Posts Tagged ‘New Media’

Anti-PAP sites lose traffic after Facebook tweaks algos

In Internet on 24/10/2016 at 4:47 am

Is Mark Zuckerberg sucking up to the PAP as part of his efforts to suck up to China ala Duterte?

Two tua kee socio-political sites (even though one says it’s a commercial news agency cum loudhailer for the govt and its agencies and not a socio-political site) are heavily dependent on Facebook to push out (“promote”) their stuff and so help them get views and ad revenue. Their readers are too cheap skate or really that poor? Or not willing to pay for BS even when they consume it avidly?

This reliance on Facebook was especially useful post the GE when readership fell across the board affecting ad income. Problem is that Facebook has tweaked its algorithms (as it does periodically).

It’s latest tweak in June means that it more favorably promotes content posted by the friends and family of users, not publishers (Our anti-PAP sites, like all socio-political sites are considered publishers or news sites by Facebook).

It says that content posted by publishers will show up less prominently in news feeds, resulting in significantly less traffic to the hundreds of news media sites that have come to rely on Facebook.

This means that these sites get less traffic, a lot less. And a lot loss viewers and even less ad revenue.

NYT in June reported:

Facebook said it expected a drop in reach and referral traffic for publishers whose audience comes primarily to content posted by the publisher’s official Facebook page. Facebook plans to start making the changes as soon as this week.

It will have less of an impact, however, if most of a publisher’s traffic comes from individual users sharing and commenting on their stories and videos. As has long been the case, publisher content that your friends interact with will appear higher in the feed compared to posts shared directly by a publisher.

Actually any third-party stuff on the publishers’ FB pages also gets fewer pushes

What this means is that when Chris K  posts something of mine on his FB page, I’ll get a lot more hits than if it’s posted by ownself on SGDaily’s Facbook page: better promotion by FB. No wonder Daniel Yap of TMG is pushing out a lot more TMG pieces on his personal FB wall. Smart man.

Maybe Terry should be doing the same for TOC? And Ravi for TISG when it runs constructive, nation-building, loudhailing stuff that S’poreans really need to know.

And pay Chris K to push out their stuff. After all both publications use him to attract the cybernuts even though he’s no nut. He’s a pensioner. Either that or persude him to do NS and promote their pieces for free.

Or pay FB to promote their stuff. FB is happy to push if it’s paid to promote.

Money talks.

And yes I’m simplifying what the tweaks are doing and why FB is doing what is it doing.

Amos again in the news/ Amos the wise?

In Uncategorized on 18/10/2016 at 4:57 am

Update on 20 October: CAN (a bunch of ang moh tua kees that Amos had dissed for not helping him: see link below) has alleged that he got beaten up in Changi Prison by fellow inmates.) Well, well.

We have also been informed that he has been threatened, slapped on the back and kicked while he was climbing up the stairs. A complaint has been lodged with the Prison Authorities, who had efficiently replied to say they will look into the matter. Amos’ mother has put in an urgent request for Amos to be moved to Home Detention.

Mother Mary’s full of BS. Home Detention so she can clean his ass for him?

Yup, he and she and made their beds, and must lie in the said beds.


But first let’s talk about how the alternative media has been covering Amos recently. Huh you may ask? Coverage what coverage? And you are absolutely right.

Amos Yee went to prison on 13 October. Alternative media was silent except for a report by TRE.

Self-proclaimed genius teenage blogger Amos Yee is back in prison and will remain in there for at least the next 4 weeks (after remission).

Amos Yee (Photo: Terry Xu)

The 17-year-old was slapped with 8 charges, which were: 6 charges under section 298, and 2 charges under section 174 of the Penal Code.

It went on to list the charges.

Otherwise this once (and future hero?) of the alternative media, the ang moh tua kees and the cybernuts received no publicity showing that this ang moh kay poh was talking cock

The teenager’s latest trial was closely watched by rights groups, who argue that the case threatens freedom of expression.

Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch said Singapore now needs to review its approach in dealing with cases like Yee’s, who is likely to benefit from the publicity.

“Every time the authorities go after him, it just adds to his online audience,” said Mr Robertson in an email.

The ang moh was talking after he was sentenced to 38 days jail beginning on  Oct 13

Well going by on online buzz about Amos, he’s wrong about. There isn’t any buzz

As I’ve said before “The anti-PAP  caravan moves on”. Amos has had his fifteen minutes of fame. Next celebrity please.

As for the wisdom of Mother Mary’s boy fantastic, a few weeks ago he posted

Know what, I am getting sick of my long hair after 2 years, I think I’ll cut it short. Fortunately for me they offer free haircuts in prison

Well maybe he’s learning wisdom (something dad said he lacked): liking what’s going to happen anyway.

Next he’ll embrace going into NS? LOL.

But maybe he was faking his wish to cut his hair. Putting on a brave face. Only time will tell if he’s acquired wisdom or not.


Cyber Jedi’s dark night of the soul

In Uncategorized on 23/09/2016 at 4:49 am

Zodiac symbols in the night sky

The night isn’t really that dark.

But seriously, my Friend Terry Xu of TOC (The Online Citizen not Terry’s Online Channel despite attempts by some at TISG or The Idiots — S’pore to slime him.) posted this on FB last weekend.

Do read it, as in some ways, it’s the opposite of what I say here, here, here and here about trying to persuade the swing voter.

Terry would seem to say this about the voters

File photo: Pigs sleeping

Some would say any insult is better than this one. “Hong Kong pig” refers to people who don’t care about politics at all, and only eat and sleep.

BBC Online


It’s a very pessimistic analysis and conclusion from a cyber Jedi who has been fighting the good fight with his cyber sabre. So why does he bother fighting given his pessimism about changing the minds of those who vote PAP?

Question of

Mind must be the stronger, heart the bolder, courage must be the greater, as our might lessens.?

“Battle of Maldon Hill”: A warrior chants as he and his companions face defeat and death*. They didn’t do surrender, and their foes didn’t go mercy or compassion.

Or is Terry thinking like Joe Slovo who said that being a revolutionary was being optimistic that change was coming but realising it might take longer than one’s life-time.


Joe Slovo (23 May 1926 – 6 January 1995, full name Yossel Mashel Slovo) was aSouth African politician, an opponent of the apartheid system. He was a long-time leader of theSouth African Communist Party(SACP), a leading member of theAfrican National Congress (ANC), and a commander of the ANC’s military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe.


Or maybe he’s realised like certified cybernut Oxygen that


and is preparing to move on?

If I were SAF, I’d check the armoury of the unit where Terry’s does his reservist training. It’s an elite almost operational unit. So plenty of arms and explosives lying around.

Whatever here’s something to keep Terry going if he decides to remain a cyber Jedi

“In the last days of December 1916, a small group of Swiss university students had an evening meeting and an exiled Russian politician living in Switzerland gave them a talk on the coming revolution. He said, ‘The revolution’s bound to come. You younger people will live to see it. We older people (he was in his forties at the time), we shan’t see it.’ Ten months later this same man, his name was Lenin, was dictator of one of the greatest empires in the world,”

AJP Taylor, historian, in a lecture on Btritish tv many yrs ago.


*”Courage shall be the more resolute, heart shall be the braver, spirit shall be the greater, as our strength grows less.”, is another translation of the Old English verse.


Why access to the truth has not set S’poreans free

In Internet on 20/09/2016 at 5:12 am

Knowledge is supposed to be power in one-party states and the internet gives people access to knowledge. But the internet has not done much to change S’poreans’ views of the PAP and its manifold, snarky machinations.

It was thought that the PAP administration’s control of the mainstream media was an important element in preventing S’poreans from understanding the reality of PAP rule here. The constructive, nation-building media helped shape the perception of reality by, among other things, filtering out inconvenient facts and framing the issues in a way that put the best spin on PAP policies.

Why PAP keeps a tight grip on the MSM

only suggestive, the study is cause for concern. The media can set the agenda, but also distort it. There is some countervailing evidence, that relative rankings of corruption do have some validity: diplomats from countries where corruption is seen as more pervasive are less likely to pay parking fines, for example. But if perceptions are heavily influenced by the media buzz, then levels of corruption might be exaggerated. In other words, measures of corruption could themselves be corrupted.

Also read this article about how media owners in Eastern Europe’s use the media they own to manipulate public opinion and to help friendly politicians and u can understand why the PAP controls the MSM the way it does here.…/21707125-politics-central-and-ea…


So those opposed to the PAP’s hegemony (self included) had thought that the internet (in particular social media and new or alternative media) would make it easier for S’poreans to be aware of or learn of or ferret out inconvenient facts, learn the truth, and draw the “right” conclusions.

It’s now easier to be aware of or learn of or ferret out inconvenient facts, and learn the truth, but sadly many S’poreans still  are incapable of or resist drawing  the “right” conclusions.

Partly this is the fault of alternative media outlets like The Idiots — S’pore (Or TISG as it prefers to be known which at times seems to be trying to imitate fake news websites ), the antics of the anti-PAP cynernut rats, and pro -PAP outlets like Mothership and FATPAP. Their disinformation and loudhailing services for the PAP causes problems when trying to establish the facts or the truth. (In fact TISG is proud that it is a “useful loudhailer” for the govt and its agencies.)

But a lot has to do with human nature (emphasis mine):

[H]umans do not naturally seek truth. In fact, as plenty of research shows, they tend to avoid it. People instinctively accept information to which they are exposed and must work actively to resist believing falsehoods; they tend to think that familiar information is true; and they cherry-pick data to support their existing views. At the root of all these biases seems to be what Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-prizewinning psychologist and author of a bestselling book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, calls “cognitive ease”: humans have a tendency to steer clear of facts that would force their brains to work harder.

In some cases confronting people with correcting facts even strengthens their beliefs, a phenomenon Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler, now of Dartmouth College and the University of Exeter, respectively, call the “backfire effect”. In a study in 2010 they randomly presented participants either with newspaper articles which supported widespread misconceptions about certain issues, such as the “fact” that America had found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or articles including a correction. Subjects in both groups were then asked how strongly they agreed with the misperception that Saddam Hussein had such weapons immediately before the war, but was able to hide or destroy them before American forces arrived.

As might be expected, liberals who had seen the correction were more likely to disagree than liberals who had not seen the correction. But conservatives who had seen the correction were even more convinced that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Further studies are needed, Mr Nyhan and Mr Reifler say, to see whether conservatives are indeed more prone to the backfire effect.|image3

The good news is that so long as there are sites like TOC (Its 10th anniversary fell in August this year), TMG and SgDaily (I got posting rights on its FB page); bloggers and commenters like Alex Au, Chris K, Wandering Vagabond, P Ravi, Uncle Leong, Donald Low and Yeoh Lum Keong; and cyber Jedis like Terry Xu and Andrew of TRE, inconvenient facts and inconvenient truths cannot be kept out of the public domain.

So I’m optimistic. Slowly but surely more S’poreans will draw the “right” conclusions after learning the “right” facts. And with a bit of luck by 2033 or 2055, at the latest, Harry will only be a bad dream.

But as S’poreans are exposed to more info, we (including the PAP) face a problem in this brave new world

Given such biases, it is somewhat surprising that people can ever agree on facts, particularly in politics. But many societies have developed institutions which allow some level of consensus over what is true: schools, science, the legal system, the media. This truth-producing infrastructure, though, is never close to perfect: it can establish as truth things for which there is little or no evidence; it is constantly prey to abuse by those to whom it grants privileges; and, crucially, it is slow to build but may be quick to break.|image3

Remember that given the dominance of the PAP, we don’t have the institutions which allow some level of consensus, absent the hegemony of the PAP. It’s going to be an anarchic jungle when S’poreans break the mind fetters.

But not to worry, the ang mohs who S’poreans (including the PAP) use to validate their actions will still be pontificating and BSing, and sometimes getting the facts and truth right. And S’poreans will listen to them, as they always have. Ang mohs will take the place of local institutions in the building of consensus of what are the facts and the truth.

Still better than consensus based on the PAP’s hegemony. At least liberal, socialistic and conservative ang mohs hold different views.

Be our our first Wang Hongs, Amos, and Serena Wee

In Uncategorized on 17/09/2016 at 6:01 am

Role model for Amos?

Wang Leyu broadcasts himself live for five hours, and sometimes all night. While he talks on camera about his life or hums a tune or dances, viewers watching on their phones write messages that pop up on his screen. Occasionally a bright icon flashes, meaning a fan has paid money to send him a virtual sticker as a tip.


Live-streamers entertain and inform in a variety of ways, from playing video games—so that viewers can watch their on-screen action—to giving English lessons. But the majority are young women who stream video of themselves as they flirt, sing or dance. Such diversions are a big hit among Chinese men. The most popular streams are viewed by over 100,000 people at a time.

Too bad he’s a male, the gals make great money.  This gal

Image result for Serina wee

pls note.

Ling Ling, a 29-year-old living in Shanghai, has gone to great lengths to curate a picture-perfect life on social media. Her photos on micro-blogging site Weibo show her glamorous and leisurely life.

Dressed in fashionable clothing and with immaculate make-up, Ling Ling is seen dining at fancy cafes and restaurants; attending parties and social events with her girlfriends; travelling to places like Boracay, Tokyo and Dubai.

But she does not cultivate her online image just to make herself feel good or her friends jealous. She is one of the new internet celebrities, known as Wang Hong.

It’s a lucrative business, with Zhang Dayi, one of China’s best known Wang Hong, reportedly earning 300m yuan (£35m; $46m). This compares favourably to top Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, who according to Forbes, made about $21m last year.

Image result for serina wee

Our very own Serena Wee should become a Wang Hong like Ling Ling and Zhang Dayi. After all she has a “shop” selling clothes.

The  two chinese gals sell. clothes and cosmetics on Taobao, China’s leading online shopping site. They post pictures of themselves modelling the clothes they sell, and some of their followers become their most loyal customers.

More on Serena

Come on Serena, get off yr ass. Go for the bucks like Kong Hee and Sun Ho.



Hard Truths on connecting with the 70%

In Internet, Media on 16/09/2016 at 6:10 am

Activists (anti-PAP, Oppo, alternative views or social) must realise or be aware that

— The 70% (especially the swing voter, 35% of the voters ) know what they are doing when they vote for the PAP; and

— that some anti-PAP, alternative etc views are more equal than others i.e. the cybernuts must not be given the space to talk cock, sing song. They must not be given publicity, and rebutted.

WP knows these Hard Truths and have used this knowledge to win and hold Aljunied GRC. Trouble is that others don’t. Yes, I thinking particularly of Mad Dog. (And sadly, retaining Aljunied was all the WP was interested in until recently.)

Voters know what they are doing

Those who think the decisions voters make are ignorant or even irrational do them a disservice. The judgments rendered by the electorate are sometimes misinformed, and often harsh, but rarely irrational …

Many experts on the issue despair at the ignorance voters display: they seem hopelessly wrong about the numbers coming, the reasons they come and the impact they have on the economy. Yet although they are muddled on the details, voters are remarkably responsive on the big picture. Concern about the issue tracks numbers closely: when migrant numbers go up, more voters cite it as a concern. Voters noticed the pledges by successive governments to bring numbers down, they noticed when these pledges failed, and they noticed that one important reason for that failure was rising immigration from the EU. The growing number of voters who wanted immigration reduced drew the logical conclusions from all of this: the old parties had failed on the issue, so they turned to a new one (Ukip); controlling migration looked close to impossible within the EU, so they voted to leave.

This pattern of behaviour – ignorant about the details, but responsive on the big picture – is one we see quite often. It has a lot to recommend it. When a room gets too cold, we respond by turning up the heating. When the room gets too hot, we turn it off. We usually manage to do this without knowing the precise temperature. Voters often display a similar thermostatic logic. Of course, voters aren’t consistently rational even on the big picture stuff. But usually when they apparently go off the rails, there is an interesting logic underlying what they do, throwing light on the strengths and weaknesses of how we reason more generally.

In the S’pore context this translates into as Chris K commented in response to this post

Slightly less the oppo but the social activists and their non nutty cyberspace allies are framing the free and liberal society in terms of ideals of human rights, civil society and democratic process. IMHO this don’t work in the peculiarly utilitarian mindset of the voters, shaped by one party rule. The free and liberal society needs to be framed in terms of access to public goods and redistribution, the nuts n bolts or bread n butter of that kind of society. Singapore is no totalitarian state, the social activists n their non nutty cyberspace allies take the easier route of wearing their hearts on their sleeves but this is putting the cart in front of the horse.

The SDP has a set of policy proposals that tries to frame its arguments for a “free and liberal society” in  “terms of access to public goods and redistribution, the nuts n bolts or bread n butter of that kind of society.”. The problem is that 60- 70% of S’poreans have problems with Dr Chee’s history and character. Sad really that Dr Chee refuses to retire.

Why not publicising the cybernuts is a must

Not all anti-PAP, alternate views are equal. Some are more equal than others. The editors of alternative media and activists who are influencers must curate wisely. Allow the likes of Chris K, Donald Low and Yeoh Lum Keong free rein, but don’t spread the views of nutters like Roy Ngerng, Philip Ang and M Ravi.

The nutters taint those rational S’poreans who want change, making it easier for the PAP to persuade the swing voters that anyone who wants change must be as nuts as M Ravi.

And rebut them or get others to rebut them, even though the time spent on this activity can be seen like doing NS, the time can ne better used to inform and persuade the swing voters, a difficult task which I will post on next week. One way to look at rebutting is that it helps built up cred with the swing voter.


once a solid consensus has been reached through thorough testing, this must take precedence in responsible media discussion: as he says, “it would not be impartial, but irresponsible to give a smoking enthusiast equal time with the Chief Medical Officer or Surgeon General”.

The media’s dysfunctionality is structural. They must get audiences — public service broadcasters are increasingly exposed to that imperative — and they seek them, like politicians, in the privileging of emotion and personal experience. During the MMR vaccine debate, in which one rogue and inaccurate article on the dangers of the vaccine led to an insistent press campaign, interventions of “I’m just a mom and I want to keep my baby safe” could have more force than the arguments of the scientific establishment, especially if the latter were obscurely framed or contemptuously delivered.

In one of his many dissections of an anti-scientific consensus position, Thompson takes a statement from the social anthropologist Benny Peiser, director of Global Warming Policy Foundation, a sceptical climate change think-tank. In 2011 Peiser had argued: “Fundamentally these are social, ethical and economic questions that cannot be answered by science alone but require careful consideration by economists and social commentators.” It sounds broad-minded until you realise what the word “fundamentally” implies: as Thompson puts it, “that the layer of policy consideration which addresses social, ethical and economical questions is somehow weightier or more critical than the scientific layer”.

Yet the veracity of the scientific consensus is the determinant of the whole issue: everything else, including the ethical dimension, hinges entirely on it. You either believe that the scientific community, for all its neglect of comprehensible speech, has evolved a trustworthy discipline of verification through robust challenge — or you do not, in which case you must take some time to advance a reasonable case as to why. “I’m just a mom” doesn’t make the cut.

The former director-general criticises those of his former BBC colleagues who insist on absolute balance, even if it goes to the point where a sage must be countered by an idiot. The issue has moved some of those who voted Remain in the June referendum on the UK’s European Union membership, who argue that distinguished economists were given equal time with undistinguished shopkeepers: a complaint that might not have surfaced had the close result been reversed. Thompson wrote too early for that debate, but does argue that once a solid consensus has been reached through thorough testing, this must take precedence in responsible media discussion: as he says, “it would not be impartial, but irresponsible to give a smoking enthusiast equal time with the Chief Medical Officer or Surgeon General”.

(Emphasis mine)

Extract from FT review of Enough Said: What’s Gone Wrong With the Language of Politics?, by Mark Thompson, Bodley Head, RRP£25 / St Martin’s Press, RRP$27.95, 384 pages

The author  of the extract is John Lloyd. He is an FT contributing editor and a co-founder of Oxford university’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism



Oppo and social activists get off yr asses

In Political governance on 13/09/2016 at 5:48 am

Edward Snowden said this when he was interviewed over lunch by the FT

“We don’t allow police to enter and search any home. We don’t typically reorder the operation of a free society for the convenience of the police — because that is the definition of a police state,” he says, mopping up the last of the rice. “And yet some spies and officials are trying to persuade us that we should. Now, I would argue there’s no real question that police in a police state would be more effective than those in a free and liberal society where the police operate under tighter constraints. But which one would you rather live in?”

60 — 70% of the voters agree with Harry’s protection racket that life in a police state is better than life than in a free and liberal society. They most probably assume that a police state is a safer place than a free and liberal society. Blame this largely on PAP scaremongering, aided and abetted by the constructive nation-building media and the trade unions.

More, a lot more, Oppo and social activists, and their non-nutty cyberspace allies should get off their asses, move out of their comfort zones, and try to persuade the 35% of voters that voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock that they should prefer to live in a free and liberal society, joining the voters who voted for Tan Jee Say and Tan Kin Lian. Though one can understand why most Oppo and social activists (and their cyberspace allies) are reluctant to try. How to explain why 30% of the voters voted for an opportunist and a clown albeit both from RI, because they wanted a free and liberal society. How would a clown and an opportunist help that aim?

To be fair to Tan Kin Lian, he was a good CEO of NTUC Income. He only went whacko over his presidential ambitions and I suspect most of the blame for his clownish behaviour can be blamed on the company he kept between 2009 and 2011. Remember Goh Meng Seng was his campaign adviser? Since the PE, he’s lost his whackiness . Go visit his blog and hudge for yrself. He’s no cybernut. He’s a S’porean who decries socxial injustice, has an analytical mind (he’s an actuary) but who sometimes thinks differently.


So maybe they should start trying to persuade Tan Cheng Bock’s supporters that giving the PAP the two-thirds majority to suka suka change the constitution is a bad idea. I’ll becoming back to this theme another day

Oppo and social acticists and their non-nutty cyberspace allies should not accuse people who disagree with them on the need for a free and liberal society that they are ignorant and dismiss their views. They need their votes. The anti-PAP vote can be taken for granted as the WP has shown.


Perhaps most importantly Blue Labour believes that when the people of Britain tell the party to change, it cannot keep telling them that they are ignorant. When people vote for Brexit, it must be respected; when they say they are concerned about immigration, it cannot be dismissed as bigoted; when they are worried about the breakdown of social values such as neighbourliness, fatherhood or faith, politicians have to listen and change.

BBC analysis


Don’t be like the PAP who can afford to diss people who disagree with them. The PAP has the power of incumbtency.

And most importantly don’t only try to persuade S’poreans only at election time. As the PAP’s Organising Secretary said on the day after the 2011 GE, the campaign for the next GE has begun.

More Oppo and social activists, and their non-nutty cyberspace allies must get off their asses, move out of their comfort zones, and try to persuade the swing voters to vote against the PAP in order to deny the PAP a two-thirds majority.

In HK, the Legislative Council (LegCo) is the body that passes and rejects laws, and approves the government’s budget. It’s HK’s parliament.

Like in S’pore, major constitutional changes, including changes to the voting system, need to be passed by a two-thirds majority in the council (parly here). Pro-Beijing parties always win more seats but the “democrat” lobby always have at least 24 seats so they can veto changes they disagree with. And they’ve used this power repeatedly

In the latest LegCo elections on Sunday, the “democrat” lobby retained its veto power. They now have 30 seats.

More about the “Rubbish Council” (punning on how the words “legislative” and “rubbish” sound similar in Cantonese), arguing the legislators are all talk and no action. 

But I’m pessimistic that they’ll even bother. Easier to remain among “friends” who agree with them and smoke dope with them, all dreaming of a PAP-free S’pore that appears by magic:

The mechanisms of these new media are only now beginning to be understood. One crucial process is “homophilous sorting”: like-minded people forming clusters. The rise of cable and satellite television channels in the 1980s and 1990s made it possible to serve news tailored to specific types of consumer; the internet makes it much easier. According to Yochai Benkler of Harvard University in his book “The Wealth of Networks”, individuals with shared interests are far more likely to find each other or converge around a source of information online than offline. Social media enable members of such groups to strengthen each other’s beliefs, by shutting out contradictory information, and to take collective action.|image1


Zika shows alternative media at its best and worst

In Political governance, Public Administration on 02/09/2016 at 6:09 am

Reading alternative media and the constructive nation-building media, would one know the following (on Tuesday morning) about the Zika outbreak?

The Singapore outbreak appears to be localised. Of the 26 new cases identified in Singapore on Tuesday, 22 live or work near the Aljunied neighbourhood in the south-east of the city where 56 cases were confirmed earlier this week. [OK FT had not heard about Bedok case]

At least 36 of the Singapore Zika patients are foreign construction workers …[They] live in dormitories separate from the local population, reducing the risks of transmitting illnesses.

You might just. Many in the alternative media, and the PAP administration’s media allies (or worse) have good reasons to complicate the facts and issues.

So three cheers for the WP, and people in the alternative media like Chris K ,  Daniel Yap and others in Team TMG, Terry and others in Team TOC (“All the measures now by MOH are only implemented after the first find” is more than fair comment) and Alex Au (a super piece on Zika), are doing the right thing by asking relevant questions or pointing out the PAP administration’s BS.

We need more citizen analysts and journalists like Chris K, Alex Au  Daniel Yap and his team at TMG (Yes even though there is there someone who wanted to be a Sith Lord until told the vacancy had been filled), Terry and his team at Terry’s Online Channel, SgDaily* and Forever Vagabond (If he keeps away from Nathan, OTC, investments, SMRT and DBS and focuses on social injustice here).

They believe like CP Scott “Comment is free, but facts are sacred”

Charles Prestwich Scott (26 October 1846 – 1 January 1932) was a British journalist, publisher and politician. Born in Bath, Somerset,[1] he was the editor of the Manchester Guardian(now the Guardian) from 1872 until 1929 and its owner from 1907 until his death. He was also a Liberal Member of Parliament and pursued a progressive liberal agenda in the pages of the newspaper.



And we need a lot less of those in Team TISG** and the TRE cybernuts now joining TISG. They make the likes of Mad Dog and Goh Meng Seng sound pretty rational. At least Mad Dog and GMS don’t pretend to anything other than partisan.

Cover-up? What cover-up?

My response to the almost similarly worded rants by the SDP and TISG (Sharing resources isit? That poor?) is

If there was a cover-up i.e, we’d not be told there was one case. And then told that there were 41 cases with more to come. We’d not be told nothing. And that the clean-op activity etc were “Juz precautions leh. Cannot isit?”

MoH was complacent and was “caught with their pants down” even if on the issue of “alarm” in the Zika case, I’m on govt’s side, like I was over haze and masks when a prominent blogger went bananas a few yrs ago.

I’m not the only one who has issues with the usual suspects. Here’s a non-partisan view from a person working in communications

Singapore had its first confirmed case of Zika on 28 August 2016, and the Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) issued a press statement on the same day and called for a press conference the next day. Unfortunately, when it comes to managing issues concerning viruses (especially when the symptoms are mild and can be easily misdiagnosed) retrospective diagnosis is not uncommon. Thus when further testing on previously undiagnosed cases were done, the number of confirmed Zika cases rose literally overnight. When these additional numbers were subsequently made public, alternates were quick to accuse the MOH for deliberately hiding information from the public.
What is disconcerting is that these unfounded allegations against the Government hinders the proper and effective flow of important health information to the public. Instead of focusing the public on what they should and can do to protect themselves from the Zika virus, the public is distracted to focus on a non-existent witch-hunt. Valuable government resources are then diverted from dealing with the crisis to dispelling unfounded rumors.
As communications consultants, we constantly advocate for information to be released as soon as possible to stay ahead of the social media cycle. However, we also advise clients tobalance the need for speed with the need for accuracy. This is because false positives can cause unnecessary panic (especially in instances concerning public health) and this will affect the credibility of the organization and any subsequent message that is released.
Not being privy to what the MOH knew, or the thinking behind their decision, we can only speculate. What we do know is that when dealing with a crisis, there are usually trade-offs when deciding what to communicate with the public. In the case of Singapore’s first confirmed case of locally transmitted Zika, we assess that the MOH needed to decide whether to unnecessarily alarm Singaporeans (and visitors to Singapore which will impact the economy), or to allow the Government to be accused of a cover-up. Rightly or wrongly, we noted that the MOH chose to be responsible and opted not to cause alarm.
But let’s be fair. The PAP administration has in recent months shown yet again that its preferred option is to avoid telling S’poreans anything that is inconvenient to the administration. Think “Traingate” and “SGHgate”.
So reasonable people have grounds not to trust the PAP administration’s version of anything, giving TISG’s and the cybernuts’ rantings some credibility.

What annoys me is the Goh Meng Seng’s, TISG’s, SDP’s etc rants are full of misleading information, allegations and wrong assumptions: “Facts are irrelevant when it comes to criticising the PAP administration”.

This doesn’t help the responsible people in alternative media and those of us opposed to the PAP’s hegemony connect with the swing voters. Worse, misleading or false  information, allegations and wrong assumptions, mean that the reality of the PAP administration’s cock-ups and misdeeds are often ignored by swing voters because the news and analysis comes from alternative media, and the swing voter associates alternative media with the likes of TISG and TRELand.

Finally, juz wondering, if the TRE turned TISG cybernuts will attract to TISG rabid TRE posters like Oxygen***, Dosh, GreatEagle etc? TISG must hope that Oxygen will migrate to a new and better rats’ nest. He was rumoured to have donated $10,000 to TRE in 2015. TISG sure can use that kind of money.

*My Facebook avatar can post links on the SgDaily’s wall.

** The boast “Government and related agencies see us as a useful loudhailer.” is really surprising.

***Example: The 69% are TOO STUPID TO EVEN KNOW THEY ARE STUPID – some even clapping fictitious CPF returns of 2.5% to 3% per annum (really is MONOPOLY money credited to their imprisoned CPF accounts cannot be withdrawn) when global interest rate is 1.5% or negative for even 10-yr govt bond yields.

Other stupid Sinkies voted PAPpy looking skyward IMAGINING their property values will soar higher with municipal carrots dangling in front of their greedy eyes. ALL STUPID – even prime waterfront property hold for 10 years lost millions of dollars.

Here is my evidence.

And there are also IDIOTS AMONG THE 70% Sinkies thinks PAPpy immigration policy of massive influx will bring in rich Ah Tiongs to chase their property value up.

WRONG!!! stupid again.




TISG: Wee first ‘Elected President’/ “S’poreans only” policy backfires?

In Humour on 26/08/2016 at 5:28 am

Wee Kim Wee, not Ong Teng Cheong, was the first ‘Elected President’ of Singapore

Dr Wee Kim Wee and not Mr Ong Teng Cheong is the first Elected President of Singapore, a law don has clarified. Dr Jack Tsen-Ta Lee, Assistant Professor of Law at the Singapore Management University’s School of Law made this point in the website ‘Singapore Public Law’.


This is what Dr Jack Tsen-Ta Lee posted on Facebook

“The provision was carefully worded to avoid deeming Wee Kim Wee as having been elected, so although he exercised all the discretionary powers of an elected President, the first truly elected President was Ong Teng Cheong.” So how come the conclusion is that Wee was Singapore’s first elected President? I’m mystified!

Obviously, TISG Team, can’t understand his article written in simple English. That cock meh? Need FTs to understand?

Either that or adult supervision is desperately needed.

That’s not the only recent goof.

On Augist 22 at 5.50pm  To cater to a consistently high number of readers, we are migrating to a larger server. Our website may be inaccessible for a few hours due to this. We apologise to our readers. – TISG Team

The “few hours” turned out to be at least 24 — 40hrs No articles appeared on 23 August and only late on 24 August were articles posted.

As TISG prides itself on employing only true blue S’poreans (Has no choice given its tendency towards xenophobic* articles?), maybe it got some lazy TISG-reading S’porean cybernut  to do the IT migration?

As commercially minded employers know, FTs from India are the best for low-level IT jobs like migration. Cheap and good.

Two other goofs by TISG Team.

Yup, it’s two goofs a week, for two weeks in a row.

TISG positions itself as a commercial site, not a socio-political site (Er so how come so many articles from a TRE hero, and TRELand cybernuts and sane residents?). That’s good news for TISG Team. A socio-political site would have found replacements for such goofing, careless, wanking S’poreans, assuming they were either subversives working for the PAP, not for the Cause, or that they were incompetent, lazy S’poreans.

*Aiming  “to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore”?


Can’t TISG get anything right?

In Uncategorized on 20/08/2016 at 4:49 am

Wrong building, TISG.

Reporting a press release from the S’pore Heritage Society about the importance of preserving the Ellison Building*, TISG, a commercial site not a socio-political site, used a photo of the David Elias Building

This is Ellison Building TISG

Why so cock meh? The photo of the Ellison Building was included in SHS’s release.

This piece followed this

“STTA taxing junior team’s prize money to sustain its foreign players”. The truth (something TISG is increasingly having problems with) is that the money collected also funds our local athletes. And our PRC mercenary FT gladiators are also “taxed” on their prize money. These “taxes” go into a pool, which is used to fund STTA activities.

That’s locals funding FTs isit, TISG? It’s winners funding others. And like it or not, the gladiators have until recently been doing pretty well in winning awards .

But maybe TISG is alleging that the FT gladiators are not “taxed’?

The piece sounds like another one of its xenophobic (“to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore” isit? Why liddat TISG?) pieces aimed at attracting eyeballs.


Economy rice not enough to sustain brain power at TISG isit? In the above link I calculated that the ad revenue from eyeball ads ($1,700- 9,000) are Enough for “economy rice” meals for those working there.

*The Singapore Heritage Society (SHS) is deeply disappointed with the decision to demolish a substantial part of Ellison Building. A substantial part of the building will be demolished to make way for the North South Highway and will be reconstructed when the Highway is completed. It is located at the junction of Selegie Road and Rochor Canal Road and was built in 1924.

TISG: “useful loudhailer” for PAP administration

In Uncategorized on 19/08/2016 at 6:45 am

So TISG published another article: “STTA taxing junior team’s prize money to sustain its foreign players”. The truth (something TISG is increasingly having problems with) is that the money collected also funds our local athletes. And our PRC mercenary FT gladiators are also “taxed” on their prize money. These “taxes” go into a pool, which is used to fund STTA activities.

That’s locals funding FTs isit, TISG? It’s winners funding others. And like it or not, the gladiators have until recently been doing pretty well in winning awards .

But maybe TISG is alleging that the FT gladiators are not “taxed’?

The piece sounds like another one of its xenophobic (“to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore” isit? Why liddat TISG?) pieces aimed at attracting eyeballs.

Given that the PAP administration loves FTs and frowns on anything resembling seditious actions, it’s surprising that TISG’s lead editor, P Ravi, while rowing with various people recently (mainly from TOC allied people) on journalistic and editorial standards of integrity said (boastingly?) on Facebook: “Government and related agencies see us as a useful loudhailer.”For the context in which he said this, scroll down to almost the bottom until you see his photo, the text is somewhere below:

Given that Ravi keeps stressing that TISG is not a socio-politcal site but a commercial site, one can only wonder what it’s being paid to act as a loudhailer for the “Government and related agencies”? Commercial sites exist to make money (they hope), not promote causes.

TISD raises money

Funny that Ravi claims that unlike a socio-politcal site, “Commercial sites must produce what readers want and will come back to consume or risk going bankrupt.” because TISG had to call for a new round of funding from existing and new shareholders late last year because it had run out of funds. Obviously TISG wasn’t producing what readers wanted and they were not coming back to consume more from TISG. 


Do also read the link above for the comments it made to Daniel Goh about its 1m unique visitors. A reader of this alerted me to the exchange to show the depths to which TISG will sink to. To me it shows the arrogance of TISG: telling Daniel Goh that he should comment on TISG’s wall because TISG has “1m unique visitors”. P Ravi and Kumaran Pillay (TISG’s publisher) like to say that TISG has the eyeballs that others are jealous about, hence the criticism about its journalistic and editorial standards.

On the issue of eyeballs and ad revenue from eyeballs,, I’ve calculated that the amount of revenue generated by TISG from eyeball advertising is “peanuts”.

Soul selling for peanuts

Based on a reported boast that it has 3.5m views a month, it would make about $9,000 in ad revenue a month. Based on some more reliable data that it has about 670,000 views a month, the figure comes to around $1700 (Detailed post coming one of these days and these numbers may be refined slightly).

Note I’m only guesstimating only revenue generated from eyeball ads. I make no comment on revenues from other sources because no data is available.


Maybe there is cash for being a loudhailer for the “Government and related agencies”?

And if there is, why is the PAP administration so cock to fund a commercial site that reasonable people can perceive as trying “to  promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore”?

