Temasek Review is Down!

Posted: October 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

Some of my articles here were first published by Temasek Review, and as such, a link to the news site appears at the bottom of those articles.

However, Temasek Review has been down for a while now and clicking on those links now will just take you to some “Not In Service” page. So Do Not click on those links. I just keep them around for old times’ sake.

~ Singa Crew

A writer once described Singapore as “Disneyland with the death penalty”.

However, for many Singaporeans – like myself – who have to put up with the draconian rules for decades now, we are not feeling the Disney at all. Just the penalties. Therefore, we get very annoyed with the mainstream media – especially the government-owned dailies circulating in Singapore – for their unhealthy fixation on the “Disney” side of Singapore.

Well, we know what the doctors say about pain. And we ignore the societal pains plaguing Singapore at our own peril.

That’s why we – being the conscientious writers that we are – came together to write Singapore Sucks!

And not because we are sarcastic hacks with entirely too much time on our hands.

Singapore Sucks! is a delightful bouquet of sarcasm, humour and insolent honesty. The discerning reader may even recognise a hint of patriotic fervour.

Through an eclectic collection of short stories, essays and poems, our panel of largely Singaporean writers have captured and managed to convey the peculiar brand of insanity that can only be described as Uniquely Singapore. This book leads you through to the other side of the looking glass; behind all the hocus-pocus you will find hitherto unexplored territory… Here, virgin explorers shall marvel at sights that will satisfy even the most carnal appetites for the strange and macabre.

Welcome to Singapore.

~ Singa Crew

Singapore Sucks! is available via http://www.singaporesucks.net

*Originally published by The Temasek Review on November 13th, 2010

Much like his counter-parts in glitzy Hollywood, Singapore celebrity K. Shenanigan receives million dollar pay checks for doing nothing more than appearing in public and speaking from well-crafted scripts.

His most recent engagement in New York was no different from the usual public appearances he has done in Singapore. Speaking before an assembly at Columbia University, he outlined Singapore’s perspective on the role of the media.

Unlike the USA, Singapore has no “in-built stability”, Mr. Shenanigan told the assembly.

“Despite having nearly 50 years of unopposed rule, complete freedom in implementing educational and social policies, the PAP (Singapore’s ruling party) still has not succeeded in upgrading the standards of Singaporeans. Thus, they are still not as sensible and rational as mainstream Americans,” he noted.

In Singapore’s case, social and economic fault lines can easily be exploited and Singaporeans may be swayed to vote against the PAP elites who have been suppressing the wages of ordinary Singaporeans through the wanton import of cheap foreign labour, while they – the PAP elites – continue to pay themselves million dollar pay checks.

The US system of free media, according to Mr. Shenanigan, will impose costs which the thick-skinned and lower-waged American politicians can afford, but will be too high for the thin-skinned and better paid PAP politicians.

“We just have more to lose. We never take our million dollar pay checks for granted. We know that when we do take it for granted, we gamble with the comfort level of ourselves, our wives and children,” he said. “No responsible celebrity… sorry… politician will do that.”

Mr. Shenanigan also warned that having a combination of free media and lax libel laws can lead to fringe lunatic behaviour. First the debate will get dumbed down, then it descends into a series of personal attacks. Certainly, we do not want a politician who calls his political opponents names like ‘mangy dog’ or one who challenges his political opponents to fights in cul-de-sacs.

Also, with their limited talents, Singapore celebrities politicians cannot withstand – nor are they prepared to accept the possible harmful consequences of having its media become like the American press.

“We have never had to deal with labour disputes fronted by powerful unions or destructive natural disasters. If we let our reporters ask penetrative questions about what we Singapore celebrities… sorry… politicians actually do, we could lose our million dollar pay checks! Then where would we be?” asked Mr. Shenanigan in an emotional outburst.

Mr. Shenanigan concluded his speech with a stern rebuke to his audience.

“We are not daft. We know what is in our interest and we intend to preserve our million dollar pay checks and what we have is working. You are not going to tell us how to bilk money from our own people.”

Singa Crew

Link to original article: http://www.temasekreview.net/2010/11/13/singapore-celebrity-attacks-free-media-2/


Alan Shadrake, the British author who wrote “Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore’s Justice in the Dock”, a book which exposed the biased practice of the death penalty in Singapore in all its gory details, was sentenced to 6 weeks in prison and fined US$15,400.

It is believed that Alan Shadrake offended the sensibilities of politicians in Singapore when he claimed in his book that the Singapore government bowed to foreign influence and favoured the wealthy and well connected in deciding who should hang.

