Tag Archive | "George Yeo"

George Yeo now working in Myanmar

George Yeo now working in Myanmar

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Former foreign minister George Yeo seems to be enjoying life, post-politics

George Yeo accepted the role of vice-chairman of Hong Kong’s Kerry Group, a subsidiary of Malaysia’s investment holding firm, Kuok Group, in January. He was in Yangon for business the day before Myanmar’s historic elections which not only saw Aung San Suu Kyi basking in her popularity, but also being elected into parliament.

He described Myanmar’s reforms as a dam that’s been broken:

“So there’s a rushing torrent, in the process, many things get knocked down. Tremendous force. There’s no way it can go back to what it was in the past. But how the water flows will depend critically on how the various players act out their roles and interact with one another,” he said.

The former foreign minister of Singapore, Yeo was often a lightning rod for human rights activists banging on about Myanmar’s human rights violations. But like all good PAP politicians, he refused to bow down to populist pressures and doggedly engaged the junta for years, amid heavy sliming from NGOs.

It seems to have paid off. Back in 2008, Yeo already had a hunch that Thein Sein was different from your average blood-hungry military general — while charing the Cyclone Nargis tripartite group with the United Nations, Yeo sensed that Thein Sein had a “love for his people”.

In his years of foreign minister, Yeo seemed to have dealt only with the junta — he met Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time only during her election campaign. He says that it was because she was under detention previously.

Read the rest of the article here.

In other news, George was just appointed to a panel at the World Trade Organisation to examine challenges to global trade.

Note: You know what, he’s probably better off not stuck in parliament. 

 

I don’t know what the elected president does

I don’t know what the elected president does

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Therefore, the method of getting the people to pick a president for Singapore is ridiculous.

By Belmont Lay

Does the President do anything more than model? Photo: CHRIS LIM / Creative Commons

LET’S  just throw up a few names here: George Yeo. Tan Kin Lian. Tan Cheng Bock. Tony Tan. SR Nathan.

And let’s assume all five of them are all going to run for president by August.

So what does this tell me? Well, the current slate of presidential hopefuls clearly represent a lack of choice.

And I’m not saying this to be a contrarian or a mischievous squirrel.

I’m saying this because even though they might be familiar faces to me one way or another, I have no idea at all what an elected president does – on a day-to-day basis.

Can he start a war? Can he dissolve parliament on a whim? Is he allowed to go to Plaza Singapura on his own? Especially when the folks from the PAP come by and he’s a tad tired of socialising?

If I don’t know what’s the job scope and what he gets up to (other than Star Awards), I can’t pick the best person for the job.

It’s like having to fit a key into a keyhole, except you’ve never seen the keyhole and putting the wrong key in might cause your house to explode, for example.

Think: So how are you then, the cleverest electorate to have found this missive, going to judge who among these valiant men can be the best at the president job?

How?

Well, you could, of course, ask SR Nathan, our current president. As the second elected president of this glorious Republic, he’s been on the job for 12 years, so I’m sure he can share an anecdote or two about how it’s like to not sign on clemency appeals and having a personal chef and chauffeur.

A reporter did ask for his thoughts but he is keeping mum, which is to be characteristically quiet and wallflowerish, because he will only let you know in September when he publishes his memoirs!

In September! When the presidential elections are already over!

So the guy who knows everything is unwilling to even release a whimper.

And since hiring a clairvoyant to interrogate Ong Teng Cheong or Wee Kim Wee about their job scope is out of the question because I believe all clairvoyants are cunning, lying bastards out to make a quick one, this leaves us with the last guy who can give us an outpouring of opinion.

So I take a cue from the uber-academic who knows what he is talking about.

At this moment, you should by now recognise the extent of the problem? You, as the electorate who is going to choose your next president, know absolutely next to nought about what your president does.

Eugene Tan, assistant professor of law from SMU, says that the president has “two key custodial functions” and he is a holder of the “second key”.

This means, in English, that the president must ensure that the reserves stay full and that public service does not go to waste.

Oh yes, the president also has the task of preventing cunning, lying bastards (read: populists and underqualified politicians, not clairvoyants) who have overtaken parliament from spending the nation’s wealth on Lamborghinis.

If all these still sounds very vague to you and me, it is. But that’s not all.

And then Tan admonishes us to “endeavour to keep the contest non-partisan and non-adversarial; the contest ultimately is about who can best do the job”.

But that’s essentially the same as Randy Jackson saying: “Yo dawg, may the best person win American Idol”.

Stating the obvious is fun to watch when picking a singer for TV entertainment. Not when choosing a president.

And then Tan also exhorts us in the same article “to get to know the aspiring candidates seeking to be their head of state”.

Now imagine that you have. You know all the candidates from head to toe. And then what?

