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5 Years to Ruin… June 27, 2008

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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So our Great Leader has spoken once again. Namely, he’s threatened that 5 years are all it takes to ruin Singapore. Seriously, though, i wonder if he would rather see a gradual decline instead. One freak election, he says, is all it takes to ruin Singapore. Firstly, what is a ‘freak election?’ From his subjective point of view, a ‘freak election’ probably means the Opposition winning a freak victory, which is shocking in perfectly-governed Singapore, hence ‘freak.’ To him, it is unimaginable. We have to consider, however, why he sees it as unimaginable. Perhaps he thinks Machiavelli is right – the only way to keep control of your people is to make sure they fear you, but not to the extent that a champion arises amongst the people.

Secondly, why would we become ‘bored’ and vote for the vociferous opposition (which, as far as i know, hasn’t been especially vociferous of late excluding one party) out of ‘light-heartedness, fickleness or sheer madness?’ Firstly, bored of what? Bored of good years? Or bored of increasing income disparity, bored of ministers raising their salary despite mistakes, bored of what? I don’t know what we should be bored of. Maybe bored of working 8-6 every day without earning the money we deserve. And voting for the opposition in light-heartedness, fickleness or even madness? Such harsh words to think that we would vote for them because we were insane. Politically and pragmatically, though, it is a good way at crowd control. Singaporeans are so used to conforming that if PAP says you must be insane to vote for the opposition, or some other negative adjective, you could actually believe them.

The need for a system which ensures that good leaders are produced is a need which i appreciate as well. But that it has worked up til now doesn’t mean that it will work forever. What’s more, although these leaders have been through the system, have they seen the flaws of it? Do they believe they are invulnerable? Do they have a right to be invulnerable? Although the government has to trust these leaders by virtue of them passing the system, it doesn’t mean that the people have to trust them as well. As he said, ‘your existence depends on performance’ – apparently the existence of some don’t.

The first of his three criteria is a government which people have confidence in and trust when tough decisions need to be taken. Obviously, this is a reference to the many tough decisions which have been made lately. But it seems like we don’t really see the positive end of the GST hike, or of having more ERP gantries. Ministers raising their own salaries to match the private sector also make their intentions terribly suspect – who else raises their own salary?

Secondly, leaders who are above board, making decisions based on necessity, not for self-benefit. No one can really accuse these ministers of making decisions based on self-benefit. But then, how many of the made decisions are necessary? For example, investing in overseas companies and banks which have returned nothing but losses? ‘We have not got richer, but Singapore has,’ he breezes. Erm…so where is the money? Public works? Paving over drainage covers, leading to more mosquitoes? Cosmetics over real help? And we’re amazed when billions are coughed up to help some ailing banks. If Singapore has grown richer, why aren’t we told how much we make a year?

Lastly, we need able men. Able men would be able to perceive what the people need, and help them accordingly. Able men, incidentally, would be responsible too. Able men would take it upon themselves to do something, and not continually remind us about what WE have to do. Like stop buying branded food. Or to take public transport. Or to stop being insane. Or to move on. Or to stop being complacent. And so on, and so forth.

5 years to ruin? Perhaps Great Leader spoke with wisdom. We should sit up and think about it… maybe not sending a warning is on the way to ruin for Singapore too.

Flipsyde feat. Piper – Happy Birthday June 25, 2008

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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*sigh*

Why Liberties Probably Don’t Matter…in Singapore June 24, 2008

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Well, after reading this article, which provokes questions and reflections, i felt that it would perhaps be useful to try and see why our Gahmen doesn’t think that liberties are that important.  Play some advocatus diaboli, so to speak…so a point-for-point, paragraph-for-paragraph parallel to this article by Simply Inconceivable.

