Tag Archive | "tan kin lian"

Indian man: ‘I went to Tan Kin Lian’s rally and found nobody there. Hahaha.’

Indian man: ‘I went to Tan Kin Lian’s rally and found nobody there. Hahaha.’

Tags: ,

Someone apply aloe vera on Tan Kin Lian’s burnt areas.

By Tamil Nadu

This is Tan Kin Lian. He had wanted to be the president of Singapore in 2011:


These was how his rally looked like:



This is Tan Kin Lian in 2015:


Indian men in Singapore from all walks of life, both local, PRs and foreigners, have come out to share their thoughts on ex-presidential candidate, Tan Kin Lian.

This after Tan wrote on Facebook on Feb. 1, 2015 accompanying a picture taken on a public bus with the caption: “I boarded SMRT 857 and found that I was in Mumbai. Hahaha.”

One Singaporean Indian man said:

“I went to Tan Kin Lian’s rally and found that I was not early. Just nobody there. Hahaha.”

Another Indian man said:

“I went to Tan Kin Lian’s rally and found that he was going to lose his $48,000 election deposit. Hahaha.”

And then another Indian man concurred:

“I went to Tan Kin Lian’s rally and found a lot of green grass. Hahaha.”

This was followed by:

“I went to Tan Kin Lian’s rally and found a joke. Hahaha.”


“I went to Tan Kin Lian’s rally and found he was going to get 4.9% of the vote. Hahaha.”

And then:

“I went to Tan Kin Lian’s rally and found a loser. Hahaha.”


President Tony Tan and how his coping with his presidency:

Istana resident upset new columbarium will be built beside Plaza Singapura

Tony Tan learns to rollerblade

President Tan spent less on campaign than Tan Cheng Bock

President Tan spent less on campaign than Tan Cheng Bock

Tags: , , , ,

$80,000 to be exact, which is the equivalent of 25,000 plates of chicken rice.

By Terence Lee

Hey big spender! Photo: Tan Ding Xiang

Now here’s a shocker: President Tony Tan, who drives around in a stylish Mercedes Benz and earned his millions as former deputy prime minister, actually spent $80,000 less than runner-up Dr Tan Cheng Bock, a real-life doctor and former Member-of-Parliament.

The Elections Department released the Presidential Campaign expense details yesterday. For those with goldfish memory (including me), Dr Tan lost by a heartbreaking 0.34 percent of the popular vote. Many of my friends — the youngish twenty-somethings — voted for him because he was seen as a moderate.

Here’s the final tally: Tan Cheng Bock — $585,045.03, Tony Tan — $503,070, Tan Jee Say — $162,337, and Tan Kin Lian — $70,912.16.

The surprises end there.

While Cheng Bock spent more money on the campaign, it was obvious that he faced tremendous odds — Tony Tan was the favorite to win right from the start and he had massive support from the older generation and PAP die-hards. Read the full story

Presidential results: PAP-endorsed candidates garnered 70% of votes

Presidential results: PAP-endorsed candidates garnered 70% of votes

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

3 ways you can report the facts.

By Fang Shihan

White Tans - 3 ways

So quite obviously 65% of the population is not happy with the way things panned out for Dr Tan Cheng Bock and opposition-meister Tan Jee Say. To the extent that newly elected President Dr. Tony Tan had to assure voters that he would strive to win over the two thirds of the electorate who did not vote for him. Shades of Sitoh Yih Pin no?

The mainstream media has been surprisingly tepid on the win. Then again, with former PAP-MPs garnering 70% of the votes, of course there would be room to spare for some negativity, just to balance out the overwhelming victory by the establishment.

But just for the fun of it, New Nation has come up with at least 3 different ways you could possibly spin the news. Enjoy.

Headline: 70% of Singaporeans vote for former PAP MPs
Standfirst: Tony Tan wins with 35.2% of vote while Tan Cheng Bock garners 34.8%.

The ruling party received a resounding stamp of approval from the electorate as both former PAP MPs Tony Tan and Tan Cheng Bock were the top performers during the presidential elections. Opposition-endorsed Tan Jee Say trailed in third place with 25% of the vote or about 10% less than the runner up. Tan Kin Lian, who led the minibonds protests in 2008 lost his $48,000 deposit after getting only 4.9% of the votes.

Headline: Tony Tan wins by razor thin margin; poor showing for the PAP
Standfirst: PAP-endorsed Tony Tan is ushered into the presidential post, winning by a margin of 0.34% against runner up.