At this moment, you should by now recognise the extent of the problem? You, as the electorate who is going to choose your next president, know absolutely next to nought about what your president does.

Nathan himself, not very strangely then, concedes: “What have I done? (I have) done nothing… It’s hard for me to quantify… It’s a very intangible thing.”

Nathan also said: “…although I’ve been quiet, I’ve been doing work”.

This reminds of what I tell my friends when they query me about what I did during National Service as a naval diver.

I would say, “I run around carrying a boat on my head, shouting”. For those who have done that before, you can attest that that happened quite a bit.

Therefore, naval divers are also evidently doing quite a bit of work, but in our case carried out in a very visible way because of the ruckus we would create.

But honestly, none of what we were doing was very CONSEQUENTIAL.

So, here’s the point of today’s missive: Dear Nathan, it is not really how much work you did not do while in office. It is how much you did that mattered.

But since I don’t know what you didn’t do because you’re not saying, I have no choice but to vote for George Yeo as the best guy for the job based on Sesame Street reasoning.

Because among all, he is the odd one out: He is not an endomorph.

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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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George Yeo: Worker’s Party using you as a springboard

George Yeo: Worker’s Party using you as a springboard

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The Foreign Minister goes on the offensive, but his debut rally was disappointing.

By Fang Shihan

For a PAP rally, the attendance was actually quite good. Photo: FANG SHIHAN

THE crowd at Serangoon stadium was markedly smaller than yesterday’s, when the Worker’s Party took the stage. An estimated 1,500 PAP supporters turned up for the Aljunied GRC rally at Serangoon stadium. Some left disappointed while others had a good time.

Unlike other PAP rallies which comprise mostly Resident’s Committee members being ferried from one location to another, the crowd at this rally consisted of genuine voters who wanted to hear what PAP had to say in their own defense.

Most of the speeches were forgettable and revolved around micro-issues, although residents do care about them. One speech mentioned that the PAP would build sheltered walkways for residents if it were elected…and was rewarded with loud cheering.

It was as if sheltered walkways, clean spaces and safe, family friendly neighbourhoods were tasks that only a PAP MP could handle, and therefore deserved some fanfare. Almost like when Janil Puthucheary mentioned that he saved children everyday (because he was a pediatrician), building walkways was equated to serving the nation.

No, you’re not serving the nation, it’s your job and it’s what you’re supposed to do.

Besides expecting to be thanked for doing a job as it should be done, the PAP also enlisted the help of a professional bootlicker – PAP ‘friend’ Arthur Wee, who spent a good 20min waxing lyrical about how awesome the candidates were and what they did, in Hokkien.

The first five minutes was rather entertaining, and then it got boring, then terribly annoying. If the PAP was expecting voters to take politics seriously then this was a sharp turnaround. This became a wasted 20 minutes of rally time.

When George Yeo finally arrived, he received the loudest cheers. Yet his speech left much to be desired. Spending a considerable amount of time talking about the WP, he slams them for “playing with the lives of over 14,000 voters”. The 14,000 later went up to 20,000 as the night grew long, as his memory started to fail.

Boy having fun at the rally. Photo: FANG SHIHAN

The nation’s Total Fertility Rate is at its lowest so there’s no way in hell that 6,000 new voters from Aljunied were born overnight. He also mentioned that the WP, in its long and detailed manifesto, didn’t mention what they could do for the constituency, preferring instead to harp on national issues.

He then accuses the opposition party of using Aljunied voters as a springboard for greater things. “If WP captures power, their first concern will not be for the people”.

He further discredits the WP by saying that: “During the elections, political parties play games”. He points out that they have neither the people nor resources to go beyond handing out flyers and campaigning on national issues (and ignoring local constituency issues). The WP has no grassroots experience for Aljunied and may not have a clue how to run it.

He urges the voters not to be fooled (paraphrasing). The WP is asking for a “blank cheque” by asking Singaporeans to vote them in before showing them a plan for the constituency.

He adds that the WP is transforming the Aljunied debate into a personality-based issue: George vs. LTK.

Yet George Yeo is the only one giving out a flyer of his face on it. The hypocrisy.

Lastly, he says that Sylvia Lim is trying to be his HR manager by asking him to retire and to become an ambassador. New Nation recommends Recruit Express instead.

[New]

At the end of the rally, this author was asked by a man sitting beside him:

“Between the devil and the deep blue sea, who would you choose?”

He then answered his own question, rather poignantly: “The deep blue sea. If you don’t like, you can swim away. But you’re stuck with the devil forever.”

Watch George Yeo’s rally speech and gauge for yourselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnSVSlCQoNA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBJg6zSEW2w&feature=related

 

George Yeo soon to be jobless?

George Yeo soon to be jobless?

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Foreign Minister George Yeo spotted lurking at Hougang Mall before and during Worker’s Party Rally.

