Thursday, 31 January 2013

Population White Paper was rejected in recent Punggol East by-election, should it go ahead?

An acid test was carried out in Punggol East by-election for the Population White Paper.  There is a clear result that voters there reject the Paper’s recommendations.  Should the PAP government implement the recommended policies or give it a second thought?  Will it be another misguided 20/20 foresight?   
The PAP government should think twice before implementing policies and measures in the Population White Paper.  This is because the Paper was rejected by voters in the recent Punggol East by-election directly or indirectly depending how you read it.

First, DPM Teo Chee Hean openly challenged and criticised Workers’ Party for its silence on key issues, namely foreign workers and population. WP chief Low Thia Khiang gave his reply in front of 8,000 rally participants on 23 January 2013 and Today newspaper had the following report:

<It is not true that the Workers’ Party (WP) has not taken a position on major issues; rather, it is the People’s Action Party Government that has turned a deaf ear to its views and suggestions, said party chief Low Thia Khiang as he hit out at Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean’s charge that the WP “has avoided taking a stand” on national concerns.
 In a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Teo, the PAP’s First Assistant Secretary-General, said the WP had stayed silent on important issues such as “population or foreign workers where tough trade-offs are needed”.
 At the WP’s final rally yesterday, Mr Low pointed out that he had spoken on the foreign manpower issue during the Manpower Ministry’s Committee of Supply debate last year. He had called for the tightening of the Dependency Ratio Ceilings for foreign workers to be industry-specific so as to minimise the fallout for small-and-medium enterprises in sectors that fewer Singaporeans want to work in.
 The WP had also devoted a chapter in its 2011 party manifesto to population and immigration, Mr Low said, reiterating his party’s stand that immigration policies should be aimed at improving the lot of Singaporeans.>

And now majority of voters in Punggol East say NO to the PAP.  Punggol East may be just a single constituency but at least it is representing the desire of many Singaporeans who are not happy with the population and foreign workers policies. 

In fact, when you look at the points raised by the PAP candidates Dr Koh Poh Koon and the supporting and last minute policies announcements by the government, one can conclude that the PAP is bringing the Paper to voters in advance.  These policies include property cooling measures, new MRT lines, more marriage and family subsidies and leave for husband, elderly care etc.

Three pillars and three values

From his campaign, Dr Koh might have access to the Population White Paper before many of us. He talked about his three values: Hope, Family and Action in his first rally.  

In the white paper, you will find three pillars for a sustainable population: Hearts, Hopes and Home.  Comparing to Dr Koh’s “action, hope and family”, it looks similar.  Perhaps, this is the message the PAP wants to bring to voters before releasing the white paper. If Dr Koh won the by-election, the PAP can then claim some recognition and acknowledgement from the by-election. Unfortunately, it failed. Not to forget the person chairing the press conference for the release of white paper is no other than Teo Chee Hean.

If we look back at the debates and issues raised in the by-election, many of them are covered in the white paper:

Chapter 2 Sustaining a core Singaporean population

Marriage and parenthood policies: improved and enhanced packages for married couples and for husbands were announced.  We also saw better housing policies for married persons.   

Chapter 3 Creating Good Opportunities for Singaporeans

“Creating opportunities and good jobs for our people” was questioned in opposition rallies and campaign.

“Helping businesses restructure and move up the value-chain” was another topic criticised by the oppositions.   

“Helping low-wage workers and older workers” was also raised by the oppositions. The present framework is not working and needs change.

“Bringing Singaporeans home” is an effort of Contact Singapore but it is not getting desired result.

Chapter 5 A High Quality Living Environment

What is “best place to live”?  There is no more mention of Swiss standard of living.

During the by-election campaign, the PAP government announced several new and important transport, housing, and health care changes.    

Many of the key points and suggestions in the Population White Paper were brought forward to hopefully improve the winning chances of Dr Koh.  However, it did not materialise.   

Implementation of white paper against people’s wishes   

Now the white paper is out.  Punggol East voters had rejected it but the PAP still wants to implement it. (The PAP still controls 80 of 87 parliament seats).

Should the PAP review and improve the white paper or just goes ahead without considering the voters’ decision?  How many more times can the PAP ignore the wishes of Singaporeans?  

Perhaps, they want to wait until 2016 General Election to make some changes and say “I am sorry” again.  Will the sorry work in favour of the PAP in 2016?