I don’t think P Ravi and Kumaran Pillay know the ancient Greek superstition:  Nemesis punishes Hubris. But at least one of them, an ordained pastor, will be familiar with “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

What’s disappointing about TISG’s defence of itself is that it’s not enough to prove critics wrong: they have to be shown to be malign, jealous, dishonest (“less than honest” is a favourite) or stupid, or any combination of two or more of these attributes. Yup TISG sounds, feels and looks like a PAPpy of the Jason Chua variety.

But to be fair, maybe the people in TISG cannot prove critics wrong except by pointing to their eyeball traffic and by distracting from the real issues by sliming their critics. And the eyeball traffic is only worth $1,700 – $9,000 a month. Enough for “economy rice” meals for those working there.



“Warriors”, not “Wankers” / Worthless, Wayanging, Wanking NMPs

In Political governance on 18/08/2016 at 5:32 am

JBJ would have been proud of the WP MPs on Monday.

Three cheers for the WP. They are finally doing in this Parly what they failed to do in the last Parly, and in the process disappointing many of those who voted for them (self included).

They stood up and spoke out on a really bad piece of legislation. Low’s and Auntie’s speeches and the questions asked by the MPs made clear the BS about the changes to the laws on contempt of court that the PAP administration wanted.  The real issue was about controlling the flow of information in a defacto one-party state in the age of social and new media. This is something that even the CCP is grappling with in a de jure one-party state.

This was so unlike the Wankers’ Party of old who repeated avoided scoring open goals eg avoiding calling for the nationalisation of public tpt despite it being in the 2011 manifesto when the PAP administration was fighting three fires: trying to fix a broken public tpt system, while denying anything was wrong, and while spending public money to help the listed public tpt operators maintain profits.

Lots of open goals were avoided. No attempts on goal were even made. And it was a PAP MP that suggested nationalisation.

Looks like the WP has done some soul-searching and their elected MPs have moved on from being worthless, wayanging, wanking wannabe social workers, only interested in looking at their monthly bank statements, to become warriors. Let’s hope they keep this up, speaking out loud and clear when the PAP administration is doing wrong or trying to throw smoke.

Seems the results of GE 2015 and the challenge to Low in the WP’s internal elections have resulted in the WP “waking up its ideas”. More than one Lion Man now going by Monday’s debate.

The worthless, wayanging wankers in Parly are now the three NMPs who proposed changes to the bill (one of whom organised a petition and delivered it) and spoke out against the bill and then voted for the bill. This guy (quoted by TRE) got it right:

So much for signing a bloody petition. In the end, who were the 9 who opposed? Singapore, if you think you can count on NMPs to speak for you, see for yourself what happened today.

They will bring your petition to the House, withdraw it, and then vote in favour for the very Bill they were petitioning against, without any amendments to it whatsoever.

Very reliable folks indeed. Spineless. Pretentious. And so much less.

(From TRE)

Terry of TOC (The Online Citizen not Terry’s Online Channel) explained on FB the damage the three worthless, wayanging wankers caused by their two-faced actions:

The problem I see with such voting by the NMPS is that ppl in the general public will see that their well thought arguements have been answered by the law minister, which is why they would have voted yes to the bill without amendements. 

For the record, I’ve seen only one of the NMPs come out with a defence of why she voted for the bill. It’s a load of gibberish. She should have just sat down and shut up like the other two, And wait, like them, for her thirty pieces of silver.

TISG and readers need protection from TISG misinformation

In Financial competency on 12/08/2016 at 5:47 am

“DBS helped sell junk Swiber bonds to public” was the headline to an article from TISG.

The article went on to describe three bond sales of Swibber bonds by DBS. It then went on to compare the sale of these bonds to another DBS product (akin to mini-bonds) where retail investors lost money.

There is a problem though with this analysis and comparison. The Swiber bonds were never sold to the public. As a ST article put it, “The Swiber bonds were available only to accredited investors – with net personal assets of more than $2 million – or those investing a minimum of $250,000.”

The TISG article never reported out that these bonds were only available to accredited investors – with net personal assets of more than $2 million – or those investing a minimum of $250,000. Its headline said the bonds were sold to the public, and this was repeated a few more times in the article.

Given that TISG is proud that it operates as a commercial site not a socio-political site, one can only wonder at the lack of editorial supervision given that the author “Eternal Vagabond” usually writes stuff that is against PAP administration, one would have tot that editorial supervision would not be so lax. Here the failure of editorial supervision led to misform. In fact the headline and article are defamatory. DBS could sue TISG for claiming that it sold these bonds to the public.

In the course of a row with critics of TISG, Ravi Philemon made it clear that there were writers that TISG never edited, juz published. See the bit towards the end juz before Ravi’s photo

I can only guess Eternal Vagabond is one of these untouchables.

Update at 6.50am: Given that the writer does not even know that the other DBS product (DBS High Notes 5) is not related to junk bonds ( “This is not the first time DBS is linked to junk bonds”), my constructive, nation-building advice to TISG is to make sure the Eternal Vagabond’s financial pieces are vetted throughly. And if this commercial website can’t pay for such editorial expertise, don’t publish this writer’s financial pieces.

But maybe defaming DBS is part of the “eyeballs” plan?


What won’t TISG do to attract eyeballs?

In Uncategorized on 08/08/2016 at 5:10 am

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Selling out for peanuts doesn’t seem a good choice.

Sad that P Ravi still hasn’t managed to clean up the Indian or TISG as it prefers to be known. But maybe he doesn’t want to or his hands are tied? Eyeballs needed to staunch the outflow of newly injected monies earlier this year? A defensive remark on Facebook (on the use of clickbait by TISG before his time) and another remark on the numbers visiting his site worryingly indicates that he too is focusing on eyeballs, flushing credibility down the toilet. If he really wants eyeballs he should cut to the chase: bring on the soft porno or bots. They’ll bring in the eyeballs and the ad revenue.

The clock is ticking. Soon he’ll be remembered for the rubbish that TISG is producing under his watch (and which began before he got involved with TISG), and not for the sterling work at TOC. But then he’s the guy who quit his job so that he could stand in GE 2015. So he’s capable of throwing caution to the winds.

But are the “peanuts”* that TISG getting in ad revenue worth the loss of credibility? As I said bots or boops will bring in the money, serious money. But Ravi seems to have forgotten: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

It’s not even the world, it’s only eyeballs and hopefully some (not serious) ad revenue. Faustus sold his soul to the devil in return for knowledge, and even then on his death-bed, he regretted the transaction.

Someone on FB defended the Indian, For me I’ve been disappointed with many things put up by TISG but occasionally find a very good write-up and this case is one new low. Someone rebutted: If the public toilet always full of shit but occasionally will be cleaned, I rather choose to go find a toilet that is always clean most of the time to use.

I’ll end by posting the views of averageguysg on new media, in general, and TISG, in particular, in response to this post of mine.

The creation of new media started with very high ideals. Wanting to promote responsible, balanced coverage. Wanting to level the political and media playing field. This is why all new media start as socio-political sites.

But the problem is over the years, we’ve come to see that the core audience of many of these sites comprise mainly of cybernuts/freeloaders who KPKB everyday but do not want to contribute even a tiny amount to keep these sites going. The level of donations/crowdfunding given is just pathetic. Now if you are doing not bad like Richard Wan, you’re probably fine for a while. Same if you are Bertha, or Daniel Yap. Even for Terry, he was able to secure 5 figure sums from politicians like Tambyah and Jeanette Chong, which allowed TOC to cover last year’s GE.

But if not, how sustainable is it? A new media site needs money to run just like everything else. And for guys like P Ravi, I suspect its now a source of income for him. The guy piggybacked with the Chiam’s at the last GE, lost, and now has more or less deserted them.

Hence the result. To hell with socio-political, democratic ideals. Eyeballs and clicks are what generates revenue, if not now, then perhaps in future. All TISG has to do is avoid getting into the same trouble TRS has. May not earn as much as the TRS couple but hey, not bad also what.

This is my guess on why TISG has taken the path it has. Never mind if it accidentally “fixed” Dr Chee at the BBBE. It wantonly published that fake “Lee Wei Ling” comment, leading to her scathing put down of Dr Chee in public. It later even managed to make an article about a totally random facebook comment on Dr Chee. Never mind the responsible reporting, the fact based investigation, the “balanced” political field. As long as it generates traffic, sorry to you, Dr Chee. This is also why P Ravi can join in to slime Terry and TOC over the Benjamin Lim affair. Its about rice bowl now, screw the common cause, yeah?

Leon Pererra made a wise choice in getting out. I always suspected it was more to do with the ELD conflict of interest thing. WP doesn’t need TISG anyway, and associating with it would have made things even worse.

*Claims to have about the same level of eyeballs as mothership while running a leaner operation. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

It’s not even the world, it’s only eyeballs and hopefully some ad (not serious) revenue.

Faustus sold his soul to the devil in return for knowledge, and even then on his death-bed, he regretted the transaction.


Rebranding of TOC and the Indian

In Uncategorized on 27/07/2016 at 6:10 am

TOC is the name by which The Online Citizen is more commonly known. There are rumours that “The Online Citizen” name is to be dropped, in favour of “Terry’s Online Channel”. This change is to reflect Terry Xu’s alleged role at TOC. TOC is alleged to be a one-man show.

I can confirm that TOC will not stand for “Terry’s Online Channel” even though Terry doesn’t even have a dog helping him at TOC. It’s really a one-activist show. It’ll soon see its 10th anniversary (if it not already has) and I, for one, hope that it’ll stagger on. Hopefully, it can reinvent itself.

Meanwhile at the Indian TISG, P Ravi, the newly appointed editor has said because the Indian has given up trying to  be a socio-political website, among the many other things it wanted to be.

— “We made certain deliberate choices and rebranded by changing our tagline from ‘Responsible, Intelligent, Robust’ to ‘News That You (our readers) Need;. That set the direction for us in the last 6-months.”

— “TISG is a news agency, not an institution which is entrusted to uphold democratic ideals.”

—  “TISG is positioned to be a tabloid/magazine and not a socio-political website.”





Traingate: The only cyberwarriots LTA, MoT responded to

In Internet, Media on 15/07/2016 at 6:55 am

Trumpets please for SgDaily and Joel Koh, the new kids on the block in Blogosphere S’pore

LTA in the presence of, MoT, Khaw, answered the question that only SgDaily’s Joel Koh asked in public: What happens to service reliability and timings?*

There was no correlation to train delays of more than five minutes to the hairline cracks, LTA said at the briefing. It indicated that most of the delays since 2014 were linked to signalling faults, door or brake issues, with none linked to hairline cracks.

The authority added that even when trains were being repaired, there were always enough trains to meet demand.

For example, for 2016, there are 140 trains available for the North-South and East-West lines, and 124 trains are needed to meet demand. This will continue till 2019 – when replacement work is completed – where there will always be more trains available than needed, according to estimates.


Declaration of interest; My Facebook avatar can post stuff on SgDaily’s FB wall.


*Yes no other blogger or website or activist or Oppo party asked publicly how the cracks affected train service. And neither did the running dogs** from SPH or MediaCorp asked.

So all but two guard dogs were asleep, just like their running dog cousins. Groupthink at its very best.

**Yes my dogs are getting extra treats for this insult to the K9 community.

Traingate: Useless local new media?/ How real joutnalists operate

In Media on 12/07/2016 at 7:10 am

No not because they missed two open goals (here and here)

But because as my friend’s Facebook avatar grumbled:What this [TrainGate] shows is that our alternate media are rubbish. Only use MSM reports to criticise govt. If no ST report, no grumble. ((((( 

He was referring to the fact that a Hongkie website broke the story about the cracked S’pore trains, not one of the usual suspects here. The video was shot here, not in HK.

A tua kee writer from TMG (where an ex-Imperial Keyboard Stormtrooper general, and wannabe Sith Lord, once upon a time, presides) responded

Eh, hello. First of all, the tip-off went to someone in HK. How you want us to know? You think journalist = CID officer is it? If the tip-off had landed with us of course we would have covered it. Second, you think alternate sites got very big budget is it? Starting already kena pay $50,000 deposit.

My friend’s avatar responded with

TOC’s Terry Xu would cover it. So would TRE. But TMG? My toes are laughing.

[My friend was alluding to Bertha Henson’s boast that she allowed one Harry Lee to edit her copy of her article on him when she was a junior ST reporter.]


The issue is why the tip-off went to HK? Because the informer knows that HK site will do the issue justice, but not a S’pore site?

He never got a response.

I’d add two more points to my friend’s snarky but not unreasonable comments.

I suspect that the whistle-blower was certain that if he reported via a S’pore site, his identity would not remain a secret very long. He’d be safer telling the news via a Hongkie site. In this I think he or she has got a point. Something Goh Meng Seng and Uncle Redbean don’t play up is that British standards of behaviour still apply in HK.

And the TMG writer obviously does not have a clue about how the CID or real journalists (not SPH or MediCorp or N Korean ones) operate.

An experienced CID officer catches criminals largely via his network of informers, not thru using the methods of Sherlock Holmes or CSI. A retired very senior police officer once told me that a new CID officer is given a list of existing police informers in his area and is then expected to “recruit” new contacts. When a crime is committed in his “area”, the officer is expected to use his network to solve the crime.

No rocket science or even forensic science needed, As one can expect, this job is not for scholars.

As for how journalists operate outside N Korea and S’pore, he should go find out how the London papers or US journalists work. They inherit and build up networks of informers. Unlike S’porean journalists they don’t depend on “briefings” or releases or reading the local MSM or Facebook.

The attitude of this tua kee writer from TMG is precisely why a former ST reporter and strike leader* wrote on his Facebook page: Investigative journalism has been frowned upon by the establishment here. The mantra was that it has its own checks and balances which can correct its own mistakes, prompting the online world to create a phrase – ownself check ownself – to mock a government that resents media playing the watchdog.

The embarrassment is not just for the government. The MRT story exposed the local media’s inability and/or unwillingness to investigate government scandals and thus help play its rightful role in society.

Investigative journalism is a lost art here. Our newspapers are filled with press-release journalism, making them dull and at most times unreadable.

Hear, hear.

*In those innocent days the Labour minister helped organise a strike at the then ST. That was how pro-labour the PAP were then.




Traingate: Only TRE reader sees the big picture

In Infrastructure on 10/07/2016 at 12:19 pm

Everone else is talking cock and singing song. The Oppo parties, anti-PAP cyberwarriors and activists, allied websites and bloggers, and other new media outlets are screaming their heads off over the cracks in PRC-made trains and the failure of SMRT, LTA and the transport ministry (MoT) to tell us about the cracks.

Only a TRE reader asks: Was our Jurong Port’s security compromised?

The report by Hong Kong’s Factwire Agency yesterday on SMRT defective trains certainly created an online furore amongst netizens.

Video footages of the trains being transported in the wee hours of the morning to Jurong Port by now must have been circulated and shared umpteen times on social media.

For most of us, the focus is on the trains that were defective and were transported `covertly’ back to the manufacturer. For those who have completely missed the video (there are a few others), you can click on the link here (credit of icablenews).

Now scroll to 35 second portion of the video.

This is my concern.

A drone was launched and had a bird’s eye view of the trains that were going to be shipped out.

Aerial surveillance by a drone (both daytime and night time) inside our port?

It is also frightening to know that whoever launched the drone over our port knows exactly the spot where the trains were being unloaded. No one actually spotted the drone hovering inside our port?

Our port is supposedly a protected area. Maritime Port Authority (MPA) perhaps can answer this question of whether drones are allowed to hover over our ports.

Now the next question, if indeed the drone was launched `inside’ the port, was our security so laxed that the perpetuator(s) was able to sneak by our the check points without proper security pass and clearance?

Imagine this drone carried explosives and launched by terrorists to crash into our critical facilities within the port.

Food for thought.


*A concern citizen with more than 9 years’s experience working as a risk practitioner.

Shame on TRE* , TO** , the Indian***, TMG, mothership etc.

And shame on the anti-PAP mob who in their hurry to criticise SMRT, LTA and the PAP administration missed this open goal.

New media and anti-PAPpies are guilty of group think, something that they criticise the PAP of. They are just as guilty of gtoup-think.


*OK it did publish the remarks but otherwise its coverage was juz as shirty as the other publications.

**OK Terry’s away and TOC did tell us about the HK report: the other publications were clueless until they read TOC. They didn’t even credit TOC for reporting the news first. Taz new media ethics fot you.

***Politician Ravi needs to  clean up the mess that he inherited ASAP before TISG’s past tarnishes his reputation.

Traingate: Only SGDaily asks the right question

In Infrastructure on 10/07/2016 at 4:42 am

And researched the answer.

Everyone else is talking cock and singing song. The Oppo parties, anti-PAP cyberwarriors and activists, allied websites and bloggers,  and other new media outlets are screaming their heads off over the cracks in PRC-made trains and the failure of SMRT, LTA and the transport ministry (MoT) to tell us about the cracks.

Can the critics answer the following questions:

Has anyone died as a result of the faulty trains?

Has anyone been injured?

And, has SMRT, LTA or the MoT lost money?

So why should the swing voter care?

There’s only one reason why the swing voters and all S’poreans should care about Traingate. But the usual suspects are too clueless to ask the question that will interest the swing voter. The usual suspects all own cars isit? Or they all unemployed isit? So no need to travel during rush hours?

Only SgDaily’s Joel Koh asks: What happens to service reliability and timings?

And better still, he did some research.

He writes: Remember that SMRT announced last year that it would be adding trains to shorten train service intervals. The current move to recall 26 trains removes 11 per cent from the current fleet’s capacity. Should we expect a corresponding decrease in service reliability and a lengthening of service timings?

This means longer waiting times and decreased passenger satisfaction. Perhaps in typical “only hear the good stuff” fashion, LTA has decided to keep mum about this to avoid making a bad situation even worse?

Yet it does get worse. The existing infrastructure may have to bear hidden additional costs because of this recall. With the reduced capacity, existing trains would have to make more trips, ferry more passengers and undergo more wear and tear during this period.

What would be disastrous is if the older trains also start to display similar issues or develop problems as a result of the need to meet this increased load, which could lead to more trains being taken out of service.


Shame on the Oppo parties, anti-PAP cyberwarriors and activists, allied websites and bloggers,  and other new media outlets for not asking this question, resulting in missing an open goal.

To be fair to TeamTRE, after their rant there was this throwaway line which ended the piece

With 26 trains out of service, MRT commuters might want to consider waking up a few hours earlier than usual or bunking in at the office to avoid being late for work as it sure as hell is going to be more crowded than ever.


Finally, a clarification. He wrote

This piece was inspired by Thoughts of a Cynical Investor. He asks why LTA did not mention how the train recalls will impact MRT train service timings.

Actually my question to SgDaily in an email was more general:

Do SMRT, LTA tell us how train services will be maintained as these trains are repaired.

Got any site, blogger asking?

Don’t see anything on above. LOL




Cybernut Land got new hero/ Harry’s a complex man

In Uncategorized on 20/04/2016 at 2:49 pm

TRE’s cybernuts have a new hero: Harry’s daughter. She must be appalled and he must be fuming given that they are all rabid haters of all things Harry and the PAP.

There have been loud shouts of support for her defamatory comments about her brother, the PM.

When TRE republished this piece of mine, among the rants against me and in favour of Harry’s filial daughter, there was this good comment

There is no need to glorify, mummify or deify the image of LKY. It is already imprinted in the minds of thousands of grateful Singaporeans. This what his daughter Dr Lee Wei Ling wishes for. The piece(lightly edited)  is reproduced at * because it  also shows that the writer understands the complex nature of one Harry Lee.

And in response to this asking why Dr Lee did not object to “LKY: Follow thar Rainbow”, Hawking Eye showed what he and the nutters in TRELand have in common, “die-die” Dr Lee is always right.

The vivid memory of the joyful years with her father and the contentment of having been his anchor support during his final frail years must have caused her reflective pain of unbearable proportion. She must be slowly recovering from that and for her to see her father’s first death anniversary being made, by the powers-be, a national occasion of repeat mourning with state sponsored or orchestrated multiple and extended events, is nothing short of seeking political gain out of the death of a venerated political figure i.e her father. LKY himself was dead against personality cult. Why must the PAP Government attempt to glorify, mummify or deify LKY against his wish and that of his daughter?

The book had already been published. If only Dr Lee Wei Ling had a premonition of what her PM brother and his minions were up to, she would have probably objected to it.

Taz right, move aside New Citizen Han Hui Hui, the cyber-rats have a new heroine.

She’ll stand tall beside Roy, M Ravi and Amos Yee, the nutty three.

The funny thing is that they want her brother to sue her. I’ll explain why one of these days. But with fans like these, she doesn’t need enemies. I mean to be a hero to the ratty, nutty rabble one has to suffer. Ask Roy, M Ravi and Amos if being a hero of the mob brings any benefits other than being a celebrity?


*Hawking Eye:

In defence of Dr Lee Wei Ling

LKY’s political life has diabolical dimensions.

His first avatar was that of a demon – a destroyer. He destroyed the lives of key comrades in arm and their families both before and after he became the most powerful man in Singapore – the PM.

His earlier victims were his arch rivals like the leftists – Lim Chin Siong, Fong Swee Suan, Sydney Woodhull, James Puthuchery, Said Zahari, Poh Soo Kai, Lim Hock Siew and many others.

He was successful in eliminating them because he had the support, at that time, of the Tunku (then Malaya’s PM) and the British, both of whom also wanted the leftists rounded up as they opposed the formation of Malaysia, a British idea planted into the head of the Tunku. Operational Coldstore (2 Feb 1963) was the security sweep that put all of them away for good, some of them for more than 10-20 years. The British wanted to withdraw their troops and bases from this region and they wanted a pro British regime to take care of their commercial and security interests here. They found Anglophile Tunku, the perfect man to ensure this and they floated the idea of Malaysia comprising (the then) Malaya, North Borneo (Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore with Tunku as the PM. The Leftists resisted this – initially the concept itself and later over the terms of merger. They parted company with the PAP and formed their own political party – the Barisan Socialis. Operation Coldstore followed thereafter. Singapore’s separation vindicated the Leftists but they were still kept under detention for many more years to come. Once entrenched in power, LKY was unstoppable. He went after whoever opposed him and many were knocked out flat by him with his knuckle dusters. They included Tan Lark Sye (then President of the Hokkien Huay Kuan and founder of the former Nanyang University (Nantah), Chinese Newspaper editors, JBJ, Francis Seow, Tang Liang Hong, Devan Nair and Dr Chee Soon Juan amongst many others

His second avatar was that of a creator, an exceptional one at that. g a save, secure and thriving livelihood for its people, which he did?

How should history judge LKY?

With the passing of a generation of individuals and their families who suffered at the hands of LKY, what will remain dominant in the psyche of Singaporeans in some 50 years time, is high respect and gratitude for him for making Singapore the special one it is. And at that time, all his ruthless handling of his political adversaries in the long gone past, will not matter or figure in the minds of Singaporeans except, perhaps for those who read history.

There is no need to glorify, mummify or deify the image of LKY. It is already imprinted in the minds of thousands of grateful Singaporeans. This what his daughter Dr Lee Wei Ling wishes for. Some in power may collectively want the home to be preserved, perhaps, for political gains. The Government should respect the wishes of both the late LKY and his wife to demolish their house at 38 Oxley Road and do so accordingly. Not doing so can turn ugly, given the legal options available for Dr Lee to resist such a move.



Not impressed by Sham

In Uncategorized on 07/03/2016 at 1:25 pm

“My ministry has the responsibility to ensure that protocols are in place… If there are questions about the protocol, I will answer, as I am doing now… The responsibility is mine. Let’s not attack the police officers, who cannot defend themselves. They are doing their job, every day, in difficult circumstances.” says minister Shamugam.

Well cyberspace (OK “cowboy town”) was not impressed by what he said but neither it seems is one PAPpy.

I came across a PAPpy who said that the boy was guilty of molesting a girl. When my Facebook avater asked for evidence, he referenced the newspaper articles that reported Sham’s parly comments, and then Sham’s presentation material. I’m sure Sham would have something to say to this PAPpy about what he said.

Back to cyberspace.

A life has been taken unjustly but all I hear is accusations by the government on others. Please be open and fair to the citizens.

Another person posted

[S]o we come to the crux of the problem. Trust in the police and the integrity of the institution versus the death of yes an innocent 14 year old. If ever there was a david versus goliath scenario this i would suppose be it.

Public pressure and outrage serves a purpose in my view , it keeps the issue in the lime light and serves to keep pressure on the issue of minors in detention and the non existent rights they have.

But please understand this and this is the implausible scenario which does not fit. The police were cuddly and nice and told Benjamin and his parents they would recommend a warning and it would be probably be OK, on hearing that he went home decided it was the end of the world when he could not go to a school camp and decided to Jump.

Any tragedy disaster is a chain of interlocking events so you are right in a need to seriously look at the protocols.

Perhaps the police were “nice” , perhaps his words as quoted , I said what the police told me to say, well were reflective of the police just well not doing anything or not being threatening in any way but again we will never know because no adults nor recordings are allowed, and that is what the Minister defends the notion of total absolute trust in the SPF with its vast powers even against minors and that the exercise of said power was not abusive in any way . Trust us he says , trust us even when an innocent 14 year old HAS KILLED himself.

He had earlier posted:

The criticism some well informed , some just pure anger is a given in this age of instant communication and instant opinions. By nature of it being timely and being driven by individuals some of it will be more accurate and some of it less so but I would ask without the public questioning however wild, would we be able to get the disclosure that we have had thus far ?

The honourable minister is clearly defending the police whilst allowing for “change in the protocols. ” and while the criticisms are harsh some of it seems warranted.

For example the outrage at the utter waste of life because in Essence Benjamin killed himself over an act which on AGCs review would have merited a “warning” a f******* warning. In essence he DIED innocent and thats not without going into that whole legal debate because of another activists the “legality of a warning”.

To not put to fine a point of it and what I have said to detractors ,there is room and allowance for a 14 year old minor which will not exists for an adult because simply as a minot he should be given the benefit of the doubt.

The very fact that CCTV catches him following the girl and touching the girl , the very fact that the Home Minister states that he admitted to “intentionally” molested/touching the girl cast not one iota of light onto his actual intent.

He might have liked the girl and though it a way to get her attention, He might have been trying to steal a kiss, or being playful etc etc . There are many variations which can and will be played out but we need a better nuanced understanding of “intentionally” above the simple one provided.

His last paragraph is a gem because it points out that CCTV is not evidence of a crime. It was only evidence that the boy needed to be interviewed by the police.

The CCTV was a record but a record of what ? There was no report or allegations of force, use of threats, criminal intimidation, robbery etc etc etc NONE. so how did such naughty at best behavior end in such a tragedy……


On the contrary, TOC Terry had a great week

In Media on 06/03/2016 at 4:42 pm

The Middle Ground couldn’t resist aniping at TOC aka Terry Xu

THE Online Citizen (TOC) has had a bad week, having had to endure a salvo of fire coming from different sides. First, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam chastised the site for propagating “falsehoods” with regard to the death of 14-year-old Benjamin Lim. Second, The Straits Times ran a story highlighting that the site was now a one-man-show. The third and latest blow dealt to the site comes in the form of a Media Development Authority (MDA) order for The Opinion Collaborative Ltd (TOC Ltd), to return its revenues to a foreign advertiser.

My friend replied:

I tot Terry Xu (aka TOC) had a great week. Get great publicity thanks to minister (eyeballs that TMG, Indi and mothership would kill for), show S’poreans that one man get make a difference* (get minister upset), and best of all fix the “bad” side of TOC. All hail Terry. Btw, I edited his first pieces for TOC. After each rewrite, I mean rewrite, I’d say to Ravi, “Pls ask him to juz take photos.” It was clear from his sentence structures he was thinking in Chinese, then translating into English. He’s come a long way.

Terry posted this recently on what makes him run (Btw, he left out what he told me last year: his feeling that there are injustices that have to made tight or at least publicised.):

I was talking to one of my friends this afternoon and the point about “journalism standards” came out.

My point is this. I don’t call myself as a journalist. It would be an insult to the term if I am titled as one. I am trained as a electronic technician at school and worked as an engineer so I would introduce myself as either of that as my core profession and engineering to me remains as my passion in life. I call myself as a reporter or whatever, solely for the sake of convenience in doing my work.

So whenever anyone from the journalistic community talks about journalism standards** to me, I don’t feel insulted nor disheartened. I just learn whatever I can from the comments and feedback to improve the stuff that I do.

The reason why I am doing what I am doing now is because the people who are trained in their job are not doing their god-given duties/profession properly with pride and integrity. If Singapore had real journalists who covered stories truthfully to the best of their ability, there would be no place for a person like me, someone who is terrible in English and ill-trained in “journalistic practices” doing what is essentially a one-man show.

So Singapore reporters or journalists or whatever, think about the reason why you took up the course and subsequently the job. Is your monthly salary the reason why you decided to work as a reporter or because you had a greater calling in this profession.

Singapore can never change for the better without the media professionals doing their job right.

Additional note – Some have talked about the difficulties that reporters have when facing their editors who are put in place for their pro-government stance. While not dismissing their attempts to push the boundaries, I still note that reporters (of course, grudgingly due the editors) is responsible for the poor literacy of this country. Because, ultimately, the half truths are written and signed in the name of the reporters.

On another point of securing the job as a reporter, a simple point for such reporters to consider, while it is unfair, but wouldn’t they be just perpetuating the whole system that brought about this unfair situation by conforming to the system; giving an impression to the public that nothing is being hidden from their eyes and everything is dandy. That because one needs to be paid, then submit articles so as to support a media outlet to allows the editor to bully the reporters into submission? To me as a layman, it seems just illogical especially when they know exactly who and what is creating this non-conducive environment for their work.

I made a small donation to TOC. I hope readers do too

Btw, my dogs are thinking about my suggestion that I stop donating to the RSPCA and to donate instead to TOC. I told them there’s a minister looking out for dogs and cats etc, but there’s no minister to help people like the Lims.


*Those who applied to be NMPs, wanting to make a difference, should take up blogging. Has any NMP in recent memory got a minister so annoyed? I rest my case.

**A tua kee media figure criticised Terry recently in an article in Yahoo. Funny he didn’t tell us that he is a shareholder of the Indian and has some management role there. But this guy has form in not disclosing interests and

Anyway what can one expect from someone who bites the hand that fed him well?


In defence of TOC

In Uncategorized on 02/03/2016 at 1:04 pm

No I’m not defending TOC against the accusations of the Minister for Pets because a Facebook comment says it all:

By hitting out at TOC, Shanmugan completely avoids discussing issues such as the management of police investigations involving minors.
TOC asked many pertinent questions. Asking questions is not same as spreading falsehood.
BTW it is a FACT, not falsehood, that the ministers and police did not respond till now.*

No, I refer to this which laments that TOC has fallen from the standards set by people like  Siow Kum Hong and P Ravi and is now in the gutter alongside ASS and TRE.

Speaking as someone who was involved with TOC in those glory days (juz ask Ravi or KH), I think the lady is talking rubbish. TOC is evolving. Under Terry Xu it’s trying to move beyond BS commentary.

Once upon a time, commentary criticising the PAP administration was cutting edge stuff..

Now when there are publications like The Middle Ground*, mothership*** and the Indian doing criticising the pAP administration it’s time to move on from this stuff. It’s no longer edgy to criticise the PAP administration.

TOC may succeed or it may fail but it’s trying to be on the cutting edge in its 10th yr of operation. It got lost when it became Hammer–on -Line. The WP took the publicity and its MPs kept their wallets and purses closed. One of the co-founders never became a WP candidate in GE 2015,

TOC may get lost again, but it’s trying ti remain relevant and edgy.

As for her praise of the Indian Independent, what can I say? If any website needs adult supervision it’s this website. It’s run, I’m told,  by two interns, both with links to the NTU School of Journalism, and their inexperience shows.

— Earlier this yr it carried a glowing story about WP’s Leon the Lion Man. Trouble was theIndian didn’t tell readers that he was a shareholder. A good, reputable publication should have highlighted the fact, to avoid accusations of biasness. 

— And it took a long time for it to correct a mistake (weeks in fact) after it was pointed out to the Indi that it linked to the wrong article.

Coming back to TOC, the fact that the Indian, and mothership are gleefully repeating the remarks of the Minister For Pets show how much they hate and want to dethrone TOC. Power to it. As for TMG, I respect its coverage of its remarks of the Minister For Pets.

TOC must be doing shumething right, attracting the wrath of Shanmugan and his new media pets allies.

Update at 4.30am on 3 March: A great comment by a co-founder (not the wannabe Sith Lord) of TMG on the realese of TMG of a very long document released by the Minister for Pets to Parly on TOC’s falsehoods: “Look, a boy has just died but we really want everyone to know that TOC misreported us.”

At this rate, I’ll have to stop making snide remarks about She who wanted to be a Sith Lord. Keep up the good work TMG.


*My Facebook avatar replied: Last para: Sub judice lah. The British have moved on from the sub judice conventions that they passed down to us.

I’ll be doing a piece explaining what he meant.

**Establishment figures set it up: two Paper Imperial Stormtroopers , one of which tot she could be ST editor. This is a Sith Lord post.

***Rumoured to have been funded to the tune of $1m by Philip Yeo (Remember him?) after lobbying by one George Yeo (Heard of him?). The way it has been buying eyeballs indicates that it has serious money to burn.

PAPpies keep trying trick that’s obsolescent

In Political governance, Public Administration on 16/02/2016 at 3:27 pm

The internet, new media and social media makes the trick ever easier to detect. Yet they persist in treating this trick as a Hard Truth, even though when caught out it makes them look like Phey Yew Kok and friends. Why do they persist? That stupid and complacent isit? Why liddat?

The above were my tots when GIC’s ex-chief economist (now with the Institute of Policy Studies) highlighted this bit in SunT’s report on an environment assessment report which said the effect of soil testing works on animals and plants in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve could be kept to “moderate” levels if measures to reduce impact are strictly implemented when building MRT tracks in the area.

What does “moderate” mean? The roughly 1,000-page report, seen by The Sunday Times, said a moderate impact “falls somewhere in the range from a threshold below which the impact is minor, up to a level that might be just short of breaching a legal limit”.

Assistant Professor Chian Siau Chen of the civil and environmental engineering department at the National University of Singapore said there are usually five categories under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) framework: Major, moderate, minor, negligible and beneficial.

My FB avatar posted

Thanks for highlighting the scale. So Moderate comes after Major ((((( Reminds me of what Financial Times wrote: “The practice of “reservation” — giving answers that are technically accurate but tactically misleading — was honed by medieval Jesuits ….

‘There is a problem with Jesuitical equivocation, as select committee hearings may show. It makes exponents look shifty if they are rumbled.” In the age of the internet the PAP govt should be learning new tricks, not try to use old tricks that no longer answers that are technically accurate but tactically misleading

(Emphasis mine)

This reminded me about another recent incident where the literal truth misled and S’pore Technologies was made to look shifty.

Remember the story that we we had PRC parachute riggers?

The u/m appeared on a senior lawyer’s wall

“The SAF continues to fully employ its Riggers, particularly for key operations and training. In order to optimise our resources, we have outsourced the parachute-packing function to Singapore Technologies (ST)”.

Question : If the parachute-packing is outsourced to ST, what do the riggers do?

Answer : Dunno. Answer is (probably intentionally) obscure. One possibility is that the riggers check the parachutes – but the SAF’s answer is far from being a model of clarity.

Question : Has the outsourcing of packing to ST reduced the SAF’s need for riggers?

Answer : Almost certainly.

Question : Are there PRC nationals employed by ST to pack parachutes.

Answer : SAF doesn’t say. Who knows.

Question : Do ST packers have to jump with a chute they’ve packed themselves?

Answer : SAF didn’t say.


A very direct allegation (that parachute packing is now being done by PRC nationals) was made, and the answer was vague, and did not contain a denial…… Hmmmm.

Why didn’t the SAF simply state that no foreign nationals are employed to pack parachutes? I hope it’s ineptness in public relations rather than clumsy 1MDB style non-denials.

The rather sad thing is that the newspapers pick up on the SAF response and repeat it verbatim as news, without asking any follow up questions trying to understand what it really means in simple terms.

