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Unboxing the Xiaomi MI-2

I am bad at writing reviews. So I will spare everyone the technical details and go into how I felt about the Xiaomi MI-2 instead. First of all, there is

Photos – Night at the Merlion

Merlion

Went to check out the renovated Starbucks at Raffles City after dinner and half guessed I would met DK there since this was his favorite joint. So it was no

Short Takes

On the visit of Prince William and Duchess Catherine of Cambridge 3:45pm 12-Sep-2012A very “typical” afternoon in Queenstown WAYANG – a Javanese word for particular kinds of theatre (Wikipedia). During

Random Discourse – Journey of the West and Real Life

Typical portrayal ofJourney to the West In my previous post, I mentioned that it is of no surprise why more people seems unable to act, or simply refused to do

Commentary – Why I disagree with Kong Hee’s “theology”

fp01

First, let me make it clear that the opinion I expressed in the post below does not represent the opinion of any church. I write this knowing that I will

Review – HAME MPR-A1

Hame MPR-A1

To be honest, this was a purchase on impulse. For those who are looking for a technical review of the device then this post will disappoint since I don’t really

Nostalgia: Old Singapore Photos (II)

Clifford Pier

Fitzpatrick’s – No more in Singapore! Cold Storage… somewhere! Queen Elizabeth Walk Haw Par Villa Jurong Drive In Theatre NDP – 1968 NCO Club – Beach Road Nicoll Highway Botanic

Nostalgia: Old Singapore Photos

National Theatre

These came through an email from a lady friend I knew from Asia FriendFinder and I thought I should share it with everyone, since they are photos of old Singapore,

On Roy Ngerng and Derisory Compensation Offer

I have ceased to follow much of the news these days, which is basically why I have stopped writing for quite a while. It is not that I no longer cared, but rather I believed that while some of the things maybe a concern there is very little I can do that would effectively influence or change it presently.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

Mark Twain popularized this saying,There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” And that is the basically the attitude I adopt when presented with statistics. All the more so when someone presents statistics to make the government look bad. Or the government doing so to make the people believe it’s not really the case.

I am no fan of the government, but over my slightly more than 4 decades of living, I have learnt to be wary when someone keeps saying the things I liked to hear. Either this person really is doing this to keep everyone informed, or this person wants you to align yourself with his agenda. On top of which, anyone can paint a different picture with statistics but as long as that picture is not how the majority experiences it, then it is a lie. That is the reason why I read a lot of Roy Ngerng’s articles with a pinch, if not a bucket, of salt.

I am not surprised that Roy Ngerng has steadily gained a following. After all, the Internet is the last place left where anti-government views more or less flow unimpeded. Worst of it all the “state media” in the form of Singapore Press Holding’s (SPH) many newspapers, is generally not helping at all. The politically awakened, who are convinced that no truth can be found in our local newspapers, readily flocked to the Internet to seek out such information. Social media like blogs, Twitter and Facebook makes it easy for such information to be distributed.

It is my considered opinion that Roy Ngerng got carried away as his reach, if not popularity, grows. After all, the government has not actively refuted some of the things he said. For those who are rabidly anti-government, it further convinced them that there is something for the government to hide. Some believe that the government has refused to “join battle” simply because it will be exposed just like what happened with the cases on AIM, and subsequently that matter with the hawker center cleaning. They are utterly convinced that Roy Ngerng has found the government’s “Achilles Heel” and coupled with the stuff a Christopher Balding has been writing, they believe they now have the once mighty Singapore government “on the run”, or even “cowering in fear”.

On the contrary, I believed the government ignored Roy Ngerng simply because there is really nothing to refute even when I disagree with the justification for the CPF minimum sum. Similarly, I also think it is utter nonsense to argue that since the government has higher returns from its investments, it should give us all that earnings even when I agree that the returns on my CPF monies hardly covers inflation. My only peeve is that it is not fully explained where the rest of the returns has gone to. And I suspect I will never be able to find the right question to ask, much less get an answer to that. As for Minister Tan Chuan Jin’s assurances on the CPF, my thought is that he is right as long as those people who have able to withdraw their CPF money are able to get their money back regardless whether it is the full sum, or a part of it. In other words, your CPF is about as safe as your money saved in or invested with a bank. I believe I need not further elaborate on that.