But does he deserve a 6 weeks sentence AND a US$15,400 fine just because he said that? No! It is indeed a strange and perverted country that we live in when you can be punished for raising justifiable concerns over the implementations of laws, especially when the leaders of the country are claiming it is a modern democracy.

Alan Shadrake also faces an extension of his jail sentence if he is unable to pay the obscenely hefty fine imposed on him. At the same time, he may also face charges of criminal defamation, punishable by a maximum of two years in prison and another hefty fine.

However, the fight is not over. According to a wall post on theonlinecitizen’s Facebook page, MPs in England will be filing a motion in the House of Commons to condemn the outcome of the judgement on Alan Shadrake. The MPs will ask the UK govt to consider raising the issue at the ICJ as a possible breach of customary international law.

If you are a British citizen, please do your bit for free speech and your fellow citizen by calling your MP. Put the pressure on Foreign Secretary, William Hague. Get your elected leaders to do something (anything!) to save one of your own.

Alan Shadrake committed no crime because the right to free speech is guaranteed under the Singapore Constitution. As such, he should not be treated like a criminal just because he raised justifiable concerns over the implementation of certain laws in Singapore. If the truth hurts those over-paid and thin-skinned PAP politicians, they should reflect on their mistakes instead of responding with embarrassed anger like bratty kids in the playground.

Singa Crew

*First published by The Temasek Review on September 11th, 2010

As I started reading the latest Kafkaesque masterpiece by PAP propagandist Lediati Tan, I couldn’t help but wonder if the PAP is unable or just unwilling to understand the problems plaguing Singaporeans.

In her article on foreign workers, published in the 4th of September edition of The New Paper, our confused journalist went off on a surreal tangent and attempted to tackle the foreign workers issue using the renowned fantastical PAP logic.

Reasonable Singaporeans of sound mind like myself are concerned about the suppression of wages and the all too willingness of employers to offer low or medium level jobs, which can be easily taken up by Singaporeans, to our foreign counterparts. In other words, the bread-and-butter issues.

Ms. Lediati Tan seemed unfazed by such mundane concerns.

Medical dictionaries define psychosis as “a symptom or feature of mental illness typically characterized by radical changes in personality, impaired functioning, and a distorted or nonexistent sense of objective reality.” As I continued reading her article, I became more and more convinced that our confused journalist must be going through a psychotic episode.

Instead of tackling the foreign workers issues from the obvious bread-and-butter angle, Ms. Tan went out of her way to avoid all foreign workers who crossed her path.

Many Singaporeans have voiced out their concerns about the wanton influx of cheap foreign labour, but those voices of reason have not advocated a boycott of services provided by foreign workers nor have we went out of our way to shun foreign workers.

Thus, I was completely flabbergasted when Ms. Tan described how she incurred inconveniences when she avoided services provided by foreign workers.

Twice, I had to miss a bus and wait an additional five to 10 minutes because the first bus was driven by a foreign driver.

In the office, the first thing I did was to hide my wastepaper basket under my table. One of the cleaners is a foreigner.

I also had to be extra careful when using the toilets at my workplace as some are cleaned by foreign workers. Thankfully, the one nearest my office are usually cleaned by local aunties.”

It’s just too difficult by Lediati Tan (Saturday, Sep 04, 2010, The New Paper)

As Ms. Tan went on to describe how she failed to purchase a bag for her friend because the retail outlet was staffed by foreigners and avoided using the public toilet at the mall because she thought it might be cleaned by foreign workers, I got increasingly worried for the state of her mental health.

For a person who uses such impeccable English; whose grammar is sensible, it seemed improbable that she could have missed the obvious angle. Namely, the concerns we Singaporeans share over the suppression of wages and the loss of our jobs to foreign imports who aren’t necessary more qualified, or talented, than us.

She could have asked the million dollar question. She could have asked why, oh why, have so many foreigners taken up low-level jobs that could have been easily filled by Singaporeans? Bus driver, cleaner, sales assistant and restaurant servers. These aren’t specialized professions that require exotic foreign experts to fill!

But she didn’t ask, did she?

Instead she set out to do exactly the opposite of what a good investigative journalist, a proper one working in a country with a free press, would do. She avoided the pertinent questions and filled up the gaping holes in her articles with red herrings and conjectures to mislead the public.

As I read her flimsily concocted conjecture that without foreign imports, Singaporeans will be bereft of the essential services provided by bus drivers, cleaners and restaurant servers, I became more firmly convinced of her state of dementia. A lay person, who is untrained in journalistic techniques, could easily see that without the foreign imports who are doing jobs that require no specialized talents, it just mean that the employment rate among native Singaporeans will go up!

