Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Integration Woes

You can take an immigrant out of his country, but can you take his country out of him?

Not by quite a long shot, it would seems

Just three more reasons below to remind the govt just why it has to really think through very carefully the implications and ramifications of its open door policy to the mass influx of immigrants:




1. TREATING PUBLIC SPACES LIKE THEIR OWN PRIVATE PROPERTY



2. DEFIANCE OF THE LAW



3. INSENSITIVE AND OFFENSIVE

Ethnic Integration Policy for housing still relevant: S Dhanabalan
Former Cabinet minister S Dhanabalan said Singapore’s Ethnic Integration Policy for housing is all the more relevant now given the country’s changing demographics, with more immigrants in the mix

Mr Dhanabalan, who was the National Development Minister when the Ethnic Integration Policy was introduced in 1989, was taking part in a radio forum on MediaCorp's 938Live.

Singapore's Ethnic Integration Policy was implemented to ensure a balanced mix of different ethnic groups. This is to prevent the formation of ethnic enclaves in public housing estates. 

The aim is to promote racial integration and foster harmonious living among ethnic communities.

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FOREIGNERS SHOULD RESPECT LOCAL NORMS, SAYS DPM TEO

Foreigners should respect local norms and locals should appreciate foreigners' contributions, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the National Community Engagement Programme dialogue on Saturday

In this excerpt, he also speaks about rising religiosity and the need to focus on what Singaporeans have in common, rather than emphasise the differences. 

Fundamental to Singapore's history and national identity is that we are an open and inclusive society, and we must always remain so.

Multi-racialism pervades all aspects of Singaporean life. We celebrate diversity, and respect the culture and practices of others. We focus on our commonalities rather than accentuate the differences.In spite of the differences in language, religion and culture, Singaporeans have come together as one people


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Our impending integration challenges


One possible outcome is that PRs and new citizens who share the same country of origin may converge on certain residential areas to form exclusive communities and social networks. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this is already happening with Indian nationals.

New citizens who live in such exclusive communities may not necessarily share common experiences with ordinary Singaporeans and may have little incentive to integrate. Ties to their country of origin may continue to be strong.

The question then is, will there be measures, perhaps akin to the existing Housing and Development Board ethnic quota policy, to ensure that new Singaporeans do not converge according to their country of origin? This, and other questions, will require definite answers long before 2030.

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INTEGRATION WOES: WRONG APPROACH TAKEN


Singapore is the only place in the world where new immigrants are given citizenship first before they integrated into society. This is also why there are aplenty of integration woes from Singaporeans denial to accept Olympic-winning Chinaporean sports talents to a Chinaporean hanging China flag during Singapore National Day period. The ease of getting Singapore citizenship also contributed to the integration woes with Chinaporeans like Feng Tian Wei getting fast-tracked citizenship in less than 2 years.

There is also no English test, no stringent interviews, no merit-based system in the awardance of citizenship in Singapore. As the birth rate of Singaporean Chinese hit a new low at 1.09, even masseurs from China were given permanent residency in order to maintain the racist racial quota policy. While PAP stop short of selling citizenship, it will only be a matter of time before they sell the whole country out to ensure their political dominance for the next 60 years

In the midst of getting more pro-PAP votes, the PAP government allowed the influx of foreigners and gave away as many permanent residency and new citizenships as possible. Permanent residents' population have increased 10% in just 3 years from, 0.48 million in 2008 to 0.53 million in 2011 [Link]. New citizens intake have also increased to an average of 18,000 every year since 2006, a NUS sociologist said that these 90,000 new citizens taken in from 2006 were likely to have voted for the ruling PAP government in GE2011 saying "when they converted their citizenship, that's their vote already" [Link]

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TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT SINGAPORE
 

Is that you? Are you brave enough to confront the problems in your country?

1. The weather
2. Censorship (and the treatment of Hokkien)
3. An unwillingness to show outsiders that they are unhappy with Singapore
4. Singapore chest beating
5. Insects / bugs / creepy-crawlies
6. Double-standards against foreigners (and racism)
7. Culturally rich but unimportant
8. Asian Family values?!?!?
9. Lack of political freedom
10. S377A of the Penal Code

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Look ahead to 10 million people by 2100?


Singapore should look beyond 2030 and plan for a more distant future - perhaps even one with 10 million people, former chief planner Liu Thai Ker said at a public forum on Saturday.

