Tag Archive | "Chee Soon Juan"

S’poreans angry about Artbox ask Chee Soon Juan: ‘You sure our rights worth fighting for?’

S’poreans angry about Artbox ask Chee Soon Juan: ‘You sure our rights worth fighting for?’

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You serious?

chee-soon-juan-artbox

Thousands of Singaporeans from all walks of life, who feel flustered and angry about inconsequential bullshit such as how Artbox is too crowded for their liking, are asking some tough questions.

This after they felt Artbox is too squeezy and ruined their day and have come out to ask opposition politician Chee Soon Juan if he still feels he wants to fight for the rights of such Singaporeans who get upset about stupid shit.

One Singaporean, Didi Jiak, who got upset about Artbox having too many people, said: “All I care about is shopping and eating and wasting my money buying bullshit I don’t need.”

“Chee Soon Juan, do you still feel my rights are worth fighting for?”

“Do you still feel you ought to risk your life and family on behalf of me, a Singaporean who really doesn’t care either way as long as I get to eat and sleep and collect some year-end bonus?”

“Even I have a hard time convincing myself I am worth shit.”

Other locals said knowing Chee Soon Juan is willing to fight on behalf of his citizens can be quite confusing.

Another local, Bu Ren Shi, said: “It would be great if I even know who Chee Soon Juan is.”

 

 

 

 

 

 





S’poreans console Chee Soon Juan: Chin up, your 39% is better than Tony Tan’s 35.20%

S’poreans console Chee Soon Juan: Chin up, your 39% is better than Tony Tan’s 35.20%

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You did better than the president of Singapore.

chee-better-than-tony-tan

Singaporeans from all walks of life, who believe that the first-past-the-post winner-takes-all electoral system is not the best in the world, are consoling Singapore Democratic Party’s Chee Soon Juan.

This after the sample count for the Bukit Batok by-election announced that Chee had scored 39 percent of votes.

One Singaporean, Da Ying Jia, said Chee should be proud of his result: “Chee Soon Juan, you did better than President Tony Tan. He only won 35.20 percent of votes to become president.”

“You will always be better than Tony Tan in my heart.”

Other Singaporeans said Chee is the real victor having won 39 percent of votes.

Another local, Tou Piao, said: “This result will actually make you an NCMP.”

“You are an NCMP in our hearts.”

 

 

 

 

 





S’poreans wait with bated breath for Chee Soon Juan to get 35.6% of votes & declared winner

S’poreans wait with bated breath for Chee Soon Juan to get 35.6% of votes & declared winner

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He would have beaten his 34.86 percent personal best.

chee-soon-juan-rally-speaker

Singaporeans from all walks of life, who believe democracy is the best form of government followed by kleptocracy, are waiting with bated breath for the Bukit Batok by-election result to be announced and for Singapore Democratic Party’s candidate Chee Soon Juan to receive 35.6 percent of votes.

This is so as they will celebrate this result as a victory for the Opposition as Chee and the SDP bettered their General Election 2015 result of 33.38 percent in the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.

One Singaporean, Sai Yee Bah, said: “This 35.6 percent of votes is better than the opposition national average of 30 percent in the GE2015.”

“This will be a slap in the face for the PAP.”

“And Chee would have beaten his 34.86 percent personal best.”

Other Singaporeans said anything less than the national average of 30 percent would signal the end of opposition politics in Singapore.

Another local, said: “This 35.6 percent of votes show that the PAP has a long road ahead of them.”

“They need to work hard as they have lost some mandate.”

“And it shows the SG50 and Lee Kuan Yew effect is wearing thin already.”

 

 

 

 

 





Chee Soon Juan to personally point out which PAP MPs fall asleep in Parliament if elected

Chee Soon Juan to personally point out which PAP MPs fall asleep in Parliament if elected

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He will also call up absentees one by one and take their attendance.

chee-soon-juan-family

Singaporeans from all walks of life, who believe in checks and balances, are nodding their heads in approval.

This after the upcoming Bukit Batok by-election hustings revealed that Singapore Democratic Party candidate Chee Soon Juan has pledged to personally point out which PAP MPs fall asleep in Parliament, if he is elected.

One resident, Pong Tang, said she is heartened by his action plan: “If he sees a PAP MP sleeping, he will go over with an alarm clock and set it off.”

“He will also check the nominal roll and point out which PAP MPs are absent in Parliament and give them a call: ‘Hello? Where are you? Do you know parliament is in session today?'”

“And if the PAP MPs take too long to reassemble after the break in parliament sessions, he will go out to the pantry area and personally usher all the PAP MPs back inside to their seats individually.”

“This is to ensure no PAP MPs will ever miss attending Parliament ever again.”

Other residents said having a formal attendance-taker in Parliament bodes well for democracy.

Another Singaporean, Zhen Zhi, said: “Not only will Chee Soon Juan take their attendance, he will call them in advance to notify them about the Parliament seating so there is no longer any excuse to be absent.”

