A reader’s kind remarks for Jaslyn and the cause she stands for

February 26, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Archives 

I am an American and live in the state of California. I happened to be looking at various websites addressing child care, and ran across this article. I applaud Ms Go’s courage. I am a single father, having raised my daughter for the past 19 years, and yes, I want her to live in a world cleaner and more humane than the one I live in. I see Ms Go taking a position to provide a better today and tomorrow for the residents of Singapore.

I have spent time in Singapore, quite a few years ago, while in the US Military, and have always held very fond memories of it, the people, the city. As a matter of fact, I fell in love there with a Malay woman, have very fond memories of walks by the river, or by the quay.

As an American, when people ask me about Singapore, there is only one response, “you have to see it for yourself”. I respect the country, and the people.

So Ms Go, I wish you the best in your pursuit, and though I may not know you, I respect you.

Good luck, from Rick in California

A reader’s comment: The dangers of conflating public concerns with the principles of criminal trials

February 26, 2009 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Archives 

EDITOR’S NOTE: In August last year, the Law Minister K. Shanmugam reiterated a stand made previously by Attorney-General Walter Woon that “not guilty in law” does not mean “innocent”. In other words, a person may not be factually innocent even if the law acquits him.

I wrote an opinion piece here explaining why I thought such statements could open a can of worms, as they may encourage the public to unnecessarily speculate on cases after the courts have passed a verdict, and in so doing, undermine the very trust in the judicial process that the Courts have so valiantly sought to protect.

Ms Gabe Tan of Innocence Network UK subsequently posted a lengthy and well-considered comment in response to the ST article on the Govt defending the A-G’s stand on acquittals. Her comment is reproduced here, as I feel it is very much worth a read.

More links regarding this issue:

1. Factual Innocence versus Legal Guilt: The Need for a New Pair of Spectacles to view the Problem of Life-Sentenced Prisoners Maintaining Innocence

2. Rethinking Miscarriages of Justice

Written by Ms Gabe Tan, Innocence Network UK

Dangers of conflating public concerns with the principles of criminal trials: Repercussions on the factually innocent

I am writing in response to the article, ‘Govt defends A-G’s stand on acquittals’ (26 August 2008) which was raised the contentious issue of whether acquittals in criminal trials necessarily represent a defendant’s ‘factual innocence’.

From a public perspective, the delivery of justice would necessarily entail the conviction of the ‘factually guilty’ and the acquittal of the ‘factually innocent’. The notion that an individual may walk free from a conviction despite having committed acts which may amount to a crime, and even worse be compensated for the acquittal, is one that will undoubtedly evoke anger and sense of social injustice.

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Western spectacles — look who’s seeing

February 25, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Archives 

By the Singapore Democrats
24 Feb 2009

Original Link

For a government as myopic as this one, PM Lee Hsien Loong should be the last to give anyone advice on the kind of spectacles to wear (see report below).

The two organisations that handle the nation’s reserves — one run by his father, the other his wife — were so short-sighted in their investments in Western banks that we have lost more than $100 billion to-date.

The Minister Mentor and Madam Ho have yet to explain what led them to take the decisions to inject our funds into ailing and corrupt financial institutions.

Did these banks invite us to invest in them like what Citigroup did to the GIC? Who signed the cheques? What due diligence did the GIC and Temasek perform?

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Do We Care?

February 24, 2009 by · 10 Comments
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics, Dr Wong Wee Nam 

By Dr Wong Wee Nam

23 Feb 2009

Three recent issues cause me great discomfort. The first is the topic of euthanasia, the second is the sale of organs and the third is the suggestion of sending our elderly to a neighbouring country to save costs.

The issues give me discomfort because they would have a great impact on society should such ideas form the basis of healthcare policies.

To me the formulation of policies must not just be based on cold and hard financial mathematics. There must also be a generous dose of compassion, idealism and love. A policy must come out from a good head as well as a big heart. This is more so when the policy concerns health, the poor and the elderly. In this area, policy-makers must not only be competent and intellectually skilled, they must also be able to love and show compassion. They cannot have too big a head and too small a heart.

In Singapore, sad to say, the measure of success has been money and material possessions. As a result, our values, behaviour and attitudes have been tempered by this yardstick of success. Because of this obsession, people complain about lack of fulfillment from work. At the same time they feel passive, hopeless, helpless, apathetic and display a lack of concern for their country and fellowmen. KIASU is not just a joke. It is a symptom of our distorted goals.

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Jaslyn Go to town council: Treat workers with respect

February 23, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Archives 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jaslyn’s letter to the Town Council first appeared on her blog here. Her letter was also published by the Singapore Democrats here.

Blogger and activist Ms Jaslyn Go came across an incident in which a Tanjong Pagar Town Council staff member was loudly and publicly berating a cleaner for not doing his work properly. Even if the worker was not up to scratch, Ms Go pointed out that there was no necessity for such behaviour from the council staff. She wrote to the town council to register her concern and to ask that all workers be treated with respect.

20 Feb 09

Mr Wang Yam Peng
Senior Property Manager
Tanjong Pagar Town Council

Dear Mr Wang Yam Peng,

As per our tele-conversation on 19 Feb 09, I would like to make an official complaint against one of your staff for his unbecoming behavior at the lift lobby of my block (Bukit Merah).

