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As a citizen of this country, I hope my fellowmen and women realise that such leaders who indulge in ad hominem attacks set a deplorable example for their country and even more so for their supporters. When they behave deplorably in an adversarial manner in attacking their critics it sets the tone for their supporters.

This may explain why the PAP supporters have also adopted such an unpleasant adversarial behaviour online.  It is evident online in the increasingly hostile way in which they defend the PAP and in the way they attack in droves in an arrogant and  patronising manner to mock those who dare criticise the ruling party.

The growing nastiness of the PAP and their supporters is troubling. This is becoming a nation increasingly divided. We do not need such hostility to worsen the cracks. Where is the civility and graciousness that was preached by the government? What will happen to the unity and harmony of Singaporeans if such hostile behaviour continues to be encouraged by the ruling party?

PM Lee also called Chee hypocritical.

There are no greater hypocrites than the PM and his PAP gang in the way they constantly preach integrity while abusing their power and indulging in actions that smack of no integrity.

  • These politicians draw the highest pay in the world for a government while mocking Chee for being “unemployed” (in reality he has been working hard by supporting his family through his writings despite being demonised by the PAP).
  • They play the race card in politics and at BB by-election while claiming that Singapore is not ready for an Indian PM.
  • They use all sorts of dirty tactics to destroy their most vocal critics and to fix the opposition parties.
  • They go against our Constitution in oppressing the people’s right to free speech; they have jailed hundreds of innocents without fair trial.
  • And they shamelessly milk the state-funded island-wide People’s Association resources to promote PAP and their leaders while dispensing questionable benefits in return to supportive grassroots leaders.

These are but some examples in a long list of their litany of sins.

In closing, allow me to quote PM Lee who said it is”completely wrong and bad” in reference to those calling on Chinese voters to pick a candidate on racial lines. I agree.  It is indeed “completely wrong and bad” to pick any political candidate – including the next Prime Minister – based on race. It is also “completely wrong and bad” to call an opponent crazy when he is not.

Hypocrisy and Integrity? You, PAP leaders, are not worthy to even mention these words.

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Disgraceful, Grace Fu

Agree with Andrew Loh that what Grace Fu said was most unbecoming of a senior minister. What kind of example are such leaders of our country setting for our people? By their action they are showing that the means justify the ends. This is deplorable behaviour by our leaders.

Andrew Loh

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So, as I had expected, it didn’t take long for the PAP to resort to below-the-belt attacks on Dr Chee Soon Juan – again.

Just a day after Nomination Day, at her party’s first rally for the Bukit Batok by-election, the Minister of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), Grace Fu, apparently launched an ad hominem volley at the SDP secretary general.

“He wants to be a full-time MP,” Ms Fu said, referring to Dr Chee. “As far as I know he’s not held a full-time job for a long time… The work experience is essential. It’ll be interesting to see if there is a referral letter from Chiam See Tong.”

First, it is a rather uncultured remark from a minister of culture. Yes, ironic.

Second, Ms Fu’s remarks would actually bring the same question to her colleagues, many of whom are helicoptered into ministries and GLCs and associations without any…

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Individuals can discuss Elections online on Cooling Off Day according to Govt’s rules

There’s no need to gag yourself even though many Singaporeans are self-censoring, frightened by the Cooling Off Day. Read the press release issued by the Govt on this matter.  From the release it looks clear that the cooling off is for campaign activities and not to gag individuals. So it is safe to go ahead and discuss as we well should as it is about our country’s elections.

Confirm it for yourself by reading the latest ELD press release here http://www.eld.gov.sg/pressrelease/ParE2015/Press%20Release%20on%20Cooling-Off%20Day%20and%20Polling%20Day.pdf#zoom=100

Extracted from ELD rules on Cooling off day and Polling Day. Refer to point “F”.

