Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dr Chee asking Singaporeans to learn from... Foreigners

Dr Chee Soon Juan wrote an article asking Singaporeans to learn from Foreigners. In its most dramatical twist of events, Dr Chee has chosen to be represented by a Canadian lawyer. And now, Dr Chee is asking you and me to learn from Americans who just voted in their first Black President.

Let me now show you how myopic Dr Chee is getting.
“And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn,” the new leader says, “I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.” In Singapore, our government refuses to build lifts that stop on every floor for the elderly because one of its candidate is not voted in.
Can Dr Chee stand out and admit that he did not accept any performance package from the Government? GST rebates? Growth Package? When the PAP government was established in the 1960s, it ensured that every Singaporean would be given opportunities in this island. Meritocracy and multiracialism enabled Singaporeans to achieve their dreams. Ironically, the US had just begun to give voting rights to the Blacks then.
Mr Obama points out that the “true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.” In Singapore, our leader measures his success by the number of billions he accumulates in the reserves.
I thought a doctorate graduate would know how to differentiate between talk and action. The sole superpower - the United States has always been using its weapons in the international arena. US action in Southeast Asia has resulted in massive deaths (Vietnam War, Pol Pot, etc). Let's not forget that the US had conducted espionage activities in Singapore.

In Singapore, our leaders have much success to boast about. For instance, we have the highest number of home ownership, we are clean and green, etc. All this occured even before Dr Chee entered politics.
In America, people come together to argue, to celebrate, and to change. In Singapore, the police arrest you and the judges imprison you.
Has Dr Chee heard of Guantanamo Bay?
While Americans take pride in their vote and protect that right jealously, we in Singapore look nervously over our shoulders and wonder whether our votes can be traced.
The fact is Singapore's election has been globally recognised as fair. As the only political party that did not even garner 25% of the votes in the 2006 elections, we can understand how Dr Chee feels.
Change. It's not just a word, it is the key to survival. Americans know it, the world knows it. But Singaporeans are still too frightened to embrace it and fight for it.
I wonder how Dr Chee defines change. Singapore has changed to become such a vibrant international hotspot.

Yet one thing that hasn't changed is Dr Chee's ignorance.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Another Enlightening SDP Video

Contributed by Reader

On day five of the TBT 16 trial, the SDP made another "enlightening" video to share with all of us. We thank the SDP for their "enlightenment".

Sylvester Lim, the first to be interviewed in the video, seems to have been bought into singing the same "freedom of speech" tune like the rest. He said "the government sees fit to charge me as a Singaporean to exercise my right to speak up". Tell us which of your charges involved speaking up, Mr Lim.

We can agree that the cost of living is high and the government can do more. But in a typical fashion of the SDP, he exaggerated the situation by saying that "Singaporeans can't make ends meet".

When you say "Singaporeans", people will take it that you mean most Singaporeans. True, some Singaporeans cannot make ends meet and that happens in every country, but what about the rest? If most people were really in a bad shape, the SDP is a failure to have only 18 people protesting.

Another exaggeration was this: he said the TBT 16 "can't afford to eat outside" due to the court trials, and their supporters had to provide lunch for them. We may remember the lavish Hawaiian celebration they had which will easily cost the SDP enough to provide meals for the entire trial.

Next up was Jufri Salim. He said "in other countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Hongkong, we've seen some similar protests happen but in Singapore, it is otherwise..... we have been charged right now"

What does it mean by "otherwise"? Does it mean there are no protests in Singapore? Or the countries he mentioned could have protests without people getting charged?

He cannot have forgotten how the Hindraf in Malaysia was disbanded and their members arrested under ISA, or how Indonesian protestors clash with the police and arrests are seen nearly every day. In HK case, police arrested protestors in Disneyland last year. Guess what? Only 2 of them were involved.

SDP Activist John Tan gets suspended by James Cook University

John Tan, a lecturer at James Cook University (Singapore), has been suspended due to the ongoing charges of contempt of court against him. John Tan pointed to the picture of a kangaroo on his T-shirt and saying, "This is a kangaroo court" to Mr Lee Kuan Yew when the Minister Mentor walked past him outside the courtroom. John Tan is also Assistant Secretary General of SDP.

