Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Watz Buzzing - 5 Jun 2012 Update

Lim Hock Siew (1931-2012) – a fiercely independent unbending tenacious political fighter all his life

I remember meeting him 24 years ago at a party hosted by my mentor Professor Arthur Lim. They were classmates in medical school and life long friends.

He introduced himself as “I am Lim Hock Siew, and just came out of prison a few years ago!”

We had a good chat and he freely shared his life experiences. I was struck by the absence of bitterness despite all his sacrifices. I think he knew in his heart that he was a patriot, and was proud that he never gave in.

I consulted him before I entered politics. He did not discourage me. On the contrary, he told me to focus on doing the right thing. He told me he did not bear any ill will to the current leaders. He reminded me that he was a founding member of the PAP.

We met from time to time socially. Whenever we discussed politics, it was obvious that he was still a conviction socialist. There were times, we agreed to disagree.

Singapore has lost another member of the founding generation. We must all be deeply grateful to him and his family for all their sacrifices. He was a good and honourable man.

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That we may dream again: The commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Operation Spectrum at Hong Lim Park as I saw it

Fear. It cripples you. It makes you a lesser being than what you are capable of. It causes you to watch your step and avoid paths, though noble, are known to have contained traps in the past.

Fear. It envelopes your consciousness in ways that few human emotions are capable of. It operates unseen and seeks justification in the most rational of arguments that mind can conjure. (After all, don't we often claim close links between bravery and foolhardiness. Conversely, we never do really state that the so-called rational man is often a coward for he seeks to cover up his fear with the respectable cloak of reason.)

On 2nd June 2012, I did something which seemed simple enough. I turned up at Hong Lim to show my support to the cause of the ex-ISA detainees, their families and friends. I had work commitments that day and didn't think that I could make it. But since the event was scheduled to end at 7 pm and since I was able to rush out of the office at 5.30pm , I thought skipping over to Hong Lim was the logical thing to do.

Was there a crowd? Well, it is all quite relative really. If we try to compare this to an election rally, there is no need to bother. The number of people that were there did not constitute a crowd by comparison (unless we were to compare it to a PAP rally).

At the time that I reached there, about 300 to 400 people were gathered (based on an unscientific estimation). After the event, varying estimates have been produced and it appears safe to state that throughout the day (3pm to 7pm) anywhere between 400 to 500 people must have viewed the exhibits and/or listened to the speeches.

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Vivian Balakrishnan - The Snake in the Cabinet

This guy dabbles in everything. You would think that it is hard for him to top his famous phrase:
“How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court orrestaurant?”
You could see him trying really hard. He had came quite close with his latest one, speaking to Indian student leaders at the Sinda Youth Leaders Seminar on 1st June last week. I guess it is his turn to 'educate' the youth after Deputy Prime Minister Teo's relatively successful attempt. Well this was what was shared,
“The person who contemptuously speaks about immigrants could also be capable of turning against the minorities here at home.” - Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, 2012

I am for Singaporeans and against foreigners in my homeland. That's awkward. Technically that makes me a racist in the New World Order of Vivianism. Make that a terrorist. I wonder how does Vivian's new theory work in this case:

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Are PAP Ministers Cocky?

Do you know what’s the difference between a Singapore Minister and a Malaysian one apart from pay which the whole world knows the former beats the latter hands down?

The stark difference is how they each reach out to the ordinary man in the street.

In Singapore our Ministers put on airs, are unapproachable and frequently surrounded with security people so thick that even a cat will have difficulty squirming through. Any attempt to get near a minister will be met with rebuff and rude gestures to get lost as if you pose a grave security threat.

It happened to me on one occasion. Walking past Parliament House one day, I stopped to take some snapshots. A cop rudely shooed me away as though I was a vagabond. Apparently Parliament was in session.

But in Malaysia I could get within two to three metres of a minister, and even take photos of the occasion. The policemen and security won’t even bat an eyelid. Do that here in Singapore and you’d probably be rudely bundled away and questioned.

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Hawker Fare, Not Food Court Or Restaurant Cuisine

You know this guy hasn't stepped into a hawker center except during election time when he says things like, "It's not as if anyone can just walk off the street and say I'm going to make the world's best char kway teow.

There's an element of training, exchanging of best practices and recipes. And we need in a way to professionalise our hawker centres and our hawkers." Maybe he's like the keechiu general who only partakes $10 chye tow kuay (fried carrot cake) flavored with XO Sauce.

