Tag Archive | "Vincent Wijeysingha"

Catholics demand proof from Vincent Wijeysingha that a priest had tried to molest him

Catholics demand proof from Vincent Wijeysingha that a priest had tried to molest him

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They ask: Where is the evidence?

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Catholics from some walks of life have expressed doubt over Vincent Wijeysingha’s claims that he was molested by a priest when he was a teenager.

This after Vincent made a bombshell revelation a few days ago saying he was still play wrestling with a priest when he was 15.

A Catholic, Yeshu Aini, said: “I find Vincent Wijeysingha’s claims about almost being molested dubious because there is no evidence. Where is the proof? We can’t just rely on his word, right?”

“Even if you don’t have video or photographic evidence, we need something to go along with still, right?”

“Look, when Catholics claim that Mary is the mother of Jesus, we believe it because there is proof. See this? It is written here in The Bible.”

S’poreans wouldn’t have guessed Vincent Wijeysingha’s gay

S’poreans wouldn’t have guessed Vincent Wijeysingha’s gay

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There was no inkling at all, they say.

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Singapore Democratic Party politican Vincent Wijeysingha officially came out as a gay man on his Facebook page on Friday.

Vincent had posted an update on his Facebook that read: “Just in case Fabrications About The PAP is wondering, yes, I am going to Pink Dot tomorrow. And yes, I am gay.”

This sent shock waves across the entire Singapore.

One Singaporean, Bu Zhi Tao said: “I never had an inkling Vincent Wijeysingha was gay, although there was talk about it all over the Internet during GE2011. But thanks for confirming my suspicion.”

Others were even more shocked.

Tong Xing Lian, a local, said: “He had a tiff with VIvian Balakrishnan about a gay agenda in the midst of GE2011. But I had not for one second stopped to reflect that it was because Vincent Wijeysingha was gay.”

“Thought it was Vivian who was.”

How S’poreans see defamation suits…

How S’poreans see defamation suits…

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… in the 21st century. Where they no longer belong.

Here’s some context: For the uninitiated, PAP’s Tan Chuan-Jin sent a lawyer’s letter to SDP’s Dr Vincent Wijeysingha.

SDP stalwart, Dr Vincent Wijeysingha

Tan Chuan-Jin claims Vincent defamed him in a Dec. 2 post on Facebook.

Vincent has since apologised but he is expected to pay damages running into the tens of thousands of dollars.

And in the 21st century, where everything goes and people are expected to be more tolerant, this is how plenty of Singaporeans read Vincent Wijeysingha’s poignant Dec. 2 Facebook note about the strike by Chinese bus drivers working for SMRT:

And this is how plenty of Singaporeans perceive Tan Chuan-Jin and his lawyers’ reaction to the same Facebook note:

Therefore, all things considered, defamation suits end up backfiring because people will automatically think the PAP cannot handle a debate. In the 21st century.

And win an argument with better, and even more poignant points and truths.

And defamation suits are all about making other people poorer.

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.

Whose coattails would you ride on?

Whose coattails would you ride on?

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If you could be fielded in a 5-person GRC team and given the choice to pick any candidate from any of the opposition parties to be your running mates, what would your dream team look like?

OR TO put it in a more vulgar way, on whose coattails would you want to ride on?

Guess what? All three editors at New Nation have unanimously picked Singapore Democratic Party’s Vincent Wijeysingha and God, erm, no.. I mean, Workers’ Party’s Chen Show Mao as part of their dream teams.

Explanation of choices follows.

Fang Shihan’s 5-person GRC Dream Team:
1. Sylvia Lim (Workers’ Party)
2. Chen Show Mao (Workers’ Party)
3. Vincent Wijeysingha (Singapore Democratic Party)
4. Gerald Giam (Workers’ Party)
5. Fang Shihan

Shihan’s explanation: Sylvia’s awesome because as an Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, she’s proven her vocal worth by saying sufficiently smart and important things in parliament. The specific substance of it doesn’t matter actually, nor does her political stance.