I had just gotten out from my car at the carpark next to the rubbish bin of my block when I hear loud commotion. (Please note that the carpark is further from the lift lobby compare to the front carpark lot and I can hear the commotion).

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Parents of disabled full time National Serviceman score decisive moral victory against PAP regime

February 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Archives 

Parents: It was our last resort

Despite friends’ misgivings, NSF’s parents sue Mindef & win

New Paper, 22 Feb 2009
TNP link

THEIR household income is just $2,000. So how, their friends asked them, can they take on the Government?

You will lose, their friends said. And you will be worse off because of the costs.

But Mr Tan Kian Lee, 50, and his wife, Madam Hor Hong Kiow, 47, refused to buckle under the enormity of the challenge.

‘It was a nerve-racking experience,’ said Mr Tan, of taking on the Ministry of Defence.

Their son, Chia Wee, had become an invalid after he was found unconscious while he was in National Service.

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The Singapore Democrats’ position paper on Land Transport

February 21, 2009 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Archives 

EDITOR’S NOTE: In view of the recent reduction in public transport fares, which are the first of its kind in the 22-year history of the Public Transport Council (PTC), I am posting the Singapore Democrats’ view on Land Transport to remind readers that far deeper issues lurk beneath the surface, and there is a serious need to re-think policies such as the privatization of public transport — policies that have hurt the pocketbooks of consumers in both good times and bad.


The physical infrastructure and demographics of Singapore have undergone rapid transformation. Because of this change, there has been a strong demand for better means of transportation in the country.

The latest problems such as the introduction of the Certificate of Entitlement (COE), the overcrowding of the Mass Rapid Transit or MRT, the mushrooming of Electronic Road Pricing system, and the increase in bus and taxi fares have all contributed to the question of whether the Government has managed the land transportation system well. Clearly there is a dire need for a rethink of the policies surrounding these areas.

Electronic Road Pricing

The Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) was introduced in 1998 primarily to restrict the number of motor vehicles entering the Central Business District (CBD). The fees deducted from the cashcards in the vehicles range variously according to place and time.

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Parliamentary Elections possible from May to Nov 2009

February 20, 2009 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Archives 

Written by Ng E-Jay
20 Feb 2009

Snap parliamentary elections are now possible from May to November 2009, and quite likely as early as May to July 2009.

The Government gazette published the boundaries of altered polling districts on Wednesday, just a day after the Elections Department announced that the Register of Voters is being revised.

According to the Elections Department website, online services such as checking the Register of Electors or applying for restoration of name are suspended temporarily, and are expected to resume around 3 March 2009. Visitors may check back within 14 days from 3 March 2009, to ensure that their particulars in the revised Register of Electors are correct.

Polling district changes are usually published before the Government sets up a committee to review and draw up the boundaries of constituencies.

Historical experience reveals that there is a time lag of as much as 6 months between the publication of the polling district changes and the release of the committee’s Electoral Boundaries Report which details the number and size of single-member and group representation constituencies.

General elections tend to follow soon after the Electoral Boundaries Report, within a 3 month timeframe. This makes elections quite possible within the next 9 months.

Snap elections as early as May – July 2009 are likely as the PAP may want to tap into the heightened climate of fear and uncertainty. In 2001 when elections were held just two months after the 911 terrorist attacks and in the midst of a recession, the PAP secured 75.29% of the valid vote.

The legislations governing the conduct of the Parliamentary Elections are:

Breaking news: Electoral boundaries redrawn

February 19, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Archives 

By the Singapore Democrats
18 Feb 2009

Original link

Is the PAP calling for snap elections soon? It sure seems that way. The Elections Department has been a little more than active in the past few months, first training civil servants as election officials, then updating the register of voters and the latest news: announcing the redrawing of the constituencies today at 5 pm.

Of the three activities, the gazetting of the constituency boundaries is the most significant. This is because the PAP has the habit of announcing the new boundaries at the last minute — the time span ranging anywhere from a couple of months to just the day before it dissolves Parliament. This, of course, ensures that the opposition has as little time as possible to work the ground.

If the PAP does go for a super-duper early election, it will be an indication that it is unsure of how to handle the country’s economic future and needs to quickly get the general elections out of the way before things slump deeper.

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Full of generalities but short on specifics: President S R Nathan’s (unofficial) guide to rubber stamping

February 18, 2009 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Archives 

Written by Ng E-Jay
18 Feb 2009

President S R Nathan held a press conference on Tuesday to explain why he agreed to the first-ever draw on past reserves.

Being full of generalities but short on specifics, did President Nathan tell us anything that we did not already know?

President Nathan said that the swiftness of the process of obtaining his in-principal approval, which took just 11 days, stemmed from the urgency in giving the Government the confidence to roll out measures to tackle the recession, which could worsen without fast action.

Mr Nathan also said that he need not have held a press conference to explain the decision, as he is required only to convey his decision in writing to Parliament upon the Government’s request.

However, we are not so much concerned with why the decision was made swiftly, which has already been explained by the Finance Minister in Parliament, but whether adequate due diligence was exercised by the President and his Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA).

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