While people are clamouring for Singapore to be a First World Nation, with First World rights, and so on, and so forth, perhaps there are many criteria to fulfill before any country can become a so-called ‘First World Nation.’  In the eyes of the powers that be, Singapore is a First World Nation of sorts, especially from the economical context.  That has been the sole criterion (or if not, the criterion which outweighs all others) in the Singaporean context – from the politicians to the everyday person.  You just have to pay attention to how Singaporeans are threatened with their mothers, wives and sisters becoming maids (read: economic crash) or how liberties will undermine the status quo which makes Singapore a haven for investment.

If our civil liberties were that important, then theoretically, Singapore should be in the slums today.  An extreme example would be Myanmar.  In Singapore, the powers that be see liberties as something smacking of Western idealism, which happens to be totally incompatible with Singapore’s hardcore pragmatism.  And a pragmatist would stick to the effective way of doing things – rocking the boat is tantamount to capsizing it, and thus, People Who Rock the Boat Should be Incarcerated.  In the meantime, make other potential rockers fearful enough to control themselves, or give the impression that the boat can’t be rocked, anyway.  We are able to criticise, but expect to be ignored, derided or arrested.

The government would like to say it is democratic.  Democracy, however, so long as economic First World-ism is maintained.  ‘To build a democratic society,’ it says in our Pledge.  But is it able to withstand a democratic defeat?  The government strongly believes not. (Egoism? Genuine fear? Realistic Estimation of the Situation?)  A certain Minister Mentor mentioned that he has no qualms calling in the military to suppress a democratic defeat, and people have been sued for trying to introduce Western-style democracy into Singapore.  Singapore is democratic, but according to whose definition?

Herein lie two further considerations:

  1. It is very possible that this government may be defeated democratically and the citizens thus attaining their liberty.  But that would mean a lot of angry, jobless ministers, from a purely egoistical standpoint.  Which have performed somewhat, bringing Singapore to an economically First World status (in Governmental standards, First World simpliciter) and have introduced the economical aspects of the Western world and made the people materialistic enough that ideals have lost their value for the pragmatic.  These people too wouldn’t want the status quo to be disturbed.
  2. What are we going to do about it?  The question is, can people be trusted?  Lee Kuan Yew came to the political front on a Golden Age in Singaporean politics, and he championed the cause of democracy and free speech.  But after he took power, he began to purge his opponents.  For it, however, Singapore is what it is today.  There is a very simplified polarity of liberties versus economic gain.  Is  it any wonder why Singapore is more economic gain, less liberties?  In this sense, the incumbent has been able to wider and strengthen its power base.

True, the Government listens only when it benefits them.  Perhaps in misguided self-righteousness, believing that it will profit the country (after all, there is a strict filtration system in place.)  Criticism made known to the masses would be a catastrophe to be avoided at all costs.  And should the votes fail, i wonder if legal pressure is useful, if at all, and international pressure (in the form of press) has been kept out long enough anyway.

Valiant cives mei! Sint incolumes, sint florentes, sint beati! (Cicero, Oratio pro Milone, 93)

Money, Sex, Words June 21, 2008

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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So lately, amidst all the reports of molesters being arrested and all, this blogger claims that she was molested by a friend.  Let’s not start by saying the girl was a cheap slut, but honestly, this was less than wise on her side.  Especially as the guy’s story has come out too.  The girl believes that the guy was a nice guy and she never expected him to do such a thing.  How disappointing.  I feel sorry for your cause, but there isn’t much you can do, realistically speaking.  But more on this later.

The guy says he has been chasing her for 2 years. Dinners, movies, maybe just picking her up from work.  She would let him put his arm around her shoulder or maybe hold her waist.   But, to avoid misunderstanding amongst her (possibly naturally gossipy) friends, she refused these advances when they were in a group.  Well and good.  Reasonably speaking, (and we know how paiseh some Singaporean girls can be when it comes to their boyfriends or people interested in them) she never talked to him about it in private.  And she damn well knew that he was interested in her.

