Friday 27 May 2011

An Uphill Task on the Internet

As much as the recent General Election has stirred Singaporeans politically, I fear that the vocal minority who rule the web with their constant vile and vitriolic comments on news/blogs/facebook postings will cause more displeasure and unease with the Government and particularly the PAP.

The Internet community is so polarised that it is now overwhelmingly anti-government and any attempts to defend the rational is quickly shot down and constructive criticisms totally ignored. Nobody can claim to be perfect however these largely stubborn and opinionated lot certainly qualify as perfect a**holes.

It is an unenviable struggle to reach out to first, correct the untruths while pushing out new ideas for the greater good. The buzzword is reach out and connect but the door has to be opened at the other end too!!

Not this sacred cow

With reports that Osama bin Laden planned to hijack oil tankers and blow them up at sea including targets such as Asia’s key oil chokepoint, the Strait of Malacca, it is imperative that we do not unduly reduce the national defence budget as part of policy reviews post general election.

Singapore has always been viewed as a prized target and a single successful strike at our seaports or waters could prove disastrous and threaten our survival as a nation. Thus it would be extremely foolish to gamble with our safety by scrimping on national security even in seemingly peaceful times.

Monday 23 May 2011

We Are Still Here...

and the new Cabinet starts work today (although the pay revision will be back-dated to the 21st),

and MANCHESTER UNITED were presented with their 19th Premier League trophy,

and 50million POUNDS Fernando Torres is still on ONE goal (his manager did get sacked),

and I suppose the WP team in Aljunied will have time to complete their MBA course on MPS 101,

and so we now await 2012 (**or apparently the actual date is now October 21, 2011**)

**Updated on 22 October 2011, I survived !!

Saturday 21 May 2011

The World is Going to End Today, May 21, 2011

According to American tele-evangelist Harold Camping, the world will end today at 6pm local time in each of the world's regions,

and the new Cabinet has only just been sworn into office,

and the WP team in Aljunied GRC have yet to start their Meet-the-People Sessions (MPS),

and Manchester United have yet to be presented with their 19th Premier League trophy,

and Roman Abramovich spent 50million British pounds for Fernando Torres to score just ONE goal,

and its not even 2012!!

Friday 20 May 2011

Post GE 2011: The end of an era, PM Lee Hsien Loong announces new Cabinet lineup, 18 May 2011

A CABINET without Lee Kuan Yew.

Almost unthinkable a year or two ago, that possibility became real yesterday as the man himself took a cursory look around the meeting room before calling it a day.

Yesterday, 19 May 2011, marked the last Cabinet meeting that Minister Mentor Lee, 87, would attend, nearly 52 years after he chaired his first.

It seemed only apt then that he recalled that afternoon in June 1959 when he was just 35 and the Prime Minister of a country just embarking on self-government.

For the next five decades, he would be an indomitable presence around the table - the first 31 years as Prime Minister, and then as a trusted senior adviser, a 'databank', as he once described himself.

The mood during yesterday's meeting in the wood-panelled room in the Istana was reflective, according to those present.

It was also the last time for eight other ministers, including Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who turns 70 today.

'We were all conscious that this was the end of an era,' said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in remarks to the media.

In one move, the last of the first two generations of the Singapore leadership exited this select group of men and women who spend at least one day each week deliberating and deciding the finer points of policy.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Why WP and not SDP or SPP

In response to MM Lee and SM Goh's decision to quit the Cabinet, we can confirm that some people just never learn.

While the very political politician Low Thia Khiang and the WP have refrained from direct comment, the other Opposition Parties have continued to shoot themselves in the foot.

SPP's Chiam asked "Why now?" and declared that he would have won in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC instead, and the reason is??????

But, taking the cake is the SDP who said "The MM and SM posts have served no useful purpose except to drain the national budget."

Sunday 15 May 2011

Always remember from whence we came

"2011 has seen a generation that does not remember from whence we came, but that is to be expected. But I do, and those amongst you who are over 50 will remember" said MM Lee.

I'm much nearer 40 but I remember and I thank you for your selfless devotion to Singapore and all Singaporeans.

On Saturday, 14 May 2011, MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, 87, and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, 69, have announced their retirement from the Cabinet.

In an unexpected joint statement on Saturday evening, they wrote: 'We have studied the new political situation and thought how it can affect the future. We have made our contributions to the development of Singapore.'

'The time has come for a younger generation to carry Singapore forward in a more difficult and complex situation. The Prime Minister and his team of younger leaders should have a fresh clean slate.'

Calling the General Election five days ago a 'watershed' one, they wrote that they have decided to leave the Cabinet and have a 'completely younger team of ministers connect to and engage with this young generation in shaping the future of Singapore.'

Between them, the two former Prime Ministers of Singapore have 91 years of experience in politics.

Mr Lee was Singapore's first Prime Minister, a post he held from 1959 to 1990.

