Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Dharmendra Yadav's Interview of David Marshall
I suppose it doesn't really say anything new about David Marshall but rather confirms my impression of him as a Don Quixote - lunging at bullies indeed (see the end of Yadav's account)!
I've seen Dharmendra Yadav's letters to the press with his characteristic 'Think Happiness' signoff many times before, but until today, I never knew anything else about him. Now, thanks to his blog profile, I know more.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Another Elangovan Play Banned
According to Thenmoli's email and to a Channel NewsAsia article, the Media Development Authority (MDA) issued an RA18 licence for the play, SMEGMA, on Tue 1 Aug. Today (4 Aug), the licence was withdrawn. Thenmoli reported that the second (and official) version of the MDA letter withdrawing the licence said that "After careful consideration, we find that the play undermines the values underpinning Singapore's multi-racial, multi-religious society, and portrays Muslims in a negative light." Thenmoli said that there was an earlier first version of the letter which gave more reasons: that the play might 'negatively impact... bilateral relations' and that "Two playlets featuring Muslim terrorists are also provocative in view of the increased tension in the Middle east."
I went to the Substation website to take a look at the publicity blurb about the play. The first paragraph reads:
The rest of the publicity is much longer but essentially expands on this first paragraph.
"Truth Is The Enemy Of The State
SMEGMA interrogates the 'moral, cultural, religious, political, economical legitimacy world' from many different perspectives of the underdogs and their masters. This plastic society's hidden hierarchies are brought to the surface by the experiences of its outsiders; a schizophrenic transsexual, pregnant female suicide bomber, irate non-smokers and defiant smokers."
Finally, what does smegma mean?
First, read the polite definition from the British Compact Oxford English Dictionary.
Then the explictly direct definition from the American Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Changing of the Guard?
Marche Marches On
At the end of this year (Dec), Marché International itself will open an outlet in VivoCity. Am looking forward to that because the standard at the Marché franchisee outlets droped after the Suntec outlet opened.
In 2002, the youngest brother, David Koh, 38, left and opened Beancurd City in Jln Besar. However, he didn't do well there & opened up a Beancurd City outlet next to the original Short St stall last month. The sister, Koh Chay Luang, 44, is helping him.
Meanwhile, the eldest brother, Koh Koon Meng, 61, opened Rochor Beancurd House on Geylang Road in 2004 and has just opened a second outlet along Tg Katong Rd.
The original stall at Short Street, Rochor Original Beancurd, is run by the middle brother, William Koh, 47, and his wife, Mdm Eng Ah Moi. They are not on speaking terms with their younger brother so you might want to avoid that particular topic if you patronise their stall (or David's for that matter).
Gambling Internet Cafes
I'm Back in Play
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Would Rajaratnam Have Approved?
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Friday Night Huddle
The big opposition news was carried on Sat 11th by The New Paper ('JBJ: Spoiler or saviour?' by Clarence Chang on p10) and Weekend Today (last paragraph of Loh Chee Kong's article 'Opposition could field up to 52 candidates' on p4): that J B Jeyaratnam might be able to clear his defamation lawsuit debt, assemble a team, and run one last time! Possible wards include Tg Pagar (Lee Kuan Yew), Marine Parade (Goh Chok Tong) or Ang Mo Kio (Lee Hsien Loong). See the Map of Electoral Divisions for details about these constituencies and List of Constituency for who the current MPs are.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
I did try to find the original survey done by the MCYS' Political Development Feedback Group, but no luck on either of the above websites.
"said legislating employment terms and conditions would lead to 'rigidities and inconvenience' for many households. 'For example, some households have elderly or infirm members with special needs who require constant attention and may find it difficult to release the domestic worker for a prescribed period every week,'..."However, the industry itself is not going to sit with government inaction. The Association of Employment Agencies Singapore (AEAS) and CaseTrust are working out a standard employment contract which requires a minimum of one day off per month or $20 more in salary. This will be made an industry standard. The details are in yesterday's Today ('Finally, a day of rest for foreign domestic workers ...' by Teo Xuanwei). I know it isn't much (even security guards get 2 days off a month) but it's a start.
Humphreys mentioned in his article a 9 March Straits Times report ('Foreign workers a 'high-risk' group') that Singapore maids are a high risk suicide group (12 suicides per 100,000). The Straits Times figures were obtained from Dr Chia Boon Hock who will be presenting his work on Singapore Suicides at the 2nd Asia Pacific Suicide Prevention Conference (10-12 March @ Furama RiverFront).