Fast forward to a trip to Korea – perhaps she was being nice and it makes no sense going to Korea alone anyway, so might as well get a girlfriend to come along.  But none of her girlfriends were free, so she got our protagonist to go along with her.  And let’s see…she felt something rubbing against her butt.  So why didn’t she stop him?  Perhaps it’s natural to freeze.  But she had opportunity to stop him, or to even confront him about it.  And she didn’t.  Okay, maybe she was too shocked.  Then the friendship broke up, and they’re now living their separate lives.

There are some things she didn’t mention, though.  There’s 48 grand involved in this fiasco.  Was it on her original blog post?  Hell no, it wasn’t!  So why publicise this all of a sudden with all sorts of shoddy details?  Not to be misogynistic, but the fact that 48 grand was involved really undermines her credibility.  It makes people wonder if you’re exposing him just so that he’ll back down about demanding that 48 grand back.  Legally, you really don’t have a case.  It’s deplorable that this must happen to you and just you, but think about it.  If he sent you the wrong signal about accepting the 48 grand as a gift, you sent him plenty of wrong signals as well.

Like asking him to go to Korea, allowing him to take you out and spoil you, and so on, and so forth.  I wonder why you didn’t expose him on the spot, rather than wait for a year and cite nightmares.  I mean, it’s plausible and dramatic.  But maybe your financial situation got so dire that you decided to do a tell-all?  To me, it seems like a recipe for disaster – you can’t really prove that he did anything to you, can you?  He didn’t have sex with you.  And the story behind your story makes your original story so suspect.  Are you out to get 48 grand off your back?  And at the same time get back at him?

As for the guy, he really shouldn’t have done that.  All that doesn’t give you the right to go further.  But then again, at least he didn’t force himself on her.  However, you could have explicitly said it was a loan.  But then again, love or infatuation tends to make things different.  You are at fault, but in the aftermath, you are the victim.

Disincentives June 19, 2008

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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So more ERP gantries have been activated, and more CBD gantries are charging even more.

I have just one question: Why, har?

Must be because ERP gantries are sibei expensive. So must raise the charges to buy more ERP gantries. Or maybe cos people complain that MRT is damn squeezy and the train also sometimes CMI, and what’s more COE is not that high some more…so need a balance somewhere. Then again ah, it could have been a lightning bolt.

Either way, how come tup pai is always we all tio?  Bus fare increase, MRT fare increase, everything also increase.  Gahmen say too many cars liao, take public transport.  But then public transport also more expensive. I also don’t know why some public organisations are so locked in their ideas, cannot wake up one.  2008 liao everything still want to use disincentive…incentive not better meh?

Like our school system like that.  Always got a lot of incentive one.  Study hard so u can get into a good uni. Then can get good job. Then can get good life. Always got incentive one. Except sometimes don’t do well go home got 藤条 waiting for your ka-chng.  That one disincentive.  NS also got incentive.  U don’t ji siao me, i don’t give u jialat-jialat. Maybe even give u early book-out some more.  See, got incentive to behave well! So why always say aiyah Singaporeans not sensitive to ERP rates, this kind of thing…of course we sensitive la! ERP here, ERP there…we just got used to it and stopped complaining only mah!

Actually i didn’t know LTA so sensitive one. Nobody complain then they think we insensitive. Maybe their PR department too free, whole day kiao ka yo l*m par… so need something to make sure they work! I mean of course cannot give them money for nothing right? But why they only sensitive to this kind of thing…cannot be sensitive to MRT too crowded, things like that.  Then hor, they also cannot be sensitive to the fact that people want to go home after work.

But maybe Gahmen wants that la.  Work longer hours! In fact last time they said we should work longer years also ma…so a few more hours also never mind lor. Then more people stay in town, Singapore sibei vibrant. Always got people in town. Nehmind that they look so dulan…more people is what Singapore needs! First-class city! So very good for LTA, 响应政府的号召! So it’s not disincentive lah. Maybe it’s incentive. Work longer now, so next time u used to working longer. Good for you.

