Singapore bloggers

A growing number of bloggers have sprung up recently with personal commentaries on Singapore politics. The Singapore Democrats compiles a list and some excerpts.
The Ad-Min Service — Dancing With Dumbos

I am Xenoboy. I am the Political Savant.

I made a mistake last weekend. I am still recovering from the mistake. I attended a Singaporean student get-together in London. My instincts told me that I should have been smoking a joint at home. I ignored my instincts and made a mistake.

The gathering comprised some scholars. The majority from Hwa Chong and Raffles. The majority are majoring in PPE. POLITICS, PHILOSOPHY AND ECONOMICS.

I am the Political Savant. So I asked them about politics.

So what do they think about politics in Singapore. Their dream is to go back and make a difference in the Singapore Civil Service. (They took the money and the prestige anyway) I said “Define difference.” They replied that they have to be in the Administrative Service. The elite echelon to make a difference. I asked “what if you do not make it to the elite”. They replied that they than have to re-consider moving into the private sector when they have paid their bonds.

I asked “define difference”. They talked about how nice the f***ed-up laksa tasted.

I asked “what is the administrative service”. They said, that it was the track which ensured that you can succeed in the civil service. Than you can make a difference because you are up there at the top. The corridors of power which can make and break policy.

I asked “define difference”. The chicken rice would have been perfect if the chilli had more zing.

I think : Differ(a)nce — to differ or to defer. Differ(a)nce and the Administrative Service. Brilliant Derrida.

I do not look like Tan Wah Piow. But I feel like him. Rendered transparent.

I cornered a female. I asked her, so what does politics mean in Singapore? She said that politics in Singapore is “inextricably” tied up with economics. To make a difference, the Ministry of Trade and Industry would be ideal as it blends economics with politics. I see…
Press Freedom in Singapore Up, says Survey

Oh hello, hello! Today, Molly is thinking of submitting her resume to a particular local newspaper and has decided to write a sample article.

Press Freedom in Singapore Up, says Survey

A wide-scale survey conducted on countries around the world reveals that Singapores Press Freedom has increased on a year-to-year basis. The nation-state has been placed positions ahead of its neighbors like Malaysia, which has contested the results of the survey.

Earlier on this year, another survey ranked Singapore below Malaysia and Singapore has cited the special circumstances which determine that the press in Singapore adopts a different model from the yardstick set by this survey.

Note: the above article is written by Molly and is not affiliated to any newspaper.

Molly thinks she has written a very good article that is very sensitive to the special circumstances here. Look, Mollys style is very succinctshe does not waste words and space saying the long names of the entities that conducted the survey or provide lengthy URLs to them. Mollys sample article is also non-partisan and objective: although Molly has mentioned the special circumstances mitigation, Molly does not take sides. Does anyone think Molly has the ability to be a top-notch journalist?

Since this is a blog entry, Molly does not have to be as neutral as in the sample article. Molly shall proceed to criticize the survey.

The first survey that Molly referred to is the one by Freedom House. Molly has to question the reliability of a survey that ranks Indonesias (117 out of 193), Kuwaits (119), Pakistans (121) and Cambodias (127) press ahead of Singapores (135). Molly doesnt think this is quite possibly and Molly is protesting against the survey as much as a Malaysian journalist, Josh Hong, is protesting the ranking of Malaysia below Singapore. In Mollys opinion Mr. Hong is focusing on the wrong issue. He should be protesting why both Singapore and Malaysia are ranked Not Free….
Singapore Comes 147th out of 167

There is nothing unique about Singapore and the so-called necessary curtailment of freedom of speech, (out of bounds markers). It is part of a trend in the region. When you see the list in full and look at Singapore’s bedfellows you may get a sense of becoming infested with fleas.

Singapore, however, is the only economically developed nation at the bottom end of the scale. But in Singapore the counter argument will be that Singapore is unique because of its diverse ethnic and religious mix and so social unrest must not be allowed to occur as it would undermine the economic success. But haven’t the other countries in South East Asia been undermining press freedom? Why hasn’t it led to economic success for the others? To simplistically link the denial of press freedom as a primary cause of economic success, and maintenance of it, is a myth.

Secondly, to announce that Singapore’s ethnic diversity is unique is the argument of someone who has never managed to get beyond J.B., Sentosa, Bintan or Batam.
Singapore Herald

Back in the 1970s, Singapore Herald used to be a local newspaper like the Straits Times. It was shut down by the ruling party of Singapore, the Peoples’ Action Party (PAP), because the Herald did not toe the party line. The Straits Times did and it survives! I chose the name “Singapore Herald” to continue it’s spirit of reporting, as best as I can, and more importantly, in my own small way to keep an eye & ear on Singapore’s local media

The “Packaging” of Lee Hsien Loong & the PAP

The effort to portray Lee Hsien Loong to Singaporeans in a very favourable light has been going on for quite sometime. In fact, it’s been happening even before he took over as Prime Minister of Singapore from Goh Chok Tong.

