Debauched nights in the courts of caliphates were enshrined in the khamriyaat, or odes to wine, by Abu Nuwas, an eighth-century poet. Nobody knows exactly when Islamic scholars decided that booze was sinful … A handful of scholars permit alcohol as long as it is not made from grapes and dates, because these are specifically mentioned in the Koran. But nobody dares open the debate. “No religious scholar is ready to accept the consequences of a fatwa by now saying that beer, spirits, vodka are halal,” says Anas Aboshady, a scholar at the influential al-Azhar University in Cairo.
Archive for the ‘Holidays and Festivals’ Category
I was “challenged” by a SDP groupie to write about what I heard about the PAP during my recent feasting and gambling, expecting me to wimp out. I have good reasons not to write about the PAP, other than that the cadres are a litigious bunch and have a code of silence as tough as that of the Mafiosi. One reason is that they are not into feasting and gambling. They lead very healthy life styles where abalone and lobster are out, and even roast duck and pork, and suckling pig are banned. They may have the money, which they apparently invested in products like DBS HN5 Notes and Mini-bonds, but where’s the fun? Another reason is that they are boring and humourless.
But there are people who I gamble or feast with who claim to know what is happening in the PAP. They tell me they get “intelligence” from senior officials of neighbouring countries who have active spy rings here.
There is gossip going around the highest circles in Jakarta, Bangkok and KL, that one LKY called the PM, “weak”, and who now thinks that Teo Chee Hean would have made a “stronger” PM. The rumour is that LKY is upset that the PM did not take his advice to sue Nicole Seah down to her panties (sans bra) for defaming the latter during the May 2011 general election (Yes, legally she did) and for reopening the ministerial salary issue. Seems the Lee family reunion dinner was a tense one. Apparently, the M’sian, Indonesian and Thai secret service each had a spy as a waiter or waitress.
All I will say is that if LKY called the PM “weak”, it is most unfair because the PM contradicted LKY over the latter’s remarks about the Malays (when the Malay Minister, “Speak to me in English” Yaacob muttered “worst case scenario” and other Malay PAP MPS went AWOL or MIA, even action-mouth Zaqy; and implicitly rebuked his father after LKY’s “repent” comments, after which LKY stopped (or was stopped from?) campaigning (a great and sad loss for the Opposition?). And the PM did apologise to S’poreans, accepted the resignations of ministerial deadwood (I exclude LKY from this group) and reduced the size of the cabinet. Not the actions of a Clark Kent is it? More like Superman it seems?
The hard-line wing of the PAP or the “Lee Kuan Yew is always right” faction (irrelevantly also known to the PAP moderates as the “LKY is greater than God” cult) is losing its influence. The suspension of the heads of the anti-drugs unit and the civil defence force is another blow to the reputation of Wong Kan Seng, the cult’s high priest. He was Home Affairs minister from 1994 to 2010, so these officers spent almost their entire careers as senior officers of his Home Team. He therefore cannot evade responsibility for nurturing or mentoring them, or both.
With his reputation in tatters, the “LKY is never wrong” faction has no-one that has the credibility to put forward credible and reasonable hard-line solutions to the PAP’s problems. The hard-liners can only repeat mindlessly the mantras from “Hard Truths”. Maybe, they should produce a pocket size edition of “Hard Truths”. At the very least, it will make it easier to memorise the wisdom of LKY. Remember Chairman Mao’s little “Red Book”? It was a commercial success when it was first published, and is a collectible today.
(For the record, Teo Chee Hean is too intelligent to belong to this faction. So, BTW, is LKY.)
But the “liberals” (or “talk cock, sing song brigade” as I call them) have had their ranks decimated what with the loss of George Yeo, Mah and Raymond Lim. (BTW, I don’t consider Tharman a member of this group. He doesn’t juz talk the talk. Workfare for all its imperfections is his baby. The deformities were caused by having to tailor it to prejudices among the then leaders.)
George Yeo, it seems, still has presidential ambitions. But his public criticism of the PAP has not gone down well with some cadres. They tot it was a bit rich for him to attack the PAP, to win votes. They liked this piece I wrote about deserters being shot in times of war.
Anyway, let’s not be too hard on these three ministers as they are living proof that the private sector is not exactly clamouring to pay ex-ministers millions of dollars for their skills or advice.
