Plants to Help Purify Your Indoor Air

Keeping plants will not only brighten up your space but can also clean your air

While Hepa air filters are still one of the most effective ways to purify your indoor air, there is also a cheaper (and prettier!) way to clean your air. Plants!

A study published by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with help from the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) suggesting certain plants could be used to rid indoor spaces of harmful toxins (VOCs) commonly found in homes (formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and amonia, among others). In the study, researchers recommend one plant per 100 square feet for optimal resuts.

Here are a few to try:
Aloe Vera

Spider plants

Golden Pothos (Devil's Ivy)

Gerber Daisy


Bamboo Palm

Red-edged dracaena

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum 'Deborah')

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Cat Killers On The Loose

Update 9 Feb 2017: 2 alleged cases of heinous cruelty to cats pop up in Yishun in less than several hours

Yishun never fails to horrify, and today is no different. Harking back to the days when rampant cruelty to stray cats transpired across Siao Lang Town, two new cases (in less than a couple of hours) have popped up to distress feline lovers everywhere.

Facebook user Fadillah AR alerted the Singapore Community Cats page about her cousin coming across a dead cat that was left behind on a road divider near Yishun MRT station. According to said cousin, the poor kitty was found with a slit throat — and the image uploaded showed that its neck seemed to have been tied up as well (though we can’t verify it). The Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) are on the case, Fadillah says.

In what seems to be another alleged case of deliberate animal cruelty, a different cat was found dead behind Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. This time, its stomach was found slit open, according to the Yishun 326 Tabby cat Facebook page. Images uploaded showed that the cat’s skin was also flayed off at its jaw. Bottom line is — the cat’s body looks fucked up, so scroll down quickly if you don’t want to look at it.

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Awful animal abuse: White feline discovered on the streets ‘gift wrapped’ in masking tape

Last Wednesday (Feb 1), cat interest group Yishun 326 Tabby Cat brought a white feline to the public’s attention. She was spotted prowling around in Ubi (you were expecting Yishun, weren’t you?), but what was different awful about her case was the tight wrapping of masking tape all over her body.

Photos of Jon Snow (yes, she was named after the Game of Thrones character) have been circulating on Facebook, as the group initially speculated that the cat was an unintentional victim of a glue trap, a controversial method designed to capture small animals like rodents. If true, that would be the better scenario, as the other possibility would be an especially evil case of animal abuse (i.e., someone physically taped the helpless cat to its current sorry state).

The following day saw little Jon transferred over to Mount Pleasant Veterinary Group to remove the tape. An update from the cat interest group highlighted how jumpy she was when the vet attempted to touch her back, forcing a decision to sedate the poor, stressed creature before they removed the tape and gave her a shave.

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Cat Killers: Singapore’s love-hate relationship with stray felines
Bella and her cats in Tiong Bahru. Photo: Robin Hicks

“My nephews and nieces think I’m crazy,” says Bella, who has fed stray cats in the same spot in Tiong Bahru since before Singapore was a country. She believes that cats have their own language, just like people. It’s just that most humans don’t understand it.

After more than 60 years of feeding and caring for cats every day, Bella can read every miaow, hiss, twitch of an ear, swish of the tail or flash of the eyes better than any vet or animal psychologist could.

“Some of them – the miaow miaow miaow calls – I understand. When the mother is calling her kittens, I know what she’s saying. The vet would not know, but I know,” she says, while petting an extremely well-fed tortoiseshell curling around her legs.

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Latest case of cat abuse? Feline found with rod stuck in its testicles in Outram

A resident at Block 4 Jalan Minyak in Outram found a cat with a rod stuck in its testicles on Jul 24.

The resident reported this latest incident of cat abuse to the Cat Welfare Society (CWS).

According to a Facebook post, the society has dispatched volunteers to look for the cat, but have been unsuccessful.

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AVA says it is investigating two more cat deaths in Yishun
The 2 dead cats found in Yishun on Monday morning (Jul 25). Photo: Yishun 326 tabby cat/Facebook

2 more dead cats were found in Yishun on Monday morning (Jul 25), adding to the spate of feline-related cases in the area in recent months.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) are investigating the latest deaths, adding that it will be conducting post-mortem on the carcasses.

