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.


Hougang By Elections Update 2!

"PAP vs WP"

Desmond Choo (L) and Png Eng Huat (R).


Workers’ Party nominee has been announced, with little surprise.
Mr Png Eng Huat, a businessman will be WP’s candidate for the By Elections in Hougang.

Little is known about him but he stepped up after the infamous Yaw Shin Leong, former Member of Parliament for Hougang, was sacked by the Workers’ Party for personal indiscretions. While Low of WP initially maintained that those were just rumors, they eventually sacked him because he did not turn up for the meetings to clarify matters.
If someone Low has known for so long could have indiscretions which Low did not know about, what makes anyone think that Mr Png would be more trustworthy or have integrity? I’m not doubting whether Mr Png has integrity or not. I am questioning if Low and his party knows Mr Png well enough?

Yaw Shin Leong’s scandal was the first in Singapore. The first time an Opposition got into Parliament by winning a GRC and the first time a MP was sacked by his party for indiscretions. Till date, Yaw Shin Leong has not stepped up to clarify. Some friends call him a coward. I don’t know better – but I wished he came up to speak, be clear and as the phrase goes “BE A MAN.”

According this Channelnewsasia article, I quote Low’s impression of Png:

“He described Mr Png as mature and the “right candidate” for the by-election.
Mr Low said he has known Mr Png before the 2006 General Election.
He said he observed the way he works for some time and is confident that he’s a person of integrity.
Mr Low said Mr Png is sincere in serving the people. He believes Hougang needs someone like Mr Png, who can connect with its residents.
Mr Low said if elected, Mr Png can contribute to the party’s leadership and parliamentary work.”

The answer logically is simple – because Png wasn’t as good as Yaw so WP decided to send Yaw instead!

Well, the truth is we never know everything even if we have spent a long time with them. Sincerity cannot be judged, it is tested and only seen over time. Integrity can only be revealed over time. Also don’t know what parliamentary work is Png going to support.. maybe be like Pritam, take someone’s else work and present it as his without attributing the source at the time of speech. Damn, you can get sacked from your university course for plagarism…. Or be like Gerald who didn’t know about MX9.. Old news but relevant nonetheless.

Well, the same might be said that we don’t know Desmond Choo, PAP’s candidate, for long. But Desmond, at least, he’s been working hard for more than 1 year while the WP MP was sorely Missing In Action (hence no speech link..)

Actually, I want a peaceful by election. One that is honourable and with integrity. For candidates of quality to fight cleanly and maintain peace amongst the people of Singapore. And for Mr Tan-Jee-Say-I-Don’t-Know-Be-MP-or-President-so-I-Just-Join-Both-Elections-And-Ended-Up-Losing-Both to just stop his press releases. It’s getting *quite* annoying every time he opens his mouth.

Psst. I prefer Desmond Choo. Like his Facebook page here.

Hougang By Elections Update

Breaking news!

1. Hougang By Elections have been called.

2. Nomination on May 16 2012.

3. Elections on May 26 2012.

PM Lee has also issued a statement via his Facebook Page.

World Leaders Falling Short of Expectations.. But in Singapore.. It’s a Different Story

A very notable release was made in the Press 2 days ago.

Business, Political and Religious Leaders Around the World Fall Short of Expectations Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor Finds Global Economic Crisis Matched by Crisis of Confidence in Leaders and How They Communicate

Just how much did the leaders fall short by? 1%? 5%?

“Leaders from business, political and religious life are falling desperately short of expectations around the world – with Europeans and Americans the most disillusioned – according to a 12-country survey by global communications firm Ketchum. And in fact, more people globally believe leadership will actually get worse in 2012 (31%), compared with anticipating better leadership (27%). Perhaps most concerning, the report found a 28-percentage-point gap between expectations of leaders and their delivery against those expectations.”[1]

That’s a grand 28% drop!

But, did this apply across every country?

Interestingly NO! Yes, I’m sure you knew it coming from the post title. 😀

Comparatively, Singapore fared much better!

I found this article online by Daniel Goh, very well written.

