Posts Tagged ‘SDP’

Dr Chee’s kind of Us president

In Uncategorized on 26/11/2015 at 10:19 am

Spend and Spend not Pap And Pay.

A Bernie Sanders White House would be $8 trillion in the hole over a decade. The socialist U.S. presidential hopeful wants to shake up the U.S. economy with dramatically more spending. His promises from free college tuition to a government health system, which he is likely to outline during Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate, would cost far more than additional taxes would bring in.

The Vermont senator’s most expensive idea is to convert the American healthcare market to a national system with the government as the single payer. Sanders would essentially extend the current Medicare program, which is for retired people, to everyone. Breakingviews calculates that this would cost some $9.6 trillion more than current projections over the usual 10-year budget period, based on 2010 healthcare spending and other assumptions including a 25 percent discount thanks to Medicare-style negotiating power and price controls.

Sanders wants another $1 trillion to spend on infrastructure. U.S. roads, bridges, trains and the like need investment, but it’s still a hefty sum. And Breakingviews estimates that his call for free public college for everyone who wants it will cost almost as much again, while universal daycare will weigh in at around $500 billion. Along with four other proposals, this yields $12 trillion in new spending. That’s about 25 percent more than currently projected over 10 years.

The candidate running under the slogan “Feel the Bern” isn’t shy about boosting government revenue, too. He would institute a Wall Street trading tax, aiming to raise $1.5 trillion over 10 years. His corporate tax plan would eliminate most loopholes and deductions but leave today’s 35 percent rate intact and applicable to global profit, which Breakingviews calculates would bring in another $1 trillion. Lifting the income ceiling for Social Security payroll tax would bring in a similar amount. All-in, Sanders would lift revenue by about $4 trillion over a decade.

Can Dr Chee relate to the swing voters?

In Political governance on 23/11/2015 at 5:07 am

Dr Chee recently took a walk around S’pore and pixs of him with S’poreans he met are appearing on Facebook. This ACS boy is really trying really hard to connect with ordinary S’poreans. But I hace doubts that he can do this because he and Mrs Chee have shown that they don’t behave like otdinary S’poreans.

Remember the video that appeared during the recent GE campaign* when the Chees gave us insights about themselves: insights that told me that they can’t relate to those who vote for the PAP but who can be persuaded to vote for the Oppo.

Mrs Chee told us that she had, except for a stint of a few months, not worked since graduation. Wah lan so rich meh? So well qualified, and not working. Study in US up to doctorate level and then become housewife? Got money to waste isit? Not very S’porean?

Even when hubbie lost job and made a bankrupt, she doesn’t go to work? OK, granted she is FT (Taiwanese); still I don’t think any ordinary S’porean woman can identify with her attitude of being highly qualified and refusing** to go out to work (I get the impression that she doesn’t even do part-time work), preferring to look after the kids and doing housework.

While the majority of S’porean women may be prepared to stop working for a few years to bring up their children, once the kids are of schooling age, they calculate that it’s more cost-effective to work full or part-time, and employ a maid. But not Mrs Chee it seems, even if Dr Chee is struggling financially.


Working women hold up the sky

About 59% of women are in the workforce. If this is raised to 76%, which is today’s rate for males, the labour force will increase by 13% — Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.

More women work, no need for FTs leh?


Let me very clear. I’m not saying Mrs Chee is doing the “wrong” thing by focusing her attention on the kids and the typical S’porean mum is doing the “right” thing by going to work. There are studies to prove that a full-time parent can be good for the kids.

What I want to point out is that the ordinary S’pore mum is a working woman, juggling work and a family life.

And husband happy with this situation? He has to struggle to pay the bills without his wife’s help?

During the GE campaign

Got financial problems but not asking wife to work? Doesn’t sound like the typical S’porean young husband does it? Again, I’m not sating that he should ask his wife to go to work. I’m simply saying that his attitude is not typical. In S’pore, husband and wife are a team: both work to make ends meet.

Dr Chee is using his family life to show that he can relate to ordinary working S’poreans. Does not work: he has a  highly qualified wife who doesn’t go out to work, choosing instead to look after the kids and do the housework; and he is happy with this.

Look at WP Low or other WP leader. We know very little of their personal lives but we know enough about them to know that theWP leaders are like us. We know a lot about Dr and Mrs Chee but we also know that they are not like typcal S’poreans. They also aliens from Bizarro S’pore*** like PM , Tharman and other PAP ministers? Btw, despite the ministers’ mega salaries most of their wives go to work. I think only Hng Kiang’s wife is a homemaker like Mrs Chee.

Coming back to Dr Chee: the failure to connect with ordinary S’poreans is sad and worrying because only Dr Chee and the SDP, among the Oppo, realise that to effect serious change on the body politick here, the PAP’s monopoly on the politics of hope in S’pore must be broken.

Uncle RedBean describes part of the SDP’s game plan: The biggest lesson learnt from the GE2015 911 effect must be the importance of being relevant as opposition parties to stay in touch with issues and matters that affect the people and their interests. Chee Soon Juan caught the drift and demanded more transparency in accounting to what really happened in the hepatitis C crisis. What happened, when did it happened, who said what and when, who was informed what and when. These simple questions are going to rub some people the wrong way and instead of answering them, may be retorted with more questions or challenges. 

Because the SDP is the only Oppo party that has a comprehensive list of alternative policies that challenges the PAP’s Hard Truths, this shows that Dr Chee and the SDP are trying to go beyond the anti-PAP vote. In the words of a political observer Derek da Cunha no opposition party can get into Parliament simply on the basis of a protest vote, i.e., a vote against the PAP [WP had a narrow window of oppotunity that resulted from the PAP’s arrogance] An opposition party also needs a pro-party vote, i.e., people consciously voting for the party. The sum total of the entire protest vote plus a significant pro-party vote will then get an opposition party across the finish line. 

The problem for SDP is that it has the plan right, but

— it’s not a party that is trusted by those willing to vote for Dr Tan Cheng Bock (my short hand for the swing voter) in preference to the PAP’s preferred candidate, and

— Dr Chee can’t connect with ordinary S’poreans let alone the swing voter.

But let’s give Dr Chee credit for trying.


*During the GE campaign, I was hoping the SDP team lrd by Dr Chee could win an upset victory, so I had to sit on my hands and not comment on the video

**Yes, i’m assuming that Mrs Chee is able to work here. If she can’t because she’s on a long term social pass, then this should have been made clear by her or Dr Chee. Then it would be a question of why isn’t she being allowed to work here despite having a doctorate.  Dr Chee being fixed?

***Backgrounder from Wikipedia: The Bizarro World (also known as htraE, which is “Earth” spelled backwards) is a fictional planet appearing in American comic bookspublished by DC comics. Introduced in the early 1960s, htraE is a cube-shaped planet, home to Bizarro and companions, all of whom were initially Bizarro versions of Superman, Lois Lane and their children and, later, other Bizarros including Batzarro, the World’s Worst Detective.

In popular culture “Bizarro World” has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite to expectations.














If elections neither free nor fair: Why is Dr Chee bothering?

In Political governance on 12/11/2015 at 5:21 am

SDP Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan speaking at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Post-Election Conference 2015 said that the PAP wins elections because the election system is neither free nor fair: the party controls the print and broadcast media, it uses state bodies such as the People’s Association for its own partisan-political purposes, and the Elections Department works from under the PMO.

This is a repeat of part of his comments immediately after GE 2015 which left me confused on what the SDP is up to.

Yet Dr Chee has made it very clear in private that the SDP will continue its attempts to win seats in paely. And I’m told by a reliable source that the SDP Old Guard, people like his sis and John Tan, who had supported his long foray into civil disobedience*, support his present position of trying to work within the system. I was uncertain of their views.

Isn’t their attitude strange? They sound like an abused partner who, instead of walking out of a destructive, problematic relationship, just nervously asks: ‘Can we talk about this?’ while continuing the relationship?

Something has to give.

But then. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”. (Thoreau)

And then maybe Dr Chee and his SDP think that the PAP administration are like the Burmese generals and he is S’pore’s very own Aung San Su Kyi., and the SDP is her NLD.

All I can say is that Aung San Suu Kyi has been pretty consistent in her approach since she entered politics in the late 1980s. Dr Chee has turned this way and that way. And whatever one may say about the PAP administration, 70% of voters trust the PAP to do right by them. Can’t say that the Burmese trust the generals to do right by them.

(Related post: What the SDP, activists and analysts don’t get)

Update at 2.45pm: Dr Chee should be asking himself if he’s right how come WP can win a GRC and retain it; how come Hougang is fortress WP; and Potong Pasir was fortress Chiam for a long time; NBN could win; and SDP once upon a time could win seats (before he took over and ran it aground on the rocks of civil disobedience?


*They all believe that the PAP administration’s greater tolerance of alternative voices was due to their heroic efforts but that the WP reaped the benefits (and the MP allowances).

Defining Oppo “Unity” and “Credible Candidates”

In Uncategorized on 11/11/2015 at 5:26 am

Following the Institute of Policy Studies publishing its analysis of the GE2015 results, based on surveys done with voters, and a related  conference, the MSM and cyberspace are full of reports, commentary and analysis. (Even I joined in pointing out that one reasonable conclusion of the survey is that the PAP is doomed.)

The noise reminded me that anti-PAP paper warriors (brainy ande nutty) when still in shock and denial (they still are) gave advice to the SDP, WP and other Oppo parties on how to do better next time.

Their advice centred around the need for Oppo unity and good candidates.

I’ll use Uncle Redbean’s advice as a representative sample of these views as he is pretty direct:

Perhaps these three parties* should hold a pow wow session to build a bigger base for a new coalition to fight the next battle. In the process, they could round up the better potentials in the remnant parties and invite them to the coalition or new party.

There is an urgent need to get the act together, to get all the good candidates together to mean business. To put up an opposition party is a very serious business and there is nothing better than to join forces to stand united. No more loose cannons and mavericks standing alone shouting in the wilderness. It would not do. A real, credible and substantial force is needed to win the confidence of the voters if they want to stand a chance in the next GE.

On the issue of “unity”, the problem is that he and others have not defined what they mean by “unity”. A combined manifesto? What can be more united than the present informal system of sharing out “seats”. In the last UK election, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats fought for votes in all constituencies despite being in a coalition govt for the previous five yrs.

True there can be problems when WP thinks it has a better chance than the tiny tots, otherwise the system works: if’s a straight fight between the PAP and an Oppo party (99.9% of the time). And even then when there are two oppo parties, the other oppo party candidates always loses his deposit.

Then there is the issue of “credible candidates”. The candidates of the WP, SDP, SingFirst and the Chiams were all credible candidates in my view. But they were soundly trashed. So the Oppo needs more credible candidates than a NUS, NUH professor, uni lecturers, lawyers? Please define credibility UncleRedbean and fellow advisers to help the Oppo parties better select winning candidates.

Related to this is where to draw the line of who is not a credible candidate, and who is?

Are Roy, M Ravi, New Citizen Han Hui Hui, Goh Meng Seng and s/o JBJ credible candidates? Going by comments that Uncle Redbean has made about them, he seems to think they are all credible candidates.

I for one don’t think they are. To me, they fall within Uncle RedBean’s loose cannons and mavericks

And their share of the votes tell me that only 20 odd percent of the voters (the really hard core)  think they are.

As for the credible candidates of the WP, SDP, SingFirst and the Chiams, their credibility didn’t prevent them from being thrashed, albeit the SDP and WP candidates managed to lose less badly than the other Oppo candidates.

So calls for “unity” and “credible candidates” are only useful if accompanied by explanations of what these terms mean.


*WP, SDP and SingFirst. He now sees the Chiams no “ak”. I also see the Chiams as now irrelevant.


30% keep on KPKBing– Don’t despair

In Political governance on 09/11/2015 at 5:33 am

Be brave and of good cheer. History is on yr side. PAP is doomed: by demographics and S’pore rising levelsw of education.

I’m not joking.

That’s a reasonable conclusion to draw from the survey* by the PAP administrations’s very own Institute of Policy Studies that shows that respondents who viewed the SDP and WP as credible were mainly those aged 39 years and below, and mainly had a university and diploma education.

As for the PAP, it was the pre-independence generation, or those aged above 55 years that mainly saw the party as credible.

Reasonable conclusion: only the dying, about to die and the uneducated really support the PAP. Goh Meng Seng, Roy Ngerng, Han Hui Hui, Kirsten Han, Lynn Lee and TRE cybernuts are not representative of the 30% even if they behave as though they represent the 30%. SDP’s Dr Paul Thamby, and Leon the Lion are?

No wonder Ah Loong says the PAP must change, and the PAP’s already preparing for the next GE (I’ll blog soon on what its a doing in my area, a safe PAP area according to the WP), and the acting minister of education plays down the PAP’s success (my take).

So Oppo activists and anti-PAP cybernuts should look on the right side, and look beyond the trashing they got and in the case of the latter fully deserved.

And Dr Chee (and the ang mohs backing him) must really be be happy that the percentage of people who found the party credible** more than doubled from 20% in GE2011 to 42% in GE2015. The PAP saw an increase of credibility of only 20 percentage points, while the Worthless WankersP’s credibility in the eyes of voters increased by 15 percentage points. Too bad for Khaw and his ministry’s civil servants, no performance bonus for sliming the Wayang Party over the AHPETC accounts. It didn’t work. WP’s cred did not fall.

Related post on what stats really mean: they are not facts.


*2,015 S’poeans were interviewed for the survey, by phone from 12 to 26 September. IPS senior research fellow Gillian Koh was in charge of the survey.

**But he can’t afford too many of things like this

The news that Jeffrey George was arrested by the Central Narcotics Bureau comes as a shock. I have known Jeff for many years and all this time he has discharged his duties as an SDP member and leader with professionalism. He is respected and well-liked by his party colleagues. This is why the matter is all the more a complete surprise.

At this time, the family members need support as they go through a difficult period. They should be left alone to sort things out.

Chee Soon Juan

Singapore Democratic Party

Guy was SDP chairman until juz before his arrest it seems. Very convenient for SDP.




What the SDP, activists and analysts don’t get

In Political governance on 15/10/2015 at 3:45 am

Below is an extract from a piece by the FT’s Gideon Rachman on the difference between the US and China written on the eve of Xi’s visit to the Hegemon’s capital.