"The world doesn't end in 2030, and population growth doesn't end at 6.9 million," he said, referring to the planning parameter in the Government's White Paper on Population.

Singapore could do well to look ahead, perhaps to 2100 when it might have a population of 10 million, he suggested

Integration of immigrants: Easier when we have more in common

The new wave of Chinese immigrants, however, speak with a northern accent and possess a different vernacular and culinary culture, which make them distinct and more difficult for Singaporeans to accept.

Won't allowing in more immigrants from the southern provinces of China, with whom we share more common understanding, help them to assimilate with greater ease, while also facilitating greater acceptance?

Possibly, too, a similar situation applies to immigrants from the Indian sub-continent. 

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Chairman of Hua Yuan Association blames Singaporeans for tensions with new arrivals from China

The New York Times, 27 Jul 2012
Wang Quancheng, the chairman of the Hua Yuan Association, the largest organization representing mainlanders, said the government was not doing enough to help integrate new arrivals, but he also blamed Singaporeans for their intolerance and said many were simply jealous that so many Chinese immigrate here with money in their pockets. 


“Of course, the new arrivals are rich or else the government would have to feed them,” he said. “Some locals are very lazy and live off the government. When new immigrants come, they think it is competition, taking away their rice bowls.”

Yang Mu, a Beijing-born economist who moved here in 1992 and became a citizen three years later, acknowledges a host of superficial differences, saying he finds locals somewhat aloof, more likely to work late and less likely to spend the night commiserating over stiff drinks. Unlike Singaporeans, people from China, he said, would never split a dinner tab.

“I’ve voted in four elections now, and it is great to live in a country where you can trust people and trust the government,” said Mr. Yang, 66, who formed a local charity that teaches English to Chinese migrants. “I still don’t feel Singaporean,” he added. “The truth is, when I retire, I’ll probably move back to China.” Full story

Related:
PRC new citizen leader attacks Singaporeans for being ‘intolerant’ and ‘lazy’ - The Temasek Times


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Resolve unfairness felt by Singaporeans first before integrating foreigners

Although our government is right in calling upon Singaporeans to be more big-hearted and less narrow-minded in accepting foreigners, this sensible message is not going to go down well with Singaporeans unless the government accepts its fair share of blame for its terrible execution of the immigration policy.

My subsequent paragraphs will sound critical to the government but I am not criticizing for the sake of letting off steam. I sincerely feel Singaporeans' support for the government's sensible messages is vital to solve the foreigner problem. However, the government has to earn back our trust and the admission of their own mistakes is a first step to doing that.

The massive excessive influx of foreigners in a short time has created serious social divides within the Chinese and Indian segments of the population. The Malays feel alienated or even threatened as their numbers become fewer due to the influx. The Chinese segment is now divided between native Chinese Singaporeans and PRC foreigners/new citizens/PRs. The Indian segment is now divided between native Tamil Singaporeans and the non-Tamil non-native Indians. The problem may be worse for the Indians as some fair-skinned Indian foreigners may not have totally shed ancient notions of the Caste system and still carry a sense of superiority over our darker-skinned fellow Tamil Singaporeans. I am not an Indian. Can a fellow Indian Singaporean comment on my worry?

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Singaporeans and immigrants have to reach out to each other


Singaporeans and immigrants both have a part to play in helping the newcomers to settle down in our country.

That means employers, community and grassroots leaders, student leaders, and Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) have to work together with the immigrants to build social ties and fit into the Singapore landscape.

That was what Ms Grace Fu said in Parliament yesterday, Channel NewsAsia reported.
The message is that it is not just the Government who has to do the job of integrating immigrants into society.

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Singapore sets up fund to promote social integration

Singapore set up on Wednesday a fund of 10 million Singapore dollars (about 7.1 million U.S. dollars) to create more opportunities for immigrants and locals to enhance understanding. Singapore's National Integration Council said that the community integration fund will provide co-funding of up to 80 percent for integration projects over the next three years.

Integration projects refer to projects that provide opportunities for newcomers and locals to interact and communicate with each other, and improve their understanding of each other's culture, values and norms.

