Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Is Singapore handcuffing down the path of Communism?

In the past, reporters or even tourists used to be handcuffed by the Chinese officials just by taking pictures in certain politically sensitive places in Tibet. Then Tibet opened its door wide to welcome the same tourists in the name of money. Communism given way to Capitalism?

But not so long ago, a senior photojournalist was handcuffed for taking pictures of the latest flash flood. No, there was nothing political about the flood, it was just freak. And the police had handcuffed him in the name of "self and public safety". Nobody knows how can the act of photography endanger oneself and others. Okay, self maybe, because he could have tripped. But the public? And in order to prevent this photojournalist from hurting himself, the kind-hearted police officer was forced to handcuff the photojournalist in public. Do we handcuff people to safe ground in a democratic society?

In the past, the Chinese government actively used the subversion of state power clause to imprison those who were critical of the government. Then China opened its door wide to the world to welcome investors and the World Wide Web. They still arrest when they feel fit, but things sure have improved. Evolution of Communism to provide more freedom for the people?

Very recently, an online critic was arrested by the police for his criticisms of Dr Vivian on the “I hate YOG” Facebook page. He has posted a comment that it was time to “burn” the minister in charge and called on the public to “rally together”. Besides questioning him on the comment, it is heard that the police has also questioned him about his involvement in the Facebook group, what was his problem with the YOG, and whether he has joined any political party. Out of context if you ask me, but we know anything can be questioned and everything can be accused of in an interrogation room. Democracy does not give people the right to say everything and anything, but does it then gives the police the right to handcuff anyone who says something they should not on the Internet?

So are we really living in a democratic soceity? Why is our Democracy looking more and more like Communism's twin brother? Do we really believe ourselves when we pledge to build a democratic society based on justice and equality? Did the police read the Dummy's guide to Democracy? So what exactly is Democracy? I mean the real thing.

"People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing."
- Walter H. Judd, American politician and statesman

"My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular."
- Adlai Stevenson, American politician

"The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open."
- G√ľnter Wilhelm Gras, Nobel Prize-winning German author and playwright.

"Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people."
- Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

"Democracy means not "I am as good as you are," but "You are as good as I am." "
- Theodore Parker, American Transcendentalist and reforming minister of the Unitarian churc

"While democracy must have its organization and controls, its vital breath is individual liberty."
- Charles Evans Hughes, Republican politician from the State of New York

Still don't get it? Damn our country's education!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Perhaps some serial killers could help to change Singapore?

During the presidential campaign in 2008, one of Barack Obama's slogan was "Change we can believe in". After years of suffering under Communism-like governance, overcrowding of public transport and schools by influx of new immigrants, widening of gap between the rich and poor, and recent freak floods, Singaporeans are eager for a change. They too want a change they can believe in.

But when the governing party is not listening and the opposition parties are not helping, what can Singaporeans do to ensure the change does take place? Nothing. Perhaps we need some serial killers to send some wake-up call to the government. Serial killers who walk the talk, who will not be satisfied by ranting on blogs and forums where everybody listen but the people that are making policies...

Lorenzo Gilyard raped and murdered 13 women and girls from 1977 to 1993. Most, if not all of Gilyard's victims were prostitutes. All were found shoeless and dumped in secluded spots around Kansas City, Missouri. Most had cloth or paper towels stuffed into their mouths and ligature marks around their necks.

Quiet residential estate Kovan is sex hot spot

The police arrested 12 female Chinese nationals for vice-related offences in the rooms of Hotel 81 (Kovan) and Fragrance Hotel (Kovan).

According to the police, their investigations showed some of the suspects had made use of the Internet to advertise their sexual services.

This joint operation by the Criminal Investigation Department and Ang Mo Kio Police Division happened in the wake of residents in Kovan complaining to their Member of Parliament, Madam Cynthia Phua, about scantily clad women loitering near their homes.

Will a Singaporean version of Jack the Ripper help in reminding the authorities on the rising number of mainland Chinese prostitutes in Singapore? That too many work permits have been given away as freely as property fliers?

Explosions detonated by two female suicide bombers killed at least 37 people and injured 33 on two packed Moscow metro trains in the morning rush hour in March 2010.

SMRT has a plan ...

When asked if she had read the comments and blogs, SMRT chief executive Saw Phaik Hwa said with a laugh: "I'd be a very depressed person if I read every comment about me."

She went on to clarify her comments. "I never said that I didn't recognise it's crowded ... I accept it's crowded. The point is, in comparison with others, we've yet to push people into the train," she said, referring to Japan and some parts of China.

What if a psychopath decided that enough is enough and he no longer desires squeezing into a tin of sardine to get to work and back to home everyday, and bombing everybody on the train should reduce the overcrowding? Will this speed things up in improving Singapore's public transport?

Or how about someone with borderline personality disorder who lost his 10-years position to a foreign worker, and finally broke down and decided to shoot everyone in the office? Will that force the government to think twice before bringing another 100,000 extra foreign workers into the country?

Or the nightmare of all parents when a depressed mother who could not get her kid into any primary school stormed into one elite primary school to shoot every kid down?

But then again, Singaporeans are too obedient and over-protected to groom a real serial killer. Perhaps a foreign talent serial killer then?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why are we paying our ministers obscenely high salaries again?

"Few countries have implemented our philosophy and practice of benchmarking and paying public officers salaries that are pegged to the market, but this system has worked for us. Competitive wages have helped us bring in and retain able men and women in Government and in the Public Service in Singapore. This policy has served us well. We must maintain this competitive advantage - a clean, effective and efficient Public Service. We need a team of good people to develop the vision, ideas and plans, as well as to see through the execution."

-- Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence

Auditor-General takes some ministries to task

In the findings by the Auditor-General's report for the financial year 2009-2010, there are countless lapses and weaknesses in the internal controls over the management of public funds in several ministries and Government agencies.

The Ministry of Finance was cited for the misuse of Government payouts meant for patients at six nursing homes.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had over 50 cases of overpayment of salaries, bonuses, over-time claims, medical and dental subsidies to mission staff, as well as double payment of medical expenses.

Security lapses were found in the Government accounting system - "NFS@Gov" - administered by the Accountant-General's Department. Over 640 end-user accounts were wrongly given access rights to an application designer tool. Some of the accounts allowed users to modify programs or records in the system.

There was an unauthorised testing of a computer system at the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority that saw two invoices generated with incorrect amounts.

Singapore Police Force did not collect $648,000 in revenue. Between 1997 and last year, town councils and statutory boards were not charged the $25 fee for enforcement of each warrant of arrest.

Donations of $34,907 went to the accounts of voluntary welfare organisations instead of three welfare homes.

Late refund of cash bail. As of Aug 31 last year, 46 cases amounting to $440,450 were outstanding for periods ranging from 41 days to 1,694 days (the guideline is up to 23 working days for refunds). Prior to that, 59 refunds, amounting to $571,500, were found to have been refunded 49 days to 340 days after the court cases had concluded.