Because people like me will vote for her, and whatever team she’s leading, simply because she symbolises ‘a credible challenge to the incumbent’.

You know, like how it is a matter of posturing? It’s like people playing mahjong for the first time, who don’t really know the specifics of the game, but they know when they get a damn powerful set and it’s time to follow through to finish it?

So, it’ll be Sylvia leading the pack, together with Chen Show Mao, Dr. Vincent for the minority, and Gerald Giam. Yes, egos may clash and Vincent may feel out of place compared to the hammers, but hey, he being the best minority candidate now.

You could say I’d have four coattails to ride on, but in reality, it’s only the leader that counts. The leader is the face of the GRC team. Sylvia’s an alpha female, has whopped the garhmen’s arse in parliament and lived to tell the tale (unlike, ahem, Viswa), and is relatively good-looking. We’ve satisfied the lesbian population, the anti-PAP ra-ra sector and also anyone who’s superficial.

That more than covers a large voter base.

Conclusion: Shihan is a closeted Workers’ Party supporter. She doesn’t even bother to explain why she chose Gerald Giam. Gerald Giam… just because. Furthermore, she might also be a progressive at heart. Or, somewhat queer.

——————

Terence Lee’s 5-person GRC Dream Team:
1. Sylvia Lim (Workers’ Party)
2. Low Thia Khiang (Workers’ Party)
3. Vincent Wijeysingha (Singapore Democratic Party)
4. Chen Show Mao (Workers’ Party)
5. Terence Lee

Terence’s explanation: For me, experience comes first. On this count, Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang come to mind.

Sylvia has served one term as an NCMP and she appeals to the younger, English-speaking crowd. Low has been an MP since 1991. Plus, his Teochew is second to none, and older folk respond to that. Both are relatively young, and pretty sharp.

If this was the 2006 elections, I’d want Chiam See Tong. But after hearing him speak in person recently, I’m not impressed. He has lost a step. And he doesn’t seem as sharp anymore. A team, in my view, must also have longevity, which means I want the team to stay intact not only in this elections, but the next. So no, I don’t want him on my team.

I must confess something: I like the Singapore Democratic Party. No, not the old, slogan-chanting, placard-waving SDP of the Chee Soon Juan mould, but the new SDP featuring Danny the Democratic Bear. Policy-wise, SDP actually has really solid proposals. They have a Shadow Budget that tells us how they hope to fund their policy proposals, something that WP has failed to do.

I also like the fact that they are a principled and loud party who would stand up for the values even if it costs them in the short-run. A perfect complement to the WP’s pragmatic, quiet approach. WP is the yin to SDP’s yang. But I have an issue with Chee Soon Juan’s confrontational style. It’s off-putting, repulsive, and quite alien. Plus, Singaporeans remember him for all the wrong reasons.

So, therefore, I really like Dr Vincent Wijeysingha. He might be confrontational too, but he’s milder than Chee Soon Juan. I was impressed by the way he stood up to Tharman, rebutting him not just with platitudes, but arguments backed by actual figures at the Channel News Asia debate forum. He’d make a fine Parliamentarian, and furthermore, he’s openly gay (minority voice!). He’ll be a fine addition to my team.

Finally, since Singaporeans are such paper-chasers, we need a candidate with credentials so impressive that it would cause Tin Pei Ling et al. to shit in their pants and wallow in self-pity. More importantly, Singaporeans will swoon over him in no time.

That man is Chen Show Mao. Check this out: He graduated from Harvard, Oxford and Stanford, and has tremendous experience in international securities offerings and merger and acquisitions. Here’s more namedropping from his law firm’s website:

“In capital markets, Mr Chen advised the Agricultural Bank of China on its recent $22 billion IPO, which is the largest by an Asian issuer, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) on its $21 billion IPO, which is the second-largest IPO ever, and the first global offering that involved a concurrent listing in China. He also advised Sinochem on the largest-ever international debt offering by a Chinese company and the underwriters for China Unicom in the largest-ever international convertible bond offering by a Chinese company. Mr Chen completed the global initial public offerings of Air China, China Construction Bank, MCC, Sinoma, Sinopec, Unicom and others.”