The ruling party was delivered a wakeup call as Dr. Tony Tan, widely endorsed by the PAP, unions and government-affiliated organizations, sat through a recount in the wee hours of the morning. Once considered a shoo-in, the performance of Dr. Tony Tan was considered by many analysts as a barometer of the ruling party’s popularity among the people. Despite having been deputy prime minister, and the executive director of sovereign wealth fund, GIC, Dr. Tony Tan nearly lost to previously little-known MP Dr. Tan Cheng Bock who runs a clinic in Jurong. The former was campaigning on a platform of reform and was widely considered as a non yes-man within the party. Combined with opposition-endorsed candidate Tan Jee Say, the non-PAP vote stood at 59.8%.

Read this better and more xia lan version.

Headline: PAP candidate Dr. Tony Tan wins via split opposition vote
Standfirst: Opposition is blamed for splitting the anti-PAP vote, and installing the PAP into the presidential seat.

Two thirds of the electorate did not want a PAP-endorsed candidate as President. Yet Dr Tony Tan had the keys of the Istana handed to him with only 7,269 more votes than his nearest rival. Netizens blamed Temasek Review, Nicole Seah and the NSP for fracturing the opposition vote by endorsing Tan Jee Say and inadvertently handing victory to the PAP on a platter.

Read Temasek Review — which was down at the time of publication — for a better blamefest.

We <3 Yam Ah Mee!

We <3 Yam Ah Mee!

Tags: , , , ,

Tan Kin Lian is the new synonym for “hubris”

Tan Kin Lian is the new synonym for “hubris”

Tags: , ,

The reasons for Tan Kin Lian’s loss are plenty. But his loss is an endorsement of the democratic process of voting that validates the masses.

By Belmont Lay

tan kin lianAs far as I’m concerned, Tan Kin Lian’s failure to make a dent in this presidential election is no one’s fault but his.

There was never any organised campaign to discredit him. (He did that mostly by himself.)

There was no known group who stridently denounced him. No one forced him into a misstep.

He was guided along the way by volunteers, some of whom were seasoned General Election candidates.

And as far as the media was concern, they were more than accommodating when it came to reports about him.

He, therefore, had reasons to feel good.

On the morning of polling day, Tan Kin Lian said, “I believe this contest will be very close… There is a large group of people in the silent majority making a decision and I am quite confident that I will do well”.


After garnering 4.91 percent or 103,931 votes when the results were tallied, he turned tail, conceded and is $48,000 poorer.

Not to mention, he spent an additional $70,000 on the campaign trail. And that is other people’s money that he received as donations.

Tan Kin Lian is now asking, “I want to know what can be improved. I don’t know why (I lost) and I hope people will tell me. I want to hear their reason.”

I do know why he lost. Likewise for many others who won’t be holding back answers.

So here goes.

Nanyang Technological University associate professor Cherian George said his poor showing was expected: “Tan Kin Lian had some experience as an activist, but no experience as a politician, so it was hard for him to translate his beliefs into an effective campaign”.

George also said, “Tan Kin Lian was outflanked on the right by Tan Cheng Bock and on the left by Tan Jee Say”.

Singapore Management University law lecturer Eugene Tan said the four-cornered fight did Kin Lian in.

Eugene said, “In a crowded field, he became the forgotten candidate. Perhaps he suffered from a credibility problem right from the word go.

“His 2009 effort to secure 100,000 signatures before he would run for presidency did not succeed. His decision to run in 2011 was greeted with some amount of doubt and incredulity.

“While he’s seen as someone who spoke up for investors who were misled, the good Samaritan or David vs Goliath approach did not necessarily translate to wider perceptions of suitability for the President’s office”.

NUS political analyst Reuben Wong attributed Kin Lian’s staying on the sidelines in the General Election in May as a mistake.

There is no natural constituency for him as a result.

And not to mention, Kin Lian is prone to sabotaging himself.

Kin Lian got chased out of shopping centres for doing walkabouts. (What were his volunteers thinking?)

He even handed out fliers during the memorial ceremony of Internal Security Act detainee Tan Jing Quee.

If you even know the people who would attend the memorial ceremony of an ex-political detainee, this act of campaigning during such a sanctimonious session is the equivalent of lap-dancing during Mass.

And then there were the revelations about his job at NTUC Income: His 30-year career came under scrutiny.