But it reiterated that not all animal deaths are linked to animal cruelty, noting that out of the 47 reports of cat deaths from injuries in Yishun since last September, only 3 have been found to be likely caused by abuse.

Cruelty not cause of all cases of cat deaths in Yishun, authorities say
Yishun cat deaths: Patrols continue after 2 suspects arrested

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AVA investigating new cat deaths in Yishun

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) is investigating 2 new cases of cat deaths in Yishun.

According to animal rescue group Yishun 326 Tabby Cat, the 2 cats were found dead in Yishun on Monday (Jul 25). In a Facebook post, the group said the carcasses of the cats were found at Block 115C Yishun Ring Road and Block 170 Yishun Ave 7.

"As part of the investigation, we are conducting a post mortem of the carcasses," an AVA spokesperson told Channel NewsAsia.

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Yishun man gets probation for throwing, killing cat

A mentally disabled man who threw a cat to its death from the 13th storey of a Yishun HDB block was sentenced to 18 months' probation yesterday.

Lee Wai Leong, 41, had pleaded guilty to one count of animal abuse last month.

Court papers said that Lee, who is diagnosed with moderate intellectual disability, was annoyed with a stray adult male mackerel tabby domestic shorthair as he found it noisy and had entered his home before.

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Yishun man pleads guilty to hurling cat from 13th storey

He was annoyed with the stray.

So he killed the cat by throwing it from the 13th storey of his Yishun Ring Road Housing Board block.

Yesterday, Lee Wai Leong, 41, who has been diagnosed with moderate intellectual disability, pleaded guilty to one count of animal abuse.

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26 reported cat deaths in Yishun, not all linked to abuse: AVA

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has received a total of 26 reported cat deaths in Yishun since September last year, but not all are linked to animal cruelty, it said at a press briefing Friday.

Based on eyewitness and owners' accounts, three were due to road traffic accidents, three died from falls from height, and one of natural causes.

Two cat deaths were probably because of abuse, and the remaining 17 are still open cases requiring more evidence before AVA can conclude they are linked to animal cruelty, it said.

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Another dead cat has been found in Yishun yesterday at 4:30pm. The cat was found lying on a grass patch at Yishun St 11, Blk 162. It is the 3rd cat found dead this month.

This comes after 2 men have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the abuse and killing of cats in the Yishun area. Witnesses or anyone with information about this recent cat killing should report it to the police immediately.

Since MP Shanmugam and Louis Ng are both animal lovers and advocates of animal well-being, why are they not doing anything more to stop the spade of cat killings in their ward? Do you think they are just all talk and no action only

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Two dead cats found at Jurong West and Bishan

The carcasses of two dead cats have been found at Jurong West and Bishan over the last three days, one at Jurong West and the other in Bishan.

According to citizen journalism website, Stomp, a cat was found dead at the void deck of Block 830A, Jurong West Street 81, on Jan 29.

The report cited Stomp contributor Sha, who said that the cat was "probably thrown" down.

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Cat dies after getting thrown down the block -- this time in Jurong

In yet another shocking case of alleged animal abuse, a cat has been found dead at the foot of the block in Block 830A Jurong West Street 81.

Stomper Sha was saddened to come across the bloodied carcass at her void deck today (Jan 29) at 8am.

Sha recounted: "Saw its lifeless body at the foot of the block. It was probably thrown off by a sicko.

Second man arrested over cat abuse in Yishun

A 51-year-old man was arrested yesterday for his suspected involvement in a case of cat abuse in Yishun. He is the second man to be arrested following a spate of 20 cat deaths in the neighborhood since September last year.

In a statement released yesterday, the police and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said police were alerted to a cat carcass found next to Block 116, Yishun Ring Road at 5.55pm last Friday. The suspect was arrested yesterday morning at about 2am, along Yishun Ring Road.

The man is from the household which owned the dead cat, and is assisting the authorities with their investigations. "Investigations are also ongoing to establish if the man is involved in other Yishun cat death cases," it said.