I sure as hell don’t know what the paragraph is talking about, but count me into the Cult of Show Mao. He not only had a good career, but he’s eloquent too, judging by the interviews and soundbites he has given to the media. He’s cool as blue.

Conclusion: Terence might also be a closeted Workers’ Party supporter given that three out of five choices are from WP. He should also be forgiven for favouring flair but it is obvious that Low, Lim, Chen and Wijeysingha are hot, hot, hot. They have seared themselves into many people’s brains.

———–

Belmont Lay’s 5-person GRC Dream Team:
1. Sebastian Teo (National Solidarity Party)
2. Tony Tan or Hazel Poa (National Solidarity Party)
3. Vincent Wijeysingha (Singapore Democratic Party)
4. Chen Show Mao (Workers’ Party)
5. Belmont Lay

Belmont’s explanation: I doubt many people have heard of Sebastian Teo of the NSP. But from what I gather, he is a fluent speaker of Mandarin, Teochew and Hokkien. His demeanor puts heartlander folks at ease and he has worked the ground very, very hard the past few years doing his rounds and meeting the people face-to-face.

This is old-school politics and I like that style. And best of all, Sebby has a MBA from NUS! He is a self-made man, therefore, I approve.

Now, look: As a bargain-hunting Singaporean, what more can you ask for if you had EITHER Tony Tan or Hazel Poa in parliament? Tony and Hazel are a husband-and-wife team. Wherever one goes, the other will be right behind. Even if just one of them becomes an MP, I can be assured that taxpayers will be getting two MPs for the price of one.

Tony’s got a problem dealing with the figures of a new policy? No worries. We have a numerate Hazel to look through the numbers. Oh, you mean Hazel’s got a draft that needs some editing and needs another pair of eyes on it? Tony’s right on it.

Even Groupon.com can’t beat this deal, you know (Terence’s note: Belmont missed out on the fact that Nicole would be on this team, since they are a couple. What a bargain!).

Dr Vincent Wijeysingha. Ah… It’s always good to know that someone was a social worker. He would have seen a side of life not many people can even come to terms with. This parliament needs someone who is burdened by the problems of the poor and needy.

Lastly, I would definitely want God, erm no I mean, Chen Show Mao to be on my side. Chen has a statesman-like demeanour as he is someone who has been at the highest echelons of the corporate world, unlike say, someone who used to serve in the SAF.

And the last time I checked, he has more credentials than Tin Pei Ling has handbags.

And imagine if Chen wasn’t denied entry into medical school last time. Then he would have served National Service for real and be a doctor who would continue to serve the people. This is unlike some doctors who never served NS and still want to enter parliament.

I would prostrate myself in His presence, erm I mean, I would have a lot to learn from Him, erm no, I mean, Chen.

Conclusion: Belmont is a typical cheap bastard who is also god-fearing, no erm.. pragmatic and politically astute in his choices. His choices may appear wide-ranging, but he is a National Solidarity Party supporter.

Who would you pick? Join this Facebook poll!

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Key debates at Channel NewsAsia’s political forum

Key debates at Channel NewsAsia’s political forum

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Debate centred around economic issues; Opposition wins by a whisker.

By Terence Lee

On GST

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) assistant treasurer Vincent Wijeysingha advocated a zero-rate GST for basic services like food so as to alleviate pressure from lower-income groups.

In response, finance minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam came out robustly in defense of the GST system, saying that most of the revenue generated from the GST comes from the top 40 percent of Singaporeans. The money collected is then given back to the poor through subsidies and handouts. He says that the poor get more from these handouts than the GST they pay.

