Friday, May 6, 2016

A cliffhanger Bukit Batok by-election

The last nine days have witnessed a very vigorous campaign by the PAP candidate Murali Pillai and SDP candidate Dr. Chee Soon Juan for votes of the Bukit Batok electorate. There had been daily meetings with the residents and PAP election rallies and SDP rallies. Both candidates worked very hard to capture the minds of the voters with their respective programmes and it looks like the BB voters are spoilt for choice in trying to decide which candidate to vote for.

PAP candidate Murali Pillai had been very meticulous in enumerating the benefits that he and his PAP colleagues from the Town Council and constituency have brought to the residents of Bukit Batok for the elderly, the children and healthcare especially for the elderly. In addition, he had the services of PAP big guns like PM Lee Hsien Loong and DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam to appeal to the voters to vote in his favour. His sixteen years of voluntary service to the constituency could also be a factor in his favour. Therefore, Mr. Murali sees himself as a candidate that deserves the support of the electorate.

SDP candidate Dr. Chee Soon Juan on the other hand is a more dramatic and flamboyant individual who shows great intent that he is a more favourable candidate with his diligence and acumen in fending off accusations of character flaws and management disabilities from his PAP opponents and giving a optimistic account of what he could do, if elected, to bring enhancements to the welfare and livelihood of Bukit Batok residents. He has assembled a transit team to take over the Town Council and to make it more efficient and resident-friendly that it will surpass the performance of PAP Town Councils. Most important he has pledged to work full time in the constituency as its MP to which Mr. Murali has no answer. Another important factor is that he will act as a potent alternative voice in Parliament. At times Dr. Chee had appeared to have gone over the top in his eagerness to expose the so-called 
 political flaws of the PAP Government which could not have been to his credit. SDP rallies had been better attended but, from past experiences, this is not an indication of better vote gathering. 

The polling starts today and judging from the vigorousness and competency of the respective campaign, the chances of the respective candidates appear to be equal with neither side appearing to have an overwhelming advantage. For Dr. Chee to romp home in this contest, he will need divine help to tilt the balance in his favour, for example a 50.01 per cent win. There is a Chinese saying: Heaven will not forsake a person with great pains taken in a plan (皇天不负苦心人). Whether this applies to Dr. Chee's case, only the election result will tell.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Highlights of the by-election campaign

The election campaign of the PAP and the Singapore Democratic Party in the Bukit Batok by-election has thrown up some interesting highlights which will captivate the mind of Bukit Batok voters in particular and the discerning Singaporeans in general. Quite naturally the PAP is taking this by-election seriously and the big guns who have come out to campaign for the PAP candidate Murali Pillai included PM Lee Hsien Loong and DPM Tharman Shamugaratnam. But what should appear abominable to the voters and the public is the disgraceful performance of the heinous Grace Fu who behaves like a real witch in carrying out a character assassination of Dr. Chee Soon Juan. However, she is not alone as other PAP speakers are also of the same ilk. Arrogance and hubris seem to be the order of the day for PAP leaders in dealing with Dr. Chee.

Dr. Chee Soon Juan on the other hand is a picture of composure in answering deftly all the accusations levelled at him by the PAP speakers. He is an underdog and does not expect any kid-glove treatment from his PAP opponents. He is aware that he is pitted against a party with enormous financial and manpower resources and above all a ruling party. From observations and reports, Dr. Chee is making reasonable headway in his campaign and this is what irks the PAP leaders.

Even PM Lee Hsien Loong finds it imperative to come forward to campaign for the PAP candidate and it is not surprising that he goes straight into a character assassination of Dr. Chee branding him as an unchanged unruly politician of his early days. This is a serious indictment by a prime minister who does not seem to be on solid ground as it is a well-known fact that Dr. Chee has now matured into a consummate politician with sound principles. Moreover, Dr. Chee now has a sizeable following and there is a appropriate Chinese saying: To view other people lowly with canine eyes. (狗眼看人低)。

That Dr. Chee's ethnicity is an advantage is not without reason. This is now being skewed by PM Lee to be a campaign against the PAP candidate by some unknown persons to vote along racial line. It is now known where PM Lee obtained this rumour but it sounds more like a pre-emptive attempt to warn voters against voting for Dr. Chee raising the race spectre. Dr. Chee is not known to be exploiting the racial element in his campaign. PM Lee should know that ethnic propensity is a characteristic of any race, especially among the elderly Chinese and should not be alarming if this is visible in Bukit Batok.