This is the ‘uncritical’ media culture we have … In today’s day and age, where Singapore is trying to promote risk taking and value creation, the newsmedia culture is somewhat outmoded ,,,

My FB avatar chirped:

Someone in another group informed of a deleted comment. It could explain why SAF aswered the way it did./// “I checked into this. Here’s what I was told:
“There are a couple of PRC Riggers who are under IWF (Integrated Work Force) and work for ST. These Riggers are US certified and will be certified again by the SAF if they have met the requirements and standards. Their pack jobs are certified by SAF Riggers who approve that the parachutes are ready and good for jump. They are only basic trained and perform their job according to their level.””///

The internet, new media and social media make giving answers that are technically accurate but tactically misleading easier to catch and this makes exponents look shifty if they are rumbled. In the age of the internet, the PAP administration should be learning new tricks (like telling the tral truth, not just the literal truth), not try to use old tricks that no longer work like giving answers that are technically accurate but are misleading.



The silence of Amos Yee

In Media on 10/02/2016 at 7:27 am

Readers may want to know that his verbal diarrhea has stopped.

His last post on Facebook was on 12 Jan, when he reposted an old video telling Sec4 students to drop out of the education system. The O-level results had just been made public.

His last tweet was on Jan 23.

The rest is silence.

Being a foul-mouth brat who wants to be a celebrity is impossible when the MSM, new media and social media refuse to give him the oxygen of publicity.

Being a fugitive from justice that the police cannot be bothered to arrest is a really demotalising thing for a wannabe celebrity. He’ll later this yr be an NS defaulter. That’s the time, he’ll be arrested, and thrown into jail. Hard then for the human rights activists to claim that he’s being persecuted.

But maybe he’ll commit suicide first to get some publicity? Or as is more likely pretend to.

He can see the attention Benjamin Lim is getting. I hope he realises that S’poreans know that unlike Benjamin Lim, he Amos Yee, is the authour of his fate. Poor Bejamin died because of “honest” mistakes by MoE and police officers.

Update on 11 Feb at 7 am: A regular commenter made some great comments (Emphasis mine):

Amos has his mum to provide for him, and Roy realised quite early his game is up, immediately started to find work after GE. Wonder about HHH. Whos gonna support her?

Reality bites huh. These fellows were very happily lapping it all up, milking it for what its worth.

But the worst situation is not that people actively silencing you, or people speaking against you. Or IBs with fake accounts commenting on your page.

The worst for people like them – is when no one cares.

Headmaster that blur meh?

In Media, Public Administration on 11/01/2016 at 12:00 pm

Maybe it’s a surprise that we don’t have more PTSD victims like Amos Yee given the logic of this ex-headmaster.

The ex-principal (going for further studies, not kanna fired) of Shuqun Secondary recently responded* to

In September of last year, this video of a bullying incident in Shuqun Secondary School surfaced and soon went viral.

In summarry, he blamed new media (and the constructive, nation-building media: the PAPpy friendly ST etc reported the Middle Ground’s story) for blowing up the bullying incident and not telling the truth. The reporting was “deliberate and irresponsible”: this included supposedly “balanced” online and mainstream media who felt right to reproduce the articles choosing to feature sensationalised headlines that gave a wrong impression of the facts.

The problem (i.e. flaw) with his analysis is simple. Until he gave his side of the story, three months after the event, there was only silence from him and the MoE. So how could there be “balance” or “truth” (whatever this is)? Now he and the MOE may have reasonable and legtimate reasons for silence if the decision to keep quiet wasn’t simply an honest mistake**.

Whatever, how can he now blame media (new and constructive, nation-building) of irresponsible behaviour when he was unwilling or unable to say anything at the time the video went viral?  If anyone was “deliberate and irresponsible” (I assume he really meant “deliberately irresponsible”) , it was the silence of theprincipal and perhaps MOE**.

Having been freed from the constraints of his job**, he could (and should) have simply told his side of the story without name-calling or labelling: just give the facts as he saw them. But no, he had to indulge in name-calling and labelling like Amos Yee. And he’s an educated man who held a position of trust and responsibility, not a spoiled kid, whose mother thinks he’s “fantastic”.

As he’s going for further studies, one can only hope that the course includes handling the media in an age of 24/7 news coverage. new media and social media. Pigs will fly first.

Seriously MoE must remind officers not to talk cock because talking cock reflects badly on the eduction service. It must also update its manual on the handling media queries. viral videos etc in an age of 24/7 news coverage. new media and social media. Silence is no longer the default option.

Finally, I can’t stop laughing at this comment by Bertna Henson the editor of TMG NOW he talks….three months later. After a deafening silence, a deadening rant. As always, shoot the messenger, after declining to talk to them. And messengers must always deliver “good news” to be considered “responsible””.

Really people who once lived in glass houses should refrain from throwing stones. She was once a general (paper stormtropper) on the Death Star that is ST. ST was during her time (and still is) very good at shooting nessengers of news that the PAP administration rather not hear.


*Text of FB message


Dear friends,

I was the principal of ‪#‎shuqunsecondary‬ from 2012 to 2015.

From 1 Jan 2016, I will be leaving the education service. I am hoping to pursue further studies. Yes, I am doing well. smile emoticon And no, before you ask, I made this decision some time before the “bullying incident” in my school. MOE and the public service is more reasonable and far kinder than most give them credit for.

To assure those of you who are still curious about the follow up to the incident, I thought I would share a picture of the 3 boys involved. The circle time in the picture was taken on the FIRST DAY after all of them returned to school. The “bully” apologised in person and in writing to both victims and to the class. Both victims forgave him and they were friends again within 2 hours. Consequences were meted out to the boy according to our school rules in private and ALL THE PARENTS INVOLVED were satisfied with the actions of the school. The boy will have to face more serious punishment under the law.

More hearteningly, in November, the 3 boys, together with their classmates, initiated and planned their own service learning project during the school’s open house. They baked brownies and made drinks for visitors to showcase the work of our student-run Hideout Cafe. They told me they wanted to make restoration for the bad reputation they had brought to the school. I am very proud of them.

Many ppl who know the truth of the events in my school have asked me why I did not respond more actively to the various reports on the Internet when the incident happened. My answer – I did not want to feed the ongoing media frenzy and help viral irresponsible articles that were being put out by my comments. Sadly, this included supposedly “balanced” online and mainstream media who felt right to reproduce the articles choosing to feature sensationalised headlines that gave a wrong impression of the facts.

Make no mistake – these were deliberate and irresponsible decisions made by the media. For example, an online news website that purports to be a place for “moderate speech and agreeable disagreement” posted an article headlined “the school was aware of the bullying 5 months before the incident”. A close reading of the report itself would have revealed that a single complaint was made to the school and the teacher involved had done the correct thing by warning the aggressor. She was not aware that the bullying resumed a few days later.

The same website chose not to emphasise comments by the mum herself that she appreciated the work that the school had done with her child and the improvements that she had seen in the child over the last 3 years. They ellided over the fact that A FULL WEEKEND separated the incident from the time it was posted on the Internet, during which neither victim mentioned anything to the school nor their parents. The media chose not to mention that both VICTIMS had written to me that they felt sorry for their friend and hoped to see everyone move on. They did not clarify that the online video was NOT posted by any of my school’s students (because we teach them that the correct thing to do if they care for their friends is to raise it to the teachers) but a school leaver from another school who posted it on a gaming site at 9am on a school day. There was no mention that one of the victim’s mum had gone down to the police station ON HER OWN 2 weeks later to withdraw the police report because she felt satisfied with the school’s handling of the incident and that it was a mistake to have gone to the police in the first place.

At the same time, some of the online reports seem to suggest that after one or two meetings with one of the victims in question, the journalist somehow understood and COULD SPEAK FOR the boy’s psychological state, better than the school. By reducing the children to spokespeople for “the broader problem of bullying in schools”, the reports cared nothing for them as people. They mention nothing about how one of the boys dreams of being a top chef, another speaks to his mum in sign language, the last has improved significantly in his reading despite suffering from dyslexia, and all three find EBS difficult. And all this which I know as a Principal is nothing compared to what my teachers know of them, working daily for 9+ hours each day with the boys over the last 3 years and sharing with them the heartache and struggles of their growth.

It is not difficult to see how these biased reports might have fed some of the extreme online vitriol. These included many threats by netizens such as “if i see the boy, I will bash his skull in”, “let me give him a taste of his own medicine.” Instead of trusting the school and the police to investigate and take the right actions, many suggested taking things into their own hands. There were false accusations of gang connections and that the boy was a compulsive bully. Unhappily, there were also derisory comments about the school by people who did not know the first thing about Shuqun Secondary. This was unfair to the 1200 other students, their parents, the committed staff, and the alumni and stakeholders of the school.

As a teachable moment following the incident, my teachers conducted a bully-free lesson with all the students. This is material which we repeat every year as part of our bully-free week where we teach our students about the different forms of bullying including physical, verbal and psycho-social. In her reflection, one of my students mentioned the way that adults were behaving online, that was causing my students being afraid to go out in public in their uniforms after school and to participate in social media. She ended her reflection by asking ” how is this not bullying?” I had no answer for her.

(The same media website compared this case with another case of bullying in a prestigious all-girls’ school that was recently resolved in court and suggested that there was a difference between physical and verbal/psychosocial bullying. We teach our students that these are all forms of bullying that cause suffering in others, and that it does not matter what was the intent behind the action but the act itself).

(An Auckland school principal gave a similar response to cyber-bullies after a similar incident happened in his school…)

In ending, my wishes for the new year are –

1) To the media friends especially (some of whom are my relatives, ex-classmates and former students), I would like to urge you to take greater care in your reporting. For each irresponsible journalist and dubious media website, I have met many more considered and enlightened ones, some of whom reported on the many achievements and good stories from my students and staff in the past. While I understand the pressure to attract more views and comments in this age of social media through increasingly sensational reporting, you too have a DUTY OF CARE to your subjects, especially children. You have the power to report the full truth and shape opinion, not just pander to the lowest denominator in the hopes of representing yourself as the mouthpiece of the public. Be mindful of the innocent parties that you might be unintentionally hurting, and the feelings of hatred you might be stoking online. In some cases, it can spill over to real cases of vigilantism, as several cases of adults taking the law into their own hands against children or teenagers have shown in 2015. Sometimes the best thing we can do for the people we care about is to stay quiet and do the deep work to support and help them learn and grow.

2) To the wider and largely well meaning public, be mindful of what u “like” or comment on the Internet. Be aware that what u see or read online often does not constitute the whole truth, and choosing even to click on links (without needing to share) can help to viral these falsehoods. Trust the institutions that we have put in place to do the right things; that is the mark of a civil society.

And if we speak about allowing our children to learn from their mistakes in education, to give the academically weaker students a chance to catch up and succeed, the same grace and patience should be extended to our students when teaching them good character. We can do better as adults to be kinder to one another in real life and on the Internet. Remember, OUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING AND LEARNING.

3) To my fellow colleagues in Shuqun and elsewhere in the teaching fraternity, those in social services and the police who work daily with these kids – strive on! I have had the privilege of meeting many of you in my years of service. Some have given up higher paying jobs. Others, like me, have studied and taught in “top” schools but chose to work in schools like Shuqun because you want to go to the places of greatest need and believe in the potential of every child of Singapore, not just some. And we live the mission every day, and don’t just talk or write about it.

To encourage you, let me share something that another parent sent me, during those difficult days of September. He was the father of the boy that was hit by one of the victims, in another video that surfaced subsequently. This time the student who had taken the video did the right thing, and brought it to my attention before it went viral so that we could address the matter with those involved. When I met the father, he had complete trust in the school’s handling of the matter. More importantly, because of the close relationship he had with his son, he was confident that his boy would have raised the matter to him if it had affected him. 2 days later, when the video became viral, it was HE who sent me a message of encouragement through my school counsellor – “Tell Mr Chia to take care. I am very impressed by his dedication to the students.”

Thank you Mr Hong , and the many other parents and partners, for renewing our faith and for supporting our teachers as they do the hard work of believing in and helping your children.

Happy New Year.

Chia Hai Siang

P.S. Pls SHARE if you think this will encourage a teacher or a parent.

**MoE officers like all civil servants are not authorised to talk to the media unless expressly authorised.

Related post on why the PAP administration’s PR is so bad

This yr Christmas came early/ Super Troll

In Uncategorized on 25/12/2015 at 10:54 am

I got a compliment earlier this vyear that made me so, so happy:

Super Troll? Taz me isit?

Here’s a good definition of a super troll from a TRE nut in a post when TRE republished my piece on the people who made M Ravi sick:

But time and again TRE is posting articles by Cynical Investor which are nothing more than personal sick attacks on opposition figures, other bloggers and laced with snide comments targeting TRE readers and TRE itself.

To use an analogy, what is happening is like the head of a household (TRE) inviting an outsider and rascal (CI) into the family home and he repeatedly abuses his welcome by ridiculing and mocking the and picking quarrels with the members of the household.

This outsider is nothing more than a disruptive force and sooner or later the members of the family will get sick and tired and will blame the head of the household and may even leave the house due to the disruptive antics of this unwelcomed outsider.

Sometimes as head, one has to make hard decisions and not stick absolutely to principles.

Made my day. Seriously, his comments show that the PAP has won the war on what are the “right” ideas. The PAP is intolerant of criticism, of alternative views and here’s an anti-PAP paper warrior (nut division) agreeing a “family” must be united and throw out disruptors. The only difference between him and one Harry Lee  is on what are the “right views”.
The full piece
Infantile PAP IBs:

Infantile PAP IBs:
Cynical Investor, go get a life instead of coming to TRE to bark for attention*.

Call yourself a blogger but you are behaving like an infantile bragger.

Wonder why TRE keeps on posting his nonsense childish articles which are used to attack and mock opposition figures, TRE readers and even TRE itself.

How much did this pest pay to get each article published in TRE when not a single other forum will entertain his rubbish and post a single article from him?

TRE tolong lah, spare TRE readers the agony and stop giving him the attention and space he craves for.

Mod: TRE is a platform for healthy, critical discourse and each is entitled to his/her own opinion. Learned readers can agree or disagree based on the arguments presented. Thank you.

It is noble and noteworthy of TRE to give an avenue for “healthy critical discourse and each is entitled to his/ her own opinion.

But time and again TRE is posting articles by Cynical Investor which are nothing more than personal sick attacks on opposition figures, other bloggers and laced with snide comments targeting TRE readers and TRE itself.

To use an analogy, what is happening is like the head of a household (TRE) inviting an outsider and rascal (CI) into the family home and he repeatedly abuses his welcome by ridiculing and mocking the and picking quarrels with the members of the household.

This outsider is nothing more than a disruptive force** and sooner or later the members of the family will get sick and tired and will blame the head of the household and may even leave the house due to the disruptive antics of this unwelcomed outsider.

Sometimes as head, one has to make hard decisions and not stick absolutely to principles.

Just my personal opinion.

Thank you.

Rating: +52 (from 52 votes)
The greatest troll
William Coltman

William Coltman was the most highly decorated non-commissioned officer of the War.

A conscientious objector, his Christian beliefs prevented him from taking up arms, but he served as a stretcher bearer and won his awards without firing a shot.


 * He was earlier upset over this piece where I pointed out the ang moh tua kees like Kirsten Han, Lynn Lee had moved on from Amos’ case. They ignored the dismissal of his appeal. If they were really interested in issues like freedom of speech, they shouldn’t. As I blogged here, the hudge’s views are problematic.
**OK for Mother Mary’s Amos the Fantastic to disrupt Christians and LKY groupies, and the good citizens of S’pore but not OK for me to disrupt TRE’s cybernuts isit?

TOC does a gd deed/ Who was GG trying to fix?

In Uncategorized on 09/12/2015 at 11:40 am

When I first saw this, my FB avatar went WTF! on Facebook. A beefy, young man with three children, on welfare, KPKBing and then trying to fix a welfare officer. And he and his wife could afford video recording eqpt to boot? Makes one agree with one Harry about those who sponge off tax-payers.

Well TOC explained that things were not as they seemed. Example: guy was really seriously ill despite being tua chiak

It was a video that should not have gone on-line. It seems that one Gilbert Goh (yup one of the usual suspects) who put in on-line with the consent of the welfare couple. They told tOC they regretted filming and making the video public. Not surprising given the nasty comments they attracted from me and nany others. Juz wondering who GG was trying to fix? Social activists and ordinary S’poreans who want the PAP administration to spend more on welfare.

But here’s a further twist to the plot. A social activist and wannabe politican (whom I respect) ctiticised TOC for interviewing the couple with questions along the lines of “Why have three kids if you also need welfare”. He called “insensitive” to Ravi’s plight.

My FB avater defended TOC’s piece

 I for one wanted to know why if so poor have two kids and want a third. His explanation that he had two when he had a job, and that the third was conceived before he became unable to work means that if I see comments about “why poor but still want kids”, I’ll be able to kick ass.

— I’ve not spoken to our mutual friend in TOC but I think that TOC (rightly perceived in my view) that the video was an own goal. That many S’poreans (self included) had questions about the guy himself rather than his plight. It also undermined the growing view that more should be spent on welfare. The video is the kind of stuff that a troll (again including self) would use to counter Dr Chee. And while from yr perspective of the importance of human dignity it was insensitive, the interview showed me (al least) that the guy and wife were not irresponsible bums and scroungers. They had problems, thru no fault of their own, and needed a helping hand. They would be in the words of the Victorians and the majority of PAP voters “the deserving poor”..

I understand that my avatar was right about TOC’s motive.

Three cheers for TOC for giving us the details to show us that the couple are otdinary S’poreans who need a helping hand.  And a “Dislike” to Gilbert Goh and my activist friend. He didn’t see the big picture issue that TOC saw.

Btw, I’ll blog on a group of S’poreans who really think the PAP administration owes them a living. In fact, they feel more entitled than our ministers. No wonder the PAP gets a 70% majority.

Media Literacy Council doesn’t think words matter?

In Political governance on 03/12/2015 at 10:18 am

Words don’t have have consequences, they seem to say.

Followig the shootings at a Colorado abortion clinic, Planned Parenthood (the operator of the clinic) executive vice president Dawn Laguens said, “One of the lessons of this awful tragedy is that words matter, and hateful rhetoric fuels violence. It’s not enough to denounce the tragedy without also denouncing the poisonous rhetoric that fuelled it.”

She was referring to the rhetoric of the opponents of Planned Paewnthood which includes all the Republican presidential contenders. The candidates have been condemning Planned Parenthood’s activities, some using the language that we associate with Calvin Cheng but without the claim of talking difficult philosophical issues to justify their comments.  Someone of Facebook comparing Trump’s comments with Calvin’s comments on killing ISIS. “But this one not pretending to advise public on media literacy and etiquette.”

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, more bltnt ande more partisan,called the Colorado shootings “an act of terrorism”, “Those running for president and those of us in leadership roles in our country’s major political parties have an obligation to denounce these attacks and clearly say that violence and intimidation in the pursuit of ideology are not acceptable in America.”

That “words matter, and hateful rhetoric fuels violence” is something that Calvin Cheng, a member of the Media Literacy Council, and his protector the chairman of the Media Literacy Council, Professor Tan Cheng Han) seem to have forgotten. Despite them being tasked by the PAP administration to advise S’poreans on media literacy and etiquette.

Worse they also ignore what the High Court judge in the Amos Tee case said This is not freedom of speech, this is a licence to hate, to humiliate others and to totally disregard their feelings or beliefs by using words to inflict unseen wounds”. It seems like … throwing stones at his neighbour’s flat to force the neighbour to notice him, (and) come out to quarrel.”

But let’s look on the bright side. My Facebook Avater commented:

And as Calvin Cheng and the chair of the Media literacy Council show even calling for the killing babies can be justified as not amounting to “hate speech”. //The internet has (by accident, not design) has fostered a culture in which anybody can pretend to be who they like, or give no details at all: “Nobody knows you’re a dog” as a New Yorker cartoon put it. // Calvin Cheng and Prof Tan have dropped all pretence of trying to show that they are intelligent men worthy of respect. ))))

Someone commenting on FB about this post of mine that the books of Maugham, Foster and Wilde (all greater writers) may be removed from the shelves of NLB because they are gat, said.

We clearly have a rightwing segment in society but in light of twits such as Calvin Cheng, do we have a far right loony fringe? This may not matter since the fringe is well, the fringe but one should be reminded that people like Calvin Cheng makes a beef about being part of the establishment.

Now, then ask yourself; who is more dangerous to the nation? The 30% who desire pluralism or the right wing loonies who among other things would rather Singapore violate stuff like the Geneva Convention.

I commented in reply  V.V Good points abouy people like CC claiming to be part of the establishment. And that 30% not so dangerous. Going by the way chair of MLC defends CC, we can only wonder if the real establishment shares the views of CC.

As I always tell my dogs that if they misbehave in public, they reflect badly on me. But then Calvin is no ‘dog”, he’s more of a TRE cyber-rat.



“Hate speech”: MLC chair ignores judge’s comments

In Uncategorized on 02/12/2015 at 2:26 pm

(Ot “Provocation” is not freedom of speech”)

I was very disgusted by Dr Tan’s defence of Calvin Cheng a member of the Media Literacy Council of which Dr Tan chairs. His mealy-mouthy defence is here.  Calvin Cheng is white horse isit?

Here’s something my Facebook avatar  posted on Siow Kum Hong’s wall when Siow took the high moral ground that CC should not be given the AY treatment and which happens to explain my difference of opinion with prof Tan: If it waz gd enough for Mummy’s Boy Fantastic, it’s gd enough for Calvin Cheng. No double standards pls. Justice S’pore style must be done. Here’s what the high court judge said in Amos Yee’s case that applies to “Kill IS babies” MLC member Calvin Cheng: Justice Tay said: “This is not freedom of speech, this is a licence to hate, to humiliate others and to totally disregard their feelings or beliefs by using words to inflict unseen wounds”. It seems like … throwing stones at his neighbour’s flat to force the neighbour to notice him, (and) come out to quarrel.”

There’s another relevant bit even if “Kill IS babies” Cheng doesn’t use vulgar words: “Yee used coarse, hard-hitting words to arouse emotions … vulgar insults to deliberately provoke readers and draw them out,” he said, adding that the 16-year-old should “wean himself off his preference for crude, rude language (and engage in) real debate”, which can “flourish in an environment of goodwill, reasoning and civil language”.

And I’ll add to the above this for Professor Tan’s further education even if he’s a legal academic:

The fact that it was Yee’s “dominant intention” to critique Mr Lee is irrelevant, said the prosecution, led by Second Solicitor-General Kwek Mean Luck. As long as Yee had a “deliberate intention”, it is enough to prove the charge, Mr Kwek said.

Prof Tan pls note. Whatever Calvin’s intention, they are irrelevant.

Yee’s “deliberate intention” was evident, said the prosecution, as Yee himself had admitted that he was “fully aware that his remarks were bound to promote ill-will amongst the Christian population”, said Mr Kwek.

Prof Tan pls note. “Killer” Cheng has made it clear that he wants to provoke controversy i.e. trouble and ill-will.

Justice Tay noted that Yee had an “unhappy experience” in the Catholic Church. In one of his police statements, Yee said that he was “kicked out of the altar boys” for uttering a profanity at an altar boys meeting. There was therefore a background when he made the offending comments. “They were not innocent words uttered without real thought”, Justice Tay said.

Well, based on his track record of comments, it can be reasonably argued that Calvin Cheng really wants to kill babies of ISIS fighters if he is given the opportunity.


Amos (Mummyy’s Boy Fantastic) had an appeal against his conviction and jail sentence dismissed by the High Court on Oct 8. was found guilty of two charges in May, after a two-day trial. He was convicted of one count of making offensive or wounding remarks against Christianity and one count of circulating obscene imagery.

Other interesting snippets_ from CNA about the appeal hearing:

The defence argued that Yee was exercising his constitutional right to freedom of speech and provoke “critical discussion”. Said Mr Dodwell: “Yes, Amos has been rude but were his actions a crime?”

— Justice Tay Yong Kwang said: “Yee used offending words against the central figure of the Christian religion.”

“Yee’s attitude of complete disregard for others … is not commonly seen. He did not respect anyone.” He had “openly defied” court orders and made sure his “bravado” was made known. Judge got this about right.

— Another of Yee’s lawyers, Mr Chong Jiahao, said that it “cannot be proven as fact” that Yee intended the comments to wound the religious feelings of Christians. “His purpose was to talk about the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew”, Mr Chong said, adding that there was no “cogent evidence” otherwise produced in court.

— On the obscene imagery charge, Justice Tay said that the image Yee circulated “must be obscene by the standards of any right-thinking society”.

Yee’s third lawyer, Mr Ervin Tan argued that the image “does not depict any genitalia” and that the district judge had used the “wrong vantage point” in determining the image to be able to deprave and corrupt young minds.

The District Judge had put herself “in the shoes of right-thinking parents and teachers of our community” and concluded that they would not approve of their children or students viewing the image, said Mr Tan, adding his view that this test is wrong and has “no foundation in law”.

“A picture does not become obscene only when genitalia is explicitly shown”, Justice Tay said. “Depravity and corruption relate essentially to the mind”, said Justice Tay.

He then challenged Mr Tan: “Would a young man bring this picture to show to his girlfriend’s family and say ‘hey, look that this funny picture’? No. Why would he not do it? Something in you says, it’s not right.”

Why MLC has to talk about Calvin

In Internet on 29/11/2015 at 1:28 pm
(or “Yet Another good reason to beat-up the MLC and Calvin”)
Calvin Cheng (“kill children” he said), I was told, said on radio recently that he only deletes and blocks abusive trolls, and accepts criticism.
So it’s really strange that the following piece from one Renson Seow, a leading member of a pretty conservative Facebook group (Examples: Their general consensus was that Amos Yee got what he deserved, and the PAP deserves 70%  of the vote but public tpt and FTs suck) went missing (AWOL? MIA?), hours, after it was posted as a comment on Calvin Cheng’s wall. It was in response to Cheng’s “apology” after he got a ticking off from Professor Tan Cheng Han, the chairman of the Media Literacy Council.
Read it and decide if Renson Seow is trolling Calvin Cheng. And if he isn’t, think about complaining to Professor Tan Cheng Han the chairman of the Media Literacy Council about Calvin Cheng setting yet another bad example on how to behave on the internet and on his talking the talk( only deletes and blocks abusive trolls, and accepts criticism). but not walking the talk (removing reasoned criticism).
Renson Seow writes
The recent attempts to reframe Calvin’s comments as “meant to be intended to refer to children of terrorists *who are terrorists as well*” are misconceived, as his initial words were unambiguous.


The terrorists are not common criminals, it’s not about crime punishment and deterrence. They are a mortal enemy intent on killing and destroying. So you kill them before they kill you. And their children too in case they grow up to take revenge. It’s as simple as that. Please don’t complicate matters.

Within the sentence “And their children too in case they grow up to take revenge” are the key two words: *in case*

This clearly means that the proposed killings of the children of terrorists are precautionary in nature, and that he is *clearly aware* that there will be a proportion of those killed, who will not “grow up to take revenge”. (I.e. innocent personnel).

By his own admission, he also states that he was not going for general deterrence value – meaning that he did not also intend to intimidate future terrorists into submission – a stance which would leave room for mercy, for those children of terrorists who are so intimidated by the killing of kin now, that in future they are too cowed to take up the sword.

No, he was going for *precautionary killing*, in *full knowledge* that those killed will include a significant portion of innocent personnel.

The gulf between general deterrence and this is stark – equivalent to the comparison of passing of a deterrent death sentence on a single murderer’s kid to *dissuade* future children of other murderers from following their fathers’ footsteps, against that of setting a policy of killing all these other children too as a utilitarian precaution *in full knowledge* that *not all will turn*, with no room or thought given for the restraining effect of general deterrence.

This callousness and failure to err on the side of innocence is further compounded by the fact that these personnel are children, which have been clearly recognized both in the court and science as deserving of a more rehabilitative, rather than retributive or deterrence-focused sentencing.

The overreach of killing, in Calvin Cheng’s full recognition that there will be risk of killing of innocent underaged personnel, goes directly against the principle that “”It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” (the well-known Blackstone Formulation).

Needless to say, this view of his also puts up a dangerously extreme view that can be easily be mistaken for an officially espoused viewpoint, given the great efforts in which Calvin Cheng has poured into advertising that he had once been appointed as a NMP, which although without a vote, does come with a voice of influence in Parliament and the policies of Singapore.

If left without censure now, it is too easy for the common man to make the logical leap that perhaps Cheng’s view is not opposed by the powers here, and from that, it is only too easy for the next radical here to justify his extreme ways with the battlecry of “They will kill our kids as a precaution, nevermind whether they turn out ultimately innocent or not”

What remains now is the question, of how a member of the Media Literacy Council (MLC), with the higher burden of responsibility placed on his online commentary, could behave like this (and have a noted history of other uncivil comments), and yet continue undisciplined in the same role.

Thus ends Renson’s piece.

Calvin the wannabe baby-killer has by apparently deleting RS’s comments shows us the kind of guy that the MLC thinks is representative of the internet community.
As a member of the conservative group says: Nothing else need be said: For here is clearly demonstrated the sort of merit expected of someone who had once been an ex-NMP, and current member of the Media Literacy Council (MLC)… and more interestingly, the sort of acceptable standard his supporters (many of whom have identified themselves in the course of the affair) deem acceptable.

PAP admin that repressive meh?

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 19/11/2015 at 5:07 am

Data that implies otherwise was released by Facebook about a week ago and never received a mention in our cyberspace. But a reminder first.

The cybernuts and ang moh tua kee HR activists have been shouting that since 2013, the PAP administration has become more repressive, more intolerant of the “wrong” views on social media and other parts of new media. They cite what happened to the editors of The real S’porean, Roy, and Amos the Boy Fantastic. They also cite the actions talen against Roy, New Citizen Han Hui Hui and their friends in disrupting special needs children as an example of intolerant and repressive behaviour. And then they cite the “plight” of M Ravi even if the behaviour of Roy, New Citizen Hui Hui and the other young hooligans made him go bananas.

Interesting data from Facebook contradicts this narrative.

In the January to June 2015 report, the United States Government made the most requests for user data, at 17,577 requests. This was followed by India with 5,115 and the United Kingdom with 3,384. Singapore placed 20th overall, out of the 92 countries on the list.

(CNA 12th Nov)

The Singapore Government made a total of 198 requests for data in the first six months of 2015, an 11.9 per cent increase over July to December 2014. A total of 213 users or accounts were targeted from January to June 2015, compared to 194 in the previous six months – a 9.8% increase. (Peanuts % increase: see below for comparison with other countries)

.Better still: The Singapore Government did not make any content restriction requests from January to June 2015, according to Facebook.

The India Government made the highest number of contest restriction requests at 15,155. This was followed by Turkey with 4,496 requests, and France a distant third with 295 requests.

But I’m sure the cybernuts and ang moh tua kee HR activists would sneer that there are too many sheep here. hence the lack of action on the part of  the PAP administration. But then this sneer contradicts the wider narrative of repression?

How Yaacob can kill the internet buzz

In Internet on 22/10/2015 at 5:21 am

If Yaacob and his officials in the ministry of propaganda and media supervision  want to get mega bonuses from Ah Loong, they should visit Tanzania, go on a safari in the Serengeti National Park , come home, and then introduce a  cybercrime law based on Tanzania’s.

Tanzania is no North Korea. Our ang moh tua kees should love it.Tanzania is ranked 75 in the latest Freedom of the Press Index while S’pore is a lowly 153. But Tanzania is the latest African country to introduce a cybercrime law, after Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Zambia.

According to a BBC report someone said on his Facebook page:

The Tanzania cybercrime law seems to be working well enough, to slow down chat buddies and online bloggers. It’s amazing, since morning to afternoon I’ve received less than 300 chat messages, compared to other days before the law came into effect, when in less than an hour, I’d have received more than 1000 messages.”

As a BBC African commentator put it

Tanzania’s social media chat groups have gone a little quiet since the government introduced a new law to tackle cyber crime.

I’m not aware that there are people who navigate their way around social media, armed with AK47 assault rifles.

So it can only mean Big Brother is watching and listening.

Now if you share images of people who forgot to wear clothes, or if you share lies on social media, or commit other acts deemed to be criminal, you could spend 10 years in jail.

And the PAP administration can cut and paste the need for the new law: The government says the new law will help address new forms of crimes not covered in other laws, such as spreading lies, sedition and pornographic material online*.

But our malay (his other portfolio) minister, is not as ambitious, hardworking or intelligent as the pet minister, or the ex-finance minister, newly promoted to co-ordinating minister of commerce. So sometimes it is good that an RI boy is not that ambitious, hardworking and intelligent**.


+Commentator points out But critics argue the law will infringe on the freedom of the press and expression. Some complain that the new law, which came into effect less than two months before the 25 October general election, is aimed at silencing voices critical of the government and ruling party.

**Ftr, his eldest brudder is a presidential scholar who is is alleged got tired of the public service. He was last seen in HK.


Sex and the cybernuts

In Humour, Internet on 18/10/2015 at 4:25 am

Apparently TRE cybernuts and Jason Chua and his pro PAP cybernuts have better sex lives than normal S’poreans.

The UK’s Daily Star (think Stomp! and New Paper), reports a study by a sex therapist who says he has found that less intelligent people have a better love life as they are less likely to worry about “performance” or “how satisfied their lover is”.
“The findings that dumb people have better sex will be welcome news to hordes of everyday Brits, as well as numerous celebrities,” the paper adds.

BBC Online

Social media & politics

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 30/09/2015 at 4:50 am

The Indian PM, a big fan and user of social media, said in California during his recent visit there:

— “When I came to government, I saw that one of the problems that governments have is that there is a big gap between the government and the people,” he said. “But with social media we have daily bonding.”

— “The strength of social media today is that it can tell governments where they are wrong and can stop them from moving in the wrong direction.”

I can imagine our PM* or some other PAP minister using the same language to explain to S’poreans and ang mohs why S’pore doesn’t need any Opposition in parly, and why S’poreans should treasure the unicorn of being a de-facto one-party state.

And I’m sure the Chinese Communist Party would say the same things in China.

But. Modi also said

“We used to have elections every five years and now we can have them every five minutes.”

Somehow I don’t think PM or the CCP would ever say this.

I’ll leave the final word on social media and politics to a disillusioned anti-PAP cyber warrior who I respect. He says social media is ineffective against claims made by the govt.
Looks like he’s still upset with the GE result. But he, unlike the cybernuts and Dr Chee, accept and respect the results.
*Maybe PM should tell Tharman to stop cracking jokes about politics:

“He told reporters that the opposition plays a critical role in advancing the country. “It is important for the opposition to reflect on what happened – not just in terms of whether the electorate didn’t know better or the electorate made a mistake – but how they could have done better in their strategies,” he said.
“We need a more reflective attitude after each election, and on how the opposition can continue to play a constructive and positive role in Singapore politics, as they must.
Mr Tharman also acknowledged the presence of several new opposition candidates who failed to get elected, and hoped they would continue to be active in public life.
It is very good that we saw some new faces in the elections. Several very interesting new faces,” he said.
“I hope they continue to contribute to Singapore – even though they didn’t win – whether in politics or outside.”

But Tharman loves cracking jokes



Haze, 9/11 & TOC

In Indonesia, Political governance on 28/09/2015 at 5:18 am

PM got really lucky on 9/11? Or did the 9th Immortal* use his newly acquired powers to fix the weather?






































Imagine if 9/11 was as hazy as last Friday (Schools had to be closed and in the morning, the Pollutants Standards Index,PSI, hit 341- the highest level this year.). PM would most probably not have got the 10 point swing that had the anti-PAP cyberwarriors like Constance Singham choking on their venom from their fangs A five point swing would have been more likely, something which I tot probable based on my analysis that East Coast and Marine Parade would not fall, but Aljunied would repent

In the run up to 9/11, if the weather had been like that in the last week TOC (WP’s Hammer Online) would be pushing the line that the haze is almost all the fault of the PAP administration: like it did on Friday

The Singapore government has a duty to address the annual issue and to stop pushing the blame to “uneducated” villagers and companies that are almost never prosecuted in any way. The residents of Singapore deserves a better answer than being urged to bear with it and told that things are beyond our control.”

I’ll go into what the Hammer Online TOC wants the govt to do one of these days. But until then bear in mind that anti-PAP cyberwarriors accused the govt of using salt to induce rain juz before F1. When the govt denied this, TOC said the govt was being less than open because the M’sians and Indons might have used salt to induce rain (Wow everything blame PAP isit?). Btw, TOC and the anti-PAP cyberwarriors didn’t use the the word “salt”. They used the term “sodium chloride”. To make the seeding sound more “sinister”?

It’s stories like this that “double confirm” the PAP administration’s assertion that TOC is indeed “political” and worthy of being hantamed, left, right and in the balls. When it was “gazetted” yrs ago, I tot the action unfair: now I’m not so sure.(Disclosure: I helped out at TOC when Ravi was chief editor,)

TOC doesn’t respect the decision of 70% of voters to support the PAP? It like, Dr Chee, wants the 30% to rule over the 70% isit?