Anyway, to openly refute Roy Ngerng would give him a bigger platform to air his views. Clearly, other than those who actively follows his blog or come into contact with those articles, the rest of Singapore are either blissfully unaware of all the statistic wizardry Roy Ngerng has employed to present a horrifying picture of the state of our Central Provident Fund (CPF), or that they don’t really care. As for what I think, my take is: assume the worst cases scenario whereby we will never get all our monies back, and make contingency plans.

Anyway, I am not surprised even Roy Ngerng believes that he has the Singapore government “on the run” when he foolishly drew comparsion between the Prime Minsiter and the City Harvest case that’s still being heard in court. I do not need to explain the implication of what he has written has finally provoked a response. To put it simply, there following four Chinese words will adequately explain Roy Ngerng’s predicament:

I understand this will hurt the feelings of a lot of people sympathetic to Roy Ngerng’s plight, but well I prefer to call a spade for what it is. Face it, blogger “Mr Miyagi” has pointed out that he has written more or less the same stuff Roy Ngerng has written about the CPF, but he has not gotten any letters from the Prime Minister because “Mr Miyagi” has not made any accusations. So really, let us bloggers not flatter ourselves. The People’s Action Party (PAP) really doesn’t care very much about our opinion on the Internet, even when it might affect the decision of other voters or even suggest how the individual blogger would vote.

~ * ~

Derisory

I almost laughed when I heard the term used on Roy Ngerng’s offer of $5000 for compensation. Perhaps Roy Ngerng should have offered peanuts, the golden kind that cost S$660,000. Get what I mean?

I personally don’t think the offer was derisory. In fact, depending on how much Roy Ngerng is earning, that amount might even be a very substantial portion of his liquid assets. If I was as stupid as Roy Ngerng to have made those accusations, I would even have offered a token compensation of just $1. I do so not because I want to insult the Prime Minister. I do so because even though I understand the Prime Minister is serious, I choose to believe he is a different person from his father. After all, why even offer me the choice of offering compensation and not just sued my pants off in the place?

How much does the Prime Minister expect Roy Ngerng to offer? Every cent in his account? And then Roy should sell his backside to pay an annual interest of 2.5% on that amount until he is 62? The Prime Minister should jolly well understand this analogy:

There are those who understand that the farmer has no choice but to go down into the mud to wrestle with a pig that kicks mud at him. The farmer will know he’ll get dirty anyway. But to expect the pig to offer gold in restitution, and then complain it’s derisory when all the pig had to offer is its vomit is some what a self-inflicted humiliation.

Spare us this charade! Just meet Roy Ngerng the old fashioned way ~ in the cul-de-sac with a hatchet. Neither this charade nor the old fashion way will endear the PAP to those who have already lost confidence in its ability to guide Singapore into a better future.

As for those who are giving the chap money to “fight the bully”, it is your money and thus no one could fault your choice in doing so. I have only this to say to you all: Roy Ngerng made his bed. He should sleep in it… alone.

Commentary – Fare Hikes & Little India

Seems like I have been blogging for a while. A really long while, because I have been lazy. But there are finally some things that compelled me to put down in wrting. Let me start with the fare increments.

As far as I am concerned, I am neutral about this increment split into two stages over 2014/15. However, it annoys me to see how the government controlled media tried to spin it as either as something positive and welcomed by everyone or that we are resigned to it. I get a little sick and tired when I see on TV the views of certain commuters saying – “I hope the increments won’t be too much.”. Thank you, you stupid feth. You made it sound like we accept fare increments as a norm when most of us really don’t. And many of us object to constant fare increments for good reasons and not because we are stingy about our money.

We all know (and not just feel) the traditional media is biased because we will never see on television the person who cursed and denounced any fare increments, or the person who talks about why he objects to the increments. The state of Singapore’s public transport certainly isn’t the rosy picture the government painted in spite of the S$1.1 billion BSEP (Bus Service Enhancement Programme). The spate of MRT breakdowns, and shitty train intervals constantly remind us the service of the SMRT remained deplorable. The waiting time of the buses too. So the Ministers for Transport, the ministries and the PTC (Public Transport Council) can quit trying to make us accept things as is, but really get down to do something effective to remedy the situation. If you are scratching your head wondering why we are angry, you might be better off finding another job where you know what you should be doing and why. Finding a new job maybe something the people of Singapore can help you with in a few years.

