Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Blogger Crowdfunds Legal Fees For Battle Against Singapore PM

Update 13 Jan 2015: Singapore court orders blogger to pay PM nearly $22,000 for legal costs
Speaker Roy Ngerng, of online blog The Heart Truths, addresses the crowd during a protest against new licensing regulations imposed by the government for online news sites, at Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 8, 2013

A Singapore court has ordered a blogger to pay S$29,000 ($21,700) to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as legal costs after Lee won a defamation case late last year.

Lee won a High Court defamation case against blogger Roy Ngerng, 33, in November, the first time the city-state's leadersued an online critic.

Ngerng was sued for his blog post in May when he was alleged to have implicated Lee in impropriety in connection with how funds in Singapore's mandatory retirement savings scheme, the Central Provident Fund(CPF), are managed.

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Full coverage: 

Accused blogger in Singapore receives unexpected support

( - The prime minister of Singapore is suing a jobless blogger for criminal defamation.

The alleged offence for which he could get two years jail: questioning the government. It's an old tactic in Singapore to silence dissent. But this time there's been an unexpected twist.

Citizens have rallied publicly in support of the accused blogger, and donated more than $100,000 to help fight the case in the courts.

related: Singapore blogger receives unexpected support in defamation case against PM Lee Hsien Loong

Singapore Blogger Tops Funding Goal to Defend Against Lee’s Suit

A Singapore blogger who faces a defamation lawsuit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he raised more than S$70,000 ($55,700) in four days through crowdfunding to pay for his legal costs.

Donations climbed to S$72,043.91 as of yesterday, exceeding his target of S$70,000, Roy Ngerng said in a blog post. Lee sued Ngerng over a May 15 article, and the blogger said his apology and offer of S$5,000 for damages were declined. Chang Li Lin, Lee’s press secretary, declined to comment about Ngerng’s funding efforts when contacted by phone.

Ngerng’s case comes as the government grapples with how to regulate comments made online, with plans including the introduction of anti-harassment laws to curb cyber-bullying. More than a thousand people contributed to Ngerng’s appeal for funds for the first lawsuit of its kind by a Singapore politician against a blogger, according to his lawyer M. Ravi.

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LHL vs. Roy: What has changed

Blogger Roy Ngerng is drawing a lot of social hostility against the powerful ruling party. This anti-PAP sentiment has raised some $86,000 so far for his legal fees because of a defamation suit brought against him by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Ngerng is so enjoying his international and local fame that Lee vs Roy merits comment simply for its political implications: put simply, Lee has used a sledge hammer to smack an ant.

The blogger doesn’t expect he’ll win, going by his crowdfunding remark on his blog: “The actual amount of damages, which is separate from the legal fees I am trying to raise, will only be known after the court case is over.”

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Roy and the Emperor’s Opaque clothes

Frustrations are such that very few people have the ability to intellectually dissect and try to understand and come to terms with the exact source.  If I have been feeling frustrated about one issue, it can very easily be morphed over into being a frustration about another issue.  For some time now, Singaporeans have been troubled by transportation woes, rising property prices, rising cost of living, depression of wages, overcrowding and of course many of these frustrations have been channeled into being a general resentment of the government’s population policy.

But there is a more fundamental sore point that haunts many Singaporeans.  We don’t often articulate it as the single biggest issue.  When you come to think of it, the issue surrounding CPF savings and the ability of Singaporeans to retire has been something that has troubled us long before immigration and overcrowding became issues.

Many Singaporeans have a legitimate concern about the viability of the CPF system as a retirement plan.  Personally, I don’t think I can retire comfortably with my CPF savings.  I have to make other financial plans for retirement.  If you are still in your 20s or 30s, you would be well advised to start early in saving and investing for your retirement.  Don’t put it off till you are in your 40s or 50s.  I believe that for the average Singaporean, the CPF savings and the amounts in Medisave will be insufficient for their retirement and medical needs.

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PM Lee vs Roy – A Contrarian Approach

From those who appear to be in the know of legal matters, at least 2 relevant points to bear in mind;

One, there won’t be any discussions on the CPF issues. The defendant has already admitted guilt by way of his apology. Of course, Roy can still withdraw the apology and go the whole nine yards. But, what’s the point?

Two, there is the possibility of the PM applying for a Mareva Injunction the way LKY did agst Tan Liang Hong. If so, Ravi his counsel may not get paid. Good chance Roy may still be made a bankrupt. Or his supporters poorer from another donation appeal – supporters who Roy wants to help get a better CPF deal. If so, what’s the point?

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Do Netizens prefer Lee Hsien Loong or Roy Ngerng?