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51-year-old man arrested after household cat found dead in Yishun

A 51-year-old man was arrested on Saturday (Jan 23) for his alleged involvement in a case of cat abuse, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF).

In a joint news release with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), SPF said it received a report of a cat carcass - the third one found in the neighborhood this week alone - on the grass verge next to Block 116 Yishun Ring Road at about 6pm on Friday.

Officers from both SPF's Ang Mo Kio Division and AVA carried out investigations and established the suspect's identity, eventually arresting him at about 2am along Yishun Ring Road.

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40-year-old man charged with throwing cat down 13 floors in Yishun

A 40-year-old man was charged with animal cruelty on Tuesday morning (Dec29) for allegedly throwing a cat from the 13th floor of an HDB block in Yishun.

Lee Wai Leong, who did not enter a plea to his single charge, is the first person to be hauled to court under the new Animals and Birds Act, which was amended last year to toughen penalties against those convicted of animal cruelty.

He allegedly threw an adult Mackerel Tabby domestic shorthair cat over the parapet of the 13th floor of Block 115B Yishun Ring Road at about 10.30am on Oct 30. The cat died.

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Yishun cat abuse cases: 40-year-old man arrested

A 40-year-old man was arrested on Sunday (Dec 27) for suspected involvement in a series of cat abuse cases in Yishun.

In a joint news release on Monday, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and police said they received several reports of cats found injured or dead in the Yishun neighborhood between September and December this year. At least 19 cats have been found dead or injured since September.

Police officers from the Ang Mo Kio Division assisted AVA in their investigations and established the suspect's identity. He was arrested by the police along Yishun Ring Road on Sunday.

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Yishun cat abuse suspect will stay in remand at IMH for another week

A suspected cat abuser will stay at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) to be assessed for a further week, and is likely to request for bail, his lawyer said on Tuesday (Jan 12).

Lee Wai Leong, 40, was placed in remand on Dec 29, 2015, after he was accused of throwing a male cat from the 13th floor of Block 115B, Yishun Ring Road, on Oct 30.

The cat died following the fall from height

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Yishun cat deaths: More volunteers needed to patrol neighborhood

Following a recent spate of cat deaths in the neighborhood, animal welfare activist Louis Ng, Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, said a grassroots fast response team will be beefed up to gather evidence and conduct patrols in Yishun.

The team currently consists of about 20 to 30 cat feeders and concerned residents. More volunteers are being added to conduct more patrols, gather evidence on abuse, and alert residents when suspected abuse is taking place, he said.

"What they are doing is very essential," Mr Ng said on Tuesday (Dec 15). "We need people on the ground that can witness and see (what is happening)."

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Cat deaths continue in Yishun

Yet another dead cat has been found in Yishun, the second this week and the latest in a spate of deaths that started in September.

In a Facebook post on Friday (Jan 22), volunteer group Yishun 326 Tabby Cat wrote that a dead cat was found on the walkway next to the petrol kiosk near Block 732 at Yishun Avenue 5.

The group is looking for information and for witnesses to come forward.

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Another cat found dead in Yishun, 20th cat death in the estate since September

A dead cat was found on a walkway next to a petrol kiosk near Block 732, Yishun Avenue 5, on Thursday (Jan 21) night.

Cat interest group Yishun 326 Tabby cat posted photos of the cat on Facebook, appealing for witnesses and information.

It is the 20th cat death reported in the estate since September last year. Another two cats were seriously injured.

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Another Cat Found Dead In Yishun; Is The Killer Still At Large?

On 27 Dec 2015, 40-year-old Lee Wai Leong was arrested for throwing a cat down a 13-storey building at Yishun Ring Road. However, shortly after his arrest, another cat was reported dead on 30 Dec.

One thing’s for sure: Lee is not the only killer.

Cats in Yishun are being injured in a few dreadful ways — strangulation, poisoning, head and back trauma — and most of them have succumbed to their fatal injuries.

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Cat found drowned at Yishun Pond

A dead cat was found floating in the Yishun Pond on Saturday morning (Dec 26), and appears to be the latest victim in a string of animal abuse cases in the neighborhood.