Anyway, I wouldn’t call this a hike. I am not against it because of the further concessions given to the handicapped, the elderly, the low income and to poly students. These are some of the things that I wanted to see since 2010 (or perhaps even before that). Above which, for some regular travellors the $120 monthly pass is good for them even though a friend has raised the question of how many people actually benefit from this. In any case, all these new concessions are way overdue. About damned time, you know?

The traditional media clearly tried too hard to give this a positive spin, and they have “overcooked the meat”. They should have simply make this as neutral as possible, but instead those who are dead against any fare increments regardless of the concessions are now provoked, and they now turn up the volume to remind everyone why they should object to the fare increments. I do not necessary disagree with some of their views. For example, one of my friends mentioned the formula to work out how much fare increment the PTOs (Public Transport Operators) will get has something to do with wage increments. It seems like by default PTOs are now entitled to fare increments as long as wages have increased acorss the board. Too bad for those who got zilch for increments over the last few years.

Now try and imagine how the average worker feels about that when they are repeatedly told that their wage increments are tied to their productivity! The fare increment formula is completely absurd because I am also in the opinion that the transport operators’ exisitng profits are enough to pay for the additional concessions. That alone is the main reason why I am not for any fare increments at all. It doesn’t matter whether some of their profits are from their operations overseas. The excuse fares must increase because their local operations isn’t making enough money is completely unacceptable. Not only has our public transport not been catching up with the demand over the years, the service standards has gone way south. The regular breakdowns of the MRT, and the long waiting time for the buses continued to plague us remained to be fixed. One of my friends lamented that she is wasting her life away waiting for buses in a bus stop everyday!

That said, please object to the fare increments in good order. Burning effigies and spitting on an Ezylink card is not the way to do it. I certainly need not caution everyone on why we shouldn’t play with fire in our own homes, especially for those of us who lived in HDB flats. I also think it is really unhygenic to spit on the Ezylink card, not forgetting it is rather rude and unsightly to do so in the public. Where are we going to wipe our spit or phlegm from the card after that? Perhaps those who heed Gilbert Goh’s call can do so for a limited period as long as the chap promises to provide them a supply of clean tissue paper, and agree to pay on your behalf when you are fined for spitting.

Next, the so-called “Little India drunkard Riots”

I get a little sick and tired of hearing about how alcohol was solely to be blamed for the entire fiasco at Little India. But I’ll come back to that later.

First of all, we are repeatedly told not to speculate what was the true cause of the Little India Riot. I even seem to recall one of the PAP’s own back benchers got smacked down by the Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hian for bringing up the concerns of her own constituents. I personally won’t “speculate” what caused it but I agree with this ex-police officer that it could have been contained.

In any other country with a free press, the media would not only be praising the authorities on how well and fast it responded. While we should be glad no shots were fired and that bloodshed was kept to the minimal, that will not be the only thing we read on the papers. We will also not be hearing a pack of wolves howling a chorus from our highest offices in government that alcohol is solely to be blamed. Sadly, we do not hear much about the other side of the story. What other side of the story anyway when a number of them were simply deported without due course of justice?

Also, no one from the local media so much even visited the dormitories of the poor deceased man to speak to his co-workers. No one told us what his fellow workers think about him and such. Beyond that, no one talks about the treatment these workers are getting, such as their wages and working conditions. Oh, I guess that would be speculating that they are unhappy and their unhappiness being a reason for their rioting. I am sorry.

Yes, I am pissed off that a bunch of foreigners come and make part of my country a mess. That they even dared to create trouble to our peaceful “utopia” is an affront to us all. The photo of a police woman in riot gear makes me swell with pride, and another photo of police officer, bleeding from his forehead makes me even angrier with the rioters. A few of us even wished we were out there with these fellow sons and daughters of Singapore, to take back our homes and restore the peace we knew. Yet, this is where I can understand why the rioters did what they did, seeing their fellow countryman lay dying, trapped under the wheels of the bus.