The council said the fund will help to ease the constraints currently faced by organizations interested in organizing integration projects but lack the required resources to do so. The Fund is open for application to all Singapore-registered non-profit organizations, societies and private companies.

related: Singapore sets up National Integration Council

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Remembering why we celebrate National Day


Today, Singapore society is pulled apart by several polarizing forces - widening gap between rich and poor,  unbalanced distribution of political power brought about by years of semi-authoritarian rule, and a sudden large influx of foreigners have caused integration issues. Loyal Singaporeans feel a need to pull our society back together  to be "one people" with a common purpose.  This goes beyond the "inclusive society" envisioned by our leaders that merely tries not to leave anyone out.

We want our roots to grow deeper ...extend and inter-wine with that of our fellow Singaporeans...we want shared success. measured by how well we care for the weakest, poorest and sickest among us. We want a society where people will fight for others willing to defend their fellow Singaporeans not only in war but also help each other during  peacetime when they are economically exploited or unjustly treated or left behind by progress.

We have to create something worth defending and that something is not the skyscrapers that makes up our impressive  affluent skyline but something intangible that is planted in the heart of every Singaporean...that makes Singaporeans to do something for each other because they feel they are much more than individuals because they are part of something bigger and more important...part of something that will be handed to future generationss - our common identity, our values, our ideals, our Pledge...One people, One Nation, One Singapore.

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Managing immigration: What Singapore can learn from others

What is particularly important is that Singapore actively manages the type of immigrants it brings in.
A targeted policy to attract immigrants based on particular skill and resource needs, in areas where there is a shortage of locals, will have positive impact on growth; but these resource gaps must be carefully defined and continually updated as Singapore’s economy develops over time, global demands change and demographics alter.

The social and political impacts should also be managed. Suitable immigrants should be willing to sink roots and grow their families here. It will be important to create a national consensus around the need for integration and to encourage greater acceptance of immigrants.

While Singapore already works hard to ensure that ethnic diversity is valued and social cohesion encouraged, it should consider developing a multicultural social cohesion policy which is fully integrated with the city’s strategic planning processes. There would be well-defined objectives and initiatives, with periodic monitoring of their implementation.

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Eurasians lament disappearing identity

As if Singaporeans did not have enough social problems to grapple with, such as the influx of foreigners, overcrowding and the Population White Paper debate, the Eurasian community have discovered that they are facing somewhat of an identity crisis.

On Saturday (23 Feb), 50 to 60 Eurasians met for lunch at the Eurasian Community House where they discussed the role of the Eurasian community in present and future Singapore.

The pow-wow was organized by the Eurasian Association (EA) as part of the government’s National Conversation. Starting at 12.30 pm, it went on well into the afternoon, lasting more than three hours. Invited were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and MP for West Coast GRC S. Iswaran, who represents the Eurasian community in Cabinet, and MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Christopher de Souza.

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Is this allowed? Residents proudly display Philippines flag outside home


STOMPer This is Singapore came across a picture online of a Philippines national flag being displayed outside their house unit.

Said the STOMPer: "Under the National Emblems (Control of Display) Act (CHAPTER 196), displaying of any National Emblems in public is strictly prohibited. 

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China flag at Kopitiam outlet makes me feel like a foreigner in my own country


STOMPer Gregory was concerned to see this China flag hung at the Kopitiam outlet at Pasir Ris West Plaza.

STOMPer Rachel also made an enquiry and a Pasir Ris West Plaza Management Office spokesperson said (Apr 18):

"Kopitiam at Pasir Ris West Plaza was having a Live big-screen screening for the Chinese F1 2011 Grand Prix last weekend.

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Resident displays China flag to mark Chinese National Day


This picture of a Chinese flag apparently hung on a HDB block was spotted on a local forum by iceboyboy. The picture has been making its rounds on the internet today (Oct 1), which is China's National Day.

China celebrates the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China today. An elaborate ceremony was held at Tian'anmen Square in the heart of Beijing to commemorate 60 years of Communist Party rule.

Another STOMPer, Ah Tiong, who also spotted the flag on the forum, said: 

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Why China flag up in NTU? Don't they know that this is illegal?


We all know students like to put things up in their rooms. Some hang up their favourite Ayumi posters, while others hang up flags. In this case, this hostelite hung up this China flag outside this dorm. Jumali says:

"I was on the bus 179 when I saw this flag displayed outside Hall of Residence Two, Block One.

"I took a snap and did a search on it.

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Tourists at Downtown East spotted bearing giant Vietnamese flag


STOMPer Ian was amused by the sight of this tour group at Downtown East bearing a giant Vietnamese flag.

