Written by Ng E-Jay
31 October 2012
The PAP government seems to be forever looking for ways to increase rentals for small businesses, or otherwise allow landlords to raise rents at every conceivable opportunity, regardless of the potential hardship this may cause to sole proprietors.
Hawkers at a market and food centre in Holland Village recently had to scrap their petition to the National Environment Agency (NEA) to convert the wet market section into an area for cooked food stalls.
They were forced into this U-turn after the authorities told them that rentals were likely to be increased should the upgrading plans proceed.
By Dr Wong Wee Nam
20 October 2012
Recently, Singaporeans were urged to participate in a national conversation. This is actually nothing new. It has been done before in S21 and the Remaking of Singapore.
From the looks of things so far, the exercise is not going to be very much different from its predecessors. The lives of Singaporeans would, therefore, not be expected to improve very much as the problems have already existed for some time and have not really been adequately addressed.
There is really no need to stage any kind of national conversation because Singaporeans have been engaging in political conversations all the time. You can hear or read them on the internet, in homes and in the coffeeshops. However, the PAP prefers the conversation to be carried out in their own way so that they can be seen listening to the people.
By Dr Patrick Kee
15 October 2012
We are living at a very critical time in human history. Societies are becoming more pluralistic, multi-religious, multi-racial and multi-cultural. The challenge is to find unity in the midst of such diversity. With the advent of the Internet, we have seen how emotions can be easily aroused and inflamed with disastrous consequences.
We need more than a National Conversation to address the many issues and problems that threaten to engulf our tiny nation state. To identify sources of potential conflicts, to confront extremism and fundamentalism, and to resolve complaints and criticisms, we will need to go beyond a superficial political conversation.
By Dr Wong Wee Nam
04 October 2012
The Scholar in White (白衣秀士) is not an idiom referring to those “scholars” selected by the PAP to be its candidates for the general elections. It is actually the kungfu nickname of Wang Lun (王伦), a character in the famous Chinese novel, The Water Margin (水浒传).
To understand the character Wang Lun, it is necessary to know what the book, The Water Margin, is about.
The book is made up of short stories of various characters and their adventures. This book is set during the last days of the Song Dynasty where corruption, incompetence in government, political disorder, oppression by the ruling class and the powerful, and cruelty in meting out punishment were the norm. The 108 heroes in the story are actually labelled as “outlaws” because of their opposition to the establishment.