On 15 May 2014, blogger Roy Ngerng accused Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of misappropriating CPF funds. The latter, in response, asked Roy to remove the post immediately, apologise, and give a written offer of damages and costs, or face legal action.

Netizens responses were, not surprisingly, mixed. For instance, Online Citizen put up a citizen statement stating that the "threat of legal action is an oppressive tool with undue chilling effects on public discourse". In contrast, Sghardtruth wrote an article titled "To the youths: Blogger Roy Ngerng is NOT your hero".

Using, I ran sentiment analyses on "Lee Hsien Loong" and "Roy Ngerng". Sentiment analysis measures "the attitude of a speaker or a writer with respect to some topic" (wiki).

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Is PM Lee the Biggest Troll of Them All?

Years ago, the previous PMs went to bed greying their hair over penetrating issues such as how to make Singaporeans propagate but the current PM apparently, has other priorities. It is astonishing to watch how much time he has been spending thinking about how to develop its unique ways to keep online conduct "civil and constructive."

The cheapest solution to internet trolling is having a little sense of humor. Otherwise as we know it, life will be tough on the internet because it is so easy to get angry over remarks splashed on an individual, especially so if he or she is a public figure. Just ask Justin Bieber. When one gets flustered easily, everything can be offending and any remark can be used to sue. For instance, suing someone's pants off over the internet because he called you a pink fag without substantiation. The chap would, of course, be made a bankrupt because while he might be able to prove the pink fetish, he wouldn't be able to prove the fag was a fag. In such a case, the court may gives the plaintiff a clean name but it doesn't change what many think - that he is now a suing pink fag. Like it on not, that is how it works on the virtual world. The above is just an example. Any references to any non-frictional shady characters are unintended and coincidental.

Although trolling and flaming on the internet has potential to be damaging, it doesn't come close to trolling in real life. Take for example, when someone fucked up for a term or two, realised it too late and made a public apology at a CBD area a week before polling day, it might incite a giggle or two from the majority. However when he repeated his mistakes the apologised for, it wasn't funny anymore, even for those with a large capacity of humor.

Blogger uses crowdfunding to fight PM's defamation suit

A Singaporean blogger sued for damages by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Monday he had successfully raised fees for his legal defence in just four days through crowdfunding.

Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, a government health worker who posts comments on social issues, said 1,104 people had so far contributed more than Sg$72,000 ($55,700), exceeding his target of Sg$70,000 when he launched the campaign Friday.

Ngerng published the transaction history of his bank account on his crowdfunding platform. Many of the donors registered comments criticising Lee and opposing the use of libel suits to silence government critics.

Singapore Blogger Tops Funding Goal to Defend Against Lee’s Suit

“As far as I know, this is the first time a political leader in Singapore is suing a blogger,” Ravi said when contacted by phone today.

Ngerng was asked to apologize to the prime minister and remove the article which “impugns his character, credit and integrity,” according to a copy of a letter by Davinder Singh, Lee’s lawyer, which was posted on Ngerng’s website on May 19.

Ngerng’s apology wasn’t genuine and was instead used “to raise his public profile, garner support and sympathy and renew his attack” against Lee, according to a copy of another letter from Lee’s lawyer posted on Ngerng’s blog on May 26.

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Roy hitting fund target makes international news

News of blogger Roy Ngerng raising $72K – exceeding his target of $70K – in a mere 4 days was picked up by international news wire AFP yesterday (2 Jun).

Roy is raising money for his legal defence. He is currently being sued by PM Lee for defamation, due to an article he posted on his blog The Heart Truths.

AFP said (‘Blogger uses crowdfunding to fight PM’s defamation suit‘) [Link]:
A Singaporean blogger sued for damages by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Monday he had successfully raised fees for his legal defence in just four days through crowdfunding. Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, a government health worker who posts comments on social issues, said 1,104 people had so far contributed more than Sg$72,000 ($55,700), exceeding his target of Sg$70,000 when he launched the campaign Friday
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Roy Ngerng's Legal Defense Fund reaches target of $70,000 in just 4 days as donations pour in from the public supporting his cause
Comment: This shows that Singaporeans are clearly unhappy with the current state of the CPF system, and are prepared to support someone like Roy who speaks up on their behalf

The Heart Truths, 2 Jun 2014 - Dear Singaporeans, first off, thank you so much to everyone and to all Singaporeans for your support! Today is Day 4 of the fund raising and we have managed to reach the target of $70,000. You can read more about what the court case is about and the fund raising appeal here.

I would like to thank everyone for the support and for the unity that we have shown. I had managed to speak to several Singaporeans who had passed the funds to me. They had wanted to thank me for standing up on behalf of Singaporeans to voice out. Please know that the support you give means a lot and I will continue to stay strong and stay on course with everyone.