Policyholders and ex-colleagues pointed out his bad investments, which he shrugged off as business decisions.

His sudden departure in 2007 was revealed to be due to differences with him and the board, which later said they wanted the insurance cooperative to be more professionally run. (Ahem…)

Kin Lian has been described by his detractors as a senior insurance salesman.

And when you think what can be so difficult about being professional, you get hit in the face by Kin Lian’s populist proposals.

He pledged to donate half of his president’s salary to charity, give more to national servicemen and pay pensions to the elderly.

Eugene Tan said, “These were not really within the ambit of the elected presidency’s office as delineated in the Constitution. But the proposals thrown up made him look opportunistic and that only took more wind out of his sail at the closing stages of the campaign”

So are we done pointing out his faults?

No, no, we just started.

Next, his campaign logo sucks.

Okay, the 5% was not added by us, or him.

Is it ominous or what? It shows a drowning man’s hand. Shouting for help.

Besides not being able to craft a sleeker logo, Kin Lian neither possesses a statesman demeanour, nor does he speak fluently. (Reminds one of Lim Swee Say actually, of “better, betterer, betterest” fame.)

Chen Show Mao has a statesman demeanour. Reluctantly, His Leeness also has a statesman demeanour.

Even with his disco ball head, Tharman Shanmugaratnam has a statesman stature.

And most importantly, head-of-states don’t do high-fives. Only evil clowns out to get children do.

His flip-flopping over whether to contest in this election and the conditional terms he set out for his contest to be president are not indicators of someone who appears as very confident about his own chances.

And then there was the talk that he considered pulling out.

Hey, seriously, if you go in blind, you come out blind.

So how is Tan Kin Lian’s loss a validation of democratic voting?

For one, the collective crowd can be a good judge of value.

When not queuing up in masses overnight for Hello Kitty plush toys thinking they are worth it, the collective intelligence and judgement call of very large groups of people can be pretty good at picking up on cues as to what’s good for them and what’s not.

Which leaves me with my point of today’s missive: The Hello Kitty crowd that bothers to queue overnight for plush toys? I believe they make up that deluded five percent that actually voted for Kin Lian.

Singapore has elected a new president in the form of Tony Tan…

Singapore has elected a new president in the form of Tony Tan…

Tags: , , , , ,

…which 65% of the voting population didn’t vote for. Funny, no?

By Belmont Lay

Ok, so now that the presidential election is over and done with, what can we analyse at 6 a.m. in the morning?

Yes, the first-past-the-post election system is something we inherited. Yes, it is a system that baffles anyone who has ever questioned what sort of swivelling-eyed idiot came up with this idea of democracy where you can be a winner even when the majority of the population didn’t even vote for you.

No, fortunately, this article will not be about that. This article will be about four finer points. Here they are:

1. Is this presidential election a referendum on the PAP?

Well, there has been a lot of articles banging on about this point.

From what I’ve read so far, even the chairman of the Singapore Management University board of trustees warned that the presidential election should never degenerate into that sort of thing where voters cast a protest vote against the incumbent just because they want to prove a point about how unhappy they are.

However, either I’m a little thick or I’m a little stoned at this hour, but I think there is no need to read into whether Tony Tan’s 35 percent victory is a sign that PAP is losing its grip on power.

And I don’t care if the 500,000-member unions endorsed Tony Tan or if he secured the blessings from the prime minister, because it is no use insinuating that Tony Tan must win by a convincing margin or else it is a sign that the PAP is going to be finished pretty soon.

Look, the political structure of this country has created such a system whereby the two top-performing candidates were formerly part of the ruling party complex.

The fact of the matter is, going by the results of Tony Tan and Tan Cheng Bock, they secured 70% of votes between them. Remember, both of them used to wear white? Yes, this is the kind of candidates that appeal to the people of Singapore. The number of spoilt votes is surprisingly low.

And this is also really a matter of whether you’re seeing a cup that is half-full or half-empty.

So if you’re feeling optimistic that 35 percent of votes for Tony represents the beginning of the rot for the PAP, I’m telling you, you shouldn’t.

2.Did people vote according to political inclination?

Sure looks like it.

Tan Jee Say, an ex-civil servant and former opposition politician who did ride on a more rebellious wave compared to docile Tony and agreeable Cheng Bock, made a dent by registering 25 percent of the votes.