“At home, anger at the current political situation is palpable [Huh? OK on TRE] and some have resorted to action [TRE cybernuts are shoutong obscenities and cursing their fellow S’poreans? Nothing unusual there.] . If the PAP is content to label this group of citizens as the ‘noisy minority’, … For these people, the prospect of being unable to bring about political change through the ballot box* only makes the PAP’s claim of legitimate power sound dangerously vacuous.”

(He forgot that over the years this 30% of voters have been able to get the support of swing voters in Hougang, Aljunied and Punggol East. Juz because the SDP can’t win, doesn’t mean that others can’t. Go ask the WP. Yes, it’s an uneven field, but winning is not impossible. Takes time, patience and maturity: virtues that Dr Chee may not have.

Yes the minority has rights, but so does the 70%. Democracy is not about majoritism, but neither is it about dictatorship by the minority.

Here’s an extract (emphasis mine) from a BBC article that Doc Chee and TOC should bear in mind when demanding that the views of the 30% must prevail (because the 30% agrees with their “right” views?)

Clem Attlee’s Labour government had a massive Commons majority and an undoubted mandate, but had only 16 peers in the Lords. Theoretically, their Lordships could have frustrated Attlee at every turn, throwing out or wrecking every bill in their programme, but that would have risked retaliation in the form of outright abolition – so, instead, a deal was struck.

Peers would not oppose measures promised – “foreshadowed” – in the government’s manifesto, and therefore assumed to have the endorsement of the electorate, at second or third Reading. In other words, the government would get the legislation it had promised to voters, and therefore would not have to get bogged down in an Asquith-style struggle with the Lords – Addison was a veteran of the Asquithian Liberal Party, and would doubtless have preferred not to repeat its epic battles with peers.

Cranborne spelled the new doctrine out in the debate on the King’s Speech in July 1945:

“Whatever our personal views, we should frankly recognise that these proposals were put before the country at the recent general election and the people of this country, with full knowledge of these proposals, returned the Labour Party to power. The government may, therefore, I think, fairly claim that they have a mandate to introduce these proposals. I believe it would be constitutionally wrong, when the country has so recently expressed its view, for this House to oppose proposals which have been definitely put before the electorate.”

He reserved “full liberty of action” on legislation not included in an election manifesto.


*Funny that no-one has accused LKY of using his unearthly powers to transform Oppo votes into PAP votes. But Uncle Redbean comes close.

The final result was just too incredible and unbelievable. This must be the biggest mystery of this GE. It was like a strange event in the Bermuda Triangle that defied all logic and reasons. How could a SDP team that was technically superior or at worst equal to the PAP team lost so badly?

Call it a miraculous win for the PAP team. The other mystery must be the near loss of the WP team in Aljunied GRC. The voters could not switch camp just like that, and without a big crisis. The AHPETC was no crisis but a red herring. The voters of Aljunied were not so daft not to see it to affect their voting decision.

Yes, the truth is stranger than fiction.

I’m sure that he, like Goh Meng Seng, believes that UFOs are aliens visiting.





Salute these cyberwarriors

In Uncategorized on 19/09/2015 at 7:25 am

Richard Wan (the public face of TRE) has RODed from TRE (see leeter below).

Salute him, Andrew the Techie and all the other members of TeamTRE who contributed time and money to provide S’poreans with alternative views and a platform to express themselves: The Voice of S’poreans for S’pore. Sadly their efforts were saboed by some really ungrateful S’poreans who overan the platform like the rats who overan Bukit Batok.

While the PAP administrations’s NEA cleared out the rats, TeamTRE and S’poreans who visited the platform had to live with the anti-PAP cyberrats (and nuts). Goh Meng Seng was their hero and now their hero is s/o JBJ. Btw, they think the PAP lost the election, S’poreans juz don’t realise it yet, because the New Citizens voted for the PAP, making victory possible for the PAP.

TeamTRE believes in freedom of expression, hence the presence of the cynerrats and cybernuts on the platform.

Makes one understand why the late LKY had such a low opinion of those who opposed him , and suppressed views that were not “right”.

Anyway back to Richard, Andrew and the others in TeamTRE


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

by Henley

Passing it on

It has been some 4 years since I volunteered to take up the position of an editor in TRE. Indeed, there have been many ups and downs along the way. Regardless, it has always been comforting to know that many netizens, including myself, are learning and benefiting from the many interactions with each other on TRE.

I volunteered simply because I felt there was a need to provide more alternative news and views, so as to add more media diversity into our society.

Certainly, with Singapore’s Press Freedom Index languishing at 150th position out of 180 [Link], it shows that there is much for Singapore to improve in terms of media control, if Singapore is to truly become a first world nation.

Indeed, society needs to have a diversity of views and ideas in order for it to progress and to grow. Without a free press and transparency, it’s hard for the people to make an informed choice or support the right decisions made by the country’s leaders.

Ultimately, freedom of the press forms the basis of democracies. Many leaders of the first world have acknowledged this:

“Democracy is impossible without freedom of the press, for freedom of the press is the basis of democracies. Complex controversies cannot be solved without freedom of the press, as questions must be aired. Freedom of the press is one of the major building blocks in a democracy.” – Gerhard Schröder, former Chancellor of Germany

“A free press will sometimes make uncomfortable reading for any politician. But any passing embarrassment or justified indignation must never blind us to its vital role in both the health and protection of democracy. Those who wish to destroy democracy and its freedoms know this well. It is why their first act is often to try to muzzle the media. It is also why we must all be vigilant in safeguarding the freedom of the press at home and abroad.” –Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of UK

“A free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize; it is the most dangerous foe of tyranny… Under dictatorship the press is bound to languish… But where free institutions are indigenous to the soil and men have the habit of liberty, the press will continue to be the Fourth Estate, the vigilant guardian of the rights of the ordinary citizen.” – Sir Winston Churchill

I’ve served the equivalent of 2 tours of National Service in TRE. It’s time for me to pass the baton to someone else. I’ll continue to write and contribute online but will probably write less now due to work commitments.

I hope that one day Singapore’s Press Freedom Index will rise to the same level as other first world nations. When that happens, Singapore can then be considered to have truly arrived as a first world nation.

God bless!

Yours sincerely,

Richard Wan
18 Sep 2015

Cybernuts: “Walk the Talk”

In Uncategorized on 15/09/2015 at 1:18 am
 On cooling off-day, this appeared on TRE

I believe it is time to show our appreciation to the team at TRE for the 4 years of their lives which could have been used for more meaningful purposes, but they choose to keep us company.

Other than Richard Wan, I do not know who the rest are, but here’s a big thank you from the bottom of my heart to all those who made TRE possible.

And for those of you who feels that TRE has done a good job, please do make a token donation towards their cause so that TRE can continue to carry the Voice of Singaporeans for Singapore.


Note that the person is silent about making a donation. We can assume that he’s the usual born loser, TRE cheapskate

Earlier this month, this appeared

Tuck Wan:

I am not resident of AMK GRC but I am willing to donate $600 (GST voucher) to help him pay the damages awarded to Pinky. Like wise many
Blue blooded Singaporeans will do their bits.
Talking about gambling chips is only chips. We
are talking about our future generations.

I got a better suggestion for him and others.

Donate the money to TRE.

Too many TRE cybernuts are freeloading making Richard, Andrew and the rest of TeamTRE pay-and-pay to fight the PAP.

I think based on the postings on TRE,  the majority of TRE posters would seem fall into the “Hard-pressed Anxiety” and “Long-term Despair” (i.e. into the losers) even though TeamTRE belongs in the “Calm Persistence” and “Hard-pressed Anxiety”  categories: the only people who would spend time and money on doing what they believe is right, even if the losers are freeloading on their efforts.

What do you think?

PAP trying really hard to fix WP?/ Why NS undermines PAP

In Uncategorized on 21/08/2015 at 4:53 am

On a conservative Facebook group I belong to, some friends of Jason Chua were out trying to make the WP  look “unpatriotic” for not attending the coming National Day Rally. The thread died a natural death when regular members didn’t bother to join in the conversation.

If the regulars had joined in the grumbling, I’d have posted something along the lines of “Don’t forget that historically, opposition MPs were not invited to the NDR,” Siew Kum Hong had posted elsewhere on Facebook.

What I find surprising is the timing of this year’s rally. I think it’s a bit later than it usually is. I had tot it would be held last weekend, not this weekend. Many yrs ago, I told an overseas “wannabe” observer that the National Day speech was rubbish, he should focus on the rally speech if he wanted to see what concerned the PM. I remembered telling him that the rally was held about a week after the NDP, on the weekend.

So could it be that the WP in scheduling their function assumed that the rally would fall on the weekend of the 15th?

“Ms Lim also addressed recent reports that the Workers Party would not be attending the National Day Rally on 23 August. She said, “We planned our dinner – which is a special SG50 National Day dinner – last year, in fact. The date was already chosen, and we think that it’s meaningful for us, especially as an opposition party, to rally our supporters to remind everyone that what we want is betterment for Singapore as a whole.

And that the PAP administration then fixed the rally date to fix the WP? Given the perceived track record in trying to fix the WP. sounds plausible meh?

Here are some other views on the NDR:

— Anyway ndr is use taxpayers money to score points for themselves. Propaganda anyway

— Spot on ))). Maybe PAP trying to fix WP by fixing date after WP fixed their date for bash. Usually BAt Day Rally held week after NDP.

Anyway Auntie is right, “I think sometimes people get confused – they can’t distinguish between national interest and ruling party interest. And we want to underscore the point that even if you’re an opposition supporter, you can be as loyal to Singapore as any PAP supporter.”

For starters, all the Oppo boys (even Garbra Gomez) did NS. Many like JJ, Eric Tan, Tony Tan (Haze; Poa’s hubbie) TJS, Dr Paul and Dr Ang (OK the last two are  MDs) were officers. If they were good enough to be SAF officers*, how dare people like Jason Chua and other members of the PAP IB call the Oppo unpatriotic?


*But SAF has a lot of explaining how Goh Meng Seng became an officer.

Why Pay And Pay Party has a point about scroungers

In Uncategorized on 19/08/2015 at 5:18 am

The PAP likes to point out that there’s no such thing as a free lunch conveniently forgetting the salaries that people like Mah Bow Tan, Raymond Lim  drew when they were underperforming ministers, and the millions that one Nathan was paid. And the salaries that underperforming ministers like Lui, Hng Kiang and Yaacob are drawing. And the allowances MPs get.

Sadly, the plight of TRE shows that when honest, decent, hardworking S’poreans serve the public, they can be taken for a ride by scroungers.

When TR Emeritus (TRE) was revived in 2011, we estimated that it would cost us approximately US$50,000 to maintain the TRE website and keep it running till year 2016. The approximate amount is inclusive of all incidentals, ad hoc programming, software and hardware upgrading.

Based on the estimate, we launched a few donation drives since then hoping to achieve the target amount, but unfortunately we were unsuccessful. To date, we have only managed to secure about 52% of the targeted amount.

Since TRE is fully maintained by volunteers, we have had to depend on advertisements and goodwill donations to keep it running and many a time, we have had to fork out from our own pockets to keep the website running.

Without revealing too much information and compromising security, our servers handle close to 2 million requests (24 hours average) on a quiet day and with the general election (GE) around the corner, it is more crucial now than ever that TRE has enough funds for unforeseen circumstances like additional server deployment, additional bandwidth and especially pro-active DDoS mitigation services considering that many socio-political websites like the former Temasek Review Emeritus and The Online Citizen, were attacked close to and during GE 2011.

Hopefully with your support, the website will run more smoothly and efficiently to carry the voice of Singaporeans for Singapore.

Please consider making a token donation if you believe in our cause.

Thank you for your continued support.

Team@TR Emeritus

Since this was posted on 13 August, 2015, only about US$4,000 has been raised. And TRE has a viewership of millions.

Maybe the TRE freeloaders actually worker ants masquerading as S’porean PMETs.

Many worker ants are lazy freeloaders.

Find out more (Quartz)

Which reminds me: Warren Buffett has teamed up with some Brazilians who are good at cutting costs. One of them says, “In any company, there’s 20 per cent that lead, 70 per cent that follow and 10 per cent that do nothing,” Mr Brito recalls. “So the 10 per cent, of course, you need to get rid of . . . They’re always unhappy anyway and complaining.”

I’m thinking worker ants and TRE scroungers.

And I’m thinking the ungrateful Oppo parties. Happy about the publicity that TRE gives them and the attacks on the PAP administration, but sitting on their hands.




SG50: No right narrative, only many narratives

In Internet, Uncategorized on 09/08/2015 at 1:19 pm

Image result for TOC + SMRT protest

What he said also applies to the narratives that collectively make up the history of S’pore. Victors write the “right” narrative, expecting, hoping it will be accepted, forced down or spun as history.

But the internet (and the new media) makes this more difficult.

History is important, as a BBC commentator says, because there are so many perspectives: history is shaped by continued research. And, of course, it’s also shaped by political will. Last year’s anniversary of World War One’s outbreak and continuing responses to the conflict give us a chance, not only to remember that handful of cataclysmic, world-changing years, but also to witness an ideological tussle between those who feel war is best remembered as the shedding of blood and those who feel it’s best represented as an outbreak of flowers. If history were like arithmetic – two plus two always being four – we’d have a chance to keep it simple and definitive, but it’s so large, it has so many perspectives. It offers so many opportunities to play with our sense of self and our emotions. Manipulated history can offer us clumsy impostures like Piltdown man, or the vile fantasies involved in Holocaust denial. History as a vital, exacting discipline, can show us how whole populations of normal people can be persuaded to behave horrifically, if they’re overwhelmed by histories of past glory, of injustice and suffering at others’ hands. Attack is so much easier to sell, if it’s packaged as pre-emptive defence. Part of growing up involves realising that nation’s futures, good and bad, can leap from their perceptions of the past.

Grumbling about propagandists is easy, but if I look at my own past – especially when I let that be all about me – I’m consistently guilty of propaganda campaigns. If I’m feeling cheerful, the last time I met my gentleman of choice he was pleased to see me, possibly even impressed. Which makes me more cheerful, which makes other memories of him more rosy. If I’m glum, our last encounter dreadful and all is lost. He isn’t just there, being himself but in the past tense – he’s a tall expression of my convoluted ego.

Or as one Harry said, in a less long wided manner,The final verdict will not be in the obituaries. The final verdict will be when the PhD students dig out the archives, read my old papers, assess what my enemies have said, sift the evidence and seek the truth. 

  • Interview with the New York Times, September 2010

Despite all this, Harry wanted to “shape” history’s judgement of him and S’pore*. And so does the PAP. “The Straits Times story is one important strand of the Singapore story.” said PM of the PAP’s unofficial house paper recently

But today of all days, we must remember the alternative narratives that do not fall into the “right” category.

In Harry’s version of history, detained Barisan Sosialis  leaders Dr Poh Soo Kai and Fong Swee Suan were communists who had to be detained without trial.

But former Barisan leader Dr Poh Soo Kai, among those arrested, insists this was not true.

“There may have been some communists in our party, but we were not following their orders. We did not want terrorism, we were committed to constitutional reform,” the 83-year-old says.

Another Barisan leader, Fong Swee Suan, was also imprisoned in 1963 and then lived in exile until the 1990s. He maintains he was never a communist, and also denies the charge that he instigated deadly riots among striking bus workers.

“I want people to be aware that my father has made a positive contribution to Singapore,” says his son Otto Fong, speaking on his elderly father’s behalf.

“He helped workers organise their unions. He only wanted to speak up for their needs, and make the relationship between employees and employers better.”

Then there are the narratives of people like Mrs Seow Peck Leng – Mountbatten’s first MP. A woman ahead of her time, she championed gender equality and was among those who made the Women’s Charter a reality

And never forget Counterfactual history, also sometimes referred to as virtual history, is a form of historiography that attempts to answer “what if” questions known as counterfactuals.


Modern Singapore: prosperous and peaceful, and led by charismatic working-class hero Lim Chin Siong. His political rival, Lee Kuan Yew, is living in exile and ignominy.

This scenario – ludicrous to Singaporeans celebrating 50 years of independence led by Lee – was dreamt up by local artist Sonny Liew in a new book which imagines an alternative history.

This graphic novel reminds us that the “right” narrative is written by the victors, and is often accepted, taught or spun as history.

Related articles:


*I’m reminded of “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it”.

Winston Churchill

Related article:

The above explains why LKY had been spinning his version far and wide.

TRE grave dancer doesn’t deny grave dancing

In Uncategorized on 17/07/2015 at 4:49 am

When TRE republished this, one Oxygen was so offended that I called him a dancer on the graves of the children who died in Sabah that he called me a lot of names and asserted:

The truths are that I said the events in Mt Kinabalu is A GEOLOGICAL EVENT which is or ought to be known by MOE to be of repetitious of occurrence and that there is some risks to such event. MOE covered its ground getting parents to sign the consent form prior. What COMICAL INVESTOR hid from public demoning of his LIES, SCAMS AND DECEPTION is I said Singapore faced the same geological risks of earth tremors – UNSAFE OF UNDERGROUND DRILLING & EXCAVATIONS carrying risks of sudden cave-in. Singapore cannot have 6.9 million and underground living and shopping.

Interestingly he doesn’t deny that he made the following comments (bolded below) about the parents:


June 18, 2015 at 11:08 am (Quote)
DO ANYONE SIGN INDEMNITY FORM also known as liability exclusion form to any organizer when they go on travel vacations?

Climbing Stairs: Everybody involved in the deaths of the kids at Mt Kinabalu lied. And lied and lied.

If not, IT MEANS the parents too are TOO NAIVE, TOO GULLIBLE AND TRUSTING of those in authorities – the indemnity form sheltering MOE is WARNING CAUTION of ‘KEEP CLEAR – DANGERS AHEAD”.



In the end, they found shoes in the train worn out and posed considerable danger of crash.

HOW CAN SINKIE TRUST POLITICAL GOVERNANCE DIGGING UP UNDERGROUND FOR HUMAN HABITATION AND ECONOMIC ACTIVITY when they will tell us to “follow the rules” in the event of a island-wide cave-in?


Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
June 18, 2015 at 11:16 am (Quote)
PARENTS SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THIS of how PAPpys work in Fernvale – they screwed up the land development award AND TELL PEASANTS THAT YOU DIDN’T READ THE FINE PRINT on the brochure.

Of course, they are CAREFULLY SILENT that nobody in the world sign the fine print IN A BROCHURE when you buy your housing accommodation or a box of CONDOM in a supermarket.

How CUNNING is this?

Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)

What it all means is that he’s saying is that it’s OK to sneer, insult the parents of the dead children, so long as the purpose is to smear the PAP.

As he’s a fan of the people Harry detained in Coldstore, perhaps his behaviour helps explain why Coldstore was necessary.

Amos: When Nemesis met Hubris/ Why PAP PR bad

In Uncategorized on 10/07/2015 at 5:35 am

The following passage from a BBC report applies to the PAP administration not just the Chinese one:

The Chinese government, like all governments, worries that public outrage at the scale of the disaster might become directed at the state.

But instead of using normal public relations it uses public information control.

The problem for the PAP is that the public information control has never applied outside S’pore, and there is now cyberspace aka new medis

Last Sunday, I posted the PAP administration’s response to an Economist piece on Amos and other freedom of expression issues in S’pore.

Here’s what the High Commissioner in London was made to say about Amos’s case:

Your piece “Zip it” (June 24th) is unbalanced. It champions unfettered freedom of speech without providing the context of cases mentioned. Amos Yee was convicted for insulting the faith of Christians. In a small, highly diverse society like Singapore we guard our social peace jealously and make no apologies for it. We cannot allow people to denigrate or offend the religious beliefs of others: the result is anger and violence, as we have seen elsewhere. Protection from hate speech is also a basic human right.

Put it this way, I should be out rooting for Amos. But I didn’t because of the way Amos and mother Mary treated a good Samaritan.

Funnily the PAP administration had a more convincing explanation for the 55 days (as of the day of release): It could and should have said

Here’s a breakdown of the time he spent in captivity and the reasons thereof

— Two days when police investigated his case.

— He was in remand for 18 days because his parents and fans didn’t want to bail him; then when he was bailed by a stranger he broke bail, and then after trial when he was being assessed for probation he broke bail conditions yet again. Even the Joker, Penguin or Lex Luthor are less criminal than Amos.

— Then 21 days remand because he had to be assessed whether he was suitable for reform training given that he refused probation.

— Then 14 days because judge wanted to find out whether he could be given a mandatory treatment order if he was autistic.

If he had accepted probation, he would be home where mother Mary could cater to his every whim and fancy. And if his parents or fans had offered bail, and if he’d not broken bail conditions, he needn’t have spent 18 days in remand.

Hubris met Nemesis and Nemesis won.

(My Facebook avatar posted a variant of this on Facebook, in response to TOC’s and Function 8’s support of Amos the Fantastic. Got quite a few “Likes” and no rebuttal from TOC or F8.)

Seriously here’s the discredible bit about the detention.

He spent two days (police interrogation) away from mummy’s care. Actually, these two days were very unreasonable given the nature of the offences under investigation.

But I suspect, the police wanted to give him a scare, in the expectation, that he’d apologise, repent and the case could be closed with a warning. They didn’t know Amos, his mum and the anti-PAP human-rights activists (aka the ang-moh tua-kees) pulling the strings of Amos and mum, cheered on by the cybernuts.

As to his treatment during the last 35 days, he was treated no better or worse than any convicted offender undergoing examination for a RTO ot MTO.  He wasn’t persecuted.

He spent 53 days in captivity because he was quai lan: he tot he was entitled to do what he liked and not suffer the consequences. The IMH report to the court said Amos is misguided in not appreciating that ‘freedom of expression is not freedom from consequence’

The system is telling him he is juz another criminal.

In one of John Wayne’s Westerns, he said “Life is tough but tougher if you are stupid”. Amos and Mother Mary should ponder these words of wisdom.

They should also ponder that Hubris always loses to Nemesis. The gods play with loaded dice.

PM, ESM on new media

In Uncategorized on 05/07/2015 at 4:53 pm

The following lament by the Thai PM to the feisty Thai  media sounds familar?

“No one writes about what I have done,” he said, “or when they do, they write so little.”

Sounds like our PM, Khaw, ESM or any PAPpy complaining about new media (including social media)

But they can console themselves with this:”Things will be the same.”*

Sadly for the cybernuts and their heroes Meng Seng, S/o JBJ, Roy etc etc , this is not true here: “You have disrupted and brought down the whole system.”. Here the cybernuts and their heroes provide comic relief from the spin of the PAP.

This was preceded by “It doesn’t matter how many reforms or coups there are. There’s no point.”


Economist piece on Amos etc: Dark Side cousin responds

In Political governance on 04/07/2015 at 11:32 am

This appears only online in the letters section of the latest issue of the Economist (cousin of Hard Truths Btw, either Economist or High Commissioner didn’t use “spell check” for “Authority”

Singapore and the media

Your piece “Zip it” (June 24th) is unbalanced. It champions unfettered freedom of speech without providing the context of cases mentioned. Amos Yee was convicted for insulting the faith of Christians. In a small, highly diverse society like Singapore we guard our social peace jealously and make no apologies for it. We cannot allow people to denigrate or offend the religious beliefs of others: the result is anger and violence, as we have seen elsewhere. Protection from hate speech is also a basic human right.

The Media Developement Authroity (MDA) suspended TRS because it had published articles deliberately stirring up anti-foreigner sentiments. It fabricated stories to boost traffic and advertising revenue.

Mr Lee Hsien Loong’s defamation suit against Roy Ngerng is a completely separate matter. The Court found that Roy Ngerng had defamed Mr Lee Hsien Loong. Freedom of speech does not extend to freedom to defame others. Yet despite Mr Ngerng’s questionable tactics, the government has not shied away from debating questions about the Central Provident Fund. Ngerng himself engaged Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on the topic at a public forum, an exchange carried by the national broadsheet.
In seeking “wise conclusions through open debate”, integrity and honest reporting are as important as the right to speak freely.

High Commissioner for Singapore

Err most PAP Ministers MPs are elected, unlike s/o JBJ, Roy, H3 and Meng Seng

In Internet, Uncategorized on 28/06/2015 at 5:19 am

It was reported on TRE (and on MSM sites) that M’sia’sTourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said that he was elected by his constituents to serve them, which sets him apart from the Crown Prince of Johor who had criticised him for not behaving like the people’s “servant”.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of this report appearing on TRE.

While I respect TeamTRE’s efforts to provide alternative angles to the BS of the PAP administration and the constructive, nation-building media in an attempt to show S’poreans that there are credible alternative narratives, analysis , sadly there is a group using TRE tp alienate the swing voters from the Oppo.

These are a group of posters there who think that they represent all the S’poreans that voted for the oppo and whose heroes are Roy Ngerng and his fellow hooligan New Citizen Han Hui Hui, Goh Meng Seng (he regained his popularity with the cybernuts by dancing on the graves of the children who died in Sabah), Amos Yee (now inside Woodbridge for observation) and s/o JBJ.

With the exception of the MPs and ministers from Tanjong Pagar GRC, all the rest of the PAP ministers and MPs won their seats by comfortable majorities bar those in two SMCs where they got in by a nose.

And the failure to contest Tanjong Pagar is the fault of one man who screwed up big time by waiting until almost the close of nomination to file incorrect documents. If he had bothered to come in half-an-hour earlier, the PAP would have had a fight on their hands.

So while ,most of the PAP MPs were elected, who chose the freeloading cybernuts (TRE is always short of funds despite the team paying to serve)  infesting TRE like the rats and bugs infested Bukit Batok.

TRE poster blames parents for children’s deaths

In Uncategorized on 22/06/2015 at 4:33 am

It had to happen: a very regular TRE poster and friends joining New Citizen Han Hui Hui in dancing and singing over the graves of the children who died in the Sabah tragedy. He blames the parents for signing the indemnity forms without asking questions. And he sneers and insults them, screaming very joyfully: TOO NAIVE, TOO GULLIBLE AND TRUSTING of those in authorities.

And he got the “thumbs up” from other TRE readers.

How low can these people stoop?


[T]he word scunnered. It’s an adjective from Scotland. If one is scunnered, one is irritated, frustrated, weary – and one is also, somehow, revolted. The person, or thing to which you have “taken a scunner” is not just a pain in your neck, but also operating at or beneath the level of your contempt.

AL Kennedy, writer and broadcaster


They should remember that the parents’ children died. Let them grieve in peace. Do not happily, sneer and insult them.

Hate PAP until like that meh? Frus at their impotence to do anything about the fact that 60% of S’poreans voted for the PAP in the last GE. Whatever, don’t take the frustrations out on the grieving parents of the dead children.

Never mind, there is such a thing as karma. As the bible says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Pastor Larence Khong, the polo playing magician, learnt this the hard way. He is judgmental about gays, fornicators etc. His daughter had a child out of wedlock. Hoz that for divine retribution? Or being kicked real hard in the balls. 


June 18, 2015 at 11:08 am (Quote)
DO ANYONE SIGN INDEMNITY FORM also known as liability exclusion form to any organizer when they go on travel vacations?

Climbing Stairs: Everybody involved in the deaths of the kids at Mt Kinabalu lied. And lied and lied.

If not, IT MEANS the parents too are TOO NAIVE, TOO GULLIBLE AND TRUSTING of those in authorities – the indemnity form sheltering MOE is WARNING CAUTION of ‘KEEP CLEAR – DANGERS AHEAD”.



In the end, they found shoes in the train worn out and posed considerable danger of crash.

HOW CAN SINKIE TRUST POLITICAL GOVERNANCE DIGGING UP UNDERGROUND FOR HUMAN HABITATION AND ECONOMIC ACTIVITY when they will tell us to “follow the rules” in the event of a island-wide cave-in?


Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
June 18, 2015 at 11:16 am (Quote)
PARENTS SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THIS of how PAPpys work in Fernvale – they screwed up the land development award AND TELL PEASANTS THAT YOU DIDN’T READ THE FINE PRINT on the brochure.

Of course, they are CAREFULLY SILENT that nobody in the world sign the fine print IN A BROCHURE when you buy your housing accommodation or a box of CONDOM in a supermarket.

How CUNNING is this?

Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)

“Oxygen” claims to be a S’porean who emigrated to Oz a long time ago. He predicts that the PAP will lose the coming GE, big time. And he is predicting that he property markey collapses because he wants to then sneer those who bot homes.

I’ve been told that he is a grad of Nantah who couldn’t get a job here and ended teaching political science in a second or third class uni in Oz. (These unis were nothing more than glorified technical colleges and were extremely left wing in their polotical science departments. In the mid 80s, I worked in Sydney and got to know a second hand book shop owner who was a mature student in one of these unis. He was telling me he was always failed by one lecturer because he refused to accept the leftist line. But because he studied for the fun of it and the social life, he was driving the lecturer who failed him “nuts”.)

I’m glad he migrated. Sneering and mocking the parents of the dead children may be acceptable in his community in Oz, but not here. And here we respect the dead, even one Harry*, as Amos Yee and his doting mum are learning the hard way.

Someone posted on TRE if on;y one quarter of those voting for the PAP could be persuaded to vote against the PAP, the PAP would be defeated.

Fat chance with people like “oxygen” and friends sneering at grieving parents.

With enemies like “oxygen”, Hui Hui and friends, the PAP doesn’t need friends. Maybe “oxygen”, Hui Hui and friends know this, and this fact drives them “nuts” in frustration.

Whatever, no matter how much they hate S’poreans who they think support the PAP, grieving parents should not be mocked or sneered at or blamed.


*It’s interesting that even TRE devoted several articles in its “editorials” to the respectful comments of its readers when Harry moved on. Most of the comments of posters (like “oxygen”) were not respectful but were not highlighted. I tot of ST and its selection of letters for publication: they often don’t represent the letters it receives, only letters with the “right” view were highlighted.

TeamTRE ashamed of the dancing, singing urinating and worse by “oxygen” etc over Harry’s grave?


Cover-up in action?

In Uncategorized on 18/06/2015 at 4:44 am

(Update on 19th June 6.30 am

The Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (SINGSOC) has apologised for the confusion that led to many spectators being locked out of the 28th SEA Games closing ceremony at the National Stadium …

While SINGSOC acknowledged it could have done better in managing the situation, it rejected suggestions that tickets to the closing ceremony were oversold ,,,”we would like to confirm that there were still sufficient seats in the stadium for all those who came for the event/”

While it is unclear exactly how many spectators, most of whom had purchased tickets — which cost up to S$40 each — were locked out of the closing ceremony, it is believed to be in the hundreds.

They were prevented from entering the stadium as many of those already inside had waited around the inner concourse area after they failed to locate their seats due to the stadium lights having gone dark for the ceremony.

But safety concerns meant the gates had to be closed to prevent the congestion from worsening if more were allowed in …


What do you think?

Let’s see if the refunds are to hundreds or thousands of people)


TOC and the constructive nation-building media yesterday reported that ticket-holders were turned away from the closing ceremony of SEA Games.

The local media played down the incident. Example CNA said:

Scores of ticket holders shut out of SEA Games closing ceremony

Several people told Channel NewsAsia they had SEA Games closing ceremony tickets, but were turned away because they were told the National Stadium was “full”.

TOC screamed:

Chaos at Sports Hub: Thousands with tickets left stranded outside for Closing Ceremony

CNA also reported this which shows that SINGSOC downplayed the incident:

In a statement posted on the SEA Games 2015 Facebook page, the Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (SINGSOC) said entry points needed to be adjusted on Tuesday evening as a “significant proportion of the spectators were at the gates just before the start of the ceremony”.

It added that this was so spectators could be seated as quickly as possible. “Consequently, some gates had to be closed for safety reasons.” 

“The organising committee apologises for the inconvenience caused and disappointment of those affected. We will offer a full refund to anyone who had purchased a ticket and was unable to be seated. In addition, you will receive the supporters’ medallion,” SINGSOC said.

If this follow-up report by TOC is even half-right, there seems to be a cover-up at work:

TOC has reason to believe that the crowding at the SEA Games closing ceremony was caused by SINGSOC over-issuing tickets, for fear of not having a max-out crowd, like what happened at the opening ceremony. Queries have been sent to SINGSOC.

Cynical over-selling without concern for safety?

All this brings me to the importance of social media and new media outlets like TOC

During the Parliament debate on Tuesday (10 Mar), Mr Khaw also took the opportunity in his speech to hit out at social media.

He said, “In 2011, many Singaporeans were swayed by the social media commentaries, and worried that the Singapore Dream would not be available to future generations. We have proved through action that the worry was unnecessary.”

“After four years of hard work, we have cleared the backlog and placed our home-ownership policy on even firmer foundation. Every generation will be able to afford their own HDB homes. This is our promise,” he added.

But perhaps it is social media and its cousin new media which is keeping the government on their toes and prodding Mr Khaw and his team to do better for Singaporeans?

Disgusting post on TRE/ Cybernut mob at work (Update)

In Internet on 08/06/2015 at 5:52 am

I received a lot of personal attacks on TRE for posting this

This is my response I posted earlier this morning on TRE

Andrew Teo*, I’m a S’porean who did NS. Better still I’ve paid more in taxes between the mid 80s and mid 90s, than you could ever paid in yr life time. People like me pay income tax to support irrational people like you.

If you had KPKBed if there was an accident when circumstances were normal, I’d not say anything. Likely to even join in attacking the govt. But there was an earthquake, so you come across as one of those that die die must curse PAP for everything.

Andrew Teo and the other cybernuts, this practice has been going on for years, yet this is first time you guys KPKBed. Could it be that no-one has died or seriously injured before this event.

GE is coming and the middle ground of voters that can be persuaded to vote against the PAP (those who voted for Dr Tan in PE)will not be impressed by yr antics of hate and blame.

I as voter of WP since I could vote (even voted for ex-Woodbridge patient), am not impressed by this outburst of hate and blame.


*This is how he responded to my post

Andrew Teo:

Dear Cynical Investor,

I am a parent and a patriotic Singaporean. I have the right to speak up against anything I feel is wrong.

You think my letter and the forum is disgusting? Then get the FXXX OUT OF MY COUNTRY!!!! We don’t need you and your dirty money.

So what now? I can’t speak up? Try getting the police to arrest me. I DARE YOU!!!!

Even the police officers arresting me have young kids.
Even the investigating officers interrogating me have young kids.
Even the judges prosecuting me have young kids.
Even all the readers here have young kids.
Even YOU have young kids!!!


Rating: +133 (from 535 votes)
Given his incivility and intolerance of contrary views (reminds one of the PAP doesn’t it?), he is a true son of S’pore that one Harry would be proud of

Disgusting post on TRE/ Cybernut mob at work

In Internet on 07/06/2015 at 2:42 pm

Someone by the name of Andrew Teo was allowed by TRE to post this nauseating piece of rubbish (Why it’s rubbish is explained at the end and somewhere in the middle):

Dear TRE,

I wrote the following comment on the MOE facebook but I am quite certain that it will not be posted hence I am writing to TRE hoping that your organization will start a new thread on the topic of Sabah Quake.

Here is the message I wrote on MOE facebook:

My heart goes out to the unnamed 12-year-old girl from Tanjong Katong Primary School who died in the Sabah quake during the school’s trip there.

I am saddened and at the same time furious that the school organized such a dangerous trip and MOE is allowing this kind of expedition.

How can little children at this age be allowed to climb such a peak? Will the school management and MOE please explain?

The public deserves the right to know what is going on and assurance that this sort of things will not happen again.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew Teo

I look forward to reading this new thread on the above topic at TRE soon.

Thank you,

He got a lot of support, and cursing of the PAP administration. Those who disagreed with him were jeered by TRE posters. Even a poster who explained that this climb was not dangerous in normal circumstances was jeered.

Emboldened Andrew Teo went on

Andrew Teo:
June 7, 2015 at 11:35 am (Quote)
Dear fellow Singaporeans,

Thank you one and all for agreeing with me. Except for a few who are foreigners I suspect.

I was almost tearing when I saw the following news. A moment ago there was an update from CNA. Bodies are found pinned under the boulders and rescuers are finding it difficult to remove these bodies. Imagine these small 12 year old bodies crashed by huge rocks. This is not the way to die. They have a long life ahead of them.

I would like someone to help me propose that the MOE Minister, the school principal and those teachers or administrators who coined the idea of the trip be removed from their positions. Furthermore, I am proposing the MOE compensate the dead child’s parents a sum of no less than 1 million dollars because this child would easily earn at least a million dollars in her life time and part of it would go out to support her aging parents.

