Blog Archive

Friday, 27 June 2014


When blogger Roy Ngerng started blogging about CPF, nobody quite paid attention to what he wrote.  I asked around those who professed to be pro-government and pro-PAP if anyone follows or try to digest what he was writing, none say they did.  It was only supposed to be a 10-part series accompanied by video presentation.  

It went on beyond that to what he later claimed to be 400 articles on the same subject, and a personal appearance at the Hong Lim Park saw only a handful of no more than 20 people in attendance.

When Roy made the unmistakable reference to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for misappropriating CPF money, the excitement suddenly heats up.  Rightly or wrongly, Roy Ngerng became a poster boy overnight.  But of course, partly the hype was also churned up by his truly, for he needed lots of media attention as a possible shield, especially the foreign ones.

When certain prominent bloggers began to make references to Roy in their writings, I asked the why, beyond the why not.  Of course the why not is what's wrong with writing about something that is hot.  Bloggers always do that.  But at the same time I am also wondering if the crowd in Singapore is that small, or the support attention that comes from them is so limited.  Are they frightened of being overshadowed?  To this I will not conclude.  If I do, I commit the same mistake as another who concluded that when two professors agreed to some of his ideas, but refusing to go on record for fear of professional consequences.  It is unfair accusation of the bloggers as people with no substance.

What discomforts me was all unanimously distant themselves from the truthfulness of Roy Ngerng's writings about the CPF, and even calling them specious yet they were in one voice supporting that Roy should not be punished for what he did.  The unequivalent standing between a Prime Minister and an ordinary blogger, state intolerance of dissent or diverse opinions were among the strongest arguments despite all agreeing that the Prime Minister has the right to sue.

How do we perceive this?  Are they saying that the Prime Minister's rights as a citizen, rights to protect the sanctity of a state leader should be stripped in favour of citizen's rights to voice?  Given that both rights are equal, does it mean that a person who is richer and more influential must surrender his rights to justice because his challenger is inferior?  Tell me, what justice is this when no two persons can stand before the law as equals?

Why is having differing voices so important to Singapore?  Look, I am not saying that it is not important, but surely it is not that important that everything else must come after it.  There are many tell tale signs that it boils down to sectoral interest, furthering the interest of academics, writers in a highly competitive and challenging marketplace for readership.  Much as the contents are about building a better Singapore, and the arguments were so very convincing, the ultimate quest is.....really?  

Other social and business sectors too demand that theirs is more important than anything else.  The LGBT lobbies that only when they are officially accepted only will social discrimination achieve improvement.  Pro-Family lobbies believed that as long as the establishment allows LGBT lifestyle to permeate society, the decadence of the family unit will surely follows.  The executives believes secrecy gives them the strategic advantage as well as security, but there will always be lobbies trying to pry open every secret in the name of transparency.

They are all important whichever lobby you lean on, but we only have this number of people and that number of hours to commit.  We just have to make our choice, not much of Hard Choices if we learn to be wiser.  Still we need to thank each sector for their efforts in making a vibrant Singapore.

Friday, 20 June 2014


During the election campaigning for Singapore's Presidency, Dr Tony Tan said that he wants to unite Singapore.

The foremost thought I had when I read that was, how is he going to get that done?   What an odd statement at the oddest of time.  The PAP just lost Aljunied GRC, and gone were cabinet ministers George Yeo and Lim Hwee Hua.

He was not wrong to say that nor had he fail to understand his role as President.  As President to all Singaporeans, he is to be a unifying figure that is above partisan politics.  But his background as former DPM in the PAP cabinet made his declaration unattainable, not in the "New Normal" a term he coined reflecting the current political climate.

His New Normal sees those who would normally vote anything PAP doing otherwise.  If it had not been Dr Tan Cheng Bock, the Presidency could have landed in the hands to Tan Jee Say.  As it is, the anti-PAP camp can now stop blaming Tan Kin Lien for spoiling Tan Cheng Bock's chance of becoming President for it was Tan Cheng Bock who is the one spoiling Tan Jee Say's chance.