“Without this sort of checks and balances, PAP MPs might be inclined to be part-time MPs, which is not worth taxpayers’ money.”

 

 

 

 

 





S’poreans react to SDP chief Chee Soon Juan walking 140km for 4 days to raise funds, awareness

S’poreans react to SDP chief Chee Soon Juan walking 140km for 4 days to raise funds, awareness

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Three thoughts that must have went past your mind at some point.

chee-soon-juan-walking-singapore

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan, 53, is on a 140km-long walkabout around the island.

The walk began on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, and is expected to last four days.

Titled Walk The Talk, the aim is to raise funds and public awareness for the party.

 

Here are three thoughts Singaporeans have:

 

sian-half-auntie “Someone hand him the Workers’ Party umbrella already.”
Gong Ren Dang, 44-year-old shoemaker

 

sian-half-uncle “He should continue with this walkabout every week to show PAP he really means business.”
Kia Lor, 62-year-old raincoat distributor

 

happy-bird-girl “If I was walking around in a wet t-shirt, I would raise 10,000 times the money and 1,000,000 times the awareness.”
Zuo Sheng Yee, 17-year-old entrepreneur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 











S’poreans react to PAP Lawrence Wong launching personal attack on SDP Chee Soon Juan on TV

S’poreans react to PAP Lawrence Wong launching personal attack on SDP Chee Soon Juan on TV

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Three thoughts that must have went past your mind at some point.

chee-soon-juan-lawrence-wong

PAP minister Lawrence Wong launched a personal attack on SDP’s Chee Soon Juan during a televised Channel News Asia policy forum debate on Sept. 1, 2015, featuring various political party representatives.

According to Chee, Wong cited a matter that happened 20 years ago as a way to continue the PAP’s tactic of character-assassination.

Here are three thoughts Singaporeans have:

 

sian-half-auntie “At least Chee Soon Juan is happily married and not a divorcee.”
Lee Hun, 45-year-old marriage counsellor

 

sian-half-uncle “I would watch a debate where various politicians personally attacked one another for one hour straight as it will allow me to better know who I am voting for.”
Jiang Bie Ren, 62-year-old undercover police

 

happy-bird-girl “Once again, the PAP prove they don’t need a credible opposition to discredit them.”
Mei Xin Xing, 19-year-old faith healer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 











SPH publishes flattering photo of Chee Soon Juan

SPH publishes flattering photo of Chee Soon Juan

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Singaporeans rush to buy 8743 4D lottery number for this weekend.

Singapolitics, the quaint little website run by Singapore Press Holdings that aims to rival The Online Citizen while not writing anything disparaging about the PAP, has published a two-part lengthy interview with SDP chief Chee Soon Juan.

Come on, who’s a happy boy now? Come on…

Not only is the photo accompanying the interview flattering, showing a toothy Chee, it does not contain disparaging captions reminding readers that he is an “ex-bankrupt”, for example.

Many Singaporeans were surprised by this rare turn of events causing thousands to flock to the lottery shops to try their luck.

This has caused the 4D lottery number 8743 for this weekend to sell out by Friday evening.

“8-7-4-3″ in Mandarin sounds like “Huat, Chee Soon Juan”.

Chee Soon Juan trolls Attorney General’s Chambers

Chee Soon Juan trolls Attorney General’s Chambers

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He sold books at Raffles City Shopping Centre yesterday to get CapitaLand to admit area is, in fact, private property.

Chee Soon Juan autograph session. Photo stolen from SDP website. http://yoursdp.org/news/chee_stopped_from_selling_books/2012-09-18-5362

Chee Soon Juan went to Raffles City Shopping Centre yesterday. He brought a bunch of books with him to sell.

Soon enough, he was stopped by security personnel from the mall.

He was told to bugger off because he was apparently on PRIVATE PROPERTY belonging to CapitaLand.

Six years ago, on Sept. 10, 2006, six folks from the Singapore Democratic Party were charged with illegal assembly in a PUBLIC SPACE for distributing flyers in the exact same area between Raffles City Shopping Centre and City Hall MRT entrance.

They were found guilty and jailed for one week in default of a fine of $1,000 each.

Chee Soon Juan was one of them.

The Attorney General’s Chambers now has a hairy situation on their hands.

How we feel about this news:

Trolling in real life is like trolling on the Internet. But in 3D. Eat popcorn.

Glorifying a porn star

Glorifying a porn star

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Where the latest book about  infamous Singaporean ex-porn star Annabel Chong suffers and why it needs to be read in the context of other porn writings on the web.

By Belmont Lay

This is an article published in The Straits Times on May 23, 1999. Check out the caption. Who said New Nation editors are the only cheeky bastards around?

Annabel Chong, aka Grace Quek, is featured as a campy braless Wonder Woman-esque superhero treating the entire Central Business District around her ankles to an upskirt whilst arms akimbo.