We are already so short of babies and these precious lives are subjected to such tough mountain-climbing trip? I think the MOE and the school has gone mad. They do all these because of some lame excuse: “Leadership training”?

If MSK can escape the prison and no one was harmed, and Mr Wong Kan Seng has to step down, why can’t we demand that Heng Swee Kiat step down?

Please, we all need to stand up for the poor child who died and her parents. If nothing is done, then MOE will continue their ways. We are not talking about voting the PAP out, we are merely saying any civil servants, MPs or Ministers who make such grave mistakes SHOULD STEP DOWN!

Sincerely yours,
Andrew Teo

Rating: +13 (from 15 votes)


Andrew Teo:
June 7, 2015 at 11:39 am (Quote)
Trust only myself:

All these expeditions are for commercial purposes and some stalk holders are making money……wonder if any staff from school or MOE benefitted from these.

I hope all parents of the children who attended this trip make a CPIB report. You may be right, someone may be benefiting from all these. Let the police investigate.

Rating: +7 (from 9 votes)

Really with Andrew Teo and the cybernuts, the PAP doesn’t need clowns like mothership, Jason Chua and FAPAP.

I posted this

I find this post disgusting. And I’m disgusted TeamTRe put this up.

Here’s what a prominent blogger and now Oppo politican says:

Ravi Philemon
21 mins ·
‪#‎SabahQuake‬ It is unnecessary for anyone to point fingers at the Tanjong Katong Primary School or Ministry of Education. It is a natural disaster – an accident.
Of course, MOE should assuage the public’s concerns about how our schools gauge that the learning trips and/or character-building trips that are organised for its students overseas are safe. But now’s not the time for that.
Now is the time to mourn those that have passed away in this tragedy. And also a time to hope – hope that those that are missing can be found.
It is highly irresponsible for anyone to declare those that are still missing as ‘dead’. The families of those that are missing must still hope – and we too must hope with them.
Meanwhile, I must commend MOE for being timely in information dissemination to those that are affected and to the general public. The Minister himself is on the ground – what else can we ask for.
MOE’s updates are here:…/media-statements-on-students-in-mt-….



PAP’s best “friends”

In Uncategorized on 25/05/2015 at 4:13 am

An independent socio-political analyst (he has written some good books) wrote on Facebook

My only surprise about TRS is that it had existed for so long. The views reflected in the blog postings were increasingly extreme and only surpassed by the shrill tone of the commenters. Anyone who attempted to engage in a decent conversation was simply rebuffed, if not hounded out altogether. When a portal simply becomes a gathering point for only one slanted viewpoint, it does not convert middle ground voters. Instead, it puts off middle ground voters who merely see the same crude point repeated ad nauseam.

Well he could be talking of the cybernut posters on TRE.

They should do well to think carefully. With them around, the PAP doesn’t need friends. They do the job of persuading people to vote PAP:

The Critical Middle

The potential 5% or more vote swing is not enough to unseat the PAP. But remember two important issues.

In the Executive President Election, nearly 35% voted for Tan Cheng Bock, the establishment figure not endorsed by the PAP. This actually demonstrate the healthy beginnings of left and right voting blocs, 30-35% each with the middleground that will decide the final outcome.

The large bloc which voted for Mr. Tan represents those likely angry with the PAP but not particularly enamoured of the opposition. This is the crucial battleground of swing voters that will generate a bigger swing against the PAP if they can be persuaded by the opposition making a positive case for not being afraid of change. Reasonableness and coherent arguments are required to win over the undecided – and association with people perceived by normal voters to be narrow-minded, condemn the fence-sitters nut-cases will not do.

Actually, the above has been said by others (self included) but never by a hero of the cybernuts who infest TRE. The writer of the above*, although a hero of the cybernuts, is no nut himself. So hopefully the cybernuts will listen to him and tone down their BS. Best if they sit down and shut up, so that TRE can reach out to the middle ground.

The good news is that the cybernuts have disowned Goh Meng Seng despite him being a founder member of the cybernut movement. He has become even too nutty for them: he wants to form a new party. (Much thanks I got from the cybernuts for pointing out years ago that GMS wants to split the Oppo: remember PE 2911 where he was adviser to deposit loser, Tan Kin Lian.)

Here’s hoping that they’ll disown Roy, New Citizen H3 and Amos, Mummy’s Pet,


*Chris K describes himself thus: Chris is a retired executive director in the financial industry who had mostly worked in London and Tokyo. He writes opinions and commentaries mostly on economic and financial matters.



We need protection from the Harassment Protection Act?

In Internet on 18/05/2015 at 4:14 am

I don’t know what were the PAP administration’s intentions when it passed the Protection From Harassment Act. But based on the reports of the constructive, nation-building media of the comments made by comments and commentaries by Judases journalists , I got the impression that the Act was meant to protect the ordinary S’porean who could not afford to sue for defamation. It was an “affordable” remedy for us mere mortals. not multi-millionaire ministers or govt agencies etc.

It was a shield.

The PAP administration’s public statements certainly did not suggest that it was meant to be added to the tool-kit of sledge hammers and power drills that the state, rich people and others could use to “suppress” criticism; something the usual human rights kay pohs said it would be used for.

Well the ang moh tua kee kays have been proven right. It is a sword, not a shield.

Mindef successfully applies under Protection From Harassment Act against Dr Ting, TOC

That it happened to TOC, the promoter and champion of irresponsible, bullying hooligans like Roy Ngerng, his side-kick New Citizen Han Hui Hui, and Amos Yee, Mummy’s Pet, is no consolation; though it might seem poetic justice of sorts.

And it could have been worse. A charge for making comments about the late Harry Lee that were likely to cause distress to people who saw the comments was dropped by the prosecution in Amos Yee’s case. The charge was earlier stood down. The charge was based on the above act. If anyone can defend himself, it’s certainly Harry.

Amos: Misled or misunderstood the law?

In Internet, Uncategorized on 07/05/2015 at 4:39 am

Today, Amos will stand trial and if he’s going to base his defence on his “right” of free speech, he should think again given that yesterday, a high court judge dismissed his application that the bail conditions, which forbid him from uploading or distributing any content online until his case has concluded, amounted to a gag order*.

It seems he believes in a constitutional right to suka suka say what he likes: Yee was remanded after the pre-trial conference, as he refused to set his blog posts to private. He had earlier flouted bail conditions by publishing two posts on his blog. His lawyer Alfred Dodwell said the teen feels very strongly that he has not done anything wrong with his posts.

“The Constitution does provide for a person to have the freedom of speech and expression, hence he feels very strongly that he is just doing that,” said Mr Dodwell**. (CNA last Friday).

Well M Ravi, Maruah and all the other ang moh tua kee kay pohs will be cheering Amos on (There’s a soccer match going on, the poor boy [Amos] is the ball, and the crowd watches in morbid fascination as the own-goals pile up on both sides. The new normal way to win, wrote a perceptive reader of this article

Sadly for Amos, the constitution is pretty clear on the limits on free speech here.

(2)  Parliament may by law impose —

on the rights conferred by clause (1)(a), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or to provide against contempt of court, defamation or incitement to any offence;***
Pretty clear ain’t it. There are a lot of exceptions to freedom of speech here. The bolded words mean, and the courts have said so too, that it’s very easy to limit free speech here: just pass a law thru parly.
So where did this boy get the idea that in S’pore we have the kind of freedom of speech that people in the US and PinoyLand have? We don’t. There is the right of free speech but only in very limited circumstances. And S’poreans seem happy with the situation. Since the 1960s, S’pore has been a de-facto one-party state: the PAP wins general elections with majorities of over 60%, often a lot more.
Here’s something that Amos should read
(Related post:
So where did this boy get the idea that in S’pore we have the kind of freedom of speech that people in the US and PinoyLand have? Whether he was misled on or misunderstood the law on freedom of speech here, Amos’s failure to understand the law relating to free speech here shows the power of cyberspace: he like many young people is a cybernaut.
Mr Cheong Yip Seng (LKY’s favourite newsman, ex-ST chief editor) told us of an incident which showed that LKY was aware of the impact of new media. One November evening in 1999, Mr Lee telephoned Mr Cheong. He was troubled by a new information phenomenon, which was threatening to overwhelm the traditional media industry: eyeballs were migrating from print newspapers to cyberspace. Mr Cheong said that LKY was anxious about how the information revolution would impact the Singapore traditional media.

“He was anxious to find a response that would enable the mainstream media to keep its eyeballs. He wanted us at Singapore Press Holdings to think about the way forward.”

Well SPH, and the rest of constructive, nation-building media didn’t do what they were ordered to, did they? That despite throwing serious money and other resources at the problem.

Cybernauts. do not think the “right” tots.

For society the problem is that in cyberspace, anything goes. There is plenty of misleading information and lies out there from the likes of Roy Ngerng and Ng Kok Lim. And there is the bigotry of lazy abstraction, when commenting: “PAP always wrong”. (Mind you this does balance the “PAP is always right” of the SPH and MediaCorp publications, channels and stations.)

Then there is the issue of only listening to others who share one’s views and values, rather than being exposed to different views. Again the SPH and MediaCorp publications, channels and stations do the same, to be fair to cyberspace.

*“We have informed the court from the outset that the bail conditions are too wide and in violation of his constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression,” Mr Alfred Dodwell, Amos Yee’s lawyer, said.“How can one place a gag order when he has not even been found guilty? So we had to challenge it.”(TOC)
ST reported: Mr Dodwell said that being on social media was “the equivalent of him drinking water” and the conditions were “taking away a lot from him.”

During the hearing, Justice Tay Yong Kwang asked Mr Dodwell what was so difficult about complying with these social media conditions. “They just have to learn to curb themselves,” he said.

– See more at:

**“We always advise our clients to comply with all conditions, until otherwise revoked,” he continued. “But if a client chooses not to comply, we don’t father the client, we just tell the client what to do, and if the client refuses to do so, we do ask why but we don’t probe further than that. They face the consequences of that action.”
***Freedom of speech, assembly and association


—(1)  Subject to clauses (2) and (3) —

every citizen of Singapore has the right to freedom of speech and expression;
all citizens of Singapore have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms; and
all citizens of Singapore have the right to form associations.
(2)  Parliament may by law impose —

on the rights conferred by clause (1)(a), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or to provide against contempt of court, defamation or incitement to any offence;
on the right conferred by clause (1)(b), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof or public order; and
on the right conferred by clause (1)(c), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, public order or morality.
(3)  Restrictions on the right to form associations conferred by clause (1) (c) may also be imposed by any law relating to labour or education.

Battle in cyberspace/ Take the money and BS

In Media on 09/04/2015 at 4:55 am

In addition to saturating the newspapers and airwaves, the PAP administration and its minions  were saturating cyberspace with the news of LKY’s death. The constructive, nation-building ST made its online coverage of the death and other related   news available to netizens. And the news coverage on CNA’s website was all about him and the lying-in-state.

Then there was spontaneous outbursr of respect and tribute from social media and bloggers.

Even the cyber-warriors and cybernuts who tried to counter the right narrative added to the saturation coverage.

So Khaw would be happy. During the Parliamentary debate on 10 March, Khaw took the opportunity to KPKB about social media, “In 2011, many Singaporeans were swayed by the social media commentaries, and worried that the Singapore Dream would not be available to future generations .

How can the PAP do better in cybberspace?

For the coming GE, will the PAP pick up tips from the US and Ukrainian govts on how to handle the social media cowboys, Comanches and other renegades?

US State Department’s war on social media against Jihadists

Ambassador Alberto Fernandez is the US State Department’s Coordinator for Strategic Counterterrorism. The Department runs campaigns on Twitter and social media forums to challenge extremists directly, with titles such as “Think Again, Turn Away”.

These have been criticised in some quarters but he believes that engaging the jihadists’ audience rather than ignoring them means they are exposed to alternative views.

But, like the [London]Metropolitan Police team, his staff are few in number, with only around 20 engaging on a daily basis with jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

“We see ourselves as a rag-tag guerrilla organisation waging a hit and run campaign against the adversary,” Mr Fernandez told the BBC. “We’re definitely the David against the ISIS Goliath, which is perhaps somewhat ironic.”

Ukrainian Information Army

The Economist reports Ukraine launched the “Ukrainian Information Army”, a volunteer force of internet commenters tasked with spreading government-approved content and combatting Russian trolls. A recent mission asked the troops to post a propagandistic Ukrainian response to a Russian-made propaganda video.

(Emphasis mine)

Take the money and BS 

Btw, I’m sure MediaCorp and SPH journalists can advise the Ukrainian journalists what to do: Ukrainian journalists have been struggling with how to carry themselves in a war where the media plays an outsize role … Journalists constantly debate whether they can help Ukraine without contradicting their professional standards. “Ukrainian journalism is undergoing a crisis of values,” says Olga Chervakova, a television journalist turned politician, who now sits on the parliamentary Committee for Freedom of Speech and Information.

Juz take the thirty pieces of silver on offer and play whatever tune the paying piper wants you to pipe. Not unique to S’porean journalists: the WP MPs have their own version. They take the MPs’ allowances (about $15,000 per MP per month), and keep quiet even when the PAPpies beat them up publicly: “Sticks and stomes may hurt me but $15,000 a month can buy a lot of kok yok,” seem to be the mantra.

Finally, a piece of advice to the two social media celebrities, and ex-NSP activists who are allowing the Chiams to get blood transfusions from them. Set-up a Bishan-Tao Payoh-Potong Pasir* pages and sites and promote the sites to the people living there: be local.

*Prediction that PP will be merged to the Bishan GRC.

LKY: Lest we forget the Dark Side

In Media, Political governance on 30/03/2015 at 5:04 am

I have very little time or patience for Teo Soh Lung’s views but I agree with her comment “let us remember that there is another side to the man”.I reproduce her piece below because it shows S’poreans who want to remind other S’poreans of the Seth Lord or Sauron in Lee Kuan Yew how to do it: stick to the facts, not descending to abuse and vulgarity.

It’s important that anti-PAP cyber-warriors, and those (self-included) who believe in objectivity and balance (and who have no patience with BS) butt into the NatCon that the PAP administration and its allies (especially the constructive, nation-building media) is imposing on S’poreans. We must not let the “right” narrative remain unchallenged.

But we have to do it factually, and entertainingly, not boring fellow S’poreans to sleep. And we have the eyeballs*.

Ms Teo Soh Lung’s Facebook post (apologies for not getting her approval)

I watched the television for several hours today. The tv was off for nearly a week and I thought I really should not miss this historic occasion.

As I watched the two sons of Lee Kuan Yew gave their eulogies in praise of their father, I cannot help thinking of the following people who were arrested and imprisoned for decades without trial by their father:

1. Dr Lim Hock Siew was arrested and imprisoned for 20 years. His son was only 5 months old. He left his wife to look after their son for two decades. His medical career was completely ruined.

2. Pak Said Zahari had a young family and his wife was pregnant with their youngest child when he was arrested and imprisoned for 17 years. His youngest daughter was born while he was still in prison and he did not hold her till 17 years later. His promising career as editor of Utusan Melayu and writer ended. His wife became a hawker in order to keep the family alive.

3. Lee Tee Tong, Legislative Assemblyman was imprisoned for 18 years leaving his parents to fend for themselves.

4. Dr Poh Soo Kai was imprisoned for for 17 years. His marriage was ruined and he was deprived of having a happy family. His career as a brilliant gynaecologist also ended.

5. Ho Toon Chin @ Ho Piao was imprisoned for 18 years. His parents were deprived of his support and his career as a trade unionist ended.

6. Chia Thye Poh, a legislative assemblyman and Physics lecturer was imprisoned for 32 years. As the eldest son and one who consistently did well in school and university, his parents had hoped that he would support them financially. Instead, they had to visit him in prison.

7. Loh Miaw Gong, a legislative assembly woman and trade unionist was imprisoned for 7 years. Her family was deprived of her support.

8. Chng Min Oh @ Chuang Men Hu, Trade unionist was imprisoned for 13 years leaving his wife to look after 2 young children and a third who was born while he was in prison. His wife had to work as a hawker and construction worker, holding other odd jobs to keep the family afloat. She was struck with cancer shortly after his release and committed suicide three years later, unable to accept her illness.

Thousands were thrown into jail and tortured just because Lee Kuan Yew was afraid of their presence in parliament. Their families left to fend for themselves. Many more lived or died in political exile, separated from their loved ones for 30 years and more.

While Singaporeans sing praises of Lee Kuan Yew, let us remember that there is another side to the man.


*Mr Cheong Yip Seng (LKY’s favourite newsman, ex-ST chief editor) recently told us of an incident which showed that LKY was aware of the impact of new media. One November evening in 1999, Mr Lee telephoned Mr Cheong. He was troubled by a new information phenomenon, which was threatening to overwhelm the traditional media industry: eyeballs were migrating from print newspapers to cyberspace. Mr Cheong said that LKY was anxious about how the information revolution would impact the Singapore traditional media.

“He was anxious to find a response that would enable the mainstream media to keep its eyeballs. He wanted us at Singapore Press Holdings to think about the way forward.”

Well SPH, and the rest of constructive, nation-building media didn’t do what they were ordered to, did they? That despite throwing serious money and other resources at the problem.

Look on the bright side, Cybernuts

In Uncategorized on 26/02/2015 at 4:55 am

The Budget goodies (good summary from Yahoo) had TOC reduced to saying: The cynical among us would see Budget 2015 as an extension of a vote-buying scheme from Budget 2014. The focus of 2014 was on the elderly through the Pioneer Generation Package, and 2015 saw a distinctive shift towards the middle-income wage earners.

Some attention was paid on the Silver Support Scheme and levelling CPF contributions, but a lot more attention went towards tweaking policies for innovation and productivity, education for both the working group and children, transport cost and taxes – issues that concern the working folks.

By the pecking order of election goodies, the People’s Action Party government seems to be working its way through every sector of society, dishing out benefits to make, eventually, everyone happy. Or is it?

That TOC is reduced to this kind of rhetorical rubbish shows that the cybernuts in the anti-PAP movement can only shout into the storm like the mad (Or was he bi-polar?) King Lear in criticising the Budget. Of course, the Budget (any budget) could give more goodies, but as an attempt to bribe us with a our money, it’s pretty decent.

And the Budget isn’t the only source of heartache and grief to the cybernuts

The revelation that TRS has an FT editor (a cross between and Oz and a Nip) has caused a lot of angst and soul-searching among these anti-PAP cybernuts: born losers who were cheering on TRS as the only publication that gave vent to their sense of outrage against FTs, the PAP and all things S’porean: they don’t have the good life that they think they are entitled to and it’s the fault of other S’poreans. Ever tot of hard work and brains?

But they should again look on the bright side: even an FT can be anti-PAP cybernut despite all the TLC and money that the PAPpies lavish on FTs.

Better still, these born losers can look forward to the return of Goh Meng Seng to politics. Doubtless they will be cheering even louder when he rejoins the NSP, a party whose leaders he slimed a yr after he let his party mewmbership lapse. For the record, the party president remains the same then as now. In fact he has been the president since the party was founded in the 1990s.

But better GMS in the NSP than standing as an independent. He could have formed a team to fight Aljunied*. Back in the NSP, he’d have to observe the “chop” policy among the Oppo parties. I don’t think NSP is that bi-polar as to break the pact because GMS wants to fight the WP in Aljunied.

Too hard on GMS? Remember, he has urged S’poreans to vote for the right opposition party, not juz any oppo party  This call implies that the people will be given a choice between the “right” and “not right” oppo party.


*We [Barisan Socialists] won thirteen seats at the elections, averaging 15.000 votes to each seat. The PAP won thirty- seven seats, averaging 7,000 votes to each seat. The United People’s Party, whose function was to split the left-wing votes, campaigned on a programme that was somewhat similar to ours but more extremely put. Only their leader, Mr. Ong Eng Guan, was elected. We received 201,000 votes (35 per cent) and the PAP 272,000 votes (47 per cent). The difference is only 70,000 votes out of a total electorate of nearly 500,000. The UPP took away 49,000 votes (8 per cent), causing us the loss of seven con- stituencies (apart from Mr. Ong’s), and saved four PAP Ministers from defeat.

Murder of cartoonists: Hypocrisy in our MSM and new media coverage

In Media on 11/01/2015 at 9:56 am

What does it tell us about ourselves that in all the MSM and new media coverage there is only one tua kee blogger who points out that many of the cartoons in  Charlie Hebdo would be banned in S’pore because they are not”right”*.

I’ll put it this way: many of its cartoons would be banned for being “obscene”, while many of its anti-religious cartoons would be banned for being “offensive” to religions; some of which might be seditious to boot.

S’poreans are not willing to see this pink elefant in the cubicle, yet there are S’poreans pontificating in abstract on freedom of expression and its limits, sometimes to the point of rubbishy, meaningless nonsense. Like this very offensive, “My take is that free speech is only laudable when used well. And despicable when abused. It is worth having, but not worth having at all costs.”

My Facebook avatar pointed out

—  “Call to account”. Well the guys who killed the cartoonists can be considered “calling to account” the abusers of free speech by that definition.

— “only laudable when used well. And despicable when abused”. Who defines “laudable”, “despicable”, “used well”, “abused”? Western liberal values? Wahhabi values? Western right wing values? LKY? Those who rule?As … rightly points out, the ruling elites try to impose their definitions in their own interests.

He wasn’t the only one upset with this rubbish:

— We got to grow up and deal with some noise and mess. You don’t have to agree 100% of Charlie Hebdo’s work; but the principle of free speech, as long as it does not explicitly incite violence against its targets, has to be defended. You can’t expect to live perpetually in some kind of kindergarten. There is a cost to everything. You pay some social cost for the free speech so that you reserve the right to lampoon, criticize and call out elites, the rich and powerful when it is necessary to do so. When you are willing to circumscribe your rights for minor annoyances and offenses, you start to erode that right and you may not be able to control how far that censorship can go.

— Do you realize how much of important history consist of words written that were offensive to the church, Kings and all manner of groups that would gladly keep the status quo. Have some ‘respect’ they say. The church wasn’t very nice when it was strong and able to impose its own form of inquisition. It took years and bloody revolutions to overthrow kings. ‘Disrespect’ that led to things like the Magna Carta, French Revolution, the formation of America and the overthrow of the Qing dynasty. Boy, that’s a lot of offensive ink spilt.

*Even then this retired Imperial Storm Trooper (paper division) general puts it down to the wisdom of the MSM, not giving credit to Harry the Axe man. I’d rather give credit to Harry.


TRE: cyber-sleuth extraordinaire

In Humour, Internet on 18/12/2014 at 5:58 am

TRE should be commended for telling us that Victor Lye who is really work hard for PAP in Aljunied

is the Chief Executive of Shenton Insurance Pte Ltd [Link].

He must be a very lucky CEO to be given 1.5 years leave by his company, so as to enable him to “focus on his grassroots work”.

According to information from ACRA, Shenton Insurance is owned by Parkway Holdings. In other words, it is a subsidiary of Parkway Holdings:

If Mr Lye were to be an opposition member, would he have been given 1.5 years leave to do “grassroots work” by Shenton Insurance too?

What do you think?

And telling us that

While Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee is busy trying to “fix” opposition town council AHPETC, his own Jurong Town Council appears to be clueless in stopping rats running wild in his GRC.

A Facebook user uploaded videos and photos on his page yesterday (16 Dec) of what appeared to be rats scurrying around a grass patch:


Gd investigative work using Google. If only TOC would do this too rather than behaving like the WP’s version of the PAP’s ST. But then TRE’s public face is an IT scholar, and elite school-boy that does credit to Catholic High (unlike a certain blur drum major)..

From Russia with love to Yaacob & MDA

In Internet, Media on 13/12/2014 at 11:18 am

The recent comment that “D” in “MDA” ahould be replaced by “R” for R”Regulatory” to better reflect its role reminded me that in August in Russia, laws were enacted forcing bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers to register with the mass media regulator.

With most bloggers being friendly to the Oppo, if not cheering them on, maybe time for MDA to follow suit to make sure SuperWimp AhLoong and the MIW beats theBlueClones and the Mad Dog gang. .


Worthless Party living up to its name?

In Uncategorized on 24/11/2014 at 12:38 pm

TOC, the  ‘defacto” Petir and ST of the WP, carried the following announcement this morning

Taking a break, looking for money

Starting this week, expect less content to be posted on The Online Citizen, as the directors of The Opinion Collaborative Ltd focus our attention on securing funding for the website.

Our funds are extremely low, as subscriptions have not been forthcoming and donations have dwindled. Whatever funds we have left now would be directed towards maintaining our web server, to keep the website online.

The budget crunch has affected the editorial operations in TOC. The full-time editorial team is living on fumes and passion to keep the website operational. While we attempt to secure the budget required for the smooth continuation and maintenance of an efficient news outfit, you may see a reduction of postings in the coming weeks.

Please bear with us with the slow down in content production.

Well despite all the help TOC has been providing WP in disseminating the truth (three cheers) and, sadly, para truths about the  AHPeTC saga, WP senior cadres are not stepping in in their personal capacity to help a friend in need?

Can those of us who voted for WP expect any better from WP in future, given how they treat an active ally and friend.

What do you think?


*Meanwhile, you can help us by:

1) Subscribing to TOC – by downloading the form, here, completing it and sending it to us; or

2) Donating to TOC by cheque – made payable to “The Opinion Collaborative Ltd” and sent to The Online Citizen, 20 Maxwell Road #09-17, Maxwell House, Singapore 069113; or

3) Donating to TOC by bank or ATM transfer – to DBS current account, bank code 7171, account number 04890-4435-7.

Please note that, under the Media Development Authority’s regulations for TOC Ltd, all donations to TOC must be accompanied by your name and identification number. Donations without these details will be reserved for TOC Ltd’s future projects.

Roy and New Citizen H3 do something classy: only SunT reports it

In Internet on 30/10/2014 at 2:15 pm

Last Sunday, SunT carried a story in its inside pages on what Roy and H# did on Saturday when they could not protest at hong Lim. They and two friends held a picnic at Hong Lim and received well-wishers.

I tot this was a classy, quai lan way of reacting to the authorities’ cancellation of their planned protest. So I was really surprised that their usual cheer-leaders, and anti-PAP activists did not report or highlight the story.

Seems they only want to sensationalise the hooliganish behaviour of these two, not the subtleties they are capable of.

Btw, wonder if  Roy and H3 have these genes?

A genetic analysis of almost 900 offenders in Finland has revealed two genes associated with violent crime.

Those with the genes were 13 times more likely to have a history of repeated violent behaviour.

The authors of the study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, said at least 5-10% of all violent crime in Finland could be attributed to individuals with these genotypes.

A PAP MP and the Internet Brigade

In Uncategorized on 27/10/2014 at 4:33 am

Fabrications about the PAP is considered by netizens as the fat, ugly face of the PAP’s IB.

Both it and the PAP deny that they are linked.

Here’s some evidence that indicates they are linked with the PAP hierarchy being the alpha male.

Sometime back, a tua kee blogger, posted on Facebook an interesting tale. He had felt that he had been defamed by FATPAP and  he approached a PAP MP and asked if this MP had any influence over this group.

The MP replied me that the group is not part of his Party and that the creator of that page is not a PAP member as well, but said that he will try and reach him on the matter. The MP replied me little later saying that he had sent an email to FAPAP setting out the “right facts. Shortly thereafter FPAP took down the posting.

Well sounds like the MP had pull at FATPAP.

What do you think?

It also shows how dumb (though well meaning and decent) the PAP MP is. A really smart MP would have simply said, “Can.t help. because FPAP is not part of the PAP and that the creator of that page is not a PAP member. And anyway, PAP not that dumb and clueless as FPAP.” But by doing a gd deed he showed that FPAP was part of the PAP.

What do you think?

Being serious again, if FATPAP is the PAP’s cyber-insurgency commando strike force to fight the comboys and Comacheros of the internet, all anti-PAP paper warriors should celebrate. It will take less than 15 yrs to break the dominance of the PAP because FATPAP are akin the the paper ranters on TRE. And juz as useless. Reminder: despite all the protestations of gratitude to TRE, the ranters have not talked the talked on funding. TRE still hasn’t raised the funds it needs for 12 months. Most of the $ raised so far came from one person who donated US$10,000.


Fear of Harry lingers?

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 19/09/2014 at 4:29 am

Like the smell of stale perfume? Or stale beer? Or tobacco? Or sweat?

I tot the above, when I read this on Facebook earlier this week

For those who are itching to see the move: To Singapore, with Love, but cannot make it to JB, you might want to pick up my book: Dissident Voices, on sale at Kino. Several of the personalities in To Singapore, with Love are featured in my book… Lim Chin Siong, Dr Lim Hock Siew (Operation Coldstore), Tan Wah Piow, Vincent Cheng (Marxist Conspiracy).
In my interview with The Independent Singapore, I said I did have some initial worry about writing about people who had incurred

See More

An interview with the author of Dissident Voices, Clement Mesenas How and why did you write the book? I was commissioned by the publishers, who told me that they had a grant for such a book. The idea was that that such a book would…

I reviewed the book here. Aimed at students, given that there is nothing not factual in the book, and that the author was a strike leader (he had balls despite being a ST journalist), I find it strange that he said he had some fear when he wrote the book. Either he was exaggerating, trying to puff his book or himself (ST journalists are very insecure), or the fear of one LKY was at the back of his mind. He became an adult at a time when the ISD was pretty busy*, and when LKY was intimidating and bullying, opponents and the voters. Only the Malayan ruling elite (Chinese and Malay) were not impressed by his behaviour: uncouth and unseemly. And S’pore got kicked out of M’sia, putting an end to his ambition of being PM of M’sia..

Seriously, given the way the govt is trying to ensure that only the “right” narrative is available for public consumption, we should only be interested in the “wrong” narratives, i.e. those banned by the “govt”.

Once upon a time, “banned” products were not easily accessible. But today there’s the internet (and YouTube).

Mind you, accessing the not “right” books are a bit more problematic than films. But alternative narrative authors should embrace e-publishing, Cheaper to produce and easier to access, if “banned’. And being “banned” is free, good publicity.


*Another strike leader (another friend) had been “questioned” by the ISD because his dad was an oppo politician.

Roy’s & Hui Hui’s gig today? Keeping TRE & TOC honest

In CPF on 23/08/2014 at 8:11 am
I hope TRE and TOC don’t do an ST, or a MediaCorp today if the crowd for above gig is tiny. So far this year, this “everything complain” duo have held three gigs, the last on NatDay. Yet TOC and TRE only reported the second one where TRE estimated the crowd to be about 3,000.
They did not report the first and the last gig. Hui Hui has said 200 or so turned up for their first party, and Roy told a blogger 300-400 attended the NatDay protest.
Why is the new media silent when the online support is shown to be “Loud Thunder, No Rain” when it comes to physical attendance where some effort is needed?  

Whining cyber warriors are born losers?

In CPF, Uncategorized on 02/08/2014 at 7:19 am

If you go to link below, and click around, you will find that S’pore’s ranking on happiness (70) is very close to that Laos (69) and Burma (67) despite being way ahead in development rankings. M’sia is also at 70. The Thais and Indons are happiest in Asean (80).

So in Asean, S’poreans are about the norm happiness wise. And on par with HK which is at around our lrvel of development.

So juz as there is something wrong with netizens’ perceptions about material prosperity, they got happiness wrong too? TRE posters and other netizens must the exception to reasonably happy S’poreans? Born losers in happiness as in prosperity?

Any wonder then why govt commissioning a new study to find out what the people want, for retirement, and for health needs? Can’t rely on the noise from cyberspace for accurate feedback? Born losers here (self-included). S’pore Notes bitching on new govt study.


But then I’ve been called a PAP mole and worse by TRE ranters.






CPF: PAP govt recycles hot air, smoke again/ All part of the wayang to diastract us?

In CPF, Political governance on 30/07/2014 at 4:35 am

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said earlier this week that the government would explore the option of private pension plans for the CPF for those who are able to take higher risk. But he also warned that private pensions “will not be a walk in the park”, as higher risk did not always translate into higher returns. (BT 24 July)

Here we go again. Time for civil servants and fund manager marketers to reopen their files from the early noughties.

As BT reported, Industry anticipation of the prospect of private pension plans for the CPF was intense in 2004. Such plans were mooted as a means to enhance returns and lower costs for CPF members.

Private pension plans were envisioned as balanced or mixed-asset portfolios which would be farmed out to the private sector to be managed on an institutional basis. The ideal scenario was that there would be no sales charge, and annual fees would be reduced to a fraction of the prevailing fees … In 2004, estimates of the fund size needed for an expense ratio of 50-75 basis points ranged from S$200-300 million to as much as S$1 billion*.

In 2007, the government said the CPF’s “risk-free” structure would be retained because the majority of members did not have large balances and because private pension funds would be “too risky for older members”.

That was the decision then.

Now in 2014, Tharman is raising the issue again? Now the rich can have private pensions, he says? Hello, why didn’t that happen in 2007? It was dismissed out of hand apparently on the ground that the rules had to be the same for everyone in the scheme.

Is the govt trying to distract us from the real issues of the day that can cause it problems as it spends our money on ourselves in trying to buy our votes: Minimum Sum calculations, how CPF Life funds are invested and is it that safe, and Medisave, Medishield flaws that show up the govt’s incompetency or meanness. One of these days, I’ll blog on what actuaries say about Medishield’s proposed buffer reserves: they agree with WP’s GG rather Gan and Puthu. Remember the higher the reserves, the larger the premiums paid.

Roy Ngerng’s “revelations”** and PM’s law suit distract S’poreans from these impt issues. Sadly, new media ais ana abets unwittingly the govt’s wayang. And now there is more smoke from Tharman.

Whatever leh, govt’s attitude on private pensions, and “tweaking” the CPF system reminds me of Charles Dicken’s description of the Circumlocution Office in Little Dorrit.

It describes the govt procrastinating over everything. It also can be seen as a reproach to the government that whatever it does the results are just empty words. And our govt dares call cyberspace “noise” given its track record on private pension plans?

The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office. If another Gunpowder Plot had been discovered half an hour before the lighting of the match, nobody would have been justified in saving the parliament until there had been half a score of boards, half a bushel of minutes, several sacks of official memoranda, and a family-vault full of ungrammatical correspondence, on the part of the Circumlocution Office.

This glorious establishment had been early in the field, when the one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing a country, was first distinctly revealed to statesmen. It had been foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining influence through the whole of the official proceedings. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving — HOW NOT TO DO IT.

Through this delicate perception, through the tact with which it invariably seized it, and through the genius with which it always acted on it, the Circumlocution Office had risen to overtop all the public departments; and the public condition had risen to be — what it was.

It is true that How not to do it was the great study and object of all public departments and professional politicians all round the Circumlocution Office. It is true that every new premier and every new government, coming in because they had upheld a certain thing as necessary to be done, were no sooner come in than they applied their utmost faculties to discovering How not to do it. It is true that from the moment when a general election was over, every returned man who had been raving on hustings because it hadn’t been done, and who had been asking the friends of the honourable gentleman in the opposite interest on pain of impeachment to tell him why it hadn’t been done, and who had been asserting that it must be done, and who had been pledging himself that it should be done, began to devise, How it was not to be done. It is true that the debates of both Houses of Parliament the whole session through, uniformly tended to the protracted deliberation, How not to do it. It is true that the royal speech at the opening of such session virtually said, My lords and gentlemen, you have a considerable stroke of work to do, and you will please to retire to your respective chambers, and discuss, How not to do it. It is true that the royal speech, at the close of such session, virtually said, My lords and gentlemen, you have through several laborious months been considering with great loyalty and patriotism, How not to do it, and you have found out; and with the blessing of Providence upon the harvest (natural, not political), I now dismiss you. All this is true, but the Circumlocution Office went beyond it.

Because the Circumlocution Office went on mechanically, every day, keeping this wonderful, all-sufficient wheel of statesmanship, How not to do it, in motion. Because the Circumlocution Office was down upon any ill-advised public servant who was going to do it, or who appeared to be by any surprising accident in remote danger of doing it, with a minute, and a memorandum, and a letter of instructions that extinguished him. It was this spirit of national efficiency in the Circumlocution Office that had gradually led to its having something to do with everything. Mechanicians, natural philosophers, soldiers, sailors, petitioners, memorialists, people with grievances, people who wanted to prevent grievances, people who wanted to redress grievances, jobbing people, jobbed people, people who couldn’t get rewarded for merit, and people who couldn’t get punished for demerit, were all indiscriminately tucked up under the foolscap paper of the Circumlocution Office.