The fact that Lediati Tan failed to see the patently obvious could only mean that either her cognitive faculties had severely deteriorated or like her political masters, she was unwilling to empathize with her fellow Singaporeans.

But the latter cannot be true, can it? Because Ms. Lediati Tan is not even a Singaporean. In her article published on the 1st of September in The New Paper, she herself declared that she “spent more than 15 years here”, but still holds on to her Indonesian passport.

Though I’m still holding my green Indonesian passport, I can barely lay claim to being a true blue Indonesian.”

TNP’s Lediati Tan pledges allegiance to Singapore by Lediati Tan (Wed, Sep 01, 2010, The New Paper)

Now it all becomes clear. And with that clarity comes understanding. Here is an Indonesian who spent 15 years here, claims she knows Majulah Singapura better than the national anthem of her homeland, and yet refuses to give up her Indonesian passport to become a Singapore citizen. At the same time, she earns her pay by writing articles approving the wanton influx of “foreign talents” such as herself.

Such a person will never be able to understand the sufferings of native Singaporeans. Nor will she want to jeopardize her livelihood by doing so.

By: Singa Crew

Kinokuniya, a Japanese bookstore operating in Singapore, has been asked by the Singapore government to remove Alan Shadrake’s ‘Once A Jolly Hangman’ from its shelves. While this book is not officially banned, the Singapore government is restricting Singaporeans’ access to this book by pressuring the bookstore to stop selling.

‘Once A Jolly Hangman’ recounts in shocking detail the gruesome hangings that go on in Singapore’s Changi prison. Singapore, under the PAP government, enjoys the dubious honor of having one of the highest execution rate in the world: an average of one person a week.

In his book, Shadrake also wrote about how a German lady Ms Julia Bohl got off the death sentence when Germany pressed the PAP Government not to execute her, and compared the case to Nguyen Van Tuong, an Australian of Vietnamese descent, who was hanged because the Australian Government did not pressure Singapore.

Read the full article at: http://www.yoursdp.org/index.php/news/singapore/3896-breaking-news-mda-tells-bookstore-to-remove-death-penalty-book

And now I would like to call on every single person reading this to support the freedom of the press. Please buy a copy of the book and once you have finished reading it, pass it on to your friends or relatives. The truth deserves to be heard.

While the book may be removed from the bookstores, it is still available online.

Here: http://www.kinibooks.com/product_info.php?products_id=1214

Or here: http://www.marymartin.com/web/selectedIndex;jsessionid=78D817AFCAD8ACBC90FDB71DEE6272F6?mEntry=119535

Dr Chee Soon Juan has been invited by the Community of Democracies (CD) to attend the High Level Democracy Meeting (HLDM) in Krakow, Poland due to take place next week. The Meeting will be attended by foreign ministers, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The PAP Government has, however, prevented Dr Chee from attending the conference by rejecting his application to travel because of his bankruptcy.

The CD, a global organisation of democratic states, was started in 2000 by former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former Polish foreign minister Bronislaw Geremek to promote democracy and strengthen democratic institutions all over the world. The HLDM to be held from 2-4 Jul 10 commemorates the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the CD.

Singapore is not invited to the meeting because of the undemocratic nature of the PAP Government.

Human rights and democracy activists have been invited to the HLDM to interact with the foreign ministers and to help draw up a roadmap to strengthen democracy worldwide.

Among some of the issues to be discussed at the Meeting are whether economic efficiency trumps democracy and how new technologies can be harnessed to bring about democratic change.

In his invitation letter the Executive Director of the CD’s Permanent Secretariat wrote: “Your presence as a representative of an international organization committed to the core values of democracy is of particular importance to us.”

Dr Chee had attended the CD’s previous ministerial forums in Santiago, Chile in 2005 before he was made bankrupt by Messrs Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong in 2006. The Government has since rejected all his applications to attend such conferences.

Read the full article (which includes the invitation letter from the Community of Democracies) at:

http://www.yoursdp.org/index.php/news/singapore/3839-chee-invited-to-high-level-meeting-pap-bans-his-travel

Singa Crew’s note: If you feel that Dr Chee Soon Juan has been treated unjustly by the PAP government, you may address your letter (or email) of protest to the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong.

Contact Details:

Lee Hsien Loong
Prime Minister’s Office
Orchard Road
Istana
Singapore 238823

Tel: 62358577
Fax: 68356621
Email: pmo_hq@pmo.gov.sg
Website: http://www.pmo.gov.sg