Finally, Kate Spade Tin has “fixed” her fellow PAP MPs. She boasted in ST, juz before the CNY hols, that she would be spending about $10,000 of her MP’s allowance of $15,000 a month on CNY dinners for her grass-root activists. That figure immediately became the base line for the other PAP MPs. Match or exceed it, or look cheap-skate by comparison. Err what abt telling their activists, that Tin’s activists have to be rewarded with sharks’ fin, abalone and lobster, and not juz suckling pig and roast duck, given that they have to put up with her silly antics and remarks, and her stomping?
And her sabotaging has continued what with her $150,000 fund (err who is funding the fund?) to help “squeezed” elderly constituents with their SingHealth medical bills. I personally applaud her move, but her fellow PAP MPs have to follow her lead, or look mean. I can imagine one VivianB grumbling that the poor always need help, and Grace Fu bitching on less money to spend on herself.
Tin, the Sabo Queen? It was a black day indeed for PAP MPs when Tin was nominated to be a candidate PAP MP. The PAP should have looked up her record at NUS and Ernst & Young.
Taz all folks. Happy SDP groupie?
This is the “news” I picked up over the last week while feasting and dicing. I have tried to indicate which are the more reliable stories, and which are the more rubbishy ones. As usually I add my very personal takes i.e. analysis.
Juz before the hols, I was told by a reliable source that Mrs Chiam had said that the coming party conference would be a “non event”. Some non event:
– two men that were expected to lead the SPP post Chiam said they were no longer interested in being on the central executive committee (Mrs Chiam was blamed for their lost of interest); then
– six central executive members (including the above two) resigned from the party juz before the conference with one saying “that one or two key CEC members are not willing (to accommodate) a complete change over for collective leadership and accountability, and that being the case, my presence in the party will not add credible value.”
Desmond Lim (remember him) was one happy man this hols, people who know him tell me. Remember he had a bad 2011 initially, being slimed by Mrs Chiam as lacking the “X” factor to succeed Chiam and hence the trouble he was giving the Chiams, then losing his deposit in the May GE. Well with the failure of the party to retain Potong Pasir and to renew itself, and the unhappiness of long serving stalwarts and newbie ex-scholars all becoming public before the hols, he feels vindicated in opposing the Chiams in 2010 and 2011. I hope he gambled big time before the Year of Rabbit ended as his luck certainly did improve.
No need to say anything abt Yaw because he said “IF it is rumours …”, the other lady said, ““I hope you will not identify me or the other woman involved,”, his wife withdrew her Facebook comments about irresponsible journalism, WP’s Low Thia Kiang said: “You said yourself that these are rumours, why are you still asking me?”, and deputy treasurer of the WP, a Mr Png, said: “We have to think carefully about our response”.
They shld realise that their comments collectively give the game away. Why so stupid leh, WP Sec-Gen, members and Mrs Yaw?
All I will report is that WP high command and those who should be in the know are saying nothing in private to friendly, influential outsiders (including prominent bloggers: I’m neither a friend nor influential) or “lesser mortals” WP supporters. As they are also saying nothing in public, I conclude that the WP’s attitude is, “Your problem Yaw. You solve it”.
Problem for the WP is that the silence implies that there is a problem that Yaw has to resolve, whatever it is.
But if Yaw is the dad of a bastard (albeit a Dragon), the WP can’t escape collateral damage. He was possibly the most trusted lieutenant of Sec-Gen Low, and if he was as rampant a stag as alleged by TRE, it casts doubt on Low’s judgement. And if Low didn’t know that his Kim Jong-il look-a-like aide was as horny a stag as alleged, it shows the lack of his of intel on members.
The old guard can’t believe that the newbies are fighting among themselves and with the old guard.
Hazel Poa (Sec-Gen) and her hubbie Tony and other newbies are spitting mad at Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss (VP) who has the support of the people’s celebrity, Nicole Seah. Ms Chong is refusing (and has refused for over six months) to declare her personal wealth. (Reminder: she is hot-shot corporate and shipping lawyer, or so it is claimed. Detractors say it is a two partners and no slaves, legal assistants, firm).
All central executive members have to submit this declaration to the government in order to get the licence for NSP’s newsletter renewed.
Why she refuses to give this declaration or step down, and why Nicole Seah is supporting her is a matter of speculation. One mean spirited view is that she and Nicole realise that moving to NSP was a big mistake and they want to jump ship again. If they leave when Tan Jee Say sets up his party (the two gals got crush on him, it is alleged), there is a danger that they will be perceived as serial, air head rats: first KennethJ, then Goh Meng Seng. If NSP was in disarray, they could excuse their leaving by blaming the NSP mess.