“There are some exceptions to the prohibitions of knowingly publishing or displaying election advertising on Cooling-off Day and Polling Day:

a)Reports in the newspapers, on radio and television relating to election matters;

b)Party Political Broadcasts scheduled from 9pm onwards on Cooling-off Day

c)Approved posters/banners lawfully displayed before the start of Cooling-off Day;

d)Election advertising that was lawfully displayed or published before the start of Cooling-off Day on the Internet and that was not changed after its publication or display 2; However, programmatic advertising, i.e. using technology to automatically deliver digital ads online and on social media platforms, should not be conducted on Cooling-off D ay and Polling Day.

e) Distribution or promotion of the sale of any book if the book was scheduled for publication independent of the election and the
book is not sold at less than its commercial value;

f) The transmission of personal political views by individuals to other individuals, on a non-commercial basis, using the Internet, telephone or electronic means;

g)The wearing by candidates, of a badge indicating affiliation with a political party or replica of the symbol allotted to them.

So discuss all you want as individuals as it is our right. It would be just too ridiculous if we can’t even talk or chat online about our country’s elections right?

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Don’ts and Dos of Marking Ballots, Don’t Waste Your Vote!

Did you know that you could end up giving your precious vote to the party you dislike or end up spoiling your vote if you drew or wrote something rude in the box next to their logo on your ballot paper? You may think you are being funny but such actions could make the difference between a Win and a Loss in closely contested constituencies such as in East Coast, Marine Parade and Holland-Bukit Timah GRCs.

Every vote counts so take care not to end up spoiling your vote or giving your vote to the wrong party by mistake. Resist the temptation to draw or write something rude.The temptation will be MAGNIFIED this year as the Government will be printing the photos of all candidates on all ballot papers.sample

An example of the new look ballot paper with candidates photos

Examples of the new look ballot paper with candidates photos

Yes, horns will look lovely on your “favourite” target but please exercise restraint and DO NOT draw or write on the photos of the candidates nor on the party logo! No horns, no moustaches, no “FU”. Period.

Many of us know that we should mark a cross X next to the party that we want to vote for. Sounds simple enough? But few know that there are many ways to unwittingly end up spoiling your vote or, worse, giving the wrong party your vote. Take a look at this.

Image from Nicole L's FB page

Image from Nicole L’s FB page

The image on the right was taken off a Facebook post. The negative messages are clear but that does not matter as there are rules to be followed and PAP may get the vote if their appointed counting agents are able to argue a case for the vote.  And believe me, they WILL. And so they should, just as all counting agents for the opposition parties should fight for every ambiguous vote that is up for adjudication.

As a backgrounder, each counting place that counts the ballots will have counting agents  representing each political party and government officers to do the counting. There are Assistant Returning Officers at each counting place and they will adjudicate unclear votes and their decision is final.

Read these two blog posts by blogger Yawningbread to know more about the process and to see more images showing examples of valid votes and spoilt votes. One of the images below shows votes that were apparently considered acceptable at a counting centre during GE 2011.

Images extracted from Yawningbread bloggers post

Images extracted from Yawningbread bloggers post

These 2 oddly marked ballots were accepted as valid at one counting place in GE2011 (Image from Yawingbread blog)

These 2 oddly marked ballots were accepted as valid at one counting place in GE2011 (Image from Yawingbread blog)

Surprised by how ambiguous or questionable markings can count as a valid vote? Me too.  Blame it on a badly drafted rule issued by the Singapore Elections Department (ELD) that gives rise to many grey areas as to when a marked ballot can be rejected or accepted.

In the ELD 2015 guide for Counting Agents, there is this grey clause 5.12 under “Counting Process” that states:

“But a ballot paper on which the vote is marked elsewhere than in the proper place, otherwise than by means of a cross or by more than one marking will not be treated as void if the intention of the voter as to which candidate he/she wishes to give the vote to is clear, and the way the paper is marked does not in itself identify the voter.”