The length of his premiership made him the longest-serving PM in the Commonwealth and the longest-serving head of government in Asia.

Mr Goh first entered Government in 1977, after leaving shipping company Neptune Orient Lines.

He rose rapidly up the ranks to become Deputy Prime Minister in 1985, and then Prime Minister in 1990.

He handed over the reins to current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2004, after 14 years at the helm.

Mr Lee and Mr Goh will remain MPs, in their wards of Tanjong Pagar and Marine Parade GRC respectively.

Saturday 14 May 2011

Its Not Just George

Several observers have written to scrap the Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) and advocated a return to Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) as a result of the recent general election. Instead this election has proven that GRCs are no longer an obstacle to Opposition parties seeking to enter office.

Most repeat the fact that minority candidate Michael Palmer managed to win in an SMC, however, I beg to differ as this was a case of an incumbent who had a proven grassroots track record in the area.

In fact, the 11th hour Workers Party (WP) candidate managed 41 per cent compared to the SDA’s Desmond Lim who in spite of working the ground for the past few years, lost his deposit. Had the WP candidate declared her candidacy earlier, I believe Palmer would have lost. In fact even a dummy in WP colors would fare better!

Thus, while calls to scrap GRCs seem a popular sentiment, it would be ironic and extremely fool hardly for the PAP to change the system, as any further tweaks would certainly not endear them to an electorate suddenly aware that they have something else to mark other than a 4-D slip.

Many also voice that this election has shown that GRCs can be the fastest way for the ruling party to lose important candidates such as ministers and promising candidates. Everyone laments the loss of FM George Yeo and reasons that if fielded in an SMC, he would have won handsomely. Does this mean that in order to save Ministers from the vote, we should place them in SMCs, this is not real democracy. 

While George Yeo is a capable minister, I wonder how many Singaporeans were truly aware of his accomplishments in office if Low Thia Khiang and the WP had not contested Aljunied GRC and turned it into a national issue and eventually voting him out.

Would the public feel better if DPM Teo Chee Hean or Labour Chief Lim Swee Say were voted out instead?

We have a capable team of ministers, including those who have recently retired and it would be unfair to champion one while ignoring the contributions of the other men and woman who have ensured the stability and prosperity of our nation.

The lower winning average in this general election for the PAP is simply the result of pent-up frustrations of a population suddenly given an avenue by a large supply of acceptable opposition candidates to be their voice in parliament. If this trend of myopic self-fulfillment continues, I believe the PAP will lose power by the next election and if that happens, I sincerely hope that autopilot switch actually works!!

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Myopic: Why Are More and More Singaporeans Getting Short-sighted?

"Although she may have lost, Singapore People's Party (SPP) candidate for Potong Pasir Lina Chiam says she's determined to win back the constituency in the next election.

Addressing a crowd of about 100 supporters and residents who had gathered at Potong Pasir before setting off on "thank you" parade with SPP candidates on Sunday afternoon, Lina  attributed the presence of new citizens as one of the reasons for her narrow loss in the polls, where her PAP rival Sitoh Yi Pin won by a mere 114 votes. "This election is a very close fight and we had to do recounting; I believe that my loss is not because of you all not voting for me," said the wife of opposition stalwart Chiam See Tong.

"I think it's because of the new citizens and also because of the upgrading of the flat which some of these old folks are afraid of and they were told they might not get their upgrading," she added. She said the building of new condominiums in the constituency is also a sign of changing demographics in her ward. But unperturbed, she stressed she will continue to "fight" for Potong Pasir".

Some want a First World Standard, like.....America, the Land of the Free for whom immigration is a contentious issue. Others clearly affected by myopia, want pure citizens and blame everything on foreigners. New citizens or not, Political figures should stop bashing foreigners for the sake of self preservation, the many foreigners from the street and food court cleaners to the competent health care providers contribute to the well-being of Singaporeans.

Just as Singaporeans talk of greener pastures elsewhere, we should not torch the field of dreams of others. You can't have your pie & eat it too!!

Best News Bite of GE2011

Newspaper report from Bedok Stadium on Polling Night:

Ms Koh, a 30-year-old prefers to stay anonymous because she is selling food without a licence. The thin woman, clad in a T-shirt and shorts, is handling the sticky mua chee (rice dough dipped in crushed fried peanuts) with bare hands. Her customers, most wearing all white and sporting PAP badges, do not seem to mind. She has been fined many times by the authorities who want her to use gloves, among other things. "How can I use gloves to handle this? It's so sticky. How come they don't ask the prata man to use gloves?" she argues.

She is the classic resentful, personal-grudge voter, impervious to the big picture, the long view. She is, in other words, the kind of person who haunts the PAP in their nightmares!!

Sunday 8 May 2011

Apathetic No More!