And by displaying a bit of hubris, Tan Kin Lian received 5 percent of votes from the deluded segment of this country too. And he was made $48,000 poorer. (Hey, we saw that coming, didn’t we?)

But the point is: If you put a cactus or a donkey up for election on an opposition ticket (perceived or actual, regardless), the likelihood is that the cactus or the donkey will still receive about 30 percent of votes because there will be a segment voting for the opposition no matter what.

(This was said by Nanyang Technological University associate professor Cherian George before and I’m just reiterating.)

Yes, if you consider the electorate as voting according to political inclination, I think the presidential election results only serves to strengthen the case.

All these talk about what the candidates stand for and what they hope to achieve have probably been played up a tad too much. The Singaporean world-view is still white or non-white.

Tony and Cheng Bock caters to the majority and both choices graduated from having sat in parliament in all-whites. That’s something to think about.

3. Do Singaporeans prefer moderate candidates?

Which brings me to this next point, the answer is a resounding “Hell yes”.

In my mind, there is no doubt that Tan Cheng Bock is an ultra moderate. He comes off as a harmless, happy-clappy, esteemed and genuine do-gooder, who is annoyingly overly earnest and well-meaning.

And the only nasty thing he has ever done was to stay up all night way past his bed time – by the time this morning’s recount was over.

Therefore, based on what this presidential election has revealed, I have this theory: The only way any political party can usurp PAP’s throne is to form an even more conservative, straight-laced, future-oriented and uber moderate party that will promise to deliver whatever the PAP can for the moral majority. And then some.

Mmmm… Sounds like the Workers’ Party for some strange reason…

4. Tan Jee Say played his cards really well

I don’t think Jee Say was ever in this fight to win it.

He just gave people that choice to cast the vote that would never go to Tony or Cheng Bock. No, no, Kin Lian just won’t do. That guy weirds people out.

I mentioned before that he managed to capture the imagination of the electorate? This is precisely what I meant: What would it be like if someone from the opposition camp ever ran for president?

He did just that. Will this bode well for future contests in any election? Definitely. This presidential election should be seen as the start of Jee Say’s political career. And it couldn’t have taken off in a more visible way.

Lastly, what about Tony Tan’s mandate of the people? He sure as hell didn’t get the approval of the majority of people.

Will his six years in office be riddled with people snubbing him? That would be pretty interesting to find out, no?

Which is why, we here at New Nation, will be keeping our eyes peeled.

Survey: Toilet patrons don’t like Tony Tan

Survey: Toilet patrons don’t like Tony Tan

Tags: , , , , ,

Nicole Seah, Jenna Jameson, Doraemon and Tan Jee Say equally popular.

Doodle Doodle

He had his eyes crossed out in one, and a stache drawn on the other. Tony Tan may be the top candidate for President – according to the toilet uncle scrubbing the floor as New Nation was putting the board up – but he’s also a favourite target for toilet doodlers.

A few weeks ago, we put up sheets of paper in two toilet cubicles at Arbite restaurant asking patrons to write down which Presidential candidates they would like to date if given the chance.

The only other candidate who got a response was Tan Jee Say – “Tan Jee say coz he said he wants to spend 60 billion of out money. Might as well get some back.”

Most other comments went along the lines of “whoever’s giving me a big treat”, “the richest one lah of course! He’ll pay for EVERYTHING!!! =D” or “you got to be joking, with $4 million an annum salary THEY should bring the whole of Singapore to Arbite for dinner!”

Eh hm. So who said that political dissent was only confined to the online lunatic fringe? You’ve got to take into account the toilet-going fringe as well.

Either way, it seems like there really is no front runner this time. Going by this micro-survey alone, Tony Tan will be the candidate to divide the nation – you either love him, or you want to deface him. Tan Jee Say will be riding on the post-GE opposition sentiment while Tan Cheng Bock may just win as everyone else votes in the most unoffensive candidate. Tan Kin Lian unfortunately, seems to have been ignored both online and offline and may just lose his deposit.

This week’s topic: Who would you bring out on a hot date to arbite?

Of 6 female respondents, 5 females abstained from choosing a pre-selected candidate, 1 picked Nicole Seah, 1 picked Tan Jee Say
All 5 male respondents abstained from choosing, 1 picked porn star Jenna Jameson and another drew a Doraemon.
There were 34 ticks/crosses on the female board, surrounding the pictures of the candidates. Tan Kin Lian strangely had none.