4. Individual v community: American leaders stress the rights of the individual. Chinese leaders stress the interests of the community. The difference between American individualism and Chinese communitarianism filters into their attitudes to the state. In the US, the ideas that the individual needs to be protected against an over-mighty state is built into the constitution and into political rhetoric. In China, it is more normal to argue that a strong state is the best guarantee against “chaos” that has led, in the past, to civil war and bloodshed. Many Americans assume that this Chinese rhetoric simply reflects the self-interest of the Communist party. But it also has deep historical roots. Americans might trace their emphasis on individual rights to the War of Independence in the 18th century. By contrast, in stressing the need for a strong state, Chinese leaders unselfconsciously refer to the “Warring States” period, which began in 476BC.

5. Rights v hierarchy: Different attitudes to the state lead to contrasting views of what holds a society together. Americans stress individual rights and the law. But while there is now much more talk in China of the need for strengthened “rule of law”, the Communist party is also promoting the Confucian tradition, which stresses a sense of hierarchy and obligation, as crucial to the smooth functioning of society. Once again, this has implications for international relations — since it affects China’s view of the proper relationship between big countries, such as China, and their smaller neighbours.

Given that S’pore is 7o% ethnic Chinese is a de-facto one-party state, and has a conservative society*, is it not surprising that

— communitarianism and 

—  the Confucian tradition, which stresses a sense of hierarchy and obligation [the PAP listens to our grouses, does something about them, so we should reciprocate by voting for the PAP and not as the WP suggests vote against the PAP. PM said said this argument against “numan nature”: I’d say against the Confucian tradition. ], as crucial to the smooth functioning of society

means that 35%** of the voters think the PAP deserve their votes in 2015? In 2015, the percentage was 25%.

Whatever Sr Chee, his SDP, s/o JBJ, Western-educated activists and analysts should stop looking at S’pore from a Western perspective. They should “Seek truth from facts”.

WP’s success has been built on Low’s insight as a man of Tao that the vast majority of S’poreans are comfortable with the PAP. Sadly a strategy built on that insight has its limitations both for the WP’s and S’pore’s prospects.


*Btw, I’d argue that Taiwan because of its history of colonisation by the Japanese and repression by the KMT is a more radical place than S’pore. Likewise South Korea because of Japanese colonisation and the Korean war.

**I’m assuming based on PE 2011, 35% of vthe voters will  die die vote PAP and 30% will vote for any donkey, so long as it’s not a PAP donkey, even if it turns out to be Tan Kin Lian advised by Goh Meng Seng.

Will the real SDP, Dr Chee pls stand up?

In Political governance on 23/09/2015 at 4:54 am

After the GE, it was heartening to read this

Paul Tambyah: “This election has confirmed how hard it is for opposition politicians in Singapore to get their message across. I would like to continue with this process unless the PAP adopts all our policies and moves towards social justice (!) because that is what is most important to me rather than who is in power. Singaporeans are not really a selfish people; we do believe in democracy, justice and equality as pre-requisites for peace and prosperity despite the cynicism and materialism around us.”

It was a sign that the SDP had matured.

But then, in a statement that was published on TRE (among other sites), Dr Chee wrote:

“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.”*

And then: ‘Speaking before a crowd that filled the SDP’s headquarters and spilled out the front door, SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan argued that the power imbalances in the system meant “elections in Singapore can have one, and only one, outcome… PAP victory.”

Control over the mainstream media, the use of the People’s Association for party purposes and the placing of the Elections Department under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Office have stacked the deck against opposition parties, assuring the continuance of PAP dominance in Singaporean politics, Chee said**.


Is Dr Chee reverting to  his Mad Dog persona? Is he Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? If so, Dr Chee needs to be forced to his medicine? Or should the dosage should increase?

These are questions that some of us that rooted for the SDP are asking ourselves.

All I can hope is that the new look SDP is not wayang, or will be discarded anytime soon. And that Dr Chee is juz venting his frustrations. Even that is putting a gloss on the situation as it shows that he’s an immature person despite his age, and undoubted intellectual powers, and charisma.

Time to write-off the SDP***? Until it gets a new leader that will take it along the paththat the SDP seemed to have gone down the last few yr until Dr Chee’s outbursts?

One can only watch and wait.

During the elections Paul joked about Tharman joining the SDP, if the PAP splits. Well it looks more likely that if the Mad Dog returns to form (Cannot teach old dog new tricks?) that Dr Paul will join the PAP. After all there are those in the SDP (think John Tan. Chee’s sister and the Old Guard) who never really bot into SDP Bahru. It was a means to get into Parly by appearing moderate.

Watch and wait.

But the election loss is not the only loss that Dr Chee has to grapple with. He has made headway intellectually here partly because of Piketty’s book on why inequality is growing in the UAS, Europe and globally (something Dr Chee has been talking about in the local context since the 1990s, stressing that the engines of social mobility here have stalled).

But now the backlash against Piketty is gathering momentum: Piketty wrong about the inevitability of inequality?


*I posted on TRE: Come on whatever the PAP does, s/o JBI brown noser Dosh (sun shines from s/o JBJ’s behind), grave dancing Oxygen etc will want the PAP out but do nothing about it. Should anyone really care about their views?

Seriously, does 30% constitute a majority, and 70% a minority? Dr Chee seems to imply so.

**In contrast to Doc Chee’s comments, here is what Dr Paul said on the same topic: the dominance of the PAP. Dr Paul was asked What are the lessons learnt from GE2015’s results?

The main lesson for me was in the structural obstacles which restrict democracy in Singapore. In particular, the billion dollar People’s Association (PA) which makes a mockery of the election process in that the losers of the election in Hougang and Aljunied get all the resources of the taxpayer funded agencies. In addition, the overwhelming power of the mainstream media and their online outlets is a huge obstacle to overcome — for example, the only debates that occurred in this campaign were on CNA and IQ and the IQ debates had a very small audience, less than 0.1% of the electorate.

A really fair, nuanced comment, that PAP apologists like Calvin Cheng cannot contradict without sounding stupid. I’m not saying that they are not stupid.

One could argue that in substance, it’s the same point Dr Chee was making. But in politics, prestation and perception are v.v. impt.

***Something to ponder though the maths could be shoddy.

Singapore Democratic Party

Average PAP vote: 68.71 per cent
Average PAP swing: 5.47 per cent

Exactly as predicted by the model, the PAP achieved the smallest national swing against the SDP, far smaller than the national average swing. The model explains that the SDP should be more resistant to national swings than other opposition parties because it has adopted the “clear water strategy”, putting a clear and coherent ideological distance from the dominant party. The model also predicts correctly that as a niche party, the SDP will never have the best performance at the polls.

Do read above even if I told TOC It’s hard to take seriously anyone who claims to be conversant with maths and models that can write

Average 2015 PAP vote: 69.99 per cent
Average 2011 PAP vote: 60.12 per cent
Average PAP swing: 9.87 per cent
In the last line “per cent” should be percentage points or points.
And the Alex Au methology of counting the average vote is more nuanced and makes the WP’s loss smaller than the SDP’s loss, making the above analysis suspect.

But intuitively, the “clear water strategy” sounds correct.

Salute these Oppo warriors

In Uncategorized on 20/09/2015 at 5:00 am

Unconquerable souls who took on the Empire. They were thrashed badly on 9/11

All hail, Dr Chee, Dr Paul. Dr Ang, P Ravi and Jeannette Chong, and their families. Hopefully,  the last three will retire from the fray for their own sakes and that of their families. They don’t the backup that Dr Chee and Dr Paul have: the SDP.

The SDP activists too should be saluted.


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)


Photoshopped movie poster on the Singapore 2015 election by PixelGod





Chee: Mad Dog morphs into Loong

In Uncategorized on 09/09/2015 at 5:47 pm

From a TRE reader, which about sums up what I feel about Chee

September 9, 2015 at 1:33 am (Quote)
Like many of our older generation, I have always had doubts about CSJ. In the early years he appeared rash and even arrogant and brash especially armed with, I believe, his PhD in neuroscience.
Since then he has gone through hell and back and some of us thought he deserved what he got because he gave the impression of being manipulative and hence could not be trusted. Even today, he somehow does not seem to be able to naturally endear himself easily. There is something still too deliberate and even contrived about him. Spontaneity does not come easily. Yet, amidst all this one can still catch bits of the real man underneath his various personas. He has mellowed and with that allowed us glimpses of his true self and his sincerity.
I watched his lunchtime speech yesterday and was deeply moved by his words and his candid sharing. My tacitly negative image of him now no longer hold sway. Here was someone who had endured gross mistreatment and yet he did not allow bitterness to cloud the singularity of his focus. Much to admire, yet at the same time I wished he wouldn’t occasionally flash his ‘overdone’ broad smile; something that feels more like a cover for all he has been through.
CSJ now displays a degree of wisdom that was not evident before. He grasps the problems and concerns of ordinary people and addresses them with conviction and constructive proposals. He has become worldly wise. He speaks with passion and compassion. He is the change Singapore needs. Vote him and Paul in to Parliament. They will do the country a powerful world of good.
Majullah Singapura!

He’s got this guy to thank

And his family:

VivianB peeing in his pants?

In Uncategorized on 05/09/2015 at 10:28 am

Surely this handshake should narrow for the SDP the 20 points gap in Holland Bukit Timah (based on last GE) to a winnable 10 points?.


If only Dr Chee and him shook hands, it’ll be a level playing field. And SDP has been taking Dr Tan’s advice* that they didn’t walk the ground enough prior to last GE.

“How do I vote” by Dr Tan Cheng Bock


*I was told juz after last GE, that before results came out, Dr Ang Yong Guan (then a SDP paratroop candidate asked Dr Tan (they know one another, if not friends) if SDP could win. Dr Tan asked for details of SDP’s out-reach and concluded that SDP didn’t walk the ground enough.

Oppo slate that deserves to win/ PM rooting for them?

In Uncategorized on 03/09/2015 at 5:01 am

SDP team will be lead by Dr Chee Soon Juan. Other members in his line-up include National University of Singapore Yong Yoo Lin School of Medicine Professor Paul Tambyah, compliance auditor Sidek Mallek, and healthcare administrator Chong Wai Fung.

This team deserves to get in because of

Someone who thinks (like me) but who acts (unlike me).

Update at 2.45pm: Yahoo! talks to him–paul-tambyah-of-the-singapore-democratic-party-092334114.html

Secondly, the SDP has a comprehensive list of alternative policies that challenges the PAP’s Hard Truths.

Now if the SDP gets into power there is a chance that these policies may be a danger: The People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Dr Vivian Balakrishnan had harsh words for the policies proposed by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), saying that they are “tax and spend” programmes that will ultimately lead the country to bankruptcy.

He may be right (if the SDP wins a GE) but the SDP is not coming into power anytime soon, so why not let it’s ideas be tested in parly and see if they are found wanting?

(Btw, bit rich to talk of overspending. Didn’t he overspend on the Youth Olympics? $60 million to $300m? So who remembers anything of it and what was the net impact?

And this is not all, he sneered at the elderly poor, making fun of them. The same people the PAP is now honouring because it needs their votes: votes lost by the sneerer.

Whatever it is, the SDP is planning to spend our noney on ourselves, unlike VivianB who spent our money oney on fat cat foreigners from the Int’l Olympic Council. And to whose gain?)

Sorry for digression. After all the SDP has been right (sort of)

And as I’ve said before, Dr  Chee in his 1990s articulated a vision of S’pore today is closer to the reality than that of the PAP or mine (and I was a lot more pessimistic than the PAP).

Finally the SDP has proven that it can change. A bunch of nutters have changed their thinking, that even someone like me thinks SDP Bahru has some good ideas that deserve consideration.

Fyi, I plan to go buy the book “Men In White” to compare in detail the ideas of the PAP in 1959 and the ideas of the SDP today. I don’t think the PAP then would have been happy to have someone who sneered at the elderly poor in its ranks.

Update at 5.12 pm

Seems PM wants Dr Chee and Paul in parly. From this we can infer he wants Oppo tigers in Patly

Pointing to the Opposition’s “disappointing” performance in Parliament, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday that they were voted in to be a tiger in a chamber, but ended up being a “mouse in the House”.

Going by Paul’s and Dr Chee (remember I called him Mad Dog) one can assume that he wants them to beat the sneerer and an MP banker who disagrees with Tharman

Tharman joking again? Or trying to BS us?

In Economy on 30/08/2015 at 4:39 am

But before I go to Tharman, let me quote Dr Chee on the problems facing some, many S’poreans (certainly not me)

the 2014 report by Credit Lyonnaise Securities Asia which showed that almost half of households in Singapore live from paycheck to paycheck with little or no savings. This is middle class that we’re talking about. They are just one major bill away from financial ruin. This can come in the form of an accident, health problem, or some other foreseeable catastrophe.

What is less surprising is the report’s finding that the majority of our elderly indicated that they are not saving. How can they when they have hardly anything to live on after they’ve paid up their HDB loan? What’s more, the little that they have is withheld under the Minimum Sum Scheme.

But what’s particularly disturbing is the finding that a high proportion of Singaporeans in their 30s and 40s are also unable to save.

How did all this come about? The cost of living in Singapore, of course, plays a major role. In 2001, we were the 97th most expensive city in the world. In a short span of just over 10 years, we hopped, stepped and jumped to becoming the most expensive city in the world, according to the Economic Intelligence Unit.

Full text of speech at *. I commend it for your reading.

Singapore’s social and economic policies, which work hand-in-hand, are long-term strategies that have been in place long before the 2011 General Election. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam made this point on Friday (Aug 14) in a speech at the SG50 Special Distinguished Lecture, organised by the Economic Society of Singapore.

He spoke of support for the very young, starting with broad-based quality in the public school system in Singapore. When a person enters the workforce, there is Workfare where the Government tops up the wages of low-income workers. In housing, the Government went about it in a “very determined way” to ensure homes remained affordable for low- and middle-income couples, Mr Tharman said.

For seniors, the Central Provident Fund remains a critical pillar of support and the Government has introduced features like the Pioneer Generation Package and the permanent Silver Support Scheme, for the low-income elderly.

