Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Channel X 2nd video

Asian Value Part 1

Asian Value Part 2

Sunday, June 18, 2006


As I have posted in an earlier entry, I have decided to pay Worker's Party headquarters a visit, at the behest of the coordinator of WP's magazine, "Hammer", held this Monday at WP headquarters.

By and large, it was an interesting meeting of sorts, and I was heartened to see quite a sizeable number of political creatures who have not been very much impressed by the ruling incumbent's abject failure to follow up with a satisfactory manifesto cum strategy to counter WP's very sound election campaign.

The meeting kicked off with Ms Sylvia's introduction speech, followed by a informal question-ad-answer session. The audience was subsequently broken down into various groups, each being attended by one WP member.

The exact topics discussed were wide ranging, and it would be difficult for me to write it down, as the discussions were not very organized, to begin with.

What I didn't get to do, however, was discuss issues with the magazine coordinator with regards to how I should contribute to the party proper, since she was occupied with her WP members.

Regardless, I shall be attending another meeting next week, if my schedule permits. Hopefully I can iron out certain issues, before deciding on how I should approach politics and its inherents.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

PAP: Upgrading is a unique programme by Govt

This is Mr Mah Bow Tan reply to Miss Sylvia Lim's letter.

It is really amusing that Mr Mah assert that only through this type of pork and barrel politics can we stay together and move ahead.

Maybe what he meant is that Hougang and Potong Pasir stay together and "become slums", while the newer PAP wards move ahead and get repeated upgrades?


June 17, 2006
Upgrading is a unique programme by Govt
I REFER to the commentary by Ms Chua Mui Hoong and the letters from Mr Basant Kapur, Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Yee Jenn Jong on the upgrading programme for public-housing estates (ST, June 13 and 16).

The writers argued that the Government has a fiduciary obligation to act on behalf of all Singaporeans who pay taxes and serve national service. I agree. Indeed, the Government has provided all Singaporeans with good and affordable health care, subsidised public housing, equal opportunity to receive a good education, and much more.

However, the upgrading of our older public-housing estates is over and above these basic obligations of the Government. It is funded out of Budget surpluses generated by the PAP Government. No other government in the world has anything similar, in terms of scale and commitment.

The PAP presented upgrading as one of its key programmes during the election. It asked for the people's support in order to carry out these programmes. Having received a clear mandate, the Government will now fulfil its promise to the people.

Upgrading is a national programme that will be implemented in all constituencies. But we cannot avoid prioritising upgrading, due to limited resources. It is not a question of generosity or otherwise by the Government, as Mr Yee suggested. Between PAP and opposition constituencies, other things being equal, PAP constituencies will go first, as the Government had made clear before the election. Ms Lim herself noted that no one living in an opposition ward expects special treatment, i.e. to jump ahead of PAP wards.

Ms Lim stated that election campaigns should be fought over long-term national policies which affect Singaporeans' lives deeply. Again, I agree. Unfortunately, during the election Ms Lim did not ask voters to think deeply about long-term national policies and support the Workers' Party because it offered better policies than the PAP. Instead, she told them to go ahead and vote opposition, even if they wanted a PAP Government and its policies, because they could safely assume that the PAP would win, anyway. If enough Singaporeans had taken her advice, the opposition parties would have ended up governing Singapore, even though at least two thirds of Singaporeans preferred a PAP Government.

Hence, the need for the HDB upgrading-priority policy, so that Singaporeans' votes will make a difference to their own lives in HDB estates, as well as decide which party will govern Singapore. Only then can our system of democracy work. Only then can we stay together, and move ahead.

Mah Bow Tan
Minister for National Development

After a hard-fought win at the polls, Goh plans for the next century
By Sangwon Suh and
Santha Oorjitham / Singapore

Aggressive and uncompromising it certainly was. A primary issue in the campaign -- and one which the PAP wielded effectively -- was the upgrading of government flats, a program started in 1989 to bridge the gap between old and new apartments. The PAP sent forth a clear message: wards that did not vote for its candidates would be placed last in line for the upgrading program. Said Goh to those who might have been leaning toward the opposition: "In 20, 30 years' time, the whole of Singapore will be bustling away, and your estate, through your own choice, will be left behind. They become slums."

