Tag Archive | "Wong Kan Seng"

S’poreans find closure as Wong Kan Seng steps down 7 years after Mas Selamat escape

S’poreans find closure as Wong Kan Seng steps down 7 years after Mas Selamat escape

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This has brought an end to an unsavoury chapter in many Singaporeans’ lives.

wong-kan-seng

Singaporeans from all walks of life closed their eyes briefly, held hands on the streets with strangers and uttered the words “It’s finally over” repeatedly under their breath this afternoon, as many others wept uncontrollably as they visibly tried to hold back their emotions.

This after they heard today that ex-deputy prime minister Wong Kan Seng announced he is stepping down from political office and will effectively retire, putting an end to what has been an unsavoury chapter in Singapore’s history.

His announcement comes seven years after alleged terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari escaped from the Whitley Road Detention Centre in Onraet Road on Feb. 27, 2008.

At that time, Wong was the then Minister for Home Affairs and did not step down despite the public opprobrium and demands that he did, because his skin is quite thick.

Like a gangrenous pus-filled scar that refused to heal but continue to fester with maggots, that incident was left unsettled, even though Mas Selamat was recaptured in Johor Bahru over a year later.

For many Singaporeans, the memory of that painful incident has been etched into their consciousness and would not go away, like a purple dinosaur doing the boogie-woogie while laughing hysterically and eating cream filled pies.

One Singaporean, Tui Xiu, said she is finally able to move on with her life now that Wong is out of politics for good: “Since that day Feb. 27, 2008, my heart has been heavy and I have carried this burden with me for so long.”

“How could Singapore even let a person who could be a dangerous terrorist escape? And worse, no one actually took responsibility for it?”

“I hope Wong Kan Seng can have a short chat with Minister Khaw Boon Wan, to talk about the benefits of practising hara-kiri.”

Other Singaporeans said finding closure has always been their sole purpose and with this announcement that Wong is done for, it will greatly help bring reconciliation while hastening the period of healing to begin in earnest.

Another Singaporean, Zhen Zha, said: “The period of healing and getting back on our feet has begun.”

“The last seven years were dark ones for this country as Wong Kan Seng’s persistent presence has been a reminder of our national security failure.”

“Even throughout the SG50 Aug. 9 national day celebration, there was an ominous pall that could not be lifted.”

“However, now it’s gone.”

At press time, Singaporeans are proposing having another SG50 National Day celebration to mark the true start of Singapore’s new beginning and progress.

 

 

 

 

 











S’poreans find closure as ex-DPM Wong Kan Seng steps down 7 years after Mas Selamat escape

S’poreans find closure as ex-DPM Wong Kan Seng steps down 7 years after Mas Selamat escape

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This has brought an end to an unsavoury chapter in many Singaporeans’ lives.

wong-kan-seng

Singaporeans from all walks of life closed their eyes briefly, held hands on the streets with strangers and uttered the words “It’s finally over” repeatedly under their breath this afternoon, as many others wept uncontrollably as they visibly tried to hold back their emotions.

This after they heard today that ex-deputy prime minister Wong Kan Seng announced he is stepping down from political office and will effectively retire, putting an end to what has been an unsavoury chapter in Singapore’s history.

His announcement comes seven years after alleged terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari escaped from the Whitley Road Detention Centre in Onraet Road on Feb. 27, 2008.

At that time, Wong was the then Minister for Home Affairs and did not step down despite the public opprobrium and demands that he did, because his skin is quite thick.

Like a gangrenous pus-filled scar that refused to heal but continue to fester with maggots, that incident was left unsettled, even though Mas Selamat was recaptured in Johor Bahru over a year later.

For many Singaporeans, the memory of that painful incident has been etched into their consciousness and would not go away, like a purple dinosaur doing the boogie-woogie while laughing hysterically and eating cream filled pies.

One Singaporean, Tui Xiu, said she is finally able to move on with her life now that Wong is out of politics for good: “Since that day Feb. 27, 2008, my heart has been heavy and I have carried this burden with me for so long.”

“How could Singapore even let a person who could be a dangerous terrorist escape? And worse, no one actually took responsibility for it?”

“I hope Wong Kan Seng can have a short chat with Minister Khaw Boon Wan, to talk about the benefits of practising hara-kiri.”

