Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Missing links?

This 'thoughts and rambling post' was in draft. Until the recent Cabinet re-shuffle announcement triggered the release.

Currently I am pretty busy at work. Blog time is whatever spare time I have. Being busy is a good thing in this 'so-called' time of downturn. Well, I had never believed in downturns as a matter of fact. My perception is what people often see as failures are really opportunities. Read Joseph (of Eygpt) in the bible and you won't be far off.

Anyway back to the main topic. This re-shuffle got me seriously thinking about the recent slew of questionable and mind-boggling events that had occurred recently.

David Widjaya's death
The MSM (mainstream media) reports were highly suspicious when they began to publish the likely causes of the death in spite of in-progress investigations. More sickening was pointing the finger at World of Warcraft. Right... that made me a 'suicidal person' since I had been playing it for many years. The most striking thing was that an official coroner's report had yet to be published!

I did remember commenting on MM Lee's statements some time ago about the Mat Salamat's escape. He said those statements while an independent inquiry was investigating. MM Lee is a very highly respectable person in Singapore. His words can effect and affect the outcome of a situational crisis. So it was no surprise when the independent inquiry report showed the lack of vigilance and total complacency. Duh! I for one felt two persons actually walked away scot-free.

Anyway it was as if MM Lee had either knew the details of the report beforehand or that he had sat with the 'independent' inquiry throughout the investigations.

Censorship on Dr Alan Ooi's farewell letter
Now that was really uncalled for. What was the MSM trying to achieve when it played the 'mind-game' of censorship?

Don't you think the truth will be out sooner considering how information is now shared on the Internet? Well it cuts across human barriers for one. The later the truth got out, the more the disgruntlement is bottled up. Be it through blogs, alternative reads, or just foreign press coverages - when people want to get the information, they will get it.

And I had to read the whole letter posted online by the Wayang Party instead of the MSM (though Wayang Party initially posted a partial letter to protect the farewells to personal friends and family).

Following this the MSM decided to publish the letter as an act of damage control. At a national level, it seemed all good to put to rest unanswered questions about the death of a scholar. The catch however was that a whole paragraph about Dr Allan Ooi's grievances with the SAF was 'snipped out'! And we had to read the unadulterated and unblemished version in Wayang Party blog!

Wow... that sure was a sinking feeling, isn't it? To have the truth withheld from me. What are you hiding? Could it be true about his grievances? Even if it was, it should be the people to decide how they want to digest the information. These are real opportunities for Ministers and SAF to stand up and respond. Instead the MSM chose the censor... what gives?

It's no fancy that the bloggers had a field day of throwing 'rotten tomatoes' and 'bad eggs' at the MSM. So much for our national paper global rankings.

CDC 8-month bonus to 2 senior managers
I will never blog about it. Except now.

In my opinion that is NWC (National Wage Council), PA (People's Association) and/or Dr Teo Ho Pin's business. And they are free to declare it and rightly so too, without any misgivings or misinterpretations. Well, on a personal note, to say 'I don't know' is a lousy answer to give to the press. Afterall Dr Teo himself is drawing money from the taxpayers too.

Just like the Perm Sec Tan Yong Soon open declaration in spending S$46,500 to learn French cooking. It's his business anyway. Who am I to say if it was well-spent or not? It's not as if he had taken his salary through underhand methods. And I truly respect him for even saying it aloud. Takes a lot of guts and confidence. Hmmm... perhaps not so smart in this 'economic recession'; maybe he should have published it in ICON or Plush magazines. At least the people who read them are in his category.

The disgruntlement became more acute within the blogsphere when the online media started a 'black-out' on this topic (read here). To make it inaccessible is to openly declare that 'we have something to hide'. Well, sort of.

This categorises under a major PR department glitch.

BBC interview with PM Lee
In the recent interview, PM Lee was asked, “Finally, Prime Minister, I read that you are apparently the highest paid head of government in the world. Your salary is about four or five times what President Obama gets. Are you worth all that money?”