Lesser mortals don't need GPS guided instructions downloaded on an Android smartphone to track down a hawker centre with a tasty equivalent costing $1.50, and which does not require costly infusion of exotic foreign condiments.

When Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishan made the call that hawker centres should be professionalised, and future hawkers should undergo training, he must be thinking that he still has access to the blank checks he was issued for the YOG blowout.

Who's going to pay for the training centers, the professional trainers? How many plates of char kway teow must the poor hawker sell to recoup the training fees and certification costs?

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Finally Honourable 

Swee lah. Vivian must have read a blog post someone wrote [link] and saw a point. Now he wants to make hawker an honourable profession.

Someone told me culture was the reason why the Singapore society viewed blue collared profession with disdain. Yeah, these MIWs has absolutely nothing to do with the it of course. Even better, they are going to change the society's views on skilled workers, starting from hawkers.

Credit when it is due. You got to give it to Vivian. If anyone knows what's the problem, he does. This man could do anything. From eye doctor to jack-of-all-trades. How could those Hollywood bastards left him out in the Avengers as one of the super heros? 

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Unbelievable, Straits Times

And so, here we have the Straits Times report on the 2 June 2012 gathering at Speakers’ Corner:

Picture from Martyn See

What’s wrong with this picture?
Look at the headline.
Remembering the Marxist conspiracy
There are no quotation marks for the words “Marxist conspiracy”.

It is basic writing and journalism skills which tell you that one should use quotation marks if something is not proven, or is a direct quote from source, or is a claim by one party against another. The term “Marxist conspiracy” is a term invented by the government, whose case – as mentioned above – is not proven, till this day.

There are disputes and doubts about the government’s case.

Yet, here the Straits Times’ headline is published as if the “conspiracy” was true, as if it is a fact.

It is, in fact, not a fact.

It may just be a pair of quotation marks but its absence reveals the Straits’ Times declining standards and editorial incompetence.

And then look at the caption for the picture:

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What you read may not be what it seems

Socio-political activist Andrew Loh wrote about the falling journalism standards of The Straits Times today in his blog http://andrewlohhp.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/unbelievable-straits-times/.

He took issue with the headline and and photo caption given by ST in its report on an event held yesterday at the Speakers Corner. Former ISA detainees, supporters and members of the public had gathered at the Speakers Corner to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the “Marxist conspiracy” and to raise awareness of the atrocities that happened back in 1987.

Andrew argued in his blog post that it was wrong of ST to use the headline “Remembering the Marxist Conspiracy” without quotation marks on the words “marxist conspiracy” when those accused as marxists were never charged in court and when there had been so many doubts raised over their detention. By not using the quote marks, the Straits Times’ headline made it seem as if the “conspiracy” was true, as if it is a fact when it was not.

More hypocrisy from supporters of 'Marxist Conspirators'

In the above post, I questioned the sincerity of the "Marxist Conspirators" and their supporters. They talk so much about themselves on the topic to have the ISA repealed. Yet, there's not even a whimper on the rights of the current ISA detainees, alleged to have JI (and possibly Al Qaida) links. Some of these hypocritical supporters even suggest to have these JI detainees be placed under a modified (and possibly even more draconian) law - a law that deals with terror.

Helloooo? So it is not OK to have these Marxist Conspirators tortured, detained and arrested without a trial, but it is OK to do the exact same thing done to the JI detainees?

Worse still, these hypocrites who call for the repeal of the ISA even suggest how to deal with the JI detainees so when the ISA does get repealed, the JI detainees would still be detained and tortured without trial? Eh? What kind of unexplained and unknown disease afflicts the sadist sick minds of these supporters of the "Marxist Conspirators"? 

Here's some examples of the sicko minds I am talking about

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Ex-SMRT CEO Saw: I was quoted out of context by ST reporters

A couple of articles in The Straits Times (ST) reported several incomplete statements from me. I weighed on whether I should react about these incorrect reporting, as erroneous statements give cause to wrong impressions. I recalled how an uncorrected statement could be repeated so many times in the media that it was taken as truth.

I almost tremble every time the infamous statement is repeated in the press especially after the December incidents, to portray my lack of empathy to crowded trains and squeezed passengers saying ‘trains are not crowded, you can get on if you want.’

This “infamous statement” I had earlier explained in my blog that this comment was made several years ago, reported correctly but out of context. This comment was an answer to a journalist who asked, why was the train so crowded that she couldn’t board at 9am.

