Saturday, 23 November 2019

MP: A "legislator in Parliament" not an "estate manager"

“MPs should not manage everyday municipal affairs in their wards” – Veteran architect disagrees with 1988 Town Councils Act
Tay Kheng Soon said that he believes the Government should create a separate role, such as a "citizens' representative council" to be accountable to residents for municipal issues so that the MPs can focus on representing constituents' concerns about laws and regulations in Parliament instead of having to deal with estate management matters

Veteran architect Tay Kheng Soon has expressed his belief that Members of Parliament (MPs) should not be required to manage the everyday municipal affairs of their wards and that the role of the MP should be to represent his constituents’ views in Parliament and enact laws as a legislator in Parliament.

In a Facebook post published on Monday (18 Nov), Mr Tay said:
  • “The role of an MP is primarily that of a legislator in Parliament to enact laws. His role in his constituency is to learn and reflect the views of his constituents regarding the laws of the land.
  • “There has been a great misunderstanding of this role as it evolved over the years. The MP is not and never meant to be the manager of the everyday municipal affairs of his constituency. This is and should be done by full time managers employed for this.
  • “As legislator he will of course want to seek out the views of his constituents on the laws and regulations that affect the country and also his constituents. Laws such as disallowing PMDs on footpaths or CECA or foreign policy relations with China and USA. His meet the people sessions is for this.”

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People’s Voice Lim Tean in agreement with veteran architect that MPs are not “estate managers”
Tay Kheng Soon calls for a separate full-time manager to handle daily tasks of a constituency

People’s Voice founding leader Lim Tean took to his Facebook on Monday (18 November) to pen his agreement with veteran architect Tay Kheng Soon who stated that the role of a Member of Parliament (MP) is to be a “legislator in Parliament to enact laws” and not exactly “be the manager of the everyday municipal affairs of his constituency”.

“We agree totally with Tay Kheng Soon that an MP is not an estate manager! I said this during the television debate in GE 2015. If you want an estate manager as MP, then make sure your MP has professional qualification to be an estate manager,” Lim Tean wrote in his post. He also noted that even if the MPs are expected to be estate managers, People’s Action Party (PAP) MPs “fare poorly compared to the Opposition ones”.

“Was very impressed with how squeaky clean Jalan Damai under Pritam Singh is, whereas parts of Woodlands under PAP are the slums Lee Kuan Yew said Opposition wards would turn into. That has not happened!” Lim Tean explained.


Lim Tean shared a post. November 18 at 9:30 PM

We Agree Totally With Tay Kheng Soon That An MP Is Not An Estate Manager!

I said this during the televised debate in GE 2015. If you want an estate manager as MP, then make sure your MP has professional qualifications to be an estate manager.

Even if we want the MP to be an estate manager, the PAP MPs fare poorly compared to the Opposition ones. Was very impressed with how squeaky clean Jalan Damai under Pritam Singh is, whereas parts of Woodlands under the PAP are the slums Lee Kuan Yew said Opposition wards would turn into. That has not happened!


Tay Kheng Soon November 18 at 5:13 PM

The role of an MP is primarily that of a legislator in Parliament to enact laws. His role in his constituency is to learn and reflect the views of his constituents regarding the laws of the land.

There has been a great misunderstanding of this role as it evolved over the years. The MP is not and never meant to be the manager of the everyday municiple affairs of his constituency. This is and should be done by full time managers employed for this.

As legislator he will of course want to seek out the views of his constituents on the laws and regulations that affect the country and also his constituents. Laws such as disallowing PMDs on footpaths or CECA or foreign policy relations with China and USA. His meet the people sessions us for this. To demand that an MP be responsible for a locked firehose in a fire is totally wrong.


TOWN COUNCILS BILL

The Minister for National Development (Mr S. Dhanabalan): Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."

Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, 20 months ago, we started a pilot Town Council project in Ang Mo Kio New Town. We wanted to see how residents can participate in the management of public housing estates. As the national housing authority, the Housing and Development Board has to provide the same amenities and have the same rules and regulations in all estates. This is the only equitable approach when one housing authority is responsible for the management of all public housing estates. There is little room for the HDB to vary what it provides to suit individual estates and neighbourhoods. Such flexibility is possible with the setting up of Town Councils, under which residents can decide for themselves the kind of living environment that they want. Each Town can then develop a distinctive character of its own according to local conditions and the desires of its residents. Town residents can participate in the day-to-day running of their estates. This will help to enhance their sense of belonging and instil responsibility and pride in them for their immediate surroundings.

The Ang Mo Kio pilot projects have shown that self-management is a workable concept for public housing estates. In the Ang Mo Kio Town Councils, residents have participated with enthusiasm in the running of their own estates - making suggestions and proposals to shape their living environment to give it a distinctive character. Various committees have been formed, such as a Business Liaison Committee and an Environmental Committee. These involve more people in making decisions on maintenance or improvement over and above existing standard facilities.

In Ang Mo Kio West Council, for example, the residents and Councillors embarked on a project costing $62,000 to paint large wall murals at void decks to liven up the surroundings. This has given a distinctive feature to the neighbourhood. They also constructed additional staircase access to the Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West and improved estate landscaping by providing a small Japanese Garden and a mini-garden with benches and colourful shrubs. This may be considered small projects but they do show what residents would like to do if they are given the responsibility to decide things for themselves. Other projects undertaken by residents in the pilot Town Councils include the provision of additional carpark facilities to accommodate residents patronizing shops and markets in Ang Mo Kio West and the installation of new play equipment in selected playgrounds in Ang Mo Kio East.

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TOWN COUNCILS ACT 1988

The following Act was passed by Parliament on 29th June 1988 and assented to by the President on 20th July 1988

Date of Commencement: 5th August 1988
An Act to provide for the incorporation of Town Councils to control, manage, maintain and improve the common property of housing estates of the Housing and Development Board, their constitution, functions and for matters incidental thereto.
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Singapore’s first town councils

Ang Mo Kio West, East and South are Singapore’s first town councils. They were set up on 1 September 1986 as a pilot project for the town council concept. The town council concept was put forward by members of parliament (MPs) Lim Boon Heng, S. Chandra Das and S. Vasoo in December 1984. Its objective was to change the way housing estates were managed by giving residents a greater say in the management of housing estates.

Before town councils
  • Prior to the introduction of town councils, housing estates were managed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). Although the HDB was successful in providing housing for the Singapore population, the standardised rules that were set for all housing estates made HDB towns monotonous. By managing housing estates centrally, the HDB was slow in reaching decisions to fix problems faced by residents and addressing their complaints. The HDB’s top-down approach to estate management also did not develop a sense of shared responsibility among residents. It was against this backdrop that the town council concept was introduced.
  • The town council concept aimed to improve the management of housing estates and allow each town to develop a distinctive character by turning over the day-to-day running of estates to the residents. The bottom-up approach could also turn HDB estates into a place where shared responsibility could be cultivated. A greater sense of responsibility in residents could also enhance their sense of belonging and pride in their immediate surroundings.

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AHTC Saga: The real monkey in the room
The real monkey in the room has always been: Why are political parties in charge of running town councils? Is this not the job of the HDB? Should not everything be thrown back at the HDB?

With Justice Kannan Ramesh having found Workers’ Party leaders Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim guilty of breaching their fiduciary duties with the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, the next stages in the lawsuit saga will be the outcome of appeal and decisions on the amounts to be recovered from all parties involved. These are the legal aspects of the case. But the AHTC trial has never been just about the law. The whole thing can also be seen as political. There are a number of takeaways from the trial – the repercussions of which will affect the forthcoming general elections and the political scene in Singapore.

The judge said the town councillor is like the director of a company or members of a strata development management company.  The councillor has to discharge his fiduciary obligations – even if he is just a volunteer and paid an honorarium of only $300 a month.  Justice Ramesh said: “In fact, the analysis which I have adopted means that the fiduciary relationship between town councillors and their town council is entirely distinct from the political relationship between town councillors and their constituents.”