It is obvious that Dr. Chee Soon Juan is causing considerable anxiety in the PAP camp and it will be interesting to watch how the campaign evolves in the remaining days of the campaign.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Bukit Batok by-election

It is an auspicious start for Singapore Democratic Party Dr. Chee Soon Juan that there is complete unity of the opposition parties in support of his candidature in the Bukit Batok by-election. Even Kenneth Jeyaratnam of the Reform Party has pledged to organise the opposition parties to support Dr. Chee in his election campaign. Such a show of opposition unity is unprecedented and augurs well for Dr. Chee in his pursuit of an election victory.

Dr.Chee had started off his political career in a turbulent manner which did not stand him in good stead but he has since matured into a consummate politician with sound principles. He is certainly more articulate than many of the PAP lawmakers, even some ministers, and, with his fertile ideas to further the public interests and livelihood of Singaporeans, will be a potent alternative voice in Parliament. He also has the prescience to cobble an impressive Town Council Transition Team to improve the welfare of the constituents especially the elderly covering a wide range of assistance including fiance, education and legal matters if he is elected. He has also pledged to devote full time to his constituency work and to give part of his MP allowance to ten deserving poor families in the constituency.

Dr. Chee may also have an ethnicity advantage especially with the elderly Chinese voters in Bukit Batok.The PAP may be over-confident in bucking the trend by putting up a non-Chinese candidate. The result will show if they are vindicated in their choice of candidate.

That Dr. Chee has a sizeable mass following could be seen in the last GE 2015 where he contested in the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC. That crowd that was attracted to his rally and book-signing event was an encouraging sign but his party failed to win because of the political circumstances prevailing at that time leading to a fantastic 69.9 per cent victory for the PAP, which even stunned the PAP wallahs. Dr. Chee has certainly learned a lesson from his failed mission and is now contesting in Bukit Batok as a more seasoned and wiser politician. He is certainly more than a match to his PAP rival and with God's help and a sympathetic electorate may just romp in in this by-election.

A stimulating scenario will be for Dr. Lee Wei Ling, sister of PM Lee Hsien Loong with whom she is having a political spat, to come out in support of Dr. Chee Soon Juan as both are advocates of the freedom of speech. It will be a miracle if this were to come to pass and she will  forever be remembered as a national heroine. However, it is hoped that this may serve to kindle a favourable imagination in the mind of the enlightened Bukit Batok electorate.

Finally, this is a deeply earnest appeal to the Bukit Batok voters to exercise your sacred votes in favour of a candidate who will bring improvement in welfare and municipal services to your constituency and more important to act as a potent alternative voice in Parliament in matters of public interests affecting your political life and livelihood. The PAP has 83 seats in Parliament and is in a predominant position. The loss of one seat in a by-election is not going to cause any dent in its armour. If elected, Dr. Chee Soon Juan will become the most successful underdog to win a seat in Parliament.

May God bless you.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Last dance for TR Emeritus?

TR Emeritus website has since its inception been doing an exceptionally great service to Singaporeans with its cogent comprehensive coverage of political events affecting the future of Singaporeans, especially those who are not entirely convinced of the sincerity of the PAP Government in its often professed service to the people, which is more often than not sounded hollow. The main stream media, especially the Straits Times, is a PAP propaganda organ and only disseminates news in praise of the PAP Government and its ministers, especially the Prime Minister and TRE serves an important alternative role in exposing the failings of the PAP Government and its ministers whenever they occur so that Singaporeans can have a more balanced picture of the political situation.There are other websites doing similar service but TRE has proved to be more penetrating and edifying as can be seen by its more wider readership. Discerning Singaporeans are so used to TRE's scintillating presentations that it would be an unthinkable and disastrous event if any cessation of its publication is to occur.

