Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Netizen rips SDP John Tan apart for his comment on caning and expulsion of students involved in taking upskirt images

Reproduced from a netizen's Facebook posting:

John Tan from SDP feels that caning and expulsion of one student is ridiculous and does more harm than good.
Are there any educators from senior management in the SDP at all? Please step forward and help your party not look like a fool. These comments by John Tan shows how disconnected they are from the ground on how school policies help our students, even the ill disciplined ones.

1. He got to ask himself. Why is it that only ONE out of all the students involved? He claims expelling the student does more harm than good.
Here is the reason why students are expelled. Students who are expelled, usually have done something serious. Expelling the student gives him a second chance in a new school. Where the students and teachers do not look at him differently, and he can start on a clean slate. The reasons for transfer, for these cases, are kept to a very small group of staff, usually the P, VP and Discipline Head.
Can you imagine how the boy will go through his secondary school life every time he passes by a female teacher if he stayed? Can you imagine how the teachers would feel if they were assigned to teach in his class?
I am guessing he is the only one expelled because he is the one that distributed the photos most. While the rest played much smaller roles.

2. John Tan claims expelling the student means breaking of the Compulsory Education Act.
Again no one from SDP can help him understand. When it comes to expelling a student, Ps usually try to help them find a new school. Sometimes this involves "trading" problem students. So that both students get fresh starts. Otherwise, they may call upon their colleagues in the cluster schools to keep a lookout for the "expelled" student, so that they can make arrangements to accept the student when he turns up at their door.

3. On Caning.
Caning is not so much to cause pain to the students. But rather to show to the student body the seriousness of it.
Unless they are being caned in prison, caning in schools do not cause that much pain that cannot be rubbed off in a few hours.
Students also go through a lot of counselling before being caned. I have sat through quite a few caning sessions previously. By the time they are caned, the students usually understand their mistakes, and are willing to accept the punishment.

So SDP, please please, just like your white paper on Education. Instead of just painting gloomy clouds over our education system and policies, how about you offer some substantial solutions after you make your points.

Come up with a solution that takes care of all stakeholders. The School Leaders, the teachers involved, the students involved, the parents of the students involved. Show us how you guys would DO BETTER if you were in charge, and maybe you might just win some votes in the next Elections.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Taxi Uncle: Chee Soon Juan is 有头没脑, 头脑生草

A Singaporean had a conversation with a Taxi Driver on the looming by-election at Bukit Batok SMC: http://amateurbuddhist1978.blogspot.sg/2016/03/an-unexpected-by-election.html

In his conversation, the Taxi Driver said, "He (Chee) is too emotional and impulsive. That time he went to ask Goh Chok Tong about the billions of dollars lent to Indonesia. Did he have evidence? And to think he is a professor. He is really 有头没脑 (got head no brains)...头脑生草 (grass grow on the hair)." He was referring to an incident in GE 2001 when Chee heckled then-PM Goh Chok Tong in public.

For 6 months since GE2015, Chee Soon Juan and his SDP had not carried out any visits to the constituencies that they have campaigned vigorously to represent during the 9 days of campaigning.

It took the resignation of PAP MP David Ong, which resulted in PM calling for By-election, to trigger the opportunist party to restart their party activities. I truly hope Bukit Batok residents will be able to discern a candidate's and his party's sincerity level.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Presidential Candidate Tan Cheng Bock was fed up with Chee Soon Juan's arrogance and stubbornness

In Parliament 11 Dec 1996,

    Dr Tan Cheng Bock (Ayer Rajah): Mr Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the motion. I was a Member of the Select Committee on Health Care Subsidy and I sat through one of the longest Select Committee sessions I have ever attended. I came out feeling sad and disappointed that a person like Chee, with a doctorate, could act and behave in such a manner, unbecoming of a man of his standing as a lecturer and researcher. 