Numbers of people were lost in the Circumlocution Office. Unfortunates with wrongs, or with projects for the general welfare (and they had better have had wrongs at first, than have taken that bitter English recipe for certainly getting them), who in slow lapse of time and agony had passed safely through other public departments; who, according to rule, had been bullied in this, over-reached by that, and evaded by the other; got referred at last to the Circumlocution Office, and never reappeared in the light of day. Boards sat upon them, secretaries minuted upon them, commissioners gabbled about them, clerks registered, entered, checked, and ticked them off, and they melted away. In short, all the business of the country went through the Circumlocution Office, except the business that never came out of it; and its name was Legion.

Sometimes, angry spirits attacked the Circumlocution Office. Sometimes, parliamentary questions were asked about it, and even parliamentary motions made or threatened about it by demagogues so low and ignorant as to hold that the real recipe of government was, How to do it. Then would the noble lord, or right honourable gentleman, in whose department it was to defend the Circumlocution Office, put an orange in his pocket, and make a regular field-day of the occasion. Then would he come down to that house with a slap upon the table, and meet the honourable gentleman foot to foot. Then would he be there to tell that honourable gentleman that the Circumlocution Office not only was blameless in this matter, but was commendable in this matter, was extollable to the skies in this matter. Then would he be there to tell that honourable gentleman that, although the Circumlocution Office was invariably right and wholly right, it never was so right as in this matter. Then would he be there to tell that honourable gentleman that it would have been more to his honour, more to his credit, more to his good taste, more to his good sense, more to half the dictionary of commonplaces, if he had left the Circumlocution Office alone, and never approached this matter. Then would he keep one eye upon a coach or crammer from the Circumlocution Office sitting below the bar, and smash the honourable gentleman with the Circumlocution Office account of this matter. And although one of two things always happened; namely, either that the Circumlocution Office had nothing to say and said it, or that it had something to say of which the noble lord, or right honourable gentleman, blundered one half and forgot the other; the Circumlocution Office was always voted immaculate by an accommodating majority.

Such a nursery of statesmen had the Department become in virtue of a long career of this nature, that several solemn lords had attained the reputation of being quite unearthly prodigies of business, solely from having practised, How not to do it, as the head of the Circumlocution Office. As to the minor priests and acolytes of that temple, the result of all this was that they stood divided into two classes, and, down to the junior messenger, either believed in the Circumlocution Office as a heaven-born institution that had an absolute right to do whatever it liked; or took refuge in total infidelity, and considered it a flagrant nuisance.


*Background facts about CPF

Data compiled by Morningstar shows that there are funds which handily beat the CPF rates. Aberdeen’s Pacific Equity Fund, for example, generated annualised returns of 4.6 per cent over three years; 13.8 per cent over five years; and 13.5 per cent over 10 years. The maximum loss and volatility over the periods were in double digits, however.

As at March 2014, there was S$259.5 billion in total members’ balances in the CPF. The Ordinary Account (OA) accounted for S$100.7 billion and another S$62.8 billion sat in the Special Account (SA).

In terms of participation in the CPF Investment Scheme, S$20.7 billion of OA funds were invested, and S$5.7 billion of SA funds.

**Uncle Leong (Roy’s sifu) has been telling S’poreans for years what Roy has discovered. The only thing that Roy did different was to accuse the govt of “stealing” our CPF, something that he has repented of:

I recognise that the Article means and is understood to mean that Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore and Chairman of GIC, is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid by Singaporeans to the Central Provident Fund.

3.I admit and acknowledge that this allegation is false and completely without foundation.

4.I unreservedly apologise to Mr Lee Hsien Loong for the distress and embarrassment caused to him by this allegation.




People that the PAP fear?

In Hong Kong, Media on 14/05/2014 at 4:59 am

“A prophet without honour in his own country or home,” was what I tot.

No not talking about one Devan Nair, for one thing he is being re-recognised by the PAP govt: “Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially opened the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong East …”, it was reported on 1 May 2014.

No, I couldn’t help but think “A prophet without honour in his own country or home”*, when I read on Saturday, “Outspoken academic Cherian George takes up post at Hong Kong Baptist University” (

He needs no introduction as the hubbie of ST’s editor, brudder-in-law to the Malay minister, and an academic and former journalist who has had disagreements with the PAP govt since the 1980s. Seeing no future in journalism, he became an academic. In 2009, he was made an NTU associate professor but denied tenure. In 2010, NTU denied the school’s attempt to renew his position as head of journalism. He was denied tenure again last year and had to “move on” and out of S’pore.

Is it not surprising that The Reporters Without Borders 2014 Press Freedom Index ranked Hong Kong at 61 and Singapore at 150 out of 180 nations?

Mr Spock can reasonably conclude that he was denied tenure because “Service and other contributions to the university, profession or community are also taken into consideration.”**

He is after all, “one of Singapore’s most accomplished and civic minded media commentators”, as someone whom  I respect described him. He could also have be a model for what Seah Chiang Nee in his final column for the Star wrote: “make sure you get the facts right. Use refined language, with no exaggeration. Accuracy, objectivity! When it does well, give it credit; if it does badly in the eyes of most people, say so.” This is something that doesn’t fit rabid PAP cybder warriors.

Rabid anti-PAP cyber warriors especially those who distort the truth can take heart that they are not the ones the PAP fear most or that they will get into trouble for attacking the PAP.

The PAP it seems fears those who are willing to speak the truth, and who thereby have the respect of the 35% of S’poreans who can be swayed by the facts and rational arguments, unlike the 35% (Any donkey so long it is branded “PAP” and 30% (Any donkey who says he is anti-PAP) who can’t.

I’m exaggerating who the PAP fear most? Remember this incident when someone was uninvited to the Istana.

And there are some (not me though, here’s why ) who think that Alex Au’s legal problems have something to do with his well researched and totful pieces.

Happily for the PAP, the really rabid anti-PAP cyber warriors don’t think that telling the truth is that important. What matters is being cheered on by 30% of the voters. If only they can recognise that 30% is not a majority in S’pore politics, and that they have to appeal to the middle 35%.

But maybe they (or at least some of them do) do but are afraid of kanna “marked” by the PAP, and suffering the consequences like having to “move on” or being a non-person.. Better to appeal to the 30% hard core. Better safe than sorry. That after all is the S’porean way.


*1And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. 2And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. 4But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. (Mark 6)

**An NTU spokesman said,: “The tenure review process is purely a peer-driven academic exercise with two equally important criteria, distinction in scholarship and high quality teaching. Service and other contributions to the university, profession or community are also taken into consideration.”

He wrote on his blog, “As for why the university took the exceptional step of withholding tenure from a faculty member who it decided had earned promotion, I was assured this had nothing to do with my scholarship, teaching or service, and not because I had conducted myself inappropriately.” He was never contradicted by NTU.

So a hyper rationalist like Mr Spock can reasonably conclude that it was “Service and other contributions to the university, profession or community are also taken into consideration” that did him in, making him move on; to a place controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, no friend of a free media or internet.


Who is right? PM? Heart Truths? Consumer survey?

In Economy, Humour, India, Indonesia, Political governance on 05/05/2014 at 4:51 am

Recently PM said the problems S’pore were facing were the results of success*. Here I asked: Success what success? Real wages grew by only 0.4% while GDP grew by 5.9% . while the prices of public housing apartments went up in a recession.

Meanwhile, many new media warriors (posters on TRE; Heart Truths, near relation to Hard Truths; Han Hui Hui, an FT turned new citizen, who is proof that the Bumis in M’sia are right not to trust the local Cina: Uncle Chua etc) are always full of how hard life is for the average S’porean.

This so-called suffering doesn’t chime with what I observe in shopping malls, restaurants, or even hawkers’ centres or coffee shops, or what my friends, relations or biz connections tell me: S’poreans are  feeling more confident of confident of their prospects, and hence are spending more. Note, I’m not saying that there are no S’poreans suffering, but I take issue that the majority of S’poreans are suffering.

Well a recent Nielsen survey** of 501 S’poreans seems to confirm my view: that things are OK and improving, but not as great as PM is spinning. After all he got a GE to win.

Consumer confidence in Singapore is at its highest level in 10 consecutive quarters, with people remaining upbeat about personal finances and being more willing to spend.

According to the latest consumer confidence index released by Nielsen, Singapore recorded an index score of 99 in the first quarter, up two notches from 97 in the previous quarter … but still shy of the 100 baseline, has yet to reach optimism. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism. [If things are as great as what PM, his ministers and their trumpeters*** in the constructive, nation-building media saying, shouldn’t the score be 150 and rising?]

The head of Nielsen Financial Services in Singapore and Malaysia was quoted as saying “The positive outlook on the economy and personal financial circumstances is starting to trickle down to consumers’ spending intentions: we notice an increase in the number of Singaporeans who are willing to spend money on discretionary expenses . . . if these intentions materialise, they could act as a further stimulus to the economy.”

So am I, Nielsen and those S’poreans spending more living in the same S’pore as our PM, or the people complaining via new media? Who is more reflectively of the reality of life in S’pore? PM and Heart Truths and friends are aliens that landed here on UFO Goh Meng Seng, the scourge of Pinoy Pride here?

Jokes about aliens and GMS aside, maybe

— PM and his ministers are out of touch, what with their huge salaries? Yesterday, I wrote “Of course Mah Bow Tan other millionaire ministers (present and retired) are not among these ‘lesser mortals”” in a piece of  EFTs that mimic the strategies of hedge funds.

— It’s these new media warriors who are the suffering underclass and they think that they are representative S’poreans? Or they are fruscos who think that they should have been talent-spotted by the PAP? They are always claiming that the suffering is always the fault of the PAP govt, never an issue of personal responsibility or sheer bad luck, so maybe they have personal grievances against the PAP? BTW, I exclude TRE’s Richard Wan as he knows he has a comfortable living, and knows it.

My serious point is that whatever new media or PAP media or anyone says about any topic, those of us who are rational have to ask ourselves,”Chime with what I observe?”. Don’t get carry away with the views of others. They could have agendas, delusions to propagate.

BTW, more details from BT (1 May) on the Nielsen survey:

— Some 54 per cent of respondents from Singapore consider their finances to be “good” or “excellent”, unchanged from the previous quarter.

— There is an uptick in Singaporeans who intend to invest in stocks and mutual funds, up six percentage points at 32 per cent … continue to be prudent with their money. Some 70 per cent would channel their spare money into savings, up six percentage points compared to the previous quarter and well above the global average of 47 per cent … more Singaporeans intend to increase their discretionary expenditure on a vacation and new clothes. Some 54 per cent intend to spend their spare cash on a holiday, while 37 per cent would spend it on new clothes, a quarterly increase of five and 11 points, respectively.

Interestingly, two of the three countries with the highest consumer confidence levels are in Asean Indonesia (124),  and the Philippines (116). BTW, India (121) is in between.

*Singapore’s economy has fared better than expected over the last decade, but the country’s success also brought about its own set of challenges.  PM Lee made this point in a wide-ranging discussion with regional newspaper editors  recently.

He said the country had paid the price of this fast growth, as infrastructure wasn’t able to keep up with the rapid development.

Mr Lee was asked about Singapore’s success during his time as Prime Minister and if anything exceeded his expectations.

He said yes, the country had done economically better than expected and grown faster — attributing it to favourable conditions.

As investments poured in, the government had put in resources and brought in foreign labour needed to grow. As a result, developments at the Marina Bay area sprung up in within a decade, instead of the expected 20 to 30 years.

He said that in terms of infrastructure, the country had not been able to catch up and had paid a price, and added that the government had been working hard over the past three to four years trying to come back up to speed.

He said that if the government had been able to foresee the outcome, it would have acted sooner.

But that, he said, was with the benefit of “20-20 hindsight”.

“We succeeded more than we expected, and so in terms of the infrastructure, we were not able to catch up — our public transport, building houses,” said Mr Lee. “And we paid a price.”

“We have spent the last three, four years working hard to try and come up back to speed. I wish we had been able to foresee this outcome, and then we would have acted sooner.

“But that’s 20-20 hindsight.”

Mr Lee also emphasised that it’s important for Singaporeans to feel they have a sense of belonging to the country — and that is something that is still a work in progress.

But Mr Lee acknowledged that this growth had come with a cost.

CNA extract

**The survey, conducted from mid February  to  early March this year, polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries,

***These public grievances [on healthcare costs immigration, ministerial salaries] and expert doubts did appear in the media; they were not completely blacked out. But, they were always toned down and set in a context that ensured that the government’s voice remained dominant. When there was undeniable distance between public opinion and the government’s position, leaders required the press to work towards a consensus by shifting the ground rather than nudging the government.

By dampening doubts and dissent, by allowing government to operate in an echo chamber, the media gave yesterday’s policy makers an easier ride. But, today’s policy makers are paying the price. There is now more for them to undo as they move their frame of reference back to the centre-left. Furthermore, a lack of responsiveness resulted in lower levels of trust, which now make it harder for the government to persuade the public when it needs to.

The flawed media policy is behind the current government’s biggest failure – its inability to sell its Population White Paper, which by its own reckoning was a vitally important strategic blueprint for the future. Because it had been unwilling to subject its immigration policies to even the gentle probing of friendly national media in the past, it lost touch with public sentiment and lost precious political capital. Today, it is unable to carry the ground on immigration issues.

Even when it speaks sense – like when the Prime Minister chided Singaporeans for their irrational, tribal response to the upcoming Philippine Independence Day celebration – it meets a wall of cynicism and hostility.

Author is hubby of  ST’s editor.

TRE carries gd, original socio-economic analysis

In Uncategorized on 22/04/2014 at 5:27 am

TRE juz doesn’t do republishing anti-PAP bloggers like Tan Kin Lian and carrying int’l media coverage of S’pore.

I recently congratulated Richard Wan (he paid for canteen lunch) that TRE is attracting some writers who don’t blog, and who produce some pretty decent socio-economic stuff. Here are two recent examples

Meanwhile TOC seems stuck in a rut. I’ll blog on it one of these days and yes I got a beef against TOC. It bitches about PM censoring on his Facebook. Readers might like to know that TOC prevents me my Facebook avatar from commenting on its Facebook page. To be fair, I can still comment (I think) on its articles.

Actually the PM isn’t censoring. He is juz “hiding” the article from public view*. Unlike TOC who prevents me from commenting. Let me be clear, I’m not saying that TOC cannot should not prevent me from commenting. It’s its right. But kinda rich to criticise PM for juz “hiding” a comment* when it more pro-active in handling comments not to its liking. Sounds like the PAP govt in allowing all FTs to hold events in public spaces while preventing some S’poreans  (Think the PAP’s light blue clones and various civil groups) from doing the same on the grounds of “law and order” issues, even if the FTs in question are from a country where people believe in the power of the people to overthrow elected govts while the S’poreans are juz sheep who dream different from the “right” dreams.

Related post:

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and knowledge of reality.


Constructive suggestions for anti-PAP paper warriors

In Internet on 12/03/2014 at 4:22 am

If there were an updated list of the Magnificent Seven bloggers, there is a gd chance that Roy Ngerng (Heart Truths) would be one of them. He is very active (online and in real world e.g. calling for a protest to protest conservancy increases in PAP-occupied areas), passionate in wanting regime change (via the ballot box), and his pieces have lots of charts and colour to make them easier reads.

While skimming thru the comments on a recent tract of his that TRE republished, I came across a post which asks Roy to focus on the fence-sitters, not the converted. It points out that only the true believers will read his pieces, thus wasting his hard efforts of writing the Heart Truths. He asks Roy to modify his writings to capture the “fence sitters”.As someone who wants (for starters) the PAP to have a less than two-thirds majority, I hope Roy listens. And I hope too that other polemic tract-writers move on from preaching to the converted (25- 30%) to trying to propagate their visions of S’pore to the 35% of voters (those who voted for Tan Cheng Bock)that are willing change their views and to listen to reasoned arguments, not haranguing. After all,  the PAP does that already. Better to do the opposite of what is boring and annoying people? Unless the bloggers think that the PAP way is the “right” way.

: 2cents:


I confess that this is the first time that I actually read yr article. I doubt if more than 20 TRE readers will read the entire 8000-word that you have spent so much time & effort on.

It’s a shame as there is much to be garnered. So, I’d like to say thank you personally.

If you will permit me 2 observations.

I assume that your intent, judging from ALL yr activities reported, is to inform and persuade voters to your line of thought. Well, most of the readers @TRE do not need much persuasion, if any at all. It’s the ‘some’ amongst us, the fence-sitters and govt supporters who you should be writing mostly for.

1) Will they take >20 mins (400 word/min) to go thro’? When there are so many other topics fighting for their attention?

2) Putting myself into a PAP supporter’s shoes, I would already be mentally tuned out when I start to read. A fence-sitter may be less so.

That being the case, the use of ‘hypocrisy’ is a loaded and emotive term that will straightaway call up defensive mechanism when reading.

As I understand,
hy·poc·ri·sy = The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.


the condition of a person pretending to be something he is not, especially in the area of morals or religion; a false presentation of belief or feeling.

I think that trying to convert a political view thro’ emotion via the written word is a very difficult task. To accuse one’s preferred party of ‘hypocrisy’ is a moral judgment. I doubt anyone likes that except detractors of the accused.

Approaching from a rationale or more objective angle would, I think, be more helpful to one’s intent of persuading another to weigh the evidence about to be presented – and, hopefully, change his view.

Perhaps, it’s just PAP’s blind side, if deliberate, that is dictating their warped approaches to policy matters. It’s hard for any supporter or fence-sitter to see any ‘pretence’ on PAP’s part. PAP actually and sincerely believe that their course of action is the right one for SGP.

That’s why many of those, we all know personally, who disagree with the policies would con’t to vote for PAP – because they see only sincerity, even if perhaps, misplaced, but no hypocrisy.

Likewise, why would they throw their hat in with an oppo that insist, incorrectly and maliciously (to them), on hypocrispy when they honestly see none? As if issues of national import are so cut & dry.

If my assumptions are wrong, pls disregard my rumblings. Rgds, 2cents.

Another post on another piece asks him to keep his arguments short and sweet. Gd point: he takes three continuous  posts in TRE to response to a critic. I kid you not, scroll to the comments: Again this is something many anti-PAP bloggers have to learn: keep their pieces short and sweet. If they want to write longish pieces, then learn from Alex Au. His pieces are long but they don’t feel long because he knows how to entertain the reading while being polemical.

And here’s a blogger who is very concise, insightful, factual, and no bull or false rhetoric that Roy can usefully imitate.

Armchair Anarchist:

Dear Roy
If you are reading this. Please do not think me impertinent to offer you a small suggestion from an old geezer. Self imposed yourself to write articles to no more than 2 pages on MSWord using 11 font. Long articles such as the those you typically wrote don’t win arguments, short and sharp ones do. By limiting yourself, you will find efficiency of words and facts and collectively this will carry a bigger punch. In these days of short attention span, short and sharp riposte, not many care to read long articles. In the corporate world, your boss will tell you that if you cannot write a memo within 2 paragraphs, then don’t write it because no one will bother to read.

For some fairness and balance, here are two comments that are not constructive or flattering to Roy:

: Fully Agree:

I was surprised when Uncle Leong started co-authoring articles with this person with a weird surname.

He did not present any scintillating revelations but seemed to just grouse, show bar charts (and push the agenda for niche groups).

Now he has his facts wrong. How does he help Uncle Leong I wonder?

Cynical Investor: Taz the trouble with Roy, he doesn’t do his home work. And undermines his basic thesis (which I and many others share which is: “Why pay more when there are surplus funds?”)

This will keep those TRE readers who accuse me of being a PAPpy mole, the opportunity to spawning their disinfo. They members of PAP’s IB? They can now go earn their peanuts per post.

FTs: Humour free zone? Jokes prohibited?

In Humour, Internet on 23/12/2013 at 4:48 am

This blogger is ambivalent about Bertha Henson. The conventional wisdom is that this once Sith Lord in the making changed her spots after retiring from SPH* where she was a cyber warrior (general rank) at ST, no less, into a Jedi warrior. One of these days, I’ll go into the conspiracy theory as to why she could be a Trojan horse (and explain the inconvenient fact to said theory that MDA fixed her). But as this is Christmas, I’ll not be that Gringie.

Whether on not she is part of a black ops against us cowboys of S’pore’s cyberspace, she writes well, very well. She’s pretty witty too, and has mastered the dark art of black humour, if not satire. Example: And she loves journalism; she did a lovely piece on her accreditation  to an activist event: sorry lazy to find the article to link to it.

But despite being treated as Jedi both by the cowboys and the MDA and ST, she recently was attacked by two tua kee cyber activists (both ladies) on Facebook for writing Read it for yrself  before going on to read their comments, and my take on the piece and them.

I’ll not name them, ’cause its Christmas and I’m no Grinch or Krampus. A man dressed as Krampus in Austria … pretty scary, huh?

One said: What a lovely way to dehumanise a group of people: make assumptions and fall back on stereotypes, while coming across as reasoned and reasonable. Dear Bertha, the problems facing migrant workers go beyond what happens to them on a Sunday. Of course, we only notice them on Sundays because they’re busy working themselves to the bone, building our city, cleaning our loos, clearing our trash and staying out of YOUR way the rest of the week. Where they go on their rest day really isn’t anyone’s problem but their own. Would YOU like your boss to tell you what to do when you’re not working?

Another wrote:

It is a very condescending article. From the very first paragraph you can see the belittling and patronising: “We have a problem. We have hundreds of thousands of foreign workers – and we don’t know what to do with them on Sundays. And they probably don’t know what to do with themselves on Sundays either.”

Why do we need to do anything with them on their off day – it is THEIR off day. And who are we to say that they don’t know what to do with themselves, simply because from our standpoint that don’t seem to be doing what we would prefer them to do (which is what, attend Alcoholics Anonymous and play friendly games of basketball in their dorms?)

The second paragraph is just as facepalm-worthy: “The foreign maid can stay “home” and be paid for not taking the day off. And even if they are out, they’re not likely to get into a drunken stupor and throw pieces of concrete around. They’ll just crowd somewhere until someone shoos them somewhere else.”

The fact that foreign domestic workers stay “home” on their day off potentially means that they will also be made to work on their day off. This is not a situation we should be okay with, much less use as a sort of “ah this is okay for FDWs, but what about the other migrant workers” example.

Also, migrant workers in Little India are also “not likely to get into a drunken stupor and throw pieces of concrete around”; just because a group of men did it once on one Sunday night – out of all the many Sunday nights over the many years that they DIDN’T do it – doesn’t make that entire group of people suddenly prone to doing it.

And the last sentence of that paragraph: “They’ll just crowd somewhere until someone shoos them somewhere else.” Like that’s an okay state of affairs too! Oh, these FDWs don’t bother us, they just hang about with their friends and if we Singaporeans don’t like it just shoo them away lah! <- How condescending and dehumanising is that?!

So just in the first two paragraphs already almost every single sentence is offensive. Wah lau.

Foreign workers should be able to do whatever they want on their days off. It is the Singaporean mindset – the one that tells us that we enlightened beings must take care of “those from the Indian subcontinent” because they don’t know what to do with themselves – that should change.

I think Ms Henson is having a dig at the govt’s uncaring attitude to solving a problem, any problem: everything has to be neat and tidy, and damn the human cost.

My take on her critics is that these two gals don’t do humour, at least when it comes to FTs. Or they may think that the issue should not be the subject of any humour: too serious to joke about. Bit like the attitude of the authorities in the aftermath of the riot: no alcohol, and apparently no Maruah meeting in restaurant private room which employs FTs. On the latter, scared that FTs will riot? Come on Maruah are wimps in action: talk cock, sing song. Sorry KH, can’t resist that.

But to be fair to the gals , one of Henson’s BN team “Liked” the second entry.  So maybe I’m wrong about said lady activists. Either that or her disciple is a Judas, or a sotong boy. I suspect the last is most likely.

Merry Christmas. Keep on feasting.

*A more classy, intelligent version of what Tan Kin Lian did after he retired from NTUC Income: resigning from the PAP and standing as the People’s Voice in the presidential election, where he lost his deposit and deprived us of cocking a snook at the PAP. The PAP’s preferred candidate won by around three hundred votes. But to be fair, TKL fought the gd fight for those who invested in securities that invested in credit-default notes. (Declaration of interest: I helped out there) Investors got a raw deal, but it could have been worse if not for TKL.( and

Infocomm Dysfunctional Authority

In Infrastructure, Internet, Public Administration on 22/11/2013 at 5:01 am

Yaacob the Info minister wrote on Facebook a few days ago that many agencies have worked hard in the past weeks to strengthen the security of Singapore’s computer systems and websites*, and those responsible for the recent hacking incidents have been arrested or are being investigated**.

Taz gd, but what about making sure that IDA works hard and competently to give the public info on cyber security accurately, and in a timely manner? Rather than inaccurately, and only after cyber leaks and DRUMS.

Going by its recent ingloriously track record, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) should be renamed   Inforomm Dysfunctional Authority  because it’s so dysfunctional  in communicating info on cyber security and ICT matters.

It can’t even explain to our constructive, nation-building local journalists that the PMO’s website was not hacked. Granted that our well-paid hacks are not the most intelligent people in S’pore, but surely Yaacob’s finest could have told them in simple English, “PMO’s website was not hacked into”?

Singapore ICT regulator Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) was cited by local media reports to blame a vulnerability in Google’s search bar, embedded in the two websites, as the cause of the breach. In a media briefing to which only local media were invited …

… a Google spokesperson told ZDNet in an e-mail Wednesday: “It has come to our attention that the PMO’s website recently experienced an attack in the search functionality of the site run by Google’s Custom Search Engine site-search widget.

“After investigation, it appears that the code in the Google custom search engine is safe and the vulnerability lies with the coding on the webpage.”

While IDA declined to comment further on this issue as it is currently under police investigation, ZDNet understands the regulator was misquoted in local news reports. Rather than Google’s search bar, it had instead pointed to a vulnerability in the search function which the hackers were able to exploit and redirect visitors to the external webpages.


At the very least, IDA gave the impression that our cybersecurity machinery was the equivalent of the flood prevention team  when Yaacob was “flooder-in-chief”.

Now onto an earlier, and more major, failure to communicate. Remember the Saturday a few weeks ago when govt websites suddenly closed for “routine maintenance’? Although they were soon up, netizens suspicions were aroused and they started playing DRUMS in the absence of authoritative info.

And they were correct to think that there problems, only not hacking but cock-ups.

Only on Monday evening (after a memo surfaced on the internet), IDA admitted the problems in accessing several Singapore government websites over the weekend were due to technical problems that arose during maintenance on Saturday afternoon. While the glitches have been rectified, people accessing these websites may continue to face intermittent access as maintenance was still ongoing.

In this day and age, IDA should communicate openly with the public. After all, this is not North Korea, even if our media ratings are close to that of the North Koreans than that to the US or UK.

I leave it to this blogger who wrote before IDA admitted that there were cock-ups, not juz “routine maintenance” to explain what I mean:

“It’s strange that the IDA did not deem it fit to update people more regularly when so many sites were out of service. Not only were they unable to transact, say, on SingPass, they were also wondering if indeed a cyber attack had been carried out against government agencies, as part of a bigger wave of attacks.

Ironically, the IDA can look at the way SingTel updated its customers in the hours after a fire at a telephone exchange just weeks ago. Though the damage was way bigger, angering a lot more customers, at least they knew what was going on.

And fall short, it definitely did this time. While there is speculation on why and how the sites could have been down, one thing is clear – this maintenance caused the sites to go down longer than expected.

That itself reflects badly on the nation’s cyber security efforts. “Self pwn” is the phrase that comes to mind when you bring down your own networks inadvertently.”


Recently, CNA reported, Singapore’s Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong, has said that countries in Asia need to adapt to emerging trends in social media, in order to get the new generation more engaged in literature and the arts.

Maybe he sould have a talk with  Yaacob and s/o Devan Nair who seem clueless about the effect of social media and the internet on public communications and PR in general. Strange this cluelessness, given their roles in govt as public communicators and PR. or they juz there for wayang.

One final tot. I’m surprised that neither GG nor TRE nor TOC tot it fit to ask if the people responsible for website security in general or the maintenance cock-ups, in particular,  were FTs or true-blue S’poreans.

This blogger has argued we need a S’porean core in cyber security.

One “career path” often joked about, but taken somewhat seriously, is to get into an IT management role in a bank then outsource the dirty work to vendors, sit back and enjoy a Dilbert moment every day.

Now, when that dirty work is cyber security, there is a problem. It’s an area where you can’t be an expert without getting your hands dirty. Yes, there are security solutions out there to tap on, but it is important to know your own servers well. How can you secure your home if you don’t know where the holes are in your fences?

Similarly, when it comes to defending national infrastructure, it pays to have a ready pool of experts, with actual hands-on experience.

This work cannot be easily outsourced, since it may involve getting access to sensitive information, say, military secrets. A Singaporean core, to borrow the government’s term, may be needed in such as an operation.

But will our FT-loving govt listen? Worse it seems the govt’s model of “Talent is two-timing new citizen Raj or Tammy’s killer or the FTs that beat up S’poreans and then fled S’pore (one was even given PR after the beating), or a violent, cheating PRC shop assistant, or PRC hawkers or a looney, violent bank director.

*“A quote from a decade and a half ago: ‘Secure web servers are the equivalent of heavy armoured cars. The problem is, the roads are subject to random detours, anyone with a screwdriver can control the traffic lights and there are no police.’”
—Richard Guy Briggs on “Besieged”, Nov 9th 2013

**Taz before the latest reported hack of schools’ sites and a local museum’s mailing list was made public in NZ. Don’t know if you notice, but the local media is downplaying the security implications of the hacks by making them sound trivial.The schools’ hack is “defacement” and the mailing list was described as being on the website. The Hard Truth is that in these cases, servers were broken into.

This is in contrast to the “hack”of PMO’s site which was over-sensationalised. (There was no hack there as reported above. In the PMO’s case, at no time was there any server intrusion. The server was secure.) One wonders if IDA has finally educated the hacks on the basics of cyber security or did it order them to downplay the hacks as the hacks would imply that contrary to Yaacob’s comments about working hard to fix security issues, the cyber security teams are not working hard, or worse, working hard incompetently.

Waz the “right” kind of gotong royong?

In Economy, Infrastructure, Internet, Political governance, Public Administration on 18/10/2013 at 5:00 am

Update on 22 23 October 2013: Minister explains use of Criminal Law Temporary Provision Act ( on footie fixers.

I recently came across “gotong royong” the American way, or community spirit the capitalist way: in American- speak, the “sharing economy”.

Technology is revolutionising the way Americans catch a cab with a ride now just a click away through mobile phone apps like like Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Instantcab and Flywheel.

Many of these services are part of the so-called “sharing economy” in which car owners offer to drive strangers in exchange for a “donation”.

But is this the “right” gotong royong that the PAPpies say they want here?

Bet you the Hard Truths that premise the PAP’s governing methods will prevent S’pore from ever going down this route, even though this seems one of several viable solutions (several are needed)  to our public tpt and private car problems  Remember, NTUC is via the Labour Foundation, the controlling shareholder of ComfortDelgro, the owner of the biggest taxi fleet here, and Temasek’s SMRT has a big taxi fleet too. The former runs most of the buses, while the latter runs most of the trains too. And it might impact the revenue from CoEs.

Seriously, the problem here is that “gotong royong” is contrary to the PAP’s Hard Truth that it is fount of everything. Gotong royong is not compatible with a top-down approach, where there is always a “right” way of doing things.

In “gotong royong”, as in the “sharing economy”, things happen because the rabble plebs mob community, society, consumer is the driving force, not a benign meritocratic elite. The people realise that there is a problem, issue, and are free (within some, not many, constraints) to work out a solution*. They don’t bitch while waiting for the governing elite to solve the problem, feeling entitled that because said elite is well-paid, they must solve the problem, resolve the issue.

I consider the following to be gotong royong in action, but doubt the PAP ministers urging us to “gotong royong” would agree:

— TOC’s and TRE’s continued existence;

— the various fund raisings for various legal cases where the govt is the defendant;

— the public funding of the deposits of Alex Tan and friends, and the independent team at Tanjong Pagar GRC;

— Nicole Seah raising money for her team’s election expenses;

— the free food and drinks at Gilbert Goh’s Hong Lim Green functions;

— Function 8;

— CHC members who willingly pay the legal fees of church members being prosecuted for false accounting etc;

— pastor Khong’s gang funding a legal suit;

— those who lend sound eqpt and technical help at various Hong Lim Green parties

— the kay pohs trying to help FTs avoid being hung for drug trafficking**;

— those gathering to help the family of Dinesh Raman get justice and closure**;

— Maruah**;

— the volunteers who help FT manual workers;

— the LGBT community; and

the dedicated band of enthusiasts who have been trying to draw attention to the cemetery’s [Bukit Brown’s] value. They have succeeded in having it included on the biennial watchlist of the World Monument Fund (WMF), of heritage sites around the world that are in danger.

All these examples and more show that the gotong royong spirit is alive and well. They juz don’t fit the PAP’s narrative, especially the bit that the PA’s and PAP’s grass-root activists are the only selfless, dedicated volunteers. And that in cyberspace, their activists are no match for the the injuns, outlaws and other inhabitants of cowboy towns.

*In the US, there is no hegemonic elite to enforce the top down approach, and stifle innovation or stifle dissent or force recantations from members of the elite turned heretical.

**How come no help Dan Tan? Because he drive 7 series, got properties and China babe? And he not violent, middle class or FT?

Ngiam & Galileo Galilei & Gen Giap

In Political governance on 17/10/2013 at 5:11 am

The comments made against Ngiam (some by those who should better and by who all don’t have his balls or stature or achievements or intellect) reminded me of two scenes in the play “Life of Galileo” by Bertolt Brecht.

Andrea’s disappointment of Galileo, after the latter recanted (p. 84-5) [Andrea is one of Galileo’s pupils]

Andrea : (loudly) Unhappy the land that has no heroes! (Galileo has come in, completely, almost unrecognizably, changed by the trial. He has heard Andrea’s exclamation. As none is forthcoming and his pupils shrink back from him, he goes slowly and because of his bad eyesight uncertainly to the front where he finds a footstool and sits down)

Andrea : I can’t look at him. I wish he’d go away.

Federzoni : Calm yourself.

Andrea : (screams at Galileo) Wine barrel! Snail eater! Have you saved your precious skin? (Sits down) I feel sick.

Galileo : (calmly) Get him a glass of water.

Andrea : I can walk now if you’ll help me. (They lead him to the door. When they reach it, Galileo begins to speak)

Galileo : No. Unhappy the land that needs a hero.

In the final scene of the play, Galileo, now an old man, living under house arrest, is visited Andrea. Galileo gives him a book (Two New Sciences) containing all his scientific discoveries, asking him to smuggle it out of Italy for dissemination abroad. Andrea now believes Galileo’s actions were heroic and that he just recanted to fool the ecclesiastical authorities. However, Galileo insists his actions had nothing to do with heroism but were merely the result of self-interest. Wikipedia

Ngiam became the the “people”‘s hero because he, a retired insider, criticised the govt. If they had bothered to read the details of his criticism, they would have found things that would have made them unhappy if implemented by the govt. Examples

— MRT fares should be relatively more expensive than bus fares to reflect their greater convenience to commuters, and higher costs to the system.

— His call for a weaker S$, isn’t going to be gd for inflation.

— Some govt spending on S’poreans has met his disaaproval. He considers these popularist measures.

— He doesn’t agree with Gilbert Goh and friends on their “S’poreans first” call.

Now the “people” have turned against him because of his perceived recantation. They now forget his bravery.

I don’t think the people’s adulation, then revulsion affects him personally, or his reputation among those who matter. He doesn’t do popularity. When once asked by our local media why he never aspired to become a minister, he said he didn’t do “kissing babies”.

He is right in eschewing popularity. Remember the people’s hero, who the “people” asked to stand in the 2011 presidential elections, Tan Kin Lian? He lost his deposit, the self-styled voice of the people. He was seduced and then deserted by the “people’.

I suspect Ngiam’s popularity with the mob rabble had more to do with his criticism of the govt, than because people understood what he was saying. It was also a gd way for KS S’poreans to “dog whistle”* that they were not pro-govt (a bit like why general Giap was mourned by the Vietnamese young.**.

Sadly, his fall from the people’s favour should help reinforce the Dark Side’s prejudices about the people: the mob, rabble doesn’t matter. The voters can be manipulated, tamed and fixed via bread, circuses, the security services and the right messages. Throw them enough of their own money, and spin that this shows the PAP cares, and come the next GE, Pritam and Auntie will be out of their cushy jobs.