The opposition (and the U.S. government) charged that it was tantamount to intimidation. Goh countered that it was fair play: if you want to be first in line for the PAP 's programs, vote for PAP candidates. The issue hit home in more ways than one: 86% of Singaporeans live in government-built flats.

Transparency in upgrading policy needed.

An incisive letter arguing for the need for transparency in upgrading projects.

Reproduced here for my own record.


June 16, 2006
Extend transparency to lift upgrading by posting past and future upgradings on MND website

THE report on National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan's HDB lift upgrading policy ('Upgrading for all wards, but PAP first'; ST, June 11) reinforces the need for inherent checks and balances in government. In commerce and the professions, there are inherent checks and balances. What more of the serious business of government? Barring the unforeseen, Singaporeans will now have to live with a 82:2 parliamentary composition for up to five years.

As a Singaporean, I have been perturbed since 1997 by the People's Action Party's conditional upgrading of HDB estates pegged to electoral support for the PAP. I have no vested interest in this issue as I live in a residential district not near any HDB estate (so no spillover benefits) and I do not live in an HDB flat (so no direct benefits either). Hence, this letter is an appeal in the spirit of active citizenry.

Ideological agreement HDB lift upgrading is one area where all political parties are in perfect ideological agreement. Hence, this effectively demolishes the basis for the PAP (as the winning party forming the present government) to assert that a vote for the opposition means a vote against lift upgrading.

Party funds vs national funds Unlike the setting-up of PAP kindergartens using PAP party funds, lift upgrading does not use PAP party funds. If the PAP chooses to make upgrading a partisan issue it is perfectly acceptable, but the PAP must then use its party funds for such upgrading.

With widespread public housing ownership one of the tenets of our social legacy (the result of Singapore's societal evolution guided by the vision of our founding father, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew), HDB upgrading is now a national issue tapping significantly the national budget. In fact, the scale of Singapore's public housing even pre-empts lift upgrading from being kept at a municipal level (which it should be), using municipal funds.

For better or worse, we are now locked into this national issue as a result of past government policy. But a national issue using national funds cannot continue to be bound into the future fortune of any one political party. What kind of dangerous precedent are we setting for Singapore?

Citizens of Hougang and Potong Pasir pay taxes Mr Mah said funds for lift upgrading come from national funds accumulated (or dissipated) by the effects of government policy. Government policy is driven by, among others, ministers and parliamentary secretaries whose salaries are paid by all Singaporeans (including those in Hougang and Potong Pasir) who are taxed directly and indirectly.

Last week, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said we must now all unite post-GE 2006. But Mr Mah's recent pronouncement is not only 'not unifying' but also 'reinforcing divisiveness'. It is a red herring to talk about 'being fair' or 'levelling the playing field' - it is only natural that the PAP as a political party will do its utmost to reinforce its own survival and strength. This is as it should be. Singaporeans were not born yesterday. However, let's be precise and publicly accountable to all Singaporeans in the use of national funds.

Missing 'people factor' in upgrading criteria Mr Mah said that the age and physical state of HDB estates are two of three objective yardsticks applied in upgrading prioritisation (the third is the PAP support criterion). Strangely enough, despite the PAP efforts of the past 15 years or so to project a more caring image, the 'people factor' is jarringly missing in the proclaimed objective yardsticks. If such a caring image is not to remain a mirage, the PAP must 'walk the talk' and include estate demographics as an additional objective yardstick in this upgrading prioritisation. Lifts are more essential for the infirm, the elderly and the disabled.

Call for transparency Mr Mah announced 2015 as the latest year when opposition wards will be upgraded based on the PAP's present upgrading prioritisation criteria. As Singaporeans, most of us share with the PAP a national pride in our largely transparent track record to date. Since the PAP made upgrading a major electoral issue, this same transparency must be extended to upgrading prioritisation.