    Sir, from the very start, if you will remember, without seeking your permission, he took it upon himself the task of rearranging the seating arrangement laid out by Parliament. And this prompted you, Mr Speaker, to reprimand him and ordered him to refrain from such actions unless the Chair's permission is sought. But this behaviour reflected the arrogant attitude of the representor. Throughout the many sessions, there were attempts after attempts to show data, figures and charts that were 

Column: 1027

obviously incorrect or not substantiated. It is not necessary to go through all these as they were brought up by the Select Committee and previous speakers have already spoken on this subject, and the public is well aware of the obvious discrepancies and data presentation, especially the 5% typographical error. However, it is the indifferent attitude of the chief representor that caught many people's attention. He chose to ignore what is correct. The sad thing is that he sees no wrong in himself and he used a case or two of wrongful billing by the hospital to cast doubts on the hospital's policy of hospital charges. He insisted that the hospitals had created a pattern of over-charging or over-stating the bills, based on the case of Sunny Kow. 

    He attempts to accuse others of doing the very thing he did. This projection behaviour pattern comes out clearly in the above case of Sunny Kow. Although the Minister had told the Committee that the hospital had indeed made an error in the bill presentation and that Mr Sunny Kow need not have to pay more than what he needs to pay, the SDP chief representor refused to accept and insisted that the hospital had created a pattern of over-charging or over-stating the hospital bill. Yet he failed to see his own errors in the many charts, figures and data that were presented. He projected this type of behaviour to detract the Committee but, unfortunately, he was not successful. 

    Sir, in passing judgment on the four SDP representors, we face a section of Singaporeans who think that we are trying to do the Opposition in. It is not a question of whether these four people are Opposition members or not. It is clearly a question of what must be done to a group of people who swear to tell the truth in Parliament but clearly did not. We in Parliament must do what is right and correct, or this House would be taken too lightly by those who wish to present their case before Select Committees. In other words, we are dealing with the conduct of the representors, not their political affiliations. 

    Sir, my comments on Opposition MPs' behaviour carries less weight than those 

Column: 1028

coming from independent non-PAP sources. On 20th July 1996, I read in the Berita Harian an article which clearly tells you the character of Dr Chee. It was headlined Kecewa dengan sikap dan cara Dr Chee semasa perbahasan. Translated it means, "Disappointed with Dr Chee's attitude and manner during the debate." I will quote the translated version. It is very short: 

    `Disappointed with Dr Chee's attitude and manner during the debate - by Noraini Hamzah. I recorded Monday, July 15, as an important date in my diary because representatives of the Singapore Democratic Party were scheduled to speak in front of the Select Committee to study Government subsidies for hospitals and polyclinics. It gives the SDP's General Secretary, Dr Chee Soon Juan, and his colleagues the opportunity to explain their stand. I imagine the meeting to be serious as the SDP's allegations were grave. Were the allegations founded? The day I had been waiting for came, but I was disappointed. In following the 8-hour discussion on television in the reporters' room at Parliament House, I observed that Members of the Select Committee panel were obviously very serious in presenting their questions, views and statements. Nonetheless, I cannot say the same for Dr Chee who became the lone voice of the 4 SDP representatives there. My observation of Dr Chee was that he twisted his answers. He often deviated from the matters discussed, blamed others. He was dishonest in his answers and he did not observe the Select Committee proceedings. He often condemned the panel members. In short, he appeared to be playing politics through his answers. His conduct made it necessary for the Chairman of the Select Committee, Mr Tan Soo Khoon, to warn him on several occasions.' 

    She went on to discuss about the proceedings and she concluded, and I quote: 

    `The hearing went beyond 11 pm. Some people might consider Dr Chee a hero for being firm in his position, but I was quite fed up with Dr Chee's arrogance and his stubbornness in not admitting the mistakes in his figures. I was not the only one. My colleague who had all along respected Dr Chee stated, "I lost my respect for Dr Chee from today onwards." Was the SDP sincere in bringing up the issue of health care subsidies? I doubt it. As a former university lecturer, Dr Chee must have realised that an undergraduate would fail in his examinations if he distorted his answers or deviated from the questions asked.' 

    This is how she concluded: 

    `As a mother, can I tell my children that it is not wrong to be disrespectful and to distort answers? Certainly not.' 