This cover art is accompanied by a comic ka-pow caption with the exclamation: “Demystifying the legend of Singapore’s most famous pornstar!”

This cartoon caricature of a larger-than-life character is chosen as the cover art of Gerrie Lim’s latest book, Singapore Rebel, a title acknowledged as a respectful nod to rebel filmmaker Martyn See (not that the book has anything to do with him or dissident politician Chee Soon Juan).

And this is a book that is supposed to render an intellectual, argumentative thesis that is Annabel Chong: penetrative, comprehensible and convincing.

And that’s a tall order.

So much has been said about Annabel since her 1995 record-smashing gangbang where she committed 251 sex acts in ten hours with approximately 70 men that it is easy to depict her as a depraved nympho and leave it at that.

But this effort by Gerrie, going back in time and digging through archives of Annabel Chong interviews, is supposed to take you under her skin, so to speak. The book reexamines and explains why she is still culturally relevant and sensational after all these years, and also identifies the perpetual source of angst and rebellion for people like Gerrie and Annabel who can only find a sense of belonging in subcultures that can never be bred in Singapore.

In both cases, it is her ability to feel comfortably at home in the adult entertainment industry.

And be professional about it while sending a highly personal and political message, as I would imagine, back to conservative Singapore.

But is this effort by Gerrie, an author of numerous non-fiction books and articles inside and outside the adult entertainment industry, capable of swinging people’s perception of Annabel Chong?

Highly unlikely.

You see, Singapore’s most famous pornstar is an oddity. Because when you think about it, countless Singaporeans have squeezed past and fallen through our system, but there has only been one case of Annabel Chong.

And when you get on with the book, she becomes more problematic because she poses a formidable challenge to everything we know and assume we know about women, sex, passivity and harlotry.

She is intense, aggressive and dangerous in her approach of making a poignant point through her work in porn. And when she left, she left abruptly, to become a computer programmer, no less.

She is, and rather accurately portrayed I guess, as a major bird-flipper, a hardworking, living, breathing example of an eff-you to all the perceived public and private institutions of uprightness, moral rectitude and normality.

In the cold, sterile and clinical academic approach to objective study of a subject by Gerrie, the vagina is touted as a sheath that protects the penis, a weapon in its own right, and so it shouldn’t get hurt from penetration.

She possesses that sort of daring-do that pushes the boundaries of political incorrectness and possibilities.

But you, as the reader of the text, need to work very hard to get beyond the vulgar display of rebellion to arrive at its political meaning and try to understand what motivated Annabel Chong to be an atypical Singaporean.

And that’s only the beginning of the tricky part.

Next, try not to be floored by some of the main arguments put forth by the book:

  • The act of sex can be used as a parody
  • Sex, when focused on numbers, is ridiculous because the joke’s on you if you’re keeping count (e.g. how do you define one act of penetration?)
  • Sex is empowering for women as not all of them are exploited or feel exploited because there is such a thing as “consensual degradation” and because women enjoy sex and do make more money than men while doing it professionally
  • Plus, Annabel Chong is the female version of a male stud because she can have it all

Oh yes, and lastly, in the cold, sterile and clinical academic approach to objective study of a subject by Gerrie, the vagina is touted as a sheath that protects the penis, a weapon in its own right, and so it shouldn’t get hurt from penetration.

In all seriousness, Gerrie also writes in his book: “She was extolling the virtues of more open-minded thinking through a seemingly grosteque act committed in full public view via the technology of home video.”

Which makes one wonder: Is it possible to take the premise of a pornographic gangbang to such logical conclusions and on such academic terms?

And am I being a close-minded twit for not thinking so?

What Gerrie can proposition with cocksure assurance and composure, you might not necessary swallow whole.

To read the book on its own, and express incredulity, is therefore, intuitive and reasonable. That much you should expect from the average reader.

So this is where you might have to look elsewhere for supporting complementary text to put what Gerrie has to say in context.

And this is also where the book suffers.

Singapore Rebel becomes ineffable and alienating because you cannot automatically draw connections. It needs relations, like other penetrative carnal accounts of porn and why people do what they do, which can be easily accessed on the web (like how you can find real porn!).

 

Take, for example, this piece of writing about Sasha Grey (apparently famous enough to appear on TV for an interview with Tyra Banks.)

Or this one about John Holmes (whose legendary schlong is modestly described as “bigger than a pay phone, smaller than a Cadillac”).

Or this piece by a somewhat unknown ex-entertainment editor of Hustler magazine, who shamelessly and falsely ranked himself as the “Top 50 most influential people in the adult industry” because “deception and lies are the essence of pornography”.

In all three cases, it provides a sneak peak into what drives such characters and the range of personalities that exists within the porn subculture.

They’re all exasperating reads but they should serve as writings worth making comparisons with.