In a Facebook post, cat welfare group Yishun 326 Tabby cat said that the cat was found at 8am at the pond next to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, with some items floating near it.

The police was at the scene, the group added.

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Another cat found abused in Yishun

A "seriously injured cat" was picked up at Block 170 Yishun Avenue 7 recently and appears to be the latest victim in a string of animal abuse cases in the neighborhood.

The cat named Oli was found with both her legs fractured badly. "The blunt trauma had fragmented both legs," said a post on the Yishun 326 Tabby cat Facebook page. The cat had a difficult surgery to get internal and external plates and pins fixed into her limbs, the volunteer group said. And while the next 24 hours is crucial for her, the prognosis is "good" it said.

"We have verified with our vets that the substantial injuries sustained by Oli are consistent with the abuse cases during the last 3 months," the group added. A total of 18 cases of cat abuse have been reported in Yishun since September. Out of all these cases, only Oli and another cat survived.

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Another dead cat found in Yishun despite arrest of alleged abuser

Another dead cat has been found in Yishun, despite an alleged cat abuser being arrested earlier this week.

Cat interest group Yishun 326 Tabby Cat said that the cat was found at 3pm on Wednesday (Dec 30) at Block 734, Yishun Avenue 5.

"The cat has blood on the ears and mouth. The cat is a big sized female tabby about 7kg in weight," it said in a Facebook post.

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Another dead cat found in drain at Yishun

A dead cat was found in a drain at Yishun Ring Road, and could be the 20th instance of cat abuse in the area since last September.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (Jan 19), cat welfare group Yishun 326 Tabby cat wrote that the "bloodied" cat was found dead in the drain at Block 361 that very morning.

"We appeal urgently for information and for witnesses to come forward," the group said.

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Full Coverage:
Cruelty not cause of all cases of cat deaths in Yishun, authorities say
Cat killings: Two dead cats found at Jurong West and Bishan
Yishun cat deaths: Some cats did not die of abuse, say SPF, AVA
26 reported cat deaths in Yishun, not all linked to abuse: AVA
Yishun residents worried for strays after another cat found dead
Only two of 26 Yishun cat deaths linked to cruelty so far: AVA


Singapore's 71 National Monuments

The Fullerton Hotel Becomes Singapore's 71st National Monument

The Fullerton Building currently home to The Fullerton Hotel Singapore has just been gazetted as Singapore's 71st National Monument.

The national monument gazette is the highest form of recognition for a structure or site's significance. Evaluation factors include its historical, architectural and social importance to the country's built heritage.

First built in 1928, the former Fullerton Building was Singapore's General Post Office, housing several other Government departments in its early years, including the Ministry of Finance.

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Fullerton now Singapore's national monument

THE former Fullerton Building, first opened in 1928 and currently known as The Fullerton Hotel, has been gazetted as Singapore’s 71st National Monument by the National Heritage Board (NHB), concluding a series of gazettes in celebration of the country’s milestone 50th birthday. This is the highest form of recognition given to sites or structures that houses great national significance.

“The former Fullerton Building is one of the most iconic colonial buildings in Singapore, standing at the mouth of the Singapore River and defining the Singapore skyline since the 1920s,” said Jean Wee, director, preservation of sites and monuments division, NHB.

“Beyond its grand façade and beautiful architecture, it is filled with many priceless memories of our nation’s growth throughout the years – from the former General Post Office to government offices, it has served multiple functions that mark the tumultuous times we have lived through, and the steps taken to build our country.”

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Fullerton building used to have a lighthouse

Let us not neglect one fact about the Fullerton building, which has been declared a National Monument: It used to have a lighthouse (“Fullerton building: From GPO to national landmark”; Dec 7).

In 1958, a revolving beacon of 540 kilocandelas (equivalent to 540,000 candles) was mounted on its roof to guide ships into Singapore’s harbour, visible up to 33.3 kilometres away.

It was a historically well-known lighthouse for vessels navigating the Singapore Strait.