    Mr Speaker, Sir, this was the observation of a newspaper reporter, not by the PAP. The comment reflected the feelings of someone who was present at the hearing. Yet, the latest paper of the SDP, 

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The New Democrat, sees a repetition of all the points brought up by the SDP representors. They obviously do not care and do not intend to hear the truth. This is not the correct way to change things. Change will come not with making political statements, but with sound alternatives that will win the hearts and minds of all educated Singaporeans. 

    Mr Speaker, Sir, Parliament is the highest institution in the land. It passes laws that affect every Singaporean. Therefore, it must be respected and obeyed. If politicians choose not to do so, then he or she must be reprimanded and appropriate punishment meted out. Politicians fight hard at every election to enter this Chamber and our behaviour and conduct in this House sets the tone for other Singaporeans. If we misbehave, then Singaporeans will not be proud of us and this country will suffer. Thus, if you remember, Sir, I chose not to speak at the last debate on the Select Committee's findings because you made a ruling that our speeches should not contain materials that will prejudice the findings of the Committee of Privileges. Mr Speaker, it is my respect for you and your ruling in Parliament that I choose to speak today instead. 

    Sir, I support the motion. 


The motion, made by Minister Wong Kan Seng, reads as follows: 

    That this Parliament doth agree with the Committee of Privileges in their Report contained in Parl. 6 of 1996 and resolves -- 

    (1) that Parliament impose on Dr Chee Soon Juan a fine of


    (2) that Parliament impose on Mr Wong Hong Toy a fine of


    (3) that Parliament impose on Mr S. Kunalen a fine of 

    $8,000; and 

    (4) that Parliament impose on Mr Kwan Yue Keng a fine of


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Teacher rips Chee Soon Juan on groundless claims on Social Studies syllabus

Read how a teacher ripped Chee Soon Juan off, on his party's groundless claims on conspiracies behind reviewing of Social Studies syllabus:

Hi Soon JuanI am going to take some time to highlight to you some of the observations that you and the SDP have...
Posted by Germain Heng on Monday, February 15, 2016