The old guard kicked out one Goh Meng Seng for failing to deliver a breakthrough. He got his revenge. The newbies he brought in are fighting each other and the Malay Bureau (his creation) and the old guard. Want to destroy an organisation, give GMS an executive role: juz kidding.
Glad to read in ST confirmation of a story I heard: he is pursuing the shared resource centre for the Opposition that he was thinking about before the last general election.
As he is turning 58 soon, why is he working so hard? “Relax. Watching over yr daughters and making sure they hook rich China men and is hard work. Do it well, and can be richer than Peter Lim”.
But seeing that that Dynamic NSP Duo (Hazel and Tony) are helping him recruit people for the centre, does it mean that he is giving Jeannette Chong and Nicole Seah, the brush off? Scholars like the company of other scholars, not pretty air heads who are serial hoppers? Will hope to find out more in the next week of feasting, dicing and Black Jack. No, dicing is not Roulette, it’s Backgammon.
Michelle Lee is expected to leave SDP soon even if TJS doesn’t set up up a new party for her to join. She didn’t join other SDP members in CNY Chinatown walkabout. She joined the SPP, NSP, RP and TJS in their Ang Moh Kio walkabout which SDP officially declared it wouldn’t join (Danny, the teh tarik bear, doesn’t like competition from Nicole, the people’s princess? Hey Danny, you are cuddily and furry but not sexy enough for boys to fantasise having sex with), clashed with its long planned Chinatown walkabout.
KennethJ is rumoured to be looking for a job in financial services. No surprises there as he was a hedgie and hasn’t been working for a few years, dedicating his time and efforts to politics and keeping dad’s memory alive. What is surprising is that he is rumoured to be looking for a London-based job. Trying to make a graceful exit? Whither RP, which dad founded? RIP both RP and KennetJ’s political ambitions?
And finally, how can I forget Goh Meng Seng? He after all has many, many enemies saying nasty things about him. The least nasty is that he is desperately waiting for a phone call from Lina Chiam who has said SPP “will continue to seek new passionate and talented individuals with the right aptitude and who will pursue the opposition cause cohesively.” His enemies say he has told Lina that he is willing to be co-opted into SPP mgt committee. Err wonder if Lina thinks he has the X factors she is seeking? Somehow looking at his CV, I doubt she would. Anyway, SPP’s loss is TOC’s gain, or is it bane? If he joins SPP, he would have to resign from Team TOC. The Chinese section of TOC that he founded to large self-publicity seems kinda quiet.
Taz all folks. An update next week. One more week of feasting and gambling. Take care, drink or drive, not both.
I tot “Oh no. Not another attack on Thaipusam”.
I clicked the story and it turned out that the lawyer meant the recent curbs on the Thaipusam procession, not the body piecing spikes.
I must admit I shudder and feel ill whenever I see pixs of khavadi carrying devotees. They may not feel the pain, but I do.
But no, I do not want the practice to stop. It’s the devotees’ religion, not mine.
SDP’s Danny (and nothing to do over the hols other than partying) got me thinking of 21st century symbols for the other parties.
As MM Lee believes that local-born S’poreans are “less hard-driving and hard-striving” because “the spurs are not stuck into the hide”, and as the other PAP ministers, and GLC CEOS are forever scolding S’poreans (taking the cue from MM?) http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/spore-inc-can-pap-go-beyond-scolding/, maybe the PAP should buy over the Hammer symbol of the Workers’ Party?
The Hammer can be used as the 21st century equivalent of the Hammer of Thor. Once owned by the PAP, the Hammer will automatically change from a symbol of the power of the working class (not that many around nowadays, everyone’s middle class nowadays), into a symbol of hammering into shape “less hard-driving and hard-striving” local-born S’poreans into “more hard-driving and hard-striving” S’poreans that the PAP (especially MM) can be proud of.
BTW, did anyone notice that the lightning bolt of the PAP looks like this?
Add another one and we have a sign associated with the Nazis (National Socialists): the SS, a Nazi military unit that had two distinct branches. One branch were elite fighting men, feared and respected by the Allies in WWII. The other butchered Jews and other Read the rest of this entry »
One day Shah Mahmud, riding with the Wind
A-hunting, left his Retinue behind,
And coming to a River, whose swift Course
Doubled back Game and Dog, and Man and Horse,
Beheld upon the Shore a little Lad
A-fishing, very poor, and Tatter-clad Read the rest of this entry »
Sumeone by name of Richard Tang has summoned forth the spirit of JBJ. Writing in TR, he has rattled the cage again abt what the present Sec-Gen of WP is supposed to have done JBJ: “stab him in the back”.