But there exists two other minor points that are recurring bugbears: Gerrie’s book can take the form of a rebuke to conservative minds and there is a sense of aggrandisement of the Annabel Chong phenomenon.

On the latter, I only have this to say: The best way that anyone can think of the Annabel Chong phenomenon is that it remains dormant for periods during remission only to act up once in a while.

Just like a case of herpes.

Presidential hopefuls can learn from Worker’s Party

Presidential hopefuls can learn from Worker’s Party

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White is out these days. Which is why pro-establishment figures won’t stand a chance in the coming Presidential Election.

By Terence Lee

Tan Kin Lian trying too hard to be David Copperfield.

WHEN the Worker’s Party swept into Parliament in May, it was largely because they hammered home their campaign slogan: “Towards a First World Parliament.”

Never mind that many of their policy proposals were lame: People were clamouring for more opposition voices in Parliament, and they got it.

And I hope Presidential hopefuls Tan Kin Lian, Tan Cheng Bock, and maybe even George Yeo and former Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan, were watching closely.

Because therein lies the key to riches, glory, power, and fame — maybe not riches, because the Presidential salary is expected to be slashed.

But here’s the deal: Whichever candidate that comes across as the most independent-minded and sensible stands a good chance of winning.

And not just that. He must be like the Rock — the People’s Champ. He must be perceived as the People’s President; an advocate for the voice of ordinary Singaporeans.

In other words, the Presidential hopefuls must strike a balance between lame dog S.R Nathan and mad dog Chee Soon Juan (version 1.0).

Why do I say this? Two facts to chew on:

1) People have grown more comfortable with dissident voices in Government

Very likely, this Presidential Election will be contested. The last time there was a dogfight for the position was in 1993 where Ong Teng Cheong ran against a reluctant Chua Kim Yeow, henceforth called The Other Guy.

Both Elections have one parellel: They came after a surge in Opposition support in the preceding General Elections.

In 1991, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) captured three seats in Parliament, and the opposition parties secured 39 percent of the votes. The SDP was still intact in 1993.

Ong Teng Cheong from a bygone era. Photo: LEE CHIN

According to Warren Fernandez, then writing as a journalist with the Straits Times, The Other Guy won a substantial 41.31 percent of the votes largely because of his independent streak. This despite how people got angry that his campaigning efforts were largely non-existent at the beginning.

“Opposition parties, which had earlier asked voters to spoil their ballots, began urging them to vote for Mr Chua instead. As polling day approached, the front-runner’s lead narrowed,” wrote Warren.

A few things here:

Ever since the People’s Action Party had a track record, they began harping on it like annoying insurance salesmen. Teng Cheong tried it, and the Men in White did it again in the last polls. But if the results were any indication, this track record will not always play sweet music.

The gap between the General Election and Presidential Election will only be three months at most, compared with two years in 1993. Which means the Men in Blue’s victory in Aljunied GRC is still fresh on people’s minds.

This could galvanise Singaporeans. George Yeo could benefit from his defeat should he decide to contest this time around. Tan Kin Lian, who is friendly with the opposition parties, would surely welcome an endorsement from them.

2) Less is at stake at picking a dissident President

Think Chiam See Tong’s by-election strategy, Presidential Edition.

Lee Kuan Yew is famous for invoking the bogeyman of Singapore politics — the freak election. What happens if the opposition parties win by a large margin, and form the Government despite their ineptness?

Fear-mongering, for sure, but not invalid. Technically, if everyone voted because they want more alternative voices in Parliament, disaster would befall Singapore. That’s because the Worker’s Party had said that they are not quite fit to rule.

No such concern for the Presidential Election.

The Singapore President has limited powers. The Cabinet will still be around even if you pick a rabid dog to fill the post, and so will the Prime Minister. Less is at stake.

Singaporeans will be less disincentivised from picking a dissident as President.

For sure, all the potential candidates so far are ex-PAP men. But all display some semblence of independent thinking. Right off the bat, Tan Cheng Bock portrayed himself as a vocal backbencher who was not afraid to say it like it is. He has the first-mover advantage in this campaign, although his support of the arrests of the so-called Marxist conspirators will disgust left-leaning voters.

George Yeo calls himself a “minority voice” in the “broad church that is the PAP”. He’s widely respected by moderate voices, and you can count on fangirl Xiaxue to campaign on his behalf again (not sure if that’s a good thing).

Tan Kin Lian’s claim to fame was when he organised a rally for investors of the High Notes and Minibonds investment products, which saw a turnout in the thousands. He’s the candidate that the opposition parties and supporters are most likely to endorse.

Tony Tan is, well, Tony Tan. Although he opposed the Graduate Mothers Scheme, his low profile in recent years will work against him. Should he decide to run, he has a lot of media schmoozing to do, although that won’t be a problem.

———

Already, online discourse has placed Ong Teng Cheong as the President by which the upcoming contenders will be measured against. That’s no surprise, considering his vocal opposition against the government, plus the fact that he was never given a State funeral.