There was also mention of a Dec 2005 Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reply to a Human Rights Watch report. Well, MOM issued three replies from the 6th to the 8th of Dec. The one Neil Humphreys was probably referring to is the one on 7th Dec titled 'Fact Sheet in Response to Human Rights Watch Report' which states that
"The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) imposes work permit (WP) conditions which bind all employers to look after the well being of their FDWs. These conditions include provisions on personal safety, proper housing, prompt salary payment and adequate food and rest."The initial response from MOM on 6 Dec is also quite substantial: 'MOM's reponse to Human Rights Watch Report'. For the Human Rights Watch report that started it, read Maid to Order: Ending Abuses Against Migrant Domestic Workers in Singapore. Or if you want the quick version, read their press release: 'Singapore: Domestic Workers Suffer Grave Abuse'.
A final note: Lin Yanqin reported in yesterday's Today that the Feedback Unit has commissioned a study on the views of foreign domestic workers. Wonder what that will reveal...
Firmly Shut... or not?
Her second last paragraph probably sums up her point: "But the fact remains that Tan and Fernandez were allowed to speak and were rebutted publicly. This is a first step that deserves no small credit, especially since it has been 15 years since Mr George Yeo, then the Minister for Information and the Arts, first proposed "pruning the banyan tree judiciously" to allow civil society to thrive."
However, it seems that little discussion has arisen online about this whole affair. Are people afraid or do they even care?
Rajaratnam and Singapore History
Friday, March 10, 2006
Growing Tomatoisation of Ang Mo Kio
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
"Mr Tan and Mr Fernandez were not political dissidents or opposition members engaged in the democratic process. They belonged to the Communist United Front (CUF) which supported the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM). The CPM was an underground organisation which used terror and violence to subvert the democratic process and overthrow the elected governments of Singapore and Malaysia. Many innocent lives were lost, victims of the CPM's armed struggle."
"...they and other ex-communists and supporters cannot be allowed to re-write history by watering down communist atrocities, subversion and other unlawful activities and glossing over the harm they caused to so many victims and the threat they posed to our country. Had the CUF and CPM succeeded, Singapore would never have achieved what we have today - a peaceful, prosperous and multi-ethnic democratic society."
Now the question that remains is - will Fernandez and Tan be redetained for recanting on their confessions?
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
The fire dragon ceremony is Cantonese. The most famous one is held in Hongkong at Tai Hung during the Mid Autumn Festival.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Electoral Boundaries Report published
Lim Hock Soon Murder
Mr Lim's funeral on the 21st was well covered in the press on the 22nd. The New Paper of course covered the funeral from a human interest angle with 'Huat Ah!' on the 22nd by Faith Teo and 'I came to see the xiao jie' on the 23rd by Low Ching Ling.
Judging by the execution-style operation, I suspected that the murderer was across the Causeway within an hour of the killing. That was proved right when news broke on the 26th that the suspected murderer had been caught in KL. What surprised me was the article in the 27 Feb Straits Times by K C Vijayan reporting that 'Gun murder suspect was tailed from JB'. Apparently, the Malaysian police had spotted him in JB four hours after the murder and had tailed him until the 26th (11 days!) to see who he met. All the earlier stories about a manhunt and a tipoff look like a smokescreen now.
Over the next few days after the arrest of Tan Chor Jin and five other 'associates', papers on both sides of the Causeway linked him to Singapore's 'Ang Soon Tong' or '21 Gang'. Tan, also known as 'One-Eyed Dragon', was described variously as an enforcer, the leader of the Ang Soon Tong, and a bookie. Mention of criminal activities ranging from gun-running, drugs, illegal money-lending, and illegal gambling. One of the others arrested, Ngoi Yew Fatt, is wanted for another murder that happened in Yishun on 2nd Feb 2005. The murder is now said to be an underworld dispute over gambling money.
Newspapers have been covering the story more or less constantly with dramatic rendition of details like Tan's return to Singapore on an SIA flight and his being brought back to the scene of the murder ("heart-rending screams pierced the air"? Ouch!).