The New Normal is so unpredictable, senseless most of the time, and aggressive at times.  Suddenly Singaporeans find themselves sucked into a world where one has to decide "are you for them or for us?" atmosphere.  The most ridiculous stories are retold by people who are supposed to have gone through good education and when you ask them if Singapore's education system is good, they readily and assertively says NO!.

So I guessed uniting Singaporeans is just being indeterminate.  Getting back to life normalcy is probably what Singaporeans are yearning for.  Returning to "Peace" was probably what former remiser and now super rich man Peter Lim had in mind when he put forth $3million for Peace Studies.  It is just too noisy.

Ironically it is the opposition in parliament that can unite Singapore or bring Singapore back to normalcy, albeit a new normalcy.  The ruling PAP may have done a great deal since 2013 after losing the Punggol East by election, but when people continue to believe that all good things done by the government are entitlement for taxes paid, nothing can ever earn it due appreciation.

This is also one of the reasons why the PAP got so frustrated with the Workers Party for not making a stand for or against the government.  The WP holds the card to uniting Singapore and bringing Singaporeans back to life normalcy, done with noisy quarrels.

The WP with the highest probability of being the next government can and should stand up to matters where the law is broken or where matters that affects all citizens as in the case of CPF.  After all, if it indeed becomes government, it will continue to uphold law and order and will not allow the vandalizing of public properties go unpunished.  But it had chose to remain silent allowing anti-PAP elements to undermine law and order by cheering such acts.

The WP could have picked up public uneasiness about CPF transparency in parliament forcing the government to respond in all completeness and accuracy.  But it chose to allow Roy Ngerng to continue publishing disparaging articles of the CPF by showing disinterest in an institution that is created in the very parliament for which the WP is being part of.

If only the Workers Party would do what is expected of an honourable opposition, Singaporeans will be more than grateful for its magnanimity for acting above politics for the good of all Singaporeans.  Friends don't have to see each other with suspicion as to who are you aligned to.

We want a peaceful, friendly Singapore, not one preoccupied with petty quarrels about things that many a times are fabricated.

Who can unite Singapore and bring us back to normalcy.

Monday, 16 June 2014


Was googling for JBJ and chance upon anyhowhamtam's tribute of the man.  There were some rather interesting anecdotes than comes refreshing to me.

Was pondering over the incident of Hri Kumar's open dialogue on CPF that caused a ruckus online, what LKY said years ago surfaces.  LKY said he is going to throw them (new MPs and ministers) into the sea and let them swim, and this was in conjunction of an earlier statement that he made wanting to sit back and watch how they click..

Putting anyhowhamtam's anecdotes and this together, it dawns upon me that indeed over the years there weren't that many occasions that PAP's MPs had to struggle in the sea of real politics.  Not until now.  Challenges to the government's day to day operations aplenty, Michael Faye,  Asian financial meltdown, SARS, Global financial crisis and others.

So when I thought about Hri Kumar, I thought these days we do have some some very great waves to better our surfing skills. When to go against the tide, when to let loose with the flow, when to be fierce and when to smile.

I've been waiting for decades to see how PAP MPs swim with the sharks, and I feel blessed to be able to see it happens before I get too tired for politics.  As a spectator, I too get to enjoy the ripples and splashes and have my fair share of fun analyzing the game like a good football fan this season.

What is now happening.....Roy Ngerng vs Pm on CPF, Catherine Lim's lost trust, Hri Kumar's dialogue auntyt, Nicole Seah's middle road statement, and I bet more will emerged are all good for Singapore, and the PAP as well.

PAP already possesses the administrative and executive expertise that no oppositions has. There are a number of likeable faces among its ranks like DPM Tharman, Tan Chuan Jin, Heng Swee Kiat, and of course PM himself are all excellent in the game of charm offensive.  What is short are skillful warriors with the ability to understand terrain and warfare.  Hri Kumar being the visibly first.

In the opposition camp, they are supposed to be better in street politics but there weren't that many super politicians in reality.  Chee soon Juan, Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim, Nicole Seah, and if you may also want to add Roy Ngerng to the list.  Some may not have surfaced yet, but what we have seen so far are more disappointment than excitement.

