Tag Archive | "alex au"

How some S’poreans perceive WP, PAP, ST petty politicking

How some S’poreans perceive WP, PAP, ST petty politicking

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Yes, they comprise Singaporeans from The Silent Majority. Who just want to watch the world burn.

Everyone’s already heard of AIM and the whole saga explained inside out from online and offline sources, right?

So let’s not go there. Let’s go somewhere else…

As the Workers’ Party, PAP and The Straits Times — plus a lot of people inside and outside of the Internet engage in accusations, counter-accusations and petty politicking, there is a (silent) majority of Singaporeans who are just sitting back and thinking to themselves:

How people react when PM Lee Hsien Loong sends a letter of demand to blogivist Alex Au:

The end.

Ruling party sues gay blogger for pointing out the obvious

Ruling party sues gay blogger for pointing out the obvious

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Also, PAP Town Councils reveal poor corporate governance.

Suing people is gay. 

Today PM Lee issued an angry letter to happy activist Alex Au, demanding that the four-part article titled “PAP mis-AIMed, faces blowback” be taken town, together with 21 comments that dared suggest that PM Lee was guilty of corruption.

The controversy over the PAP-backed firm Action Information Management (AIM), which owns the computer and financial systems used by PAP town councils, was sparked off when Aljunied Town Council, now run by the opposition Workers’ Party, received the lowest grade for corporate management in an audit of town councils conducted by the Ministry of National Development. In response, the party said that they could not replace the services provided by AIM within two months after the contract was terminated by the company “due to material changes to the membership of the Town Council”.

Obviously some observers were outraged at this blatant act of discrimination though most treated the incident with seasoned sangfroid.

In 2010, Hougang and Potong Pasir were the worst performers in the same survey while the best performers were those run by PM Lee (Ang Mo Kio GRC) and his father, former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew (Tanjong Pagar GRC). In 2011, both also scored the lowest in maintenance. So commonplace is the discriminatory division of public goods along political boundaries that disparity in public funding between opposition town councils and PAP town councils has ceased to be regarded as an unjust act, but rather as pragmatic reality.

What makes this incident so interesting this time is the legal effort by PM Lee to silence online noise about whether the provision of public services by a PAP-backed company, which was the only bidder for the contract, amounted to corruption. (Note: I consider the computer systems of town councils public goods to the extent that these institutions are technically, like the civil service, non-political).

“These are false and baseless allegations,” the letter of demand said of the article, and of the comments about AIM.

Till today the PAP’s strongest defence on the matter was made by coordinating chairman of PAP town councils Teo Ho Pin on why the arrangement between the PAP Town Councils and AIM was made to “derive economies of scale and to share best practices among themselves. This improves the overall efficiency of the TCs, and ensures that all the PAP TCs can serve their residents better.”

To paraphrase Teo’s protracted four-page list of excuses of how things came to be: someone had to clean up the mess.

Between 2003, when the computer systems were developed by Singtel subsidiary NCS in an initiative to create a common platform among PAP-run town councils, and 2010, when the NCS contract was due to expire, no effort was made to plan ahead for a transition to a new system. Shocking, for a PAP-run entity. True enough, when the NCS system was rendered “obsolete and unmaintenable” in 2010, the PAP town councils were completely unprepared and had to ensure that the systems were still being run in between the ending of the NCS contract and the launch of a new system which would take 18-24 months to develop.

And so as an emergency measure, they put forth a ridiculous tender for the rights to the obsolete software which “had limited value and was depreciating quickly”, hoping to get a company to 1) continue leasing the software for a monthly fee, 2) get an extension with NCS, 3) look for a new vendor to upgrade the system.

Ironically it was the Workers’ Party that was branded with bad corporate management.

Which company in its right mind would take up such a job? Only one which was ensured profits despite the absurd terms. According to TODAY , AIM has made about S$25,000 from the contracts. Not bad for a shell company with a paid-up capital of $2.

And where do the profits go to? To AIM’s three directors, all former PAP MPs.