And the public relations firm or “spin doctors” engaged for this purpose is none other than our very own local media!! Furthermore, the local media does it for free!

One current example of this “packaging”, literally, by the local media is evident on ChannelNewsAsia’s, or CNA, website. It is advertising the sale of a DVD – The National Day Rally 2004!!!…

Nowadays, the local media publishes or broadcasts criticisms of the ruling party’s policies. Now, don’t get fooled by my latter statement. What it means is that the local media will do so, just enough of it but it will never hurt and/or be considered a threat to the ruling party.

Simply put…if you read and/or watch only the local media, you will be “psycho-ed” into thinking that the PAP and anyone connected to it in some way, are the only ones who make sense in Singapore politics!!

Oh yes, the people can criticise all they want through the media about policy issues and stuff…up to a point. If anyone goes further, say, joining a Opposition party to support and/or run as a candidate, the PAP with the help of their pet dogs (which includes the bitches!!) in the local media will be there to “package” you as someone detrimental to Singapore’s well-being!!
Taking MPs to task

A reader of The Straits Times takes two PAP MPs to task for taking opposition MP Chiam See Tong to task over the mother tongue issue. Excerpt of his letter to the newspaper:

I felt indignant when I read the article, Chiam: Make language grade count again for varsity entry. It was reported that opposition MP Chiam See Tong was taken to task by two Peoples Action Party (PAP) MPs for suggesting that the Government reinstate the mother tongue grade as an enrolment criteria for entrance to local universities. In fact, one of the MPs even questioned Mr Chiams motive for bringing this issue up, saying he hoped the opposition MP was not trying to win votes from Chinese voters.

While we may disagree with Mr Chiams proposal, we must respect his freedom to raise his concerns and opinions during parliamentary sittings. Thus, the responses of the two PAP MPs were uncalled for. Why should they launch such a strong backlash against Mr Chiam for raising a current and important issue? Why should doubts be cast about his motives when he was just doing his job?

When having trouble rebutting a persons argument, it is often tempting to resort to attacking the person himself.
Singapore is a happy place to be!!!

Look, these old people really are that happy, ok? Why? Because I say so (‘I’, is ‘Doctor’). So shut up!!!, and listen to me!!!…
Singapore National Education Part 103

I have also learned lately:

1. That some Americans have learned painfully that you may kow peh kow bu about your current leadership, but the others will still vote him back. We Singaporeans sympathise. Hey, at least most of your country got to vote…

4. That Dennis Lim Boon Chong asks the LTA in a ST forum letter if there are too many lots for the disabled. Actually, there is a little known department that can help you get permission to park at those disabled lots, permanently. It’s called the LTA Disabled Lots Allocation Department. You go there, fill out some forms, and then they break your legs. Viola, you can now use the lots…

7. That NUS ranked 18th among the world’s top 200 universities this year. That is why our Government and Armed Forces consistently sends their best scholars overseas, to give them a taste of the lower class universities overseas…

8. That we have Special Ops cops walking the streets with their MP5s, unmarked police cars patrolling the roads with video cameras to catch motorists, and CCTVs being installed in more public places in the name of fighting crime and terrorism. I don’t know why but the words “Police State” came to mind. I’m probably imagining things.

9. That soon, President’s Scholars will be sent to NUS, while the lower rung scholars will be forced to go to Cornell and Columbia. If they had studied harder, they would have won a place in the world’s 18th best university. No choice, they now have to go overseas to these lesser universities. Boo hoo

11. That you know elections are around the corner when they start running the stories about ministers and how wonderful they are, and how blah blah blah the right man at the right time…
Newspeak Revisited: The Lexical Management of Political Discourse

In Singapore, the depoliticisation of its population has been achieved primarily through limiting avenues for political discourse. While this may take the form of restrictive policies pertaining to freedoms of speech and assembly as well as the delegitimisation of civil society groups, I will explore instead how language has been manipulated to serve the ideology of the ruling party. Through the active promotion of certain chains of equivalences (for example between the government and the country, or the public and the conservative constituency), the epistemic arrest of certain terms (such as communism or even idealism) and the co-option of certain definitions (NTUC was once described as the ideal NGO by former PM Goh) the State generates semantic monopolies which effectively forecloses the possibility of alternative ideas. In essence, the current state of political apathy among youths can be largely attributed to a systematic impoverishment and enervation of a shared political lexicon…

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