I will not forget that we have build our city upon the labour of these workers. In some ways I would say, we build our nation by exploiting these workers who would accept wages that a Singaporean would be laboring in vain. While the perpetrators of the scene at Little India that night deserved our ire, the rest stood by and did not participate. Those who helped those in the ambulance get away, and especially that unknown hero who defended the lady which the mob wants to get to, truly deserved our respect. Much more, way much more, than the likes of brotosaurus-breath economic parasites like Anton Casey and some of those so-called “foreign talents” ever deserved.

I remembered one of the ministers once said if we do not want this foreign workers, we must expect that our living standards drop a little. I don’t know whether it is a warning, or a threat. But this is my response, I would rather I live in a little less luxury, and not build it upon the misery of another human being. No, I am not that noble. If I agree to treating another human being as nothing more than some kind of livestock, then one day I would be treated the same way myself. Call it self-preservation, if you will.

Now, back to the matter of alcohol. Finding a scapegoat is easy. But there is no way the government can find someone to blame in this case. It cannot say that the police mishandled the situation, because there will be denunciation of their incompetence. It cannot and will not say allow the speculation that the workers are mistreated and thus angry because that would make us focus on our labour policies and the Ministry of Manpower. So, alcohol is an easy scapegoat. It is a liquid that cannot talk back and cannot be brought to stand trial. Legislations can easily be made to control that “guilty, evil liquid”. And hey look! Our efficient government has taken swift, effective action to ensure that never again will this happened.

Yet, are the lessons learn? Or are they swept under the carpet with the hope that this unhappy episode will be quickly forgotten?

Singapore deserved better. God bless Singapore.

Current Affairs – Indonesian Smog

Indonesia.

Right now, it is synonymous with a lot of unpleasant things and words in my mind. That is the result of some of the idiotic and insensitive things said by their so-called leaders in government, and my annoyance towards an annual problem that has gone for almost 20 years since 1994. I really have a lot to say in response to those idiotic swines, so forgive me for not being able to keep it short.

First of all, I have to say I often felt a pang of guilt for not making any donations when natural disasters struck Indonesia. Now I felt “vindicated” for my decision because Minister Agung Laksono from Indonesia is saying that it can fend for itself and deal with it from its own national budget unless it’s more than a million dollars. Frankly, I can’t even made anything close to 1/20th of a million dollars every year so I should not feel any guilt for not giving. Furthermore, Mr Laksono expects us to not complain because this accursed smog originating from Sumatra is the work of nature. I take it that his country is made of sterner stuff and they will suck it all up when natural disasters struck. If Indonesia see less donations for any future natural calamities, I fully expect Mr Laksono to obtain the shortfall from the national budget.

The same minister even called us children and chided us for protesting about the smog. He seems to even suggest we should be thankful for our fresh air, as if Indonesia supplied it free to us. I wouldn’t go into the details to educate this moron about the relationship between the Earth’s supply of oxygen and plankton, but whatever his political agenda was, his words will do nothing to achieve them. Be it the extradition of corrupted officials of former regimes or tax-evading businessmen, or even ratifying border treaties, it is my considered opinion that Singapore should not bow to such blackmail regardless we are in the wrong or not. Two wrongs won’t make a right and this is simply environmental terrorism. For Indonesia to allow its own people to suffer even more in its attempt to force us to capitulate on those issues tells us a lot about the priorities (or the lack thereof) of their current political leaders. It is beyond a shadow of a doubt that Indonesia, which is almost as populous as the United States, failed to reach greater heights due to the lack of vision of its leaders. It definitely deserved better.

As if one moronic minister isn’t good enough to demonstrate the wrong priorities of the Indonesian government, there is also a Hadi Daryanto who tried to deflect the issue by saying that Singaporean and Malaysian companies are also responsible. This useless chap isn’t even a minister to begin with and is just a secretary in the forestry ministry. To put it in analogy, what good is accusing your neighbours of arson when the fires rage in your own house unabated? Regardless whether the allegations are true, what needs to be done is to put out the fire. I am quite sure when I am already feeling quite miserable and angry where I am, then the people at “ground zero” – regardless whether they may or may not be guilty of setting the very fires that brought this calamity upon themselves – are having it even worse. Strangely, even when I can remind myself of this, and finally set aside the hatred and anger I have felt in the past three days, Mr Daryanto is incapable of coming to the same conclusion. He even asked us to pray for rain, which I will do not only for our own sake, but for the people in Sumatra. It really says a lot about the caliber of some of those in the Indonesian government!