Add to that the sudden, bizarre cancellation of AIM’s services to Aljunied Town Council after the Workers’ Party took over.

It takes a fair amount of logical acrobatics not to conclude that this is, clearly, a display of conflict of interest. Not between the PAP town councils and AIM, but between the governance of public institutions and the ruling party elites.

Does this conflict of interest amount to corruption?

Probably not. There wasn’t any direct bribery, nor can one accuse the town councils of not conducting an open bid for a vendor.

But we’re playing semantic games here. Call it dishonest conduct, patronage, rent-seeking. Anything but the defamatory “C” word.

Because corruption is reserved only for countries which exercise naked power. In Singapore, the power of libel casts a shroud of legitimacy on the use of coercion — coercion used on those who dare point out the elephant in the room.

(In other news: Singapore’s rich and powerful find it difficult to be jailed.)

ST contemplates going after PAP to boost readership

ST contemplates going after PAP to boost readership

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Declining readership forcing nation-building press to change tack.

In the face of a declining readership and a better educated electorate, the nation-building press, The Straits Times, is looking into ways to change its reporting style to win back an audience.

All along, the broadsheet has only written favourably about the PAP.

However, it is now contemplating going after the ruling party to appeal to the anti-authoritarian crowd.

And maintain its business bottomline.

Tan Tua Lui, a ST reader who is already sick of reading ST, said: “If ST truly wants to remain competitive and gain readers, it should just write investigative news reports about the PAP.”

“Look at blogivist Alex Au of Yawning Bread. His intelligent critiques and incisive style digs up dirt on the PAP and he has a strong following of several hundred thousand readers.”

Alex Au’s latest critiques about the PAP Town Council fiasco involving some shady software business dealings, has attracted a lot of readers and put many ST reporters to shame as he is doing a much better job than paid writers.

This share of audience that ST has not captured also means it is ultimately bad for business, because the behemoth Singapore Press Holdings often prides itself as being profitable, instead of providing good journalistic writing in the first place.

And taking pot shots at the PAP is proven to be good for business. Look at The Online Citizen.

Without a doubt, this change in tack to go after the ruling party in this new year has been condoned by everyone interviewed by New Nation.

Kwa Poh Zhuar, an anti-ST protestor, said: “Everyday write favourable stories about PAP read until sian. You mean you everyday eat char kway teow you not sian?”

How innocent is Anwar Ibrahim?

How innocent is Anwar Ibrahim?

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In the mind of Singapore’s most prominent gay rights blogivist, he most likely isn’t.

By Belmont Lay

To state it plainly, I only take a very superficial interest in the Anwar Ibrahim case in Malaysia.

Most of what I follow about the trial up to this point is predominantly about how the media there plays it.

So, one thing I want to share is this headline by The Malaysian Insider that I find exceptionally funny in light of the sodomy charges against Anwar:

Mind you, this is a real news site that produces real stuff relating to the real world, unlike say, New Nation, for example.

It is not everyday you find the media choosing to use the word “hardened” on someone right after a sodomy trial where the accused was hauled to court in the first place for penetration.

You really can’t help feeling the media people up north do cheekily take the mickey out of folks by coming up with writing like this.

On a more serious note, if you have any doubts about Anwar’s guilt or innocence, I can point you in the direction of Alex Au’s blog.

Au is the owner of Yawning Bread, and he is, in all likelihood, Singapore’s most persistent and ferocious gay rights blogivist.

If you, like me, have seen many news reports shared on Facebook since yesterday regarding the jubilation of Anwar supporters after his acquittal, you might think this is the majority view in Malaysia.

However, it is most probably not the case and it is healthy to get a dose of skepticism from Au’s blog.

He stated in a post more than one year ago in December 2010, when the earliest Wikileaks cables were released, the popular opinion that Anwar did have sex with his male aide and it was a trap set up by political opponents that Anwar somehow walked right into:

Furthermore, Au contends, Anwar’s accuser, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, “looks totally gay”.

Hey, I mean, a gay guy talking about another gay guy?

Ipso facto, I take it in good faith that Au knows what he is talking about.

Maybe you should too.