The STOMPer wrote: "Is the Communist Party 'invading' Downtown East? 

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S'pore's National Day is approaching -- so what's up with this Swiss flag?



National Day is around the corner, so the sight of this Swiss flag among Singapore flags at a block of flats was unusual


STOMPer Gary commented: "Swiss National Day?"

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British flag found displaying at Casa Jervois Condo


A TRE reader has just sent in this photo. It showed a British flag displaying at the Casa Jervois Condo at 99 Jervois Road.

The reader said, “I was shocked this morning to see among all the flags celebrating our National Day, this British flag hanging out at a condo at 99 Jervois Road.”

He added, “Is the owner of the apartment trying to be funny? If this person is not Singaporean, he or she should show more respect (to Singapore).” 

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Police investigate woman who put up China flag: What about this Spanish one?


STOMPer Kalze noticed this Spanish flag hanging from a balcony at a condominium along Bukit Timah Road.

The STOMPer wrote: "Is this illegal too?

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Wake up, people! It's Singapore's National Day, not Indonesia's



While Singaporeans were anticipating the nation's National Day, STOMPer Disgrace saw something that irked her -- a flag that looked more like the Indonesian flag than the Singapore flag.
 

The STOMPer, who took the photo on Aug 7, said: "My friends and I were slacking the other day and coincidentally saw this flag which was an eyesore -- was this the SG flag or the Indonesian flag?"

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Hey, it's S'pore's birthday. Why hang Indonesian flag?


STOMPer KAyPOhKiANuM1 saw this flag, which looked like the Indonesian flag, in the Choa Chu Kang area.

He said: "This was founded in the Choa Chu Kang area...it was quite funny.

"Come on, put your spirit on, as August 9 is Singapore's birthday, not Indonesia's 

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related: Immigrants and Integration Woes

Monday, 29 April 2013

Seditious Tendency

THE RETURN OF THE SEDITION ACT FOR THE INTERNET


The Sedition Act has made its comeback. The last time it was used was in 2008 when a Christian couple deliberately distributed Christian material to Muslims for conversion purposes. The sentece was 8 weeks jail. However, it was the Internet that paved the way for the Sedition Act to reappear as deterrence and punishment in 2005.

In three cases that year, three individuals were charged with the Sedition Act for making anti-Malay and anti-Muslim Internet postings. The sentences were a day in jail and fine, a month in jail and one 24 months of community work. Hence, being charged and sentenced under the Sedition Act is not as horrible as being charged under vandalism. 

This week, cartoonist Leslie Chew from Demon-cratic was charged with the Sedition Act supposedly for his comic insinuating that the PAP government was racist and marginalised the Malay community. Leslie might be a mediocre comic artist and his comics are not slick compared to My Sketchbook or Cartoon Press, and even quite one-sided with a huge dosage of populist naivety e.g. when he dumbed down the foreign labour argument. However, although he is a so-so and shallow political commentator, he is not seditious, compared to those sentenced in 2005 and 2008. Even Amy Cheong , who was let off with a warning, was more seditious than Leslie as Amy was outright racist in her comments.

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Singapore police manhunt nabs suspect three days after war memorial is vandalised



Police caught up with the suspected vandal (centre) three days after the Cenotaph war memorial in Singapore (below) was defaced with paint. The ensuing manhunt was a good dress rehearsal which validated SOPs for tracking and apprehending a person of interest

The phrase "this is no drill" could aptly describe the manhunt for the person(s) who defaced the Cenotaph war memorial in the heart of Singapore city with red spray paint.

After just three days, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) paid a visit to the suspected vandal, a 32-year-old man. The look on his smug face when that knock on the door came would be a work of art. There he is in the picture (above) released by the SPF.

The SPF said today that officers from Central Police Division nabbed the suspect at about 11:30am this morning.

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In danger of silencing the voices that care

I’m a small fry. My web stats will tell you as much. But it hasn’t stopped me from speaking my mind about iffy issues people don’t usually feel comfortable talking about. Sure, it’s gotten me in trouble before (mostly with my wife), but that’s The Blogfather for you.