As I had shared on my Facebook, I will update on the funds raised to be transparent and accountable. Please see below for further information on the funds raised so far, as of 5.00pm today.

Funds Raised So Far - We have raised $72,043.91 so far. The target is $70,000. Thanks to Singaporeans, we have managed to reach the target in 4 days. Thank you everyone. Full story

Roy raises $70,000 in 4 days - Sporeans stand with him -
Roy reaches target of $70k to cover legal costs - The Online Citizen
Roy’s legal defense fund hits $70K target in 4 days - TR Emeritus
Blogger crowdfunds legal fees for battle against Singapore PM - Malay Mail
Blogger uses crowdfunding to fight PM's defamation suit - Bangkok Post
Blogger uses crowdfunding to fight PM’s defamation suit - Malaysian Insider
Blogger uses crowdfunding to fight PM's defamation suit - Yahoo! Australia
Blogger uses crowdfunding for legal fees in defamation case - GeekTime
Blogger uses crowdfunding to fight PM's defamation suit - Business Standard
Blogger uses crowdfunding to fight PM's defamation suit - Financial Express
Blogger uses crowdfunding to fight Spore PM's defamation suit - Hindustan Times

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Blogger Roy Ngerng raises $70,000 in four days — Singaporeans stand with him

Over the past four days, Singaporeans demonstrated that they stood in solidarity with blogger Roy Ngerng, by donating slightly over $70,000 to him to help him defray legal and administrative costs associated with his upcoming lawsuit.

Earlier in May, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had initiated legal action against Roy over remarks that Roy had posted alleging that CPF monies held in member accounts had been criminally misappropriated.

Mr Lee’s lawyer, Davinder Singh, had argued that Lee was now entitled to sue for aggravated damages because Roy’s initial apology had been “insincere”, and Roy had further aggravated the damage to Mr Lee’s reputation by sending two emails to various members of local and international media.

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Lee Hsien Loong vs Roy Ngerng or Lee Hsien Loong vs the People?

Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong has commenced proceedings on a defamation suit against a Singaporean blogger, Roy Ngerng, who in a 15 Mar 2014 blog post, alleged that Mr Lee had misappropriated CPF savings.

Roy published a blog post yesterday, appealing to the public to donate to his “Defamation Legal Defense Fund”. In less than 24 hours, he has raised more than S$14,000.

Food for thoughts: Cast aside whether Roy is guilty of defaming the Prime Minister or not and put on your philosophical hat - is this lawsuit a case of Lee Hsien Loong vs Roy Ngerng or Lee Hsien Loong vs the People? Roy’s legal fees are being crowd-sourced from ordinary Singaporeans.

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The Heart Truths of Libel Suits

– TOC: Online engagement and legal action – where do we draw the lines?