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

从长途快车站 感觉行动党的败选






但是,为何没有长途快车站?1959年自治以来,行动党掌权以来,难道从来就没有想到建立一个快车站吗?什么样的人最需要快车服务呢?我们从没有高速公路,没有地铁轻轨,到什么都有,一直到有冷气的 巴士总站。为何独独没有快车站?

  • ·      因为搭客多是马来西亚人,所以不需要。当然,搭快车的人不能创造经济效益。
  • ·      因为新加坡地皮很贵,不值得投资。
  • ·      因为,我们在等待地铁延伸到新山之后,就不需要快车站了。甚至快车将来都不用开来新加坡了。
  • ·      因为我们不鼓励快车到来,这些车多是马来西亚的公司经营,安全方面有问题,不容易控制。
  • ·      因为快车站有利马来西亚的经营者,对我们的好处不多。


















Whither Singapore 新加坡何去何从?杨荣文在榜鹅东补选结果出来后,在脸书上这么写道。这应该是指行动党何去何从,而不是新加坡何去何从。因为总理连摆在面前的民生问题都看不清楚,更何况那些未知的问题呢?

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Contrast 2013: The Hard Truth Of Singapore Politics

The Contrast 1792 wikipedia

The Punggol East by-election result reminds us about the systematic practice of the PAP, especially its bad painting of the oppositions in the mainstream media since 1959, has failed. Singaporeans have begun to realize the truth of Singapore politics and will make decisive choice when come to voting their MPs.

“The Contrast 1792 –which is the best”#1 (above) is a clear reflection of what the PAP has been telling Singaporeans over the past years.   We can also redefine “The Contrast 1792” into “The Contrast 2013: the PAP and the Oppositions”. The 2013 contrast has shown a clearer and truer picture, especially when voters in the middle class constituency have more informed news.

With the monopoly control of MSM, the PAP has painted itself a picture like the British Liberty: 
On Left: Britannia with a lion at her feet, holding "Magna Carta" and a pole with a liberty (Phrygian) cap on it (instead of the usual trident), to emphasize British liberty under law. A lion is at her feet, and a ship sails off in the background.
 Inscription: "Religion, Morality, Loyalty, Obedience to the Laws, Independence, Personal Security, Justice, Inheritance, Protection, Property, Industry, National Prosperity, HAPPINESS." #1
And the PAP will then group the oppositions, big or small, left or right, real or not real, all in one picture like the French Liberty:    
On Right: Scrawny ill-clad personification of France with Medusa snakes instead of hair, treading on beheaded corpse with man hanged from lantern-post in background.
 Inscription: "Atheism, Perjury, Rebellion, Treason, Anarchy, Murder, Equality, Madness, Cruelty, Injustice, Treachery, Ingratitude, Idleness, Famine, National & Private Ruin, MISERY" #1
{This is why Low Thia Khiang, SG of WP, decides that WP will walk its own path. Otherwise, WP will also be fixed into the image of “French Liberty”. Low said, "The opposition is a convoluted, complicated thing -- made up of different people, different parties, different leaders, different ways of questioning the government, even."}

Finally, the PAP will ask the readers of MSM to decide on an overall question, "Which is best?"  It is clear that without alternative news like social media, past voters in Singapore were blinded and prevented to have the truth and of course, they would continue to vote for the PAP.

From 1959 to 2011, the PAP and MSM have successful achieved the aim of making the government behaving like the “British Liberty” and the oppositions “French Liberty”.  The ISA political arrests, defamation suits, etc. are used to justify the right to contain the bad behaviour of “French Liberty”.  

However, with the help of social media, GE2011 and PE2011 showed a different Singapore, a hard truth political new normal as some have described. Voters have begun to distinguish the credible oppositions inside the opposition camp of “French Liberty”.  They also discover there are some credible men (e.g. BG, TCB, OTC etc.) inside the PAP camp (“British Liberty”).   

Rebranding PAP via NatCon is not enough

Punggol East voters have clearly shown their rejection of the current brand of the PAP leadership.  The use of National Conversation to rebrand the PAP as a caring party has failed.  Voters are not satisfied with the conversation and other policies change announced during the campaign.

So, how to rebrand the PAP?  Dr Koh’s change within the PAP is certainly not working and is rejected by voters.  