That being said, I am rather curious whether the management of those Singapore-based companies in Sumatra allegedly responsible for this man-made disaster are Singaporeans or Indonesians. It is my considered opinion that any company accused and found guilty should also end the employment of their regional managers responsible to show no tolerance to such nonsense. I sincerely hope that the minister in-charge of the Indonesian labour ministry will not be unhappy when some of his fellow countrymen lose their jobs. After all, companies do have their corporate image and name to maintain and they should justifiably take swift action according to the feedback of the Indonesian government! On top of which, I would expect some concrete action from Indonesia itself, to put these criminals on trial and put them away in the darkest jails in Indonesia for the longest time. Hopefully, no one will make a mockery of their country’s laws and also its resolve in tackling the issue by making a scapegoat out of some poor farmers while the real culprits go scot-free.

If we think that there are just two morons in the high level of Indonesian government, we can’t be more mistaken. Even their own foreign minister joined the fray to convince us just how grossly incompetent and lacking in direction the Indonesian leadership is. Mr Marty McFly Natalegawa says Indonesia will not be apologising to Singapore for the haze pollution. Well, Mr Marty… I personally certainly don’t want any of your stinking apology. I just want your country to fix the problem. Which part of that is so difficult to understand, because it appears that even your esteemed colleague Mr Zulkifli Hasan from the forestry ministry was more sensible in his response. If I heard it correctly on the news, Mr Hasan asked for patience because Indonesia is doing whatever it could to put an end of this problem!

From the looks of it, we will probably have to live with this nonsense for many years to come. Indonesia will certainly be the least of my choice as a location for holiday, even though I understand that punishing its people will not bring about any change in the attitude of its retarded leaders and officials. Nevertheless, we must take collective action against any Singapore based companies which have been named as partly responsible for this. Even when I personally do not think boycotts will work, I will start to avoid buying or using products and services from not only the companies named but also their partners. That is perhaps the best we could do right now because I doubt there’s much Singapore’s government can do against them in spite of all the strong words. After all, legislation must first be in place before judicial action can be taken and I am unaware or ignorant of any of such laws in place. It is my personal opinion that the government should seriously consider environment protection laws to punish such companies. I am quite sure when we have laws to punish even individuals who consume narcotics overseas, we can have laws to deal with companies committing environmental offences overseas.

Next, Singapore should re-evaluate our energy dependency on Indonesia since it supplies the natural gas used to generate electricity in this country. If going nuclear is the only way to go, I am even willing to bear all the associated risks of having a nuclear reactor. Energy is a strategic resource and having just one source of energy supply can be fatal. Imagine Indonesia turning off the supply of gas which brings our power plants to a halt. Just how much damage would that be to our global reputation and a safe haven for investments and business? There is no point to even bring Indonesia to justice in an International Court and obtain compensation when the damage has been done.

Even though there is not much the government can do at the national level other than ensuring a supply of masks since this problem is likely to be ongoing annually, I am in the opinion that the reaction of the government has been too slow. For comparison, the Human Resource department of my employer announced that N95 masks are being flown in from Hong Kong at the company’s expense and they will be distributed by Friday to every employee. I would have expected the government with the highest paid ministers in the world to not only have more foresight, but also be more proactive than my HR colleagues. In other words, the plans to bring in more masks should have kicked in by Thursday after the PSI hit 321 on Wednesday evening, so N95 masks would have been readily available by the weekend. That said, I am glad that the government did take action and is proud of the Singapore Armed Forces in playing a part to increase the availability of N95 masks the public. Note, I am not asking the government to deliver the masks free to my home. I am just asking for them to be readily available so I can buy them when I needed them!

