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Sunday, 18 January 2015


The haze started with Minister Chan Chun Sing in a statement rebutting Huffington Post for publishing two of SDP politician Chee Soon Juan's articles criticizing the government.  In it, M-Chan had called Chee a "political failure" detailing some of Chee's past failings.

Why the rebuttal and to whom is M-Chan is rebutting?

I can't see it as prima facie where the obvious target is HuffPost, what for?  The logic didn't follow either. Telling HuffPost that they are giving considerable but undeserved space to Chee, and correcting them for believing Chee is a weighty political figure?  Unbelievable.  You are only asking to be slapped on the face.  How HuffPost allocates its space and to whom is none of you Chan Chun Sing's business, neither it is Singapore government's businesss.  After all, even though Singaporeans do have access to HuffPost, its reach are largely foreigners.  Again, telling them not to publish Chee's articles  is as good as telling Charlie Hebdo not to draw satirical cartoons.

I see it more like the Chinese stratagem  "声东击西", making lots of noise on the Eastern front but invading the West.  It's a tactical distraction that seems like hitting out at HuffPost, but in fact targeting Chee.  That was exactly how it looks like, at least on paper.

Then again what is there to gain or prevent from losing by hitting out at Chee? There is no value in attacking Chee as some of his supporters commented online, "If Chee Soo Juan is already a political failure and a loser, why does a cabinet minister need to go through the trouble attacking him publicly?" Unless the minister really thinks that Chee could be a threat.  No more than a week ago the hint was sent out from the SDP camp that they could possibly contest Tanjong Pagar GRC in the coming general elections.  Could this be M-Chan's preemptive strike to dent SDP's firepower?  This bear some resemblance to another classic tactic "抛砖引玉", throwing a piece of crude brick to lure a valuable piece of jade.  M-Chan's true target audience are Singaporeans.  He leveraged on the opportunity given by Chee's post in HuffPost and raised the spectre of Chee being an unreliable person by detailing his failures and wrongdoings.  Thus he can make some headway in the minds of prospective voters.

Did it work?

Not quite clear-cut though.  Some in the public-relations & media circles had labelled M-Chan's move as clumsy.  Some of the boo boos were already mentioned above, but mitigated away for their tactical reasons.  Still this open salvo played out like an unguarded fort for Chee to launch a full scale retaliation, and he did.

Calling Chee a "political failure" and a "loser" falls right into what Chee had wanted it to happen, that is his constant decrier that the PAP repeatedly uses underhanded name calling to discredit oppositions instead of engaging in matured debates.  One point to Chee here.

The political terrain is no longer a place for name calling.  Singaporeans seem to have a great sense of fairness, but more like a great sense of unfairness.  Whichever way, name calling is a no no, even though opposition supporters online have been using it freely and rampantly.

If there is really a need to find the best description to address Chee, it is safer to call him a "Liar" than calling him a "Failure".  Lies can be proven, but a "Failure" can only be determined on the day he dies, but Chee is still up and kicking.

So Chee mounted a hearted defense.

He denied allegations of sacrificing Singapore by writing on foreign media articles critical of Singapore's policies and politics.  He put it such that PAP and Singapore are not the same, and he is criticizing PAP and not Singapore.  He even revealed that the Straits Times refused to publish his writings and he has to resort to putting them on foreign media.  All these helped him scored well, particularly to younger Singaporeans who find him cool.  The PAP was apparently out manoeuvred and beaten..

Not yet.

While denying that he had sacrificed Singapore in his articles, but were merely critical of the PAP, he went into alleging that Lee Kuan Yew was in fact the one who sacrificed Singapore. He alluded that Lee had likened Singaporeans to "indolent animals" in the National Geographic article of which Lee did not said that at all.  Here's the government's transcript of the same article, provided by The Online Citizen that helped exposed Chee's yet again deceptive means of using "decoys".

In reality he does not need to refer to the NatGeo interview and that all else had sufficiently supported his denial of any wrongdoing.  But it was his hatred for Lee Kuan Yew that he found this opportunity of taking a swipe at Lee too tempting and irresistible.  He fell into his own trap by making that innuendo about Lee Kuan Yew. Check out the two links provided above and judge it for yourself without prejudice and see if Lee Kuan Yew had indeed sell out Singaporeans during his interview with NatGeo.

So finally Chee Soon Juan had himself to blame for failing to live up to the high standard he set for politicians including himself, and acting exactly as what M-Chan Chun Sing had clumsily painted him to be.  His defense collapsed like domino pieces with his underhand tactics.

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