Ironically though, the candidate that stands the best chance to win it all would be the one that can emulate The Other Guy’s campaign message: A “credible apolitical alternative”, they called him.

But scratch that “apolitical” bit; it’s an uncool term nowadays.




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Singapore Democratic Party sends mixed message

Singapore Democratic Party sends mixed message

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The usually gung-ho opposition party loses its teeth over candidate Vincent Wijeysingha, who could possibly be the first gay MP in Singapore.

By Terence Lee

Dr Vivian and team’s press statement

A video has been posted on the internet showing Vincent Wijeysingha participating at a forum which discussed the promotion of the gay cause in Singapore.

The discussion at the forum also touched on sex with boys and whether the age of consent for boys should be 14 years of age.

In the video, Wijeysingha was introduced as being from the SDP.

In addition to other comments, Wijeysingha stated: “I think the gay community has to rally ourselves. Perhaps one outcome of today’s forum would be, for those of us who are interested, to come together to further consider how we can address the 377 issue as well as further rights issues in relation to gays and lesbians.”

We believe that candidates should be upfront about their political agenda and motives, so that voters are able to make an informed choice.

The issue is not Wijeysingha’s sexual orientation. That is a matter for him.

The video raises the question on whether Wijeysingha will now pursue this cause in the political arena and what is the SDP’s position on the matter.

LET’S be honest: Dr Vivian Balakrishnan is a shrewd tactician.

Conscious of the fact that many Singaporeans still frown upon homosexuality (see survey by NTU), he questions the motives of the SDP and especially its openly-gay candidate Vincent Wijeysingha, who is leading a team in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC against Dr Vivian.

Although liberal-leaning Singaporeans may be disgusted by this assault, there is a segment of Singaporeans who would resonate with it. These voters would be uncomfortable with having a gay MP in Parliament, and they would not overlook his sexual orientation, no matter how brilliant or articulate he proves to be.

Even the SDP knows this.

In a video response to Dr Vivian’s insinuations, SDP Secretary General Chee Soon Juan tried to downplay his party’s liberal stance on homosexuality.

“We are not pursuing the gay agenda and none of our MPs will,” he says at the beginning of the video, and repeats himself near the end: “Will the SDP pursue the gay cause? I answer forthrightly and without equivocation: No.”

He then turns the tables on Dr Vivian, daring him to be transparent about the passe issue of inflated spending during the Youth Olympic Games’ inflated spending. Red herring anyone?

Backed into a corner, the SDP seemed like it was forced to come up with a hasty, half-baked response. And it almost felt like they were outright denying their past support of the Repeal 377A movement. Trails of their previous anti-homophobia campaigns however, are still evident online.

This raises the question: If Vincent does get into Parliament, can he truly guarantee that he will not back the abolishment of the discriminatory law? And if he does support the repeal of 377A, wouldn’t that, in the minds of voters, contradict the statement Chee Soon Juan made?

On hindsight, SDP would have done better by acknowledging their support for gay rights, while at the same time emphasising that they are a political party for all Singaporeans.

The party’s response is a symptom of the identity crisis they are facing, a problem highlighted by media professor Cherian George, blogger Alex Au, and Straits Times journalist Tessa Wong. The SDP of the past has been admired for their loud, stubborn support towards issues it cares about, a stark contrast to the chameleonic tendencies of the Worker’s Party.

Yet recently, they have taken a more pragmatic stance, emphasising bread and butter issues over civil liberties.

Dr Vivian seems heartily aware of this schizophrenia, judging by his remark that Vincent’s team are “strange bedfellows”, since it is a marriage of a left-leaning social worker (Vincent) with a former civil servant (Tan Jee Say) and a psychiatrist Ang Yong Guan, a Christian.

Smelling blood, he struck first, attempting a kill before the opposition party could release their election manifesto.

Whether it will become a major electoral issue in the GRC going forward depends on how Dr Vivian, the SDP, and the media respond to this issue in the coming days.

Much also depends on the voting bloc Dr Vivian is counting on, and if they will succumb to the politics of fear: Fear that a homosexual who makes it into Parliament will not represent the interests of the electorate, and fear that a repeal of 377A will lead to the end of the world and the collapse of civilisation as we know it.

And for those who resist his tactics, is their disgust enough to sway them from the PAP vote?

So here’s where the SDP has to make a decision: Either appeal to the same segment of voters Dr Vivian is wooing, or stay the course, state their convictions, and give these voters the benefit of the doubt. Because in the long run, the SDP could become the party of choice.

Dr Vivian may be a shrewd tactician, but he’s certainly not winning the moral war. The ground is shifting beneath our feet: Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who is cool with gay MPs, believes acceptance of homosexuality will grow.

In the book Hard Truths, he says: “Homosexuality will eventually be accepted. It’s already accepted in China. It’s a matter of time before it’s accepted here.”