Which is why I’m quite concerned about the state of the blogosphere over the last few months, or rather, the state against the blogosphere; Bertha Harian has the lowdown, as well as a sort-of “word of warning” for us budding online social commentators. Most recently, though, the social networks are erupting with news of Demon-cratic Singapore’s creator Leslie Chew getting arrested over 2 comic strips he created that allegedly contained “seditious” material. Die-hard fans are up in arms, critics of his work are going, “Meh”, and people everywhere that like to discuss government policy, social adventures and misadventures, and other hot topics are suddenly sitting with their legs tightly crossed and a little pee in their knickers.

I remember the first time I encountered a blogger getting into trouble for writing something a member of the state felt wasn’t appropriate. It was way back in 2006, and the blogger was Mr Brown. Following his story from all the way back then to where he is now, I have to admit he’s become a major influence in what I write, as well as the way I write. Sure, the fella’s funny, but satire aside, the dude’s got balls, too. More than that, he loves this country enough to continue making fun of it despite the problems it’s caused him.

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Government should withdraw actions against bloggers

The SDP is concerned about recent legal actions or threats of legal action issued by various Government departments.

Websites such as EDMW Loves Singapore and The Real Singapore that had commented or carried comments on the outcome of the courts were ordered by the Attorney-General's Chambers to remove the offending posts.

The Council for Private Education has threatened a 21-year-old blogger with a defamation lawsuit for comments related to the Council. Cartoonist, Mr Leslie Chew, was arrested for sedition and questioned for almost three days over his cartoons. Freelance journalist, Ms Lynn Lee, has been warned that action may be taken against her for filming SMRT bus drivers who were convicted for going on a strike.

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Sedition charge would send wrong signals about managing race

Race and religion form the third rail of Singapore politics. They lie in the deep, dark recesses of our national life, ready to strike the reckless and the ignorant with an untamable force. Most Singaporeans – even many liberals – believe that freedom of expression should not apply in the vicinity of this third rail. As a result, they not only accept the laws that govern racially or religiously offensive speech, they have even been known to push for strong enforcement.

Now, a 37-year-old cartoonist Leslie Chew is under investigation for a possible breach of the Sedition Act. One of the cartoons that apparently earned the authorities' attention attacks the "racist government" of "Demon-cratic Singapore", including a leader who "abhors Malays". No reader would have the slightest doubt that this is a criticism of the Singapore government's race policies, so protestations that this is a purely fictional strip are unlikely to impress any judge.

However, let's hope that the case doesn't get that far. While the law gives the authorities the green light to take forceful action, that does not mean they have to go all the way.

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ONLINE CRITICS: They cannot be ignored

What does DPM Tharman make of all the online critics of the Government? He says some bloggers are quite thoughtful, but there needs to be more balance still.

ST: What do you make of the harsh views of the Government and on its policies on so-called anti-Government websites and Facebook pages? Do you take them seriously?

A: Well, it cannot be ignored and I think so far, on balance, the fact that you've got an active social media is a plus. It'll go through phases. I think it's still evolving. We're still in a phase where it is overwhelmingly critical of Government, not all, but overwhelmingly, and that I think it is understandable. You know, that's the way it starts. And I think there are now more serious bloggers and some very thoughtful bloggers who have views of their own that are not just motivated by wanting to hit at the Government but they want to express their thoughts and they're worth reading and listening to. Over time, hopefully, there will be a bit more of a debate, an even debate in the online media. We don't have it yet but you can see it gradually emerging and that's a situation that I think we want to come to. It is a plus that you have social media because a lot more people are involved in commenting and thinking about issues but it's got to evolve further, so that it matures and you've got a more even-handed disposition.

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Blogger files High Court application challenging statutory board’s legitimacy to sue for defamation

Landmark case to protect Singaporeans from defamation lawsuits by public bodies 

In the first case of its kind in Singapore, 21-year-old local blogger Han Hui Hui has applied to the High Court for a declaration that the Council for Private Education (CPE), a statutory body under the Ministry of Education (MOE), is not entitled to bring any defamation action against her.

Her counsel, human rights lawyer M Ravi, is arguing that the freedom of speech and expression, enshrined in article 14 of the Singapore Constitution, protects citizens from any defamation proceedings by the government and public bodies. The right to sue for defamation is reserved only for individuals and private entities, and not public bodies.

The CPE had threatened Ms Han with defamation proceedings by way of letter of demand through their lawyers, Allen and Gledhill, following two emails they received from Ms Han, which they regard as defamatory. Ms Han now seeks protection against this threat via the constitution and the ordinary laws of the land.