Basically, this says the vote can count so long as it can be argued that the voter’s intention was to vote for the party which contains a marking in the box next to (or on) the party on the ballot paper.

This vague rule gives too much room for what is considered an acceptable marking which could trigger adjudication. As there is no clear guidance on how to adjudicate some of the ballots that are marked in odd ways,  except that of determining voter intention (which is like trying to read a crystal ball in some cases), there will be inconsistency in interpretation across the counting centres.

According to counting agents who have witnessed the counting of votes in the past, even drawings of a turtle, a squiggle or an “FU” can count as a spoilt vote or a valid vote depending how hard a party counting agent argued and the decisions of the AROs at the counting centres. And at the same time, there are eyewitness accounts of votes where the X was marked faintly for the opposition party and yet were rejected by the RO at the counting centre despite protests by that party’s counting agents.  Obviously, the ELD needs to redraft the law to make it fairer and clearer for the counting officers and voters.

But until then what is ELD’s guideline on what counts as a spoilt or rejected vote?  Ballot papers that are rejected:

(a) a ballot paper which does not bear the complete official mark for the authentication of ballot papers;
(b) a ballot paper on which votes are given for more than one candidate;
(c) a ballot paper on which anything is written or marked by which the voter can be identified (e.g. a voter signs or writes his name or NRIC number);
(d) a ballot paper which is unmarked; and
(e) a ballot paper which is void for uncertainty.

A vote is supposed to be considered spoilt and thus not counted if both boxes (or more if there are more than two parties contesting in that constituency) are clearly marked. One box may contain the legit X for the voter’s chosen party but whether that that vote would be valid or rejected is debatable even if the voter had made other markings in the box next to the party you are not voting for.  All very, very grey no thanks to clause 5.12 as stated above.

By now I hope you understand the perils of trying to be funny or unclear when marking your ballot paper. Play it safe and do nothing more than mark a X next to the party of your choice. Explain and emphasise this to your family and your friends.

When you cast your vote this Friday – please vote with your conscience for a party/candidates with ability and integrity and vote properly with an X.

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9/11 – Vote with your Conscience for people of integrity

Much has been said by the PAP candidates about honesty, integrity and character in the heat of elections campaigning. PM Lee Hsien Loong has also declared: “If good men can’t get elected…then we have a problem.” I agree.  But are the PAP leaders really good men and women with integrity and good character?

Before I go on, let me state that I believe that many of the PAP MPs are decent people in their personal lives. However, they appear to have shelved their conscience when it comes to their political roles. By partaking in the wrongdoings by the government, they are party to the deceit and this reflects poorly on their character and it shows a real lack of integrity.

Is this the sort of people we want to vote for to be our future leaders and role models to our children and youths?

Just today, I saw a posting on Facebook of a note posted on the door of a flat in Tanjong Pagar. It warned the PAP not to knock on their door and it explained that the occupants of that flat “cannot support a party that bullies, intimidates and mud-slings its way into Parliament”.  For good measure the writer added “since from back in school, we have never voted for bullies to be prefects”.letter

Seeing such reactions from Singaporeans gives me hope that people are disturbed by the PAP’s despicable behaviour and that they want to vote in people with integrity to lead our country.

Indeed, voters must go beyond bread and butter issues and examine closely the character and integrity of  the PAP which is the dominant party (and other political parties of course) before they decide on who to vote for. This GE, there are many excellent quality candidates in the opposition parties with many hailing from prestigious universities and from professional or corporate backgrounds including lawyers and doctors.

What then should the deciding factors be when choosing who to vote for when we have such a wide choice across the parties? For me, it is the integrity and character of the party leaders and the candidates.

For far too long, too many Singaporeans have closed their eyes to the abuse of power by the PAP-dominated government which has run the country with much deception and hypocrisy. I worry that if this continues, our people will become inured to the wrongdoings so much so that even the children and youths may come to believe that PAP’s way of doing things – the ends justify the means – is the right way when it is not.