“This has been a shift that started a full 10 years ago and step-by-step, we moved up our support by intervening with people who are young, intervening in the working years and increasingly now in the senior years. It’s not just an innovation in the last five years,” Mr Tharman said.

“And I recognise of course, there’s some political cunning, saying this all came about because of GE 2011. I’m sorry it didn’t. The world did not start in 2011. We made very clear our intentions and our motivations in 2007. We made clear it was going to be a multi-year strategy and step-by-step, starting from the kids when they are young, through working life, into the senior years.

“We have been moving towards a more inclusive society step by step and we intend to continue on this journey. Learning from experience, improving where we can. But this is not a result of 2011.”** I also commend you read the rest of CNA article below because it’s a good summary of the PAP’s views on “Life, the Universe and Everything”.

Now you know why I put Dr Chee’s remarks first. How can the recent goodies be part of a 10-yr plan given the dates of the reports quoted by Dr Chee: in or around 2914.

If the PAP administration had been working since 2005 or 2006, why weren’t the results not shown in the data?

Remember Tharman’s previous attempts at telling jokes

Related posts

But maybe, Tharman the real aristocrat (no not juz s “natural” one: he like VivianB are from ACS), thinks we are daft peasants and workers?



*Full text of Dr Chee Soon Juan’s speech at the SDP’s 35th Anniversary Dinner on 15 August 2015:

Mr Jeffrey George, Chairman, SDP, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

In 1995, during the Ordinary Party Conference at which I was first elected Secretary-General of the SDP, I gave an address about the need to invest our time and effort building up a strong foundation for the party.

I related the fable of the Three Little Pigs and how it was important to erect our house with bricks rather than with sticks and straw. Only with a sound foundation could we build a premier party that we all wanted to see the SDP become.

By foundation, I meant that we had to ground the party on principles – principles that allowed the people the freedom to think and express those thoughts, principles that ensured that we enhanced opportunity for all to succeed, not just the privileged, and principles that grounded us on the idea that power is measured by our ability to care for the weakest among us.

By foundation, I also meant taking the time and having the discipline to put up considered policy papers by conducting research and consulting the people.

In the years that ensued, I was repeatedly criticised – even by those in opposition circles – for being out of touch with the masses and being too academic in my approach. My critics also argued that Singaporeans were interested only in bread-and-butter issues; democracy and political freedom were Western concepts unsuited to the Asian mind.

I never bought the propaganda because unless someone can show me that Singaporeans are somehow different from the rest of the human race or possessed DNA that made us inherently desirous of being constantly told what to do, I cannot but conclude that these views are propagated by the powerful few who want to keep the status quo.

Rising prices, stagnant wages

I have maintained that without our political rights, we cannot protect our economic interests and well-being. Recent trends have proven me correct.

Take, for example, the 2014 report by Credit Lyonnaise Securities Asia which showed that almost half of households in Singapore live from paycheck to paycheck with little or no savings. This is middle class that we’re talking about. They are just one major bill away from financial ruin. This can come in the form of an accident, health problem, or some other foreseeable catastrophe.

What is less surprising is the report’s finding that the majority of our elderly indicated that they are not saving. How can they when they have hardly anything to live on after they’ve paid up their HDB loan? What’s more, the little that they have is withheld under the Minimum Sum Scheme.

But what’s particularly disturbing is the finding that a high proportion of Singaporeans in their 30s and 40s are also unable to save.

How did all this come about? The cost of living in Singapore, of course, plays a major role. In 2001, we were the 97th most expensive city in the world. In a short span of just over 10 years, we hopped, stepped and jumped to becoming the most expensive city in the world, according to the Economic Intelligence Unit.

This is not just happenstance. It came about through deliberate planning by the PAP. For instance, the Government rewrote the Banking Act and Immigration policy to court High Net-Worth Individuals to Singapore. As a result, we have the highest proportion of millionaires and billionaires in the world. The massive inflow of foreign capital places enormous upward pressure on prices in the country.

At the same time, we imported en masse cheap foreign labour to do the lower-skilled jobs. This puts downward pressure on wages of the locals. It also has the unintended effect of lowering labour productivity levels. The government has often repeated that wages cannot outstrip productivity. The result is that real wages continue to languish.

This double whammy of rising costs and stagnating wages is what is making lives financially so tough for Singaporeans.

And what about our youth? The future looks anything but hopeful. They now have to compete with foreign students – who are getting generous financial assistance from the state – for places in our universities. And when they graduate, they have a tough time finding jobs. If they do end up with a job, many are underemployed engaging in low-paying or low-skilled positions.

And with the high HDB prices, housing has become largely unaffordable for young couples.

All this means that for our younger generation, opportunity is diminishing while stress and anxiety are increasing.

This has caused many Singaporeans to leave the country. Unfortunately, they are ones whose talent and skills we need most. Lee Kuan Yew, himself, admitted that this development is a serious problem.

So what does the Government do? Instead of examining its policies that gave rise to these problems in the first place, it opens up our immigration doors to let foreigners in by the millions ostensibly to augment innovation and job creation.

But the more people we let in, the greater the competition for opportunity, the more stressful life in Singapore becomes, the more Singaporeans choose to leave and on goes the downward spiral.

The situation has deteriorated to the point that the PAP acknowledges the problem. Both Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Long have said that without foreigners, we cannot attract investments and create jobs.

Unchecked power

How did we come to such a tragic state? After more that 50 years of uninterrupted PAP rule, we cannot produce a citizenry, or at least retain one, which can keep our country going without having to rely on foreigners?

But even as the SDP saw the situation deteriorate, our hands were tied. There was little we could do because our rulers decreed that the media had to be controlled, political parties could operate only under the most restrictive of conditions, and fundamental freedoms were tightly proscribed.

As a consequence, the ruling party’s power was unchecked. The result is a slew of problems, of which I have just mentioned a few, that our society has to grapple with.

Authoritarian control has another effect that is less obvious, perhaps, but no less damaging to our nation. It has to do with our effort to build a knowledge-based society. The fact that we are so reliant on foreigners and foreign corporations to drive our economy is more than a subtle hint that we’ve not been very successful in this endeavour. This is because a political system which demands conformity does not, and cannot, admit of knowledge creation.

Which leads me back to the point that I made at the beginning of my address, it is the same point that I have been making for the last 20 years: Without political freedom, that is, freedom of speech, assembly and association, we cannot regenerate our economy.

What’s the solution?

The question is not whether the present system will continue to serve Singapore well because clearly it can’t. Even PAP stalwarts like George Yeo have openly called for its reform.

Rather, the question must be how are we going to go about making the necessary changes. There are several areas that we must deal with if we are going to get out of the rut in which we currently find ourselves. But I will confine my answer to the one that is most obvious and immediate: elect SDP candidates into office in the coming elections.

I will point out two incontrovertible facts to underscore why it is crucial to have the SDP in the next Parliament. The first is that we are the only party that has consistently iterated that our political rights and our economic progress are two sides of the same coin, they are inextricably bound. Without advancement in our political rights, problems regarding our economic and social well-being cannot be addressed.

Second, we are also the only party to have drawn up a bold new vision for this nation and crafted alternative policies to take the country closer to that vision. There is nothing worse than asking voters to vote for change when they don’t know what that change is or might look like. We have articulated for society a future that can be better and more secure than the one we have presently. We are advocating a system where the people have the means and the responsibility to shape their own future.

In other words, we want to give voters a reason to vote for the SDP, not just against the PAP.

We want to build a system where debate, reasoned argument, and free choice is highly valued; thick on logic and persuasion, thin on rhetoric and coercion. We want the government to listen – really listen – and be responsive to the wishes and needs of the people. This can only happen with a competent, constructive and compassionate opposition in Parliament – an opposition like the SDP.

SDP’s values

But while it is important to ensure that our future is one predicated on prosperity, we don’t want to advocate ideas that focus exclusively on material wealth – not if it means having to lose our soul and the very essence of being human. And being human is to care for our fellow human beings, to show compassion to those less fortunate than us.

When did we become so callous to suffering? When did we become numb to the fact that our elderly have to clear our tables and wash our toilets or collect cardboard just to live out their remaining years on this earth? I don’t believe that we are such a nasty people. I believe that we have been led astray. We have become so indifferent to the plight of the weak and the powerless because we’ve been told for decades that no one owes us a living, that it’s every man for himself.

We must find our way back, we must find our soul again because a people without a soul is a people who will not find life, life in its most profound sense.

We must impart wisdom that invites an individual to enter the door of his conscience – the conscience that speaks loudly and clearly of our values – that people come before profits, rights before riches and wisdom before wealth.

This is who we are, this is what we stand for and it is what we must strive to uphold. These values keep us united as Singapore Democrats, it is what is going to help us succeed as a party and, most importantly, it is what is going to bring this Republic of Singapore a better future.

It has taken us time to get to where we are today but it has been necessary. We have toiled hard, tilled the soil, planted the seed and with the sweat of our brow and the tears of our spirit, painstakingly cultivated the tree of democratic progress. May it bear fruit this election.

Thank you.

**Rest of CNA report:

He added that what is unique about Singapore is that there is “broad-based upliftment”, with jobs, rising incomes and homes for every Singaporean.

“Without social strategies, without strategies that made it possible for people to develop their potential, through education, without the housing policies that gave everyone a sense of ownership, provided a sense of equity in our society, it would have been impossible for our economy to have succeeded,” said Mr Tharman.


He noted that Singapore’s policies have shifted over the years. The first three decades were focused on the basics – economic survival, job creation, and providing education and housing. And the poor received few subsidies, he said.

“It worked because our economic strategies worked. Jobs were created, incomes did rise and homes went up in value steadily and the economy improved. Social well-being went up without the whole array of social policies, by just focusing on the fundamentals,” Mr Tharman said.

Social policy came to the fore in the 1990s. The Government rolled out policies such as the Edusave scheme for young Singaporeans and Medifund for those who could not afford hospital bills. They also introduced housing grants for the resale market to help more Singaporeans own homes.

“But it is only in the last 10 years, starting from around 2006, 2007, that we made more decisive shifts, a more decisive rebalancing in order to ensure we remain an inclusive society. We needed to mitigate inequality. We had seen in a decade earlier in the mid-1990s when inequality had risen, similar to the trend in most advanced countries. We needed to do more to mitigate inequality,” he said.


But Mr Tharman noted that Singapore’s level of inequality, before taxes and Government transfers, is not particularly high by international standards.

He said: “The question then is, what happens after taxes and transfers? Because all governments do want to mitigate inequality, have some redistribution, in order to reduce them. And we do too. There are some countries that in fact achieve a very large reduction in their Gini coefficient, which is about distribution through taxes and transfers.

“The classic cases in Scandinavian economies and to some extent in the United Kingdom and other European economies – those have seen a significant reduction. But the first point we must recognise is that the reduction in inequality that they have seen, the reduction in their Gini coefficient goes hand-in-hand with a very heavy burden of taxation on their population. It is not just about taxing the rich – it is the middle, the broad middle class in the society that pays a very high tax rate. Consumption tax and income tax.”


Mr Tharman also spoke of the need for a more innovative society, for every company and person to “unleash their innovative spirit” to move from adding value, to creating value through research and development and new products.

That is how Singapore will survive, said the Deputy Prime Minister. He said the country is already beginning to see some results. For example, there are aggressive schemes to support start-ups and help small and medium-sized enterprises upgrade and internationalise.

He said the Government will also take the lead to invest in all Singaporeans – throughout their life.

He noted: “This is why SkillsFuture is a major investment to our future. A major social and economic investment in our future. We are not anywhere near maximising our potential. In fact, no country is anywhere near maximising their potential and we intend to be in the lead by continuously investing in every Singaporean.

“Not many of us, let’s invest in every Singaporean. So we keep improving through life, keep learning something about ourselves, we did not know about. A strength, ability, an interest. And we are going to provide the resources, the facility all around the island to make this possible.”


Following his speech at the Economic Society of Singapore, Mr Tharman fielded several questions from the audience, including one on foreign workers in Singapore. He said they play an important role in keeping Singapore globally competitive.

Said Mr Tharman: “There are many jobs where you just won’t be able to find enough Singaporeans to do it. And second, because there are many foreign employees who come with expertise and long track records in particular fields that really add to the global teams in Singapore being competitive globally.

“So that is the real strategy,” he said. “In Singaporeans’ own interest, you must have globally competitive teams in Singapore. But if it’s all foreigners, you do not have Singaporeans in the team. Then that is not a sensible economic strategy. So our strategy is to have a balance. Make sure Singaporeans are at the core system – core not just in a regular jobs, core not just in back-end office work, but core in innovative teams and in order for them to be in globally competitive teams.”

Mr Tharman also explained why it is important to reskill Singapore workers. “It is a good thing that we are able to add labour-saving technologies in a labour-short economy,” he said. “We are a labour-short economy so we need every form of labour-saving technology. And the right solution is to make sure that anyone whose job becomes redundant because technology takes over is reskilled, and is able to have another good job.

“And we tend to be as active, as energetic as we can in this through SkillsFuture and through our subsidies as well to help people tide over and learn a new skill.”

He said the society has to help everyone keep up with the pace of change. “Make sure they are not treated as an unemployed statistic becoming an employed statistic, but they are citizens who must feel that they are all part of the team, and if you lose your job, we take care of you and ensure you can be part of another team. That culture of respect for blue collar workers is really something we need to develop.”

– CNA/ms

Dare PM say this tonite? It was once possible

In Political governance on 23/08/2015 at 1:23 pm

There’s been a fair bit in the MSM and new media about well-off S’porean parents being able to buy the best education that money can buy.

“I want to transform this country – to shake it up profoundly, so that the life chances of a child born today aren’t determined by how much their parents earn but by their potential, by their work ethic and by their ambition.”*

(*New Labour leader in Scotland who BBC reports as fairly centrist. Bear in mind the Scots are considered left of centre in the UK. So she’d be regarded in England as at least as left of centre. In S’pore the space occupied by the SDP.)