The Ministry of National Development needs to emulate the efforts of the Ministry of Health and post on its website the following upgrading information in a matrix for, one, past upgradings (that is, from the time upgrading was first effected to date) and, two, future upgradings (that is, projects confirmed within the next 12 months and projected within the next 12 to 60 months subject to budget availability):

- Type of upgrading (for example, lifts, walkways)

- Location of upgrading (for example, Marine Parade blocks 123 to 128)

- For past upgradings: date and amount of national funds spent on each

- For future upgradings: projected date and amount of national funds to be spent on each

- Present criteria for each of upgrading (for example, Marine Parade blocks 123 to 128: age, physical state, PAP support)

- Add a new 'people factor' criterion for each of such upgrading (for example, Marine Parade blocks 123 to 128: number of residents aged 55 to 59, 60 to 64 and so on, and residents registered as disabled or chronically ill which can be easily culled from the MOH database)

This proposal is viable because the age of HDB estates is a fixed factor, the physical state of estates is generally stable as Singapore is not prone to natural disasters, and constituency demographics do not fluctuate wildly given that land usage is fairly intense.

The year 2015 is a long time away if you see an arthritic 70-year-old 'ah soh' struggling with pain, going down the stairs to make her way to the polyclinic because she lives in Hougang, even though she is a Singaporean and paid taxes in her younger working days and has contributed to Singapore's development in her own way.

Khoo Meng Kuan (Ms)

Friday, June 16, 2006


During the Singapore General Elections of 2006, one of the major issues with regards to political coverage was the prevalence of the internet community: i.e Forummers, bloggers and an assortment of netizens, who may or may not be responsible for the ruling incumbent's (PAP) decrease in its share of votes.

There was talk, chief of all from Straits Times (a media vehicle of Singapore Holdings), that rules and regulations existed which would imply some form of governance on political postings on the net, but fortunately for most (especially bonafide anti-PAPpies like me), we were largely left to our own devices, although I was actually approached via email for an interview, which I did not grant, to an SP reporter (For those of you who wish to know why, email me).

Inevitably, however, our conservative powers-that-be, led by some mentally-challenged minister, couldn't find solace with that kind of freedom. You see, folks, freedom is contagious, and highly toxic, in the eyes of oppressive government.

45 yrs of authoritarian rule has left a indelible mark of sorts in our history books. A single-party government, so dominant that it takes 87 out of 89 seats in parliament (Minus the NMPs), a spick-and-span nation, a nation that seems to achieve the upper echelons of perfection in the eyes of a deluded populace (i.e pro-government Singaporeans).

And to achieve that, we have sacrificed a huge part of our freedoms. Even in the age of the internet, freedom of speech has to be regulated, via a host of strangely archaic, vague rules that seems more at home with regimes such as Burma (military rule), China (authoritarian communism), and to a certain extent, the Bush Administration (i.e not the entire United States, since they haven't exactly overwrite the US Constitution yet, but they are getting close), chief of which are "
The Internal Security Act" and "The Sedition Act".

And so, once again, to remind Singaporeans that one cannot hide behind the anonymity of a blogger nickname, a Singaporean blogger faces persecution for something that is as "criminal" as:

Hold your breathes, ladies and gentlemen..........

Drawing cartoons depicting Jesus in a bad light!


Jesus cartoons could draw jail for Singapore blogger
Thurs June 15
A Singaporean blogger is under investigation for posting cartoons mocking Jesus Christ and could be jailed up to three years, the police said.

A police spokesman declined to give details about the suspect, who was described by the Straits Times as a 21-year-old office worker with his own blog site. His race and religion were not disclosed.

The blogger, who described himself as a "free thinker," had first posted a cartoon depicting Jesus Christ as a zombie biting a boy's head in January, the Straits Times said.

He ignored an online message asking for the cartoon's removal and went on to post more caricatures of Christ to spite the sender.

"I never thought anyone would complain to the police because the pictures were not insidious," he told the newspaper, adding the cartoons have already been removed from his site.

He was called in by police in March and the investigation is ongoing.

"It is a serious offence for any person to distribute or reproduce any seditious publication which may cause feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes," said a police statement sent to AFP.

Singapore, a multi-racial island nation, clamps down hard on anyone inciting communal tensions. Two ethnic Chinese men were jailed last year for anti-Muslim blogs.

Ethnic Chinese make up 76 percent of Singapore's resident population of 3.4 million with Malay Muslims accounting for 13.7 percent followed by ethnic Indians, Eurasians and other racial groups.