Hi Soon Juan
I am going to take some time to highlight to you some of the observations that you and the SDP have pointed out in your article, MOE Written Textbooks Are Even More Biased And Partisan Towards The PAP (http://yoursdp.org/…/dear_ministers_moe_tex…/2016-02-15-6099).
I have vested interest in this as I am a Social Studies Teacher. These are purely my views that do not represent my fellow colleagues. I will respond to those portions pertaining to the Social Studies text. I cannot comment on the history portions as that is not my training. I will draw reference from the said Social Studies textbook (ISBN 978-981420884-0). Please also note that a new textbook and curriculum is currently being taught to the 2016 batch of Secondary 3 students.
Example 2: Photos and illustrations
You have pointed out a series of pictures which you have claimed to be slanted towards the PAP, most notably found on pages 26 and 147 of the Social Studies textbook.
In the former, the context of the picture is with regards to the need of government leaders to mingle with the community in order to learn of their concerns, and not so much as to point the student towards voting for the PAP.
The latter, found in the chapter Bonding Singapore, was used as an exemplar of how a GRC team has to be made up of a member of the minority race, in this case Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, in order to contest in an election so as to ensure minority representation in the legislature.
Example 3: Principles of governance
The picture, found on page 33, is a summary of what PM Lee Hsien Loong said in the National Day Rally Speech in 2004. I hardly will call reporting what he said as skewed, although it might have been watered down in order for our students, aged 15-16/17, to digest. Even you cannot deny the fact that it was your leadership that has allowed you to take the reigns of the SDP back in December 1996.
As with you highlighting Ministers and MPs like Phey Yew Kok, Tan Kia Gan, Wee Toon Boon, Teh Cheang Wan, Choo Wee Kiang, and Michael Palmer, their transgressions have been covered extensively in the papers, both the Straits Times and other platforms. I highly doubt if there are any restrictions on the students’ own reading.
Example 4: Representative democracy
Again, you have conveniently left out the context of the section, which is, I quote: 2.1 What is the system of government in Singapore? (page 26). Your argumentation and interpretation of what makes up ‘Representative Democracy’ is not the focus of the chapter, but the system that Singapore has adopted.
Example 5: The Pledge
This is found in page 134, also in the chapter Bonding Singapore. I doubt I have to elaborate any further.
Example 6: Healthcare
I hardly see this (page 72) as a rallying cry to support the PAP government. Rather, it is important for students to understand why government policies (or suggested policies), PAP or otherwise, needs support or else their legitimacy is lost. You of all people should know since your own alternative healthcare policies obviously did not get much support, as evidenced by the vote-share that you garnered.
Example 7: Foreign talent/low birthrate
You have missed the point of the quote (page 52). It was written to explain a way to boost population numbers. Even you cannot dispel the fact that no one country has monopoly over talents. Even the US has attracted talent from Singapore to work in their industries. I am disappointed that you did not point that out, given your extensive network.
Example 8: Media
You have pointed to the lack of discussion on the importance for dialogue and debate without resorting to violence. You might want to read a chapter earlier (Chapter 4: Conflict in Multi-ethnic Societies), where explicit effort was made to show how violence begot even more violence in both Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland, and how both countries suffered because of it.
And with regards to your often quoted gripe about the free press in Singapore, if there weren’t, yoursdp.org shouldn’t be in existence, together with many of the alternative news sites which claim to be neutral. We must remember that freedom comes with responsibilities, and this must apply to speech and claims made. You should know, since you seem to have a knack for misquoting statistics. Again, I don’t have to belabour this point.
Example 9: Self-help groups
The quote on the above, found in Chapter 5: Bonding Singapore, is presented in the context of the need for such groups to exist. The purpose of the text is to provide content for the basis of the Structured Essay Question. Critical analysis of the source is covered in the Source Based Questions, which allows students to analyse assertions made by political leaders and its reliability.
Your selective quote did not include the following paragraph (page 148), which goes on to explain how the different SHGs bring individuals of different racial backgrounds together, as is the lesson objective of this chapter.
Example 10: People's Association
Again, the content of this (page 149) is in the context of the aforementioned Chapter 5, which has nothing to do with politics.
Soon Juan, please do not politicise a subject that I truly love teaching. Social Studies is a subject meant to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_studies). It DOES NOT serve as a political tool for students to make an electoral choice, PAP, SDP or otherwise.
I would strongly suggest you study the Social Studies curriculum in its entirety, and not make accusations against the textbook that I teach from out of context. The subject gives more than sufficient flexibility for teachers to deviate from the text, to train the mind of an active Singapore, and global, citizen. My fellow professional colleagues will attest to the rigour and commitment that we put in to sharpen the minds of our nation’s future. My own students can attest to the skills that I have imparted to them to be as critical of what is presented to them, as your source has allowed me to do.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Will Tan Jee Say form new party?

The Straits Times

EVEN as the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) restructures its leadership, questions are being raised as to whether its famous former member Tan Jee Say, who quit the SDP to run for president, will rejoin it or form a new party.

Mr Tan himself says he is keeping all options open: 'I'm open to all possibilities. As I've said before, I will listen to my supporters and see what they say.'

During his presidential campaign, Mr Tan was helped by opposition figures such as SDP's Dr Ang Yong Guan and Ms Michelle Lee, and the National Solidarity Party's (NSP) Ms Nicole Seah and Mrs Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss.

When Dr Ang was asked whether he would follow Mr Tan if the latter set up a new party, he was non-committal.

'All of those supporting him have to reflect and think how best to contribute to his party and what role they can play,' he said.

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss and Ms Seah said they would not. The former is NSP vice-president and the latter a member of its executive committee. Ms Lee could not be reached for comment.
Political analyst Derek da Cunha said he would not be surprised if Mr Tan and other opposition figures set up a new party as a vehicle to contest a GRC at the next general election, due by 2016.

'Five or six quality individuals who can get along well with each other forming a 'Dream Team' and going up against the PAP in a GRC would make sense,' he said.

They would, however, need to secure at least 100 volunteers to handle the logistics for such a task, he added.

SDP's new committee under scrutiny

Tessa Wong - The Straits Times

WHAT does the Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) election of a new central executive committee (CEC) say about its future direction?