Once upon a time, we had something like “life chances of a child born today aren’t determined by how much their parents earn but by their potential, by their work ethic and by their ambition”. This is what Ravi, a Chiams’ Party candidate in the next GE said

I come from a disadvantaged family and went to work after completing my GCE ‘O’ Level, at the age of 16, despite qualifying for higher education. I worked as a store-hand making just $300 so that I can help my mother. With an absent father in my life, my mother was my hero, and being the eldest child, my sense of duty compelled and pushed me into the adult world.

Even then, I knew that education was the great leveller. I pushed myself and completed the GCE ‘A’ Level and other diploma courses while working. Today I hold a Bachelor of Arts (Management) from Heriot-Watt University.

The Singapore back then, the political leaders and policies back then, provided various opportunities for me and allowed me to dream.  With hard work and perseverance, I rose from being a store-hand to be the Director of a welfare agency.

Our children and their children must not lose this ability to dream. Our leaders today are telling them that they don’t need a degree, that you can be a hawker, or a crane operator – that good qualifications no longer guarantee a good job. While saying all these, they are granting S-Passes, employment passes and permanent residency to foreigners with degrees.

With this being the situation now, what is the kind of a future that awaits our children? Will there be enough opportunities for them in their own country? Or will they be subordinate to better-qualified foreigners?

And do remember that in 2011 one Harry said:

Students from families with at least one or both parents being university graduates are likely to have a better learning environment.

The correlation was evident in statistics released when Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew visited Dunman High School on Monday.

Mr Lee also assured non-Chinese students that promoting the learning of the Chinese Language well was not meant to harm them.

The minister mentor has been visiting schools recently to gauge for himself the quality of Singapore’s education and whether Singapore is fair to everyone.

His first conclusion was that neighbourhood schools are as well-equipped with physical resources as “brand name” schools.

Secondly, he found that teachers are competent – even though the better ones may gravitate towards “brand name” schools.

Mr Lee said: “Of course, the better teachers gravitate to the ‘brand name’ schools because the status is higher and the principals scout out the better teachers, but in the neighbourhood schools they are equally competent.”

However, he commented on one area of difference – referring in particular to the educational background of parents.

He said: “”If both or at least one parent is university educated, the chances of the home background would be more favourably supportive, with books and all the paraphernalia that makes for a learning child.

“That is the situation we face – to get the lesser educated parents to understand that at an early stage, they must try to get their children accustomed to go to the library, reading, trying to get used to acquiring knowledge by themselves, and not being spoon-fed by the teachers.”

Mr Lee also released a table which showed the proportion of students who have graduate parents in some of Singapore’s leading and neighbourhood schools.

For “brand names” schools like ACS Independent, it is nearly 72 per cent; Dunman High 42 per cent and Raffles Institution 55 per cent.

At schools like Crescent Girls, the figure is about 50 per cent; and Victoria School 45 per cent.

On the other hand, for neighbourhood schools, the percentage of one or both parents being graduates ranged from 7 to 13 per cent.

During his visit to Dunman High, Mr Lee spent much of his time interacting with the students, finding out their family background, the language they spoke at home as well as among friends in and outside schools.

“What programmes do you watch on television or radio?” Mr Lee asked a student, who replied: “I watch mainly Channel 8 programmes with my family.”

Mr Lee has spent time over the years, emphasising that students need to do well in English – even as Singapore embraced a bilingual policy.

He said: “At the same time, we want to keep as much, as high a level of our mother tongue as possible. And in the case of the Chinese, it is an advantage because if you are proficient in Chinese, later on doing business in China is easier.

“But to juggle the two languages is no easy matter. But I emphasise English because I want the non-Chinese parents to understand that their children are not losing (out) when we say improve higher standards in Chinese. We are still an English-speaking, English-working society.”

More school visits have been planned for the minister mentor.

– CNA/al

The state of the Oppo parties

In Political governance on 31/07/2015 at 5:18 am

It’s a good, short and sharp analysis by a TRE reader, who is definitely not a cybernut.

“Firstly, not all opposition parties have the same status”, says Harold who I quoted yesterday on the SPP and Mrs Chiam. As promised here are his tots on the other parties. Headings and non -Italic font are mine.


The strongest opposition party at the moment is the WP which has 7 parliamentary seats and 2 non-constituency members of parliament. The WP is stable, has good leadership, party discipline, a strong brand name, strong grassroots network and has managed to attract a critical mass of skilled professionals. These factors explain why the WP has a better image and thus a better chance of winning than the other opposition parties. As was seen in the Punggol East by-election, in a multi-cornered fight, the WP candidate will attract a much larger share of votes than the minor opposition parties.

All this is spot-on. The problem is that the MPs never slapped the driver (in fact they kanna slap by he PAP)  and their accounting, corporate governance management skills suck. It still irritates me that three hotshot lawyers (one of whom was a partner in a leading US firm albeit in its Beijing office, not in NY or London) didn’t see the dangers in the way the town council dealt with the managing agent*. Even more irritating is that Auntie and her Singh (lawyers both) didn’t ensure that the managing agent kept proper records**.

All these hotshot lawyers are actually lawyers buruk.

Seriously, can anyone credibility offer to be a accountability watch dog when they can’t keep proper records. Remember no proper records cannot detect irregularities easily.

Related post:

But voters decide and “liberated” zone is pretty much to PAP standards overall:

The PAP has always asked to be judged in the context of eveything it has done, so should the WP.


Next in the ranking of the opposition parties, is the SDP. Why? Because this is a party with a history, alternative policies and a clear ideology. SDP’s grassroots potential is underused but not lacking, as it seems to be able to attract social activists and other liberals. Say what you may about the SDP but at least it does not give the image that it is an unstable party that lacks people. The party website is well designed and is kept up to date. SDP’s decision to pull out of the Punggol by-election and avoid being a spoiler earned it goodwill from opposition supporters and thus the SDP’s image was not tarnished by a great defeat. The SDP may have committed some blunders such as implying that they were unwilling to run a town council, but they have corrected that mistake! They realized that they have to turn their attention to municipal matters too. And thus, earlier this year, they published a paper detailing their plans on running a town council. The SDP is not perfect, but if your constituency is not contested by WP, it’s your best bet if you want an opposition win.

Again, I agreem almost. If only Dr Chee would retire:

Related post:


All the other opposition parties are not main contenders. NSP received a lot of bad publicity after GE2011 because they went through a change of 5 secretary generals in such a short time and furthermore lost almost all their top candidates in the last GE to other political parties. Singfirst and PPP are new parties with no history and swing voters usually stick to established parties when they vote. RP and SDA have been discredited by their secretary generals losing their deposits in the Punggol by-election. These parties will be entering the upcoming GE with voters perceiving them to have a low chance of winning. They have a lot of hard work ahead of them. It will be an uphill task for them to win a seat in parliament.


SingFirst needs another 10 years of work before it becomes credible. Do the present leaders (Dr Ang and TJS are contemporaries of mine at RI: I was in Arts they were in the scholarship class) have the stamina to slog for another five years and then pass on the baton to a younger generation of leaders?

Related post:

A dream oppo party would we SDP and SingFirst with Dr Chee and his team of loonies moving on out gracefully and TJS suppressing his ego. Fat hope. Pigs will fly first.


*I’m assuming that they didn’t raise corporate governance and PR concerns because they were happy with the arrangements. If they did, but were overruled and they kept silent, that raises another can of worms.

**They are the two MPs running the operations of the town council and I’m assuming that they didn’t raise the accounting, record keeping issues of the managing agent because they were clueless: remember that they are lawyers, not accoutants***. If they did, but were overruled and they kept silent, that raises another can of worms.

***Not that many lawyers know the basics of accounting.

Real Oppo politicians/ Creating the grounds for a revolution

In Uncategorized on 29/07/2015 at 5:34 am

A reader of my blof in responding to explained the difference between a cybernut like “Oxygen” and an oppo politician.

To convert a quarter of the pro-PAP voters. Exactly. Except that how are TRE cybernuts or anyone that is closely related to do them going to do it?

There is a distinct difference if you see how opposition parties engage the issue, and how cybernuts do. Real opposition polticians keep their arguments framed against the PAP and it’s policies. All others, civil servants, public/private sectors, they see them also as Singaporeans, people whom they will one day lead and serve.

Cybernuts on the other hand, feel free to mock and trample over their fellow Singaporeans so long as they can get back at the PAP. They are not interested in winning votes to be honest. When you have been busy mocking 60% for being daft, now you say you want to convert them over to your side?

I’m sure he means people like the Chiams, the WP leaders, the NSP leaders, and even Dr Chee. But this description doesn’t fit one Goh Meng Seng.

Seriously, paper  militant Marxists like grave-dancer Oxygen believe that by shouting and cursing at the PAP and ordinary S’poreans, they can change the ground.

It’s a tenet of militant  Marxist activists that if the conditions for revolution are not yet perfect, they can hasten the process of perfection. Using violence, strikes, agitprop etc to weaken the economy, they can force the state into being more repressive, upsetting ordinary citizens. There will come a time when the people are more upset by the tactics of the state than that of the revolutionaries,  then that’s the time to seize power.

Grace-dancer Oxygen and friends are hoping that by cursing S’pore and ordinary S’poreans bad things (like a property crash) will happen. Then S’poreans will rise against the PAP.  They should learn from history. To this day many of the detainees of Operations Coldstore and Spectrum say bad things about the way S’pore is run. But the economy and standards of living remain decent. Could be better though which is why this blog keeps on pricckling the PAP administration.

Waz’s needed to defeat the PAP & why?

In Political governance on 25/07/2015 at 1:11 pm

“As Maidan* showed, a revolution comes not from 100,000 people standing around, but 1,000 radicals taking action,” a Russian activist told the FT.

I doubt there are 1000 radicals here. In that sense, our dear Harry was right to launch Operation Spectrum in 1987. While I know it got some middle class friends into Oppo politics, it showed the price of being a radical, even of the mildest and peaceful sort, was really very high.

As the cybernuts from TRE Land only sing and dance over the graves of dead children (think Oxygen and his mates) and talk cock, sing song about being radical, the PAP has nothing to be afraid of. I mean Roy, the hero and these cybernuts, quickly raised the white flag of surrender after being sued for saying the PAP administration stole our CPF money (my choice of words, not his). Remember that JBJ and Dr Chee never raised the white flag: they fought and lost.

As to the oppo parties only the SDP has a comprehensive list of alternative policies but it’s handicapped by a mad dog as a leader, albeit one that is now heavily sedated. But he still escapes his RI doctors, witness his support for Roy, New citisen Hui Hui and the other young hooligans.

All this is sad because the continued hegemony of the PAP has creates cosy (not necessarily illegal) internal and external relationships that profit (not necessarily illegally) those participating in the relationships more than ordinary S’poreans.


*The protests in Kiev in late 2013 and early 2014 that overthrew the then Ukrainian govt.

“Goodies”, price hikes: it’s a package/ What voters really want?/ SMRT

In Political governance on 16/07/2015 at 4:57 am

I’m sure you’d receive by now a letter from MoF telling you that a cash GST voucher has been credited to yr bank account, and another to yr Medisave CPF account. Senior citizens also get another one credited to their bank account. The letter carries the words “Budget 2015”.

Now the annual Budget in S’pore, and elsewhere is a summary of how the economy is doing; it gives a list of new tax and spending decisions from the government; and it contains a lot of political spin. And a new set of economic forecasts is published.

In an election year (or a probable one) it also allows the govt of the day to play Santa Claus or the God of Fortune by handing out goodies.

That’s what the PAP administration did and making sure we are reminded of it.

But let’s not forget all the price hikes since 2011. See for a very comprehensive, op-to-date list.

Especially the fare increases despite the failure to get the trains run on time and the falling price of oil in 2014*.

As PM’s dad once said, when telling SIA pilots that they they had a good deal despite being paid lower salaries than their other furst world counterparts, “It’s a package”.

So tout up the goodies, you’ve been given (remembering that it’s yr money in the first place) since 2011, think of the price increases since 2011 and then decide if the package is about right, or an insult or generous.

All these tots led me to think about what voters really care about.

In the early 1970s, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Norman Kirk laid out a political philosophy which still resonates today. People, he said, don’t want much. They want: “Someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for.”

Relationships and a sense of community, a secure home; a secure job, and a belief that life will get better for us and our children – the building blocks of “the good life”, but what do they mean today as we grapple with globalisation, austerity, immigration, insecurities and uncertainty about the future? Is the job at hand to work out a new formula for fulfilment or to find a way back to these old certainties?

(BBC report before the UK election)

They care about “the good life”, voting for the party that they think can provide with a good life. All the oppo parties bar one mouth the need to help S’poreans get the good life. The WP knows this (hence it positions itself as PAP lite: more accountable and compossinate even if they can’t do accounting and monitoring their managing agent. So does the SDP: it has a whole range of policies**.

The only party that doesn’t care a hoot about the good life is Goh Meng Seng’s party, at least going by his latest attention-seeking tactics.

Maybe, it’s because he’s based in HK, jetting down (private jet?) to encourage his fellow cybernuts?


*Worse the ex-SAF general who is incapable of getting the trains running on time is getting paid a lot more than his predecessor who to be fair to her allowed her Ferrari to run over her when she failed to get the trains to run on time, insulting us in the process.The present CEO is staying put. In the US, The director of the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has resigned after a massive data breach involving more than 20 million people.

Katherine Archuleta said she would step down on Friday to help the department “move beyond the current challenges”.

Neither SMRT’s CEO nor the tpt minister is moving on  to  help the SMRT and the MRT system “move beyond the current challenges”.

They think they are part of the solution.

**These papers have been widely reported online and are available on this website. We list them below:

Ethical Salaries For A Public Service Centred Government (2011)
Caring For All Singaporeans: The SDP National Healthcare Plan (2012)
Housing A Nation: Holistic Policies For Affordable Homes (2013)
Building A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future (2013)
A Singapore For All Singaporeans: Addressing The Concerns Of The Malay Community(2014)
Educating For Creativity And Equality: An Agenda For Transformation (2014)
A New Economic Vision: Towrads Innovation, Equal Opportunity and Compassion (2015)
A Promise To The Residents: The SDP Town Council Management Plan (2015)

In addition, we published Shadow Budgets for 2012 and 2013.