Under the Sedition Act, offenders may be liable to imprisonment of up to three years or a fine not more than 5,000 Singapore (3,144 US) dollars or both.

Censors last month barred viewers below 16 years of age from watching "The Da Vinci Code" because they were afraid some children might see it as a factual movie.

The blockbuster film poses the explosive idea that Jesus Christ married his follower Mary Magdalene and started a blood line that still exists in secret.

Gasp! You see, ladies and gentlemen. Depicting Jesus as a zombie is indeed criminal, ladies and gentlemen. So much so that we have to jail this ruckus of a young fool, blood gushing through his brains and all, so that other bloggers would be reminded of the need for censorship.

So, depicting Jesus in a bad light is wrong. But showing films to minors above the age of 16 depicting Jesus's marriage to a purported prostitute is fine.

Which brings up the issue of the Sedition Act, which states that:

3. —(1) A seditious tendency is a tendency — (a) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the Government; (b) to excite the citizens of Singapore or the residents in Singapore to attempt to procure in Singapore, the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any matter as by law established; (c) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Singapore; (d) to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the citizens of Singapore or the residents in Singapore; (e) to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore.

"Raising discontent or disafffection" = Sedition?


The next time you wish to comment on your wife's bulging waistline, beware: She might just slap you with a "raising discontentment" charge and sue you for sedition. Tsk tsk (If I have offended any feminist groups, I apologize. Please do not slap me with a sedition act).

Jokes aside, I must admit, I am not exactly a legalistic Beast; I cannot decipher legal lingo without an unhealthy dosage of panadol in my guts and brain, but from a layman's point of view,you do not need to have a PHD in some prestigious law school to realize that such a broad interpretation of an archaic law is bound to be confusing, in every which way you seek to interpret it.

For example: What if, say, someone believes in Zeus, and someone else decides to write about wicked little tales of Zeus and his sexual escapades? Does the Zeus follower have any grounds to sue the blasphemer for sedition?

If I do specifically hate the idea of Gods, wouldn't that put me at odds with just about anyone? Would making fun of a non-affiliated, generic entity put me at odds with just about every other God-loving person in my country? Should I be charged with sedition as well?

What really is perplexing is, how does one define "hatred and contempt"? Does the free-thinker's anti-Jesus cartoons necessarily equate to hatred against Christians?

Could it be that, he hates Christianity, but embraces Christians as part of the universal brotherhood of human beings? Does his inherent disdain for religion deserve a "racist", or in this case, a "sedition" tag?

You see, folks, the internet's reputation as the last bastion of freedom is increasingly under threat. I really do not fathom, nor can I understand, the Sedition Act, nor the need to overprotect religion and its fundamentalist inherents.

Throughout history, religious bigots have often sought to put their heretic counterparts (atheists, pacifists, theists, or anyone who doesn't toe the line with their religion) under the sword. It is clear that some crazy fundamentalist Christian has initiated to this blogger's unfortunate detention, which, coming at a time when the ruling incumbent is still nursing its wounded pride and hatred against the internet community, a swift and undemocratic response was not unexpected. In typical, strict PAP parlance, the doctrine of "killing the chicken to warn the monkey" is still one of its most effective propaganda tools to strike fear into the hearts of the ordinary Singaporean.

Most importantly, it is a sign of a country's weakness when its people cannot state its views, however extreme or unpopular it may be, without the express approval of government authorities.


So, no anti-Jesus mug shots and pictures? Fine with me. I shall just stick a picture of a hot-looking nun in a tight leather suit instead.

Does wonders for horny souls ( how the heck they are going to ever get "saved" from their sins, heck, I don't know; I ain't no God-damned pastor!).


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

WP: PAP policy belies 'Staying Together, Moving Ahead'

So this is what PAP meant by "Staying Together, Moving Ahead"...


June 13, 2006
PAP policy belies 'Staying Together, Moving Ahead'

IN THE wake of General Election 2006, various senior People's Action Party (PAP) leaders pledged to respect voters' choice.

At the Cabinet swearing-in ceremony on May 30, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pledged that his Government would work with all Singaporeans, including those who voted for the opposition.