Other Singaporeans said finding closure has always been their sole purpose and with this announcement that Wong is done for, it will greatly help bring reconciliation while hastening the period of healing to begin in earnest.

Another Singaporean, Zhen Zha, said: “The period of healing and getting back on our feet has begun.”

“The last seven years were dark ones for this country as Wong Kan Seng’s persistent presence has been a reminder of our national security failure.”

“Even throughout the SG50 Aug. 9 national day celebration, there was an ominous pall that could not be lifted.”

“However, now it’s gone.”

At press time, Singaporeans are proposing having another SG50 National Day celebration to mark the true start of Singapore’s new beginning and progress.

 

 

 

 

 











Baey Yam Keng (sort of) finally quits job to be full-time MP

Baey Yam Keng (sort of) finally quits job to be full-time MP

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“About f**king time”, says angry taxpayers.

Workers’ Party Chen Show Mao must be thinking: “Haha noob”

Baey Yam Keng — the most meterosexual man in parliament — has finally left his cushy post as managing director at public relations firm, Hill and Knowlton.

Albeit still hanging on as a senior adviser of the company but with less working hours. (So did he really quit? Whatever right? Since The Straits Times unquestioningly said he did, he must have. Always read the fine print!)

And his reason given for finally devoting more time to becoming a full-time MP for Tampines GRC?

Well, constituents in 2012 are actually a lot more difficult to help compared to 2006 when Baey was first elected to the backbencher throne.

Baey said: “Now, there are a lot more avenues for residents to raise issues and I have to act more promptly in responding”. (Editor’s note: This is a real quote from ST. We didn’t make this shit up.)

This also most likely means that constituents in 2006 were suffering in silence because the feedback channels weren’t as many or effective as now and MPs could just walk around thinking they got a handle on things.

Now, angry taxpayers are responding harshly to this delay in PAP MPs turning full-time.

Jiak Liao Bee, a Tampines resident said: “Look at Chen Show Mao! Last year quit his job already! Why so lagging one, this PAP?”

Another resident said: “So does it mean last term Baey Yam Keng work part-time MP get full-time pay is a bit quite chao keng?”

PAP ministers have in the past opposed the idea when opposition parties promised full-time MPs.

Ex-deputy prime minister Wong Kan Seng warned in 2006 that full-time MPs are a bad idea as they would “lose contact with people in business, lose contact with foreigners who come to Singapore.”

Obviously, none of us need to take Wong Kan Seng seriously because he has since effectively disappeared from the limelight after GE2011.

Channel News Asia headline “deliberately misleading”

Channel News Asia headline “deliberately misleading”

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The same reader flies into blinding rage again, this time over CNA headline, demands apology.

Dear New Nation editors,

I wrote to you yesterday regarding an editorial faux pas committed by The Straits Times where I demanded an apology from their editors.

I made it perfectly clear that I was offended and I stated my reasons for all and sundry to read and empathise. I’ve received a lot of support and kind words from many who felt the same.

Thank you all for that encouragement.

Today, I opened my Internet browser to scrutinise local news and I fell off my chair as I was made to fly into a blinding rage yet again.

Barely a few hours after the offending ST article with its insensitive sub-headline appeared on the front page, Channel News Asia published a headline that is obviously deliberately misleading, and meant to cause misunderstanding and misinterpretation.

You can be the judge for yourself:

Here is a closer look:

This is the article that was published in the evening of April 2 by Channel News Asia, that broadcaster that claims to be providing you with Asian perspectives but is in fact filled with programmes of people talking incessantly about nothing in particular.

Tell me you don’t see anything wrong with this headline?

Tell me this is not deliberate and in-your-face?

Tell me this is not an insinuation!

Because it isn’t! This is published as if it was a statement of fact!

All I’m saying is that CNA is casting China in a bad light by saying that killing people through state executions is important in the implementation of domestic policies!

I know, this is not even the context and meaning of the headline.

But like I said in my previous letter, it doesn’t matter! Because all it takes is for one person to choose to feel offended, offence is taken.

Worse, one glance at the headline, and I assumed immediately that it is the pot calling the kettle black.

We all know China has one of the highest execution rates in the world.

But how much better is Singapore?