TRE needs considerable finance to administer its sizeable website and it had in the past managed with some difficulty with revenue from its advertisements. But this has depleted with the result that the website is hardpressed in finding sufficient finance to administer it.The editor and staff of the website are all working on a voluntary basis and it would be invidious to expect them to finance it out of their own pockets. As a last resort its editor has published an appeal for donations under the heading :Last dance for TR Emeritus?

The TRE is no doubt facing financial hardship for the editor to publicly appeal for donations. It cannot be gainsaid that TRE is doing an indispensible and great service to Singaporeans by providing an important alternative channel to the intricacies of political events happening in Singapore. There will be a political vacuum which will be keenly felt if TRE suddenly ceases to publish. There will unlikely be a website of such political dynamism to fill the vacuum. We have proved that we are not wanting in making donations to a worthy cause and saving TRE from going out of existence is indeed a worthy endeavour which will do the donor proud. It is hoped that generous Singaporeans will respond kindly to this appeal and donate generously to the TRE fund. Please view the TRE article Last dance for TR Emeritus? on how to donate. They need $20,000 in order to pull through. Your generous donations will go down well in history.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Review of the book "Living in a time of deception"

This is in response to requests to make a review of Dr. Poh Soo Kai's book "Living in a time of deception". The book has been successfully launched recently but no serious attempt has been made by any quarter to review it. The Straits Times has attempted to make a rather feeble review by its journalist Leong Weng Kam which does not quite capture the essense the author has tried to convey.

Quite apart from giving a biography of his maternal grandfather Tan Kah Kee in the opening chapter, it gives a powerful insight of the intricacies and complicities of his former comrade-in-arms and Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew from the time of the Fajar sedition trial in the 1950s up to his two detentions under the ISA in the 1960s and 70s.

Quite startlingly, Dr, Poh had been privy to the numerous so-called underhand manoeuvres against PAP interests by Lee Kuan Yew including his alleged collaboration with the then Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock leading to the detention of CUF leaders like Lim Chin Siong and company. But what is puzzling to the public was Dr. Poh's reluctance or inaction in exposing such machinations to his PAP members at the right opportunity. Perhaps it could be the magnitude of the problem that he faced which could have devastating repercussions he was unable to predict or handle.

Dr. Poh has a remarkable memory and the book is very informative on the interplay of forces between Lee Kuan Yew and his highly suspicious so-called comrades-in-arms like Lim Chin Siong, Fong Swee Suan and other similar so-called CUF leaders who controlled the mass base which was critical to Lee Kuan Yew in his quest for political power. They were strange bed-fellows, perhaps in a kind of modus vivendi, but Lee Kuan Yew had control of the State Apparatus and there was nothing Lim Chin Siong and his comrades could do but to bide for time which turned out to be in vain.

For those who have a superficial knowledge of the PAP saga, Dr. Poh's book gives a ringside view of the battle of minds of the protagonists of both sides which had been unknown to the public but nevertheless intriguing. It may be surprising to many how Dr. Poh could have been so privileged in observing all these epoch-making events and is now so forthcoming in regaling the public with these tales. His intention may not be to portray Lee Kuan Yew intentionally as a villian who betrayed his comrades-in-arms in order to sustain his one-man rule but is a sincere effort in presenting history as he saw it. There is a Chinese saying:When a war is won, tens of thousands will have perished (一仗功成万骨枯)。

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Was this a mammoth PAP propaganda exercise?

Ever so often we find the filial sonny boy Lee Hsien Loong trying to revive the memory of his late famous or infamous father Lee Kuan Yew (depending on which side you are on) with some massive propaganda at taxpayers' expense to perpetuate his godly image. And so it was with the mammoth PAP propaganda to honour the first anniversary of the death of PM Lee's father Lee Kuan Yew. True to its slavish character as a PAP propaganda organ, the Straits Times produced voluminous columns of celebratory articles extolling the so-called virtues of Lee Kuan Yew, the distinguished father of PM Lee. Who would want to read such a hugh amount of literary trash except the fanatical fans of the late Lee Kuan Yew who had nothing better to do? But then the Straits Times could not be seen as lagging in pandering to their political masters.