It is high time that voters, young and old open their eyes and start voting with their conscience in addition to their head for the sake of our people and our future.  If the online comments and the letter by the TP GRC resident is anything to go by, it appears that more Singaporeans are voicing their anger over the hypocrisy and double standards of the PAP leaders.

So what has the PAP-Government done to incur the people’s wrath?  The list is long as it spans 50 years but let me highlight eight key ones.

  1. Manipulating and lying about our country’s history
  2. Abusing power such as through blatant gerrymandering
  3. Creating and nurturing a culture of fear in the people of the Government
  4. Conflict of interest and double standards in the application of laws and rules.
  5. Misusing our state-funded resources notably the People’s Association
  6. Using outrageously dirty tricks to fix the opposition and vocal critics
  7. Creating repressive laws to suppress our civil rights and to control the people
  8. Their total denial of any wrongdoing and shameless hypocrisy

Let’s start with the manipulation of our country’s history. It is one thing to hurl mud at opposition parties and it is another for the PAP to exploit and denigrate our country’s proud history by twisting the historical facts for their political advantage. What kind of First World politicians would do this? Are the PAP leaders truly proud Singaporeans as they claim?

The tragedy of all this propaganda is that many Singaporeans, including well-educated youths, are blindly parroting these completely wrong narratives which is a great insult to our country’s illustrious history and heritage. It is not uncommon to hear intelligent young adults claiming mindlessly that LKY founded and even named our country which they blindly believe was a mere fishing village 50 years ago!

For years now, the PAP has been blasting false propaganda such as telling people that Singapore was nothing but a kampong/fishing village/swamp 50 years ago.  By downplaying our history, they aim to reinforce a political narrative that they had transformed our country from nothing to a metropolis.

Fact is 50 years ago, in 1965, Singapore was already pretty developed with a financial centre, busy port, many modern buildings, hotels, good schools, bustling shops and restaurants and a strong civil service. Many of us who are old enough to remember the good old days can attest to this. Yes, we had kampongs and some swamps in parts of our lush tropical forests but to claim the entire country was a fishing village and swampland? Comon’ does one call Malaysia a fishing village just because they still have many villages? Of course not!

Our island, by virtue of its excellent geographical location, was already an important and

Raffles City in the 1920s

Raffles City in the 1920s

thriving trade hub centuries ago. By the early 1900s, Singapore was a prosperous city, one of the most modern in Southeast Asia, and it had one of the world’s busiest ports.

I urge Singaporeans, new citizens and PRs living here to make an effort to learn about our real history and to watch YouTube videos of Singapore taken in the 1900s. For more information, you can click on this link  – a blog post I wrote on why Singapore was not a barren island 50 years ago.

Moving on, let’s look at how this government has abused its power. For starters, why is the Elections Department headed by PM Lee Hsien Loong when there is clearly a conflict of interest? For years now, we have been facing flagrant gerrymandering by the PAP-G which redraws the boundaries of constituencies at every General Elections for its political advantage. Why are places like Holland Road and Orchard under Tanjong Pagar GRC and parts of Serangoon under Marine Parade GRC?! LHL-poster-1-484x650And why are posters with Lee Hsien Loong’s picture placed all over Singapore when it clearly contravenes one of the elections statutes that states candidates can only place their posters within the constituency that they are contesting?

For more examples of double standards and power abuse, let’s look at how the they go to extreme lengths to fix the opposition parties.  Almost everyone here knows by now how they have been attacking the Workers’ Party over the ongoing Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council saga. ahpetc The PAP-Govt has wasted tax-payers money and used government agencies including the Ministry of National Development to try to bury the WP in their bid to wrest back Aljunied-Hougang GRC.  But despite their best efforts at mud-slinging over the past 10 months there has been no proof of corruption.