What’s Toilet Talk: Every now and then when we feel like there’s a topic worth discussing, we stick up an A2 sized paper on the toilet walls of a restaurant. With a set of markers conveniently placed next to the toilet bowl, we invited toilet patrons to scrawl their topics on the issue at hand – total offline anonymity. Check out a previous one we did!

2011 presidential elections: If you had to pick one…

2011 presidential elections: If you had to pick one…

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One Tan in a bowl of four – can’t have them all, can’t have none.

By Fang Shihan

You don’t have to cast your vote at complete random, nor do you have to waste precious time and resources trawling through the Straits Times or Temasek Review to decide on who to hate the least.

Here’s a 5 min condensation of who’s who, who’s done what and who’s offended which section of the country.

You can thank us later. :)

 Tony Tan (full CV: click here)

Courtesy: Insing.com

In short: The candidate with the most illustrious career, the longtime patron of brylcreem had previously served as 1) Deputy prime minister, 2) Chairman and CEO of Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), 3) Chairman of state-controlled Singapore Press Holdings, 4) Executive director of Government Investment Corporation, which invests your CPF money. He’s currently on leave of absence from his role as Chairman of National Research Foundation, a department under the Prime Minister’s Office which funds research and development efforts and increasingly, startups.

Fans say: He’s had the most bling career of the lot and having worked inside and out of the government all his life, he’s more than capable to being head-of-state.

Haters say: He’s a PAP goondu without an opinion of his own. His son also enjoyed a 12-year disruption from National Service which incited loud boo-ing from a vocal group during his nomination day speech.

 Tan Kin Lian (full CV: click here)

Courtesy: ChannelNewsAsia

In short: The former NTUC Income chief shot to fame in 2008 when he led a protest against the government’s handling of Lehman-linked failed investments during the financial crisis. He now provides consultancy services to new and existing insurance companies operating outside Singapore. He promises to be an influential president and promises (among many other promises) more compensation for men who have served in the army.

Fans say: He knows the government well enough and can provide constructive criticism, particular with regards to financial steering.

Haters say: His premature presidential campaign in 2008 failed massively when he asked for 100,000 signatures but managed about 3,000. The president technically can’t do much, so he may not be able to deliver on all those wonderful things promised.

 Tan Jee Say (full CV: click here)

Courtesy: xinmsn

In short: Also another formerly PAP-affiliated man, the investment advisor graduated from Oxford and served as Principal Private Secretary to then Deputy Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong. His political career began early this year when he contested in the General Elections under the Singapore Democratic Party in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, losing to the ruling party with slightly less than 40% of the votes. He’s since resigned from the party. He promises to take a humble $500,000/yr salary ($41,666/mth) if elected.

Fans say: He’s got an economic plan for Singapore, plus he’s endorsed by Nicole Seah.

Haters say: He’s an SDP quack and quit the Goh Chok Tong administration because he wasn’t competent enough and couldn’t get promoted.

Tan Cheng Bock (full CV: click here)

Courtesy: ChannelNewsAsia

In short: The former kampung doctor who now owns a clinic in Jurong also served as the non-executive chairman of Chuan Hup holdings, a marine logistics company and was appointed Chairman of the government Feedback Unit in 1984. Like other PAP MPs, he’s held a range of non-major positions in various government and government-linked sectors but has surreptitiously avoided slamming by then anti-establishment fringe.

Fans say: He epitomizes the good doctor and is of sound moral standing.

Haters say: He has limited financial knowledge and is the least capable of the four to be President.


The editors chime in…

Shihan’s pick: Tan Cheng Bock. Because he’s the most harmless of the lot. I’m not a very big fan but least he can’t screw up the country.

Terence’s pick: Tan Cheng Bock. Because he can unite the PAP and the opposition. And Tan Kin Lian’s just weird.

Belmont’s pick: Tan Jee Say. Because we’re popping bottles in the ice, like a blizzard. And when we drink we do it right getting slizzard, right? And then we’ll be feeling so fly like a Jee Say. Like a Jee Say, like a Jee say…

Toilet Talk: 2011 Presidential Elections

Toilet Talk: 2011 Presidential Elections

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments, vandals, artists all welcome!

It’s back! Outhouse honesty is not one to be trifled with!

This time we’re looking for opinions about the 2011 Presidential elections, due to happen in 10 days time.

Two noticeboards have been pasted up in the same location:

Arbite, 66A Serangoon Garden Way

TOPIC: Who would you bring on a date to arbite?