Singaporeans, we are in an exciting era of politics, and eventually we will all be inside the sea, like it or not.  That is the arrival of a mature state of the nation after almost 50 years of plain sailing.

Evergreen Bamboo

Between the rest of the world and me, we share one common estate, or perhaps fascination too....BAMBOO.

It's just nice to know that in a world so incensed with disagreements and differences, we can still get to share and enjoy somethings common together.

Behind the humble bamboo a wealth of priceless information is awaiting to be discovered.  I'll just share one that I love, and leave the rest to future encounters.

What I really loved about the evergreen bamboo is its lifespan is almost eternal, and its substance bears unlimited forms only limited by one's imagination.  If you dare to imagine, it will be there.

I am just too humbled to say I wish to invite, but can only wish that friends and strangers who chance upon this space can share a moment with me to discover more things common amongst mankind and to wish the disagreements and differences away.

Saturday, 14 June 2014


Dear Dr Catherine Lim,

I have something to say about what you told PM in your open letter that we Singaporeans are not trusting the government anymore and the government stops caring. I have a completely different take from you and my story don't come from some dramatic events or over social media.  It comes straight from our daily life.

Trust in the government is written all over Singapore.  No further than the corner of our very own home, trust is there.  We just trust that the the lights will come on and the taps will run, no questions asked.  Anybody doubted the government on this?  Life is just too spontaneous for all things mundane.

Look into our fridges and cabinets of groceries, did we fear there will be no rice, cooking oil, vegetables or even infant formula milk powder?  Singaporeans have no doubt whatsoever that these daily necessities will always be readily available in our supermarkets.  Singaporeans just trusted, but many didn't know why. Had the government not cared, and there was no policy thinkers who saw the need to break beyond traditional sources of food and essentials, we would have risk supplies or been strangled by exporting countries for whatever reasons.

Look no further out of the window, parents & domestic helpers sending kids to school.  Do they ever doubt that the teachers will just walk out one day and go on strike for not getting paid?  Thousands of people in the civil service just turn up for work everyday just trusting that their pay check will automatically be deposited into their account, and that goes for their CPF as well.

Talking about CPF, even as a few thousand protesters gathered at Hong Lim Park under the banner of "Return Our CPF", was there a long queue outside CPF building the following working day demanding their money to be returned because they believed the government had gone bankrupt?  Singaporeans just trusted that their CPF is safe notwithstanding the sowing of doubts and fear.

Singaporeans still head for work each day using the MRT despite possible breakdowns and congestion or even a terrorist attack.  Criticism abound, do we see Singaporeans avoiding the MRT due to mistrust?  Not at all.  We just trust it will be there to bring us to where we want.

Do Singaporeans not know that the queue is long for hospital admission, but trust in that after a long wait comes comfort and absolute professional care.  Compared to the highly visible long wait for admission, the sporadic departures of people discharging after successful surgery and treatment is almost invisible to the public eye, but these form the basis that Singaporeans still trust our doctors and nurses and the entire healthcare system.

Something more common and familiar, our usual pastime of eating at hawker centres.  It is so normal to just order our food and wait for it to come.  Do we question if the food is sufficiently hygienic or fit for consumption?  Lest we forget the Indian rojak stall that resulted in death, still Singaporeans trusted the government to ensure that chai tow kuay stalls and the likes are kept in check so that we don't get food poisoning.

Such deep trust will not be there without decades of continuous improvement and ground breaking ideas from people within the system.  No question asked, we know our sky radar are manned by responsible people that in event of an unidentified aircraft intrusion, it will not come near without being escorted or shot down.

Much talks about Singapore's vulnerability being a social construct, and these talks had belittled the dedication of our men and women watching over our boundaries and skies.  We sleep in peace without a thought that some enemy forces is going to barge in through our door or bombings happening in the neighbourhood.  Our peace comes from our preparedness and not the absence of vulnerability.

I can go on with these nitty gritty things that you will not find in high society cocktail functions nor emotionally charged forums.  However with this, I hope the common man's heartbeat can be heard by people claiming proprietary to our existence.