On a related note, People’s Action Party (PAP) member-of-parliament Josephine Teo claims that the government’s Inclusive Growth programme would benefit over 20,000 low wage workers.

Vincent’s suggestion sounds interesting but I wonder how robust it is compared to the government’s existing measures? I also have my doubts about whether the PAP’s current policies are sufficient enough to tackle insufficient wages experienced by the poor.

For instance, while Workfare acts as supplementary income for low-wage workers, much of it goes to the CPF instead of to the worker’s pockets. It’s a pity that the idea of minimum wage was not discussed much.

Result: Tie

On income of the poor

Photo: SILAS HWANG / Creative Commons

Vincent highlights a UBS report stating that the purchasing power of Singaporeans is actually comparable to Russia’s, despite being a “first-rate” economy.

Tharman counters by saying that the UBS report is flawed, without going into specifics. He then mentioned that Singapore’s median income is quite high compared to other countries.

Vincent responds by questioning the validity of median income as an indicator for the well-being of the poor. He then criticises the ministers for their million-dollar salaries, a dig that was ignored.

Finally, Tharman assures viewers that the PAP cares for the welfare of the people. He smartly reemphasises the benefits of the GST system and its trickle-down effect from rich to poor.

Result: PAP wins

On housing

Gerald Giam of the Worker’s Party and Vincent both echo the view that the HDB should be non-profit, something that Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan would claim is already the case. Gerald goes on to say that prices of HDB flats should be pegged to the cost of flats and not to the resale and private housing market.

Vincent took another tack on the issue, arguing that HDB prices are too high for the lower-income group because they spend too much money from their retirement funds on housing. That’s why they work until the 70s and 80s. Ownership to the home becomes a form of slavery.

“We’re asset secure but income insecure,” he says.

Neither Tharman nor Josephine addressed Gerald’s point. Responding to Vincent, he says that Singaporeans on average use 23 percent of their income to service their housing mortgage, a figure that hasn’t changed much over the years. However, he does not say how the figure is like for the poor.

The PAP reps’ response to the housing debate was not as concise as the GST and income level issues. Neither Vincent’s nor Gerald’s criticisms were successfully rebutted.

Result: Opposition wins

On foreign workers

Photo: KODOMUT / Creative Commons

There isn’t much disagreement between the political parties here: All admit that productivity must go up, while reliance on foreign workers must go down. While the PAP highlighted existing measures to achieve those aims, the opposition (Vincent especially) was quick to point out that the PAP was slow in realising their mistakes.

Vincent, in a ballsy but effective move, interrupted Melissa at one point and mentioned how the PAP was flawed in its measurement of productivity over the past 27 years.

Indeed, a study by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy indicated that Singapore’s productivity growth has stalled over the years, despite government intervention.

Surely, a sore point for the PAP.

Result: Opposition wins

Other issues

On healthcare, Singapore People’s Party second vice-chairperson Lina Chiam’s assertion about the lack of hospital beds was countered by Tharman’s mention of statistics: Occupancy rate for hospitals is only 85 percent. Of course, this figure should be scrutinised further. Lina went on to say how healthcare costs can be reduced by discouraging medical tourism.

She then goes on a tear by highlighting a smorgasbord of other issues: More critical thinking in schools, better political education for students, more recognition for single mothers. Despite her incoherence, the ideas she mentioned are actually pretty good.

But the bad impression she made negates whatever good things she said.

Vincent, being typically SDP, highlighted exorbitant ministerial salaries and persecution of Opposition figures in the past, although he did not press the point home to the extent where it would challenge entrenched views. These issues were not addressed by Tharman and Josephine, which meant the debate was mainly centred around the economy.

Result: Tie

Final score

PAP: 1; Opposition: 2

I must disclaim that I am effectively pro-opposition. That’s my bias. So I felt the Opposition did better in this debate (whether Singaporeans vote for them is another matter). What’s clear is that Vincent is the star striker amongst them all.

For an assessment of the individual candidate’s performance, click here.