Put simply, politics is politics and duty is duty – whether or not discharging the duty is done, as the WP put it, in good faith, presumably referring to the lapses. Good faith or not, Justice Ramesh was scathing in his description of the WP leaders who, he said, put their own political interests over that of AHTC. The WP politicians will appeal the findings. Are Singaporeans satisfied with the town council system?

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related:
MP: A "legislator in Parliament" not an "estate manager"
PM Lee Calls for Singaporeans’ Support as ‘Tough’ Election Looms
AHTC Saga: Parliamentary motion passed

Friday, 22 November 2019

She sticks a rose stalk into a potato

And look what happens a week later! Amazing!
Turn one rose into an entire rose bush in no time at all!

A nice bunch of flowers on the kitchen table can lighten up any cloudy day, don’t you agree? Unfortunately, flowers are pretty expensive, especially when you consider you’ll have to throw them in the bin after a couple of days already.

But with this trick we’ve got for you today, you can grow your own beautiful bunch of roses!

Everybody loves flowers - Flowers are beautiful and they provide your home with a cosy and welcoming atmosphere. Plus, they smell amazing! Did you know that flowers can even be good for your health? Buy yourself an indoor hydrangea and say goodbye to dry eyes, headaches and sensitive skin. All all because of a plant! Buying plants can be pretty pricey, though, so growing them yourself in your garden might be a good alternative. It doesn’t just look pretty, it’s also good for your mental health! Research actually shows that gardening can improve your mental health. That’s as good a reason as any to start gardening, isn’t it?

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Thursday, 21 November 2019

Molestation: "2 years' imprisonment is not worth it"

Outrage of modesty posters do not say act is wrong, only 'expensive': AWARE
Crime prevention posters, including ones that reference molest, are displayed on MRT trains. (Photos: Facebook / Aware Singapore)

Women’s rights group AWARE said on Sunday (Nov 17) that the crime prevention posters on outrage of modesty do not say that the act is wrong, but only that it is “expensive”.

This comes after police issued a statement on Saturday saying that AWARE had misunderstood the purpose of their campaign.

AWARE had earlier brought attention to the posters saying that there was a desperate need for a shift in the way sexual violence is talked about and framed. In a post on Facebook, AWARE said that it was namely concerned about the visual motif of the price tag on the molester’s hand, as well as the tagline, which reads: “2 years' imprisonment. It is not worth it.”

related: AWARE misunderstood purpose of outrage of modesty crime prevention posters

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Police: Aware misunderstood anti-molestation posters
Police say posters meant to be strong deterrent; Aware questions 'price tag' approach

The Singapore Police Force have come out to defend crime prevention posters being criticised for the way molestation is being portrayed.

The Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) had called out two posters on the MRT, both depicting a man about to molest a woman and a tag on his wrist with the words "2 years' imprisonment. It is not worth it".

On social media last Thursday, the gender equality advocacy group criticised the posters for putting a price on sexual violence and neglecting to mention the harm suffered by victims.

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AWARE Singapore 13 November at 19:19

Spotted on the MRT: these anti-molestation posters, which feature what looks like a price tag on the perpetrators' hands. The tag says "2 years' imprisonment: It is not worth it."

What about the price that she will have to pay in this scenario, which the poster makes no mention of?

Why are we putting a price on sexual violence at all, like it's a commodity to purchase and consume? Would one year's imprisonment be "worth it"? Or six months? What is inflicting harm and trauma upon another human being worth?

We desperately need a shift in the way we talk about and frame sexual violence. #AimForZeroSG

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Singapore Police Force 16 November at 07:40

SPF STATEMENT ON AWARE’S FACEBOOK POST CRITICISING SPF’S CRIME PREVENTION POSTER

We refer to comments made by AWARE on Police crime prevention posters, warning against outrage of modesty. These posters are displayed on the public transport network.