Must we be the ones to cast the first stone with our accusation?

I’m no Jesus but all I can say is that we can’t.

I am appalled and I cannot bear to read more. Editorial oversights like these must stop.

And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels the same way.

There needs to be an issuance of an apology.

Or else I might be forced to do something within my personal capacity.

Yours sincerely,
An Outraged Channel News Asia and Straits Times Reader

Man hauled to court for inciting violence on Facebook

Man hauled to court for inciting violence on Facebook

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But how does the prosecution determine if it was indeed a real and imminent threat?

Uh oh. Looks like Temasek Review is in the news again for the wrong reasons.

This time, in what is perhaps the first case of its kind, a social networking site user is hauled to court to face charges for inciting violence on Facebook.

The 36-year-old man is accused of doctoring a photograph of a Vietnamese general executing a Viet Cong guerilla by superimposing the face of the guerilla with ex-deputy PM Wong Kan Seng’s face.

He subsequently used it as a profile display picture, posted a link to a video clip depicting the assassination of former Egyptian president on Temasek Review’s Facebook page and followed up with a comment calling for a re-enactment during the 2010 National Day Parade.

There are two aspects that are troubling about this trial. And not the least because what was done appeared a tad too juvenile to be worth prosecution in the first place.

First, how does the prosecution determine whether there was indeed a real and imminent threat posed by the defendant?

Where does one draw the line between a mischevious inconsequential act and an actual threat?

Well, as a news consumer who needs to rely on Channel News Asia’s reporting to provide the facts, you will never know because it simply doesn’t elaborate.

Damn you, sparse reporting!

Second, why didn’t the public hear anything about this issue until now considering it reportedly occured more than one year ago some time between July and August 2010?

Is it not possible for a case that is most certainly of public interest – considering also that it is the first of its kind – to be given some air time before it went on trial?

If there is indeed a lesson in this trial for the public-at-large to be aware of, can we have more facts, please? Or at least the next time when something similar happens, can we find out from the start when the whole thing was actually ongoing?

Last, but not least: If you recall, in September 2011, a TR-linked personnel by the name of Joseph Ong was arrested for conducting exit polling on Facebook during the general election on May 7.

According to Singapore law, it is an offence under the Parliamentary Elections Act to publish opinion polls during an election and exit polls on Polling Day before the election results are declared.

That was perhaps a first case of its kind too.

And his arrest seems a bit iffy as well.

For the benefit of anyone who needs to know about how polls work, here’s what you should know to understand that what Joseph Ong did was ultimately pointless and non-scientific to begin with: The troubling aspect of his arrest at that time was that his method of using Facebook to conduct polling is essentially flawed because anyone who voluntarily offers to be polled commits a self-sampling bias.

This means, without randomly selecting respondents, the poll wouldn’t work at all and it will reveal nothing insightful other than showing results that are a waste of time and a pile of crap.

This basically means that the results from the poll are more or less useless and wouldn’t reflect closely enough the actual results of the election.

So, if the methodology was wrong and the results inaccurate – something which we know and can predict from the start – is there even a case to be made for prosecuting him?

Therefore, how far should the law go in prosecuting someone who is obviously getting polling done wrongly in the first place?

As a deterence for anyone in the future who might in fact find a way to get it right?

Really?

Prime Minister apologises, but nothing has changed

Prime Minister apologises, but nothing has changed

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He issues a long overdue apology for mistakes in the past 5 years, but his fundamental political beliefs have not shifted.

By Fang Shihan

Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, in a prelude to PM Lee’s apology, gave a dire warning. He said that Singapore, like the rest of the world, was “one shock away from another recession.” The world has not recovered from the recession he said, but because the government has done a good job, the median worker has seen incomes rise by 10% over the past 10 years, after accounting for inflation.

And with the figurative red carpet rolled out, PM Lee stepped forward, staff in hand, crown placed nicely, and… said sorry.

The economy was doing great, he said, growing at 14.5% last year because the PAP made good decisions when the opportunities arose. But this came at the expense of the people.

“[Overcrowding and limited public transport capacity] are real problems, we will tackle them. but I hope you will understand that when these problems vex you or disturb you or upset your lives, please bear with us. We are trying our best on your behalf. And if we didn’t get it quite right. I’m sorry, but we will try to do better the next time.”