But then hor, i want my peace and quiet one lei. Think must go look for bicycle liao.  Must faster get bicycle…sekali Gahmen announce Bicycle tax, cos Singaporeans don’t drive anymore. Then bicycle come with ERP beep beep beep also.  Anyone got lobang?

requiescant in pace June 12, 2008

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Another two soldiers have left this world for another.

And i wonder why? Why hasn’t anything come from MINDEF? Are these soldiers fated to fade away in anonymity? Whenever this happens (and sadly it’s happening more often,) you only see ‘pronounced dead at x.xx am/pm.’ Where is the coroner’s report? I mean, MINDEF doesn’t even have to explain it in the newspapers. And keeping zip-lip doesn’t help, because it just gives the impression that such things will be swept under the rug. What to do, it’s happened. Let’s move on. A tragedy for you, but life must go on.

In some way, this is true. But the impression being given is wrong. The impression being given is one of a system which couldn’t care more, a system where deaths must, statistically at least, occur, and where the bereaved and the public, who are very active members of the armed forces, don’t receive any information about Just What the Hell Happened.

Of course, it may not be SO in the objective sense. But public emotion is moved very importantly by impression as well. The powers that be in Singapore, it seems, tend to believe that just because things are SO, thus they are right. But is any information filtering down to John Smith? Does John Smith know that the government, or the armed forces, or whatever actually CARES? The impression is that they don’t care at all, because nothing substantial has been done to prove anything to us.

A symbolic move, or making the coroner’s reports readable in the archives, or per request, would mean a lot as to these deaths in MINDEF. There is no obligation to put it on the front page of the States’ Times. It’s a small step for MINDEF, but a large step in PR.

But, two more have walked towards the light.

requiescant in pace.

“Don’t Rock the Boat!” June 6, 2008

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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As a Singaporean, i think this is worth a read. You know, of course it’s not the time to nitpick and blow things out of proportion. This author, Chin Hwa, thinks that we’re playing with fire by rocking the boat. Here’s the full text…

This is not a time to nitpick and blow up matters out of proportion.

Singaporeans enjoy more than 45 years of plenty under the rule of the PAP. Today, instead of crushing under the weight of the heavy global oil and food prices like many, many larger and resource-rich countries, this tiny resourceless and no-economies-of-scale little red dot continues to give out goodies to its people – Progress Package, Growth Dividends, Inflation Bonus, etc., to the envy of many countries. Thanks to the good management of Singapore.

No one wishes to unconsciously stir up the ground from any thread. Look what’s happening around the world today. It’s volatile like kerosene and can spread out of hand. It that what we want? Street protests as advocated can turn to anarchy where looting and violence is the norm. Tourists for example will be too scared to come here then. What then will happen to the livelihood of the thousands of our taxi drivers, hotel people, food & beverage people, etc.,? Moreover, investments thrive on a peaceful, safe & secure environment. It may then not be easy to turn back the clock. Playing hero or Robin Hood is. See what’s happening time & again in Thailand.

Don’t play with FIRE. There’s no starvation, no food riots, no NEP, no torture and what-not that plagues others in Singapore. In the 80-20, it’s bad to play up the 20. No one will benefit in the end, save our rivals and enemies. Don’t bring back the Lim Yew Hocks (one who sold Pedra Branca [Christmas Island]), Ling How Dongs, Cheos, etc. Don’t rock the boat.

If we didn’t know. The faces in government come and go after they have made their contributions. They are people like you and me. They are not entrenched in stone; only the party’s name. Leadership faces self-renewal and self-regulation. The only founding member remaining is our grand old MM. No one will deny that he deserves the seat for as long as he can still contribute to the well-being of the nation. Contributing, beyond self and family, he is. It must be hard for a loving husband to leave his beloved sick old wife to go to Russia to seek out business for Singapore. Bother to give that a thought? Altruism? Need he?

