Yours truly

May 5, 2008
Singapore Democrats

This post is at least a year old. Some of the links in this post may no longer work correctly.

Dear fellow Singaporeans and readers,

It’s been a little more than a month since we launched this website and, boy, what a month it has been. The 15 March protest outside Parliament House, the COI non-report on the Mas Selamat saga, and our Tak Boleh Tahan @ Toa Payoh campaign made this a more than eventful month.

But one “event” that should not take a back seat to those mentioned is the comments that many of you have posted on this website.

Some have put a smile on our faces and lifted our spirits, others challenged us and put us in deep thought, and yet others were…well, less just say they were less than complimentary.

But we value everyone of them and we say “thank you”. You have in one way or another contributed to making this website a continuing effort in countering the control of information by the PAP. We hope that you will continue to raise the level of political discourse in this country with your posts.

Now, we want to take time out to address some of your comments. Needless to say, with more than 700 posts since the website began, it is impossible to get to all of them. To the many that we are not able to respond to, please accept our apologies. We will attempt to do more frequent responses in the future, time and resources permitting.

The one comment that deserves special mention is from noob who simply said: “Cool.” It made history by being the first post here.

To the many of you who congratulated us on the new look, our best way to thank you is to keep this page here updated with fast and timely news and analyses. As we’ve said, we never take our support for granted. We know we have to earn it.

But Siaosiaoone didn’t buy it. He questioned the award that we received from Hitwise: “And exactly what’re the criterias to win this award?…Come on. Be more transparent.” We have provided the link to the organisation that gave us the award for readers to verify the information.

It might be interesting for readers to note that Channel News Asia was also given the award for its category. The news was announced on its scrolling headlines: “Channel News Asia given Hitwise award for third consecutive year,” or something to that effect.

Raphael suggested that we make our newspaper The New Democrat available for subscription since most people are afraid of buying it directly in public.

Our experience has been that people are more willing to buy it from us at the markets and hawker centres than through subscription because the latter requires them to make known their identity. Nevertheless, we will look into the suggestion to test the waters again.

I am Singaporean encouraged us to use YouTube to bypass the broadcast media and challenged: “let’s see how MDA censors YouTube.” Our [email protected] campaign allowed us to experiment with the technology and to gain valuable lessons from it.

You can be sure, however, the MDA will do everything to stop us from capitalising on the new media especially at the next elections. We must be prepared to counter this. Bloggers, friends and supporters: On your marks, get set…

A great suggestion came from Tan Ah Kow who wanted to see us include a section to discuss “different policy issues such as Economics, Defence, etc where members of the public can debate or make suggestions for SDP to embrace as party policy.”

We have been wanting to do this for some time but hesitated because of the lack of resources. Now that we are growing with more members and friends, your suggestion makes perfect sense. Likewise your idea about a forum-style page for on-going debate. We’re looking into it. Thanks.

Grace said our visit to the NUS was a “great move.” We’ll be there again when term re-opens, Grace, and thanks for your encouragement. (Want to come along?)

Our readers even wax poetic. g-e posted:

People in power, well
They’ll do anything to keep their crown
We hang in the balance
Dangle ‘tween hell and hallowed ground
Mary Gauthier

Just wanted to share this again with everyone. Enjoyed it, thanks g-e.

Mr Peter Tan
shared that he was very impressed with the revamp of this website but warned: “Please do not get complacent.” We won’t, that’s a promise.

One of our resident posters, Gary Teoh, encouraged us to take the Tak Boleh Tahan message to “every kopitiam and hawker ctr.” We will give it all we’ve got but we need everyone’s support. Please, join us.

Leanne asked: “Can i also ask the truth as to why Dr. Chee was sacked from NUS that time? We should have a COI for that too.” Leanne, going by current standards you know who they’ll ask to chair the COI? Dr Vasoo.

On the Law Society establishing a human rights committee Chew, Mike Chan, Aidil Omar, G Chen and Charles all expressed skepticism, calling the move “an illusion” and lowering expectations of the committee. This was our first reaction too. Perhaps, we should monitor its work and, more importantly, encourage its members to do more.

WTF ranted at the SDP’s “wayang antics” and in one post accused: “SDP used to belong to Chiam See Tong, ousted by protege CSJ.” This is incorrect on two counts. First, the SDP doesn’t belong to anyone. If anything, the party should belong to the people because without them, there can be no democratic party.

Second, no one ousted Mr Chiam. Historical and court documents have irrefutably shown this. Please see the FAQ on this page. The Chee-ousted-Chiam story is a lie that the PAP continues to propagate.

Siaosiaoone came on board again and called on the SDP not to censor his/her posts. Refrain from profanity, spam and gibberish, and we assure your comments will be posted. Unlike the PAP, we try to persuade and convince our detractors through the power of logic and reality, not censorship and deceit. Please tell us which of your comments have not been posted.

An anonymous poster asked whether “t-shirt n book got discount or not?” We sell the items not for personal profit but to fund the cause for democracy in Singapore. We are happy to give complimentary copies of the book for folks who cannot afford to buy one.

A well-intentioned AhLeeBaba cautioned: “Do not use the word PROTEST.” We recognise that the word carries a negative connotation in the Singapore context because of the PAP’s propaganda. This is where opposition leadership comes in: We need to work to change not just policies but minds as well.

Help us raise the awareness that without protests, their rights cannot be restored and if they don’t have their rights, we will forever be at the mercy of the few in the PAP.

Regarding our May Day [email protected] campaign elitocracy asked: “Did SDP apply for a permit to hold the event and actually got it?” Yes, we applied for a permit and no the police didn’t approve it. Mr Chia Ti Lik independently applied for one too which was rejected as well.

Chua Chuan Seah wrote: “I now no longer retain fully and unreservedly the political views which I once held and expressed in published letters to the ST Forum nearly 24 years ago. (Ah, those innocent and impoverished pre-Internet days of old!).”

Glad to have you on board, sir. Keep your posts coming. I’m sure the others enjoy them. We do.

Mike mocked: “In Singapore, if you protest like you cannot tahan anymore…It means that you are a LOSER in society who cannot catch up with the rest.” Dear Mike, we hope you will see the error of your ways in time to come. It is sad that after so many decades of rule, the PAP still produces such poisonous views.

Sinister Minister wrote: “What the SDP needs to do is…devote time to solving problems, to create packages and programs to employ. On the other end, build your case on why the pap needs to go. You need to sell you message, you need the people to buy in to your message. You need to market your principles.” Noted, thanks.

Another resident poster Paul Poh agonised: “I feel sad that Singaporeans are being brainwashed with state propaganda and then go and vote PAP.” Paul, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work. Change will come if we believe in ourselves and work hard to persuade the rest.

Finally, Lord exclaimed: “This is a great site! Well, at least to me. Guys, how abt sending the link of this site to all people that you know?” Thanks, Lord, we need all the help we can get.

That about wraps it up. Again, apologies to those of you whose posts we couldn’t get to. We will try to do it the next time. In the meantime, please keep your comments coming.

We mean it when we say that the SDP is your voice, your party. We want you to be a part of this growing party and part of the growing campaign for democracy. For without you there is no party, no campaign.

We wish you and your loved ones all the very best.

Yours truly,
Singapore Democrats