Be careful Singapore.

I have not posted for a while because I have been SO busy!

Nonetheless, the latest news in town caught my attention because it has to do with the country’s future.

I am sure many of you have read about the way the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council have approached the polls for the Neighbourhood Renewal Project. I read it with much disbelief that a Town Council would approach the polls this way. Polls should be done in an open and fair manner without any rewarding mechanisms to skew the results.

The favouritism and biasness displayed towards those who voted  “Yes” is a subtle signal that a favourable position towards what the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council wants will be rewarded. In the long run, the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council is encouraging people to agree with its proposals and decisions because there will be something in it for these residents.

Personally, if the residents choose to accept the carrot, that’s their prerogative. I disagree with this reward aspect of polling but it’s the residents’ prerogative. After all, they chose the MPs who would lead the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.

However, be careful Singapore. If this develops into a way of politics in Singapore, then I think we should reconsider if the Workers Party is the right party to lead. We will be no different from corrupted countries where people are rewarded for doing what is considered right and not by being upright.

There is a chinese saying “路遥知马力日久见人心”. It means on a long journey, we will see a horse’s strength. Over a long period, we will see a man’s heart. A year on, we are beginning to see the characters of the WP MPs. In the things they say and the way they treat others, online and offline. I worry.


An own goal.. in Opposition’s camp

The Singapore political scene has become so interesting I’ve been reading more than posting!

Remember, Singapore’s political system is an election based on political parties and not an individual. This maintains a sense of stability throughout, enabling the majority government to push through policy decisions without wasting much resources of trying to create a consensus, much like what Obama went through.

This came in through a friend’s mail today and thought someone might find it noteworthy too. I don’t know who wrote it but if you did, please drop me a note and a link – I will do the necessary referencing. As all trained students who write essays have been taught lest we are found guilty of plagarising, failed and then expelled! Twice, the opposition have been caught failing to give the original authors credit and in the process, created a false impression that they were the originators of the thoughts.

Check it out here!

Mr LTK chose to score political goals !

LTK built his political career in Hougang, winning the support of residents who courageously voted him into Parliament in 1991. They kept faith with him, standing by him for 20 years till he moved to Aljunied and fielded Yaw Shin Leong as replacement.

The rest, sadly, is history — including Yaw Shin Leong, who was expelled by WP in the wake of allegations about personal issues.

WP clearly knew the implications of what they were doing. Sylvia Lim asked in Parliament: “Does the prime minister not agree that with the Hougang SMC being vacant, there is actually an under-representation of the Hougang voters in this House?”

So if under-represented, who caused it? WP had lots of options, but they decided to sacrifice long-serving Yaw Shin Leong, abandoning the people of Hougang to struggle without an MP. They clearly acted in the interest of their party and not in the interest of the Hougang residents who put the party in power in Hougang. The residents of Hougang are NOT casino chips to be wagered in WP’s political betting. NEITHER should Hougang residents be pawns in WP’s political chess game.

Now there is no MP for Hougang. This didn’t have to happen. Here are 5 ways WP could have done things differently:

1. “Jack Neo” style. Yaw Shin Leong could have hosted a press conference with his wife and apologize in tears, then promise to turn over a new leaf and never, ever do it again. Can even use the words “My Greatest Regret”, just don’t say “My Greatest Regret is not having one of my encounters in Universal Studios”…

2. “Bill Clinton” style. Like Jack Neo, but more statesmanlike. Apologise on TV (or YouTube) with serious charisma. Speech can be scripted, video can be rehearsed until perfect. Can include Bill Clinton phrases like “This has gone on too long, cost too much and hurt too many innocent people…” (but must give credit if copying other people’s words!). Conclude by saying we should not let this distract us from the business of serving the people of Hougang.

3. COI style. WP could have accounted a Committee Of Inquiry to determine the truth of the allegations and investigate processes to see how future problems can be avoided. Can even ask a former civil servant to chair the COI, like Donald Low who deserves some payback after Chen Show Mao copied his article!

4. “Steve Jobs” style. Steve knew how to advise people without interrogating them. During the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he reportedly told Bill Clinton: “I don’t know if you did it, but if so, you’ve got to tell the country.” Even if Yaw Shin Leong was too paiseh to discuss private parts of his life with Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim, they could still have given good advice and guidance.

5. Quiet save-face style. Whatever the truth about Yaw Shin Leong, WP could still have kept him on till the next GE and then retired him quietly, saying “Shin Leong will be stepping down to focus on career / concentrate on other interests” etc.

The people of Hougang are being kicked around in this game of political football. Problem is, WP scored an own goal and the Hougang residents are the ones suffering the loss.

(Extracted from Email circulation: If author reads this, please let me know. Will give due credit)

Australia’s Labor Leadership Dispute & SG Politics

I have been following the Laborious Leadership dispute in Australia.

Quick background: Judy Gillard, PM of Australia, representing Labor Party, has set the stage for a leadership showdown on Monday, 27 February. Kevin Rudd, ex-foreign minister, abruptly resigned from leadership while he was on an official trip to Washington. Claiming betrayal, Rudd, is intending to challenge Gillard in the leadership stage on Monday. Tony Abbott, Opposition, representing Liberal Party is watching. Like a prey, it’s crouching in anticipation, of the dramatic collapse of Labor. Or at least, a decline in the public’s perception of the Labor Party’s credibility.

As a foreigner looking at this leadership tussle, in a time where there are urgent economic and social matters on hand, or well, at least their train transport issues, I wonder how the Australians feel.

A leader of the country, requires a strong mandate to lead. Failing which, it could result in an erosion of respect by other world leaders and a weaken hand during negotiations.

Which is why, in my small country, I will do my best to give my loudest support to the PAP government. It has proven its ability to lead on big negotiating tables and the individual ministers and PM Lee are respected by the world leaders.

When we lost George Yeo after the fall of Aljunied GRC, world leaders publicly expressed their dismay because they knew the man. Today, Aljunied is in the hands of a party embroiled in controversy after the expulsion of their Exco member due to allegations of adultery. Out of the 5 MPs representing Aljunied, one has remained silent throughout the entire saga. 2 have switched positions in a matter of days, slithering from support of the ex-Exco member to disassociation. 2 others – well, quite silent, as always perhaps?

And if you are interested in the By-Election status in Singapore, the PM has not called for one yet. The opposition has been asking PM to call for one quickly and so has an associate professor. So why hasn’t the PM called for it? It’s because of the Parliamentary model Singapore has adopted. You can check out the link here.