By Belmont Lay
It is hard not to feel bad for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong some times.
His stylist always insists that he wears some ridiculous orangey or pinkish shirt, perhaps owing to the fact that it has something to do with softening his countenance.
He has to deal with pesky online websites such as Temasek Review Emeritus instead of taking the time off to go soak in the jacuzzi.
And worst of all, his daddy has to be Lee Kuan Yew.
Just imagine: If your father is His Leeness himself, wouldn’t you be freaking out every single day?
I mean, seriously. What is a man left to do after his father has pretty much done everything to establish Singapore?
How does one try to fill those gargantuan shoes left behind? Or avoid filling them?
Either way will result in being caught in a bind.
Sure, PM Lee can always be his own man and not emulate his daddy’s ways.
But think about it. What if he can never walk out from the shadow his father casts? Well, not because he doesn’t want to, but rather because the shadow is so long and vast it covers a stretch from Singapore to the North Pole.
And some say all the way to Mars.
What if everything he ever did or will do is being viewed in terms of his father’s successes?
Well, it comes as no surprise then that in the March 9 seating in parliament where PM Lee had to publicly explain why there is no fixed time frame for calling a by-election in Hougang, he sounded as if he was bending over backwards to accommodate his father’s views.
As reported in the very reliable The Straits Times on March 10 — if you happen to have read it, you will notice that there is only one word that summarises the rationale for not calling for a by-election within a certain time: History.
And based on this rationale of history, very broadly, emerges at least two simple reasons with Lee Kuan Yew featured prominently inside.
First, PM Lee said that then-prime minister Lee Kuan Yew mooted the idea in 1965 to do away with any time frame to call for a by-election due to Singapore’s “own experience of elections and of government”.
As a matter of fact, the only period Singapore had a time frame imposed was during those years when Singapore was a part of Malaysia.
Second, related to the first point, is a very long explanation that quotes Lee senior:
“The Constitution therefore reflects a political philosophy that emphasises stable government, and the view that in elections, voters are primarily choosing between political parties to be given the mandate to govern the country, rather than between individual candidates to become MPs.”Take note that this political philosophy that is written into the Constitution is most likely excreted by LKY too.
Therefore, very broadly, and not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, there are two responses to these explanations.
One, there appears to be some kind of non-sequitur where the premise and conclusion just don’t flow.
Very oddly, I don’t know if you feel it too, but why is a by-election seen as a destabilising factor that deters a stable government?
Couldn’t the argument also take a turn, and the point is to insist that an election is the start to achieve a stable government?
Of course, what PM Lee said, rather implicitly, wouldn’t be very hard to understand if we take what he meant to mean that the law is made to be advantageous and in favour of the political party that is the incumbent to widen the base for stability.
Then it would make perfect sense.
And that wouldn’t be the main gripe of today’s missive.
Two, and more importantly, as PM Lee had to quote his daddy — to apply his father’s logic, so to speak, even in this day and age, he is inevitably finding it very hard to emerge from his father’s legacy.
That would be the main gripe of today’s missive.
There was his father saying something in 1965 and here he is in 2012 running through those lines again.
I think we all have heard before that the only constant is change.
The skyline has changed, the perspective about building casinos has changed and even the brand value of the PAP has changed.
But in Singapore the only constant is Lee Kuan Yew.
Tell me, how many other ways could PM Lee have phrased himself in parliament to sound as if he is not saying, “…and that’s the bottom line, because my father said so!”?
Well, plenty. But like I said, it’d be hard to be a contrarian if your father is you know who.
Then again, it’s probably not PM Lee’s fault.
Maybe there is a need to abide by tradition.
But then again, and more critically, will PM Lee really ever get to publicly say “I disagree!” to the ideas mooted by his father.
Tell me, how should this situation work?
Does it suck to be PM Lee or what?
And look, if any one of you out there were to find yourself in PM Lee’s shoes, you’d most likely have broken out into a hissy fit and left home a long time ago.
Yet, despite the odds, he became the leader of a nation.
So, to make PM Lee feel better, we’re going to elect him as the candidate for Cooler Than You section for the next few weeks at least.
Proliferation of Sex Crimes Disturbing; Here’s What to Do
A pervert pretended to be a doctor and tricked a nine-year-old girl into performing oral sex on him. The police disclosed that he has molested several other young girls. He was jailed 12 years but spared the cane because of his age. (Men 50 and above escape the rotan.)
A real doctor – that’s the nutcase in the picture above – cross-dressed as a junior college student, lifted up his skirt and exposed himself to a teenage girl.
“Man had sex with wife’s sister, 12,” screamed the headline in yesterday’s papers.
“Man jailed 10 months for having sex with minor,” screamed yet another headline yesterday.
And the day before, “’Model teacher’ sexually abused three pupils.”
