Wednesday, 28 June 2017

From Public Apology to Calling for Public Confidence, Is this a Political Crisis or a PAP Reformation in the making?

    First, PM Lee Hsien Loong made a public apology to Singaporeans - the first in Singapore history.  And then, DPM Tharman called for public confidence - another first in Singapore history. It makes Oxley House disputes or allegations clearly not a family matter.       

In Singapore, the government led by the Prime Minister has enjoyed high prestige and reputation. This is why in defamation cases, the prime minister can enjoy higher damage payment.  And we usually see people saying sorry to the prime minister and hardly we see our prime minister or ministers saying sorry to Singaporeans. (except election time).

The government never says sorry because they have high confidence. In the past 60 years, with Internal Security Act, the PAP government has shown great confidence in public administration. It is strange to call for public confidence if this is only a family affair.  Throughout the years, even in the passing year of Lee Kuan Yew, the government never has such a calling.

Because Oxley House is now an international news. The calling of confidence is targeting international investors, foreign governments, international organisations and bodies.  They are wondering why a safe haven country gets into a mess just because of a house.  

A stable country and her institutions are alleged to act under fear and favor. Is there a political crisis arising from the miscalculation of Lee Hsien Loong? Is he underestimating the danger, damage or challenge as the Oxley House dispute is at least two years already? Or simply, PM Lee never considers such damage and allegation can threaten the stability of Singapore.  He has underestimated the intelligence of his siblings.      

Of course, foreigners also look at the allegations raised by PM Lee’s sister and brother. How independent is the judiciary if foreign investments or companies get into troubles with local administration or local companies? Is there a “big brother’ monitoring my investment or company activities?

Public apology is for local consumption and international confidence is to ensure foreigners Singapore remains a safe hevan.

Singaporeans may get used to the allegations as we have seen people being challenged and sued in Courts. But foreigners, except journalists, do not have such experience. Even PM Lee says most allegations are not accurate, however, it seems there are some or ‘little’ allegations are true.  Can these allegations be the critical ones resulting a public confidence calling?

Anyhow, PM Lee is only prepared to answer these allegations in parliament.  He is going to use this platform to answer or argue his case.  Is this his ‘own’ political crisis or a political crisis of the People’s Action Party?

It reminds me of the Protestant Reformation that challenges the Roman Catholic authority in Rome.

The Protestant Reformation was the 16th-century religious, political, intellectual and cultural upheaval that splintered Catholic Europe, setting in place the structures and beliefs that would define the continent in the modern era. In northern and central Europe, reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin and Henry VIII challenged papal authority and questioned the Catholic Church’s ability to define Christian practice. They argued for a religious and political redistribution of power into the hands of Bible- and pamphlet-reading pastors and princes.
In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max  Weber wrote that capitalism in Northern Europe evolved when the Protestant (particularly Calvinist) ethic influenced large numbers of people to engage in work in the secular world, developing their own enterprises and engaging in trade and the accumulation of wealth for investment. In other words, the Protestant work ethic was an important force behind the unplanned and uncoordinated emergence of modern capitalism. (wikipedia)

At the same time, there was a counter reformation. The Catholic Reformation was the intellectual counter-force to Protestantism. The desire for reform within the Catholic Church had started before the spread of Luther. Many educated Catholics had wanted change – for example, Erasmus and Luther himself, and they were willing to recognise faults within the Papacy.

The Oxley House dispute is centred around Lee Kuan Yew value. Demolition or not represents different values - Lee Hsien Loong version (conservative view?) and LKY’s wish (reform view? Starting from zero). It is like a mini reformation and counter reformation.  

We also note that Lee Hsien Yang has said he is not an opposition. He wants to see changes within the system - a reformed PAP.

No matter what type of reformation Hsien Yang is aiming, he has enlightened Singaporeans and highlighted the allegations openly outside parliament.

Singapore needs a rethink and revaluation of Lee Kuan Yew value or legacy. It is again not a family matter. Singapore’s future depends on how we redefine Lee Kuan Yew value.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

一种价值,两种诠释。 人民行动党走向分裂,还是内化?每个新加坡人都应该关心不同诠释下的不同国运结果。

天篇: 谁的境界高?
天一: 宗教改革
天二: 领悟有无
天三: 李显龙只看到眼前的实体

地篇: 分裂vs内部改革?
地一: 巫统党争
地二:     蛛丝马迹 - 行动党内部纷争
地三: 李显扬只认内部反对
人篇: 新加坡何去何从?