Singaporeans who hoped that the PAP would therefore remove its votes-for-upgrading strategy got a lightning bolt of reality with the Minister for National Development's statement over the weekend that, basically, nothing has changed.

Minister Mah Bow Tan's main argument was that the Government had to be fair to those who had voted for the PAP on its promise to upgrade PAP wards. But the bigger question on voters' minds is a very simple one - whether such a promise is a legitimate use of taxpayers' monies. To state the obvious, everybody pays taxes, whether they live in PAP or opposition wards.

Mr Mah had previously said that he could not 'look PAP MPs in the eye' if he gave the same priority in upgrading to opposition wards. But how, then, does he look these taxpayers in the eye?

No one living in an opposition ward expects special treatment, that is, to jump ahead of PAP wards with older blocks. But, all things being equal, it should not matter whether a PAP or an opposition MP is the incumbent.

The same objections apply to how the public funds entrusted to his ministry under the Community Improvement Projects Committee (CIPC) for estate improvements are disbursed.

Further, to say that disbursing CIPC funds through the citizens' consultative committees is not political because they are made up of residents, makes as much sense as saying that residents' committees are politically neutral when they are heavily mobilised to help PAP candidates campaign.

On this vexed question of selective upgrading, the recent conflicting messages from the PAP are telling. For instance, the day after Polling Day, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong praised Potong Pasir and Hougang residents for having loyalty towards their MPs, which was a 'better (characteristic) than for them to be chasing after every goodie which we offer them'.

After this dose of honesty from SM Goh, what kind of values is the PAP promoting by continuing with its votes-for-upgrading policy?

The overarching theme of the PAP's 2006 Election Manifesto is 'Staying Together, Moving Ahead'.

As a Singaporean who decided to stand with the Workers' Party, I look forward to the day when election campaigns will be fought by all parties over long-term national policies which affect Singaporeans' lives deeply.

Let Singaporeans reflect and decide elections on these questions, which are surely far more important for the nation's future than the selective use of public funds to ensure that the PAP stays in power.

Sylvia Lim Swee Lian (Ms)
Non-Constituency MP (Elect)Chairman,
Workers' Party

The most absurd policy I had ever seen.

This must be the most absurd policy I had ever seen...

Mr Mah Bow Tan said that oppo wards residents MUST co-pay for lift upgrading...

I meant if oppo wards can provide lift upgrading for FREE to their residents why does PAP wanna stop them from doing it?!?!

It is not as if by making oppo wards co-pay it will earn them any political pts.

Not only they are preventing oppo from doing better, they are also giving oppo chances to blast them as WP and SDA had managed to provided FREE lift upgrade even with their limited funds.

They are also doing Oppo a favour by giving them excuses to charge residents for lift upgrades, thus alleviating their finanical burden.

Of course, the PAP govt can prevent the oppo from capitalising on their free lift upgrade during the next election and reduce the $ they spend on lift upgrading, but I wonder if this is really worth the while.

If PAP cannot or don't want to provide the same level of services that the oppo can offer, the least they can do is not to make the people in Hougang and PP to suffer together.


Opposition can use surpluses for upgrading
But MPs must follow government rules like co-payment by residents, says Mah Bow Tan
OPPOSITION Members of Parliament are free to use any surplus funds to do lift upgrading in their wards but they must abide by rules laid down by the National Development Ministry, which includes co-payment by residents.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan on Friday clarified the issue, which cropped up during the recent general election after Potong Pasir incumbent MP Chiam See Tong declared that he had the funds to install lifts that stop on every floor within all the Housing Board blocks in his constituency within five years.

Under the rules that the Government set last year in a bid to speed up the provision of lift access to Singapore's fast ageing population, town councils were allowed to provide lifts that stopped on every floor in the blocks under their care, provided the cost did not exceed $5,000 per benefiting household.

Also, the flat owners had to take a vote on such work, and co-pay 5 to 12.5 per cent of the total cost of the work, depending on the type of flat that they lived in.

Town councils were allowed to tap into 10 per cent of their sinking fund, which is used for long-term cyclical repairs like replacing water pumps, reroofing and repainting blocks.

These rules apply to all town councils.