And it gets better.

“We made a mistake when we let Mas Selamat run away. We made a mistake when Orchard road got flooded. And there are other mistakes which we have made from time to time and I’m sure will occasionally happen again. I hope not too often. But when it happens, we should acknowledge it. We should apologise, take responsibility, put things right. If we have to discipline somebody, we will do that. And we must learn from our lessons and never make the same mistake again.”

Eh? You got discipline Wong Kan Seng meh? If I recall correctly, he turned the situation around and accused Singaporeans of being complacent about security. But never mind, onward with the next apology:

“There are two examples where things didn’t turn out like we hoped. HDB flats: we had a sharp recession just 3 years ago. We had a surplus of flats. We didn’t expect that in the middle of 2009, after this sharp downturn, things would pick up suddenly, strongly, the wind would catch us, and suddenly the demand would press flat prices up. If we could have predicted this I think we would have ramped up our building plan earlier, built more flats earlier and we would have saved many singaporeans some angst.

Similarly with our public transport, we enjoyed high growth, higher than we expected. But with high growth, we had more population increase than we expected because we had more foreign workers come in and we had to accept them because we wanted them to fill the jobs to support the investments, the projects that were coming in. As a result we have more congestion.

We’re sorry we didn’t get it exactly right. But I hope you will understand and bear with us. Because we are trying our best to fix the problems. We’re building 22,000 flats this year. Opening one new MRT line or extension line every year for the next 7 years. Investing in our people and in our future.”

And so he begs for forgiveness, pleads for the people’s mandate so he can run the government properly and dangles some awfully yummy looking carrots in front.

One MRT line every year? Seriously? To quote Irene Ang: “Singapore got so much space to dig ar?”

I understand though, and I appreciate the apology after three long years. Better late then never. Shows the humble side of the man who’s the son of the most powerful man on the island.

But if you think that’s any indication of a sharp U-turn in policy, you’re going to be disappointed.

Even if PM Lee proclaims proudly, about the free and fair electoral system, where anyone and everyone could contest and even switch parties if they wanted to, he’s still very much the old-school guy who believes in a one-party dominant system. Having an opposition gets in the way. Period.

“[The opposition] will help the PAP to make a mess, so they will take over from the PAP. It’s quite understandable. They’re entitled to do that. we’ve asked them to admit it. Some do, like the Reform Party. Others like the Worker’s Party hem and haw but they stop short of saying that. They want to get your vote speaking softly. But is it good to have government and opposition fighting each other all the time in parliament?”

“When the Worker’s party says First World Parliament, so we ask them where’s your first world? They say ‘don’t have but its First World’. Because when you ask for the real samples, you see the sample, you know you don’t want to buy this merchandise. This is bad merchandise.”

To PM Lee, the electoral system is nothing more than a controlled theatre for the kids to watch once every five years. It’s all a performance and the best actors get to continue performing (but not participating) in parliament for the next half a decade.

To PM Lee, only the PAP are fit to govern. And boy does he work hard to make sure he hand picks the right people for the party.

“You’ve seen some of them, you’ve heard some of them. In fact several of them were here this afternoon, speaking to you. Getting practice talking to Singaporeans. I believe that they are good, and they will get better. By 2020, they must be ready to lead Singapore when my generation retires.”

PM, you’re assuming they’ll last until 2020 issit? There’s still one more election in between and we can vote them out you know? Again, we have free and fair elections, anyone can contest, but PM is able to predict that one whole generation of PAP politicians will be able to lead (even as they’re still practicing their speeches during the elections).

But if that’s not enough, PM had to pull the generation card.

“Your approach to the GE will be different from the older generation. From your parents. Because for your parents this is the 7th or 10th GE and they will vote based on gut instinct and loyalty. And long experience on what they have known, works in Singapore. And they know what can happen if you have a bad government in Singapore.”

Sir, I believe 43.4% of the voting population were in walkover wards in 2006 and if you look hard enough, there will be people your age who’re voting for the first time in 2011. And if they had grown up during Singapore’s boomtime, they really wouldn’t know what could happen with a bad government could they?

And he ends it off with the final gong.

“After this GE, we will have the mandate to take Singapore forward for the next 5 years.”