Loh and Behold
The Hand of Justice must be seen to prevail wisely
The PAP Government is not unknown to be wont to ride roughshod over opposition's entreties on matters of public interest and in this case the opposition's (and the public especially Hougang voters') request for a reasonably early date for the Hougang by-election occasioned by the vacation of the Parliamentary seat by its erstwhile MP Yaw Shin Leong. The apparent prevarication of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in stating that he intends to call a by-election but has not yet decided on the timing of the by-election on which he claims he has constitutionally the discretion to decide is not conveying the right kind of confidence to Singaporeans. This is probably furthest from his mind and it looks like he will procrastinate holding the by-election as long as he possibly can notwithstanding any outcry or clamour from the public.
As fate would have it, along came a political nonentity in the person of Hougang resident Madam Vellama Marie Muthu to get the courts to order the Prime Minister to hold a by-election in Hougang SMC within three months or a "reasonable time". Overnight she became a sensation and a cynosure of all eyes for her gallantry in challenging the august Prime Minister in a court of law to restore the political rights of Singapore electors where other more reputable Singaporeans fear to tread.
Rushing to do biz, invest in Burma?
Better read this first. [W]hat has been achieved so far in reforming the country in such a short period of time rests on the trust established between the slight, bespectacled former general and the charismatic daughter of Aung San, the country’s liberation hero.
Banyan goes on to point out that both of them are not in best of health and that the Burmese president has many enemies who want to push the clock back.
Thoughts of a Cynical Investor
When The Trinity Gets Holy
I'm not writing about religion. This is about Singapore's Supreme Triumvirate of PAP, NTUC and Employers.
According to Ministry of Manpower, it is a Tripartism of MOM, NTUC and SNEF (Singapore National Employers' Federation. [Link]
Is the Trinity getting too 'holy'. No, not as in divine or sacred or worthy of worship but 'holy' as in having too many holes. Synonymous with 'leaking', 'damaged', 'disastrous', 'ridiculous' and 'untenable'.
Feed Me To The Fish
Singapore homes continue to shrink ...and so will our birth rate
The size of a median size home shrank to 667 sq ft last quarter (see report below). How many of you have stayed in a home of this size? If you move into such a home, how many children are you going to have?
Population density is a key factor that affects fertility[Research Paper : Population Density is a Key Factor in Declining Human Fertility:
"Where you have high amounts of high-density housing you have very low birth rates ... where you have density, you tend to have very few children."- Professor Kotkin, fellow at California's Chapman University and London think-tank the Legatum Institute.[Link]
For the foreseeable future, we will need to tap on immigration to augment our poprriulation, to support economic growth and to mitigate the impact of ageing," - Wong Kan Seng[Link]
Not seeing the woods but crying over the trees
Cherian George continues with the episode of smelly bodies and Shimun Lai in the ST today. He also recalled the unfortunate UOB dinner and dance incident when a little mimicry with no bad intention or could be seen as flattery was accused of racism. And the cry for the lynching of Shimun Lai has still not subsided while the real issue that led to the outburst was brushed aside completely.
Cherian George also acknowledges the issue of bad body odour in Indians though it is not the case. Everyone, I say everyone, smells if not wash properly. This has nothing to do with race though some are prone to smell differently depending on their diet and the environment, and of course social habits and standard of personal hygiene.
National Harmony Or Racial Harmony Comes First?
Chairman of national racial harmony body OnePeople.sg Zainundin Nordin (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP) had asked, "Why would you want to create friction and anger because of your prejudices? By the time your children and grandchildren inherit this country, it's mess, people will start running away."
Zainudin was explaining the rationale for dispatching "racial harmony diplomats" to junior colleges, and later to institutes of higher learning. The initiative, we are told, is a response to derogatory comments attributed to Sun Xu of NUS ("more dogs than humans in Singapore.") and Shimum Lai of Nanyang Poly ("trains need to have separate cabins for humans and fkn dogs"). Police reports were lodged against both parties, presumably by non-canine members of the population. Both are young, and foolishly ranted in what they erroneously assumed was their private domain of cyberspace. Lai's post had the taint of racism, but Sun Xu's case crouched on the realm of xenophobia, which the MP, intentionally or otherwise, missed out on.
Has Isreal scr*wed Singapore?
Israel has had a history of backstabbing its allies. America and Britain included. So what's surprising if we suspect if Israel might have done us in?
Here's an article I published in Apr 2010, citing a report where Sinkiepore funds Israel's "Iron Dome", which supposedly is meant for our defence use. The Iron Dome is the name of a missile defence system. It is to protect us from incoming hostile missiles. Here is that report.
Where Bears Roam Free
To Watch Or Not To Watch...
Football fans in Singapore are now up in arms over how much they need to pay to watch the UEFA Euro 2012. StarHub, Singapore's official broadcaster of the tournament, have announced that customers need to pay between $58.85 to $69.55 to watch the Euro.
Of course, Singaporeans are unhappy about the price as it is twice the amount they had to pay 4 years ago for Euro 2008. But guess what…Singaporeans will still pay it.
That’s just a fact people. Everyone knows Singaporeans will not be happy with the prices they need to pay just to watch the month long tournament, especially when you consider that customers in Malaysia who subscribed to the sports package on Astro TV get to watch the Euro 2012 at no additional charge, but guess what…Starhub is the only game in town. So if you don’t pay, you don’t get to watch.
Musings From the Lion City