Singapore Democrats

Dr Chee’s analysis of where we were heading in the 90s is a lot more accurate than that of the PAP administration of the time. I had a more middle of the road view but I have to say, I suspect, that for most S’poreans, reading Dr Chee’s 1990s analysis today, they will nod in agreement.

After the goodies, GST hikes a’coming soon

In Economy, Political governance on 02/03/2015 at 5:05 am

So says tax expert: PricewaterhouseCoopers tax partner Koh Soo How … said any hike would probably take place in 2016 or 2017*. (CNA last week)

And constructive, nation-building MediaCorp:While the Government has raised income tax rates for top earners in Singapore for a more progressive tax system, taxes paid by a broader swathe of Singaporeans, such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST), will probably go up in the coming years to pay for social spending, said tax experts and economists.

The GST could go up after next year to 9 or 10 per cent, in line with the Asia-Pacific average. Other taxes the Government could raise include consumption taxes, stamp duties and property taxes, they said. (CNA)

Err, wonder if Mr Koh and the MediaCorp executives are secretly rooting for the SDP which said around the same time:The people must also beware that while the Government makes these concessions before the elections, it can always make the money back after the next GE through a myriad of taxes, fees and levies.

Is Jos Teo also a subversive and secret SDP member?

Jos Teo double confirms GST rise?

At a forum on 26 Feb organised by government feedback unit Reach to discuss Budget 2015, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo said that Singapore is in the unusual position of being able to tap more sources of revenue to fund its increased spending needs.

“Many other countries around the world actually need additional revenue sources to help pay for programmes that benefit citizens, but not that many have the courage to raise taxes,” she added.

“But we think that it is the responsible thing to do.”

Seriously, it’s very, very important, as I said last week, to ask loudly and at every appropriate opportunity :“After GE, will the PAP administration raise GST rates and by how much?”

The answer, we should want to hear is what Tharman said in 2011 about future GST rises:“As Finance Minister, I have made that very clear in Parliament that at least for the next five years – it does not mean we will raise it in five years’ time – but at least for five years, there is absolutely no reason to raise the GST, because this was the whole idea – we strengthen our revenue base in time. (CNA)

If we don’t get this answer, then we can expect GST rises after the GE, as sure as Zorro smiles at his monthly CPF statement everytime he receives it.

If we get this answer , then this lady is right:Ernst & Young Solutions head of tax Chung-Sim Siew Moon does not expect a hike in the GST before 2020. “The minister has indicated that the revenue measures that have been put in place will be sufficient for the increased planning needs until the end of the decade,” she noted.

But in the long term, we have to be be realistic if we want more welfare for the born-loser cybernuts who expect something while biting the hand that feeds them: Nanyang Technological University economist and Assistant Professor Walter Theseira said taxpayers can expect to pay more in the medium and long term, with higher-income earners contributing a larger share. The proceeds can fund social initiatives to help the unemployed, and support medical expenses and retirement provisions for middle- and lower-income groups.











SDP right about PSLE streaming/ What works in education

In Uncategorized on 19/12/2014 at 4:26 am

SDP’s right

After the PLSE results came out, I tot Mad Dog Chee had a relapse, when the SDP came out against streaming. I mean what could be a no-brainer than streaming? Don’t students learn faster when students of similar ability are taught in a group.

Seems that SDP is right: Dividing pupils into classes of different abilities is a popular approach to improving standards, but research suggests that it leaves students a month behind those in mixed groups. BBC report


This is a the one finding (see below for other findings) of intensive analysis of data from across the world, part-funded by the Department for Education as part of the What Works Network, and recently published by the British government.

And Dr Chee has form in calling things right. In the 1990s, Dr Chee articulateda  dystopian vision of S’pore. sadly the prophesy is more accurate then the than PAP’s administration or my views of how S’pore would look like today.

Too bad, SDP went AWOL under Dr Chee’s leadership. If only he had WP Low’s patience and wisdom to build up a grass-roots based organisation**. The PAP is always lucky in its enemies. JBJ and Dr Chee then. And Low today.

What works in education

 Doesn’t work

Uniform policy? 

Schools that don’t force pupils into blazers and ties are almost unheard of these days. But the best evidence is that a uniform policy makes no difference to attainment. If anything, it holds students back.

Setting and streaming? 

Dividing pupils into classes of different abilities is a popular approach to improving standards, but research suggests that it leaves students a month behind those in mixed groups.

Teaching assistants? 

Research suggests students in a class with a TA do not, on average, perform better than those in a class with only a teacher.

Longer lessons (block scheduling, in the jargon )? 

The evidence is double-chemistry and triple-maths don’t make for more accomplished chemists and mathematicians.

Repeating a year? 

Giving pupils a chance to repeat a year if they are struggling is not only very expensive – on average, it leaves children four months behind.

So what does work?

Meta-cognition and self-regulation? YES.

… that phrase reflects the most effective way to improve educational outcomes, according to the evidence.

Meta-cognition is often described as “learning to learn” and what it means is giving children a range of strategies they can use to monitor and improve their own academic development. Self-regulation is developing the ability to motivate oneself to learn.

On average, introducing meta-cognition and self-regulation into the classroom has a high impact, with pupils making an average of eight months’ additional progress. That is a phenomenal improvement.


Feedback is information given to pupils about how they are doing against their learning goals. In the workplace it might be part of an appraisal, and the evidence is that a similar approach works wonders in the classroom, increasing educational attainment by around eight months.


If pupils work together in pairs or small groups to give each other explicit teaching support, the results can be dramatic – particularly with youngsters who struggle the most. This isn’t about doing away with teachers, but it seems when working with their peers, children tend to take real responsibility for their teaching and their own learning.

Sometimes the tutoring can be reciprocal, with pupils alternating as tutor and tutee. Cross-age tutoring also has advantages for older and younger participants, it turns out. This intervention, on average, improves student performance by a GCSE grade.

One-to-one adult tutoring is, counter-intuitively, less effective and much more expensive than peer tutoring.

Homework in primary school doesn’t make a lot of difference, nor does mentoring, performance pay for teachers, or the physical environment of the school.

**To be fair, Low had the experience and help of the Barisan Socialists’ activists. BSoc diissolved itself in 1988 and its activists joined WP . They put up with the antics of one JBJ until there was an opportunity to defenestrate him in 2001.

Big Data, the PM and the Oppo

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 10/12/2014 at 5:19 am

But bear with me first on the LTA and Uber and other taxi apps.

The PAP administrationis  afraid of losingrevenue from CoEs is the reason why LTA is creating its own taxi apps and making life difficult for Uber etc?

Because of Uber and other such apps, “Millions of people may decide that they no longer need to own a car because using Uber will be cheaper than owning one.”? This was said by Travis Kalanick, chief executive of Uber, on a new round of financing which values Uber at US$40m.

For “Uber” read “Uber and rival apps”

(A reminder of what LTA has done.

[A]nnounced plans to put its own taxi app into the growing market just after it announced regulations for the existing players in the industry.

The app, Taxi-Taxi.SG, will launch in mid-December, and will show commuters the number of available taxis near them, as well as signalling to taxi drivers the locations of potential customers. No details on app charges have yet emerged.

The Singaporean market already has t… Uber, local competitor Grab Taxi, and a number of apps from the individual taxi firms and smaller companies. These apps are free, but charge customers a cut of the taxi fare.

The plan comes as Singapore announced a new regulatory framework for private sector taxi apps, which are transforming an old-fashioned industry into a fiercely competitive and lucrative marketplace.

The regulations mean that all booking services must be registered with the LTA, specify their fees upfront, provide customer support services and prevent bidding on nearby taxis.

Somewhere in the mix of measures,  the govt commended the LTA for its use of big data analytics to monitor travelling patterns and demand from commuters.“With this insight, LTA was able to perform targeted injection of bus capacity, which saw a 60 per cent reduction in the number of bus services with persistent crowding in spite of year-on-year increase in average daily bus ridership,” LTA.

Well if the data had been publicly available (and not confined to LTA, the transport regulator), perhaps the public good would be better served.

PM talks big about the use of big data analytics in developing S’pore. But my impression is that in S’pore, unlike in the UK, the data is only available to the right people: govt, state agencies and GLCs. In the UK and the West, big data is publicly available so that anyone can access the data to make sense of it, or develop apps, or both.

But if that happens here, the PAP administration will no longer have the monopoly of the data that is needed to formulate policy. Oppo parties like the SDP, NSP can come up with detailed policies based on the data. Now that would be a problem for the PM who has said the opposition have not articulated a vision for Singapore.

The SDP says:

This is untrue. The SDP published Dare To Change: An Alternative Vision for Singapore in 1994.

Dr Chee had also recently described a new vision for Singapore in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal. Mr Lee ignores these and claims that the opposition has not articulated one.

But more than just a vision, the SDP has laid out concrete and comprehensive alternative policies in key areas such as housing, healthcare, population, the Malay community, education, Ministerial salaries, and (soon-to-be launched) the economy. The SDP’s campaign for the next GE will focus on these alternative policies.

The SDP, NSP and TJS’s gang have come up with policies: the problem is that lackof access  to basic data (something often available in the West but not here despite S’pore being a first-world state) makes their policy papers little more than motherhood statements.

Thinking about it, the PAP should treasure the Worthless Party, not rubbish or fix it. All it wants is to check the PAP administration, something where the WP talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk, and hopes that the PAP needs it as coalition partner.

If the PM can’t live with this, what does he want? A PAP dictatorship? Even LKY never went that far. He juz he made sure he won big in elections, something son has a problem doing.



Setting straight SPH’s tale on WP “discontent”

In CPF, Political governance on 01/08/2014 at 4:39 am

I refer to this “Discontent among WP’s old guard” in the New Paper. Typical of “constructive, nation-building” media. When the PAP changes members of the management team, the media praise it  for” self renewal”, “New blood”. when an Oppo party does the same thing the emphasis is on “discontent”, splits of the losers, malcontents.

I was going to deconstruct the article, given that I’m not too well-informed on the WP’s internal workings (My Morocco Mole has his agenda when telling me stuff. And he had a howler ). But my FB avatar came across a detailed analysis (deconstruction and factual) on FB by a WP member. As we didn’t ask permission, I will not name the person. But if she wants to be named, I will amend this piece to give credit where credit is due.

The New Paper published a report masquerading as a factual analysis of the dynamics at this year’s Organising Members Conference held at the Workers’ Party HQ on 27 July 2014. The article was mischievous and misleading. But more importantly, errors were aplenty. The following are my brief comments.

1. A binary between veterans and younger members who hold degrees was constructed. Supposed “facts” were thrown into this binary framework to create a seamless understanding of what has transpired and to provide analysis of and/ or an account of the situation.

In the article, John Yam and Somasundaram are conveniently labelled as part of the “old guard”. In that case, it appears that both of them were labelled as such due to their physical age in relative to the previous council members who were voted out, such as Ng Swee Bee and Koh Choong Yong who are in their 30s and early 40s respectively, rather than their experience in the Party. If the journalist had done his research, he would have realised that John Yam and Somasundaram joined the Party in 2009 and 2006 respectively. They are in no way “veterans” alluded to by the journalist as being “around for more than 15 years.” In fact, Swee Bee has been in the Party for the last 10 years, longer than John Yam and Somasundaram.

In listing down the reasons for the unhappiness of the “veterans”, he cited that “newer and younger members who hold degrees are preferred over veterans. In that case, the two “older members” who were elected does not in any way fit this caricature. Dr. John Yam holds a PhD and Mr. Somasundaram holds a Masters degree. Swee Bee on the other hand, for the longest time since she joined the Party in 2004 did not have a university degree, but she has been holding the position of Organising Secretary for many years.

The journalist also pointed out that former members, “Mr. Mohamed Fazli Talip and Sajeev Kamalasanan” were veterans of the Party. They were not. Fazli joined the Party in and around 2009/ 2010 and Sajeev joined the Party in 2006. To put it into perspective, Swee Bee and Choong Yong joined the Party in 2004 and 2006 respectively. This binary of “veterans”/ “old guard” vis-a-vis the younger and educated members is clearly misleading and in his attempts to construct a “Other” in the Party, does more harm than good in helping readers of The New Paper understand what had transpired at 216G, Syed Alwi Road on 27 July 2014 and more importantly, the implications/ significance of the new Council in the lead up to the next General Election.

The fundamental point is this. The journalist contradicted himself with the use of the terms “old guard” and “veterans” to mean the same group of people or to construct a faction within the Party from thin air. As he writes on, even he became confused.

2. The journalist displays his lack of understanding of the operations and functions of the Workers’ Party. He did not bother to do his research and check his facts.

The Workers’ Party do not and would not parachute in their candidates. In the article, it was pointed out “candidates are parachuted in, despite not having walked the ground.” Anyone with a basic understanding of the Workers’ Party knows that this is not true at all. The journalist would also be interested to note that the Workers’ Party fielded an ITE graduate at the 2006 elections.

The reasons for Dr. Poh Lee Guan’s sacking, Mr. Eric Tan’s resignation (why Mr. Gerald Giam was made NCMP ahead of Mr. Eric Tan) and the earlier resignations of Mr. Fazli Talip and Mr. Sajeev were made clear to members, cadres and non-cadres at the annual members seminar of the Party. In particular, Mr. Low had explained to the entire membership the reasons as to why candidates were not guaranteed a cadreship. This point was consistently explained to the membership whenever it was brought at internal meetings. For the case of Dr. Poh Lee Guan, Mr. Low had made the reasons clear in his interview with the press after the nomination of Mr. Png Eng Huat during the 2012 Hougang by-elections.

Thus, the journalist was simply mischievous in attempting to illustrate a lineage of discontent and dissatisfaction in the Party. He accepted the comments of these former members at face-value, without trying to better understand the respective motivations/ intentions of these former members. Not too sure whether this is journalism or gossip.

3. “How bad was it?” / “Is there a split?”

In situating his piece in the context of an election drama and an internal party split, the journalist tried his utmost to fit his analysis with the gossip and rumours he picked up with members at the coffeeshop under the party’s headquarters. He had no intention to put up a accurate report.

4. The journalist do not understand the historical context behind Sylvia Lim’s statement.

Sylvia Lim told the cadres that the “WP could not afford to have internal problems or disunity.” Any responsible political party with an understanding of the period in Singapore’s political history (1991 – 1997, Singapore Democratic Party) would make a similar appeal to its members. A quick search would also find Lee Hsien Loong emphasising party unity to his members.