And when that day comes, let’s see how history will remember Mister Vivian Balakrishnan.

Vote out of belief, not fear

Vote out of belief, not fear

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Virgin Voter Dannon Har observes that some of his peers, who work in the public sector, fear voting for the opposition because it might stunt their career prospects.

Proud of being a Virgin Voter? Put this as your Facebook display picture! Enhanced from photo by STEPHANE TOUGARD / Creative Commons

I WILL be voting for my very first time this coming elections. I’m feeling a flurry of excitement coupled with apprehension, and I hope dismay won’t follow after I’ve done the deed.

What brings out such a mixed bag of emotions is that giant question mark bobbing above my head saying: “Does my vote really matter?”

As an average youth living in Meritocratic/Autocratic Singapore, I wonder if my vote will make a difference when opposition giants like JB Jeyaretnam and Chiam See Tong have failed or attained limited success?

Needless to say, the PAP government has been in power since day one. Those who have tried to step up and challenge them have been deliberately quashed under their iron fist.

I’m certainly not exaggerating: Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew admitted as much in his his series of interviews with the Straits Times.

Despite our turbulent political history, what disturbs me much is the indifferent, laidback, nonchalant attitude of many of today’s youths. What disturbs me even more is some of their ignorance or misconceptions.

To be fair, there is a notable rise of youth participation in Singapore’s political scene. Even though there’s plenty of nonconstructive rants online, the fact that more youths are voicing out is at least a sure sign of a diversification of views.

Yet many young Singaporeans only seem to care about the food on their table.

With an overbearing corporatist culture constantly looming over our heads, I fear becoming just another cog in the machine. And I know I am not alone in this.

Singapore’s citizens are described as consumerist, materialistic, and pragmatic. These are now our defining attributes as Singaporeans.

The drastic fall in Total Fertility Rate is a clear sign to me that we are thinking more and more in economic terms, putting all other concerns second place.

In a Straits Times article I read, a lawyer said regarding the reason for not having children: “It’s a question of opportunity cost, and I can’t afford the downtime from my career.”

Political sentiments in Singapore often reflect our materialistic culture.

During sessions of coffee shop talk with peers my age, they tell me they are going to vote for PAP this coming election, as they feel pressured to do so. But Pressured? Pressured by what?

The presence of such fear is a shock to me – regardless of whether there is any truth to it. Why should there even be fear of going against the ruling party – as distinct from the state – in a democratic society?

Apparently, there is an onset of fear about going against the grain. On the ground, there is fear that voting for an opposition party would result in indirect repercussions of some sort.

I hear of comments that are utterly ridiculous. Some tell me that since they work in the public sector, they had better vote for the PAP lest they get stunted career growths and diminished pay packages.

The presence of such fear is a shock to me – regardless of whether there is any truth to it. Why should there even be fear of going against the ruling party – as distinct from the state – in a democratic society?

Such ideas are plainly absurd. Then again, nothing surprises me anymore.

Other comments I’ve heard include feelings of gratitude for what PAP had done for us in the past. With this argument, some think we should continue voting for them since they have done so much for us.

They further add that the good track record is testament that they’ll do as well if not better in the future.

But I say that if a party’s recent track record is any indication, then recent hot potato issues like immigration, housing prices, and ministerial salary among others would indicate that the time for change has come.

I will be voting in Tampines GRC this coming election, where PAP veteran and minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan will be contesting.

He may not be very popular, based on online sentiments, but how many votes will actually swing in his favor simply because of PAP’s dominance?

My personal belief is that each and every contestant should be judged based on what they are really offering on the plate instead of party affiliations or worse, empty promises.

Sadly, the political game is often reduced to a shallow popularity contest rather than a substantial analysis of political manifestos.

In deciding who to vote for, I realise that jumping onto the same bandwagon as everyone else simply displays a lack of forethought on my part. I am given a mind for a reason, and that reason is to reason.

I can’t let others decide for me whom I’m going to vote for.

But I am not blindly advocating western ideals in Singapore, as each country is different and should be run differently. A system that works in one place may not work in another. I’m clear on this.

My beef is with people refusing to stand up for what they believe in, when they should be voicing out their concerns for a future they want to see happening in Singapore.

Seriously, if we look closely enough at the PAP government’s current policies and scrutise it, can we confidently say that we are able to sit down and stay passive?

At 23 years old, I am ready to do the little I can to express my personal beliefs, perspectives, and values in the political realm. It is my own conviction to eliminate indifference among Singaporean youths, starting from myself.

So to all my fellow Virgin Voters out there, be daring enough to do what you sincerely think is right for the sake of our own generation’s future.

And to all experienced voters out there, good for you if you have not compromised your ideals. But if you have and are thinking of voting ‘safely’ time and again, do not for a moment think that others will do the fighting for you.

As Dr Chee Soon Juan once mentioned, “Democracy cannot be wished for, it must be fought for.”