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Singapore Attorney-General's Chambers mulls action against filmmaker Lynn Lee
Asian Correspondent, 21 Apr 2013
Channel NewsAsia has reported that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) are considering whether to take action against documentary filmmaker Lynn Lee after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) found that allegations made by ex-SMRT bus drivers in interviews she carried out were baseless.

He Jun Ling and Liu Xiang Ying had granted interviews to Lee after they had been charged for inciting bus strikes in late 2012 that saw over 100 SMRT bus drivers from China refusing to go to work.

In the interviews, they alleged that they had been beaten and threatened by their interrogators. Lee then posted their allegations on her blog, saying that they were “serious allegations” that had to be “addressed urgently”. Full story

Related:
  1. Local Filmmaker Lynn Lee Recounts Her Ordeal at Internal Affairs Office
  2. Filmmaker Lynn Lee investigated by police over SMRT bus drivers' video interviews
  3. Ex-SMRT PRC drivers allege being slapped and punched by Singapore police



CONTROLLING THE PEOPLE IN SINGAPORE


It seems that in recent months, the government is beginning to move along in its new approach more decisively and speedily – by targeting the law at individual Singaporeans. This can be seen in the numerous cases that have already cropped up just in the first 4 months of 2013 alone, be them threats or arrests of individual Singaporeans.

Yet, all this while, the government is acting on a new two-prong strategy:
  • First, identity whatever Singaporeans are doing online to successfully rally themselves, and curb their abilities to use them, and
  • Second, transfer these successful ‘methods’ for the government’s own use.
What do I mean by this? You can see the government use this in some aspects – in the sector of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), for example, the government had identified NGOs which are not in line with their wants and they would create new organisations to render these NGOs not in their favour irrelevant.

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Race, Responsible Speech and a Hasty Response

If we desire freedom, we must take the verbal 'shit' that comes with it and be able to walk on unfazed, unbothered and unconcerned.  Remember this:  Sticks and stones may break my bones.  Words can never hurt me

Let me start this out with the following images.  I am a Hindu.  There'd be some expectation that I should be offended by the following images:



The image of a Hindu deity on a pair of shoes can be quite insulting.  Shoes are often accorded a 'lowly' status and taking out one's shoes and waving it at another is considered both an insult as well as a threat.  So, an image of Lord Vishnu on a pair of shoes would ordinarily (and should, objectively speaking) offend a Hindu.


If having an image of a deity on shoes is bad, this image of Lord Ganesha on slippers takes the cake.

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Strike Out! Forum Highlights Labour and Civil Rights

“This is not about local versus migrant workers. If migrant workers won’t be exploited, locals will not be displaced. The moment you underpay migrant workers, you undercut local workers. If workers don’t feel respected, why would they work hard for the company?”

Expanding on that, Mr Goh said, “Foreign workers are like cheap drugs. Companies do not want to invest in productivity if they can hire foreign workers. Some of the blame is on SMEs for not wanting to invest in advanced equipment.”

In his closing remarks, Mr Samydorai added, “Why are we looking differently at each other? I think the basis of human beings is us respecting each other as equals. What is preventing us from treating each other as equals?”

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WHAT'S THE STAND ON POLITICIANS SERVING IN NGOS AND VWOS?

I refer to the statement by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim to the effect that money given by the state to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) should not be used "for the purpose of creating a platform for people to be involved in partisan politics" ("AMP director quits, alleging official pressure"; Wednesday)

A number of People's Action Party (PAP) MPs currently serve as advisers or board members of VWOs and NGOs that are in receipt of state funds. While they may be serving in their personal capacities rather than in their capacity as MPs, their service would tend to generate visibility and political capital for these politicians and their political party, in this case, the PAP

If politicians of only one party - the PAP - can serve in VWOs or NGOs that are positioned as non-partisan and accept state funds on that basis, while politicians of other parties cannot do so without the VWO or NGO being deemed partisan and ineligible for state funding for that reason alone, this is in effect politicising the VWO/NGO sector in favour of the ruling party

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The Untapped Power of Youth Activism


Unlike their international counterparts, Singaporean Youths here are unable to reach their fullest potential in being a changemaker.

Community service is popular among my peers in Singapore. However most people’s impression of it is confined to managing the effect of policies i.e. help the poor, help the animals. If youths want to speak out against government policies and decisions, they have to do so through govt-regulated platforms such as writing letters to our state-controlled mainstream media;  participating in PAYM forums, Singapore conversation or the grand school organized “ministerial forums” and “dialogue sessions”.