Time to Let Dissidents' Tales Out of the Closet
'Time to let Dissidents' Tales Out of the Closet' (Straits Times Insight page, 3 Mar) sounds like a serious 'all-clear' signal to start discussing seriously about the political turmoil of the 50s & 60s. Decisions were made then - some rather draconian. Faustian and Machiavellian deals were struck - some perhaps unwisely. Undoubtedly mistakes littered the road to independence and economic development. After over three decades, I suppose it is probably time to discuss and dissect the era in order to learn from the errors of that generation's victors and losers. It has to be done before the last of them leave the nation permanently. Once they cannot answer and defend themselves, it will be too late to make sense of the era. Discussion after their departure becomes a futile exercise that will be more about using history to justify competing political philosophies.
For those interested in the Chuas, here are two of the webpages I came across:
'ST columnist Chua Mui Hoong say freedom of press in Singapore should be improved!' from the Useless Rantings blog; and
'Climate control in the Singapore Press' by Eric Ellis which appeared in The Australian on 21 June 2001 and republished on the Singaporeans for Democracy website.
As is evident from the website addresses, they are definitely anti-government in tone - not something that can be considered unbiased sources.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Monday, February 27, 2006
Detention - Writing - Healing
The Associated Press report filed by Gillian Wong ends a quote from a member of the audience that I thought summarised the forum:
Melanie Hui, 24, a Singaporean who works with a nonpolitical private group, described the talk as "illuminating."For such a historic event, both blogs and newspapers have remained relatively silent. The event was mentioned in Straits Times articles on 7 Jan (Ex-detainees to speak at local forum), 14 Jan (2006: Politics increases its stage presence?) & 18 Feb (Telling the Singapore storyies). Online, I found only reproductions of the 7th Jan Straits Times articles on Singabloodypore and OB Markers for Singapore Filmmakers.
"I left the forum thinking that there is such a big gap in our understanding of that era, especially for people in my generation," Hui said. "I think it's a really historic event, and it's about time."
Today (27th Feb), the Straits Times carried one article about the forum: 'Ex-political detainees want their story told'. Online, I spotted a good account of the forum posted on Singabloodypore by 'Charles' titled 'Ex-political detainees break silence at forum'. A shorter blog entry was posted by 'perrin' onto Sintercom by 'perrin' titled 'Detention-Writing-Healing'.
This leaves me wondering - is the subject considered irrelevant for today's Singaporean? However, the forum was well attended with many young people in the audience. Will wait to see if this turns out to be a non-event.
Tammy Sex Video
On the 24th, the Straits Times carried an interview with 'Tammy': 'Student in sex video: 'We didn't intend to be porn stars''. Both the Straits Times and the New Paper have been carrying followup articles about cases of photos and videos being used as blackmail after breakups as well as why some people film such videos. Of course some of the articles carried moralistic overtones or undertones. In Penang, the Star carried a story, 'Sex video featuring student on sale', on Sat 25th that the video had been downloaded by pirates and is being sold!
The funniest posting must be from 'zipper'. On the 21st, he posted an 'OPEN LETTER TO PM LEE - Reason why blog sites must be regulated.' to the Google group soc.culture.singapore. You can read for yourself the comments such a post attracted.
Will today's newspaper articles in the New Paper and solitary article in the Straits Times be the end of the coverage? I suspect so unless the perpetuator is caught.
Holland Village CPR
Once in a while, some community infomation slips into the news. For instance, yesterday, a 17 year old ACS International student, Esther Tan gave CPR to one of the Holland V newspaper vendors, 'Uncle Loga'. The Straits Times went on to say that Logadasan works at Mama Joe Magazine Corner (In a decade of going to Holland V, (I never knew the name of that shop). I'm not sure whether 'Uncle Loga' is something actually used by the community though. Hope Loga pulls through
Many blogs just post news articles and make a couple of comments. Book of Aletheia on the other hand seems to be doing actual news reporting with an Esther Tan interview. Check out her post 'A young role model'.
The (In)Significance of Political Elections in Singapore
What did the assigned Straits Times journalist, William Han, pick up? Well, the article titles in the Sunday Times on the 26th speak for themselves: 'Lack of political choice harmful: Forum panel' and 'Media 'too timid' in election coverage: Panellist'. The latter article which reported the views of Viswa Sadasivan, The Right Angle Group Chairman and former SBC current affairs producer, was reproduced on at least two blogs: Mr Wang and Anti-Neo-Democracy Theorist.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
SMU's Li Ka Shing Library
Saturday, February 25, 2006
It seems that the measure rasied enough eyebrows that the Police Force had to 'clarify' their position on Feb 22nd: only selected cases would have letters sent to parents. Nothing has come up on this recently so I presume the issue has settled to the bottom of the ocean.