PM Lee laughed and said:
"I am not comparing myself and I don’t look at these rankings. We go on a system which is open, honest, transparent – what is the job worth, what is the quality of the person whom you want. We need the best people for the job and these are jobs where you make decisions which are worth billions of dollars.

And you cannot do that if you are pretending and you just say, ‘Well, we are all in it for the love of King and Country’. We want it to be honest, we want people not to come in for the money. But at the same time the sacrifice cannot be too great. And at times like these, you want the best possible government you can have."

Now you have just gone and shot yourself in the foot.

In lieu of the recent predicaments by the MSM in trying to publish 'half-truths' or hide them (I don't know which), how can you say "we go on a system which is open, honest, transparent"?

What about how the President approval of touching the reserves? Was it open? Or based on trust? Surely not open if you had asked any man on the street until you were pressed for more answers.

Let me also draw you to the recent Town Council, Temasek and GIC invesments. Can you truly say it's transparent? I'm not too sure... and if I have doubts, it means you haven't been very transparent at all.

So if there is 'little' openness and much improvement for transparency (in my opinion), how can the word 'honest' be thrown it? It's pretty contradictory, don't you think?

And to top it off - now hear this:
Your whole answer (yes, your answer, PM Lee) was MISSING from Straits Times publication!

Why? Isn't the act self-contradictory again? It looked so, so silly from my point of view. Really. Anyone can just pick it up the missing pieces quickly (just like here) especially reading from other foreign online press. So it behooves me about the unnecessary censorship.

I'd reckon the current MSM wouldn't had 'blacked-out' your answer if there had been another independent media publishing the full transcript of your interview with BBC.

I just don't know where to hide my embarrassed Singaporean face. Again I ask - why?

Cabinet re-shuffle
Why on earth do you need these people when you are the highest paid politician in the world?!!

  • 1x Minister Mentor
  • 2x Senior Ministers
  • 2x Deputy PMs
  • 3x Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Office

Mind-bloggling, isn't it? Gee, that's a lot of top-notched salaries to give out. And under the super-super scale salary scheme, they must be drawing millions! They must be truly the best politicians in the world.

On a personal note, if I were a Chairman of a company, I'd fire the CEO straightaway. Either the CEO is totally incompetent, or his workload is so uniquely 'out of this world' that he needs all these 'supporting' seniors. I wonder also how in the world does one justify drawing all these million-dollar salaries without declaring their assets?

Competition
So where does all these ramblings lead to? I'd reckon the missing links are choices and competition.

Think about it. They are the same reasons why many readers turn towards online media like blogs and foreign press to have an alternative read. It is not that the current newspaper is lousy (well, it may be but that's another topic) but people want choices and competition. We want to see from another angle but alas, we don't really have a choice, do we?

I mean if I want to know more about aerodynamics physics, it would be foolish to just read from a book or article or from one author, wouldn't it? And how much I want to read depends on how much information I want to get from the various sources of whitepaper, academic books and analytical findings.

We agree that not all these theories are correct. Well, so does reading it from one academic source alone, isn't it? In fact it's even riskier!

And how does one get better in sports or in a soccer game? Well, simply pit your skills against your opponents on a level-playing field. Of course sometimes the referee is kayu (biased).

So why should it be different in reading about news and politics in Singapore? Wouldn't alternative read enable us to question and fine-tune the system better? If we are really open, honest and transparent, then healthy competition should be encouraged. Shouldn't it?

Competition brings in healthy checks. More often it draws the best candidate too! If the government can think that a company would pay a lower wage to a foreign talent to compete on the same job, would not the people think likewise to have a lower-paid government yet performing up to par with the incumbent?

I mean that's why we have tender processes to evaluate and pick out the best company to deliver the solutions. And that's why we have more than one interviewee for a job opportunity and then another round for the short-listed candidates. To instill choices for employers and competition among the employees.