Political observers are divided on this question.

The new CEC, formed two weeks ago, comprises a mix of old and new faces. Mr Jufrie Mahmood, a veteran opposition member, is now its chairman, while Mr Vincent Cheng, a former detainee and newcomer to opposition politics, is vice-chairman.

Civil society activist Vincent Wijeysingha, another newcomer to opposition politics, has been promoted to treasurer.

Mr John Law, another newcomer, fills in Dr Wijeysingha's previous post as assistant treasurer.

Among the old faces: Dr Chee Soon Juan and Mr John Tan remain as secretary-general and assistant secretary-general respectively, and Ms Chee Siok Chin and Mr Mohamed Isa as CEC members.

Former vice-chairman Francis Yong is now a CEC member.

Excluded from the CEC line-up are Dr Ang Yong Guan and Ms Michelle Lee, who were among a number of highly qualified former establishment moderates who recently joined the party to contest the May General Election.

Dr Ang is a psychiatrist and retired army colonel, and Ms Lee a former Monetary Authority of Singapore officer.

The two of them, together with Dr Wijeysingha and Mr Tan Jee Say, formed the SDP's A-team in the General Election and stood in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC. Mr Tan quit the party in July to run for president.

The prominence of these candidates played a part in attracting more young professionals with moderate liberal views to the SDP, both during and after the election.

Dr Ang and Ms Lee were among those in this moderate group, and some speculated that they might take up leadership positions in the SDP.

But the two told The Straits Times that they did not wish to run for the CEC, preferring to be involved in newly set-up subcommittees.

Ms Lee said she also needed more time to concentrate on her family and work. She currently teaches at a private school.

'(The party leaders) discussed with us, and said there was a two-track system. They said they wanted to see how things go. And it's vice versa. We also want to find out where we can best contribute,' said Dr Ang.

SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan said that the SDP has seen a 'dramatic expansion' of its ranks, and hence now needs a larger structure to ensure 'a high quality of management across all the party's work streams'.

'As such, capable members are being deployed across a much wider leadership team outside of the CEC,' he said.

He said new members are now holding key positions in subcommittees.

Dr Ang heads a health care advisory panel, and Ms Lee facilitates a fund-raising group. Academic James Gomez coordinates a policy studies subcommittee and Mr Alec Tok, who owns a theatre company, is involved with a training and development subcommittee.

Dr Gomez joined the SDP last year, while Mr Tok joined right before the General Election.

Political observer Alex Au noted that the party appears to be opting for 'stability rather than an abrupt shift' by voting in familiar faces known to be 'steadfast to a certain political standard'.

'There has not been any wholesale change, and I'm not surprised. We have to consider the membership base, where the moderates are probably not that significant in number,' he said.

The SDP declined to reveal membership figures.

Assistant law professor Eugene Tan of the Singapore Management University, however, views the new CEC line-up as a sign that moderate voices are being 'sidelined' in the party.

As this was the first committee elected after the May General Election, it would have been 'a powerful signal' if more moderates occupied CEC positions. But the new line-up 'suggests that the moderate ascendancy during the May General Election was but a false dawn', he said.

In the run-up to the election, the SDP started playing down its erstwhile activist image and projected a more accessible, moderate tone. It also moved away from human rights advocacy and put more emphasis on bread-and-butter issues.

The new CEC line-up shows that a human rights agenda is still central to the party's philosophy, noted political analyst Derek da Cunha.

Mr Au, however, pointed out that, unlike some other SDP members, Dr Wijeysingha and Mr Jufrie, while holding strong views on human rights issues, are not known to advocate public demonstrations.

Dr Wong Wee Nam, a medical doctor who follows opposition politics closely, believes the SDP is willing to continue the change that started before the General Election, and is aiming for 'gradual renewal'.

He said: 'This is not an issue of moderates versus hardcore supporters... I think the SDP is taking a long-term view, because if people are bogged down by day-to-day running of the party, they may not be able to spend time on more important things like socio-economic and health-care programmes, which they have to develop.'

Alex Tan Zhixiang says SDP is "more like selfserving pigs like the PAP"