Not only PAP needs a drastic change so do the MSM.  The continued control of MSM will not do good to both the PAP and Singapore and it will contribute little to nation building.

What next WP and other opposition parties

Voters have also confirmed their recoganazation of WP as a credible opposition party in a four-cornered contest.  Voters know the differences inside the “French Liberty” camp. Not everything MSM reported on oppositions is true and real.

Will WP emerge as a main alternative party and finally form alternative government?  It is too early to tell.   Other opposition parties will have to find its niche areas to expand their influences.  Some small political parties in Singapore will have a difficult future and most likely will not appear in voters’ mind after the next GE.


Other references:

Saturday, 26 January 2013

不够爱国亲新加坡 行动党兵败榜鹅东













十五的月亮 Moon landing

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Summary of Punggol East by-election blog posts:


Can a last-minute press conference save a falling PAP? State of the PAP: Losing Brand Losing Ground

If politics in Singapore is like the business world, the PAP is in the declining state, losing goodwill, losing ground and losing market share. reported that the PAP would call a last-minute press conference at 11 pm just before the start of the cooling off day of Punggol East by-election.  And apparently, it has coincided with the WP press conference at 7 pm the same day.  The PAP - a falling brand, despite having a rally from 7 to 10 pm, still finds time not enough. So, will a last-minute press conference save the PAP and help it to retain Punggol East?  

The PAP’s market share, in term of percentage of votes, is declining.  In GE2011 it dropped to 60%.  If you considered PE2011 as another indicator, then it was even lower, down to 35%.  Can you imagine in 1968 GE, the PAP got 88% of the votes? Hence, its image and its goodwill in the eyes of many Singaporeans, especially netizens, are no more a trusted and reliable brand.

Punggol East voters when you go to the polling centres on 26 Jan, you have to remind yourself that the PAP is not an “in” thing. It has credible problem. It has lost its brand value and market share.  And most importantly, it is no more a people’s action party.  It is a party driven by money.  It is no more pro-Singapore and loves Singapore as before.

Still remember Lee Kuan Yew’s famous speech: 
“Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up.” 1988 National Day Rally, when he discussed the leadership transition to Goh Chok Tong in 1990. As quoted in The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia: Volume 2, The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
So, you can judge how much he loves Singapore.  This is a unique example that Lee senior shows his love to Singapore and how pro-Singapore he is.  In later days, Lee senior thinks if Singapore is not stable, calling in army may be an option: (this is another way of expression of love). 
11) “Without the elected president and if there is a result, within two or three years, the army would have to come in and stop it.” - MM Lee Kuan Yew
When comes to Goh Chok Tong’s turn, he still loves Singapore as Lee senior but he cannot provide the Swiss standard of living to Singaporeans as promised. But Goh’s mission is still pro-Singapore and love-Singapore. 
My mission is clear: to ensure that Singapore thrives and grows after Mr. Lee Kuan Yew; to find a new group of men and women to help me carry on where he and his colleagues left off; and to build a nation of character and grace where people can live lives of dignity and fulfillment, and care for one another.
However, PM Lee’s opinion about Singaporeans is quite different from the other two former PMs.   
Our citizens put up chilies and onions to prevent the rain from falling.2008 Singapore Grand Prix
No wonder our life is getting difficult as we have to put up chilies and onions to stop the rain.  And chilies and onions make ones cry likes rain.

Even their Punggol East candidate, Dr Koh Poh Koon has to admit and acknowledge that it is no more an “in” thing to join the PAP.  What a change of world it is!  He even hesitated to stand for election when PM Lee asked him to represent the PAP at PE BE.

So, the PAP has a branding problem.  Dr Koh has a confidence problem. Of course, this has to do with the quality of its leadership.

For Singaporeans old enough, as Low Thia Khiang (SG WP) said last night, they will notice the change of quality in the PAP.  From Lee senior to Goh to Lee junior, the quality of the PAP leadership has declined.  Not only the quality standard drops, the moral standard drops too. 

Punggol East voters, this is a golden opportunity to use this by-election to slap the PAP and make them work harder for you. 
“Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot afford to put our lives in the hands of a sleepy driver. Do not put another sleepy driver into Parliament,” he said with gusto, to loud cheers from an estimated 8,000-strong rally crowd, its biggest turn-out of the three rallies. 
“May this by-election provide the ‘Punggol Slap’ which the PAP will never forget!”