Dannon Har, 23, has studied in neighborhood schools all his life. He is currently majoring in Sociology and minoring in Communications at SIM University while interning at a prominent business news organisation. He spends his free time clearing his school assignments hanging out with his better half who keeps his humanity from dispersing as he chases the Singapore dream.

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Finance minister and Singapore Democratic Party come out winners in political debate

Finance minister and Singapore Democratic Party come out winners in political debate

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Worker’s Party played it safe, Lina fumbled, and what’s-his-name was plain horrible. And yes, the moderator said “Domination Day” instead of “Nomination Day.”

By Terence Lee

BEWARE, the gods may not be smiling on certain opposition parties this General Election, especially if the slip-up by moderator Melissa Hyak towards the end of the one-hour debate is any indication.

Some conspiracy theorists will insist that this was a deliberate attempt to “prove” the show was uncut, but let’s not go there.

The debate, screened on Saturday on Channel NewsAsia, lasted an hour, which was way too short for me. Candidates rattled off their points quickly, racing one another in a sprint to the finish line. It makes for fun TV, but a good substantive debate? I don’t think so.

But in all honesty, I think the extra time might actually hurt some of the opposition reps. Mohamed Nazem Suki, assistant secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), was a total embarrassment.

Unable to string together even a coherent sentence or two, you wonder how is what’s-his-name going to perform at the Rally or in Parliament, if he does get in by the slimmest chance?

Right now, I can’t even recall a single thing he said, and if I am a young voter getting introduced to the SDA for the first time, that’s a bad first impression.

Let’s hope he speaks better Malay.

Lina Chiam of the Singapore People’s Party emerged slightly better-off. The bad news is: She behaved like a slightly older Tin Pei Ling, the 27-year-old rookie PAP politician poked fun by netizens for her youthful exuberance.

Except that Pei Ling had more style, fashion-wise.

She often giggled nervously and sounded unsure, and there was even once where she appeared confused and zoned out. Melissa had to prompt her twice or thrice about the question of foreign workers before she rattled off a semi-coherent answer.

And God forbid, she attributed the quote “power corrupts absolutely” to her husband. Epic fail there.

To be fair to Lina: She did say some good things. But she needs a lot of polishing up if she wants to convince voters in Potong Pasir that she is a credible candidate.

Member-of-Parliament Josephine Teo comes across as being too… nice. While she has sure knowledge of the facts, she sounded like she was there to back Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam instead of standing on her own two feet.

Although she did okay at the beginning, she wasted her last two minutes of airtime going on a self-indulgent, off-topic ramble about the Singapore Story, and how it is co-authored by many people. Vincent Wijeysingha, assistant treasurer of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), questioned her assertion later on, remarking on how scores of opposition figures and activists were silenced unfairly.

As long as Vincent and Danny the Democratic Bear continue their outreach during the elections and after, I think SDP’s chances at the voting booth in this Election and the next will improve.

In a nutshell, Josephine might’ve been slaughtered if Tharman was not there.

On to Gerald Giam, a potential candidate for the Worker’s Party. True to form, he sounded like a foot soldier espousing the mantra of his party, starting every sentence with “The Worker’s Party believes that…”

I don’t think it’s awful; it’s just too safe. Which is what the Worker’s Party has become since Low Thia Khiang took the helm. Although he was calm and confident at the debate, much like Josephine, he could have spent more time talking about his party’s proposals on policy issues.

No doubt, he was right in saying that good Opposition is necessary in Parliament, but he seemed to have fallen back on that again and again, as if he had nothing else to say. Furthermore, he did not press home the point that despite having 33 percent of the votes, the Opposition only has three seats in Parliament.

I was also a bit surprised that he stopped his final ramble at the one-minute mark. Perhaps he felt he has done his job: Present Worker’s Party as a safe choice for voters. And by the way: We’re weaker than the People’s Action Party, we admit it.

Finally, we come to Tharman and Vincent. If I am the CEO of MediaCorp, I would allocate another one hour-show just for the two to slug it out, seriously.

While Vincent was the assertive bulldog raring for a fight, Tharman was the self-assured minister who appeared comfortable but not overbearing. He displayed some subtle command over the other candidates, exhorting everyone to think in Singapore’s best interest when it came to the issue of foreign workers. He reached out across the table to Gerald at times, praising the Worker’s Party for their views on increasing productivity.

He did not address criticisms about ministerial salary and legal prosecution of Opposition members, but I’m not sure if it matters to most viewers. For the politically-disinclined, these things might just pass over their heads.

But Vincent will be the one to watch. He sounded eloquent and quick-witted. He was enthusiastic, and even promoted SDP’s Shadow Budget while criticising the mainstream media, all at the same time.

He even found time to raise the issue of exorbitant ministerial salaries at least twice, but the PAP reps have totally ignored that.