Thus, avenues for one to make a real fundamental change to policies which causing these effects are extremely limited.



Obstacles in place obstructing oppositions in Parliament

Many PAP MPs & NMPs rarely attend parliamentary debates while they attend to their lucrative professions and commercial directorships. Like Ms. Tan Shu Shan did not attend the initial 6.9M Population WP debate and vote and then, she attended later on to COS debate on need to import Foreign Talent.

So, PAP MPs always have fullest and detailed statistics and down to %, number, growth rate, and etc, like they are the walking encyclopedia. Because PAP MPs have been appointed to the working -committees to get insight. So, they are all singing from the same old song sheet without having to do detailed research, due diligence analysis, critical and independent thinking, going down to the ground to get the feel of people.

That is why of all failed policies from PAP with no 20/20 hindsight – tunnel vision because everyone sings the same old song sheet with praises and muted feed backs. None offers any out-of-box analysis, thinking, new and innovative criticisms and suggestions.

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Using The Law Against The People

It is with much regret and dismay that I read about the arrest of Leslie Chew in Yahoo Singapore, “the person behind the cartoon strip Demon-cratic Singapore, on Friday morning, for alleged sedition. He was held in custody and questioned over the weekend, and was released at 8.45pm on Sunday after posting bail of S$10,000.”

As Kirsten Han @kixes had mentioned on Twitter and on her blog #spuddings, “this is particularly significant as the news of this arrest has follows hard on the heels of the Attorney-General’s Chambers sending letters to websites demanding that they take down posts and issue apologies for comments deemed in contempt of court, and telling the media that it is considering taking action against a journalist who interviewed two of the ex-SMRT bus drivers involved in last year’s strike.”

This also follows from the charges of mischief that the artist, Samantha Lo, aka The Sticker Lady and her ‘accomplice, Anthony Chong, are facing for “spraying the words “My Grandfather Road” on sections of Maxwell Road and Robinson Road” and pasting “circular stickers at public places … (which) bore captions such as “Press once can already” and “Press until shiok”.” They were initially threatened to be charged with vandalism.

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Silencing the online community, curbing civic activism?


When people really organize their own ground up projects for causes they feel strongly for, they feel more connected to and have a sense of ownership over the cause. I feel that is akin to your wife/ girlfriend cooking for you or cooking together.. instead of dabaoing in a kopitiam as usual.

By giving people more power to have a say and play a role in shaping their nation’s future, I believe it will increase their sense of ownership, belonging and love for this country.

That is exactly what we need now when our national identity has been increasingly eroded due to internationalization.

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TRS WILL NOT APOLOGISE TO THE SINGAPORE COURT DESPITE LEGAL THREATS


As some of you may be aware, a number of Facebook pages were issued letters from the Attorney-General’s Chamber Singapore demanding the removal of certain posts and comments claiming a contempt of court. (See: Facebook Pages Served Letters from AGC Regarding Contempt Of Court)

We would like to remind readers that comments that question the integrity of the judiciary are considered to be a contempt of court ; this includes implying that the courts are unjust, bias, unfair, corrupt, or any other similar allegations. We hope that this might clarify the issue for some readers to help prevent it occurring again in the future. 

Our effort to educate readers and remove the infringing comments, however, doesn’t seem to be enough for the AGC. Below is a copy of the emails exchanged between The Real Singapore and Jin Haw LI from the AGC:

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AGC demands apology from websites over verdict backlash

Singapore's Attorney-General Chambers (AGC) has issued a take-down letter and demanded an apology from several websites over posts which it said cast doubt on the judiciary's integrity.

The Attorney-General Chambers (AGC) has issued take-down letters and demanded apologies from several websites over posts which it said cast doubt on the judiciary's integrity in a case involving a China national

The websites and Facebook pages involved had suggested that a Singapore court had been lenient to Yuan Zhenghua, 31, who hijacked a taxi last year and crashed it into the driveway of Changi Airport's budget terminal, killing a Malaysian airport worker. Yuan, a technician, was sentenced by a district court to 25 months in jail Monday.

Singaporeans took to Internet websites and Facebook pages to criticise the verdict, prompting the AGC to issue letters asking for an apology and that the postings be taken down.

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