This would have meant that Potong Pasir, which had $7.9 million in its sinking fund for residential properties on March 31, 2004, could only use $794,000 of it for lift upgrading work.

This falls far short of the roughly $9 million that Mr Chiam had estimated he would need, which raised the question of where the rest of the money was going to come from.

Mr Mah told The Sunday Times that town councils were free to use their surpluses, which is the money left over from their income after taking into account added expenses, to do lift upgrading work.

He said: 'If you have surpluses, if you have a lot of surpluses, that's up to you. But cannot touch more than 10 per cent of your sinking fund.'

This means that Mr Chiam can top up his lift upgrading fund with his town council's surpluses, which stood at $969,800 on March 31, 2005.

Mr Chiam could not be contacted yesterday.

The HDB used to allow town councils to add lift landings to HDB blocks with their surpluses, but stopped doing so after 2001 because it was concerned that such work would be expensive and affect the town council's spending on other services like cleaning and maintenance.

Although the rules were changed last year to allow town councils to do lift upgrading work, the councils had to follow guidelines on how to fund the works and how much to spend.

Turning to the question of the funds from Community Improvement Projects Committee (CIPC), a source of funds controlled by the National Development Ministry for minor improvement work in the estate, Mr Mah revealed that a town of 100,000 households could stand to get a few million dollars of funding a year, depending on the projects its grassroots leaders proposed.

The money is used to build amenities such as street soccer courts, playgrounds and sheltered linkways, but cannot be used for major projects like lift upgrading.

The workings of the CIPC have long been a bugbear of opposition MPs, who charge that they are unfairly left out because the money is always disbursed through Citizens' Consultative Committees (CCCs), which have PAP politicians as their advisers.

Asked if disbursing the money through CCCs would appear to politicise the issue, Mr Mah replied: 'The CCC is not political. It is a committee made up mainly of residents within each constituency.'

Giving a lift to the upgrading debate

By Ong Soh Chin
May 4, 2006
The Straits Times

Currently, the opposition and its supporters see upgrading as an unfair issue which the PAP will always win, even though Mr Low Thia Khiang of the Workers' Party has pointed out that his Hougang residents have managed to enjoy free lift upgrading even with the limited funds of its town council.

Mr Chiam See Tong of the Singapore Democratic Alliance also noted that he managed to build 89 new lifts for Toa Payoh Lorong 8 last year - for free. But Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has said that Mr Chiam's PAP challenger Sitoh Yih Pin would be able to carry out lift upgrading faster if elected because 'he will be in government'.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


This news would come as a bit of a shock to some, and it probably is too early for me to announce it. But I will announce it anyway.

I have received an email to join the editorial team of the Worker's Party, "THE HAMMER".

Thanks to a blogger at James Gomez's blog, I now have an opportunity to join the opposition cause.

I shall be meeting up with the editorial administrator at the WP's office next Monday. For those who wish to meet me, and see for yourself the true face of the Beast, feel free to come down. I would love to meet some of the regular commentors, like Woolong the PAP supporter, and Mr Tay, the owner of this rather ingenius blog.

The Beast

Spare a thought for our fellow Singaporeans at Hougang and Potong Pasir

Received an email from a reader about this petition.

I agree with the statement and had signed it.

Readers who support fellow S'poreans living in Potong Pasir and Hougang should consider signing it too.

Spare a thought for our fellow Singaporeans at Hougang and Potong Pasir

To: The Prime Minister of Singapore

My Fellow Singaporeans,

Many of us cheered for the people in Hougang and Potong Pasir when the elections result came out on 6 May 2006.

Many of us also felt strongly that these 2 wards should not be left behind in the nation building just because they have voted for the Oppositions.

I appeal to you my fellow Singaporeans to please join me in showing your support for them. Let them know we are not standing on the sidelines just cheering for them. Our hearts are with them!

We want to thank them for showing us the true meaning of integrity, loyalty, not bowing to pressure, not submitting to material temptation. In short, there are more important values in life other than just MONEY!

Let’s hope through this showing of solidarity as one united people of Singapore we will touch the heart of our PAP Government and they will reconsider their current policy on upgrading which has left Singaporeans in Hougang and Potong Pasir last in the queue – even though their estates are older and therefore their needs greater.