Look at the bigger picture, Singaporeans. Be grateful. And finally, there’s no utopia and paradise on this dog-eat-dog planet.

Firstly, let’s look at 45 years of plenty. Have we HAD 45 years of plenty? Or 45 years of just enough? YOU may have had 45 years of plenty. But there are many who haven’t. Ditto for costs not being necessarily crushing as yet. As for the handouts…well, the Progress Package was doled out just before the elections, something which the opposition could not do. Growth dividends was a payout of the shocking 7.7% budget surplus, and the inflation bonus was given out in response to inflation in May 2008. Isn’t it rather surprising that many of these correspond with rather significant occurances in Singapore, like the General Elections, the freak budget miscalculation, and Mas Selamat’s Great Escape?

Hogwash, you could say, these are just coincindences. It shows that the Government cares for us, and that Singapore is well-managed. Well, if Singapore is well-managed, then why did Mas Selamat escape and the people only given bits and pieces of information LATE? Why would the PAP give out money just a few months before the General Elections? It’s because these small amounts of money are meant to appease the population, so that the voices may be silenced. Money can buy many things. Unfortunately, it can’t buy us, well, not yet, at least…

It’s interesting to assume that if the boat is rocked, it’s sure to capsize, which is just what our author does. This, of course, proceeds by arguments which word precisely on one premise – namely that we’re weaklings who do not have any reason at all – what’s happening around the world is like kerosene, and it can spread out of hand. This as a reason is used to explain why street protests can turn into anarchy, with looting and violence. Thus, foreign tourists will not dare to visit us, and what will happen to the livelihood of thousands? And for a negative example, we really should look at Thailand! Granted that Singapore is relatively better-off than Thailand, but since we are better, isn’t it good to demand more? The Government always exhorts us to work more, anyway! And, by the way, the belief that rocking a boat will capsize it has been used by the PAP to explain most of its prophylactic policies. To think that the education system has failed to teach us one thing – reason – that they have to take so many preventive measures against us!

Play with fire? What fire? You mean Armageddon for Singapore? I would say au contraire, not doing anything is playing with fire just as well. And playing up the minority – how does our author know what that we’re in the minority? For all i know, Singaporeans really love complaining, so i don’t think we’re in the minority at all…furthermore, who are these enemies? Is it the ‘fictional enemy’ scenario which is muchly ingrained into NE classes? Demonise everyone who isn’t a model Singaporean citizen – that means our neighbours (which is why NS is important), a certain opposition head, netizens (don’t listen to what they say! It’s anonymous and has no credibility!), foreign press, and much much more? Do we need such clear boundaries with OB markers, or do we need a graduating amount of acceptance, with the extremes (like fundamentalists or murder) definitely within the OB markers, whereas others which don’t really fit in are neither accepted nor persecuted?

The faces in Government come and go. This i have to disagree with. Lee Kuan Yew will be immortalised after his passing as the founding father of Singapore as we know it, and he will be glorified in the history textbooks, just like how the video of him breaking down after we got thrown out has been shown again. And again. I don’t declare that Lee Kuan Yew isn’t important, but i wonder what Singapore is to him. Is it like a hobby, like a model plane which you can’t ever finish building, or is it like a real-life SimCity? In this sense of the word, i don’t think the world ‘altruism’ comes in. Altruism would be, however, a convenient explanation which everyone would like to hear. But perhaps real altruism is in firstly in perceiving that your citizens are human too, not inferior creatures with lesser rights than you. Only then can you be altruistic. (But seriously, what am i talking about? Money gives you rights in Singapore, silly!)

Be grateful, Singaporeans. Be grateful for what? The Singapore in the Straits Times? Look at the bigger picture. What bigger picture? The bigger picture that we are told to see and have exams over, or the bigger picture which is the ugly truth which you’re not supposed to know about?