– Article 14: A Right Roy-al Mess
– Alvinology: On PAP and Defamation Suits
– 2econdsight: PM Lee vs Roy – A Contrarian Approach
– Number Cucumber: Do Netizens prefer Lee Hsien Loong or Roy Ngerng?
– A Singaporean In Australia: Is PM Lee the Biggest Troll of Them All?
– TOC: Roy vs the PM: The end of an era?
– Blogger raises $70,000 in 4 days — Sporeans stand with him
– Exploring SocioPoliticalEconomic: Defamation Saga – Who is the “fisherman”?
– My Singapore News: Roy Ngerng – More than $70,000 raised in 4 days
– Small steps for Social PR: The Long Tail of $70,000
– New Nation: PM contemplates dropping lawsuit to leave blogger with $70,000
– TechinAsia: Man sued by Singapore’s Prime Minister crowdfunds legal fees
– Anyhow Hantam: Will Roy Ng Explain Why He’s Seeking Public Donations?
– The Lycan Times: On Roy Ngerng and Derisory Compensation Offer
– Today: There is no refuge in slander
– Temasek Today: Donations: Roy could be in deeper trouble
– Food Fuels me to Talk: Not even half a cent
– Alvinology: Lee Hsien Loong vs Roy or Lee Hsien Loong vs the People?
– My Singapore News: Contributions to Roy Ngerng’s legal fee hits $50,000
– Exploring SocioPolitical: Causes of Sporeans Support For Defamation Saga
– The Temple Of Thoughts 3: Man vs State (Opinion Piece)
– Mindspur: My take on Roy Ngerng’s motives and character
– Dewdrop Notes 露语: Heroes, Bullies, Cowards & Prostitutes
– Sgthinker: Morally and Tactically right?
– Blogging for Myself: An absurd defamation suit
– Think For Me, Singapore: My thoughts on defamation lawsuits
– Anyhow Hantam: Clarification on Roy Ng’s Clarification
– Insight of me: So what if Roy Ngerng is a homosexual?
– Signs of Struggle: Roy Ngerng digs own grave, may get dirt on PM
– Working With Grace: Roy vs PM in Court: Don’t we know the outcome already?
– Gintai: Is CPF really your money?
– My Little Corner: Why do we need a minimum sum now when
– Political Writings: You Think It’s So Easy For The PM?
– TOC: What’s so good about the CPF?
– A Sporean in Australia: What do you really mean by “The CPF is Safe”?
– New Nation: Blogger to pay $5,000 in damages in monthly payouts of $50
– Today: More mortgage debt due to Minimum Sum rule
– Working With Grace: Roy Ngerng, it is NOT about the money
– Living Investment: Return on CPF Funds
– Growing your tree of prosperity: The Obligatory CPF post
– Tots of Cynical Investor: Answering TRE poster & supporters / NMP
– Everything Also Complain: PM Lee rejecting Roy Ngerng’s derisory $5000 offer
– Yahoo! Singapore : Singapore PM rejects compensation offer from blogger
– Kenneth Jeyaretnam: CPF-Why We Must Keep Up the Pressure
– Sgpolitics: Why the CPF has failed to meet the retirement needs of Sporeans
– TOC: When leaders apologise
– Anyhow Hantam: Is Asylum the Ulterior Motive for Roy Defaming the PM?
– CW Fong & Associates: Roy Ngerng, PM Lee and the Coup in Thailand
– Singapore Ideas: Online defamation
– Reflections of a disciple: Thinking about the case of CPF minimum sum
– Life of a simple boy: CPF and Roy
– Limpeh Is FT: Homeland or Hotel? Limpeh reflects on Roy Ngerng’s situation
– A Load of Fish: Roy Ngerng vs PM Lee
– wise mental king: Who said what again?
– Benjamin Cheah: The State is Not Fragile
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: No NMP for 600,000 S’poreans?
– heroickobolds: CPF
– LU KEEHONG: Roy has ‘no answer’ after PM rejects appeal to drop damages
– Bertha Harian: Why can’t people be more polite?
– Mr. Miyagi: The CPF And How To Pronounce Roy Ngerng’s Surname
– Anyhow Hantam: Roy now wants to be a Nominated MP. Good or Bad Idea?
– 5 Stars and a Moon: How else could the PM have handled Roy “Sexispider”?
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Roy’s a real S’porean
– Insight of Me: Hard Truths of Roy Ngerng’s Case
– Jeremy Chen’s Website: Defamation 2.0: A New “Truth Seeking” Process
– SpotlightOnSingapore: PM Lee to blame: defamation suit against Roy Ngerng
– Food Fuels Me To Talk: Questions for Roy Ngerng
– TOC: Crossroads for a more open and engaged media environment
– Balancing The Sentiment: Freedom of speech has its limits
– The Skinny: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics
– SG Hard Truth: Roy Ngerng is unwilling to defend his own work
– SpotlightOnSg: PETTY: PM Lee’s defamation suit against blogger Roy
– Askmelah: Yet another blogger being threaten to be sued by the PAP leader
– Likedatosocanmeh: Legal action not necessary to resolve issue, bad PR
– Dewdrop Notes 露语: Bossy Aunties & Daring Bloggers
– Sam’s thoughts: Take a chance on him?
– The New Era: Let’s play spot the difference again
– Blood Stained Spore: PM to senior counsel Davinder: Who shall we sue next?
– TOC: PM Lee issues letter of demand to blogger over CPF article
– Guanyinmiao’s Musings: Heart Truths
– Everything Also Complain: Roy Ngerng defaming PM Lee in Heart Truths blog
– Anyhow Hantam: Roy Ng v the PM: Blog with your Head not with your Heart
– Blogging for Myself: PM Lee sues blogger Roy Ngerng
– Small steps for Social PR: The Itsy Sexi Spider Did Climb The “Sue Me” Spout
– My Singapore News: Roy Ngerng being sued by Hsien Loong
– Wise Mental King: Why serving Roy Ngerng a letter of demand is politically costly
– Signs of Struggle: PM Lee’s strong suit shows 3 weaknesses
– 2econdsight: PM Lee Sues Young Citizen Ngerng
– Just Speaking My Mind: Roy Ngerng Blogger Sued by PM Lee
– SG Hard Truth: Roy, You can’t just happily slap without expecting a slap back
– Marry Thai Girl Spore: Roy Ngerng Received a Lawyer’s Letter from Mr. Lee
– Jeremy Chen: It is important to be fair to the plaintiff in this latest “defamation case”