What a scoop!

March 16, 2012

We all try a little too hard sometimes. The Straits Times today (16 March 2012) ran a feature piece entitled “The ‘engage and consult’ route in policy review”. The piece sought to discuss how the PAP government is now engaging and consulting more regularly and intently than before, a sign, no doubt, of its newly acquired sensitivity. Nothing strange in that except for, well, it’s a Straits Times’ story.

The piece quoted or mentioned 13 people for their opinions of this new ‘engage and consult’ route. Again, nothing new, except for the fact that 9 of the 13 people were PAP leaders and MPs. The only party-neutral people were Gerald Ee, Viswa Sadasivan, Ruben Wong, and Eugene Tan. Imagine wanting to review the culinary products of a restaurant and interviewing only the chefs of that particular restaurant for their opinion and you will understand the investigative prowess of that national treasure we call the Straits Times.

“So Mr PAP MP, can you tell me how genuine your government’s ‘engage and consult’ approach is?”

“Yes, it’s very genuine. Very genuine indeed!”

“Thank you…what a scoop!”

Now of course I’m sure the Straits Times did attempt to interview people who were crucial to the story – those who were actually ‘engaged and consulted’ by the government – like say, heritage groups, disabled people, public transportation commuters or the poor. After all, their experiences and views would be salient to whether this ‘engage and consult’ approach was genuine right? How many of them were quoted? Zero.   


I note that there has been some discussion about Workers’ Party MP Pritam Singh and my post “Time for an Ombudsman in Singapore” (23 Sept 2008).

For the record Pritam contacted me for permission to use some of my text. I told him to go ahead with my blessings. No acknowledgements were necessary. I am happy he found my thoughts useful. Let’s keep our eye on the bigger picture.

Bedroom Monsters

April 25, 2011

The PAP is like your mean old grandmother who told you that the police will catch you if you don’t do as she says or that the monsters under your bed will devour you if you don’t go to sleep. Threats have always been the weapon of the lazy. Its anti-intellectual, irrational, but damn it’s effective.

It’s been a week since Polling Day was announced and already we’ve been treated to a smorgasbord of bedroom monsters of all sorts.

Bedroom monster #1

The Workers’ Party calls for a “First World Parliament”, Indranee Rajah paints a picture of Parliamentary gridlock.

This is really semantics at its most inane. I refuse to believe that Indranee cannot see that the WP means “First World Parliament” to be an internationally accepted standard where there are checks and balances, robust debates, and challenges to the incumbent party. If Indranee wanted to appeal to voters’ reason, she could have said: “Yes, we need a First World Parliament, but can the Opposition offer sensible and responsible debate? Have the NMPs outshone the three Opposition MPs and NCMP in Parliament?” No, instead she resorts to playground taunting – name a country, name a country, you can’t name a country, neh nanny boo boo! So much for raising the level of national debate.  

Bedroom monster #2

Ng Eng Hen warns voters of a “freak election result” if they support the opposition.

This is an old monster. It rears its ugly head every five years. It’s so familiar we’re no longer afraid of it. It’s so familiar we’ve invited it to snuggle up to us. It’s so familiar we’ve even given it a name – bullshit.

Bedroom monster #3

Ng Eng Hen casts doubts on Chen Show Mao’s ability to represent Singaporeans after being overseas for 30 years.

Ng’s logic is as follows: You need to be in Singapore to understand Singapore > Chen has not been in Singapore for 30 years > Chen does not understand Singapore > ergo: Chen cannot represent Singaporeans. Let’s apply the same logic to new citizens. New citizens spent most of their lives in their original country > They do not understand Singapore > ergo: They need to return their pink ICs and red passports. Immigration problem solved.

Bedroom monster #4

Teo Chee Hean warns of “high insurance premium” in response to the WP’s calls for Singaporeans to strengthen the Opposition in case the PAP fails.

Here, I can do no better than to quote another blogger. “What Singaporeans will actually be paying a high premium for are [PAP] “understudies” who aren’t ready to be MPs and to pay S$15,000 a month for each of these 20-plus “understudies”. Do the maths. $15,000 a month per “understudy”, is equal to S$900,000 for each of them for a five-year term. Multiply that by say 24 new PAP “understudies” and you and I will be paying a premium of : S$21,600,000 !!! This must be the most expensive premium for “understudy MPs” anywhere on this planet.”


I’m really looking forward to more bedroom monsters from the PAP camp. The more they let loose, the more they remind me of mean old grannies. And the thing about PAP and grannies is that you’ll always be a child in their eyes.