By Fang Shihan

Foreign Minister George Yeo makes up for lost time

IT MUST be tough being the incumbent that’s facing an opposition team at their maximum strength. Spotted doing his walkabout at Hougang Mall just an hour before the Worker’s Party’s first rally on Thursday was about to begin, George Yeo looked like a… pretty busy man.

Shaking hands, taking pictures with his entourage of Aljunied GRC grassroots leaders, he seemed eager to touch (literally) as many people as he could within the 9-day campaigning window. More pictures can be found on his facebook page.

If that’s not enough, he even proceeds to campaign inside Hougang Mall, greeting the sales assistants at the Giordano store and moving up each level methodologically. Maybe it was out of pity that the mall security let this pass (shopping malls have never been amenable to political campaigning), or maybe there are different rules for politicians clad in white.

The question is: why Hougang Mall of all places? And right before the rally too. Well, he could be on a pre-emptive search for a new job, or this could be an attempt to inform opposition supporters that a heavyweight was still around, or maybe he was hoping to draw the 10,000 strong crowd away from the rally 5 minutes away.

Didn’t happen.

George Yeo walks around Hougang Mall

Foreign Minister George Yeo, head of the diplomatic strategy of Singapore, who shakes hands with dictators nearly on a daily basis to persuade them to kill less civilians, who went for a jog with the residents at Bedok only a few hours after flying back to Singapore from a diplomatic mission, who was the first minister in 2006 to tell the rest that attacking James Gomez for forgetting a form..was lame, THAT George Yeo was largely ignored in favour of a Worker’s Party rally where the stars were clearly still Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim and god himself, Chen Show Mao.
He is up for a tough fight – one almost feels sorry for him. One of our best ministers, and a really nice guy too (he actually bothers to engage people on Facebook), he will not be voted out because of incompetency.

Over 9000 but not a 5-digit figure. Seriously guys, it was only day 1.

If he does lose his seat, it will not only be because the WP owned his ass. If he loses, he has the GRC system to blame. Designed on the pretext of securing minority representation and even harnessing economies of scale, the GRC system divides the heavyweights into different teams.

One minister per team is the norm, two if there are too many and fillers occupy the rest of the spaces. GRCs were designed with the assumption that a minister would never be beaten by anyone from the opposition, thereby shielding the younger and weaker candidates from the brutal glare of public scrutiny.

And so if the opposition were to want a GRC badly enough, “a minister has to fall in the process“. This was an observation made by National Solidarity Party Sec-Gen Goh Meng Seng just last year.

Don't forget your plastic Thor and balloon hammers.

But is he truly in any danger of losing his ministerial position? This is a man with sterling credentials and a stunning portfolio of running the well oiled Foreign Ministry. If anything, it is Wong Kan Seng of Bishan-Toa Payoh and Mah Bow Tan of Tampines who should be sweating in their expensive suits now. The PAP is a victim of its own electoral maneuvering. Our government is now in serious danger of losing a good minister, while the others should be able to be re-elected with less anxiety.

This is not to say George Yeo is indispensable. He may have been a Cambridge graduate, a Brigadier-General in the SAF, and he may have been an excellent minister for 23 years. But the Chen Show Mao of the Worker’s Party has studied at Harvard, Oxford and Stanford, brokered an IPO for the Agricultural Bank of China (3rd largest lender in that very very big country) that raised $19 billion, and speaks Malay, English, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Everyone's trying to get that aerial shot.

Even if Chen Show Mao were to become an MP, he’d still be taking a very big pay cut. This is the sort of guy that the PAP uses to defend its GRC system and the Ministerial pay. Without the help of heavyweights and a ‘competitive’ paycheck, qualified candidates would never bother joining politics.

Well, the PAP has been proven wrong. This is a man of ministerial quality. Seriously, given he heads a multinational law firm in China, he’d be excellent for Sino-Singapore economic ties. Which is what the PAP always wanted.

Ideally, GE2011 should see incompetent ministers being voted out, and opposition members being voted in based on their capability to lead the country. Ideally, if we were actually a more representative democracy. Instead, we’ll see young, eager ministers like Teo Ser Luck trying his best to rally a crowd while Teo Chee Hean and the rest take a free-ride (warning: very painful to watch), we might lose George Yeo, and we’ll probably see Wong and Mah being rotated around with different portfolios for another 5 years. And don’t get me started on Tin Pei Ling.

A minister has to fall in the process of change. But is it fair? Even if we don’t see a dramatic increase in the number of opposition-held seats this time, it’s time for the PAP to reflect on their home-made model of formal democracy. This will be a very very painful ride.

In the meantime, Lucas Chow of Mediacorp will be leaving his seat soon and the Presidential elections are due sometime later this year.

Hint to George:  Jobs are still available. :)

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