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Fullerton Hotel - Singapore’s newest national monument
Picture of Fullerton Hotel building (Source: National Heritage Board )

The Fullerton Hotel, once home to the General Post Office has been gazetted as Singapore’s 71st national monument by the National Heritage Board (NHB). The building which dates back to 1928 was named after the former governor of the Straits Settlements, Sir Robert Fullerton.

The Fullerton Building was given conservation status by URA in 1996. Sino Land, the Hong Kong arm of Singapore’s largest private property group, Far East Organization, successfully bid for the site and transformed it into the landmark Fullerton Hotel.

The 400-room hotel opened in 2001, and now, 14 years later, it has achieved the highest accolade as one of Singapore’s national monuments.

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Singapore declares The Fullerton as national monument
Singapore today declared the luxury Fullerton Hotel as a national monument, preserving British colonial architectural heritage going back to the early 1920s

Singapore today declared the luxury Fullerton Hotel as a national monument, preserving British colonial architectural heritage going back to the early 1920s.Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the building has a significant place in Singapore’s history and holds special meaning to the country and its people.”This transformation of the building, in a way, is a reflection of how Singapore as a nation transformed in one lifetime, going from an old historic building something which has been updated, keeping the essence of the old, but of this age and up-to-date and better than before,” Lee said.(Also Read: Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong pays tribute to Sikh community)

The 1928-built grand Neoclassical building declared as Singapore’s 71st National Monument, is situated at the mouth of the Singapore River.It was converted into one of Singapore’s luxury hotels and officially opened on January 1, 2001 by the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.The 400-room pentagon-shape Fullerton Hotel is rated among the best in the world.Before that it was Singapore’s General Post Office and housed several government departments, where some of Singapore’s pioneer leaders began their careers.Lee said the occasion was made “all the more special” because it happened during Singapore’s Jubilee Year or 50 years of independence celebration.

The building is one of the most iconic colonial buildings in Singapore, standing at the mouth of the Singapore River and defining the Singapore skyline since the 1920s.It was built on the former site of Fort Fullerton which was then built to protect the Singapore harbour, river and trade.The building also had a roof-top lighthouse from 1958 to 1978, guiding ships 30 miles away to Singapore harbour.Named after Sir Robert Fullerton, the first Governor of the Straits Settlement (1826-1830), the Neoclassical building then cost SGD 4.75 million to construct.

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Fullerton building: From GPO to national landmark
The former Fullerton Building, now The Fullerton Hotel, has been gazetted as Singapore's 71st national monument. Photo: Jason Quah/TODAY

Overlooking the mouth of the Singapore River and the heart of the Central Business District, the Fullerton Hotel’s colossal two-storey Doric colonnade bore witness, for almost nine decades, to the growth of the country through the colonial and pre-independence era till today.

Before its present day incarnation as a five-star hotel, the building was home to the former General Post Office, and over different periods of time, housed government offices and departments where some of the Republic’s pioneer leaders began their careers, as well as a hospital providing makeshift operation rooms for wounded British soldiers during World War II.

Today (Dec 7), the iconic eight-storey building — which was declared open on June 27, 1928 — was given its own place in history when it was gazetted as Singapore’s 71st National Monument.

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Fullerton Hotel’s historical significance
The Fullerton Hotel. TODAY file photo

The Fullerton Hotel, formerly known as the Fullerton Building, has been gazetted has Singapore’s 71st national monument. Here’s a look at its historical significance.

The former Fullerton Building, named after the first Governor of the Straits Settlements Sir Robert Fullerton, was declared open on June 27, 1928.

Other than housing the General Post Office of Singapore, the building also housed the Chamber of Commerce and Exchange, the Marine Office, Singapore Club and other government departments.

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Why was Fullerton building made a National Monument now?
I was pleasantly surprised at the designation of the Fullerton building as a National Monument (“Fullerton building: From GPO to national landmark”; Dec 7).
It is a historic building that has seen tumultuous and important events in Singapore’s history, and has architectural value that merits conservation.
Its designation, however, also raises questions on the decision-making process and rationale behind determining what buildings to recognise and protect.