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Balakrishnan follows in SDP's footstep and attends block party

Minister and PAP MP Dr Vivian Balakrishnan reported on his Facebook that he was going to attend a block party on Saturday, 2 June 2012 at Blk 179, Lompang, his constituency at the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.

This comes right after the Jurong Town Council (JTC) had stopped the SDP from holding our block party at the at the Yuhua SMC on 8 May 2012. This is, again, another example of the PAP applying one set of rules for others and another for itself.

The Singapore Democrats started the idea of holding block parties last year with the objective of getting to know the residents and listening to their concerns. It is also a good way to foster community spirit or gotong royong, a concept and practce which has been lost since the advent of the PAP Government.

The idea seemed to catch on with the residents as more and more people are attending these social events. Our last party at Yuhua saw a record turnout as 30 people showed up even though we had to move the function to a nearby coffee shop because of the Jurong Town Council's ruling.

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Media Allegation of Png Eng Huat Closing down 8 Companies in 12 Years

12 Years close down 8 companies
The scoreboard of Png Eng Huat as a businessman – 12 years close down 8 company

Is Png Eng Huat very secretive?
Png Eng Huat: Will do it when opportunity comes

The above are the headlines and sub-headlines in some mainstream media such as My Paper and ZaoBao in the run-up to Polling Day for the Hougang By-Election.

These headlines not only gave readers an impression that I am an incapable businessman but also an opportunistic person who would not hesitate to set up and wind down companies to maximize profits.

I regret that these papers deem it necessary not only to dig up my business records in the run-up to Polling Day, but also did not even get their facts right.

I worked with NTUC Income from 1998 to 2001. By virtue of my work with NTUC Income, I was appointed by them as a Director in four of their companies and 1 co-op.

When I left NTUC Income, these 4 companies were still operational. The 4 entities are part of the 8 companies the newspapers alleged I had closed. I do not own these companies and had no role in their operations long after I left NTUC Income in 2001.

Of the remaining 4 companies I was alleged to have shut down, I am in control of only 3. The 3 companies were shut down in an orderly manner and they have no outstanding debt. No one suffered any financial loss as a result of the voluntary winding up action. One of the companies was dormant.

The 8 companies in the list are:
1. i-MAP Pte Ltd (NTUC Income)
2. E-Lifestyle (S) Ltd (NTUC Income)
3. Juzclickcar.com Pte Ltd (JV between NTUC Income and ST Automotive)
4. ID Connect.com Pte Ltd (JV between NTUC Income and Cartel Design)
5. Trancosi Singapore Pte Ltd (Not my company)
6. Flora De Paradis (Closed – Sole-Proprietorship)
7. Crenner International Pte Ltd (Closed – Dormant company)
8. i Productions Pte Ltd (Closed – Software/Multimedia (CD-i) company)

The Pen is mightier than the sword and the media has a duty to wield the pen responsibly and not present untruths or half-truths.

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My grandfather road vandalised

From ‘My grandfather road vandal arrested’, 4 June 2012, article in asiaone.com
Police have arrested a 25-year-old woman who is believed to have vandalised several roads in Singapore. Between May 17 to 21 this year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) saw that the words “MY GRANDFATHER ROAD” were painted along Robinson Road and Maxwell Road and reported the matter to the Police.
It also reported that circular stickers printed with captions were pasted on a pavement around Lau Pa Sat and on a road traffic sign along Robinson Road. The female suspect was arrested at her residence in the eastern part of Singapore on June 3. The officers also found several paint-stained stencils and several pieces of stickers printed with captions. These items were seized for investigation.
Investigation is ongoing. The police are also working with LTA on earlier reports of round stickers found affixed on other pedestrian crossings at various places.
The case is classified as Vandalism under Section 3 of the Vandalism Act, Chapter 341. A person who is convicted for the offence shall be punished with a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding to 3 years and shall be liable to caning subjected to the Criminal Procedure Code 2010.

Sins of the Grandfather
Spray painting a road may land you 3 YEARS in jail and a severe beating, but knocking over someone while drunk driving and splattering someone’s BLOOD all over the road gives you a miserable SIX months sentence, or a fine between $1000 and $5000. So, the police have spent the past month tracking down someone placing stickers on pedestrian crossing buttons, while elsewhere cyclists and joggers are being mowed down by maniac drivers. Instead of monitoring speedsters, they’re keeping their eyes peeled for sticker vandals, who do nothing more than kill pedestrians’ time, not kill THEM unlike some nuisance drivers we know. 