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

树立爱国亲新加坡品牌 工人党走自己的路









刘程强昨晚在群众大会的演讲值得我们深思,榜鹅东选民更是不可不思。因为,工人党要走一条自己的路,不要让行动党把所有的在野政党都归为一类,尤其是行动党控制着媒体。在主流媒体的操纵下,很容易把工人党归为和其他新加坡反对党一样。因此,工人党要有自己的形象,自己的品牌。这样才不会被行动党趁机把所有的反对党都捆绑在一起, 一枝竹竿打翻一船人。”

《在行动党一党专政的新加坡政治环境里,其他的政党要能够抬头和成长,是一件非常非常不容易的事情。我在1982年从政,加入工人党,接近30年的今天才看到工人党有一定的起色。我接触过许多支持反对党的人,希望看到新加坡民主有所进展的人,他们常常感到痛心,恨铁不成钢,因为反对党阵营总是出现种种的状况。我理解他们的失望与期待。 反对党其实是一个很复杂的阵营。不同的人,不同的领导,不同的问政方式。1991年可算是现代新加坡民主进程最令人鼓舞的时代,当时国会里有4位反对党议员,新加坡民主党是最强的政党。可是,后来,民主党闹分裂。在1997年的大选,行动党就趁机把所有的反对党都捆绑在一起, 一枝竹竿打翻一船人,大选结果是4个反对党议员只剩下2个,之后反对党士气一落千丈。 1997年大选以后,工人党就决定走自己的路。后来好些反对党成立了新加坡民主联盟,工人党也决定不加入。 新加坡是个民主国家,任何人都能创立政党参加竞选。每个政党都有不同的方向和理想,即使都对政策有意见,也不一定有同样的想法和做法。 此外,对于怎样的反对党和政治的模式才对新加坡最有利,才适合我们的国情也不一定会有一致的意见。所以,以新加坡目前的政治状况,要所有反对党团结成为一股力量是个不可行的概念。 俗话说:道不同,不相为谋。政党和人一样,如果性格不同却勉强在一起,后果会如何呢?不但不会幸福,还会误人误事。所谓的反对党团结,只怕到最后不但不能同步前进,反而落到四分五裂的地步。这样的结果只会让人民再次对反对党失去信心,成为新加坡民主发展的绊脚石。 工人党坚持走自己要走的路,一条备受批评的崎岖路,不是高傲,也不是不尊重其他的参政者;而是为了避免历史重演,避免再次让人民失望,避免再次对,为了建设民主机制,努力无私付出的国人,造成伤害。工人党誓言做个受人尊重,有理性和负责任的政党。我们重视每个选举,选民的信任和支持更时时提醒我们不能辜负选民的委托。》



刘程强在英语演讲的部分,首先感谢总理这么看得起工人党,这么快就要工人党组成替代政府,成立影子内阁。#2 但是,工人党有自知之明,六个中选议员如何组成一个影子内阁?哪来这么多资源?


I must thank PM Lee for reminding all of us that the Workers’ Party is still not large enough to have the resources to make alternative policies. In the Westminster parliamentary system, an alternative government must be complete with a shadow cabinet and ample resources for policy research to verify and propose alternative policies. Currently, we have a small group of professionals and academics working behind the scenes to help MPs scrutinise government policies. But expecting a party with 6 elected MPs to form an alternative government is premature and unrealistic.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Vote for Hougang II Vote for WP Vote for Ah Lian

Dr Koh Poh Koon wants to change the PAP from within. Is he behaving like a Mockingbird within the PAP? Mockingbirds are best known for the habit of some species mimicking the songs of other birds and the sounds of insects and amphibians, often loudly and in rapid succession. #1

Instead of voting for a Mockingbird, Punggol East voters must concentrate their votes on the best wining alternative candidate – WP Lee Li Lian. This will bring the opposition politics in Singapore to a new height. This will bring hope to other opposition parties in future general election. The withdrawal of SDP has indicated the importance of a straight fight with the PAP.  

Hougang II – is this possible?

Before talking about Hougang II, let revisit Hougang I in 1988 and 1991.