A Tribute To The Late Francis Seow

The Singapore Democratic Party is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Mr Francis Seow.

Mr Seow had an illustrious 16-year career in the Singapore Legal Service, culminating in becoming Singapore's solicitor-general from 1969 to 1971.

He was elected president of the Law Society in 1986. Under his leadership, the Law Society undertook a different path from his predecessors. It examined and commented on legislation that the government passed without any meaningful parliamentary debate or consultative process.

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The passing of a Titan

The career of Francis Seow as a legal counsel of the Singapore Government in the 1950′s and 60′s was one of the most dramatic and sensational in the manner in which he prosecuted whether in the criminal court or a Commission of Inquiry. The late David Marshall was a class of his own as a defence lawyer and in a similar vein Francis Seow was a class of his own as a Government prosecutor. The late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew regarded Francis Seow as an inimitable gem and held him in high respect.

Politically PM Lee Kuan Yew was greatly troubled by the brazen pro-communist activities of Chinese school students who were encouraged and supported, both politically and financially,in their nefarious acts by none other than the President of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce (SCCC). Lee was so impressed with the unique talent of Francis Seow that he appointed him the Government inquisitor to expose the complicity of the SCCC president in a Commission of Inquiry in the notorious Secondary IV examination manipulation by Chinese school students in 1963 prior to Singapore’s entry into Malaysia. Francis Seow, with his exceptional prosecutor’s skill, had very dramatically and convincingly reduced the SCCC president to a physical wreck with all his secret dealings with the Chinese school students exposed thoroughly.

And Lee Kuan Yew thus scored a political victory over the SCCC president. Francis Seow was awarded with a gold medal.

related: A tribute to former Solicitor-General Francis Seow

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Francis Seow, Singapore's former solicitor general and perhaps, in his short career as an opposition politician, one of the most illustrious, after the late JB Jeyaretnam in his day, passed away on 21st January this year, according to Dr Chee Soon Juan.

In the 1980s, the PAP was on the electoral slide. It used to garner on average 75% of the national vote in the 1970s. However, the 1980s proved to be a new period in Singapore politics. JB Jeyaretnam won Anson in a by election. In the following general election, he successfully defended his seat and another opposition politician, Chiam See Tong, was elected. The highs of the 75% victory margins plummeted into the 60s range. The PAP's electoral results went from bad to worse.

By the 1988 general election, it secured only 63% of the popular vote, an all time low since independence, at that point in time. By the 1991 general election, the number of votes the PAP managed to win was an all time low of 61%.

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Singapore’s former Solicitor-General Francis Seow died in exile

Singapore’s former Solicitor-General Francis Seow has died at the age of 88 today (Jan 21) while in exile in Boston, USA. The news of his death was announced by his friend, opposition leader Dr Chee Soon Juan.

Francis Seow served as Singapore’s Solicitor-General from 1969 to 1971, and was awarded Public Administration (Gold) Medal while serving under the former dictator Lee Kuan Yew. He became Law President in 1986 and represented detainees who were wrongly-accused by the Singapore government for a trumped-up operation called Marxist Conspiracy in 1987. As a result, he himself was detained in 1988 for 72 days by Lee Kuan Yew’s abuse of the Internal Security Act.

Francis Seow later joined the Workers’ Party and almost win the election with a vote count of 49.11% in Eunos GRC. Lee Kuan Yew’s PAP government then charged Francis Seow for tax evasion, which the latter then left for America on medical grounds while awaiting trial.

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Francis T Seow: Loyal civil Servant turned most articulate dissident

Francis T Seow was one the best known public prosecutors in the history of Singapore. Born in 1928, he entered the Legal Service in 1956 and rose to the position of Solicitor General in 1969. During his time in service, he was a very successful prosecutor. Meticulous and thorough in his work, eloquent, polite yet stinging in court, he was much feared by his opponents.

In his own words, he had a reputation of a “formidable and feared adversary.” He would leave no stone unturned. He was prime minister Lee Kuan Yew’s blue eyed boy and enjoyed the limelight of successful prosecutions of almost all important criminal cases. He handled public inquiries with superb skill. And so it must have been a great relief to lawyers when he resigned from legal service in 1971 to enter private practice. He had originally intended to partner the most successful criminal lawyer, David Marshall.