As a reminder, right after the WP won the Aljunied GRC in the 2011 elections, the government did something shocking.  It used the HDB to literally seize 26 plots of land from WP and leased them to the People’s Association instead.   This was obviously politically motivated as WP is the elected representatives of these two constituencies and no reason was given by the G for the decision. Subsequently, all community events at these sites had to be approved by the PA instead of WP’s town council and there was another scandal when it was leaked that community event organisers were told not to invite the WP members to their events!

This history of fixing the opposition goes back many decades with the G having sued, bankrupted, jailed and also exiled many of their most vocal opponents and critics.  Notable political events where many brave Singaporeans were persecuted by the PAP-government include Operations Cold Store and the Marxist Conspiracy.

Today, the fixing of their critics continues, albeit on a smaller scale. Actions du jour include filing police reports and suing citizens such as Lee Hsien Loong’s lawsuit against blogger Roy.  They have also created more laws such as the Protection from Harassment law, a law created supposedly to protect innocent citizens but which ironically has been used by the Government against their critics. The Amos Yee saga was an example of how this law was invoked when 32 supporters of the PAP filed police reports against the boy for his video mocking Lee Kuan Yew. It also showed how the Government can,  in its haste to protect its leaders and its party, even persecute a 16-year-old boy by placing him in remand/jail and even in a mental hospital for several weeks.

Such ridiculous persecutions have been reported by the global media and made us a laughing-stock. And it makes Singaporeans wonder if PAP is a Party Against its People?

The PAP-G constantly preaches integrity and good character when they behave like hypocritical tyrants without a conscience.  They can attack the WP over the AHPETC matter while downplaying the Auditor General Office (AGO)’s report on financial lapses committed by many government agencies, stat boards and Ministries every year.

The most damning finding in July found that 40 per cent of the 115 grassroots organisations it “test-checked” had financial irregularities, including the case of the chairman of the Admiralty Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) who was involved in approving awards of two contracts to a company in which he had an interest. In addition, he was also found to have approved “his own claims amounting to $114,767.”

The irregularities found by the AGO involving the PA amounted to a princely sum of more than $20 million. And this was based not on a thorough audit of all the grassroots organisations but on only 40%.

The G declared that the PA’s investigation (ownself check ownself??) of the Admiralty CCC chairman found “no evidence of dishonesty”. This was followed by the PA’s Deputy Chairman Lim Swee Say (also Manpower Minister) declaring that most of the lapses arose “out of good intentions” and not dishonesty.

Now if only the G could be as understanding with the Workers Party which faced daunting obstacles when they took over the running of the AHPETC – 26 sites were seized; the entire computer system in the town council was removed and sold to AIM a $2-company owned by PAP members; and not a single company dared to tender for the job of Managing Agent of the estate (likely out of fear of upsetting the mighty PAP-G)

Finally, how ethical can these PAP leaders be when they blatantly misuse the People’s Association network and state-funded resources to promote their party and their MPs? The entire grassroots network from the CCs to the RCs has been compromised to be partisan. It is a fact that numerous grassroots leaders have benefited from supporting the PAP such as gaining priority for their kids at schools and even getting to reserve the best units in unlaunched HDB projects.

I could go on and on about their litany of sins against Singapore and Singaporeans but that would make for unwieldy reading. For those interested to know more, click this link to read about their boundless hypocrisy, tab here to read about the AGO report on the G’s financial lapses, and click here for an example of repressive laws introduced to control alternative online news sites and its critics. You may also be interested to read how the PAP-G often does not walk the talk when it comes to practising meritocracy.

Despite growing condemnation of their unethical behaviour it is disturbing that the PAP leaders are impervious to the people’s laments. If anything, they are becoming more militant and defiant in their response. Do they truly believe the ends justify the means? Is economic success all that matters? Is no price too high to pay to retain their power even if it means denying their conscience? If they truly do believe this, they are taking us down the road, not to paradise, but to hell.

Fellow Singaporeans, you have a choice to sit back and let them to do so or take action to change to change the direction in which we are headed.