It provoked a response, and he responded to the response. Netizens joined in the row with gusto.
Who benefits? The PAP. Looks like in death, JBJ is still the PAP’s poster boy on what an Opposition leader should do. Split the opponents of the PAP.
I’ve been critical of WP (and indirectly of Low) but lest we forget, it was Low that turned WP into a grass-roots party, active all the time. When JBJ was the Sec-Gen, it was largely a collection of JBJ groupies, smoking the BS of human rights and “everything shld be free”. It was only active juz before an election, when celebrities joined him on stage. Then it was back to praising JBJ, cursing LKY and smoking BS.
OK I’m exaggerating, but that’s what I tot of WP. And before anyone takes me to task on my comments abt JBJ: When JBJ was hawking his books at Raffles City, I thanked him for his courage and bought a book, did you?
After Kenny Rogers on investing and Bacchus on partying back to macabre tales. It’s the Christmas season, you know.
Horror of horrors: Posters on TR find it hard to accept that MM Lee has many fans in M’sia including M’sian dissent and blogger Raja Putra whose servers are based here.
They shouldn’t be. Many M’sian Chinese and Indians find MM’s “M’sian Malaysia” where meritocracy is the rule attractive because it is the opposite of the racially-based Bumiputera policy which gives Muslim Malays certain privileges. They also think that this meritocracy has made S’pore a better place to earn a living than in M’sia.
They also like the fact that he allows M’sians to work here, without insisting that they become citizens.
And finally perhaps they admire him for writing-out the Malays from S’pore? Remember he said in September, “We’re largely Chinese and Indians”. This despite the official statistics showing that the Malays are 19% of the population, the second largest ethnic group.
Now if it is true that the Malays are no longer the second largest ethnic group, and the official stats don’t reflect this fact, this a horror of horrors. Where else are the official stats no longer the reflection of the facts on the ground?
Seriously, back to MM. The New Testament is correct when it says”A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house” and “No prophet is accepted in his own country”.
The neighbours see the feet of clay not apparent to those faraway?
No not Christ as the Christians would have us believe nor the PAP as SPH and MediaCorp are trying to spin.
Like Jesus … Bacchus … had a famous childhood …. When he became a young man god, he went around like Jesus with a following of disciples – in this case, hairy-legged satyrs, wine-crazed maenads and his ridiculous yet wise mentor, the fat satyr Silenus – who has a lot in common with Father Christmas.
In art, Bacchus and his followers are the heroes of misrule, abandon and ecstasy.
Err doesn’t all this sound like partying at this time of the year?
Or why PAP ministers deserve our compassion in this season of gdwill. Another Christmas macabre tale. Who would think they deserve our compassion? But they do.
David Marshall said he was paid $8000 a month in the 1950s as CM. Taz $96,000. From what I hear* that could buy 3 bungalow properties in a then non-fashionable area in the East, say Frankel or Opera estates. He could have some change leftover.
Today, a minister earning $2m a yr, can’t buy even one bungalow in these areas with his annual salary. He could possibly get a two-storey terrace house for $1.5m. He has to borrow money from the bank to buy a bungalow.
Other macabre Christmas tales
*too young and can’t find written records. Have to depend on old people’s memories. You know what can go wrong, I mean if MM can forget that the Malays are the second biggest group ….
In the English tradition of telling ghost or macabre tales during the Christmas hols, here’s one on how S’pore would look like if the PAP gave in to populist pressure and stopped the FTs flooding in
For a glimpse of S’pore’s future, a good place to visit is Yubari, a former mining town on the northern island of Hokkaido, which four years ago went spectacularly bust with debts of ¥36 billion ($315m). It is a quiet spot, nestled in a valley at the end of a railway line … 120,000 people lived there … and there are only 11,000 people left, almost half of them over 65.
The town hall is like a morgue, with few lights on. In the past four years the number of civil servants has been cut in half, their salaries have shrunk by a third and they now have to mop their own floors, they complain. The town has embarked on an 18-year austerity drive to repay its debts. The public library has already closed down. This autumn six primary schools merged into one. (Extract from Economist special report on ageing in Japan)
Another X’mas season ghost or macabre tale http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/freak-election-result-no-worries-mm/
BTW, wonder if this will be picked up (and publicised) by the YPAP activists who are tasked to scout the Internet to counter anti-PAP stuff). After all sume of my stuff have found their way onto TR or is it NTR?