On top of that, the Singapore government should perhaps review some of its contingency plans, such as reviewing its ‘Total Defense’ policies. Since we already have plans in place to ensure the supply of basic foodstuffs and to prevent profiteering in the event of war (as a reaction to our forebears’ experience during World War II), the plans should also be revised to cover the outbreak of diseases and ecological / environmental disasters. It is clear that some unscrupulous people have profiteered from the current smog crisis by jacking up the prices of N95 masks, and there is no reason to believe that the same wouldn’t happen to other medical supplies during epidemics. If our leaders have more sense than their counterparts in the Indonesian government, they should be aware disease, and ecological / environmental disasters can destroy our country too.

Let this crisis strengthen our people and make us more united as one nation. I do hope the government learn some valuable lesson from this instead of portraying the impression of being caught with their pants down whenever this smog problem gets worst. Before I end, I want to point out that this thrice-damned “haze” should be more aptly called smog. The current, unfortunate and politically-correct misnomer is used thanks to our local media which only presents the “right” news with the “right” choice of words. When some Indonesian leaders do not believe in playing nice, there is no reason why we should mince our words. Let’s us call a spade for what it is.

Random Discourse – #FreeMyInternet

I was at Hong Lim Park last Saturday for the above event. The turnout wasn’t really spectacular, but at least healthy. There were about 1500 ~ 2000 people there even though I did not expect this to attract a crowd as big as the protest against the Population White Paper. In fact, there was a carnival feel about it and at some parts of the park it even looked like a picnic.

I went not because I agreed with all the points raised by the organisers and the speakers. I went because I felt no one should decide for us what “the right news” should be. Whether that refers to doctored, or accurate news reports is moot. What truly offended me is that not only does the government treat us like children who aren’t capable of making the right decisions, it actually had the audacity to believe it had the moral authority to decide what is “right” for us. I felt strongly no one should modify our input in such a way whereby it affect our ability to come to an informed decision, or to “guide” us to only one particular conclusion about a matter. To but it very bluntly, that is simply mild or subtle brainwash.

So, my presence at Hong Lim was merely to make myself counted. However, I have to point out that the organisers may have missed one important point because I wasn’t really paying attention. While it is true the expansion of these regulations to cover online media can be used to stifle free speech online (and Tan Chuan Jin’s response that blogs which carries news can thus be covered by the expanded regulations clearly enforces that opinion), the fact is that the pre-existing regulations are already insidious on their own.

We are all aware that before the Internet came along, it was way more difficult for us to obtain counter opinions apart from that of the government, much less a detailed and well thought out one. Clearly, governments all round the world realised a long time ago it is far better to be able to affect how another think, than to control what he can or may say! Thus, media control is put in place because when counter opinion or another point of view is overwhelmed and drowned out, the public is left without enough information to decide, much less say, otherwise!

If that is done very, very well, the powers-that-be can not just pay lip service to ensuring the right to so-called free speech, it can even enshrine it in the Constitution! So, the Media Development Authority [MDA] is not really a watchdog at all and is in fact trying to live up to its name of “developing” media – the way the government wants it. Since that is the case, the matter of “quis custodiet ipsos custodes” that often pops up in the ongoing discussion of the expanded regulations is completely irrelevant. Simply do away with the first watchdog (i.e. the existing media regulations) and there will be no need for more watchdogs to keep an watchful eye at all.

Anyway, I arrived late at around 5:30pm to meet my colleague and friend who was already there. I couldn’t remember much of what the speakers said between then to the time I left. The only thing I could remember was one of the speakers mention that the government continue to treat us as if we were still in the 60s or 70s, which went on to inspire this piece. My personal opinion is, regardless whether there are those who have failed to behave maturely, it is high time for the government to relax its grip on this area. Even parents need to let go and let their child fall when he learns to walk, though that fall may hurt, and is rather unpleasant to the child.

Current Affairs – New licensing requirements imposed by the Media Development Authority

As long as they [the public] go onto online news sites to read the news, I think it is important for us to make sure that they read ‘the right things’…” – Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister of Communication and Information


Courtesy of Joshua Chiang

It is almost comical when Yaacob said the above in the BBC Video (at around 1 min 40s). It also reminds me of Dr Evil from Austin Powers, or the Cylon known as “Brother Cavil” from Battlestar Galactica.