先秦儒家的发展,到了孟子和荀子,就出现性本善和性本恶的内部诠释。当然,有些儒者,并不认同荀子。 到了宋明理学,也出现诠释上的不同。不过,除了儒家,中华大地,还有道家和佛家。这才让中国变得多姿多彩。

天篇: 谁的境界高?

天一: 宗教改革


宗教改革(英语:Protestant Reformation)是指基督教在16世纪至17世纪的教派分裂改革運動,也是新教形成的開端,由馬丁·路德約翰·加爾文慈運理,以及其他早期新教徒发起。1517年,路德发表的《九十五条论纲》引发了宗教改革的开始。改革者反对当时天主教會的教条、仪式、领导和教会组织结构。在他们的努力下,新的国家性的改革派教會被建立。早期的一些发生在欧洲的事件(如黑死病的蔓延和天主教會大分裂)侵蚀了人们对天主教会和教宗的信仰,但教義上的歧見才是引发宗教改革的關鍵。其他一些因素(如文艺复兴思想的传播、印刷术的传播、东罗马帝国的灭亡)也都促成了新教的创立。虽然先于路德就已经有一些较大的改革运动,但大多数人认为宗教改革开始于1517年路德发表《九十五条论纲》,结束于1648年签订威斯特伐利亚和约结束三十年戰爭#

在宗教改革前,对于圣经的诠释,只有一种版本 - 罗马教皇的拉丁文版本。但是,由于罗马天主教会的腐败,欧洲其他地方就出现地区性的不同(和不同语文)诠释。这么一来,对于圣经的解释,教条,礼拜等,就出现不同版本的诠释。这导致不同派别的基督新教的产生。新教的出现对于后来的(英国和北欧,北美)资本主义发展产生了很大的影响。

同样的,在罗马教会里,为了反制新教,反对宗教改革(Counter Reformation),开明的天主教派别也出现,这种内部改革的运动,也称为Catholic Reformation。这些开明天主教会,在开始的时候,也不为教皇所接受,但是,最后的发展,天主教的发展,海外扩张,就是依靠这些忠诚的传教士,著名的人物包括:圣芳济和利玛窦。



天二: 领悟有无


此偈见于敦煌写本《坛经》。关于这首诗的来历,《坛经》第四节至第八节,有明白的记载:五祖弘忍“一日唤门人尽来”,要大家“各作一偈”。并说“若悟大意者”,即“付汝衣法,禀为六代。”弘忍的上首弟子神秀在门前写了一偈道:“身是菩提树,心如明镜台。时时勤拂拭,莫使有尘埃。”弘忍知道后,“遂唤秀上座于堂内”,说是“汝作此偈,见即未到”,“若觅无上菩提,即未可得”,因而要他“更作一偈”。而“秀上座去数日,作不得。”惠能的偈语(见下图),即针对神秀的《无相偈》而发。据《坛经》所载,惠能本不识字,他先“请人一读”神秀的偈语,然后作此歌偈,“请得一解书人于西间壁上题着”。 这首偈,同神秀的那一首,在修行方法上具有原则的区别。神秀的那首“无相偈”,使他失去作为弘忍继承人的资格,却成了北宗一派的开山祖。由于神秀强调“时时勤拂拭”,后人以其主张“拂尘看净”,称之为“渐修派”。而惠能的这一首,是对神秀偈的彻底否定,也即主观唯心主义对客观唯心主义的彻底否定,直接把握住“见性成佛”的关键,被称为“顿悟派”。

李显龙要保留李光耀故居,很显然的就是看到实际的物,保留下来,随时可以利用一番。李光耀和李光耀遗愿执行人看到无和空,一种凌驾在实际物体上的精神 - 本来无一物,何处惹尘埃。

天三: 李显龙只看到眼前的实体



这种看不透务实以外,实体以外的价值判断,没有与时并进的考虑问题,没有看到无和空的用处,李显龙和接班人能够带领新加坡走多远?而且,李显龙和他的部长们,似乎也不愿意看到内部改革,因为,他们相信自己还处于宗教改革前的天主教会 - 教皇是唯一诠释圣经的权威,不可以被挑战。


地篇: 分裂vs内部改革?