But the plan fell through when he was called to meet Lee Kuan Yew who called him up when he heard of his intention. Lee warned that “Marshall and he were on a collision course”  and by “joining Marshall, he was in the way, in the line of fire, and  that he did not wish me to be hurt in that inevitable collision”. One can only imagine the great benefit to society if Lee Kuan Yew had not given his unsolicited and calculated advice to Francis Seow.

Francis Seow struck fear into Lee Kuan Yew
Former Solicitor-General, Francis Seow dies at the age of 88

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ST’s announcement of Francis Seow’s death – Unfair commentary presented as factual news

There are different categorisations of news content and a distinct separation between what constitutes news reporting and what makes up a commentary. As the label speaks for itself, news reporting is simply the unbiased provision of information while the latter comprises observations of a particular writer or publication. What is disturbing is when a particular article displays insidious opinion leanings while purporting to be a factual account of an event.

The reporting on the passing of former Solicitor-General, Francis Seow is an excellent example of such prejudices being conveyed as news reporting when it is clear that the writer concerned is expressing a viewpoint. While this may be unconscious, the delineation between news and commentary must be manifestly undiluted because we do not want the public to be clandestinely duped and influenced by what they think is news when it really is just someone else’s point of view.

Take the Straits Times’ report on the death of Seow for instance (“Francis Seow, former solicitor-general and opposition politician, dies in Boston aged 88” dated 22 Jan 2016, by Walter Sim and Rachel Au-Yong). The entire report, whether deliberate or not was dripping with the writers’ standpoint while being published as news!

related: Ex-ISD Director: Lee Kuan Yew was afraid of Francis Seow

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Francis Seow Passes On And Events Of A Different Age Are Remembered

Seow had a distinguished career in the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC). As a rising star there he was assigned a number of difficult cases. Of note, he was to be the lead prosecutor in the sensational trial of Sunny Ang.
Ang was accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Jenny Cheok, during a diving trip near Sisters’ Island in August 1963. The motivation for the crime, as the prosecution contended, was the insurance policies Ang had taken out on his girlfriend just months earlier.
Seow’s prosecutorial skills were evident before the jury. Singapore still had jury trials in the 1960s). He secured a conviction inspite of the fact that the prosecution’s case was based solely on circumstantial evidence.
Remembering Francis Seow

I MANAGED to dig up an article about former Solicitor-General Francis Seow that I wrote 20 years ago. It was headlined Not a Tartar, just a ghost from the past. The reference to Tartar was taken from the title of his book, To Catch a Tartar: A dissident in Lee Kuan Yew’s prison. (Please don’t ask me how I got hold of the book, which is not sold here. And no, I don’t have it. I lent it out and never got it back.)

I reported on the man, who died on Thursday aged 88, in the late 80s while he was taking on the People’s Action Party, and again, when then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong went to receive an honorary degree from Williams College in Massachusetts. I wanted to re-publish my article but decided not to because of, ah, copyright considerations.

Not many people remember the political dissident (that’s how MSM describes him) who had fired up the imaginations of a whole swathe of Singaporeans in the mid to late 80s. My class of undergraduates pointed out to me that they weren’t even alive then. It is a pity that we only know about people who had left a mark on society only when they die. Because, whatever your political inclinations, he was a remarkable man. He was one of that rare breed in the days when Mr Lee Kuan Yew was still Prime Minister: An Establishment member who became publicly anti-Establishment.

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Francis Seow, former Singapore opposition politician, dies in Boston aged 88

According to The Straits Times report, Seow had been living in the United States since 1988 after fleeing Singapore. This was after he was accused of tax evasion and summoned to appear in court.

In May 1988, Seow, who was also a former president of the Law Society, was detained without trial under the Internal Security Act for 72 days in connection with a case involving American diplomat Hank Hendrickson.

The envoy was accused of interference in Singapore politics. He cultivated and advised Seow to establish a more effective opposition in Parliament and to lead a team of lawyers to contest in the general election.