Shouldn't it be likewise for elections and MPs representing us? But we don't seem to have such a choice because the MPs and policies have already been selected for us. At least for me because I have never had a chance to vote.

Why would it then be different in Singapore politics and the MSM? Perhaps the missing links are choices and competition.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sheer genius, or complete dodo

I... AM... STUMPED.

Speechless. Flabbergasted. Silenced. Call it whatever you want.

After reading this article from Today, I no longer know the depth of rubbish-ness that can come out from the Singapore msm (main stream media). Seriously. I don't know how to react, or comment any further.

Maybe it is such a brilliant move to be so unorthodox, obscure and uncomprehensible that bloggers kena stunned (caught off-guard). I mean, how are we going to answer that article? Snubbed. Totally pwned.

Either it's sheer genius, or complete dodo.

It's like saying we should go back to postage because emails and e-cards are causing world-wide companies to be obliterated. Fax machines will no longer exist and post-boxes will no longer be seen. And stamp collectors will soon fade away. There goes First-Day covers...

Wow, where did that analogy come from?

I don't know. Just like the electoral boundaries, the lines keep changing until it's all blurred now. Perhaps it is using ridiculous and highly questionable articles to increase readership. Maybe there is an angle which I had failed to see. Mayhaps it wants to test its media boundaries, or even try to stretch the limits of Singaporeans' patience to get a reaction.

I really don't know.

This is my fourth article back to back concerning the Singapore msm. Doesn't help when the press is ranked a lowly >140 out of 195 countries.

You are losing readership because you suck. No one wants to waste money for useless stuff that continues to produce junk, especially in a recession. Either you change your content or ship out. As far as I can remember, the blogging community has been telling you for ages .

You still don't get it, do you? Anyway, the Elite One has spoken. Doesn't matter a hoot to him, so why should it bother you?

"Singaporeans are free to read whatever they want, the influential founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew said of his country, which ranks near the bottom on a watchdog's index of press freedom."

Sheesh, I'm beginning to sound like a broken record now...
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Did you leave your brains on your desk, or was it bashed out?

Online editor of Straits Times, Joanne Lee, wrote such a stupid, moronic piece of goondu (silly) junk that left me aghast and disgusted.

Appalled to be precise. First I have politicians who claim to be qualified psychiatric doctors enough to call an opposition party leader lunatic. Now I have editors who are qualified Aunt Agonys enough to give domestic violence advice to public.

I bet she must have left her grey matter on her desk when she wrote it! Perhaps her boyfriend had bashed her on the head hard enough to write in such a concussed state.

By gawd, she is the _EDITOR_, mind you! Not just some freelance, or small-fry journalist! Doesn't it make anyone wonder about the quality of journalism the msm (mainstream media) has been dishing out these days? Why would anyone want to pay to read junk anyway? And to think I had just blogged about it here and here.

And it has to be Straits Times again? Wow... these days they seem to be desperate for readers thus these controversial articles to boost their readership.

Stupid is as stupid says, dear Joanne Lee.

It’s like saying maybe a wife should change her attitude towards sex if her husband had raped/violated her. Afterall, the husband had provided for the family so she should change herself to suit his needs. What a dumbo statement!

At no point, even provoked should a man hit a woman. Period.

So just because a driver in front of me provoked me, I can come out and bash the daylights out of him so that he can LEARN something from my bashing?

Gee, are you nuts?!! Just look at the picture and you say it's semi-ok? Or do you have to write some moronic commentaries to get paid? Wake up your idea and get a life!

Here is what Joanne Lee wrote. You make your own judgement, readers.

---
Was Rihanna semi-responsible?
March 13, 2009 Friday, 06:08 PM

Joanne Lee looks at her own experience with dating abuse.

I ONCE dated a guy who hit me.

