Reflections on IPS seminar: Assessing the rationality of political online space

February 12, 2015 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
12 February 2015

I attended the Institute of Policy Studies seminar entitled “Assessing the Rationality of Political Online Space” held on 11 Feb 2015. In this seminar, IPS presented quantitative research done on online political blogs in an attempt to assess characteristics such as journalistic objectivity, level of emotions, and level of partisanship. Regression analysis was carried out to identity and evaluate correlations between these characteristics.

Some interesting observations emerged out of this quantitative study. Firstly, blogs that had consistently strong political content were largely written by anonymous authors. It was hypothesized by some at the conference that this could be due to the lingering climate of fear that the government has instituted in the local political culture. Numerous defamation suits against well known bloggers like Alex Au and against former political candidates like Vincent Wijeysingha come readily to mind as factors that contribute to this climate of fear.

Secondly, there appeared to be no correlation between whether a blog was political or apolitical, and the level of emotional outburst displayed by the blog author. People who blogged exclusively about LGBT issues, for example, could display much more emotion than people who blogged about failed government policies. It was therefore hypothesized by some that it is the level of personal interest and involvement in the issue at hand that determines displays of emotional outburst, rather than merely whether the topic is political or apolitical. This is, of course, a very logical if not obvious deduction.

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PTC resorts to illogical reasoning to justify fare hike

January 23, 2015 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
23 January 2015

The Public Transport Council (PTC) said on Wednesday that it has decided on an overall fare increase of 2.8 per cent. However, it could not explain adequately why the fare increase has to take place despite a 60% plunge in the price of oil from its peak. Its reasons for the fare increase are dubious and illogical.

The PTC said that this year’s fare review exercise was based on 2013 figures, using changes in consumer price index, average wage and energy index from that year. Also, part of 2014’s fare increase was held back to prevent too big a hike. The line of reasoning therefore is that the part of the fare increase that was held back in 2014 is thus carried over into 2015.

However, this is illogical. Policy decisions must be made on updated data whenever possible. The fare increase that was held back in 2014 should not be carried over into 2015 because the price of oil has fallen drastically. It is senseless to implement the full increase originally meant for 2014 in the light of the new developments.

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Two Blue Ticks

January 6, 2015 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
06 January 2015

Sometimes in life, we can do nothing but wait. And wait. And wait. We see the two blue ticks next to the WhatsApp message that we just sent out, and we wonder why the other party has not responded. Is she busy? Is she feeling ambivalent? What’s occupying her? What’s taking her so long? Does she have reservations about how things are going?

As Singaporeans, we have sent a clear message to the PAP about the change we want to see in Singapore. The PAP has received and read our message, and there are two blue ticks. Those two blue ticks keep politically aware and concerned Singaporeans up at night, wondering how our aged will retire with dignity, worried about the cost of living and the price of public housing, wondering when our government will open up and cease its authoritarian ways.

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History is Bunk

December 31, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics, Dr Wong Wee Nam 

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Dr Wong Wee Nam
29 December 2014

In 1848, Karl Marx stirred the world when he wrote, “A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.

“Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?”

This was to become the preamble to the famous publication known as The Communist Manifesto.

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Transport companies now a huge political liability for PAP

November 21, 2014 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
21 November 2014

Our transport companies have become a huge political liability for the PAP. Their frequent missteps, the regularly-occurring disruption of train services, and the incessant fare hikes have angered Singaporeans. Singaporeans do not just blame the transport companies for under-performing and under-delivering. They also blame the PAP government for allowing this state of affairs to develop.

Three days ago, the Public Transport Council (PTC) announced that the annual fare review exercise has started. SMRT promptly responded by saying: “We seek a better alignment of fares and operating costs, and will be submitting our application for a fare review in the coming weeks.

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Why the continued discrimination against single unwed mothers?

November 5, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
05 November 2014

To this day, there continues to be discrimination against single unwed mothers in Singapore. This discrimination is unwarranted and unfair. Single mothers are women who have taken the responsibility of raising a child on their own when they could have easily abandoned the child at a foster home. They do not deserve to be punished simply because the government wants to promote the ideal of a two-parent family as the only acceptable standard.

The Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said in Parliament that whilst children get the same benefits whether or not their mothers are married, “benefits that are intended to support marriages and births within the context of families are only given to married mothers“.

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Incorrect of SAF to participate in military exercises with China

November 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
03 November 2014

I am saddened that the Singapore Armed Forces, at the behest of the PAP government, is participating in a bilateral military exercise with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The move clearly shows that the Singapore government is turning a blind eye to the territorial aggression that China has exhibited toward the East Asian seas in recent years.

The joint military exercises, entitled Cooperation 2014, which begins on Sunday and is being held in Nanjing, will end on Nov 9. About 70 personnel each from the SAF and the PLA are taking part in the eight-day exercise which will include professional seminars and a company-level conventional infantry exercise featuring a live-firing demonstration.

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Ms Teo Soh Lung on the lack of support for civil activists from Singapore’s opposition parties

October 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

MS TEO SOH LUNG: In Hong Kong, opposition parties actively support the young protesters, giving them encouragement, assistance and advice. They are by their side, assisting them and speaking up for them. They go on television in support of the protesters. Ms Emily Lau even took the trouble to go to the UN to champion their cause and London to speak on Hard Talk. In Malaysia too, opposition parties were involved in mass demonstration organised by civil society. They stood with them when tear gas and water cannons were fired. They went to jail because they stood up against injustice.

But in Singapore, where are the opposition parties? Do they exist? Do they speak up when civil society is under attack.

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The human race is still far behind on certain issues ……

October 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

Written by Ng E-Jay
31 October 2014

Up till today, we have many human beings who are:

(i) Disgusted with abortion, but not disgusted with the mandatory death penalty

(ii) Argue against minimum wage, but not against excessive executive compensation

(iii) Prefer to argue over who created the world, rather than in trying to protect the world

(iv) Are offended by homosexuality but not offended by poverty, child abuse, forced prostitution, political incarceration, detention without trial, etc.

Why opposition parties in Singapore shy away from civil activists

October 31, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

A thought-provoking paragraph by netizen “3M” on why opposition parties in Singapore shy away from civil activists:

QUOTE: “Political parties think differently from activists. Activists are concerned with the cause they advocate and do not give a hoot to political correctness. Politicians assess the position they need to take on the matter: whether to endorse, oppose or to adopt a more ambitious stance. If political party ever comes out to endorse what the activists advocate, it must be part of the larger picture of how many votes they gain by doing so and does it comes into conflict with their targeted supporters?

I liken activist and politician with inventor and businessman. Inventor is the one who will be passionate about their inventions and the mechanism behind it. Businessman on the other hand will be more concerned with the marketability of the invention: how receptive are the public to the product and the projected sales target? We have to accept the fact that there are inventions that can be marketed and there are those that are completely unfeasible.”

Read more here.

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