Hougang I
1988 GE
Tang Guan Seng (59%)
Lim Chiu Liang (41%)
1991 GE BE strategy
Tang Guan Seng (47.2%)
Low Thia Khiang (52.8%)
1988 Margin 3,641 (18%) in favour of the PAP
1991 Margin 1,134 (5.6%) in favour of WP

In the 1988 Hougang election, the PAP had 59% of the votes and enjoyed a comfortable margin of 18%.  However, in 1991, the table turned against the PAP and it had a negative margin of 5.6%.  Of course, the PAP lost Hougang.

Comparing to Punggol East, in 2011 GE, the PAP received 54.5% of the votes. The margin was 13.5%, lower than Hougang I’s 18%.  However, both WP candidates in 1988 and 2011 scored 41% respectively – a coincidence.  This means it is possible to turn the table against the PAP in 2013 and WP Lee Li Lian can win the election with a smaller margin (due to four-corner fight).  

So, we see the Hougang II in the making. The beginning of next lap in a new normal era and a change that is good for Singapore’s future.
After his victory was announced at 12.53 am, he said: “This is the beginning of the next lap.
“This is a change which I think is important to the development of society.”
-       Low Thia Khiang’s victory speech in 1991

Hougang II in Punggol East
2011 GE
Michael Palmer (54.5%)
Lee Li Lian (41%)
2013 BE
Koh Poh Koon
Lee Li Lian
2011 Margin 4,217 (13.5%)

Another coincidence is both WP candidates win the election in their second attempt: Low Thia Khiang first stood in 1988 in Tiong Bahru GRC and Lee Li Lian stands again in Punggol East, two years later in 2013.  

Low was 32 when he first stood in Tiong Bahru GRC and Lee at the same age in Punggol East for her first attempt. At this young age, they are energetic.  This is why Li Lain said she wanted to cover all the HDB flats in Punngol East.   

Because of this, the MSM has to show the energetic side of her opponent, PAP Koh Poh Koon:
<His busy campaign schedule means that Dr Koh is not keeping up with his rigorous fitness regimen. He used to run 10km on Sundays and do 30 chin-ups daily before he showered, on the bar he mounted in his toilet.> #2

Mockingbird wants to change from within

No matter what changes he wants to make, Koh still wants to keep his mockingbird nature, echoing the same messages ‘often loudly and in rapid succession’: 
<To him, however, the PAP government is a good one that has already set in motion policy changes since the watershed 2011 polls.
 "If the Government is already in the midst of change and it is moving in a direction that I think is the right direction, then it's better to be involved in the process of change from within," he said one Saturday night after a long day of campaigning.> #2
He only wants to be involved in the process of change NOT outside but INSIDE the PAP. Is “in the process of change” a change? Then, I am in the process to be a millionaire, am I a millionaire?

What is he echoing about?

* Paternity leave the right step: PAP's Koh

People's Action Party candidate for Punggol East, Dr Koh Poh Koon, said paid paternity leave is a step in the right direction, referring to one of the slew of measures announced by the government to encourage Singaporeans to start families.

* When the government announced 2 new MRT lines, he welcomed it.
* You may add more ....... 



Monday, 21 January 2013

榜鹅东 不要再有“后知后觉”的遗憾


何谓“后知后觉”?海峡时报前总编辑韩福光最近到访台湾,回来后发表了一篇名为:“The dirty truth about Singapore”《新加坡不光彩的事实》的观察文章。文章发表后,深获好评,本地读者认为他说出真相。



韩德光向在台湾工作的同事问到,为何台湾人这么有公德心?同事回答说,原因很多,特别是1987年解严后,政治与社会觉醒,更多人参与到与台湾有关的公众事务中,从而让大家有了更强的“本体意识”。 #1

韩福光的可爱之处,倒是自我承认对台湾了解不深。但是,他并不是没有阅读台湾的新闻,他了解的台湾是从报纸和电视上来的。他说,这些报道都是负面新闻。#2 韩福光并不是没有跟进台湾的情形,而是白读书,白看报纸。他怎么看到的都是负面新闻,一点好新闻,一点人情味都没有。








<Truth is I didn't know very much about Taiwan, not having visited for more than 20 years - I was last there on a brief news assignment.  >
<Much of what I knew came from reading the papers and watching the news on television, and it was mostly negative - the unruly politics, fist fights in Parliament, and headline-grabbing melodramatic elections (remember the mysterious shooting of then President Chen Shui-bian a day before the 2004 presidential election?). >