You find that all the celebratory events were dominated by PAP minister like Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Chan Chun Seng. Tharman was so comical in highlighting the quirkiness of Lee Kuan Yew over some bougainvilia plant that he could have passed off as a stand-up comedian. Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang stood out like a sore thumb, a forlorn opposition figure among past and present PAP parliamentarians in the old Parliament House. Does Low honestly believe in Lee Kuan Yew's character and so-called achievements and adultaes him like the PAP leaders?

Clearly, this was purely a mammoth PAP show to idolise their late leader who started off promisingly as a founding prime minister. But it was debatable if he had stood steadfastly in his original principles which had led to a lot of sufferings and unhappiness among a considerable section of the society. Except for Low Thia Khiang whose stand is questionable, no opposition leaders had shown any inclination to participate in the honour of someone regarded by the PAP as a national hero but regarded by them as an antithesis. Then there are those who had suffered inordinately under his rule and their families and supporters. And a considerable number who consider him an autocratic ruler.

PM Lee Hsien Loong is really keen to portray his late father Lee Kuan Yew as the Father of Singapore. He would have liked his father to be accepted in the same manner as the late Dr. Sun Yat-sen had been respected by the Chinese people as the Father of China. There is no way that Lee Kuan Yew can be compared with Dr. Sun Yat-sen in character and achievements, especially in the way Dr. Sun was idolised by the Chinese. One is a titan and the other is,well, a dwarf by comparison.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Papier-mache caricature of a Hero

It is not difficult to fathom the reason behind the fanatic glorification of the late Lee Kuan Yew on the first anniversary of his death. To say that it is a colossal effort by PM Lee Hsien Loong and his ilks to shore up the waning reputation of the PAP for future domination of Singapore is not way off. So it became imperative for the jocular PM Lee Hsien Loong to over-hype the so-called achievements of his late father, the papier-mache caricature of a hero, to rally gullible Singaporeans to bolster the erratic reputation of the PAP.

The PAP wallahs are trying to create the image of the questionable Lee Kuan Yew into some kind of a demi-god. But what do the students and younger Singaporeans, even older Singaporeans, know of the heinous character of Lee Kuan Yew?  They simply follow the leader in exhibiting their enthusiasm of idolising the late Lee Kuan Yew without actually knowing the real meaning of it. And this is accentuated by the PAP propagandists, PM Lee and his ministers not exempted, by dwelling on Lee Kuan Yew's so-called virtues and making him out to be the sole leader to transform Singapore to what it is today. They try to impress the public that they owe their living today to Lee Kuan Yew.

To put it cynically, nothing can be more preposterous. Lee Kuan Yew would be floundering like a drowning man if he did not have eminent ministers like Dr. Goh Keng Swee, Mr. Hon Sui Sen, Mr. S.Rajaratnam and last but not the least the eminent Dr. Albert Winseimus, to help him transform Singapore, economically and politically, to what it is today. And where is the sense of integrity and duty to the public for the PAP propagandists to say that it is a one-man show by Lee Kuan Yew to transform Singapore to its present stage? Do PM Lee and his flattering ministers think that this is a fair representation of the contributions of Dr. Goh and his colleagues, especially Dr. Winseimus who almost single-handedly transformed Singapore economically with his inimitable expert advice.

There is an urgent need to put Lee Kuan Yew's achievements in perspective, warts and all, in order not to short-change Singaporeans. There is a reason why renowned historians have so far not given any verdict on Lee Kuan Yew. Dr. Poh Soo Kai, in his book "Living in the time of deception", has given an illuminating account of the complicity of Lee Kuan Yew with Lim Yew Hock in dealing with his political adversaries.. The million dollar question is why Dr. Poh had held back in exposing Lee Kuan Yew to his PAP members at the first opportunity?