June 05, 2009
Hri Kumar said:
My suggestion in Parliament last week to allow the PM to appoint Ministers from outside the pool of MPs has attracted support, criticism and speculation.
Some people speculated I was putting forward the suggestion on someone else's instructions. That is not how things work. No one tells me what to say or vets my speeches. The first time the leaders knew of my speech was when they heard me in Parliament.
Recommended by Anonymous Coward: "PAP MP puts forward case for unelected cabinet ministers."
May 18, 2009
A video made by Singaporean is being selected as the finalist representing the East Asia Pacific Region in a competition being organized by the American Government. The job is simple, "Create a short video to complete the phrase "Democracy is..." Over 900 videos from 95 countries are submitted and after going through 2 rounds of judging, the video is now one of the Top 18 finalists.
Recommended by padderay: "Let's lend our support to our fellow singaporeans and vote for their video!"
March 24, 2008
An intriguing starting point would be what I have described elsewhere as the special and unique Lee Kuan Yew model of governance for Singapore. It is so successful that today it can be said to be a major Singapore export. For notice how eagerly countries as diverse as China, India, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, seek Mr Lee’s advice on their various economic projects.
A brief description of the model could be something like this: Its goal—total economic success. The kind of leadership needed—a completely efficient, hard-working, disciplined and above all, incorruptible government. The means by which such a government can achieve the goal—any means, even measures unpopular with the people or denounced by the outside world as undemocratic, as long as they get rid of the obstacles in the way. The most detested obstacle—political opponents who dare challenge the government openly and stridently. The most effective strategy against them—the use of fear to break them completely. And the most fearful tool of all—the defamation lawsuit reducing the opponent to permanent financial ruin. Mr Lee has rather proudly described what he calls his ‘knuckleduster’ approach, and has famously declared that he would rather be feared than liked.
This model of governance, useful for the rough early years when Mr Lee had to come down hard on Communist sympathizers, unruly trade unionists, racist newspaper editors and triads, must today seem like a relic of a bygone age. In its utter disregard of human feeling, it must be repulsive to the modern sensibility.
Recommended by at82: "Catherine Lim's incisive commentary on the need for a change in Singapore's model of governance. "
March 12, 2008
Singapore Democrats said:
Starting with Mr Lim Kit Siang who was an ISA detainee himself for years. The leader of the DAP was also convicted and jailed under the Official Secret's Act.
His son Mr Lim Guan Eng, now the Chief Minister-elect of Penang, spent 12 months in prison for criticising the government's handling of a rape case involving a BN official.
Mr Anwar Ibrahim, the one who broke away from former prime minister Mahathir and led the reformasi movement in 1998, was himself jailed for six years.
One of those who rallied around Mr Anwar in his dark years was Mr Tian Chua, Chief Information officer of PKR. Mr Chua suffered ISA detention for two years. He regularly graces the pages of our newspapers with photographs of the police dragging him away during protests.
Mr M Manoharan, a brand new member of parliament, was elected from his prison cell in Kamunting camp, Malaysia's version of the Whitley Road Detention Centre. The DAP man has been detained without trial after he led the Hindraf protests.
Recommended by Anonymous Coward: "Democracy happens because of the sacrifices made by the selfless folks who put your well-being ahead of their own — those who put themselves at risk by challenging the injustice of the status quo to bring about change for the rest of us."
December 05, 2007
Double Take said:
He [Shimon Peres] wrote: “In my opinion, there was an accumulation of events and processes that together brought about Labour’s downfall. In general, movements of social reform reach peaks – and then slowly sink into sloth and fatigue.
Power provides comfort and security, but it also steadily erodes and corrupts. People in power begin to enjoy the trappings and benefits of power, often falling into self-pity and self-justification.
They harp on how hard they work and on how heavy a responsibility they must shoulder.
They become insensitive to one of the infallible principles of politics in a democracy: the more one enjoys wielding power, the likelier one is to lose it….
Party machines and party hierarchies, created originally to serve the noblest goals, become bloated and parasitical in the eyes of the people….
The fire that burned in the bones of the founding fathers abated with time.
Even these great social experiments (the collective kibbutz and co-operative moshav) began to pall, radiating elitism, selfishness and apathy, rather than concern for and involvement in the problems of society.”
Recommended by at82: "Historically, Singapore has been in much less danger of annihilation than Israel. Yet Israel has a functioning democracy, which allows opposing political parties to replace each other in government. What has stopped Singapore from enjoying this “luxury”?"
November 12, 2007
October 17, 2007
Benjamin Cheah said:
Lee's explanation, albeit indirect, was that Singapore was democratic, in a manner unknown to Western preconceptions -- not that it answered the question at all. He illustrated this using the Group Representative Constituency sustem in 1988, justifying it by saying that it was neccessary for minority participation in politics.
But this is not true. Joshua Benjamin Jeyaratnam, Shunmugam Jayakumar, Suppiah Dhanabalan, Devan Nair, Sinnathamby Rajaratnam, and Abdullah Tarmugi did not need the GRC system to be elected to Parliament. In fact, the GRC system was implemented after Jeyaratnam became an elected member of Parliament. It was probably a measure to further strengthen the government's hold on political power, given that the Opposition now has to find minority candidates, field a team, and raise sufficient funds to contest any given GRC. The Opposition, dwarfed by the ruling People's Action Party, would naturally find it harder to contest a GRC as a result. This is not democracy; the Opposition has been further handicapped in what was supposed to be free and fair. Democracy has therefore been compromised. Ironically, such an example is used to prop up a point that is supposed to indicate a degree of democracy in Singapore.
Recommended by at82: "How do MM Lee explain the fact the 1st opposition candidate to be elected in 1981 and re-elected in 1984, Mr JBJ, is a Indian whose opponent is Chinese? Surely this could not be racial politics at work!"
April 04, 2006
A majority of the Southeast Asian student groups at Brown University focus on promulgating the cultural aspects of Southeast Asia . However, insufficient attention has been paid to socio-political developments, especially in consideration with a US-dominated global political as well as cultural scene.
The Singaporean community at Brown University is attempting to breach this gap by organizing a Singapore Lecture Series, a forum that focuses on international relations and democratization, for prominent Singaporeans who have taken initiatives in the unfolding of their lives, to enter into discussion with Singaporean students from the Northeastern region of the US and other non-Singaporean Brown students.
Recommended by Anonymous Coward: "They brought in Francis Seow and Colin Goh last year. This will be a subsequent continuation of the lecture series. Singaporeans from Top Universities across America will be attending this. Brown University, will be for two days, the place in America with the highest concentration of brilliantly intellectual Singaporean Youth. The movers and shakers of Singapore Society Tomorrow."