Assumptions sir, assumptions. So yes he apologised, yes I feel shiok, but don’t be mistaken. Nothing about him has changed one bit.

Quit playing games for my vote

Quit playing games for my vote

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You know it’s time for you to vote when all you hear in the news is the “PAP” and “The Opposition”. But you know it’s supposed to be about you and not them right?

By Justin Zhuang

I THOUGHT that Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng was shooting himself in the foot when he questioned the opposition’s motives of wanting to capture a GRC in the upcoming elections. Then again, he made a lot of sense.

“Some say they are doing it for party renewal, some want to be the first ones to do so, but what is the elections about? Is it about the ambitions of a political party or individuals to make history?” he asked.

Clearly, he didn’t seem to remember that his party, the PAP, also has intentions to capture a GRC for party renewal. After all, the party is trying to build its fourth generation team. But in case anyone gets this “team” mixed up with “government”, here’s a quick reminder: The PAP candidates need to be elected by the people first.

That aside, I think his remarks pretty much sum up the elections hustings thus far. All the politicians have been doing is talking about themselves or with one another.

And if history repeats itself, that’s probably how the upcoming General Elections will turn out to be — political entertainment served up once every five years. As usual, the PAP will have a field day caricaturing the opposition parties and their candidates, digging up any dirty and dismal past.

Just look at what they did in the 1963 elections, using cartoons on flyers to succinctly sum up their position against their opponents. The same thing in the 1967 by-elections was done on banners at a rally in Thomson. Nowadays, they just say it as it is, like in 1997 when they labeled Workers’ Party candidate Tang Liang Hong anti-Christian and a Chinese chauvinist. The medium may be different but the method stays the same.

On the other hand, all you hear from the Opposition parties is the plea to us to vote out the PAP — the exact rallying call of the Barisan Sosialis in the 1984 elections.

Yet, what is an elections really about? Is it just about who we vote in or what we are voting for? The problem with our elections here is it never seems to rise above petty politics (and personalities) to a proper debate about issues that matter. It’s like watching an entertainment show on television, with two sides trying to outdo one another, and you as a viewer (some people don’t get to vote, you see), you stand to receive prizes (goodies) just by picking the right winner.

One big reason for this is that neither side treats the voters with enough respect. We don’t know who we are as voters. The constant redrawing of electoral boundaries give us no sense of place. This elections, I am be part of Hougang SMC, but in the next I could be part of Aljunied GRC! Then, there’s the parachuting of candidates: people who don’t live in our constituencies or spend years with us are suddenly moved to stand in a constituency to suit the party’s strategy.

We don’t need a Cooling-Off Day to think about who we want to vote for, but we need certainty about who the candidates are as early as possible. How can we be expected to make an informed choice about a candidate in weeks? Especially when I have to live with the decision for five years!

But the true mark of a people’s candidate is when voters come up to you to take a photograph and an autograph. Not the other way around.

The uncertainty is further fuelled by the lack of a fixed election date, that leads to unnecessary time wasted on speculation. “When are the elections?” “Who will be contesting?” become the de-facto election questions when voters should be discussing the ‘Whats’ and ‘Whys’ of voting.

Uncertainty also breeds uncommitted candidates, because nothing is confirmed until Nomination Day. And in order to win our votes in such a short time, politicians on both sides end up engaging in mudslinging to make their opponents look bad. The opposition especially seems prone to that.

On the flipside, parties the party that can afford more, resorts to gimmicks and giveaways that are sometimes in such bad taste. In order to wrest Bukit Gombak back from the SDP after the 1991 elections, PAP candidate Mr Ang Mong Seng began celebrating the birthdays of children attending the constituency’s PAP Community Foundation preschools. Recalling how he won it back in 1997, Mr Ang told The Straits Times that not only did he sing them birthday songs and cut a cake with them, he even posed for a photograph with each child and autographed it.

Besides the likelihood that the children would have preferred to pose with Barney instead of Mr Ang, I wonder if they even knew who he was. At the very least, the children’s teacher who spends much more time with them in class is more worthy of being in this photograph.

This example pretty much sums up the elections in Singapore: It’s the candidates imposing themselves on us instead of convincing us that we need them. They stick themselves into our lives not necessarily because they want to, but they need to. And when voting is compulsory, it often becomes a choice of the lesser evil.