This morning (day after Polling Day) as I was waiting to complete my payment for groceries at NTUC, a young woman approached the middle-aged Singaporean cashier and complained about a price discrepancy in her bill. Apparently she was overcharged for "I bought many" bottles of on-sale Oyster sauce and she was sent on a wild goose chase by cashiers who couldn't confirm the price. It was peak hour and the queues were long and the cashiers were running ragged.

The young woman protested "HOW DO YOU PEOPLE SERVE!!!!"

Friday 6 May 2011

Wednesday 4 May 2011

First World 101

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Nicole Seah the Pompous Ass!

Fame must have gotten to Nicole's head, so much for declaring on national newspaper that she’s grounded.

In her rally speech at Mountbatten on Monday evening, the 24 year old said, “On behalf of the Chinese Singaporeans, I would like to apologise to the Muslim community for the comments that MM Lee made.”

In his recently published book, MM Lee suggested that Singaporean Muslims should be less strict in their Islamic observances in order to integrate better into society. However, he later issued a statement and said that he stands corrected on how well-integrated Malay-Muslims are in Singapore.

Cheap shot or election tactic, Nicole represents the fourth generation Singaporeans who have been brought up in peaceful and prosperous times and been blessed with higher education. Such callousness and disrespect to an elder and to one of our founding fathers no less is representative of, to quote MM Lee “It is a footloose generation that has not experienced the past and believes that Singapore is now an areoplane that is flying safely and can go on autopilot and anybody can take over.”

The upstart should be humble and learn to show respect bearing in mind that while there are many first time voters now, the number of aging voters will be a factor in future elections. The NSP hierarchy would do well to educate her unless as alarmingly obvious she has already become the party chief!

Are they worth the risk?

The Workers’ Party has staked their A Team with the promise of giving us a First World Parliament but would they even cause a ripple if they win 5 seats. Low Thia Khiang has missed a grand opportunity to show Singaporeans that he is serious about ruling the country. Immediately after the last elections in 2006, he should have set in motion plans to contest all seats in Parliament by recruiting and laying the groundwork for the next battle. Instead all the Workers’ Party can muster is 23 candidates including a star name for impact. Low wants to be the co-driver but he will still end up in the last bus with the backbenchers.

Low continually harps on moving goalposts and laments the creation of GRCs to handicap the Opposition. GRCs do ensure minority representation in multi-racial Singapore where the majority is Chinese. In order to be “First World” he should amass talent to form teams for all GRCs. Most times he does not seem to want to lead and would rather Sylvia Lim do the talking instead. If the WP is as serious as its manifesto in wanting a First World Parliament, it must have the numbers to contest and form the Government if successful. Alas, they have not and instead have appealed to voters in Aljunied to send them in to Parliament without a hint of plans for the constituency.

George Yeo has called it an “emotional dilemma” for the voters of Aljunied, do they sacrifice themselves and provide the Opposition voices in Parliament and risk the welfare of their estate (although things might not exactly fall apart in 5 years). What I do not understand is why residents can set aside the competent track record of the incumbents and state that they would need to listen to the other side before making up their mind. Does this means that all that the PAP team has done for them is forgotten and ignored – it would be logical if the PAP had done a bad job in Aljunied but they have not.

I was astonished to read in the papers that Low Thia Khiang cannot maintain a few car parks in Hougang and had to return them to the HDB, I fear for the many car parks in Aljunied (then again they should last 5 years). Worst still, Pritam Singh has stated that he needs to consult residents after the election on plans for the estate – damning proof that the WP has no plans for Aljunied and its ONLY aim to get into Parliament through their best chance GRC.

The Opposition continues to eye the reserves when proposing grand plans for Singaporeans. We may not have natural resources like oil or minerals but we do have reserves built up over years. If Singapore can continue to grow and prosper without dipping into the reserves, we should refrain from using them until it is necessary. There are the poor in Singapore but do we see homeless people sleeping in the CBD or Orchard Road, I’m sure we have sufficient aid agencies and avenues to help the needy.

The WP’s plan for low cost land unto lower cost HDB flats would demolish the home values of almost the entire population. What would our flats be worth in future and would we be able to monetize our flats for retirement? Gone also would be the upgraders dream of owning a private property – forget the sandwiched middle class, they would now be the pancaked class.

At the end of the day, while the PAP policies do not please everyone, it tries to accommodate and seeks what’s best for Singapore. The PAP has led us through numerous crises and continues to serve the interests of the people. I would rather raise issues by email to the MP or the Minister, newspaper forums and even through Stomp instead of waiting for Parliament to sit. In this connected age, genuine feedback should be the norm and fast and viable solutions a way of life.

Low had said he would refuse a Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) seat if his team ended up as one of the top-performing losers, do not fret, I’m convinced Sylvia Lim will find him a job.

Low won his GRC but screwed his long time buddy Eric Tan out of his NCMP seat. Dropped like a bomb Eric was also quick to quit the party.

Monday 2 May 2011

Makes my day!

Studies show that people with more birthdays live longer.