Sure, the SDP cried foul over how the debate was unfair because candidates who are not contesting are not allowed to speak. This meant that Dr Chee Soon Juan, who declared bankrupt, cannot appear at the forum.

But surely they realise that putting a fresh face on television will take the party one step closer towards rehabilitating their image in the eyes of the populace, especially how Soon Juan has been demonised by the media?

As long as Vincent and Danny the Democratic Bear continue their outreach during the elections and after, I think SDP’s chances at the voting booth in this Election and the next will improve.

For a summary of the key debates, click here.

United PAP, divided Opposition?

United PAP, divided Opposition?

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More work needed to increase credibility of the Opposition.
By Terence Lee

Chee Soon Juan (left) and Chiam See Tong talk after being presented with appreciation gifts by The Online Citizen, organiser of the Face to Face forum. The two had an acrimonious past while working together at the Singapore Democratic Party.

Chee Soon Juan (left) and Chiam See Tong talk after being presented with appreciation gifts. The two had an acrimonious past while working together at the Singapore Democratic Party. Picture from THE ONLINE CITIZEN.

LAST WEEK’S Face to Face forum, which gathered all the major opposition parties into a hotel ballroom, was fascinating in many ways. Rarely do you find them gather in such posh settings, under air-conditioning that actually works.

I am more accustomised to see them hawk party newspapers at the food centre near Bedok MRT and shouting party slogans in their polo-tees.

Images of Chiam See Tong, secretary-general of the Singapore People’s Party, conducting his Meet-the-People Sessions at the HDB voiddeck comes to mind too.

The forum was orchestrated down to the minutest detail – including how the opposition members came in, which seats they occupied, and the time allowed to ask and answer questions. The format of the Q & A session was deliberate: Choo Zheng Xi, moderator of the forum, told me that it’s same model used for the US elections.

But the event seemed like a kick-ass public relations exercise for the Opposition.

Chiam, the most seasoned of the group and the first to come through the front door, was promptly greeted with warm applause. As he sauntered up the stage, he was helped to his seat by Goh Meng Seng of the National Solidarity Party.

Dr Chee Soon Juan, whose arrival at the political scene once led to Chiam’s ousting from the Singapore Democratic Party, shook hands with his former mentor. Chee exchanged pleasantries with Chiam, displaying no sign of animosity.

There’s no doubt who was the star that night. Although Chiam’s voice was sometimes weak and muffled, the audience hung on to his words and heckled when he poked fun at the PAP. Although past his prime, his piquant wit was still on display.

…given the similar ideologies and outlook of these political parties, I am surprised more isn’t done to promote common causes between them.

The event painted a picture of a united opposition front, and Chiam is the leading advocate of that unity. His formation of the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), a conglomerate of three political parties, represents his crowning achievement in bringing together disparate tribes.

But conflict had erupted around the totem pole. Late last year, rival factions from the Singapore Malay National Organisation, or PKMS, took their infighting literally to the streets. Five people were injured.

This year, a spat between right-hand man Desmond Lim and himself became public. Chiam attempted to oust Lim as the sec-gen of the SDA, but the Supreme Council of the Alliance rebuffed him by voting that Lim serve out his full two-year term.

The Alliance’s inability to keep their house in order has hurt the Opposition’s image, especially among those with a mild interest in politics. The PAP, on the other hand, have presented themselves as a cohesive fighting team. You don’t see Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan strangulate National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan in public.

Internal dissent, if present, is either congenial or unpublicised. Perhaps the presence of strongman Lee Kuan Yew and an obliging mainstream media helped.

Such public spats wouldn’t matter if this is the United States, where senators and representatives frequently clash with one another and vote against party line. But here, disunity is seen as a sure sign of weakness.

Seen in this context, the forum became a perfect opportunity for the Opposition to rehabilitate their image. And they took full advantage of it.

Speaking to Goh and Gerald Giam of the Worker’s Party, I seemed to get the sense that all is well and dandy within the Opposition. Oh, we’ve never gotten along so swimmingly well, they said. They mentioned as proof about how cross-party talks occur frequently behind the scenes – an uncommon occurence in the past.

Goh added that no singular platform for the Opposition is necessary, and avoiding three-cornered fights is a sufficient form of cooperation. Diversity is good, he said.

But given the similar ideologies and outlook of these political parties, I am surprised more isn’t done to promote common causes between them. Lower ministerial pay, greater civil liberties and political freedom, a stronger social safety net, and greater transparency in governance – these are pillars around which a common platform can arise.

Perhaps a flexible arrangement that takes into account the differences in the factions while spelling out the similarities would work. Putting up a common, broad manifesto would be a good first step. Establishing cross-party research teams to develop alternative policies is a possibility, and so are issuing joint press releases to denounce certain government policies as the situation calls for it.

These small, but workable ideas could help convince a skeptical electorate that the Opposition is worth voting for. When all the streams flow as one river, you hear the deafening rush of water.