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Francis Seow warned of Singtel spying on Singaporeans, 15 years later such accusations still persist

Singapore will be undergoing a periodic review of her human rights records on 27 Jan 2016. Several local Non-Government Organisations and international human rights agencies have raised a number of issues to the United Nations’ Office of the High Commission for Human Rights.

One of the stakeholders who submitted the report to this process is the human rights “watchdog” organisation focused on privacy intrusions by government and businesses, Privacy International (PI).

In it’s Report PI highlighted a number areas of concerns about how various spy tools are used to monitor users’ interactions on various applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Mail, and Skype. The State also has access to surveillance programmes with the ability to observe and control an individual’s computer or mobile device, the Report said.

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Top lawyers, law don recall late Francis Seow

He was the lawyer every young lawyer aspired to be.

Defence counsel Ramesh Tiwary, 52, was only a law student when he first watched Mr Francis Seow in action.

"I watched him in court for a few times, as a lawyer doing criminal work. He was inspiring," he told The New Paper.

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Francis Seow: A brilliant lawyer but the leader that never was

On 21 Jan 2016 we say our last goodbye to a political icon of the 60s to 80s, Francis Seow. Once regarded as the most brilliant lawyer for the Singapore government and later a formidable political opposition, what really fulled his actions? Was it his unflinching passion for democracy and freedom? Was he driven to desperation by the Singapore government? Or something else?

When Francis Seow was working for the Government for over 10 years as senior counsel and later as Solicitor-General, and enjoyed all the prestige and privileges that came with his office, he had no complaints against the Government and was in fact very supportive of its various actions, including those against the communists and their supporters.

Seow played a crucial role in exposing the communists in Singapore and contributed to the defeat of communist united front leader Lim Chin Siong and his pro-communist Barisan Sosialis at the September 1962 Referendum on merger with Malaysia.

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5 things about Francis Seow
  • He led the prosecution in 1965 in a high-profile case against one-time Grand Prix driver Sunny Ang, who was accused of killing his barmaid girlfriend Jenny Cheok at sea to collect the insurance money. Ang was sentenced to hang for murder. It marked the first time the prosecution had won a case that was based entirely on circumstantial evidence. Miss Cheok's body was never found.
  • In 1985, as a private lawyer, he acted for Catherine Tan Mui Choo,in her unsuccessful appeal against her death sentence. She was the wife and of self-styled medium Adrian Lim and one of his accomplices in the Toa Payoh ritual murders. Tan, Lim, and Hoe Kah Hong, who was Lim's live-in mistress, were hanged in 1988 for killing two children - a girl, nine, and a boy, 10.
  • He was dressed in a double-breasted suit while campaigning as a Workers' Party candidate at the 1988 General Election. Despite speaking in a posh accent and using flowery sentences, he was said to have kept the working-class crowd wanting more. His team narrowly lost Eunos GRC, winning 49.1 per cent of the vote.
  • He was one of the 16 people arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act in 1987 for their alleged involvement in a Marxist conspiracy against the Government.
  • His ex-wife, Rauni Marjatta Kivilaakso, was Finnish. They were married at the Swedish Protestant Church in London in 1953. Mr Seow filed for and got a divorce in 1987, citing they had been living apart for four years. Madam Kivilaakso died in 1988 after a long battle with cancer.
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Full Coverage:
Francis Seow struck fear into Lee Kuan Yew
Francis Seow Life Story
Top lawyers remember former Solicitor-General Francis Seow
Francis T Seow: Loyal civil Servant turned most articulate dissident
Ex-solicitor-general Francis Seow dies in Boston, aged 88
Ex-ISD Director: Lee Kuan Yew was afraid of Francis Seow
Top lawyers, law don recall late Francis Seow
ST's announce Francis Seow's death - Unfair commentary presented as factual news
Francis Seow, former solicitor-general & opposition politician, dies in Boston aged 88
Francis Seow dies in Boston aged 88
Francis Seow, former Singapore opposition politician, dies in Boston aged 88
Transcript of Francis Seow's ST interview