Daniel says:

“Meanwhile, in Singapore…

Compared to other parts of the world, Singaporean political leaders demonstrate the most effective leadership domestically and internationally compared to other types of leaders. Amongst Singaporeans, leadership skills that matter include the ability to handle an issue or crisis calmly (68-percent), to lead by example (66-percent), to communicate in an open and transparent way (65-percent), and also be able to articulate a clear long term vision (63-percent).

Respondents also feel that the most important action any leader needs to take to restore confidence during challenging economic times is to be open and honest about challenges (65-percent). Over half of Singaporeans (57-percent) state that effective leadership from business leaders will be very important in terms of navigating the unstable economic future. Most leaders seem to be moving in the right direction, with more than one third of Singaporeans having greater confidence in business (40-percent) and political leaders (36-percent) navigating through the economic crisis within their country compared to one year ago.

Eight in ten Singaporeans (80-percent) stated that effective communication was extremely important to leadership.

When Singaporeans form their views on leaders and leadership, channels that allow for both visual and audio content, such as broadcast media (48-percent) in-person contact (49-percent) and televised speeches (47-percent) are seen as most credible. Bizarrely, Singaporeans view press releases (57%) as the most credible communication sources when forming opinions about leaders. Online sources such as Twitter (6-percent), blogs (25-percent) and other social media platforms (14-percent) are all much less credible. ”[2]

I have been thinking why social media platforms are less credible. I think it is simply because it started as a platform utilised by the Opposition to spread assumptions, declare unfounded claims and misinterpret statistics if any! The more astute ones will do their homework before jumping on the bandwagon. However, many others retweet and post on FB links and stories that are not true. Over time, even as more people use social media and spread the word from the Opposition camp, it only perpetuates misinformation and serves to erode the credibility of the social media sites. IMHO, one of them was/is Temasek Review…

Mainstream media needs to verify and ensure credibility of news publications. What a shame it would have been if the Editor allowed untruths to be on it hence why.. the Opposition couldn’t get their news on it. See, that’s why they turned to social media.

People listen to reliable and trustworthy leaders, and particularly in a crisis, leaders who are steadfast. Singapore has been able to steer through many challenging circumstances such as economic crisis and health crisis such as SARS because we have leaders who can be trusted, leaders who are steadfast, leaders who are constantly thinking for the future.

Our recent Budget is a case in point. The Opposition would like to claim credit for the shift to a more socialist type of budget but this credit is NOT theirs to claim. The Singapore PAP Government was already raising funds in the earlier years, saving up so that the money can be used when the time is right. If we didn’t save or raise funds through various measures (remember, everyone complained about rising costs of living such as ERP etc) , we would not have enough money for today. With the aging population in sight, this is the right time to release the money. Any earlier, we would have no money for the now or future. Any later, the costs of healthcare could have escalated, the way it has in so many countries.

So what’s my point? Trust the PAP Government.

Not the dubious claims of 1st World Government by the WP, nor the impossible and ridiculous Budget by SDP that will throw the future generations into debt or the silent SPP or wild & incoherent RP.

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.


Something to say: Low rebuts PM Lee

Ah, now he has a lot to say 🙂 And perhaps a tinge of resemblance in cockiness.

A stark change from the previous attempts to get his comment and opinion on YSL.

WP’s Low rebuts PM Lee: We have not let the people down

Does anyone know the meaning of letting people down? When the elected cannot fulfil the roles & responsibilities of the electorate, it has failed to meet the expectation that the elected will represent the electorate.

Phrasal Verbs:

let down


a. To withdraw support from; forsake.
b. To fail to meet the expectations of; disappoint.

dis·ap·point verb \ˌdis-ə-ˈpȯint\


Definition of DISAPPOINT

transitive verb
: to fail to meet the expectation or hope of : frustrate <the team disappointed its fans>
intransitive verb
: to cause disappointment <where the show disappoints most is in the work of the younger generation — John Ashbery>

Examples of DISAPPOINT

  1. The team disappointed its fans.
  2. The show may disappoint some viewers.
  3. The novel disappoints by being predictable and overly long.