If a political party was nothing but a monolith, with the entire membership parroting the leadership, then I guess something is really wrong. It probably would be inherently broken. As a member of the Party, I am glad to say that this is not the case. The Workers’ Party is growing, its membership is growing and with that will come more competitive internal party elections. Different individuals with different views, ideological inclinations and backgrounds and experiences join the Party at different junctures in their lives. This can only be good for the long term development of a Party. As the case of Mr. Yaw Shin Leong and Dr. Poh Lee Guan had clearly shown, no one is above the institutions and standing orders laid down in the Workers’ Party. WP is a professional organisation and a well-oiled political machinery.

By the way, I attended the conference last Sunday. There were more cadres than the physical space at HQ would allow. It was packed, very packed. No wonder WP needs a new HQ for its continued growth and development. I like to think that this is not very newsworthy for The New Paper.

BTW, I’m sure that TRE ranters who call me a PAP mole, ISD person will say this post confirms what they have been saying, ’cause it sides with the WP. For the record, I think the SDP has the best policies for S’pore, 10-15 yrs into the future. It’s the only party that talks about

De-couple housing and healthcare from CPF.

The major reason why Singaporeans are left with insufficient retirement funds is because the PAP gives Singaporeans no choice but to use what is their retirement money to pay for their HDB flats and hospital expenses.

The SDP plan ensures that HDB flats are sold without the inclusion of land cost (see here) and that the Government stops profiting from healthcare (see here) In this way, our CPF savings are left unmolested for retirement.

Solving the problems around retirement, public housing and healthcare require solving all three issues together.

Yes, yed, I know that in the long term, the SDP’s retirement and healthcare policies will be very expensive for S’poreans but

The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again.

Here’s an explanation of what Keynes meant:by Simon Taylor

Keynes wrote this in one of his earlier works, The Tract on Monetary Reform, in 1923. It should be clear that he is not arguing that we should recklessly enjoy the present and let the future go hang. He is exasperated with the view of mainstream economists that the economy is an equilibrium system which will eventually return to a point of balance, so long as the government doesn’t interfere and if we are only willing to wait. He later challenged that view in his most important work The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1935). arguing that the economy can slip into a long term underemployment equilibrium from which only government policy can rescue it.




Want a Pekatan here? It’s disunited

In Political governance on 21/07/2014 at 4:58 am

(Since I had posts on Sat and Sunday giving little known details on the MAS tragedy (herehere, here and here, largely extracts from BBC reports), I tot I’d continue the M’sian theme, today and tom.)

There has been a lot of noise that S’porean Oppo parties should unite (actually the term should be “confederate”) like M’sia’s DAP, PAS and TeamAnwar under the Pakatan banner*.

Those calling for this kind of alliance should have their heads examined by the doctor treating M Ravi for bi-polarism. (related article:

Confederating the SDP and WP is like the DAP and PAS fighting under one umbrella, a recipe for disunity in unity.

Rowing over chopping of limbs and stoning

The PAS several months ago wanted to introduce a law in Kelantan (their state) introducing Hudud, or Islamic penal practices. Hudud prescribes punishments such as amputation of limbs for theft and stoning for adultery..

The DAP, a secular and liberal (even though it was founded as the PAP’s M’sian Trojan Horse), was more than upset

Lim Kit Siang (the DAP’s LKY) has repeatedly said that that Pakatan could split over the issue**.

The PAS has postponed the tabling of a private member’s Bill in Parliament, which would have paved the way for the implementation of hudud, the Islamic penal code, in the north-eastern state of Kelantan.The postponement was to give sufficient time to a technical committee — proposed by the govt and involving both the federal and state governments — to examine how best to enforce hudud in PAS-governed Kelantan.

Many in the DAP are sore because they claim that the May by-election in Teluk Intan was lost because of non-Muslim worries over the hudud.

WP, SDP are poles apart

In S’pore while the SDP, NSP, the Chiams and WP are multi-racial (Yes, yes I know some Indians dispute that the WP is multi-racial, they want it to be run by Indians like it once was when it had candidates who looney and bicyle thieves) and secular parties, there are big differences. The WP portrays itself as a more compassionate, moderate version of the PAP, while the SDP positions itself as what in the West would be called a Social Democrat party with leftist tendencies. The Chiams and NSP are in between. The other parties are a joke esp the JBJ Remembrance Party, and the two parties led by scholars who didn’t make it into the PAP. The two scholars and s/o JBJ only became politicians when it was safe to do so.

Furthermore, the WP has made it clear that it is not in a position to be the govt, and has no interest in being part of an alternative coalition. The NSP has indicated that it is not ready to be the govt, while leaving the possibility of being in a coalition unsaid. The Chiams are happy to be part of a alt coalition govt. The SDP thinks it can form the govt but knows that it would never win enough votes to get a majority. And anyway, we know Dr Chee can go whacko, if his RI doctors are not vigilant.

How the WP and SDP can confederate under one party is beyond me.

Chop system works

We actually have quite a gd system here of opposing the PAP. Problem is that only 25-30% support the Oppo parties. And 70% of voters are comfortable with two ex-PAP stalwarts to give them their votes in PE 2011. And the ex-PAP member who dissed the PAP lost his deposit.

As I see it, leg lifting to mark territory or, to use more polite language, the system whereby the party that contests in a previous election (once upon a time, as recent as 2006, there were uncontested GRCs) is not challenged is working pretty well and serving S’poreans’ interests given the 60-70% support that the PAP has.

The system is not perfect and the WP interprets it on the basis of “might is right”. But hey it’sw the only oppo party that kept on going thru the 90s and noughties.

1963 revisited?

The danger in the next GE is that Team TJS (Singaporeans First), JBJ Remembrance Party, and Pwee Gang ( Democratic Progressive Party, DPP). will stand as third party candidates in areas where the Chiams, NSP, WP or SDP have a decent chance of winning. This is something I’m sure the PAP is expecting to happen, and will do its best to make sure happens.

S’pore has been here before. Here’s an extract of a letter to a British magazine written after the 1963 elections

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.

So for those who want an end to the PAP’s hegemony in parly (self included), let us make it clear to the three stooges, TJS, Pwee and s/o JBJ, and the SDA: “Don’t fight in any constituency where the SDP, WP, Chiams, NSP fielded candidates in the last GE”. Pwee and YJS go play in KenJ’s or SDA’s playpens. They don’t respect the “chop” rules and have lost deposits as a result.

And tell Tan Kim Lian and Goh Meng Seng not to contest. If not for their clowning antics, we could have had Dr Tan Cheng Bock as president.



We all feel buoyant and almost confident that the next GE will see a change in Government. Either PAP will be decimated, become the opposition party or lose its two third majority in parliament.

But lets not jump the gun just yet. There is a lot of ground work that needs to be done. Especially with the present group of opposition parties.

The present situation does not look too good. We have too many Opposition Parties such as WP, SDP, RP, NSP, PKMS, SP and etc. When PAP flatters in the next GE, we the citizens of Singapore want to be assured that our lives will go on as usual with some minor hiccups initially, but will normalise and in the coming months and years improve with the new Government. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT ALL SINGAPOREANS MUST BE SURE OF.

We do not want an Egypt or Iraq. We will be put off if we cannot see this clearly insight before we start to vote for better future without PAP’s overbearing control of our lives. When the opposition takes over the government and when there are too many Political Parties forming the government, this government will be weak. A coalition of such parties will be easily attacked and made weak, especially by the PAP who may be the opposition in Parliament. It will be easy for them to play the various parties against each other.

This will surely cause the coalition government to be very weak. A weak government cannot be an effective government to bring Singapore and its citizens forward to a better future.


This is much like the Barisan Nasional (National Front) and the Pakatan Rakyaat (People’s Coalition) of Malaysia. Both of them went into the GE as single parties.

We need a SINGLE PARTY to oppose PAP in the next GE. We need a two (main) party systems to ensure continued stability going forward after each election. Strong examples of these are the mature democracies of USA, UK, Australia, and most European countries.

WP, SDP, RP, SP, PKMS and the rest MUST THINK DEEP AND HARD FOR THE SAKE OF SINGAPORE AND ALL SINGAPOREANS to work hard on this. PLEASE WE HAVE PLACED OUR TRUST, HOPES AND ASPIRATIONS ON YOU LTK, CSJ, KJ, and the gang we truly trust are fighting for the welfare of all Singaporeans and Singapore as one UNITED NATION.

Singaporean For Democracy

Submitted by TRE reader.

**At a party dinner a few weeks ago in Malacca, Democratic Lim Kit Siang warned that PR could break up if the parties’ disagreement over the hudud issue persists. Mr Lim said if the three parties did not remain united, PR would go the way of the Barisan Alternative, a short-lived alliance between PAS, PKR, DAP and Parti Rakyat Malaysia formed in 1999. The coalition was disbanded after the 2004 general election.

“In the past year since the 13th general election, supporters of Pakatan Rakyat have been increasingly concerned whether Pakatan Rakyat … could only survive for one general election,” said Mr Lim.

Which voter are you?

In Political governance on 28/03/2014 at 4:53 am

Came across something interesting ( that can be used to analyse (ok pontificate on or BS on) voting patterns in S’pore.

1. Comfortable Nostalgia: “They tend to be older, more traditional voters who dislike the social and cultural changes they see as altering [country] for the worse.”

2. Optimistic Contentment: “Confident, comfortable & usually on higher incomes they are prudent & tolerant but think [country] is a soft touch.”

3. Calm Persistence: “Often coping rather than comfortable, they hope rather than expect things to get better.”

4. Hard-pressed Anxiety: “Pessimistic & insecure, these people want more help from government and resent competition for that help particularly from new-comers.”

5. Long-term Despair: “Many are serial strugglers; angry & alienated they feel little or no stake in the country or that anyone stands up for them.”

6. Cosmopolitan Critics: “Generally younger, more secular and urban-based, worried about growing inequality & the general direction the country is going in.”

“Comfortable Nostalgia” and “Optimistic Contentment” (me?) would be daft not to vote PAP, while “Hard-pressed Anxiety”, “Long-term Despair” and  “Cosmopolitan Critics” would surely vote for the opposition to the PAP? Though after the 2011 GE, Eric Tan (remember him?) told me that it was a surprise voters that well-off S’poreans, who could see that their children (grown -up or growing up) were not or would not enjoy the good life that they had or have, voted for the opposition.

The fight would be for the “Calm Persistence” voters, and the “Hard Pressed Anxiety”?

But if the SDP and WP decide to fight each other and the PAP, there will be problems  because based on the results of PE 2011, the SDP has most of the votes of the “Long-term Despair” and  “Cosmopolitan Critics”; while the WP has support among “Calm Persistence” even if the RI doctors in the SDP fall into this group), and “Hard-pressed Anxiety” (the SDP and WP share votes with some “daft” ones voting PAP ). By avoiding three-way fights, these two parties and the Chiams, NSP and the clowns other parties make sure that the anti-PAP voters are used to maximum effect.

Hence the uproar when Mad Dog Chee (escaped his RI doctors?) wanted to fight the WP in Punggol-East. Fortunately, the roar of protest shocked him into sanity, and treatment.

BTW, I think based on the postings on TREthe 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.

TOC’s editors, team and natural readers would fall into fall into the”Calm Persistence” “Hard-pressed Anxiety”and .”Cosmopolitan Critics” groups.

Those who read this blog (not via TRE) are in 1-5 1-3. Why TRE republishes me I know not. Maybe it’s to tell the losers that life is more complex than the PAP’s demand (“For us or against us”) that the losers seem to have adopted?  Or maybe because it knows that there is a silent majority of readers in the “Calm Persistence” and “Hard-pressed Anxiety”. Could be as TRE has raised the funds to keep on going for another year. So maybe the TRE community is more than losers freeloading on the efforts TeamTRE?

Finally, as to why I’m not a PAP supporter, it’s largely ’cause* I don’t like the PAP’s attitude of insisting on the imposing the “right” values on S’poreans (even if I may agree with many these values like hating free-loaders and losers who expect something for nothing). I believe that:

… pensioners would be free to spend their savings on a Lamborghini following a rule change in the Budget.

From 2015, people reaching retirement age will be able to use pension pots however they want, rather than having to buy a guaranteed annual income.

Pensions minister Steve Webb said it was people’s “choice” whether to buy Italian Lamborghini sports cars.

It’s our choice to do dumb things provided we are prepared to live with the consequences without moaning and groaning.

*Also I believe that a one-party state is bad for S’pore. For that think the problems in public transport and housing  that the PAP caused. BTW, one could argue that its recent changes in its public housing and tpt policies and its seeming change in FT PMET policy is geared at winning the “Calm Persistent” voters over and moving “Hard Pressed Anxiety” voters into the “Calm Persistent” group; and the “Calm Persistent” voters into the “Optimistic Contentment’ category. It’s also trying to show S’poreans that the gd life can still be found here.

Back to the future: LKY, Dr Chee & the SDP agree on …

In Political governance, Public Administration on 26/02/2014 at 4:28 am

One LKY in 1957 said in the legislative assembly :

For cheap labour, they [the British] allowed unrestricted immigration without any plan, without any policy and without any intention of creating or preserving the self. I do not condemn the immigration as such, but I condemn the government which has no regard for the people of the country who have been assimilated and did not bother to educate or to provide education for those coming in. Today, with the renaissance of the motherland of each of the immigration groups, chauvinist tendencies are incited. Yet at this critical juncture we have to call upon these immigrants to give this country their undivided loyalty.

(S’pore Notes:

In 2013, at Hong Lim Green (the people’s parly?), Dr Chee said, “A word of caution, I ask all of us here in Singapore to be the people that we truly are, the tolerant people that we are and if we attack, we attack the policy, we point out the flaws in the policy, not against the people who are here for work.”, can be simplified to “We disagree with the govt’s pro-FT policy, not the foreigners working here. We are unhappy with the “FTs first, citizens last” attitude of the govt because …”

Dr Chee got CIA time machine? Went back in time to influence LKY?

Seriously, by raising the issue of the PAP’s govt immigration policies on S’pore society, Dr Chee, the SDP and many others are juz reflecting what LKY tot in 1957.