地一: 巫统党争




地二: 蛛丝马迹 - 行动党内部纷争

人民行动党有没有党争?在1961年,就出现一次巨大的党争 -社会主义阵线的出现。之后,通过各种手段,行动党稳稳当当的过了50年。

在过去的这么多年中,是否有蛛丝马迹的内部改革,还是分裂的现象?在1980年代,李光耀要求第一代领导人退出政府后,有一部分领导人表示不满。在1987年行动党政府,大规模的动用内安法,但是,当时对付的对象,已经从50,60 年代主要以华校生为主的对象,转为英校生和天主教教徒。 内安法也不过只在行动党内部产生一些杂音罢了。



地三: 李显扬只认内部反对



因此,李玮玲和李显扬提出和哥哥不同的诠释,不但可以被理解,甚至应该加以支持。因为,如果他们的出发点,是要推动一种类似内部的天主教改革(Catholic Reformation),这对新加坡来说是有利的。





人篇: 新加坡何去何从?


Friday, 16 June 2017

Beyond Oxley Road, the moral of the story is FEAR, and perhaps Enlightenment to learn another route.

The Oxley Road House saga is not a simple family affair.  It touches on the future of Singapore beyond the Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy - our future direction, with or without fear as a mean of administration. It is time we learn and enlighten ourselves from this unfortunate development.    

What has happened to Lee Kuan Yew’s values?# A joint statement issued by Dr Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang reminds us to think over and again how we progress in the past 50/60 years as well as the mistakes we made at the same time.

For ordinary citizens, especially, critics and opposition members, fear is a common challenge in the past and in the present. We need to revalue LKY’s legacy to see how to remove the fear factor, with or without Lee Hsien Loong in the future.

PM Lee Hsien Loong claims the statement contains untrue allegations. However, in some countries, these allegations will lead to Parliament investigations or Congressional enquiry. Here are some examples:

Source: internet     

Some of the allegations in the statement:

  • We were shocked to see that Hsien Loong had used his position as Prime Minister to obtain a copy of the Deed of Gift from Minister Lawrence Wong

  • Hsien Loong’s then personal lawyer, Lucien Wong. Lucien Wong was made Singapore’s Attorney-General in January 2017.

  • Hsien Loong, despite his undertakings to recuse himself, proceeded to make extensive representations to the Committee.

  • the role of his wife, Ho Ching. Ho Ching holds no elected or official position in government, her influence is pervasive, and extends well beyond her job purview.

  • He (LHL) wanted to assert in Parliament that Lee Kuan Yew had changed his mind, hoping to inherit the faith Singaporeans had in Lee Kuan Yew through the visible symbol of the house.

Do we want to continue living the same way without changes? Shall we enlighten ourselves from the Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy?  After so many rounds of general elections, the parliament still cannot help Singaporeans to remove their fear. Is this a legacy we want to keep?

FEAR#1    The Future of Singapore
In the statement, Wei Ling and Hsien Yang are worrying about Singapore.
Without Lee Kuan Yew, especially his values, what is our future? Our direction and principles?

FEAR#2    Loss of Lee Kuan Yew’s Spirit and Value
The statement seems to suggest PM Lee Hsien Loong cannot be trusted to carry on LKY’s values.
We have to re-visit LKY’s values and make improvements.  If we are satisfied with his values, the fear factors will not go away.  Singaporeans, therefore, need enlightenment from Lee Kuan Yew’ s legacy.

FEAR#3    Lack of Checks and Balances
The statement also mentions about “We are concerned that the system has few checks and balances to prevent the abuse of government.”  For too long, Singapore’s one-party rule has contributed to the lack of checks and balances. If we have no confidence on PM Lee Hsien Loong, we need to find a solution or an alternative.  

FEAR#4    Interventions
Without checks and balances, interventions of government affairs or appointments can be expected. The statement gives some examples. (see above allegations)  

FEAR#5    Personal Safety
It is clear that ‘Hsien Yang feels compelled to leave Singapore’. It can be due to personal safety or unhappy living here under a ‘big brother omnipresent’.
The statement says “We feel hugely uncomfortable and closely monitored in our own country.”
People within the establishment are under ‘closely monitored’, what about ordinary people?

FEAR#6    4th Generation Leadership
The statement implies that the so-called succession plan of fourth generation leadership of Singapore is a flaw - “We also believe, based on our interactions, that they harbour political ambitions for their son, Li Hongyi.”
The succession plan maybe just a ‘wayang’ - a plan to confuse Singaporeans.  
If this is true, voters will need to be enlightened.

FEAR#7    Further control on social media
The statement is using Facebook to reach the public. The mainstream media has no control over the full text but can choose what to publish. Certainly, this is not a fake news.
What will be the next step for PM Lee to contain and control social media?  

This is well beyond the Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy.

Singaporeans have to decide.

# You can read the full statement here