But the true mark of a people’s candidate is when voters come up to you to take a photograph and an autograph. Not the other way around. To get to this level of acceptance, candidates should start talking with the voters instead of to them.

Oh, and please leave the kids out of your politics.

Justin Zhuang is a Singaporean writer and editorial designer. He blogs about Singapore’s politics, society and visual culture at justrambling.sg

Low birth rate? Don’t discriminate against children from single parent families

Low birth rate? Don’t discriminate against children from single parent families

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Wong can sing, can dance, and can tell you to make more babies. By Fang Shihan

Photo: Swerz / Creative Commons

IN AN interview published in TODAY last Saturday, DPM Wong Kan Seng commented that the high fertility rate in Nordic countries such as Sweden and Norway were due to many people having babies out of wedlock.

He was responding to calls for more government spending on family support. Sweden spends 3% of its GDP on baby-inducing schemes and ‘enjoys’ a total fertility rate (TFR) of 1.9.

The article goes on to blame the low TFR in Singapore (1.16) on the rising trend of singlehood. Because married couples in Singapore have an average of 2.1 children each.

And the solution? Getting more people hitched, married and *poof!* babies are supposed to appear magically.

The government now spends $1.6 billion on the Marriage and Parenthood package. However, Wong does not see the need to increase the budget because  it does not guarantee a higher TFR.

Instead, the Government would continue to provide opportunities for singles to get hitched, and hopefully married before getting laid.

If this move sounds odd or even slightly embarrassing, you’re probably in the minority.

The Straits Times quoted an operations officer, aged 35, two weeks back, commenting that the whopping budget could also be used to subsidize attendance in dating agencies. There has been no article yet articulating the tragedy that we’ve become so dependent on the gahmen that we even need help from them to get some.

I’d like to propose a more elegant solution to fixing our TFR problem. Instead of beating around the bush and getting picky singles to lower unrealistic expectations or increasing incentives for Singaporean to produce babies within an archaic institution, why not just support babies emerging from alternative families?

But no. Apparently unlike the Nordics, society here still views babies being born outside of marriages, negatively. And the government doesn’t want to lead social trends in these value-loaded issues.

Start a large-scale propaganda campaign (and don’t deny that it doesn’t ever happen) to engender positive perceptions of single parent families, and then reform current population policies to be in tune with an increasing number of nontraditional families.

So here we find a problem:

1) There’s been a trend of babies popping up outside of marriages, in countries that are considered more developed.

2) Babies outside of marriage are not condoned by society

3) Government policy cannot support babies outside of marriage…until (2) changes.

So we end up throwing $1.6 billion to encourage people to get married, even though this can neither guarantee more babies nor can it guarantee the more important component for the production of a sensible thinking citizen – a good childhood.

It’s a chicken and eggless situation. The government expects more babies (from single parents) to be born, before policy changes are made. At the same time, fertility policies have to change first because its the main obstacle preventing the conception, or adoption of babies in non-traditional families.

Here’s a great solution:

Start a large-scale propaganda campaign (and don’t deny that it doesn’t ever happen) to engender positive perceptions of single parent families, and then reform current population policies to be in tune with an increasing number of nontraditional families.

There! Fixes the problem of political feasibility and TFR. It all depends on how badly the government feels the TFR problem needs to be solved.

After all, the regime never seemed to have a problem with politically unpopular moves. If crazy policies like the Graduate Mother Scheme were actually implemented to increase the number of smart people in the Singaporean gene pool, why not the Single Parent Scheme, or Cohabitating Couples Scheme, or even kids from Homosexual Parent Families Scheme?

Oh wait. But that could harm the delicate constitutions of our picture perfect political elite.

Do we have an MP that’s a single parent? Or homosexual? Nope.

But we did have a hard-core, gay-hating Christian-fundamentalist NMP at one point. Go figure.

Society frowns upon things nontraditional. Big deal. Society used to frown upon oral sex not too long ago as well.

But if we really do have an activist government that prides itself on implementing regular policies to pragmatically fix problems in society, they need to live up to their own name. There is a solution to fixing the low TFR, it’s all about how badly you want it.