Last year things took a rather Dickensian turn when local news reported that Santa himself showed up at a school—but only to give presents those children whose parents had paid him. (Economist blogger on Christmas in Vietnam)
Hmm, the kind of Santa that PAP likes?
Got me thinking abt the other parties’ Santas.
SDP — No white bearded, white guy. It’s Santa Danny, the bear that loves teh tarik. As SDP has no money, he makes it up by teaching the kids to chant,”Scrooge is PAP, PAP is Scrooge” and “PAP is humbug”. The kids love it. And then he asks for donations for the SDP. He threatens them if that they don’t cough up, he will send in the clowns Chees who will have them chanting defamatory statements. The kids scream for the Chees. The parents pay up to avoid getting sued by the PAP.
WP — No-one knows how its Santa looks like. Bit like the no-show by Sec-Gen or chairman at recent opposition get-together. Suspect WP’s Santa was in previous incarnation a eunuch at the court of the Ming emperors. No, I am not implying that WP lacks balls, remember admiral Cheng Ho was a Ming court eunuch when he wasn’t sailing.
RP — Party has a problem. The patron saint of RP, JBJ, believed in goodies for all, and damn the cost. The present mgt believes in compassion but not freebies. So what is Santa going to do? RP members compromise, getting Tony Phua to blog on 24th December on tax and social welfare. And Sec-Gen goes eat SPP’s food at latter’s X’mas lunch.
SPP — Santa is getting on, so Mrs Santa takes his place. Some of the elves are unhappy. They think that one of them deserve to take Santa’s place. So they grumble a lot, trying to spoil Santarina’s début ride. Hope the reindeer pulling the sled are not the friends’ of the unhappy elves, but friends of Santarina.
NSP — Its Santa gives away”at-cost” HDB flats” for all those without a flat or other property, at one stroke transferring wealth from the landed class and those who paid “Market – less subsidy”. Young and speculators who sold their flats are happy. Everyone else is angry. It’s OK for NSP Sec-Gen they say, “Meng Seng sold his HDB flat under the old system, making a killing. And now he can buy low.” Mah Bow Tan smiles. NSP’s Santa is making life easier for PAP in the coming GE.
SF — As members are socialists, they don’t believe in Santa. And anyway, Santa is a big fat slop. SF want someone that can wear a speedo elegantly.
SDA — There is a Muslim party, so Santa is haram, even though the Sec-Gen would make a gd Santa.
Hope the parties take this in the spirit it is meant: the spirit of meanness masquerading as the spirit of Christmas. )))))
Christmas has become a festive season in China with “Holy Apples” being given as presents.
“China mainland’s acceptance of Christmas was passed from Hong Kong,” explains professor Kent Deng from the London School of Economics.
Because of historical reasons, Christmas is an official holiday in Hong Kong.
“After the Reform and Opening Up policy in 1978, mainland China has gradually begun to accept Western culture,” Dr Deng says.
This reminded me of Friday or Saturday last, when there were a couple of pages in ST on the ties between the CCP and PAP. If I recall (sorry I skim through such spin), it was all abt what the CCP had learnt from PAP. Strange that ST didn’t credit PAP with teaching the CCP abt celebrating Christmas.
Seriously, the PAP teaching the CCP is a bit like LKY teaching realpolitik to the hegemon. The US was already a co-hegemon for yrs before LKY learnt geopolitics. Likewise the CCP came to power in China a decade before LKY came to power here. And the CCP had come to power after fighting the Japanese and the KMT. The PAP came to power in an election.
Back to apples. Apples for example, are sent as symbolic gifts. Known as Holy Apples, they cost five times more than usual and are packed as gifts to wish people a happy Christmas Eve. Now the guy or gal who tot this racket up is one FT we need here.
(Update on 27 December 2010: Juz realised I should have prefaced this by saying that this post is in the spirit of ghost or macabre stories that are part of the English Christmas tradition.)
Learn from Africa. Hold a ”Klingon election”
Holding a ”Klingon election” is how the BBC’s African correspondent describes a situation where the incumbent party or president uses violence, or the threat of violence, as a convenient device enabling it/him to ignore the actual election results and cling to office thanks to some expensively, externally mediated “power-sharing” arrangement. Blog post.
Seriously, watch out for a coming post on why this or military intervention will never happen here.
If you reading this, get a life.
Have a super festive season, and reading on-line shouldn’t be part of it. But since you are reading, might as well read: A “shitty” Christmas tradition.
It will put a smile on yr face.