And the Dark Side’s view is reasonable. Fortunately, the Dark side has no Dr Goebbels to spin the right messages effectively. Until it finds him, the PAP govt can continue to throw our money at ourselves, and still not succeed in winning over the 35% of S’poreans that voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock. Unless, of course, I’m wrong, and this 35% are “daft” enough to think the govt really cares. Somehow, I doubt it.

Related post:


** Criticism of the party over corruption and economic mismanagement has exploded recently on the internet … In vain, the authorities keep jailing bloggers, but they have in effect lost control of the internet.

It is in this context that the adulation of Gen Giap should be seen. He was in fact unwaveringly loyal to the party, and only occasionally said anything that could threaten its authority.

But in death he is being seen as a symbol of everything that today’s Communist leaders are not; charismatic, heroic, clean-living, a true patriot.

Sun Tzu & the PAP’s non-use of new media, & the PM

In Internet, Media on 30/09/2013 at 6:36 am

(If you want to read about SunT left out about the Finnish education system scroll to the end)

This extract from a CNA report last Friday reminded me of an email exchange I had with a new media big cat (not ‘fat” cat) sometime back: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has addressed some key themes arising from the “Ask the PM” live forum on Channel NewsAsia which took place on Tuesday.

In a posting on his Facebook page on Thursday, he thanked viewers for their questions and comments, but said there were too many questions for him to answer individually.

He addressed key themes including education and housing.

I had suggested how the PAP should have reacted to P Ravi: Instead of using his skin to beat the RAVII DRUMS, it should have used Facebook, the medium he was accused of playing the DRUMS on.

A new media big cat (not “fat cat”) pointed out (his comments slighly edited)

MIW cannot stoop to the same level as the others by responding on fb. It’s typical for anyone to bring the battle to their own familiar turf or battleground. u dun fight in “enemy” territory which limits yr own exposure and not forgetting that the “enemy” territory r flanked by “enemy’s” supporters and so u won’t be able to have the last say.

He quoted Sun Tzu’s “The art of War”, a book that the Chinese generals still swear by and quote. I will not be surprised if the PAP too refers to Sun Tzu when in doubt (PM was from Catholic High and the book is a classic alongside the Analects and the Tao). I too used to be a fan of Sun Tzu (How to win without fighting sounds pretty attractive) until an ang moh by the name of Edward Luttwak (he would have been a strategist during the period of the Three Kingdoms or the Warring States) wrote recently a book on Chinese strategy, and pointed out waz wrong with Sun Tzu’s precepts.

Coming in for criticism by name is Sun Tzu, whose writings of 2,500 years ago, including “The Art of War“, are the main source of what Mr Luttwak calls “the flawed principles of ancient unwisdom”. He grants that the cunning statecraft, stratagems for deception and diplomatic finesse advocated by Sun Tzu may have worked when used by one warring Chinese state against another. But he argues that these doctrines have served China poorly in fending off other adversaries.

With a quick pass through the history of China’s engagement with Jurchens, Khitans, Mongols, Manchus and other Asiatic nomads, he notes that China has been ruled by Hans, its ethnic majority, for only about a third of the past millennium. “While Han generals in charge of large armies were busy quoting Sun Tzu to each other, relatively small numbers of mounted warriors schooled in the rudely effective strategy and tactics of the steppe outmanoeuvred and defeated their forces,” he writes.

The bit about being thrashed regularly by the nomads is a fact, not a Hard Truth.

So if the PAP continues to ignore new media because it is unfamiliar terrain that Sun Tzu says one shld not fight on, it will continue making unnecessary, avoidable PR fiascoes. But maybe it’s beginning to plan abandoning this Sun Tzu precept by recceing the new media terrain. The people behind the Breakfast Network (highly commended by me) and Independent (it sucks), are retired Imperial Stormtroop generals from the Keyboard corps. They could be juz like the German generals who turned on Hitler when Germany was losing, or be like Benedict Arnold (an American rebel hero who offered to surrender a fortress to the British). Or they could be what Sun Tzu recommends using. Only time will tell.

Onto serious matters. The PAP’s brand and message need to be recast for the age of social media (and. new media) in general) and the PM needs to show boldness and political artistry in grabbing his (and that of the PAP’s) share of attention. He can’t rely on the traditional media to help him grab attention. For starters, traditional media is no longer trusted here, especially  by the young. Then, too, the traditional media’s market share has diminished. And then there are all the competing celebrities on social media like all those cats’ pixs. And then there is vigilantism of websites like Stomp which have large audiences.

The PM has plenty of competition, be it in the mainstream media or new media.

And besides his style sucks in PR terms. As a double first in Maths from Cambridge, he is familiar with the scientific method: specificity, objectivity, and accountability. These are elements lacking in politics, anywhere in the world, let alone in S’pore, a de-facto one party state. They are lacking because politicians don’t need these skills to win elections. But Angela Merkel has shown that one can have the “scientific method” and be personally popular. And are we not the Prussians of the East? (The Prussians were the Germans’ Germans. Now most of what is now Prussia is in Poland.)

And as I will show on Wednesday, he has problems with the substance of hie messages too.

All in all, the PM and the PAP have a long way to go in the use of new media even with the help of BN and the Independent. Us, injuns and outlaws rule the comboy towns and the territory outside the MSM, govt forts.

Finally on a totally different topic, here’s sumething SunT didn’t tell us about the Finnish education system: Angry Birds creator Rovio has brought Angry Birds Playground, a schools initiative devised with the University of Helsinki in Finland, into the kindergarten classroom of children, aimed at six-year-olds.

With the initiative already in use in Finland, Rovio has now entered into an agreement with schools in China.

“With small children, the Finnish approach to education is very much play-orientated,” says Sanna Lukander, vice president of book publishing at Rovio Entertainment.

“These characters and their world seemed to inspire children. You can’t not think about how you might motivate children to do more than play.”

Games have a larger effect on learning than traditional materials”

Prof Constance Steinkuehler Games scholar

BTW, didn’t read the SunT stuff. Friend who read it told me that it didn’t talk about games. I had earlier sent him the above link given his interest in the Finnish way.

Why it matters that ST & Today got the facts wrong on Ng’s IOC bid

In Media on 16/09/2013 at 5:16 am

Readers cannot have missed that ST and Today were trumpeting for weeks, that S’pore’s Ng Ser Miang had a good chance to be in the International Olympic Committee (IOC). president. He was not only a contender but one of the two favourites. As the volume got shriller and the headlines more bombastic and bigger fonts were used, I turned to the int’l media like the BBC and the Guardian. They said that the German, Bach, was the favourite. If he didn’t get the job, it would be an upset.

I didn’t get upset at our papers’ “kampung” boy stance: to be expected from “provincial” papers. Ever read the Cardiff or Belfast Times? Or even the NY or London papers on city matters? Besides ang mohs are always dismissive of Asians.

What has got me writing this diatribe is that it is now beyond reasonable doubt that the papers must have been wrong to label Ng a favourite. Ng tied in the first round with the Taiwanese guy our papers called a long shot. Ng squeaked thru on a re-vote. Then “Mr Ng received six votes and came in a distant third, behind German former Olympian Thomas Bach, who won the elections with 49 votes, and Puerto Rican banker Richard Carrion who received 29 votes …”.

Come on, if he was a “hot” favourite, how come so bad a result? He should have come in a decent second, or a close third. Our papers didn’t think much of the banker’s chances, rating him below Ng. He got thru the first round easily, unlike Ng, and came in a credible, if distant, second.

Both papers moved on to whisper about conspiracy theories. Today muttered including a belief making the rounds that Tokyo’s successful bid to stage the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games was a factor.

With next year’s Youth Olympics in Nanjing, the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, there is a perception that the IOC was reluctant to give too much power to Asia. This doesn’t wash because Ng didn’t get many Asian votes, did he? One reporter also said that Asians don’t support Asians.

Gee so how come we weren’t told these facts earlier? ST and Today only found these up after Ng lost? Whatever it is, they must have got the facts wrong to come up with the assertion that Ng was a favourite.

Clearly, the voting showed that Ng was no favourite: in fact going by the numbers, he along with the Taiwanese guy were long shots. And that he never had a base of Asian supporters, let alone supporters. As WSJ wrote: Ng appeared to struggle to find company. On Sunday night, as Bach was finishing dinner with International Skating Union president Ottavio Cinquanta of Italy and their spouses, Ng was sharing a drink with reporters. The next day Bach had lunch with IOC member Ung Chang.

The two papers got it wrong: Ng was not a favourite, as claimed; and should admit to their getting their facts wrong, rather than throw smoke in order to cover-up the mistake of getting the wrong facts, leading to the wrong conclusion.

I once suggested that P Ravi and PM use this method (used successfully by a secret police force) to evaluate the quality of the data they get from their sources. Maybe ST and Today should use the method for their sports news coverage.
Let me be very clear, I’m not saying anything derogatory about Ng. But I’m saying that our papers, based on the evidence of the votes cast, did not get their facts “right” about Ng being a favourite alongside Bach. Were they beating the DRUMS rather than reporting the “right” facts?
This leads me to a most serious issue.
Recently, a retired Imperial Stormtrooper general (Keyboard corps) criticised the role of the local mainstream media in the loss of trust between the people and the govt. Wow! Bit like a few German generals and soldiers trying to assassinate Hitler, when the Germans were losing the war that they started? OK maybe she had a Paul-like conversion after she got retired?

Well, if we can’t even rely on the media to get the facts “right” on a simple sports story involving a S’porean, how can we trust the media when it reports on news that touches on the govt: remember the local media prides itself on being “constructive” and “nation-building”, and I have yet to hear of a senior editor being less than 150% pro-govt. Example, the media only waited for the govt’s response to Dinesh family’s legal suit before reporting the case. TOC and Bertha Henson (aforesaid keyboard general) had, to their credit, already reported the details of the family’s suit days earlier.

Yaacob and the MDA should ponder the implications of this failure of  the govt’s poodle “constructive”, “nation-building” media to get the facts right on a simple sports story, rather than beat on the skin of P Ravi, the DRUMS to the tune of RAVII to discredit the new media.

Why preacher boy’s congregation will follow him to hell & back

In Corporate governance, Internet on 13/09/2013 at 6:01 am

(Or “Don’t be jealous that Kong Hee’s got it all leh”)

Woody Allen* once said that believing in God would be easier if He would show Himself by making a large deposit in a Swiss bank account in the director’s name.

No wonder Kong Hee (RI boy, like that thieving monk, and that ex-bishop (Methodist) of S’pore) is able to convince many people that prosperity gospel works: he is living proof of the $ that it brings. He is married Sun Ho**, who he said has rich, filthy rich, parents***. And he has Wahju Hanafi, as God’s personal ATM on earth:

— An Indonesian businessman and member of the City Harvest Church (CHC) … cast the business of saving souls in terms of a return on investment.

Justifying his $1 million-a-year donation to CHC for its Crossover Project – the church’s way of evangelising through pop music – Wahju Hanafi said: “If I spend $1 million and we win 138,000 souls, that means every soul is worth less than $1,000. To me, that is a good buy.

“I’m a businessman, and for every investment that I (make), I have to see a return. To me, in this case, the return is the souls that we are winning. If (we) are not winning souls, then I will probably pull back my money.” (BT report)

THERE was talk of love gifts like a Sentosa condo, expensive weddings and sponsorships so pop singer Ho Yeow Sun could receive bonuses.

God’s been putting serious money into his bank account. “If him, why not us?”, believers tell themselves. They got a point.
Now to the serious stuff.

First, the way the evidence is heading seems to indicate, to me, remember I’m a trained lawyer, that it was one big balls-up by the CHC people. They were trying to avoid paying tax or trying to help donors avoid tax. Whether they crossed the line, and were guilty of the offences charged remains to be seen. Anyway they didn’t have the benefit of this advice: Avoiding tax is not a fiduciary duty for UK company directors, opines a top UK law firm recently.

The general principles of the opinion apply here too. CHC is registered as a company.

Next, much has been said by the magnificient seven bloggers and other lesser mortals about the intolerance of the PAP govt of views that do not fit the “right” narrative.Sadly, netizens too can be be a pretty intolerant bunch, reminding me of the biblical passage: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone …”.

Here the blogger makes fun of a CHC member’s and PR flack’s “bad” grammar because of her undoubted bad manners.

But grammar and bad manners aside, she has a very serious, valid point, on the use of the word “sorry”.As someone who is a lapsed Methodist (into meditation nowadays), and who disagrees with the prosperity gospel believers that worshiping God results in a bigger bank balance, I never viewed the clip in qn in the way netizens spreading it, or commenting on it, were trying to frame it.

I read it as him telling fellow believers that their God was “comforting” him for trials inflicted by their loving God. Waz wrong with that? It’s basic Christian doctrine. But it doesn’t fit the dominant internet narrative that religious people are stupid, irrational and intolerant.

Methinks also there is a lot of jealousy out there on the internet. It is not only hostile territory for the PAPpies (rightly so), but also for successful people. There seems to be a “tall poppy syndrome” on the internet. Google the term if you are a “green-eyed “char tou”, envious of others.

The vileness of the attacks on pastor boy and CHC are gd examples (Auntie’s different as she can’t sing or act). I’ll blog on other examples. Juz because the PAPpies do DRUMS to the beat of RAVII****, doesn’t mean we have to follow them. Be mean by all means (this blog believes in being mean, provided there are reasonable grounds to be mean) but don’t do the RAVII DRUMS.

Use this method (used successfully by a secret police force) to evaluate the reasonableness of data before being mean.

Other CHC related posts

*A stockbroker is “Someone who invests your money until it’s all gone.”

**Who in certain poses and when viewed from certain angles can be pretty gorgeous. But not in China Wine or when she leaves her hair black.

***But not rich enough to indulge her in her singing ambitions. Or they know she can’t sing or act?

****Recriminations, Accusations, Vilifications, Insinuations & Insults

Ingratitude, uniquely S’porean? Blame the internet? Not really

In India, Internet, Political governance on 06/09/2013 at 5:15 am

The irony is the opposition made gains where there is almost full employment, the country peaceful and prosperous.

( I commend this blogger who usually has interesting, unpredectible perspectives. Not one of the usual suspects, whose rants can be surmised even without reading their articles: juz scan the titles.)

The govt in Norway is expected to lose an election on 9th September, even though eonomic growth was at 2.6% year-on-year in the second quarter and unemployment at just 3.4%, while the current-account surplus is huge: nearly 14% of GDP.

One could argue that because things are so gd, people are willing to take risks, experiment.

When times are bad, if the ones suffering badly are a smallish minority, and the majority, while unhappy, are fearful of what can happen, the majority of voters will opt for “Better the devil we know” We saw that in 2001 when an election was called after 9/11. If Islamic terrorists could successfully attack Metropolis, which place was safe? And if there was a resulting global recession, who better than the PAP to handle it for S’pore? Certainly better than JBJ’s lot, even though the WP had juz kicked JBJ out as leader.

But the classic example was UK during the early yrs of Thatcher’s tenure. Despite massive unemployment she won a second term (helped by winning a war). The unemployed voted against her, but those with jobs trusted her govt more than they did the opposition Labour party, which was seen as incompetent economically (strikes, IMF loan when it was governing).

Connected with the issue of experimentation when times are gd, is that people get tired of the same govt. The present Norwegian govt has been in power since 2005. As the PAP has been in power since 1959 (UMNO and allies in M’sia since 1957), it’s a testament to their tenacity and public goodwill that the PAP and UMNO are still in power. Even the LDP in Japan has lost power for two spells before regaining it.

The author of the above quote puts the unpopularity of the S’pore govt to the internet:

The internet seems to have been a game-changer. In the first post-Twitter general election, in 2011, the People’s Action Party (PAP) won only 60.1 per cent of the vote, its lowest share since independence, while the opposition secured six seats, more than ever before. (Twitter was launched only in 2006.)

He has a point because the internet

… proved a real pest,
Critics online all the time,
How do you make ‘em toe the line?

But let’s not forget. In the last GE 60% voted for the PAP. Taz a gd majority by any standard except that of the PAP itself and S’poreans. Remember, we used to give it 70-over % of the popular vote, and all the seats in parliament in the 70s.

True the PAP’s “preferred” candidate won the PE by a very short nose. But the man that nearly became president was someone that for many S’poreans (self included) exemplified what many S’poreans liked about the PAP Old Guard: principled, meritocratic, technocratic, smart (academically and street-wise), no wayang, no pretensions and compassionate: not sneering, complacent, privileged, incompetent and self-serving snob. Even the PAP’s preferred candidate belonged to the Old Guard, even if he had a privileged background: in fact many of the Old Guard had privileged backgrounds, they juz didn’t behave like a certain sneerer. Tony Tan juz didn’t get my vote because he was the “preferred” candidate. But if it had been between him, TJS and TKL (ex-PAP too), I’d voted for Tony Tan.

The next candidate, TJS, had only 25% of the vote. This is in line with the hard core opposition vote that emerges in any constituency an opposition candidate appears, even a looney one.

What the internet has allowed, is to give amplification to the voices of the hard core opposition supporters. They were never silent but the exclusion of their voices from the constructive, nation-building local media meant that they could only communicate in a less than effective way most of the time to other die-hards and ordinary S’poreans.

Ordinary S’poreans now realise that these voices are not demon voices because like the hard core opposition voters, they too have grievances, doubts etc. They now know, they are not alone.

The power of the internet and the govt’s concern that it is losing the commanding heights of public communications are best illustrated by P Ravi’s reposting on Facebook about the availability of the masks: that the public were not going to get it despite repeated govt assurances to the contrary, and the govt’s heavy-handed reaction. This reposting was enough to get him accused of spreading misinformation.

P Ravi’s defence when the govt accused him spreading misinformation about the distribution of masks, was that he sharing with his Facebook friends (1000 over if you must know), giving the govt feedback, and seeking clarification from the govt: rather contradictory assertions. Why the govt didn’t ridicule these contradictions is beyond me. Instead, Yaacob, a civil servant and the constructive, nation-building media beat the drums to the tune of RAVII*, making him a hero and martyr to the hostiles on the internet and, in particular on social media. My posts on this

So nope, the desire to experiment when things are gd, isn’t unique to S’pore. Nor is the internet the cause of the unpopularity. Even when the PAP had 70ish % of the popular vote, the balance voted for the opposition.

And 35% of the population like the values of the PAP Old Guard, they juz don’t like the way the PAP has developed in the 1990s and noughties. All this means that those who want change cannot afford to be complacent esp as there is going to be a party that’s going to be gd for the Party i.e. the PAP.

*Recriminations, Accusations, Vilifications, Insinuations & Insults. Minister Shan talks of criticising ministers n the “right” way (E-Jay’s take). Well, what Yaacob and a civil servant did to Ravi, and what VivianB did to various people including the elderly poor doesn’t set gd examples for the public, do they?

Telling gd info from bad, the secret police way

In Financial competency on 04/09/2013 at 5:18 am

(Or “How Ravi & PM can improve their decision-making or sharing skills” Actually, everyone, who has to evaluate info i.e all of us, can benefit from the methodology.)

P Ravi had a “hard” time*, a few months back, from two ministers and the spokesman from the Info ministry ever since he reposted some stuff on masks (See this) which even I tot he shouldn’t have done.

PM had serious problems in the 2011GE and the by-election this year: the PAP grassroot leaders gave him and the PAP the wrong info on grassroot sentiment. After the 2011 GE, he had to defend said leaders after PAP MPs criticised them. To ensure that the feedback, the selected NatCon participants reflected S’poreans’ concerns, he had a survey to double-confirm what he was hearing from the selected NatCon participants.

Maybe, if Ravi and the PM had used the following evaluation method that the Malayan Special Branch successfully used when fighting the communists, they could have better evaluated their sources’ information.

Source reliability Information accuracy
A – Completely reliable 1 – Confirmed
B – Usually reliable 2 – Probably true
C – Fairly reliable 3 – Possibly true
D – Not usually reliable 4 – Doubtfully true
E – Unreliable 5 – Improbable
F – Reliability cannot be judged 6 – Accuracy cannot be judged

(Was based on “Admiralty System”. From  Malaya’s Secret Police 1945-60: The Role of the Special Branch in the Malayan Emergency)

It splits the analysis into two: the reliability of the source (based on source’s historical reliability) and the accuracy of the info (based on known facts).

In the case of Ravi, even though he would have given his source an “A” rating, the fact that before his reposting the following was reported:

The Health Ministry has urged Singaporeans to be patient, as it works with suppliers to speed up deliveries to shops.
Adrian Lo, director of Singapore Test Services, said: “The frustration is definitely there as a citizen. But I know the challenges of distribution so we just have to be patient and then hope the government intervenes and do something to spread out the availability of the masks.”
Dr Ng Eng Hen, chair of the Haze Inter-Ministerial Committee, added the government will supply retail outlets with more masks and that NTUC FairPrice will get the stocks next week.
The FairPrice chain of stores said close to two million masks will be re-stocked from Monday across all its 115 outlets.
Dr Ng said: “NTUC FairPrice will cap the price of these masks, but also limit the number that each person can buy. Because when people buy more, they create more demand and artificial shortages, so they will cap the price and limit the numbers that each person can buy.”
More than 1.5 million N95 masks are also on their way to being delivered to retail pharmacies.

should have alerted him that info he was going to repost was at best a “4” in terms of accuracy. The rating would have been A4. I mean a minister, no less, said that masks were going to be distributed. A minister would not be playing the DRUMS on such an issue of national concern, which was easily verifiable, or shown to be false, as the case may be.. Trustworthy source, but accuracy problematic. BTW, Ravi now concedes that the said masks were distributed.

As for the PM, instead of relying on grassroots leaders’ assurances of a victory in Punggol East, he should have tot back to their assurances of easy victories in 2011, and given the grassroots leaders a C or D rating, and 3 for accuracy. This score would have told him that it would be prudent to campaign harder because it was C3 or D3 at best: neither here or there. It might even be a C4 orD4.

*Now this is a hard time: BETWEEN August 20th and 23rd Beijing police arrested several microbloggers** on a charge normally reserved for rabble-rousers on the streets: that of “creating a disturbance”. They were nabbed, police claim, for spreading false rumours. Earlier in the month two influential microblogging activists were also arrested in east-central China. Each had accused officials of wrongdoing. An online crackdown is under way on those who do not follow the Communist Party’s line … On August 23rd Beijing police detained one Big V, Charles Xue, and later accused him of holding group sex parties with prostitutes.

**Seems some of those arrested were PR people microblogging a product placement.

No such thing in China as “juz sharing” and “seeking govt clarification”. If it smells like rumour-mongering, bring on the handcuffs, is shumething the Chinese can teach Yaacob.

The blogging 7 & Magnificent 7, the movie

In Humour, Internet on 02/08/2013 at 4:53 am is making the rounds on Facebook. It’s about the seven tua kee bloggers chosen by the constructive, nation-building ST as representative of all that is bad about the new media and the internet, thereby justifying Yaacob’s laws.

I’m a fan of the movie, and the film it was based on “The Seven Samurai”. Usually remakes are not as gd as the original, but the Magnificent 7 is an exception.

Well what can our 7 bloggers* learn from watching the movie?

For starters, this line “It seemed to be a good idea at the time”. This was said when the seven were discussing what to do next after being betrayed by the farmers they were defending. They had agreed to defend the farmers against bandits in return for food and housing, and the quote refers to that decision.

When Alex Au, P Ravi or any of the others next have a row with the authorities, they should remember this line and analyse what led to the row. Sometimes, based on their reactions to govt criticism or worse, I don’t think that they do reflection.

Something for bachelors Alex Tan (“like a son to Mrs Chiam”), Andrew Loh, Alex Au and Remy Choo  to think about, substituting “blog” for “gun”: Don’t you ever say that again about your fathers, because they are not cowards. You think I am brave because I carry a gun; well, your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility, for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground. And there’s nobody says they have to do this. They do it because they love you, and because they want to. I have never had this kind of courage. Running a farm, working like a mule every day with no guarantee anything will ever come of it. This is bravery. That’s why I never even started anything like that… that’s why I never will.

Likewise, P Ravi whose motto is “Live like a Legend”, and Richard Wan might want to think of putting the material well-being and peace of mind of their families first, rather than making fighting for “truth and justice” a priority. They (truth and justice) may be the American way (Ravi’s a fan of Superman) or the way of Confucius (Richard’s a scholar and from a prominent Chinese school when it still had not been bastardised), but never have been part of the system here from the time Raffles founded S’pore.

Next, our bloggers should always be thinking of the odds they are facing:

Chris: There’s a job for six men, watching over a village, south of the border.

O’Reilly: How big’s the opposition?

Chris: Thirty guns.

O’Reilly: I admire your notion of fair odds, mister.

And how to make the odds less uneven:

Harry Luck: The odds are too high.

Chris: Much too high.

Harry Luck: Then we go?

Chris: No; we lower the odds.

Then there is the likelihood of betrayal by fellow S’poreans. After chasing away the bandits, the heroes were betrayed to the bandits by the farmers, though in the end the farmers joined in the fight against the bandits when the seven returned to the village determined to rid the village of the bandits despite the farmers choosing to let the bandits in. Got to to be some lesson there: Saving S’poreans from themselves against their will?

Finally three more quotes:

— Here’s something that the bandit chief said that PM should think about–

Generosity… that was my first mistake. I leave these people a little bit extra, and then they hire these men to make trouble. It shows you, sooner or later, you must answer for every good deed.

I’m sure many netizens would say that PM’s dad never made that mistake.

You must excuse them. They are farmers here. They are afraid of everyone and everything. They are afraid of rain and no rain. The summer may be too hot, the winter too cold.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Even if there are no farmers in S’pore.

If God did not want them sheared, He would not have made them sheep.

Could be the PAP about S’poreans. In the movie, it was the bandit chief talking about the farmers.


*I would omit Alex Tan and that New Nation chap from my list of S’pore’s seven top bloggers. Alex Tan claims he doesn’t blog much nowadays and I doubt he had much influence when he was mouthing expletives and doing stunts. The New Nation is not even funny. Uncle Leong and E-Jay are part of the Magnificent Seven: that fight like 700.

But then I suspect that one criteria of getting on ST’s list is that the bloggers (or their publications) that ST featured must have had some notoriety or run in with the authorities. Uncle Leong and E-Jay, for all their influence, have kept their noses clean. Nothing to slime them with, unlike the seven featured. In fact, I suspect that’s why Alex featured. He, and his publications, give bloggers a bad name. And the NN guy was featured to show how pretentious bloggers can be.

P Ravi’s reposting: What the govt should have done

In Internet, Public Administration on 24/07/2013 at 5:21 am

Regular readers will know that in a piece about the “right politics” that the PAP plays:.

Penultimately, in case anyone is wondering, I don’t think it was “dirty” politics … for Yaacob to rough up P* Ravi. Those who live by the sword like … P Ravi must accept that they can kanna cut or die too. Fair is fair. Cannot expect to use keyboard or mouth to attack others, and not not expect others to respond. And they should remember that bullies in real life often don’t back off but instead respond disproportionately.

These were gd “clean” politics.

Recently, I met someone in corporate communications who didn’t like what the govt is doing to P Ravi. He, as a social activist and a believer in human rights advocacy, disagreed that the govt’s response was proportionate, especially the forum letter that appeared after my above remarks. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, why are you reading my blog?)

He said that after P Ravi had posted his comments on his Facebook wall, and the govt was alerted to it by worried S’poreans, it should have posted a reply to his reposting on his wall, setting out the facts, and asking him to correct or remove his posting. Putting its reply on a govt website was not the best response.He said he didn’t know about that response, until I told him about it. He had been going on about the unfairness of Ravi being singled out in parliament by a minister before I pointed out that the govt had issued a rebuttal on a govt website.

I think this gd-hearted kay poh, who incidentally wants convicted drug dealers treated humanely, has a very valid point on the govt not answering directly to Ravi’s comments (He reposted, so he owns the comments, so pls no “Reposting only” BS) on his Facebook wall.

This is something that should be included in Yaacob’s SOP on handling haze public communications: responding in a timely manner on the same platform as the query or allegation, not via another platform. In fact, this should be in the SOP on the handling of any query or allegation, whether well-intended, plain kay poh or malicious. Anyway, the intention is another issue that can and should be handled separately. It is of secondary importance.

Responding in a timely manner on the same platform as the query or allegation, not via another platform, is a very good way of coping with, “A lie can be halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on.”, something any government or corporation is rightly paranoid about. Incidentally this remark was said in the late 60s, or in the 70s by James Callahan who was British PM in the late 70s: pre-internet age.

Now a lie can be round the world a hundred fold, before the truth has got its Christian Louboutinhigh heels on.

I hope that both the govt and P Ravi have learnt lessons from this balls-up and move on. Fortunately, no-one died and it turned out to be a Tweedledum and Tweedledee row:

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
    Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
    Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
    As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
    They quite forgot their quarrel.


Sadly I think the govt is planning to extract its “pound of flesh”. Hopefully, I’m wrong ’cause I know P Ravi personally. He is a decent, well meaning guy who means nobody any harm. I don’t think rumour-mongering was on his mind when he reposted the said comments.

Update on 17 December: I am wrong, as at time of writing, on the govt extracting its “pound of flesh”. May I continue to be wrong. Merry Christmas to all, PAPpies included.


Why Yaacob should imitate Tom Cruise

In Humour, Internet, Political governance on 21/07/2013 at 6:53 am

And join the Church of Scientology. Or since apostasy* is punishable by death in Islam, he should sub-contract to the Church of Scientology. the govt’s attempts to make sure we get the “right” news from the web, so that we support the “right” party with the “right” politics; never mind if it has the “unright” policies, like preferring FTs to locals.

Here’s why he shold sub-contract to the Church : They’re kind of innovators in finding ways to censor the internet,” Dr Martin Poulter University of Bristol

Last month digital rights activists at the influential Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) placed the Church of Scientology into their hall of shame over what it says were repeated acts against internet freedoms.

It was just the latest twist in the Church’s long-running feud with “negative” Scientology content online, one that has lasted almost two decades.

Back in May 1994, at a time when most major organisations were yet to figure out how exactly to deal with the relatively unknown power of the internet, the Church’s Elaine Siegel had a few ideas, outlined in a leaked email to “all Scientologists on the internet”.

“I would like to ask your assistance in getting each one of you to post positive messages on the internet (at least once a week, more if you like), about Scientology,” she wrote.

“If you imagine 40-50 Scientologists posting on the internet every few days, we’ll just run the SP’s [ex-members] right off the system.

“It will be quite simple, actually.”

But, perhaps not, because despite its attempts to control the flow of info on the net about the Church:

According to some measures, the Church is suffering from declining membership. Many who leave the Church are now more able to speak out – particularly with the help of blogs and social media, a threat that even the most intensive use of copyright laws struggles to touch.

“Founder L Ron Hubbard told them how to do everything in life,” reflects Dr Poulter from Wikipedia.

“But he didn’t leave any instructions on how to handle the internet.” The Hard Truths don’t. likewise, tell the PAPpies how to handle the internet.

Since there’s no manual on how to successfully control the flow of info on the web, maybe the govt should juz be pragmatic, and accept that it doesn’t have the power to restrict the flow of info on the net. Information on the net is like water.

And since I’m on Yaacob and the govt’s attempt to control the flow on the internet, here’s something on Yaacob’s law.

In his recent parliamentary comments,Yaacob Ibrahim, minister for Communications and Information, said he was “puzzled” by the Asia Internet Coalition’s statements*. The new licensing regime “has nothing to do with doing business in Singapore. It is about holding certain websites to a higher level of responsibility,” he said.

For someone who went to RI and Stamford, I can only hope that he is pretending to be “puzzled’. Because if he is really, really puzzled, it reflects badly on the calibre of RI boys who are cabinet ministers (I mean Hng Kiang is not exactly a shining example of the species).

It’s obvious why an industry body representing eBay Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc., Salesforce and Yahoo Inc is concerned**. Its members make money using information (i.e. news) in one form or other. For Google, Yahoo and Facebook, they make money   via ads. For eBay it is via fees. Any possibility of information being restricted is worrying for these big companies, and for their govt, the US govt***, even if for the moment the penalties for breaking S’pore’s regulations are “peanuts”.

The other reason why these companies (and the US govt) are concerned is that S’pore is a “thought leader”, in mgt consultants’ speak, when it comes to making sure the media reports the “right” news (Witness its ranking in the press freedom index). It’s attempts to make sure the right news is told is worrying for global information companies because other countries might try to follow suit. Then problems may result. Say Indonesia has a similar regulation. Come another haze problem, Yahoo may have to obey S’pore and Indonesia in reporting the “right” information. And the countries may disagree on what is “right”. Whatever it does, Yahoo will upset someone.


*Apparently following the Way of Hard Truths doesn’t amount to conversion out of Islam, even though it involves deification of the Hard Truths.

**In an open letter published last month, the Asia Internet Coalition—an industry body representing eBay Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc., Salesforce and Yahoo Inc.—criticized the new rules as “onerous, regressive and untenable in practice,” arguing that they have “negatively impacted Singapore’s global image as an open and business-friendly country.”

“The current vague and broad terms in the regulation and implementation will hamper innovation and deter industry growth,” such as by placing a “financial risk” upon potential Internet start-ups, said the coalition, which lobbies for free and open Internet access. The new rules “could presage a more restrictive attitude to the Internet [and] set a precedent for more restrictive regimes around the region,” it added.

Reminder:- A “Singapore news programme” is any programme (i.e, a programme is a production) containing any news, intelligence, report of occurrence, or any matter of public interest, about any social, economic, political, cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific or any other aspect of Singapore in any language, but does not include any programme produced by or on behalf of the Government.

***The US State Department issued a statement expressing its “deep concerns” about what it called a “new restrictive law” in Singapore for licensing news websites. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “We urge Singapore to ensure that freedom of expression is protected in accordance with its international obligations and commitments.”

“We are concerned… to see Singapore applying press restrictions to the online world.”

Reason why govt fears keyboard warriors?

In Internet, Political governance on 19/07/2013 at 5:28 am

Here, I blogged on Tan Wah Piow’s call for cyber-activism: juz forward articles you like to friends and contacts.

Doesn’t achieve much leh: the following appeared recently in the letters page of the Economist:

* SIR – I was glad to see you address a common misconception regarding the protests over the past few years (“The digital demo”, June 29th). These protests have been touted as social-media revolutions, but the fact remains that the demonstrators have grabbed attention and brought about change because they went out and physically marched. Today’s youth often assumes that sending a tweet constitutes protest.

Metin Toksoz-Exley

He is right about the physical efforts needed to get things changed in countries that are authoritarian or dictatorships. Not so easy as what the S’pore dissident says.

As S’poreans don’t do protests and marches, except with the PAP govt’s permission: and most only speak anon, the PAP should not be afraid of keyboard warriors, right? They can’t change anything.

Except that the generals in the PAP govt are paper generals. And our policemen have no experience of dealing with rioters. When was the last time, the riot squad was called out? Or the ISA* used against middle class kay pohs?.

One P* Ravi is both a keyboard warrior (Jedi rank, but got potential to be Jedi Master like Yoda), and a physical warrior (he works-out by pounding the pavements and climbing the stairs for the NSP, and buys masks from his own pocket for the needy), . He operates in both worlds. He is dangerous to paper generals. Maybe taz the real reason why he kanna marked? Not because he reposted an allegation that masks would not be distributed to the public, despite the govt saying this was being done. BTW, the masks were distributed, and the reposting didn’t result in riots or panic. Bit of

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
    Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
    Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
— —

* On the ISA, read what this young S’porean (doing his NS (to defend among others this two-timing new citizen Raj and his NS avoiding son that will still be a PR FT) has to say about the ISA and his generation:

— irrelevant it seemed

— until there was “intimidation”

**Philemon, not “Private”, “Politician”, “Political” or “Partisan”)

Why the silence on PM’s latest goof?

In Humour on 01/07/2013 at 5:26 am

(Or “Cyber activists are suicidal? Frus over what?”)

About this time last week, our PM warned that the haze would return “for weeks”. Well since then, conditions are pretty normal for this time of the year. And on Saturday, ST reported NEA as saying the reduction from very high levels of pollution could be due to less fires.

So if one wanted to be mean but factually correct, one could rightly say PM was wrong. And if one wanted to be “P” (political), one could say, “So waz new? He always talking cock”.

(BTW, I owe an apology to the WP town council and the NEA: I had suggested that it didn’t make sense to clean the ceilings at the two hawker cenres because PM said the haze respite was temporary. Guess they knew that PM would be wrong, as usual.)

Seriously, jokes’ aside, why isn’t the “PAP govt is always in the wrong” brigade complaining, especially the “P” ones.