Not in the full-on Chris-Brown-biting-Rihanna's-ears kind of way, but we'd argue and he'd get so worked up, he'd punch the wall and shove me around a little. (It'd usually be a one-off punch because he was inherently a decent guy who knew it was wrong to hit anyone.)

Domestic/dating abuse has obviously blown up in the news since the R&B stars' violent episode last month came to light and Chris Brown was charged in court this week. Oprah Winfrey dedicated her show to the two of them and, while sending her love to the two, also said: "If a man hits you once, he will hit you again."

Initially, the condemnation all over the Internet and media was against Chris Brown. A man raising his hand against the weaker sex is just something absolutely socially unacceptable.

But a second strain of judgement has surfaced, turning against Rihanna, saying: Yes, she might be a victim but she also probably provoked Chris Brown to violence.

Domestic abuse social workers would absolutely dismiss this secondary reaction, and I don't purport to know the natures of Chris Brown or Rihanna at all, but I can understand why some people would think the victim is not entirely blameless.

You see, my ex was Chris Brown's age, 19 (give or take) at the time. We were young, we had tempers and we had not the maturity to control those tempers. When he hit me those few times, I'll freely admit, I had a part to play in the outcome.

When I was younger, I was argumentative and it didn't help that I had a way with words - twisting words, to be precise. If he got frustrated and ended up hitting out at animate (me) or inanimate objects (mirrors), I honestly can't say it was entirely his fault.

Was this the case in Rihanna's situation? I don't know. Is it the case in all domestic abuse situations? Absolutely not. Some men just cannot control their violence and there is nothing to be done for it except for the woman to leave the monster to protect themselves and, God forbid, their children.

But what I do know, is that in my case, I contributed to his anger - which is why I forgave him time and time again (not that there were many times) and did not leave him. When we broke up in the end, it was for entirely different reasons.

As far as I know, he's now happily married, a father and doing well in his career. As for me, I think I've learned to bridle my tongue and be a more give-and-take kind of partner. (And I stress, give-and-take. Not give-and-give.)

So my humble advice to anyone out there facing mild cases of domestic/dating abuse is this: If you can help the situation by changing yourself, perhaps that's something to try if you truly love the guy.

Operative word: MILD.

If he's saying "I'm going to kill you", arm-locking you and biting your ears, no matter how much you look within yourself to try to improve your relationship, I really doubt your man is going to grow out of his temper tantrums.

Rihanna, leave the dude already.
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Friday, March 13, 2009

I must be a mushroom

That's how the Singapore msm (mainstream media) and SPH (Singapore Press Holdings who owned the msm) treat me. A mushroom. Why?

Because they keep me in the dark and feed me nothing but bullsh*t all day.

---
I could have included Temask Holdings also owns SPH. But I won't sink to your underhand methods and rather keep things in perspective and objective. However you, SPH, time and again have brought in unnecessary details to smear others.

For a good example is bringing in Chia Tik Lek's Tan Lead Shake's name in an article over his brother's death. You also did not fail to mention him as the Slippers Independent Candidate in an election. Pray tell me, what has that got to do with the death?

But for Mas Selamat's escape, you conveniently heaped the blame on us Singaporeans for being complancent, on the guards and duty officer-in-charge, and the upgrade of the TV cameras, etc. Everything except the real people who ought to get the boot - MHA minister and the Head of the Detention Centre.

Does not take a rocket scientist to wonder why you are stuck at 154th media position in the world.

Now there is a furore over how the MSM skewed the article to pin the blame on Dr Allan Ooi. And even censored parts of the letter to protect the SAF. Oh the audicity of it!

I mean what have we been fed all these years?! Yes, bullsh*t.

So I concur then that the government must have foreseen huge investments and profits in mushroom farms in the coming years.

Coz definitely we are all mushrooms.

More read here.
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

What you read is not what you read

Oxymoron? Yeah you bet!

Especially when SPH has sunk to a new all-time low in gutter journalism. Yes I'm refering to the death of Dr Allan Ooi.