After all, S’pore could be returning to a similar situation to that in 1957. In 2013, I wrote: A Citigroup report noted that the White Paper projects the dilution of Singapore-born citizens from 62% of the population to just 55% in 2030 based on number of new FT citizens that the govt plans to bring in projects to come in naturally: 15,000 – 25,000 annually.

In 1959, according to Singapore Correspondent. Political Dispatches from Singapore (1958-1962) only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here i.e. there only 45% of the voters were born here. The rest were the FT “new” citizens of the day. (

Just a few “honest mistakes” by Home Team officers (we know that they can be unfit for purpose: recent riot*and border and internal security**, etc***) and in 2030 the voters born here could be 45%, not 55% juz like in 1959 (two yrs after LKY made the above statement. In all probability, in 1957, true blue S’poreans were 45% of the voters.


*“The police had arrived,” Mr Selvam said. “They stood there and did nothing. Ah, the police approve of what I am doing,” he said, suggesting what the rioters would or might have been thinking then, as they continued to hurl projectiles at the bus and at the officers, and eventually setting security vehicles and an ambulance on fire.

“[The rioters] had full freedom to do what they wanted – namely, to burn the bus, burn the vehicles, attack you,” the former judge said.

“A lot of things were wrong,” Mr Tee said. “Are you showing weakness and emboldened them? That could be the reason why they became more violent.”

Mr Selvam said, “They were rioting. What did you do?” [Former Supreme Court judge G. Pannir Selvam is the COI’s chairman, while former Police Commissioner Tee Tua Ba, is a member of the COI] )


***All the problems at Home Team over recent yrs (corruption, Ang Moh tua kee attitude, PR status for possible criminals etc etc) show that it was badly run when Wong Kan Seng was the Home minister. There should be a claw-back of the millions he earned as a minister.

Cost benefit analysis: PAP govt underestimating the value of human life?

In Economy, Financial competency, Political economy, Political governance on 12/01/2014 at 6:27 am

I came across this in the latest copy of the Economist in the letters section:

Petty’s cash ledger

SIR – You credited William Petty with inventing economics in the 17th century, but did not do full justice to his cost-benefit calculations (Free exchange, December 21st). The good doctor estimated the value of a person to be somewhere between £60-90 and in “Political Arithmetick” he suggested these values could be used “to compute the loss we have sustained” from the plague and war. In 1667 he argued that given the value of an individual and the cost of transporting people away from the plague in London and caring for them, every pound spent would yield a return of £84 as the probability of survival increased. (He also suggested that an individual in England was worth £90, and in Ireland £70.)

In a lecture on anatomy in 1676 Petty argued that the state should intervene to assure better medicine, which could save 200,000 subjects a year and thus represented a sensible state expenditure. Today’s economic estimates are more refined and the data are more exact, but the arguments presented by Petty still resonate in public policy.

Rashi Fein
Professor emeritus of the economics of medicine
Harvard Medical School

This set me thinking that since the govt is forever touting the importance of costing out the benefits of any spending proposal (something I agree with), maybe it should tell us how much it values a S’porean in monetary terms? Esp since the PM has just said that that more social spending does not mean better results

As pigs are likely to fly first maybe the SDP RI brains trust (Paul A, Wee Nam, Ang -Drs three- etc) can  “force” the govt to do so by coming up with their own SDP valuation, and what they calculate is the PAP valuation.

As to the co driver doing something? They wearing white?

SDP lost the plot on Fandi Ahmad article

In Uncategorized on 07/04/2013 at 5:29 am

How come other ex-millionaires who face or go thru hard times because they screwed up or were plain unlucky (or both) don’t get the sympathy that this ex-millionaire gets from SDP?

SDP was trying to be too clever by half: Nowhere in the article, which can be read here, did we say – or give the impression – that Mr Fandi and Mr Pathmanathan had endorsed our policies. True up to a point. But this post on TRE gets it about right in its criticism of the SDP: I like SDP, really. but in this case I am very disappointed with their post relating to fandi.

It is lame excuse to say that they are not using fandi to pursue their political objective. Personally I like their alternative plan, but it is WRONG to make use of fandi’s name to propagate their views.

In life things go wrong all the time and people, including celebrities are not immune.

So if SDP’s line of excuse is allowed, than any advertiser of any product can simply quote, if xxxx had bought my product, this misfortune yyy would not happen…blah blah blah. Advertisers will just wait and see for yyy to happen and then jump in.

How can one be so dishonest as to borrow the fame of another person and take advantage of his misfortune in order to propagate a message?

The constructive, nation-building New Paper had got some things right in its criticism on SDP’s article.

PAP listening to SDP?

In Infrastructure on 11/03/2013 at 6:22 am

Err didn’t the govt rubbish the SDP’s idea of lowering the cost of HDB flats by making it a condition of getting cheaper flats that they be resold to HDB?

And didn’t Khaw just say that this idea will be studied? But didn’t credit the SDP for suggesting it?

As an oldie using SingHealth, here’s hoping the SDP’s healthcare ideas be adopted* and that Paul A** gets co-opted to become Health minister.


*Never mind if it bankrupts S’pore as healthcare costs in the US and UK are bankrupting these nations, I’ll be dead.

**He was a possible SDP candidate for Punggol-East. Gd that he didn’t stand because he couldn’t claim to be born poor: even s/o JBJ claimed that although born in a pram made of gold, silver and ivory, he became poor when his dad took on the PAP. He dared make this claim even though he went to very expensive ang moh schools. JBJ became so poor that he could send his son to expensive schools? Come on, man who doesn’t know the Pledge, pull the other leg, it’s got bells on it.


Reputations: Be mean & laugh

In Humour, Political governance, Property on 16/01/2013 at 5:30 am

Here’s an intermission from the antics of Mad Dog (or is it Coyote?) Chee and the S’pore Indian Party as the SDP should be renamed: I mean with both potential candidates being Indians of great credentials (I know Dr PaulA and have a lot of respect for him) and from privileged backgrounds*,  in a predominantly Cina area, what was the SDP SIP thinking? The PAP fields a poor Teochew boy made good, and rumour has it that Low was looking around for another Teochew lang. Unfortunately after Staggy Yaw, none in WP are suitable. Chee and gang must be idealistic mad dogs if they believe that race doesn’t matter in S’pore. It does unless the hegemon decides otherwise.

As to the withdrawal, I’ll blog on it after thinking about what Morocco Mole and Secret Squirrel told me. Anyway I had analysed that the SDP wanted some goodies and that WP should agree:

Here’s my “Tak boleh Tahan” riposte to various things I’ve read, in the last few days, on the internet. You you find them as entertaining as the Mad Dog’s antics. Or is he a coyote?

Law prof’s “academic integrity”

When prof Tey Tsun Hang  was charged for corruption in that he persuaded his student to pleasure him in return forgiving her better grades, he proclaimed loudly his “academic integrity”. I tot he was going to defend himself by saying that “I didn’t screw her”: all first-world academic codes of conduct frown on professors screwing their students. Well, we now know that his definition of “academic integrity” excludes sex with students. Bit like Bill Clinton’s definition of sex: it excluded a certain action between gal’s mouth and his organ.

And as to his alleged persecution because he criticised the judiciary (, so it’s OK for a professor to have sex with his student, so long as he criticises S’pore judges. ERr what about minors?

BTW, if Alex Au had posted this link, I’m sure his friend, the AG, would have written to him that the piece was in contempt of the judiciary. But as it appeared in TRE, the voice of the masses, one can only speculate that the AG doesn’t want to soil his hands Or AG doesn’t believe that TRE carries any cred with reasonable, thinking S’poreans, it “is a bearer of rumours, rubbish and nonsense”. Or that it will soon close down because “TRE readers are losers, houseflies and maggot’s young”, who are not willing to keep the site going by donating money.

Jos talks cock again

From CNA:

Singapore can possibly take a leaf out from other jurisdictions to look at how they curb rising property prices. Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, Christopher De Souza, said this includes learning from Hong Kong and Australia … he prefers the Australian model. He said: “What the Australian model does is prevent foreigners from buying anything except new developments in Australia, and then hold on to that and eventually if they want to sell, to sell only to an Australian citizen.

“This allows the local population to set a correct pricing mechanism, which I feel is a good alternative for Singapore.”

Minister of State for Finance Josephine Teo said Singapore already has such restrictions on the entire HDB market and executive condominiums.

Currently, foreigners are not allowed to buy HDB flats and they are also barred from buying units in executive condominium developments that are less than 10 years old.

Hello Jos: What about the restriction that can only be sold to citizens? Not here is it. If she doesn’t ak PAP MP, thinbk she will listen to what Opposition MPs are saying?

Related post:

Will Mrs change mind?

‘After saying for days that he was seriously considering contesting the single seat ward of Punggol East, Reform Party chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam has now said he is “90 per cent likely to go ahead”.’ (ST a few days ago): yesterday he said he was running.

There are allegations that his wife wears the pants in that household, and that she was finally persuaded that he should run.

Will she change her mind, now that SDP has withdrawn? Her heloo will be whipped by Ah Lian.

Ong Yee Kung is soiled

This ST reporter speculated that Ong was not PAP’s candidate in PE because he was part of the losing team in Aljunied Err ever tot that his roles in SMRT and NTUC, coupled with local drivers’ unhappiness and the strike by FT drivers made him toxic. Meritocracy? What meritocracy?

SDP doing shumething right?

And finally coming back to Chee. SIP SDP must be doing shumething righr to warrant this bitch from ST journalist. Maybe the Dark Side was worried that the Jedi SDP will expose the weakness of the PAP clones? That the WP needs the SDP to provide the base for the clones to reach out to the moderate sheep.

Sadly, we won’t know if this thesis is correct.

BTW reading these two pieces by two ST ladies, it is reasonable to speculate if ST’s newsroom is now the in-place for S’pore’s airheads, now that SIA has raised the education qualifications for its waitresses in the sky. Not that the ST ladies would have qualified on the looks front. Even Auntie Sylvia looks better. But then she’s now got $15,000 a month pin money to spend on clothes and accessories, like Kate Spade Tin. Happy shopping gals.


*Heard a story that SDP was finding it difficult to choose because both of them want to defer to the other. Smart boys, if story is true. Losing to Ah Lian is bad for the reputation of any smart man.

When Mad Dog meets Tua Kees

In Humour, Political governance on 13/01/2013 at 8:49 am

Or “Chee, Sylvia & Low should resume taking their medicine”

While I don’t agree with everything this TRE piece said about Dr Chee, I must say I agree with, “We wait for Dr Chee’s next move. All this is more entertaining than reality TV, if it were not so tragic.”

I’m wondering if he has stopped taking his “anti-wacko” pills (What say you Drs Ang and Paul?). His behaviour increasingly resembles that of Ravi when he stopped taking his medicine. And I’m someone who thinks SDP should contest Punggol East if Sylvia, Low and the other WP leaders continue their tua kee ways.

For the future development democracy in S’pore, there is a need to prove or disprove the thesis that the SDP is carrying the WP. A three-way or more fight will prove or disprove this thesis in a PAP bastion. The PAP  won by 11 percentage points over the combined WP and SDA share of the voters. Taz a solid majority that is impossible to overturn even in a straight fight. So why not turn it into a test of strength between the Wackos and the PAP clones?

Who can mobilise the hard core anti-PAP votes?

“Happy” responded an anti SDP rant to this republishing on TRE saying, among many other things, “The SDP should garner around 20% of the votes. They too know this. However this is what they would like the WP to know should they not want to compromise. There is actually more for the SDP to gain than the WP should the results turn out as such. 8) The WP will be made to realize the reality that their 40% margins were due to one party fights in most areas. The SDA is not a credible party in the eyes of the people.”

Based on the 2011 presidential election, Happy would seem to have underestimated the hard core anti-PAP vote which ranges from 25-30% (25% that voted for Tan Jee say and 5% for Tan Kin Lian). The “Always PAP” is 35% (they voted for Tony Tan), while the remaining 35% that voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock are the discerners, “pick and choose”, moderates, “swingers” or people who don’t do religion. It is many in this 35% that the WP are able to persuade to vote for WP.

But these votes are insufficient without the block vote of the hard core ant-PAP voters. The “chop” system ensured that the WP gets this block vote in the areas it contests, even if these voters do not like the WP. They vote WP because they hate the PAP more.

As the PAP is unlikely to lose Punggol East in a straight fight with any opposition party (what with a margin of 11 percentage points over the combined SDA and WP vote), the contest is a good way of showing the WP that it needs the SDP more than the SDP needs the WP. The WP Aljunied MPs want to keep their $15,000 allowances and the life-styles it allows them to lead.  They can do this in the next GE only if they play ball with SDP, according to Happy’s thesis.

And he could be right. In the 2011 presidential election, I’ve been reliably informed, that Tony Tan won 40ish % of votes in the Aljunied area, and TJS came in a close second. Dr Tan was nowhere near. This shows the power of the anti-PAP vote in Aljunied GRC. It also shows the depth of feeling against the PAP: even Dr Tan is haram. What more near-clones like the WP?

Tua Kee WP

So Low, Sylvia and other WP leaders: don’t be tua kee. Be the humble WP pre the Aljunied win. What I find strange about the WP’s arrogance  is that juz after the 2011 GE, when talking to a WP leader (not Low or Sylvia), he was fretting over the loss of the anti-PAP vote, if the SDP decided to play rough. He said the WP needed these votes, while it tried to attract the moderates. Have the WP leaders forgotten to take their “humility” pills, since then?

The WP shouldn’t take the risk that the SDP is right about the votes it can mobilise. If the SDP is wrong, the consequences for the SDP is less devastating than the consequences for the WP if the SDP is right. Whither PritamS’s dreams of being a cabinet minister in a coalition with the PAP?

Cut a deal

The WP should talk to the SDP, offering not to compete in Tanjong Pagar GRC, in return for SDP not contesting Punggol East. Remember

— “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

— “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”. Remember the humblessness displayed by Low, not the arrogance of JBJ and son.