Go check it out and erm…have a bite while you’re at it. (The owner’s letting us use his toilet as a social experiment. Be nice).

And if you think it’s weird to visit the cafe just to use the toilet, the deep fried button mushrooms are REALLY GOOD.

Guarantee enough fibre to clear your bowels.

Also check out our first attempt at starting Toilet debates. Guaranteed to be a blast!

Guess what! Obama is more important to Singapore than Nathan

Guess what! Obama is more important to Singapore than Nathan

Tags: , , , , , ,

3 reasons why the U.S. elections are better than Singapore.

By Fang Shihan

How can you not love this picture of Mizz Bachmann? Courtesy: The Telegraph

Who needs to read about Tan Cheng Bock when you’ve got Michele Bachmann winning the Iowa straw poll with a rock concert in her tent. Yes that’s right, the U.S. presidential elections are like our pasar malams – each candidate moves from state to state during the straw polls, erecting tents. There’s music, carnival, petting zoos, entertainment, food… and of course the policy speeches.

Can you blame the non-crusty generation for following U.S. presidential politics instead of the 4-way conflict on the little red dot?

Still not convinced? Here’s four more reasons why Singapore’s presidential elections are *yawn* really not worth your time:

1) There’s more diversity among the U.S. presidential candidates:

Michele Bachmann: potentially first female president of the United States.

Barack Obama: incumbent and first black president of the United States.

Herman Cain: former pizza chain owner and potentially first black republican president of the United States.

Rick Santorum: potentially first president to be named after an anal fluid.

Jon Huntsman: former U.S. ambassador to China who was caught attending a pro-democracy protest in Beijing.

What a bunch huh. Now check out the candidates we have at home – 4 old men of roughly the same age, exactly the same surname and same race.

2) The U.S. presidential elections doubles up as entertainment:

The elections are due more than a year later. Sure, the U.S. is huge and candidates do need time to travel around to the deep ends of each state. But this also means that their respective media – liberal and republican – are trying their hardest to sustain voter interest in what usually is a very dry speech-delivering process.

Check out Jon Stewart’s coverage of the Iowa straw polls:

And check out Mitt Romney being heckled by a cowboy at the same poll:

In the meantime, we have Tommy Koh here speaking about the elected presidency:

Given 10min of spare time each day, which would you rather watch?

3) The U.S. presidential elections will affect you – the Singapore presidential elections will probably not.

Damn, can hardly tell them apart. Courtesy insing.com

Those who think that the stock market will crash if Michele Bachmann gets elected..Kee chiu!

The U.S. of A is the largest economy in the world and the past week has seen stock markets in Asia flip and flop depending on how the U.S. markets feel like. If the U.S. gets crabs, so does the rest of the world – we’re all in bed together folks.

Technically the president of the united states, being able to influence the faltering world number 1, is the most powerful man in the world. And so he is bloody important even to Singaporeans like you and I. If Citigroup shares fall, so does GIC, and then eventually your CPF.

The Singapore president on the other hand, like a good trophy wife, can look good, say nice things but is ultimately ineffectual until given some reins to control.

So he has veto powers over the foreign exchange reserves and can appoint some people in some positions in the octopus that is the civil service and stat boards. Big deal. The U.S. president is more important than the Singaporean president to Singaporeans. Period.

4) There’s no penalty for the politically apathetic.

If you don’t like any of the candidates, you can choose not to vote. You don’t even need to pay a fine of $50 unless you want to vote again 5 years later. And you probably won’t, if you’re politically apathetic to begin with. Geddit geddit geddit?

But if you don’t keep up with the U.S. presidential elections – which is a far more common conversation topic if you’re a middle class worker having to interact with non-Singaporeans – you’ll run the risk of looking very stupid when everyone else laughs at Rick Santorum’s peach jelly and you don’t know who the heck he is.

Most of all, are your peers going to give you grief if you can’t tell Tan Kin Lian from Tan Jee Say? No. They are however, going to give you the *look* or the *yawn* if you try starting a conversation about why voting for one Tan is better than the other Tan.

Don’t believe me? Try using that as a conversation starter when you pick someone up at a bar.

Millionaire Adam Khoo backs Dr Tony Tan for president…

Millionaire Adam Khoo backs Dr Tony Tan for president…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

…and so is the 10,000 strong Federation of Tan Clan Associations.