Perhaps, our Government can start by allocating some funds to work for some fundamental upgrading… like lifts on every floor.

Your voice matters! Our voices matter!

Thank you!

TO: The Prime Minister of Singapore

Dear Sir

I am an ordinary Singaporean who is not affiliated to any political party in Singapore. And I live in a PAP-held ward. However, as a concerned Singaporean and a pro-Singapore citizen, I felt compelled to speak up for my fellow Singaporeans in Hougang and Potong Pasir who showed to the rest of Singapore that they have the courage to stand up for the MP who has worked so selflessly for them and also the SOUL to reject material goodies. Aren’t such qualities admirable?

In fact, these fellow Singaporeans at Hougang and Potong Pasir clearly demonstrate that the ‘glue’ that bonds citizens and country is not just endless money incentives and countless upgrading on the façade. We need better heartware and not hardware!

When I watched the press conference during the wee hours of 7 May and I heard you said “Not all who voted for the Opposition reject the PAP programme or the PAP Government,”

“Now that the elections are over, we should come together again as one people,” you said. “Whichever party that you voted for, let’s close ranks, and in the words of the manifesto, stay together and move ahead,” it gave me (and many others) hope.

Yes, Singapore has moved ahead since our independence in 1965. We have come this far because of far-sighted political leadership, as well as all Singaporeans rallying as one to build this nation.

But then I heard the news that as the people of Hougang and Potong Pasir have voted for the Opposition, the upgrading carrot has been withdrawn and they go to the back of the queue. Now, the whole nation will move ahead except 2 wards – 2 Opposition wards!

Should more than 38,000 of our fellow Singaporeans have to “suffer” because they have soul? Should the other residents who voted for PAP be deprived of the upgrading program? It would not reflect well on the government if it allows “politically-generated slums” to evolve because the powerful ruling party withholds the people’s money just because they voted against them! This would make our government dangerously close to being labelled “tyrannical”.

I am not against the PAP Government but I am against the linking of votes to lifts and estates upgrading.

I have watched you spoke on television many times and read your speeches on the papers, especially since you became our Prime Minister. I believe that you are sincere, open-minded and prepared to listen to the ground. I therefore, urge you to show compassion and magnanimity to our fellow Singaporeans in Hougang and Potong Pasir. They are, after all, Singapore citizens who have contributed to nation building as much as anyone else. Moreover, they have made the same sacrifices as everyone else in difficult times.

This is my country, this is my flag,
This is my future, this is my life,
This is my family, these are my friends,
We are Singapore, Singaporeans!


The Undersigned

Sunday, June 04, 2006



Every once in a blue moon, a work of art is deemed so provocative, members of the "elitist" fundamentalist groups are lured out of their filthy dens in full force to condemn "secular blasphemy".

And so it was, that the da Vinci code has been at the centre of a minor maelstrom (compared to the Danish cartoon furore, that is), with Christians from all corners of the globe condemning the novel-cum-movie.


Not surprisingly, Christian groups in Singapore have voiced their unhappiness over the Da Vinci mania.

One particular Christian group, National Council of Churches of Singapore (Jeez, sounds like a group in the mould of Opus Dei. Do these loonies practice self-flagellation?), had written to the overwhelming patriachal and conservative media watchdog, Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA), requesting that the movie be banned:

Excerpts from:
THE NEWPAPER, 16th May 2006:

Last month, the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) wrote a letter to the Media Development Authority (MDA) asking it to ban the movie.

It was the first time that the NCCS had asked for a movie to be banned.

'In our multi-racial and multi-religious society, movies that offend the sensitivities of any religious group should not be allowed,' argued NCCS general secretary Lim K Tham.

Offensive, huh? Why then, did these loonies not voice their disproval when the "Passion of the Christ" was aired? Not to mention the excessive use of fake blood to make that X-rated porn freak-show, there were elements of anti-Semitism plastered all over it. Why didn't the Jews complain?

Clearly, narrow-minded buffoons are attempting to stifle the minds of the masses here by attempting a blanket coup on the movie. Tough luck.

The MDA allowed the movie to pass with an NC-16 rating (Those under the age of 16 not allowed to watch).