And Dr Chee should start retaking his “I’m a rational man” pills, and double the dosage. Or least pretend to. He may be a coyote, doing crazy things for rational game theory reasons, but public perceptions matter. And to the public, brought up on US cartoons, not the fundamentals of game theory, the coyote is mad. This doesn’t matter to the hard core PAP haters, but it matters to the moderates. I’m one of the moderates but I’m from RI, and I know the basics of game theory. Besides, I got an affection for wackos with balls.

Otherwise SDP and WP, “A plague a’ both your houses!”. No wonder the PAP rules OK.

Related post:


*RI boys got 65% of the votes in the 2011 PE. It also shows that RI can produce a clown, brawler and gentleman operative, all with brains and balls. Eat yr heart out Saints, and other RI haters and self-haters. RI rules OK. And remember Mad Dog Chee, and Tua Kee Auntie and Low never went to RI. LOL, is all one can do with the antics of these politcans.

Why history is not on the side of the PAP and WP

In Political governance, Uncategorized on 09/11/2012 at 9:18 am

But on the side of the SDP and NSP (maybe, if it keeps on its present busy beaver path).

There is every reason to believe that these developments [states approving initiatives on gay-marriage and marijuana] reflect national trends in public opinion. And these national trends are driven in turn by the same general processes of social change behind the gradual liberalisation of values in Europe and around the globe. Ronald Inglehart, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, was first to document this process in detail. Mr Inglehart’s well-confirmed thesis is that, roughly, as societies become increasingly secure in material terms, each new generation is predictably less “materialistic”—less focused on merely economic concerns—and more concerned with equality, autonomy, and the injustice of arbitrary authority. If we take the long view, we can see the success of this cycle’s gay-marriage and marijuana initiatives due to the inexorability of death, which in time disposes of antiquated mores, and to the relentless liberalisation of cultural attitudes in well-functioning market democracies. Thus are the young ever the vanguard of progressive social change. And the young stayed away from Mr Romney in droves

Extract from an Economist blog. No link as the rest is very, very US centric

LKY gets kicked in the balls

In Financial competency, Footie, Humour on 08/11/2012 at 10:28 am

“I’ve seen their property values going up, five times, 10 times, 15 times, 20 times,” our MSM reported him as saying recently.

This is what the SDP said in response, “Yes, and what for? To feel rich? Under the SDP Plan, Singaporeans don’t just have to feel rich. They can have their NOM flats and not be indebted for the rest of their lives. They can have financial security and lead fulfilling lives.”

No comment about about SDP’s plans (this is what ST reported “experts” say): thinking about it. But it sure got great PR people team. Maybe PAP or govt should offer them jobs? MP Baey should recruit them for his firm? Can’t be good for H&R’s local and Asean practice that SDP is running rings round PAP and govt? The Dark Side can offer serious money, unlike the SDP. Unless of course, the rumours of CIA funding are not true. An SDP groupie assures me that CIA funding rumours are juz rumours. SDP as poor as Anglican church mice. Catholic church mice got serious money, what with Tony Tan (the president, not Hazel Poa’s hubbie) and George Yeo as members. Goes without saying that Methodist mice got $. Think Ng Eng Hen and wife (SingHeath CEO), and TJS’s in-laws.

Dr Chee has a v.v. gd point

In Political governance on 18/07/2012 at 5:47 am

(Includes clarification on missing update)

[T]he government cannot discriminate against political activities by banning them in public areas, while allowing commercial ones to take place.

“My colleagues and I were prosecuted for distributing flyers without a permit but the police said during the trial that a similar group distributing flyers for, say, a tuition centre does not require a permit,” Chee explained.

“This is not provided for under the law.”

Sticky Lady, if she gets charged for any offence, should argue along similar lines. If money lenders and property agents are not prosecuted for plastering state property with their telephone numbers, why should she be penalised? Govt cannot use law to punish non-commercial activities only.

Let’s see how the government and judges tackle the point. Prosecutorial discretion is my bet.

I must say Dr Chee has matured from an angry young punk into a mature leader: from comic super hero to an authentic leader. Wonder if KennethJ, Tan Kin Lian and Goh Meng Seng will evolve similarly? Saint JBJ never did (but then his bravery is the stuff of legends), while Low was never a comic action man superhero, Clark Kent than Clark Kent. Chiam (SIGH) has become the White Knight of Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There,when once he was Luke Skywalker.


On 19th July 2012, I noticed that someone had cited me on something that is missing from above. What happened is that I had tot of updating the piece to include my views on KennethJ the sabo king. I then tot that it would make piece unfocused (from a piece on Dr Chee and Sticky Lady and selective justice to one of these and KJ the king clown), so I deleted it. I didn’t realise that I had posted the Update. If I had known, I would have let the Update stand.

Sorry folks for misleading. It was an honest mistake, I swear.

TJS: Right attitude, wrong project?

In Political governance on 30/09/2011 at 6:49 am

I’m one of those 75% of voters who didn’t vote for TJS in the presidential elections. I wasn’t convinced that he was sincere (to be frank,I thought he was an opportunist); and the lack of a verifiable track record, career-wise, since 1991 was of concern. My thoughts on whether he was a hero or bad guy.

And there was the issue of S$60bn. “[S]mall change”, but not to his fan websites, and the party he resigned from the SDP.

But 25% of voters voted for him which shows that he convinced a quarter of adult S’poreans that he was sincere and competent. I accept their judgement. I am happy that he has rewarded (or should it be repaid?) their trust by saying he will continue fighting for his articulated principles and convictions.

But is trying to unite the Opposition a good use of his passion and talents? I think not.

Chiam tried it twice. First with the setting up of SDA and then by trying to help KennethJ take over the SDA. The latter ended with Chiam taking the SPP out of the SDA, and with both Chiam and KJ looking stupid and arrogant. Chiam recovered his reputation, KJ never did. But KJ was playing for high stakes. If he had taken over the SDA, he would have established himself as a master tactican.

Next, why would the WP and SDP want to team up because of TJS? They have distinct brands, and appeal to different voters. If the parties worked together closely, WP would not be able to attract the swing voters. They would not to be associated with the “radicals” of the SDP. Although not true, that is the image that the swing voters have of SDP members, an image that the constructive, nation-building local media, PAP and government helped build and maintain. Though to be fair, until very recently, SDP members made it easy to caricature themselves.

It is no surprise they have not commented on what he has said.

Then there is the state of the other parties. The SPP punches above its weight because of brand Chiam. The NSP (forever reinventing itself between elections), RP (remember who this is?), and SDA are sick parodies of political parties.

See who are the parties that welcome his initiative, and are willing to join the “Coalition of the Hopeless”: the SPP, NSP, RP and SDA.

Finally, the present arrangement of all the parties not fighting three-way contests suits everyone except the SDP.  In particular, the WP benefits from having the SDP’s supporters having no choice except to vote for it. See this.

True in 2011, the WP refused to give way to the SDA in one area (but it was vindicated when the SDA candidate lost his deposit) and there were rows between the WP and NSP, and between the NSP and RP on seat allocations. But the bigger party bullied the smaller party into submission in both cases. Goh Meng Seng was bullied by the WP, and he in turn bullied KJ.

This co-operation may not be possible after the next GE. The parties, especially the WP and SDP, may raise their ambitions, but that is in the distant future.

So I hope TJS finds something more doable and constructive, taking into account his talents and weaknesses. What that could be I hope to explore in a future post. 

Meanwhile, “Tan Jee Say, Ho Say Leh”: so long as he repays the trust that 25% of adult S’poreans have in him.

Who is the Opposition Kingmaker?

In Uncategorized on 23/09/2011 at 7:00 am

Following this year’s two elections, I could reasonably argue that the core PAP vote (any donkey even if it is Tin Pei Ling, so long as it is a PAP donkey) is 35%, the core anti-PAP vote is 30% (any ass even an SDA ass, so long as it is an anti-PAP ass) and the remaining 35% are the Animal Farm sheep aka the swinger voters. 

(I’ve not used the term  “Opposition” because all the Opposition parties define themselves as being anti-PAP or its values.)

Given that the WP has five MPs and two NCMPS (while no other Opposition party has an MP, and the SPP has the only other NCMP) , one would think that the WP best presents the angry S’porean voter. I think not.

The WP has done well because it can attract enough swing voters with its moderation (or waffliness or BS, if I wanted to be unkind) while relying on the 30% of voters who are angry with the PAP. It does not have to appeal to these voters because the Opposition parties try to avoid three-way contests in the belief that such contests only benefit the PAP.

True, the PAP benefits most in such contests, But the WP benefits most among the Opposition parties in two-way fights. Its discipline, moderation and willingness to walk the ground between general elections, plays well to the sheep of Animal Farm.

The biggest loser is the SDP, the natural home of these angry voters. SDP supporters in areas not contested by the SDP, have no choice but to vote WP, SPP, NSP, and SDA and RP; or spoil their votes.

Think I exaggerate? I’ve been told by a usually reliable source that in the Aljunied GRC, Tan Jee Say polled a decent close second to Tony Tan. Tan Cheng Bock was nowhere. And look at the TJS rally, and even the booing of TT on Nomination Day. These bear the hallmarks of SDP activism; in the latter the Dark Side of SDP activism, not the mainstream SDP.

And remember Tan Kin Lian, who lost his deposit? He and his adviser, Goh Meng Seng, thought they had the angry vote stitched up, allowing them to focus on the swing vote. Then TJS got his COE and performed well in the presidential election. TKL could only get angry publicly with TJS.

True, TJS was not endorsed by the SDP but he had the active help of many of its activists, though the MSM and bloggers focused on the endorsement he got from Nicole Seah, the super celebrity. Incidentally, I was told that in Marine Parade, TCB was second to TT. So much for her endorsement.

My conclusion? The SDP is the kingmaker of the Opposition. Remember how the Communists destroyed David Marshall and the WP in the early 60s? They told their supporters not to vote for the WP.

It could happen again. The SDP could withdraw its support of the WP, and even field candidates to fight the WP if the WP doesn’t pay Danegeld to the SDP or move leftwards. But by doing either or both, it will lose its attractiveness to the sheep of Animal Farm. Not a sweet spot to be in, Mao.


SDP’s timely reminder and to do

In Corporate governance on 18/09/2011 at 10:58 am

No more elections until at least 2015. Time to put aside the badge of activism (attending rallies, reading blogs and posting comments, or donating) or caring abt changing society?

NO says the SDP. …  Singapore Demiocrats need to warn Singaporeans that we cannot afford to think that from here on out we just have to rely on elections once every five or six years to bring about democratic change. If that is all we do, we will fail and change will not come. Article

So what does it recommend?

we have to double up our effort and continue working to reform the election process, press for media freedom and push for freedom of speech and assembly. For WP, SDP and SPP activists, they know what this means. They will walk the ground in their chosen areas. Did you know that days after the 2006 defeat in Aljunied, Sylvia Lim and other WP activists and volunteers were walking the ground in Aljunied.

The bloggers and socio-political websites are still writing with one notable exception. Is TRE AWOL or MIA? Any ideas?

What abt the other S’poreans who want change but have lower energy levels? Juz feel guilty abt the non-action, and open yr wallets and purses to proven fighters for the causes you support  when they come a’calling for money. The fighters for a better S’pore cannot be sustained by emails of appreciation and fresh air. Periodically they need money. Be generous when proven fighters ask for donations.

And if the ordinary S’porean who cares doesn’t even donate? Absent this, 50 years from now we’ll still be wistfully talking about how close the opposition came to winning at the polls.

Do we need more political parties?

In Political governance on 16/09/2011 at 6:58 am

So now there are voices calling for Tan Jee Say and Dr Tan Cheng Bock to each form a new political party. And I’m sure, there are voices out there asking the “Voice of the People” to make a fool of himself again (this time with his daughter by his side) by forming the VP Party or VPP.

I’m sure some of these callers are thinking, genuine and sincere people, while some of the callers are PAP activists hoping to split the votes of voters unhappy with the PAP. But most of these calls are coming from very daft, but sincere and genuine people.

Think of where the parties of TJS and TCB will position themselves.

There are two slightly left-of-centre parties, the Workers’ Party and the Singapore People’s Party. Further left (but not on extreme left, despite what the local constructive, nation-building media say), we have the Singapore Democratic Party and somewhere between the WP and the SPP, and the SDP, there is for the moment the National Solidarity Party.

The NSP is forever changing shape in between general elections and, at the moment, is undergoing yet another metamorphoses. The WP and SDP have strong brands and active supporters, while the SPP is finally trying to make a serious effort to move away from brand “Chiam”. Let’s hope it succeeds. Chiam deserves to leave behind a political legacy. He showed us that an ordinary, decent man could take on the PAP and survive. There was no need to play the matyr game.

Now where will brand Tan Jee Say fit in? Based on his behaviour during the presidential election, his party will be further left of the SPP and WP, and right of the SDP. A space that the NSP, with two of his scholat mates in its management committee, is now trying to make its own. Kinda crowded, aint it?

As for Dr Tan Cheng Bock, the man, who waffled on during the election about not being the preferred PAP candidate and abt unity via footie and multiracialim (If I sound mean, I remind that I voted for him. Yup I can be that irrational), where will his party stand? Right of the WP, and SPP most likely, based on his waffling.

Even if it occupies some of the right-of-centre space dominated by the PAP, it will be fighting for some of the very moderate left votes.

The space on the left is crowded, with these six parties. There may not be enough seats to satisfy the ambitions of these six parties in a general election. There may be three-way contests. Then there are the absolute no-hopers, Singapore Democratic Alliance and the RP: making a total of eight parties on the left. The only place left field unoccupied is on the extreme left.

Establishing a new party is not easy. Remember the Reform Party? Set up by the late JBJ, it had to be resurrected by his son, KennethJ,  because of JBJ’s death soon after its founding. Despite all the goodwill that the memory of JBJ attracts, the RP had problems recruiting. And anyway, the newbies soon left, leaving King KJ to play and fantasise alone.

So please, let’s not encourage bored men with large egos, deep pockets and axes to grind to form new parties of the left. The field is crowded left of centre with eight parties.

Now, there is plenty of space on the extreme right. Anyone bored with a big ego, deep pockets and an axe to grind interested? I’m sure one LKY will be the party’s patron if the party ideology is a mixture of fascism, capitalism, socialism and his Hard Truths.


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