This is shaping up to be a rather bizarre Singapore presidential election. First, local trade union NTUC spoke favorably about Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan, stopping short of an official endorsement.

Next, the Tan Clan announced that they are backing former him — over Tan Cheng Bock, Tan Kin Lian, and Tan Jee Say. Apparently, the Silver-Haired One was picked because of his contributions to the Association.

Now, even millionaire and entrepreneur Adam Khoo is backing Tony Tan: Read the full story

Bye bye, Tan Kin Lian?

Bye bye, Tan Kin Lian?

Tags: , , , , , ,

Why Singapore presidential hopeful Tan Kin Lian isn’t an automatic shoo-in.

By Belmont Lay

NTUC not company meh?

TAN Kin Lian might, after all, not be eligible to be president of Singapore based on a technicality.

Here’s why: Tan was the CEO of NTUC Income, a “co-operative insurance society” registered under the Co-operative Societies Act, which although strives for “commercial leadership” in its “business“, is actually structured differently from a company registered under the Companies Act.

So, in English, this means that Tan was NOT AND NEVER WAS the CEO of a company incorporated or registered under the Companies Act.

And if you check out the Singapore Elections Department list of Qualifications for Candidates seeking to become president, it is stated in no uncertain terms that one of the essential criteria for presidential aspirants is that they must have served as CEO (or as chairman of the board of directors) of a company incorporated or registered under the Companies Act.

Still not convinced? Here’s more.

When you google “Tan Kin Lian”, you will most likely find displayed among the top three results, his Wikipedia entry.

In his entry, it is stated that Tan is the “former CEO of NTUC Income”.

Next, follow the NTUC Income link at the footnote and you’ll arrive at its official website and click on its About Us page where it is stated in black and white that “NTUC Income, a co-operative insurance society formed in 1970″, was initiated by Goh Keng Swee (bless his soul).

So are we really splitting hairs when we try to make heads or tails of a co-operative and a company?

Sure as hell!

Therefore, to dig further, simply google “co-operative vs company singapore” because you want to find out what’s the difference between them and you will most likely find your query answered by the Singapore National Co-operative Federation’s FAQ page, which should be displayed as one of the top three results.

In it, transmitted through the ones-and-noughts of the supreme Internet, are three ways a co-operative is different from a company.

Primo: Voting in a co-operative is determined by one-member-one-vote policy but voting in a company is determined by type and number of shares held. (Think Singapore Press Holdings where there exists ordinary shares for mortals and not-so-ordinary-200-times-voting-power management shares if you’re part of the potentate.)

Secundo: A co-operative is an association of members while a company is an association of capital (an association I actually find damn sexy).

Tertio: The objective of a co-operative is to serve members’ needs while a company is to maximise profits for its shareholders. (Think SPH again!)

And to bludgeon the nail and seal the lid on the coffin, do spend four seconds to read the PDF document stating the by-laws of NTUC Income.

It states in page one that NTUC Income is registered under the Co-operative Societies Act.

So here’s the point of today’s missive: I stated before that Tan Cheng Bock must be bonkers if he honestly (or rather naively) thinks that his take on the 1987 so-called Marxist conspiracy can be buried and hidden from public scrutiny.

Sure, Tan Kin Lian might have been CEO for 30 years with a business that manages capital of $20 billion and beyond, but I just hope he will not join the club for the bonkers if he thinks that the Presidential Elections Committee will lay the red carpet out for him.

Because I hate false hope. Likewise for the multitudes out there who are counting on him.

Editor’s note:

This article was edited on July 5, at 5.25pm after it was first published for the following reason:

While Tan Kin Lian isn’t the CEO of a company, he may still qualify on the basis that he is “in any other similar or comparable position of seniority and responsibility in any other organization or department of equivalent size or complexity in the public or private sector which, in the opinion of the Presidential Elections Committee, has given him such experience and ability in administering and managing financial affairs as to enable him to carry out effectively the functions and duties of the office of President.”

We thank Wong Chun Han for pointing this out.

What this means is that whether Tan Kin Lian contests is still the decision of the Presidential Elections Committee. It’s no longer obvious that he will stand for elections.

I don’t know what the elected president does

I don’t know what the elected president does

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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?


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.

Join our community on FacebookTwitter, or follow us on the S.alt app for Android.

Presidential hopefuls can learn from Worker’s Party

Presidential hopefuls can learn from Worker’s Party

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Join our community on FacebookTwitter, or follow us on the S.alt app for Android.