Come September 11 let it be the dawn of a fresh new beginning. Vote wisely. Vote with your conscience. Vote for a government that has both competence and integrity.

“Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it” – Albert Einstein

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Butter in the balance

Why it matters that we should not have a dominant one party rule in Singapore. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely…..”Consider this: Malaysia’s UMNO-led coalition isn’t as dominant in that country’s political landscape as the PAP is in Singapore’s. UMNO and its Barisan Nasional partners do not even have a two-thirds majority in parliament; BN does not run all the state governments. There is a far more active civil society there than in Singapore. Malaysian sultans are not appointed by the government and have had a history of tension with it. Despite these handicaps, Najib has been able to block investigations, sack those who stood in his way, and issue the most asinine of ‘explanations’. We thus cannot naïvely assume that, should a future scandal brew under the surface in Singapore, where currently the government remains even more dominant than that in Malaysia, truth will out and wrongdoers punished.

A year ago, no one could have imagined the crisis of confidence that has since engulfed Malaysia. The thing about rot is that it can remain invisible for a long time, only to be exposed and turn dangerous very late in the day.”

Yawning Bread

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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.

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Lee Kuan Yew is not Singapore’s founding father

A very clear and factual explanation debunking the many myths and propaganda surrounding Lee Kuan Yew.

Yours Truly Singapore

I refer to the 24 Mar 2015 Straits Times report “Singapore mourns: Thousands pay tribute to founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew”.

ST quoted PM Lee:

“The first of our founding fathers is no more. He inspired us, gave us courage, kept us together, and brought us here. He fought for our independence, built a nation where there was none, and made us proud to be Singaporeans. We won’t see another man like him,” he said.

Lee Kuan Yew is not our founding father let alone the first because he never fought for our independence like George Washington or Gandhi did for their respective countries. Instead, Lee was the recipient of our independence and was on record to say that it was a moment of anguish for him. Isn’t it contradictory that Lee fought for our independence yet felt anguished when we became independent? Lee’s anguish at our independence confirms…

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The Good, the Bad and the Intolerant in the Amos Saga

A gaunt looking Amos Yee leaving the court yesterday.

A gaunt looking Amos Yee leaving the court yesterday.

It has been an eye-opener reading the flurry of online comments about the release of Amos Yee.  Most of the comments have been heated with much mud being slung both ways. The raging debate over Amos has clearly brought out the worst and the best of Singaporeans and, of greater concern, it has highlighted an ugly segment of militant people who are exceedingly intolerant of anyone behaving outside their notion of the social paradigm.

These extremists have hurled vitriol at Amos and even at those who campaigned for and supported his release from prison.  An example of their vitriol can be seen in the ridiculous allegations made in response to a comment I had made on TODAY FB page regarding the Amos Yee release.  Using my Facebook moniker Min Zheng I had written: “A very shameful period for our country. Shame on the state for bullying a child. And shame on those who wish the worst on this boy.”

This comment sparked a slew of angry responses. Many militant conservatives strongly defended the actions by the government and accused me of being anti-government, a paid foreign spy (ah if only I get paid for my writings), a political tool for just about every opposition party (and curiously even a tool for Han Hui Hui). Some sneered and said I should leave the country implying I am a traitor of sorts.

Presentation1 It was also disturbing reading the many callous comments about Amos with many saying he deserved being jailed and sent to the mental hospital and that he was faking it when he looked traumatised yesterday (these people should try staying in jail and a mental ward and see how they look after that). Some even attacked his mother for being a bad mum and criticised her for wearing a “I Support Amos” T-shirt on the day of his release.

The belligerent attacks continued with one smart-ass trying to assert that Amos at 16 is an adult and not a child and that the jail sentence is too short as he is a menace to society! Amazingly, some people went on to declare Amos had to be punished if we do not want to see racial riots in our country or become like Malaysia!