These posters are part of crime prevention visuals that the Police have produced in collaboration with the National Crime Prevention Council and Singapore Polytechnic’s Media, Arts & Design School. Other crimes such as shop theft and dishonest misappropriation of property are also featured in these visuals.

These visuals target potential perpetrators, and specifically highlight the punishments for committing the criminal acts, in order to send a strong deterrent message.

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AWARE Singapore Yesterday at 01:59

AWARE’S STATEMENT ON THE "OUTRAGE OF MODESTY" POSTERS

AWARE posted a brief comment on social media on 14 November about two new “outrage of modesty” posters by the Singapore Police Force.

Our intentions were to contribute constructively to the ongoing public conversation about sexual violence in Singapore. Our earlier comments did not fully spell out our position on this, which is set out below.

Sexual violence is a pervasive problem in our society, and language (visual or verbal) plays a huge part in shaping how our culture views sexual violence, even in very subtle ways.

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WHY SPF ADS WON’T STOP SEXUAL ASSAULT IN SINGAPORE

There is a series of SPF advertisements reminding potential offenders of the penalties if they were caught molesting, littering and committing other crimes. The molest ad was criticised by Aware for not referring to the harm done to the victim, and defended thereafter by SPF which intended the ads to serve as a deterrent.

I spoke to a lady who has encountered several acts of sexual abuse and assault in her life, to understand why she has not exposed the perpetrators of the crimes, and the one incident she failed to do so after summoning the courage to report to the police.

This is her point of view, that is sorely missing in the conversation:
  • How do I report a family friend?
  • Groped at a foam party, was I asking for trouble?
  • Being lured into a flat by a big brother
  • Being raped by my boyfriend
  • What’s the point of reporting a crime?

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Singapore’s anti-molestation ads create divide between advocates and police
The posters have attracted criticism from a women’s advocacy group for equating sexual violence to a ‘commodity to purchase and consume’. Photo: Facebook

In Singapore, posters bearing anti-molestation messages have attracted criticism from a women’s advocacy group for equating sexual violence to a “commodity to purchase and consume”.

The posters are displayed on Singapore’s public transport, and target perpetrators by highlighting the potential punishments. One poster depicts a “molester” with a price tag hanging down his wrist with the words “2 years’ imprisonment: It is not worth it”.

Last week, the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware), posted criticism on Facebook, asking: “What about the price that she [the victim] will have to pay in this scenario, which the poster makes no mention of?” However, the criticism was rebuffed by the Singapore Police Force (SPF), which designed the posters in partnership with students from Singapore Polytechnic’s Media, Arts and Design School.

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Singapore Police Force and gender equality advocacy group Aware spar over anti-molestation poster

A poster from the Singapore Police Force’s ongoing campaign to draw attention to the adverse consequences of crime has found itself at the centre of a war of words playing out on Facebook between the police department and Aware Singapore, an advocacy group focused on gender equality.

The poster was created by the Singapore Police Force in collaboration with the National Crime Prevention Council and Singapore Polytechnic’s Media, Arts & Design School.

Commenting on the poster in a Facebook post dated November 14, Aware Singapore said: “Why are we putting a price on sexual violence at all, like it’s a commodity to purchase and consume? Would one year’s imprisonment be ‘worth it’? Or six months? What is inflicting harm and trauma upon another human being worth?

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Police defend crime prevention posters after Aware takes issue with price tag design
The posters, which are displayed in buses and trains, and places on the public transport network, depict a “molester” with a price tag hanging down his wrist with the words “2 years’ imprisonment: It is not worth it”

A series of posters bearing anti-molestation messages has come into the crosshairs of a woman advocacy group for making sexual violence look like it is a “commodity to purchase and consume”.

But the criticism by the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) was rebutted by the Singapore Police Force (SPF), which designed the posters in partnership with students from Singapore Polytechnic’s Media, Arts and Design School.

“Aware does not seem to have understood the purpose of the posters,” the SPF said in a Facebook post on Saturday (Nov 16).