SDP is quick to jump in defence of John Tan in its website. However, the bulk of the defence is irrelevant and misleading. SDP cited these reasons as why the suspension is "completely out of order":
  1. Mr Tan has not yet been convicted of the charge. The trial begins only tomorrow, 4 Nov 08. He was suspended on 21 Oct.
  2. The action appears to have been triggered by an email complaint that cited Mr Tan's association with Dr Chee Soon Juan and which was copied to Dr Ng Eng Hen.
  3. The suspension stayed despite an appeal by Mr Tan citing testimony from 28 of his students that he had gone about his work in a professional manner.
1) Usually, employers sack employees who are charged in court by the state. Even during job interviews, employers do have concern whether the person they are going to employ has ever been charged in court or broken any law. In this case, it is justifiable for JCU to suspend (note that it's different from sacking) John Tan.

Contempt of court is a serious matter and it is duly right that lecturer John Tan face suspension. Even a secondary school boy who gets into a fight or comes late to school can be suspended.

2) Who sent the email is not important in this case. The school's decision to suspend John Tan is due to the information received. And that information is that John Tan is charged for contempt of court. The fact that the email is copied to Dr Ng Eng Hen isn't important too.

SDP is trying hard to imply that the PAP government has a hand in this matter.

3) 28 students seem to be a very small minority for the whole campus. JCU has a reputation to uphold and keeping a lecturer who is charged in court for breaking the law seems to not give a good image.


SDP's article also mentioned that:
"even if Mr Tan is convicted, does the university not have the obligation to protect the free speech of its employees?"
SDP is asking the obvious. Employees should know that they are part of the organisation that they work in and their criminal actions would tarnish the organisation's image and reputation that has taken so long to build.

It is disgraceful that John Tan and the SDP chose to politicise this issue as an academic and as a party. By making use of education and the school, John Tan should be given the boot.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Soldier reaffirms SDP's ignorance to law

It seems like one of the TBT 18 is a soldier of the Singapore Armed Forces. This soldier is none other than Recruit Muhammad Shafi'ie. His comments in the SDP site reaffirmed SDP's ignorance to the law.
"Asked why he was not pleading guilty and what he thought of the trial, the NSman said: "I don't think what we did on 15 March can be called a crime. We hurt no one and neither did we create any disorder. What we did was to express our concerns as citizens on issues that affect us deeply."
I thought about Recruit Muhammad Shafi'ie's view on crime and could not make a sense out of it. He seems to imply that it is alright for Corporal Dave Teo to carry the rifle around Orchard Road, since he did not hurt anyone and he did not create any disorder.

This innocent or ignorant soldier should think about whether the TBT 18 did create any disorder. Of course, we do have to acknowledge that the small number of participants make it insignificant. However, the 18 people violated the law. And when the police approached them, they were reluctant to call their act off and continued to confront the police. This attracted public attention, people stopped to look, and that caused obstruction and disturbance, in other words, DISORDER.

SDP's Enlightening Video

Contributed by Reader

In this video below, the TBT 18 16 (2 down) protestors try to "enlighten" us with their good reasons for protesting and breaking "unjust" laws.

One of them, Seelan Palay, said, "my position has always been that, as a human being, I feel that I am free as a social animal, to gather wherever I want, to speak wherever I want, as long as I do not harm someone else."

I guess all laws that do not harm other people should be abolished, such as jaywalking, chewing gum, buying contraband cigarettes, smuggling pirated VCDs. All these do not harm other people.

Another, John Tan, said he protested because "we don't have real democracy here in Singapore" and "no basic human rights". He gave examples like "right to speak", "right to respond to the government", "right to criticize".

It seems the TBT 16 still do not understand what has gone wrong and why they are charged. No wonder they did what they did. Maybe the only 2 who knew pleaded guilty.

The protestors were not charged for gathering. They were charged because they gathered at places where they are not allowed to gather. Not every place are you allowed to gather. For eg. a group of men are not allowed to gather in the ladies toilet.

What had it to do with freedom of speech when they were not charged for speaking at a public place, nor did they say a word during the protest.

People gather everywhere everyday. Why do the police not arrest all of them?

Because the SDP's was not a normal gathering as they claimed. One of their protestors tried to argue along this line, but do they really think it was normal for people to wear the same t-shirts and carry placards? If so, why did they publicize it? Do people who normally gather at bus stops publicize their presence at bus stops? Obviously it was not just a gathering. It was meant to be a law breaking activity.

No right to speak? No right to respond to the government? No right to criticize? Now we know they're living in a different planet from the rest of us, and the hundreds of letter writers to the press daily.