Tag Archive | "Khaw Boon Wan"

Undergrads demanding full refund from universities

Undergrads demanding full refund from universities

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Khaw Boon Wan’s comment that degree ‘not vital for success’ sends tertiary education pedigree plunging.


The top three universities of Singapore — NUS, SMU and SIM — have been dealt a blow after Khaw Boon Wan publicly said that acquiring a university degree is “not vital for success”.

His comment was addressed to some 160 students and young adults in an Our Singapore Conversation dialogue yesterday.

Overnight, all existing students from the top three universities have tendered their letters of resignation to forego their studies and are demanding a refund.

A soon-to-be ex-undergrad who majored in finance, Qiang Yin Hang, said: “I always knew I should go back to playing DotA.”

Besides doing what they do best, some students are planning on broadening their social circle instead by going to the right events to meet the right people to build up their social network connections.

Another undergrad, Chee Hong Kia, said: “I am going to hang out at lup sup bars and pubs. I heard a lot of towkays go there.”

But not all universities are affected by Khaw Boon Wan’s comment about the unnecessity of degrees.

NTU, which is going to lose journalism professor Cherian George in a year’s time after he failed to get tenure, is expected to see a free fall in student enrollment anyway.

Khaw Boon Wan could be next journalism professor

Khaw Boon Wan could be next journalism professor

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Enough said.


Synchronised sense of disbelief affects thousands of S’poreans

Synchronised sense of disbelief affects thousands of S’poreans

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Barely six months ago, the news making the rounds was that HDB flats were getting smaller without affecting the standard of living…

Yesterday’s shocking statement attributed to Khaw Boon Wan…

How thousands of Singaporeans felt across the island…

With Yaw expelled, Khaw gloats like a six-year-old

With Yaw expelled, Khaw gloats like a six-year-old

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The PAP Chairman better watch out, because karma could bite his party in the ass.

By Terence Lee

Khaw exposing himself.

By now, everyone in Singapore would have known that former Member-of-Parliament Yaw Shin Leong has been expelled from the Worker’s Party (unless you’re a self-absorbed Aaron Tan type). A by-election is expected to be called.

The pushback came fast and furious, most notably from the PAP itself. While Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong betrayed a sense of irritation — which I perfectly understand — Khaw’s comments were really the highlight of the evening for me.

They were snide, and ultimately nonsensical.

I quote the Channel NewsAsia article, which attributed this to the PAP Chairman: “voters in Hougang have been misled by the Workers’ Party… once a person enters politics, there is no difference between his or her public and private life.” Read the full story

PAP worships itself

PAP worships itself

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The PAP had fun by themselves last night, The Sunday Times reports.

Hey, I Gotta Feeling the University Cultural Centre technical folks were having a bit of fun with the lights? Is it just us or are the Men In White indeed in a strange shade of Workers' Party blue, no?

About 1,600 PAP activists in white packed the National University of Singapore’s University Cultural Centre during mock-triumphant celebrations last night, where they boogied to a bastardised version of The Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling.

Leading the rhetoric was PAP chairman and National Development minister Khaw Boon Wan, who also headed a post-mortem committee of the PAP’s abysmal May election performance where they took home 60.1% per votes and were literally hammered by the Workers’ Party who broke the GRC duck. Read the full story

Khaw tries to fix Mah’s housing problems

Khaw tries to fix Mah’s housing problems

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Fairer system to kind of level playing field, with more help supposedly going to couples, singles and elderly.

With Singapore’s housing situation in a mess, Khaw Boon Wan, the newly handpicked minister of National Development (pictured left), has come up with a series of schemes and new flat releases to help curb the problems his predecessor Mah Bow Tan could not solve before an incumbent-walloping General Election in May.

Khaw announced, with a lot of enthusiasm, that there will be less help given to the higher-income households seeking to buy a flat because they can afford not to be helped.

This is an attempt to create a fairer, tiered system, in tandem with the Housing and Development Board (HDB) recently raising the income ceiling for those looking to buy homes.

For those purchasing built-to-order (BTO) flats, the income ceiling will be raised from $8,000 to $10,000

For executive condominium flats, they are to go up by $2,000 to $12,000.

Those aged above 55 and wanting to buy a purpose-built studio apartment for the elderly now have an income ceiling of $10,000. Previously it was $8,000.

Therefore, potential buyers whose household income is $10,000 are still eligible to receive the entire Central Provident Fund (CPF) Housing Grant worth $30,000. (Thank goodness…)

Those earning between $10,000 and $11,000, tough luck. They will receive $20,000.

Households that make more than $11,000? Sorry, but tough luck too. They will receive $20,000 as well.

Life is indeed unfair, in case you’re just tuning in.

Furthermore, Khaw said that the HDB will release 8,000 flats (a record number, by the way) next month. (Who said opposition political parties are not effective in bringing about change?)

In total, 25,000 flats are to be released this year. In November, for example, 4,000 built-to-order (BTO) flats will enter the market.

As for 2012 next year, the projection is for a release of another 25,000 flats. (Something Mah probably could not deliver.)

Some of these flats will be in mature estates such as Tampines and Kallang/Whampoa, which are prime locations that are sought-after in the market.

This would allow some potential resale flat buyers to exit the resale market as they will be tempted by brand new flats instead, effectively freeing up space for those single and above 35 years and older, for example. (Or so the theory goes…)

Khaw enthused that this would effectively deal with the housing demand surge.

He gushed: “That’s why I’m so confident that in three, four years’ time, when these units start materialising, whatever pent-up demand, the problem would be largely resolved.”

However, he also stressed: “It can’t happen tomorrow.”

Read the original article 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.