The posters, which are displayed in buses and trains, and places on the public transport network, target potential perpetrators and specifically highlight the punishments for committing the crimes to send a “strong deterrent message”, the SPF added.

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Aware Questions Anti-Molestation Posters, Police Say They Misunderstood

If you haven’t seen the latest crime prevention posters put out by the Singapore Police Force, here’s a brief background: the police has recently rolled out a series of posters as part of their crume prevention campaign. Each poster depicts a perpetrator about to commit a crime and hung around his wrist is a “price tag” that indicates the severity of the punishment if caught.

The Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) had called out two posters on the MRT, both depicting a man about to molest a woman and a tag on his wrist with the words “2 years’ imprisonment. It is not worth it”.

On social media last Thursday, the gender equality advocacy group criticised the posters for putting a price on sexual violence and neglecting to mention the harm suffered by victims.

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S’pore police refutes AWARE’s criticism, says anti-molest posters send ‘strong deterrent message’
The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) took to Facebook on Nov. 14 to express dissatisfaction with the way the message was framed on a series of police crime prevention posters that target potential molesters

AWARE pointed out that these posters were “putting a price on sexual violence, like it’s a commodity to purchase and consume”.

On Nov. 16, the Singapore Police Force highlighted that the posters delivered a strong deterrent message to prevent molest and other types of crimes.

In the media statement, the police said that these posters displayed on various public transport platforms were produced in collaboration with the National Crime Prevention Council and Singapore Polytechnic’s Media, Arts & Design School. Besides warning against the outrage of modesty, there are other similar visuals that target potential perpetrators of shop theft and dishonest misappropriation of property.

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Police defend anti-molestation posters after Aware criticism
The posters feature the hand of a man seemingly about to molest a woman. On his wrist is a tag with the words "2 years' imprisonment: It is not worth it".PHOTO: AWARE SINGAPORE/FACEBOOK

The Singapore Police Force has defended a series of crime prevention posters that have been criticised for being insensitive to outrage of modesty victims.

The posters, which are displayed across the public transport network, depict the hand of a man seemingly about to molest a woman. On his wrist is a tag with the words: "2 years' imprisonment: It is not worth it".

The Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) criticised them in a Facebook post last Thursday for focusing on only the punishment but not the harm suffered by the victim.

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Police and AWARE argue over outrage of modesty posters
The country’s Police Force and one of its gender equality advocacy groups seem to be currently caught up in an argument concerning messaging on recent outrage of modesty posters that the police have put up

In a social media post on November 15, AWARE (Association of Women for Action and Research) took issue with posters put up in public transport systems by the police, which are meant to curb molestation.

The posters show what seem to be price tags on the hands of would-be molesters who are about to touch some women inappropriately, with tags that read, “2 years’ imprisonment: It is not worth it.”

AWARE asked the question as to why a price on sexual violence was put in the first place:
  • “What about the price that she will have to pay in this scenario, which the poster makes no mention of?
  • Why are we putting a price on sexual violence at all, like it’s a commodity to purchase and consume? Would one year’s imprisonment be “worth it”? Or six months? What is inflicting harm and trauma upon another human being worth?

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SPF DEFENDS ANTI-MOLESTATION POSTERS AFTER AWARE CRITICIZES THEM FOR OVERLOOKING VICTIMS

If you have been to the MRT station, you might have seen a couple of those crime prevention posters warning would-be perpetrators about the potential consequences that they might face if they commit a crime. Here’s are some posters in case if you have no idea what I am talking about.

The series of posters was designed by students from Singapore Polytechnic’s Media, Arts and Design school after they were given a brief to revamp the visuals of the police’s crime prevention campaign.

When I first saw the posters, I thought it was pretty creative. However, with regards to the last poster, the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), a women’s rights group, has come forth to say otherwise.

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related:
Molestation: "2 years' imprisonment is not worth it"
Spate of NUS molestation cases
Spate of molestation and outrage of modesty
Spate of Indecent Behaviours
"Modesty" and "Outrage of Modesty"
Immodest Anti-Social Behaviours
The Upskirt Scourge