Three reasons: one is that like other S’poreans, they too are relieved, and happy that conditions are back to the usual “moderate” haze for this time of the year.

And maybe, they too are proud that the leaders of this little red dot got the Indons to apologise, and do shumething without returning the so-called ill-gotten gains from Indonesia. Actually this money isn’t ours, Indons still own the money. Convict them in Indon courts, and then can talk about the morality of returning the money.

The third reason is that the more chim and vocal members of “PAP govt is always in the wrong” may be be in shock over two foot shooting (or is it “feet in mouth) accidents, involving three prominent bloggers, in less than five days.

The first was Andrew Loh’s unprovoked rant, full of “dirty” words,against the president of S’pore*. He quickly apologised but one was left wondering why did he get so upset over such a bland, meaningless statement? Because it was bland, meaningless, and late?

The other incident involved minister Shan (the dog and cat lover, weird combi this), Ms Kisten Han and Remy Choo. See here for a good summary (and funny take)  of what happened. To summarise

— Ms Han said in her blog that the minister wanted Mr Choo to convey that Mr Shanmugam would not hesitate to sue those republishing the article; but

— Mr Shanmugam later clarified that this description was inaccurate; then

– in a statement carried on Ms Han’s blog later, Mr Choo said that he was responsible for giving that impression to Miss Han, and that it was incorrect and unfair of him to have done so.

Having read both Remy Choo’s FB comments**, if anyone had to apologise it should not be him. It shld be Ms Kisten Han for rushing into print with her “chim” tots on the dangers of sharing, when the law is pretty clear on the matter: share libelous stuff at yr peril

Surely she must have known that said minister would react aggressively, not that I blame him***. She, at least explained, her motivations on her public FB Wall; motivations which I find very emotional. If I were in close regular contact with her, I’d be afraid, very afraid, lest confidences be spilled.Anyway, if Remy is not upset with her, then taz the end of the matter. He is the “damaged” party.If he has political ambitions to become a MP, he can forget it. His apology would be used against him if he stood, and we all know that our political parties are all Kiasus.

(FTR, I had dealings with Kirsten and Remy a few yrs back. They are “Smarter than the average bear”. BTW, wonder what Yogi would think of Barrie the Bear.  A bear that is S’porean, Canadian, Muslim, and Indon-loving?)

As evidence of this reason, that some bloggers are in shock, juz before the Andrew incident, one or two “P” bloggers were hinting that the masks were issued after the need for them had passed.

Whatever, why the sudden bout of foot shooting or mouths in foots is what I want to know? Both incidents were so unnecessary. There needn’t have to be apologies if these three prominent and leading bloggers had tot before they acted. Are the three bloggers are frus about way things are developing here that they make irrational decisions?

Anyway, let’s not get worked up. “Move on”, as the PAPpies like to say.Not much damage except to the gentlemanly Remy Choo.

But let’s try to learn lessons so as not to repeat these “mistakes”. One lesson is that be aware of one’s emotions: remember Yoda tot the Jedi to be unattached to their emotions, while being aware of them. Wonder if Yoda learnt this from the Buddha?

*When I was first shown the post, I tot Andrew Loh was the victim of a hack, or “an honest” tech mistake where a poster’s comment got merged into his post, or “an honest” editorial cock-up (pressed “publish”, instead of “save”. Believe you mean this can happen. I’ve published when I wanted to save, and save when I wanted to publish.)

**On his public FB wall.

*** I’d be even more aggressive. There are “conventions” on such private conversations and the reporting thereof. The most impt of which is “Everything is not attributable” without the permission of the speaker.

SunT versus TRE coverage of LGBT party

In Media on 30/06/2013 at 5:40 am

On page 16 of SunT there is a small pix and a little accompanying text on yesterday’s LGBT massive  “finding partners/ dates” party (21,000 crowd) at Hong Lim Green. My Facebook wall is full of pixs of the gay event.

As at 5.33am. there is nothing in TRE on this massive gathering of S’poreans. I will update this post when I see reports on TRE of this social and HR events.( Update at 3.10pm:

)Site Under Maintenance

I’m putting up this post because there are allegations (PAP-inspired?) that TRE is juz as socially conservative as the PAP, WP and  NSP.

I doubt that these allegations are true, but let’s see. Members of the LGBT community here are S’poreans too. This too is their home. It’s sad that SPH (and presumably the PAP govt) doesn’t think so.

Any idea if MediaCorp covered the event on the news programme? Based on CNA website, doesn’t seem so. SIGH (

Update on ! july at 6.18 am TRE site is

Site Under Maintenance

“Stop-work” call wasn’t to be taken literally: Activist

In Humour on 28/06/2013 at 5:03 am

I don’t understand why the prevailing discourse surrounding the stop-work order is an immediate cessation of everything in Singapore, where all businesses have to close down. None of the activists I know are saying that. We are simply saying that in hazardous conditions, where PSI is well, hazardous, it would be humane, as well as being in line with the idea of workplace safety, for people who do strenuous work outdoors to take a break and seek shelter, so that they can avoid taking in higher amounts of pollutants, and also metabolise the pollutants currently in their body. Such industries include both the shipyard and construction industry. Seriously, stop making people who are concerned about migrant worker welfare to be idiots who want to “close hawker centres”: On Facebook on Monday.

My response (now hidden) was ” Taz NOT the impression, perception you “idiots” gave me. AND I waz reading yr words, not filtered thru ST etc etc … organise a course to teach yr friends how to communicate effectively. The CAUSE doesn’t need self-inflicted injuries.”

Seriously, the above justification sounds like shumething a PAPpy would make when cornered. Remember “Selling land cheap for HDB flats, steals from reserves”? Or Or

I tot I’d post the activist’s comments as my good deed for the month. The aim is to remind all activists and other kay pohs, that they have to ensure that they take care to communicate their messages in language that is clear, simple, concise and difficult to misunderstand.This is true especially when using Facebook: I got the impression that they wanted hawker centres to close based on comments made on FB.

They should not use the PAP govt as the gold standard when they communicate with the public, even though the PAP has been able since 1959 to communicate to S’poreans so effectively that the PAP has had overwhelming majorities since then (In the bad result GE2011, the PAP still ended up with 60% of the popular vote and more than two-thirds of the parly seats).

They should remember that the PAP’s track record since 1991 hasn’t been that great. The percentages of the popular vote climbed from 61% in 1991 only to drop to 60% in 2011. And look at the result of the 2011 PE. It’s preferred candidate only got 35%, and won by a short nose.

So maybe activists should take up the offer of Wonder Woman Wonder Gal’s or Supergirl’s Creatives For Causes? Hopefully, she can teach them to say what they mean, so that the “daft” public can understand their ‘chim” tots. They should not expect the public to be mind readers. Nor should they expect the constructive, nation-building local media to put the “right” spin on what they say. In fact, they should be prepared for the “wrong” spin.

Oh, and why is it the most ardent callers of the govt to allow freedom of expression such great censors? As I said, my comment was hidden. And another “Crier” of “Free speech”, unfriended me after I asked him how come his website was one of “S’pores major websites” that signed the internet petition? It was then carrying plenty of 2012 stuff on its front page, and still was as of yesterday.

I asked him if the definition of “S’pores major websites” included zombie or living dead.sites like his?

Have a gd weekend. School starts soon.

Netizen activists, think of working S’porean and watch the blind side

In Political governance on 21/06/2013 at 5:29 am

I’m worried that netizen activists, whether aligned to an opposition party, or juz plain kay pohs, are increasingly losing touch with the facts on the ground.

Take two recent examples:

— While rightly warning that Yaacob’s internet regulations are a threat to the free flow of info, they have not been able to convince S’poreans of this threat. It was a cunning move by Yaacob the water engineer to use the principle of raisable dams to lull the public into complacency. Yes, yes I’m complacent but taz because I think that new media, like water, will find a way round barriers. But I could be wrong. Obviously, the activists disagree with me, but except for TOC, no-one has not tried to put their fears in a form that the masses can understand.

— Some (thankfully only a few, and one has “repented” to “repent” again) are using the haze situation to promote their agenda of “All PAP govt’s fault”. Again I doubt this is resonating with the public, who have more intelligence than these people think they have. The masses know that the Indons are at fault. Even TRE posters say so albeit there are more “It’s the fault of the PAP govt” posters.

While, the activists are navel-gazing and bitching to one another on the govt’s faults, and ignoring the masses;  the govt is quietly doing things to try to make sure that come the next GE, that its share of the popular vote will increase.

It has given:

— junior civil servants a bit more money (Singapore’s 80,000 civil servants will get a mid-year Annual Variable Component of 0.4-month. In addition, Division IV officers will receive a wage increase of $70 per month and Division III officers a pay rise of $40 per month.)

— NTUC is pushing for cleaning companies to give each of their workers $60 a month more.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the government has taken steps to help low-income tenants of rental flats who see their pay rises eaten up by a rental increase.

Think about it.

The PAP govt doesn’t do compassion (ask VivianB about his sneers about the elderly poor, or his efforts on helping the homeless while throwing our money at the Kiddie Games), or popularity. All these schemes and others like the $1.1bn subsidy to listcos SMRT and SBS, the accelerated HDB building programme, and the purported curb of FT inflows, all have one over-riding aim: shoring up, and hopefully increasing, the vote in the next GE. The govt is throwing our money at ourselves to win the next GE.

I for one don’t mind this spending, but if I  were one of the usual suspects, I’d be worried that like in M’sia, the govt is using the voters’ money to “bribe” the voters. while the masses are not realising it.

Uncle Leong is the only activist out there consistently reminding the masses that it’s their money that the PAP govt is spending niggardly to get the masses out of a mess that the govt is largely responsible for getting them into in the first place.

Focus netizen activists, focus. Focus on the needs and aspirations of working S’poreans, not on esoteric topics like freedom of speech, the plight of animals, LGBT issues, exploitation of FTs etc. Yes, yes,  these are worthy causes, but they are not bread-and-butter S’porean issues.

Otherwise come next GE, and 2011 GE and PE will look like 1991 GE: another false dawn or wasted opportunity.Be like Low, not like JBJ, Chiam and the two SDP MPs. They didn’t focus and come 1996, it was back to the future. Yes, I know Chiam won.

BTW, the PAP might even win back Aljunied given the way Auntie and her Indian are behaving. They are behaving like Georgie and his gals from Hell. Thank God for Low, Show Mao and Faisal who do the unglamorous work of serving their constituents, while Auntie and her man grandstand and play to the “PAP are bastards” gallery. Punggol East is safe what with Ah Lian doing her thing, and Hougang is Low’s territory, and Ah Huat is doing a gd job keeping the constituents happy, unlike the Stag who focused on satisfying horny gals. But if Aljunied falls, it’s 1996 again.

the labour movement is proposing that cleaning companies agree to follow national wage guidelines before they can get a licence. – See more at:
the labour movement is proposing that cleaning companies agree to follow national wage guidelines before they can get a licence. – See more at:
the labour movement is proposing that cleaning companies agree to follow national wage guidelines before they can get a licence. – See more at:

Vietnam: Blogger is “abusing democratic freedoms”

In Vietnam on 15/06/2013 at 2:47 pm

Police in Vietnam have arrested a prominent blogger for anti-state activities, reports say.

Pham Viet Dao, 61, was arrested in Hanoi on Thursday for “abusing democratic freedoms”, the Ministry of Public Security said.

Mr Dao ran a blog critical of government leaders and policies, and discussed sensitive issues like the territorial row with China.

His arrest comes after another blogger was detained in May on similar charges.

Agitated? Use of arbitrary power is the S’pore way leh!

In Political governance on 14/06/2013 at 5:28 am

Blogger Ravi Philemon addressed the rally: “The Media Development Authority should take its hands off the online world because it is the most open public space Singaporeans have right now,” he said. “The regulation will only give the government unlimited power to act arbitrarily against the interests of Singaporeans.”*

The other speakers also spoke along the same lines and the crowd there on 8 June cheered them on.

It’s precisely because the cyberspace is the most open public space Singaporeans have right now that the govt wants unlimited power over it, though the govt would disagree that it wants the power to act arbitrarily against the interests of Singaporeans: it would argue that it wants the power to protect us.

In the political sphere, there has been no open space since 1959: Nothing has changed. Opposition leader and secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party Chee Soon Juan expressed concerns that the government was trying to stifle political opponents online and said that there was a danger that the government could be seen as “trying to regulate the opposition’s means of communicating with voters before the next elections”.*

In the field of public social behaviour, S’pore has had “NO” spitting, littering, smoking and other such campaigns. While these attempts to curb uncivil and unhygienic public behaviour (a plus), they are the use of  arbitrary power.

There there have been the various social engineering projects (birth control, “graduate she-rabbits”, “Breed for S’pore”, “Speak Mandarin”, “Foreign Trash Talents Welcome”, the destruction of Chinese language education system etc etc) that are premised on the use of arbitrary power.

In S’pore, even nature is not allowed to run its course, land use is too precious to allow that. All our streams are improved with the addition of concrete banks to prevent soil erosion and ensure that they flow straight into the sea. There are sea walls all around the island to protect vulnerable spots from erosion.

The speakers and their audience may not realise it, but their call for “open public space” and the end to the use of arbitrary power is a challenge to the very foundations of the way S’pore has been governed since its founding, and especially since 1959.

It is akin to:

— the anti-colonial, anti-capitalist agitation of the communists and allies;

— Tan Wah Piow’s efforts; or

— the “Marxists’ conspiracy”.

In the days when one Harry was sheriff, judge and jury, the speakers and audience would be in “Cold Store”, and denounced publicly as subversives, running dogs and stooges of  fat capitalist cat Yahoo!

While the curbing of “public space” and the use of arbitrary power is still par for the course, Harry’s Law isn’t used nowadays. Some things have changed, and for the better.

Another example of change for the better is that the internet regulations are not imposed on the likes of TOC, TRE, yet. In the olden days, Harry wouldn’t want to waste a good law on juz Yahoo!


MoM’s g-string is showing

In Political governance on 07/06/2013 at 5:55 am

“The regulations deal with news sites. It doesn’t encompass blogs but would some blogs become news sites, and if they evolve to become news sites, I think that is something that we need to look at. As a broad principle, it is meant to cover those reporting news. Individual blogs, commentaries — that remains open,” Tan Chuan Jin.

Pooh Bear (“the bear with the little brain”, no, not Tin Peh Ling), and surely Bertha Henson and Arun Mahizhnan, or even me, can make out a intellectually honest and rational case in support of the distinction; a very traditional concept in the Anglo-American media world.

The Guardian newspaper in the UK (almost looney left: “Tories are evil and stupid” ) has two related mantras “Facts are sacred”, “Comment is free”, that encapsulate what the minister is saying: there is a distinction between news and commentary. The BBC and American media adhere almost religiously (in the case of the Americans) to this very traditional concept in their coverage. However, UK papers (even the Guardian) increasingly tend to mix facts with analysis and commentary: so does Fox News.

Problem with the distinction that Tan Chuan-Jin attempts to draw between blogs and news doesn’t take into account  Yaacob’s definition of a “Singapore news programme”, which is defined so widely as to cover any material to do with Singapore, not juz “newsa”. The definition of “Singapore news programmes” includes “any programme containing any news, intelligence, report of occurrence, or any matter of public interest, about any social, economic, political, cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific or any other aspect of Singapore,” though “does not include any programme produced by or on behalf of the government.”

So my blogging about gardens in the sky would meet the above definition of “Singapore news programme”, if the authorities wanted to include said article or topic under the definition.

It’s what they want to catch (at any one time) that matters, and should be of concern to every S’porean and FT.

Another way of putting it is that the “news” on S’pore that MoM is talking about is not the same as “Singapore news programme”. There is a serious disconnect between the two terms. And he should know it.

As MoM is the govt’s point man on presenting the “right”  perspective on controversial issues, and one of the next generation of potential PMs (eat yr heart out non-Chinese rooting for Tharman), why was he badly briefed by Yaacob & MDA? Could it be that the chairman and CEO of the MDA were distracted* by what is happening to interest rates and property prices in the light of weak equity and bond markets?

Or is MoM being saboed?


*They each bought $5-10m apartments recently

Two cheers for today’s S’pore Blackout

In Uncategorized on 06/06/2013 at 8:52 am

Only two cheers because the MDA, ISD, police intelligence unit and local media are giving three cheers for the blackout, they don’t have to monitor the usual suspects. In fact, they are taking the day off and taking their kids for an outing. And ministers too are toasting the blackout: they don’t have to listen to the noise the MDA etc report. They can remove the ear plugs and listen to the sounds of nature.

It’s a gd day to be on the Dark Side.

Sadly for the Dark Side, it only lasts a day, not forever and a day. Normal levels of service (noise to them) will resume tomorrow.

Update at 9.54am: Barrie has got it dead right on the blackout:

Why I am not blacking out

Blacking out your own site because you are against the govt blacking you out is akin to inflicting self-injury because your adversary wants to cause you harm. You are playing into his plan. Isn’t the govt’s intention is to black out non-mainstream media in the first place?

While narcissistic netizens navel gaze, TLC pays $8m for FT’s housing

In Humour, Political governance on 02/06/2013 at 6:25 pm

On Thursday, ST published a front page headline that would have had “the usual suspects” bitching loudly at a TLC for wasting $ on an ang moh FT. The usual suspects ignored the issue because they were (and, sadly, still are) narcissistically looking at their reflections on their flat panel tv screens, while bawling, raving and ranting that Yaacob was (and still is) “snatching* their toys, when he did (does) no such thing*.

Back to the FT story: ST reported that a TLC had spent $8m on accommodation for an ang moh FT. Sometime back when the same TLC spent $1m on accommodating two PRC FT PRs, TRE readers and some prominent bloggers were screaming their heads off: these two PRC FT PRs getting the VIP treatment while S’poreans had to pay a few hundred thousand dollars for a three-room HDB flat.

When two pandas came here, the verbal knives of many netizens were out for the zoo for spending $1 million for their accommodation. But when ST announced that an ang moh polar bear, Inuka, had got a $8m play pen, no-one said anything.

Ang moh tua kee? Maybe, because the usual suspects buy into fashionable ang mog ideas, like freedom of the media, free speech, LGBT rights, anal sex, minimum wages, welfare, decent working conditions, free and fair and unrigged elections, accountability etc etc.

Or, as is more likely, they, like PM, but apparently unlike Auntie Sylvia, cannot multi-task?

The one that must be really feeling low and depressed must be Danny the teh-tarik loving SDP bear. He did his NS but unlike these FT bears, he has to borrow money to pay for his 99-yr “bare necessities, no-frills”cave in the sky, while they get VIP caves free.

I wish those calling for the blackout and protest the best of luck. Even though I disagree with them no the need of such actions for now, or even the need to kick up a fuss for now, if less than 5000 turn up at the protest, and only a few sites observe the blackout, the govt will think it has got the measure of the new media here: all noise and dogmatic, cannot organise an orgy in a brothel and popular support. This attitude will not be gd for S’pore. The new media, like water, should not be underestimated: it can be a raging torrent.

“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” (Las Tzu)

Related Panda posts:


*He hasn’t, though he has created a framework that the govt thinks will enable the govt to control or channel new media. He is only warning them that he has the legal means of snatching their toys, so don’t be qua lan or garang like the M’sian FT protestors or PRC strikers.

One of these days, maybe, on the day of proposed blackout, I’ll blog on why Yaacob is an underrated water engineer, 50-year floods twice in two months, notwithstanding. Go to and click on the exhibit at the bottom of the page. It illustrates what the British will do when the Thames’ waters rise dangerously high: barriers rise from beneath the river’s surface. Likewise, Yaacob’s rules will do the same when the “noise” levels gets dangerously high. In the meantime, our internet flows on, like the Thames. The measures’ effectiveness are debatable given that the new media has been likened to water.

And maybe, I’ll blog on why the blackout and protests are rotten ideas: so PAPpish and old-fashioned. And I tot the usual suspects are anti-PAP and in the vanguard of doing things differently.

Lao Tzu on Yaacob’s regulations

In Political governance on 31/05/2013 at 5:19 am

As Yaacob was the water minister that presided over two fifty-year floods in two months, and now as info minister has juz issued regulations governing new media (which has been likened to water), I tot I’d cheer upset netizens up with this quote from the Tao Te Ching:“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.”

Relax boys and gals. Don’t need to bawl and scream because yr favourite toy is taken away and broken, or that you kanna played-out by the govt, a govt many of you curse, despise and mistrust.

Be complacent: new media like water will find a way through. Juz be prepared to change, or adapt if your blog has 50,000 unique visitors a month. And if you don’t (like me) have that number, nothing has changed.

Stop raving, ranting and bawling. You only make PAPpies feel shiok.

Have a gd weekend instead.

And before I forget: the Media Development Authority’s comment that the new rules would bring news sites onto “a more consistent regulatory framework with traditional news platforms which are already individually licensed”,  reminded me of the late 19th and early 20th century traffic rules that required a man with a red flag to walk ahead of any “horseless carriage”. Presumably, this was to ensure that the speed of these carriages were “more consistent” with the speeds of horse-drawn carriages.

We know what happened. So, no need to get emotional or irrational. Juz be complacent, “Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.”

Proven e-ideas that the Opposition can use

In Uncategorized on 22/04/2013 at 4:56 am

In S’pore the PAP, and its co-driver, the WP, relies on volunteers or bodies (remember Palmer’s Laura Ong and Stag Yaw’s XXX) walking the ground to bring in the votes. The other opposition parties need an equaliser (juz like the Colt revolver supposedly equalised the balance in fights in the Wild West). They could try the following ideas.

The DAP is doing this in Penang (from a Dow Jones report): Acknowledging that the DAP has been heavily outspent by BN on its home turf, DAP’s Assistant National Publicity Secretary Zairil Khir Johari said on Tuesday that his party is counting on social media to narrow its financial disadvantage and court a critical segment of active voters.

“The DAP is at the forefront of Facebook penetration,” Mr Zairil said. “We’re talking about 12 million Facebook accounts in Malaysia, and pretty much every young adult has one. Not all of them watch television. So we’re targeting Facebook and we’re doing it aggressively.”

The Internet has been a critical fund-raising and canvassing resource for the opposition as a means of circumventing tight government controls over traditional news media.

The DAP says it does not have the resources to fund conventional ad space. But on Facebook, it has rolled out 17 videos, a series of online flyers and other advertisements to reinforce traditional walkabouts and “ceramahs”, a Malay term meaning campaign road-shows.

So far, its Internet presence eclipses that of the ruling party. As of Wednesday, the DAP had 319,251 Facebook “likes” versus the BN’s 52,968. On Twitter, the DAP counts 25,141 followers, while the BN had 14,745.

But the DAP is worried that this may not be enough. The party enjoyed a stealth advantage in 2008 because the BN did not expect to lose and was caught unprepared, Mr Zairil said. This time, it is visibly muscling up.

Well the SDP and NSP might as well try the above tactics given their lack of physical presence on the ground. But the NSP has to built up its on-line presence from near zero. And the co-driver might  want to try these tactics too as a force multiplier. But then it might prefer to be a co-driver, and hoping to share the goodies in a coalition (refer to Pritam’s comments).

Here’s something that one of the wannabe leaders without spear and shield carriers (like Tan Kin Lian, Tan Jee Say, s/o JBJ, Ben Pwee) might want to think about: A citizens’ movement mounting an increasingly serious challenge to the Italian political establishment has chosen its candidates for parliament in an unprecedented online vote.

Supporters of the Five Star Movement* made their selection from among 1,400 activists.

Each prospective candidate posted a campaign video in which they introduced themselves.

They set out what they stood for and what they would do if elected on behalf of the movement in polls that are scheduled for the spring.

It is believed to be the first time that a political organisation anywhere has conducted this kind of selection process entirely on the web.

At the very least, this would get some publicity.

Here’s something up TKL’s street (remember before he became the People’s Voice, he was called by ST the “petition king”::

Sites which allow citizens to draft e-petitions for their pet causes are mushrooming. Politicians in Germany created one of the earliest, in 2005, and dozens of countries have followed, most of them within the past three years. America’s “We the People” is perhaps the most successful. Since its launch in 2011 citizens have created nearly 180,000 petitions; since November the total number of signatures has tripled to almost 12m.

Finally here’s an idea the internet savvy SDP might want to play with e.g. testing its public housing and healthcare proposals.

About 1,500 cities, including Chicago and, last year, New York, have also enlisted the public in setting budgeting priorities. In 2012 around a million citizens took part in the annual budgeting process in Rio Grande do Sul, the Brazilian state which also hosted the first such event, in the town of Porto Alegre, in 1989.

In 2011 the state governor collected 1,300 ideas for improving local health care, and then let citizens vote for their 50 favourites; 120,000 people took part. The voting software presented ideas in pairs; users could pick the one they preferred.

Actually, the govt might want to use this idea for NatCon topics to gauge public sentiment.

(The last two examples came from

But For all the talk about new digital technology, the real secret was finding new ways to do something old-fashioned: to talk to voters. The trick was to use new techniques for helping volunteers to find people like them. Taz how Team Obama did it in the US.

At a meeting of Battleground Texas, a new grassroots organising effort started by the former national field director for the 2012 Obama campaign, Jeremy Bird, and run by the Ohio 2012 campaign boss, Jenn Brown. Addressing a packed union hall in Austin, Ms Brown told the crowd that the project ahead of them might take until 2020, and would involve registering, persuading and turning out millions of voters. But here is how we did it in Ohio, she explained. For all the talk about new digital technology, the real secret was finding new ways to do something old-fashioned: to talk to voters. The trick was to use new techniques for helping volunteers to find people like them.

The old way of organising involved hiring 250 field organisers. On a given day before an election they might knock on 50 doors each, meaning that they knocked on 12,500 doors. The new method refined and rolled out by Team Obama in 2012 involves one paid field organiser organising perhaps five neighbourhood team leaders. Each of those volunteer team leaders might then recruit eight volunteers, recruited from a particular neighbourhood. They might all be parents from a single school catchment area, or people with similar work backgrounds or interests.

Miss Brown then clicked on her next slide. With 250 such organisers, overseeing five neighbhourhood team leaders, marshalling eight volunteers each, you can knock on 500,000 doors. It is, she noted cheerfully, “unbelievably exponential”. Nor is this a theoretical finding. On each of the last four weekends before the 2012 election, Miss Brown’s Ohio campaigners “talked physically” to 100,000 voters. That is the same as President Barack Obama’s Ohio margin of victory.

Numbers alone do not win elections. None of this is to dismiss the importance of policies and candidates. But these are numbers that grab the attention.

(Extract from an otherwise irrelevant Economist blog)

*In Italy, the Five Star Movement holds the balance of power. As the BBC describes it “Led by its guiding star, the comedian-turned politician Beppe Grillo, it was born and bred on the internet.

But it emerged from the web and took its argument into town squares all over Italy.”

ST never told you of these comparisons

In Economy, Media on 01/04/2013 at 5:29 am


They appeared at Thank SG Daily’s Facebook for drawing my attention to them.

Netizens cannot be trusted in a crisis, only the govt & MSM?

In Humour, Media on 29/03/2013 at 6:01 am

The G’s ability to win the argument among netizens is increasingly in question; witness its “defeat” over the Population White Paper online. Its online outreach appears to be confined to making speeches available online and Facebook postings by individual minist. How would it deal with the barrage of messages that will flood the online space in crisis time? and MPs

Couldn’t stop laughing at “The G’s ability to win the argument among netizens is increasingly in question; witness its “defeat” over the Population White Paper online.” Only someone* who works or once worked* for SPH, MediaCorp or the govt  would think that cyberspace was ever friendly to the govt or even neutral. It was always injun or Vietminh or Viet Kong territory where the govt soldiers and mercenaries were besieged in forts and could only move around outside the forts in heavily armed convoys. Even our PM has conceded that the internet was made up of “cowboy towns”.

The internet and social media became relevant when the 2011 GE and PE showed that the “noises” there reflected “facts on the ground”. Contrast this with the 2006 GE, when the “noises” were noise: going on the internet, it showed that the PAP were doomed to defeat.

And I tot that “How would it deal with the barrage of messages that will flood the online space in crisis time?” had the underlying, unstated assumption that netizens were irresponsible people who could not be relied upon when there was a crisis: with the implication that only the constructive, nation-building media (and presumably retirees from it) could be trusted. This I disagree with. After all, SPH’s Stomp is not a particularly responsible online publication (it hired paid content providers who pretended to be ordinary citizen journalists, and one of them faked the news once). And based on these lapses (now corrected, we’ve been assured), it is reasonable to conclude that Alex Au, TOC, TRE, Donaldson Tan, Kum Hong, Andrew Loh, SDP etc have higher standards of integrity than Stomp. Only the TRS has Stomp-like standards, in my view.

What I suspect she means is that only SPH and MediaCorp journalists and editors (past and present) will parrot unthinkingly and uncritically the govt line. Here, there is another unstated assumption; that the govt line is the truth. The likes of Lucky Tan, S’pore Notes will (rightly in my view) etc would critique the govt view because they would have doubts.

But on the other hand, this same retired Dark Side keyboard wielding imperial storm trooper is the person behind Breakfast Network. Check it out: it tries to provide, entertaining, non-partisan tit bits for tot. Doesn’t often succeed, as the above example shows, but she is experimenting, and it’s a work-in-progress.

With TOC getting irrelevant**; Andrew Loh’s Publichouse seemingly stuck in a rut (one can only wish him well in his attempts to “tell stories”); and TRS going from strength to strength, one can only hope that the Breakfast Network works. With TRE’s mission being to provide a counter balance to the local  MSM’s spin, there is room for a more centrist website that can attract a mass audience: Breakfast Network could be that website.

If she succeeds, she will have shown that Darth Vader is not the only Dark Sider who returned to the Light. In fact, she would be better than Darth Vader, because he only repented to save his son, and died in the process. She would have returned to the Light because she wanted to, and she lived.

*I’ve heard stories from SPH insiders that she fancied herself to be next editor of ST after Han when Warren Fernandez left SPH.  He was brought back when Han was moved on after the 2011 GE. She then moved on out of SPH.  It had been alleged that she had tot that minister Yacoob’s sis was her only rival.

**This piece on TOC, despite being picked up, by SG Daily, didn’t have many readers. Usually when Sg Daily picks up a piece of mine, I get lots of hits.

Top story here here? ST & BBC

In Media on 17/02/2013 at 7:00 am

BBC Online carried a headline on its global news Home Page linking to a story  on the crowd protesting about Population White Paper

ST carried the story on page 4. The front page carried  a story on a standard, nothing new,  speech by PM. S’pore the new North Korea?


White Paper fiasco: Who goofed?

In Economy, Media, Political economy, Political governance on 03/02/2013 at 6:39 am

So we now know that the 6.9m figure in the White Paper is a “worse-case scenario”

— “Reiterating that the 6.9 million figure should be viewed as “the worst-case scenario”****, Mr Khaw wrote: “We hope we do not reach that figure; we may never reach that figure.”

–” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said … he fully agrees with Mr Khaw’s explanation that a 6.9 million population is not a target, but just a worst-case, aggressive scenario the Government must prepare for.”

(Excerpts from MediaCorp)

So why didn’t the media tell us this when the media reported the White Paper? The media reported the figure of 6.9m as though it was set in reinforced concrete that had platinum bars rather than steel bars. Surely when the staff of the s/o the disgraced president, and Yaacob*gave the local media their instructions local journalists and editors the customary briefing, they made it clear that the 6.9m figure is a “worse-case scenario”? And that the figure was used to ensure that there would be adequate infrastructure should this happen, which the government didn’t want to happen. And that if it didn’t happen, S’poreans would have even better facilities for which they should thank the PAP on bended knees.

But these messages were never reported. They came to the attention of “the inhabitants of cowboy towns” who were happily shooting holes into the White Paper, and other S’poreans only when the PM Facebooked and Khaw blogged these messages.

Then the local media parroted reported what the PM and Khaw had said.

Either the local media are staffed by stupid people, or are full of subversives, who take their 30 pieces of silver ** while saboing the PAP government. Or maybe the going rate is a lot more than 30 pieces of silver? And they are not getting it? Hence the government’s messages didn’t get broadcasted.

Or were the minions of s/o Devan Nair, and Yaacob, incompetent, stupid spinners? Journalists and editors are claiming that they were never ordered briefed that the 6.9m figure was a “worse-case scenario”. They claim to be as surprised as us netizens that the PM and Khaw are now making this claim.

Whatever it is, if WP Low is to get his wish of continued PAP hegemony, PM should get a grip on the PAP spin machine. He and his ministers can’t do all the spinning themselves. Maybe Auntie Sylvia or Show Mao, in emulation of a Tang dynasty official, can whisper this to the PAP, “behind closed doors”. Remember WP, yr mission is to preserve PAP hegemony.

**He used the phrase “worse-case scenario” when one LKY gave his Hard Truth on Malay Muslims not integrating.

Bringing online stuff to offline people

In Internet, Media on 04/01/2013 at 5:22 am

Ravi the do-gooder, NSP member and ex-TOC Indian Chief wrote on FB juz before the hols: If  ST* feels that online voices are not representative of the majority, then they should just ‘unfriend’ some of these ‘voices’, and spend the time tracking what’s happening online, in the field, listening to the voice of the majority. I have had reporters from the mainstream media asking me for leads for stories. Leads which are not difficult to find (some of which you can find when you just google for it). The fact is, the voices online have made the jobs of the mainstream media journalists easier, to crowdsource ideas, and to get leads. So appreciate the ‘barking dogs’ will you?

Ravi should relax. The Commanches and other injuns, and cowboys own the internet. The PAPpies are under siege in internet equivalent of Fort Apache and the YPAP trolls only venture out under the cover of darkness and anonymity. If they venture out in the light, they will be wiped out juz as Custer’s men were wiped out by the Sioux and Cheyenne at the battle of Little Big Horn.

The challenge for social or political activists is bringing the material available online to the people who don’t go online often or at all. The ST article is aimed at these people, not netizens. The message to these offliners is, “Netizens are bad, lawless people: barbarians bent on destroying S’pore. Only the constructive, nation-building media, especially ST, and the PAP stand between a prosperous S’pore and them.”

Pushing online material into physical S’pore is something a political party can do effectively. Example: During the 2008 M’sian general election campaign, the Opposition were photocopying copes of M’siakini etc stuff and distributing it to the voters even in rural areas. I have been told they even SMSed articles. Though the mind boggles as how such stuff is SMSed.

I hope the NSP will put Ravi in a position where he can try out such ideas. But given the power balance in NSP, I doubt it very much. But that’s for another post

Thanks to Uncle Leong, we netizens know that the PAP’s latest statement on AIM is “[f]ull of holes”. Problem is: Do the offliners who rely on the local media know of Uncle Leong’s analysis? (BTW, he RI boy. So don’t see us RI boys no ak. Not all of us are Tan Kin Lian or Tan Jee Say.)

Bringing goodies such as Uncle Leong’s piece to the masses is the challenge, not fighting the PAP and the local media on the internet. We own the internet.


*A piece by an ST editor attacking netizens. It appeared the  Saturday before Christmas. Gd riposte here.


How TRE can monetise its popularity

In Media on 31/12/2012 at 4:19 am

— By taking a page from successful US-based webcomics

I came across this while reading an article on the rise of webcomics in the Economist:

One thing they have in common is how they make their money. The typical audience for one of the leading web comics is between 1m and 10m unique browser visits per month, comparable to a medium-sized newspaper website (the website of the Daily Mail, the best-read newspaper on the web, gets around 48m per month). But unlike on newspaper websites, where advertising is the main source of revenue, the audience on web comics are not just readers—they are also customers. Most artists sell T-shirts, books, mouse mats, posters and other paraphernalia. The most successful at monetising content is said to be Mr Inman: his site, “The Oatmeal” made $500,000 in 2011 from its audience of around 7m unique visitors per month.

Try this. If it works, gd for S’pore and TRE. TRE  may be ableto cover costs and pay the team shumething. If it doesn’t, then S’poreans, especially TRE’s “We hate the PAP” readers, deserve the PAP as the ruling party.

And the article goes on:

Amplified by social media—Mr Inman has some 700,000 Facebook followers—this audience can be powerful. One extremely long and exceptionally geeky comic last summer on “The Oatmeal”, extolling the virtues of the inventor Nikola Tesla and attacking his better-known rival, Thomas Edison, somehow snowballed into a campaign to save one of Tesla’s labs on the outskirts of New York. By leveraging his immense traffic to attract donations and to sell T-shirts and other gear, Mr Inman raised $1m in nine days—enough, with matching funding from New York State, to buy the building.