Posts Tagged ‘Singapore’

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


*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:

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

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:

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.


Or here:;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:

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
Singapore 238823

Tel: 62358577
Fax: 68356621

*Originally published by The Temasek Review on 3rd March, 2010

I was passing by a notice board at a HDB estate when I saw the MoneySENSE cartoon (To buy or not to buy?) created and put up by the PAP. The advice given was sound, I thought. After all, being thrifty is a virtue, especially in these difficult times.

And I would applaud such sensible advice, but for the fact that it was dished out by a ruling party that pays its executives obscenely bloated salaries, many times in excess of the market rate paid out to other world leaders, and in defiance of their own advice. I thought it hypocritical for them to advise citizens to scrimp and save while they themselves use taxpayers’ money to pay themselves obscene amounts of money. It is all very well for them to talk about ‘Needs’ vs. ‘Wants’ when they are not the ones having to give up their ‘Wants’.

Thus, a parody cartoon strip was created and pasted next to the original to highlight the hypocrisy of PAP propaganda. And to give them a taste of their own medicine. After all, what is good for the goose has got to be good for the gander.

I would also like to take this opportunity to point out that a high profile charity event that took place last year, the ‘We Are One’ community service project which was jointly organized by CapitaLand, LEGO Singapore and MediaCorp only managed to raise a paltry S$300,000. That was a fiasco considering the amount of time, money and human resource spent by three corporate giants in Singapore for the project. Now, if our overpaid public servants took their own advice and subscribed to ‘Needs’ instead of ‘Wants’, they could easily save the Treasury a hefty US$22 million EVERY year! And without any need for expensive publicity stunts! Just like that, a generous US$22 million could go to charity or whatever needs fixing around the country EVERY year. IF the PAP took their own advice.

Singa Crew

Link to orginal article:

Author’s note: I was unable to upload the full-sized version of the picture, so if you find yourself unable to read the words, please view a clearer version here:

I was interviewed by!

You may find the interview at: is pleased to interview Singa Crew, an internet activist based in Singapore. Singa Crew is also the administrator of the Facebook group: Bring free speech/press to Singapore.

Can you tell our readers what your Facebook group, Bring free speech/press to Singapore, is about?

The group was founded by an American high school girl (now in college), Amelia Fedo. As a child, she was aware of Singapore as ‘a strange place that was very clean but not very free.’ And in 2006, she founded the group on Facebook to serve as a forum for activists to inform the public at large about human rights abuses in Singapore.

Given the name of our group, Bring free speech/press to Singapore, our cause is really self-explanatory. We aim to bring freedom of speech, among other civil and political rights enjoyed by citizens of enlightened first world countries, to Singapore.

Since the early days of its founding with a mere hundred odd members, we have since grown in strength to having a membership of over 900 members. There is still plenty of room however, and it would be good for us if more people around the world pay attention to our plight.

For the benefit of our readers outside of Asia, can you tell us a little about your country?

Singapore is a small island in Southeast Asia with a land area of about 710.2 km2 (274.2 sq mi). Singapore is a city-state by itself and not part of China.

We understand that Human Rights Watch recently did a report on Singapore. Is that right? Can you tell us more about this?

Yes they did. According to Human Rights Watch, “Singapore remains the textbook example of a politically repressive state.” And “the government fails to meet human rights standards in a number of critical areas, including freedom of expression, association, and assembly.” (1)

How can our readers help?

They can help by joining us on Facebook. The group is constantly being updated with links to articles penned by Singaporean actvists and politicians, so it is a rich source of information for those who wish to know more about my country.

More importantly, as an administrator, I will occasionally use the ‘Message All Members’ function to broadcast important news to members around the world. At this point in time, with our limited resources, this particular function remains one of the most effective tools of ’self-defence’ for internet activists like myself.

Singapore is a microstate with no natural resources, and thus its existence is defined thoroughly by its relationship to other nations and the PAP (our ruling party) leaders know this. While they are arrogant enough to disregard their own subjects, they understand that they remain accountable to the international community.

Hence, the ability to reach a large audience around the world sends a powerful message to the Singapore government: the world is watching.

Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?

I have explained the ‘What’ and ‘How’, but left out the ‘Why’. So I will expound on that now.

Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty, once said that with cruelty and oppression it is everybody’s business to interfere when they see it. And now that you know of our plight, please help us. As a citizen of the free world, you wield powers that Singaporeans do not have. For starters, you are immune to the ruinous defamation law suits PAP leaders like to file against their critics. Since for such law suits to be successful, they would have to be filed in a PAP-controlled court of law; something that does not exist outside the borders of Singapore.

May I also call your attention to the unique position of Singapore on the world stage. The Singapore government practices and espouses a dangerous form of corporate authoritarianism by combining Communist-style totalitarianism with capitalism. And thus, human rights abuses are neatly hidden under a facade of modern skyscrapers and shopping malls.

This marriage of capitalism and totalitarianism must look appetizing to dictators around the world, and that explains why Singapore is being used as a model by China and other growing, once-Communist powers.

Former Russian president Vladimir Putin, for example, side-stepped into the role of prime minister when he cannot legally continue to be president. This is chillingly similar to Singapore’s autocrat, Lee Kuan Yew’s creation of the offices of Senior Minister and later Minister Mentor, in order to retain his grip on power. (2)

Members of the international community will do well to sit up and take heed before their own countries are corrupted by this insidious form of ’soft tyranny’.