See for yourself here and here.

Everyone was taken for a ride if you had just gardner the contents from SPH. I mean it's so blatantly different and the spin story will spin you until you feel the late Dr Allan Ooi is just a love-sick puppy. Which he is NOT!

Really, I’m absolutely disgusted and appalled that even a letter has to be censored! I mean it’s his last letter for God’s sake!

Why would you do that, SPH? Isn’t it as bad as North Korea to have a tightly-controlled media? Why hide the facts and truths? It doesn't bring you any glory except now you have lost your pride and credibility? And it’s not as if in recent years you have had any.

You used to be good. I liked reading the newspapers many years ago. I don’t know what had happened. You had just lost the plot. Totally.

Thank you Wayang Party for portraying the truth. I cannot imagine how we would think of the late Dr Allan Ooi if you hadn’t published the first half of the letter not omitting SAF.

You truly sicken me, SPH! I’d never thought you will sink to a new low. Pui! You had left an utterly bitter (and not even close to satisfying) aftertaste as my punchline for this blog Kaffein-nated goes.

No wonder your government bosses are so afraid of the Internet because truths will be exposed and outrightly published without your control. And you have sought time and again to discredit bloggers, especially socio-political blogs.

So now I being to wonder if you had been telling us the truth about the recent deaths of David Hartanto Widjaja and Zhou Zheng.

I feel total disdain for you, SPH!
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One man's ideas? I think not

If you want to have an analytical overview and alternative read about what PAP claims, go no further and read Part 1 and Part 2. These articles are a really, really good. I think these should be in the history lessons, or at least an economic model of how not to screw up.

I have always had my misgivings whenever the PAP blows its trumpet that the modern day Singapore attributes herself to the wisdom and analytical vision of my godfather - LKY. Eversince I had started reading alternative views and commentaries (with just a simple pick up of an SDP newsletter at Orchard Road ages ago), I had begun to suspect that there are underlying truths that will never be published or made known publicly. You can get yourself a copy of the book - 'A Nation Cheated' here. There are also other alternative reads.

These articles not only walked through how Singapore had progressed through the years but also debunked the fact that the succes of Singapore was just LKY’s vision and wisdom that brought her thus far. Rather LKY had also followed other economic models, an example is the Switzerland one. There is nothing wrong with such claims but to attribute the country's success were based on his ideas/vision and his alone is a tad far off.

No, I am not saying he did not contribute to the success. In fact, I rather liked certain policies like making education compulsory. Yet again, it was not just his idea alone. Another one of the good policies is the death penalty on certain major crimes like drug trafficking, firearms possession, kidnapping, murder, etc. I am not a strong advocate on death penalty because life is precious. However there are some 'jokers' who are not only a menace to society by their mere existence, they are also sinisterly dangerous to our kids and well-being. They ought to be locked up for life, or perhaps life snuffed out of them.

Of course we have questionable ones like the 'Speak more Mandarin, less dialects' and the 'Stop at Two' and many others which we are now seeing the 'side-effects'.

I have digressed.

Now that Singapore has developed and progressed (at least at the educational and academic level and has been called a developed country), I believe we ought to be mature enough to handle alternative political reads. Many of my colleagues and friends (while I was still in Singapore) still hold the passive approach that 'government knows best' and continue to have the 'don't touch this if it ain't broken' attitude.

Like I have written a comment in Lucky's 'Diary of a Singaporean Mind', many Singaporeans need to open up their thinking and see the world for themselves. I do not claim that I have reached a thought level good enough to advise others. But after reading the comments published by some (young?) Singaporeans in response to the David Hartanto Widjaja saga, I could not help lamenting that they have a rather silo view of 'the state media is always right else it won't be published, will it?' mentality.

So much for musings. I believe it's time to move on from our past victories and successes so often trumpeted by the PAP who claimed to have brought Singapore thus far. It is starting to sound like a broken record these days.

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