For the record, a teen at 16 is still a child not an adult according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which defines child as persons under age 18. If any adult disagrees, please ask yourself if you thought and and behaved like an adult when you were 16.

Frankly, even if Amos were an adult I would still say it was wrong to arrest someone for speaking his mind, albeit rudely, as what he said was not so earthshaking that it could cause even a dent on our social harmony. His rant and his name would most likely have have long been forgotten if the fanatical gang of 32 had not created a ruckus by filing police reports against him.

Next, what Amos said had nothing to do with race and what he said could not have caused  a mini riot much less sparked a descent into hell for our religious harmony which was built over many years (Singapore’s history harks back to the third century contrary to political propaganda that we are 50 years young).

Do note that not a single Christian group came forth to cry father cry mother about Amos’ video rant (which btw was about Lee Kuan Yew lest we forget and not about religion). Not a single one. On the contrary, there were many Christians who petitioned for his release. One pastor even took part in the recent Hong Lim Park rally, which campaigned for Amos’ release, and he said there was nothing to forgive when someone asked if he forgave Amos.

There is much hypocrisy among those loudly condemning Amos. The fact is many of these people are not really concerned about our religious equilibrium, their anger is actually fuelled by Amos insulting their idol by calling Lee Kuan Yew a “horrible person” and a dictator not long after his death.  Yet, these people are shamelessly using religion as a tool to hang Amos.

As for allegations of me being used as a political tool to topple the government, please lah don’t honour me with such importance when I do not have such power nor any political associations of any sort. All I have done and am still doing, like many other concerned citizens, is sharing my opinions and speaking up when I see injustice done against my fellowmen.

On the flip side, one could also accuse these zealots of being political tools or agents out to protect the PAP-govt by defending the abusive use of draconian laws to squash dissent. These defenders are also being hypocritical in ignoring the double standards in how the law on sedition and harassment has been applied over the decades by our government. In addition, the outspoken Lee Kuan Yew had said many hurtful things about women, Malays and had even insulted Singaporeans such as calling us dogs in the past. Yet, none of his supporters called him out for causing disharmony did they?

As I have mentioned, this whole saga has brought out the worst and the best of Singaporeans and it has brought to our attention the emergence of a highly intolerant group of Singaporeans whom I shall call the “Intolerants”. Their behaviour goes well beyond being conservative as they appear to be callous, swift to anger, fast to condemn and worse, have the tendency to push the authorities to punish those whom they find offensive.

This militant group’s arguments are often fallacious and strident to the point of telling those who disagree with their political views to leave the country. Why the hell should any Singaporean leave their country? What gives these arrogant “Intolerants” the right to tell their fellow citizens to leave the country in the first place? Such behaviour makes them look like fascists trying to purge the country of those who do not share their views and values.

We should worry for our country’s future if such people are in community leader positions and in the PAP-government.

IMO, such extreme intolerance should not be allowed to proliferate as they will end up polarising our society and cause more cracks and unhappiness. Our Government leaders need to be more careful and discerning when listening to such people’s complaints and advice if they truly want to have peace and harmony among our people.

Yes, there will always be differences in any society but being militant in saying “It’s my way or the highway” is simply not the way to build a cohesive and happy community in today’s day and age. We should be able to discuss, argue and debate in a civil manner without resorting to hysterical vitriol and to using the law in an abusive manner.

As society progresses and becomes more complex,  we will need to become more understanding and accommodating of different views and beliefs; we will need to have more empathy; and we should be more open-minded and less judgmental.

One final comment on Amos. Whether one loathes or love him, it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that the people and our authorities treat the boy right – with universal values of compassion, fairness and justice. To his haters, I say you have the choice to stay angry or to ignore his future postings (which I am certain will resurface) and please stop cursing and condemning him. To his fans – don’t make him into some sort of idol and stop egging him on to do things that you wouldn’t even think of doing.

Amos is just a 16-year-old boy. Let him be. Let live his life.

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