Clearly, the MDA has obviously picked potential profitability over religious conservatism. Clearly, money speaks louder than God's fragile ego.

Try harder next time, morons.


In a predominantly Catholic nation of the Philippines, talk of a ban on the controversial movie has received explicit disproval from a politician:

From Malaya News, 11th May 2006
Ban on Da Vinci Code urged BY JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR

EXCUTIVE Secretary Eduardo Ermita yesterday said the controversial film Da Vinci Code should be banned as it is blasphemous and might imprint wrong ideas on Catholics, particularly the young. Ermita urged the Movie Television Regulatory and Classification Board (MTRCB) to take a look at its rules. "They should be able to take a look at their own guidelines on whether such a movie with such a story line should be allowed to be shown in the Philippines, especially as we are a Catholic country," he said. "And if you are to ask me, personally, I think if we know that indeed it will offend the sensibilities of the Filipinos, we being a Catholic country, we should do everything not to allow it to be shown at the least," he added.

Judging by the fact that politicians ought to keep themselves busy with bettering the lives of the common folk, meddling with religious affairs is simply not appropriate for an "executive secretary" (whatever that title means).

In any case, if Mr Eduardo has too much time in his hands, he might as well try and find out, and maybe eradicate the state of corruption and improve the welfare of his people. Trying to rally common gullible folks to ban movies is the job of priests, whose prime occupation of molesting altar boys place them in good stead with such a dastardly, dirty job.


Having read and heard comments from hard-core fundies advocating the voices of censorship, their arguments, when explored in full view of unbridled logic, becomes as flimsy as a house of cards:

Lame Argument 1: The da Vinci code is full of errors.

The da Vinci code is primarily written as a novel. It basically explores the possibilities of the live of Jesus through a detective-style novel. As such,
it cannot be taken seriously as a historical book.

Critics may judge the contents of the book in the context of story narration, writing style and so on. But to judge the book based on grounds of historical authenticity is certainly a futile exercise, since this is not one of the main criteria for judging novels.

Lame Argument 2: The da Vinci code is a dangerous book, as it might deceive believers of the faith.

Another pathetic argument from the religious right. If this argument is deemed valid, I can scarely imagine the degree of "faith" Christians have misplaced on their supposedly infallable superhero. If, indeed, a mere novel can strike such a non-sensical fear into the hearts of fundies, we atheists ought to write books of this nature, hopefully to scare all of them to death.

Lame Argument 3: The book claims Jesus married Mary Magdalene. This is blasphemous to the Christian deity.

This argument, I suspect, is partly due to the fall-out from the Muhammad cartoon fracas.

By borrowing a leaf out of the standard Muslim fundie, these Christians are placing the unblamable crime of heresy against the author and the film makers of da Vinci.

Blasphemy or no, the movie is a ligitimate work. The tenets of standard, secular law has allowed citizens of free nations to produce such works. However indignant these fundies may be, they must understand that the freedom to allow such "unpleasing" works to be released also guarantees religiously-slanted art the same degree of freedom as well.


Here comes the ultimate bombshell:

By constantly egging and haranguing for the ban of the movie, these extremists may have unwittingly aided the film makers into enticing more audiences.

After all, negative publicity is definitely better than no publicity. By constantly complaining about the contents of the heretic nature of the book, these naysayers have unwittingly given the film-makers of da Vinci code free publicity. No doubt, that ill-meaning comments do have a significant impact on ticket sales, but curiosity generated by negative comments will no doubt compensate for that slight loss of religious audiences.

Well, what if, say, a nation bans from the movie? Wouldn't that mean that no one stands to gain, besides the jubilant fundies?

Not true. Any ban on the movie in any country will only inspire her citizens to lay their hands on boot-legged DVDs of the film, which only serves to fatten the pockets of pirated vendors of copyrighted films.

In an increasing globalized world, intertwined economies and peoples of many cultures and creeds have created an unprecedented playground for human interaction, so much so that any bans on cultural expression is as good as firing a water gun at a charging bull.

My advice to Christians: Keep quiet. By not giving the movie any criticisms, the film makers will have no grounds to generate any sort of publicity.

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