It is my considered opinion that policies should be made with the sole objective of achieving a positive outcome that benefits the people. It is clear to me from Yaacob’s comment that there is no obvious benefit in these new regulations other than to further the ruling party’s agenda. Regardless whether this would control our freedom of expression on the Internet, what gave the government the right to decide what is the “right” thing for us to read? With Singaporeans being more educated these days, aren’t we more capable of discerning what is right or wrong regardless whether our society is more matured?

Those in support of these regulations said when Yaacob said “the right things”, he meant “accurate reporting”. Does the government believe those reports which put the various ministries in a difficult position or portray them as incompetent to be “inaccuracies”? Does it believe that new regulations enforcing that sites put up only “accurate articles” will make us believe Singapore to be a bed a roses, and that all the government ministries, departments and agencies are doing their job? If that is the case, then Yaacob is right to make quotation marks with his hands when he said “the right things”. Because it simply isn’t right at all! Anyone should rightly object to that because that means they are being fed only officially approved reports by the media. What is there to prevent us from being fed outright lies? If the government finds it difficult to convince the general public, then it is a crisis in trust and confidence where regulations will do nothing to improve.

Some people would say that the new MDA regulations are good, because it gave them confidence on what they read online. But they are missing the point. How can I have confidence in what I read when it forever presents a one-sided view – that of the government? For e.g. Am I to believe the bullshit that a person earning $1000 can indeed own a HDB flat, based on what the papers have shown me? Yet at the meantime it does not present the facts that this person will then be in debt, technically “enslaved” for at least two decades and by the time he finish servicing his loan there will be almost nothing in his CPF and on paper he still owe himself interest for the money he took out from the CPF? Am I to believe that we have a World Class Transport, when the experience of my daily commute says otherwise? Am I to believe that Singaporeans are given equal consideration when applying for a job if some so-called anti-government pages or sites did not expose classified ads where employers discriminate against Singaporeans by specifying that only Filipinos or Indian nationals need apply? In fact, if I wasn’t present at the Jurong East Stadium for Singapore Democratic Party’s Rally during GE2011, how would I know Dr Chee Soon Juan did not attempt to stage a march as The New Paper had reported? As far as I am concerned, regulation has not made our media any more truthful. In fact, not only has the “approved media” presented half truths, I would consider some of them to be blatant lies!

Considering all of the above, is it a wonder why our Press Freedom Index ranking is 149th, and also our Freedom of the Press ranking is 153rd? Not only am I against any further regulation of online news, I felt the pre-existing regulations should be lifted. To even accept that current printed media needs to be regulated would be to accept the argument that we need the thought control or even “approved news” in the first place. Frankly, why is there even a need for these new regulations, when the government already has in its arsenal so many tools to deal with rogue postings – from defamation lawsuits, to the Sedition Act and even the Internal Security Act [ISA]?

Some would quote the likes of The Real Singapore [TRS] as an example of why the Internet should be regulated. But the point is that if we have confidence in our “approve media”, what would provide the fertile ground for such sites to flourish? I know some of my friends still read the vitriol on TRS with a whole bucket of salt, if they have not stopped reading it already. As for those people who still believe the hatred or the so-called “outright lies” on TRS and hold it as the gospel truth, the fact is that such people exists in the form of those who consistently voted against the ruling party even before the advent of the Internet. Incidentally, that is also why I despise TRS, because it provided the perfect excuse for new regulations. Well done TRS, for an own goal!

Furthermore, there is a threat that these new regulations will now provide the legal framework to shut anyone down in the future. After all, it will only be a technicality to re-classify a blog or even a forum considered to be difficult and unfriendly to fit the description so that these new regulations would fit. There will be those who would say it is too far-fetched to imagine that it will be used to gag dissidents. My friend Roger Tan describes it best with this interesting analogy – “There is a reason why our officers punished us for pointing their weapons at another soldier during our National Service [NS] days, even when we know it is not loaded.”

If you need me to explain this analogy, then we are either on different channels, or you did not serve NS.

Before I end, a group of bloggers collectively called #FreeMyInternet, will be staging a peaceful protest at Hong Lim Park from 4pm to 7pm this coming Saturday. If you feel strongly about this matter and would like to be counted, please feel free to go and lend your support.