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Give warning can already

“A person who is convicted of vandalism shall be punished with a fine of up to S$2,000, or jail up to three years and caning. Police said they take a serious view of such irresponsible actions and warned that offenders will be dealt with severely.” (Channel Newsasia)

I’d wanted to write a longer post to perhaps persuade the authorities why this lady shouldn’t be punished “severely”. But then I thought, if the authorities sees it fit to throw the book at her – fine and jail [women aren't caned in S'pore, by the way] – then words would be useless, and something would be more seriously wrong with them.

Come on, have a heart. Give her a warning and let her go.


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Happy Angel Club Saga: Zaobao made correction and published apology on erroneous report, but still no word from Desmond Choo and PM Lee

Happyangelclub.wordpress.com, 2 Jun 2012

Dear All,
Thank you all for your concern on this matter!
ZaoBao is willing to make a correction and apology on the error report I mentioned.
Zaobao had published about the corrections on 3-6-2012.

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Generous donors teach Straits Times a lesson about unconditional giving

The Straits Times can sure learn a thing or two from donors who have stepped forward to give unconditionally to the Singapore Children’s Society.

In just one day, sums of money between $1 and $100 have been donated via Give.sg to raise $817 so far. 

This charity drive is a direct response to the ridiculous, brain-numbingly stupid pseudo-charity campaign, where ST pockets the money raised from auctioning off a sponsored (i.e. free) Volkswagen car and in return give ST newspapers to low-income families in the name of charity.

We at New Nation, however, believe this is completely lame and a poor excuse to boost circulation numbers.

So, if you too are pissed with ST’s “charity” drive, consider giving without any strings attached to the Singapore

Children’s Society to help achieve the $107,500 goal – a target which is the price of the Volkswagen car that ST is auctioning off.

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Should Warren Fernandez resign to save journalism in Singapore? 

Personally I cannot see how he can stay on as the chief editor. I have been blogging for an awfully long time on the social political scene in Singapore. And never before in this whole period of ten years have I seen the Straits Times hemorrhage so much credibility, good will and even respectability within such a short period of time.

I am not suggesting for one moment under Han Fook Kwang ST came across as fairer and squarer then what it is today – but at least, it seemed to me and others I have spoken too in the last week to be less full frontal in tearing the opposition to shreds.

What’s different today is the ST seems to consistently paving the road to the dodo hall of fame as each successive day passes by. First it was the ST’s brazen below the belt manner in which they tried unsuccessfully to smear the opposition and even undermine their credibility obliquely.

Then it was their mind numbing charity drive that involved giving out free newspapers to the poor!!!!!!! And the list really goes on like the preachy attitude ST has been adopting about creating a more caring and inclusive society. That to me and I suspect 99.9% of netizens comes across as rich and hypocritical.

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Aiyah Straits Times, pwease lor! 

The Straits Times (ST) recently announced that they would be auctioning a Volkswagen car to raise money to buy one-year subscriptions of ST for 1000 low-income families.

This is what ST’s editor Warren Fernandez said about this act of “charity”:
“We want to give the young in these families a precious gift: access to information and a window to the world and all its possibilities. That will help them get ahead in life. We sincerely believe a daily copy of the ST delivered to their homes will do that.”
This has come under heavy fire from Singaporeans. The Moodmeter on this article is at over 90% “disgusted”. People have pointed out the following:

1. The car is donated to ST by Volkswagen (read: ST neh pay for it!)
2. Instead of auctioning the car and letting the money go directly to the low-income families, ST is taking the money and providing 1000 families with one-year subscriptions of their paper (i.e. increasing their circulation).
3. Do low-income families even want ST?

In a response to “netizens” (again, characterising the criticism as coming from a faceless group of keyboard warriors, rather than from Singaporeans and maybe even ST readers), Warren Fernandez said in a post on ST’s Facebook page:

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The Straits Times’ disgusting self-serving “charity” stunt

On first look, you might feel the Straits Times (ST) is really doing some philanthropic work. After all, the headline says, “The Straits Times to auction Volkswagen car for charity.”

Yup, the ST is helping to auction the car, worth $107,500, for charity.

But as with all things with the mainstream media nowadays, you have to look at the fine print – and I mean, literally.
And when you do, you find this:
“All the proceeds from the auction will go towards sponsoring one-year subscriptions to ST for some 1,000 low-income families. A yearly subscription to the ST costs about $300.”
Now, before we all slam the ST for being self-serving, let us acknowledge that the paper does do some genuine charity, such as its Pocket Money Fund for students. That is to be applauded.