Random Discourse – Is 2016 a bad year?

Everyone says 2016 is a bad year.

Why? The number of celebrity deaths, BREXIT, Trump.

Pretty strange, since deaths happen all the time and the effects of BREXIT and the Trump Presidency will not be felt until much later.

If anyone asked me what is bad about 2016, as a Singaporean I would say: Lee Hsien Loong fainting during the National Day Rally, Heng Swee Kiat suffering a stroke and the Terrex “incident”.

Not that I loved any of these “lea-duhs”. But as any good Christian should do, I should pray for them – not just for good health, but also for the guidance of the Lord be upon them, pagan believers or not. Why are these two incidents bad? Because there is yet a clear successor for the future of leadership within the government (unless you expect an Opposition party to come into power soon), and the succession appeared to be in disarray. If Singapore fails, all of us Singaporeans suffer. What is so hard to understand about that?

Why is the Terrex “incident” bad? The loss of those vehicles is really nothing much, unless sensitive electronic equipment is along with that shipment – such as signal sets. It however exposed a national identity issue – whereby I noticed that some folks, especially some from the older generation, put their ethnicity before their nationality first. Wisdom apparently does not come with age. That is about as worrisome as the loyalty of newly converted citizens of PRC origins. For those who haven’t already noticed, the “string of pearls” along the West Coast of Peninsula Malaya and the upcoming railroad across to Kuantan will diminish, if not completely neutralise Singapore’s strategic importance. That is perhaps why the Prime Minister pushed hard for TPP, even though I may not necessarily liked it myself.

In simpler terms, we are getting cut off. If history is any lesson, when part of the route along the Silk Road changed, it wiped out the ancient Kingdom of Loulan (楼兰古国). Nothing much but ruins stand in what was once a proud and powerful kingdom in the Taklamakan Desert today. Personally, I hope the Sinophiles in Singapore will be the first to suffer from China’s economic security positioning. If anyone were to ask me what I think about Sino-Singapore relations, my opinion is that it is NOT rosy. For those who think matters will simply be resolved if Singapore kowtows to China and bows to its demands, I don’t know to laugh at your naivete or be angry at your lack of a spine. I can only say you are NOT my countrymen and you are better off migrating back… “home”. Sorry about the frankness here!

And… here’s to Carrie Fisher.
May the Force be with you.

As for what is “good” about 2016? Well… “good” is a matter of perspective.

Russia bombing the anti-government forces in Syria is “good”, and it doesn’t reallt matter to me whether they are really bombing Daesh or just anti-Assad forces. To me, if that stop some of the refugees from the source, it’s actually a good thing. Way better than all that bombing by the West that seems to only strengthen Daesh and prolong the ongoing rebellion in Syria.

Amos Yee Anus Fish seeking asylum in the US is “good”. Good riddance to bad rubbish that is. May the good USA keep him so he can finally have his unfettered Freedom of Spit… erm… speech. Preferably, he can be allowed to try his religious views in Gitmo too. I’m sure the Al Qaeda and Daesh sympathizers in there will find his point of view refreshing and give him some neck-clutching encouragement.

Donald Trump winning the Presidency is “good”. He may not be President yet, but hopefully now opinion counter to those of fake-liberals will no longer be shouted down as bigotry, misogyny, hate, homophobia, Islamophobia and what not, so that the world can finally return to… at the very least… peaceably agree to disagree without some fxxks saying that no one should force their views on them and then arbitrarily make LAWS to make their views the only legal ones where those who disagree MUST accept. Of course, I can only hope Trump make rational and sensible decision… and not lead the world down the path of nuclear doom.

I can only wish for a better 2017, even though I can only see more gloom and doom ahead.

Random Discourse – Je Suis Dominique

These comments from a grief-stricken mother are so very heart wrenching to read. Let me quote:

Screenshot of Facebook Post

Dom, in these past 3+ years, I have been worn-down, beaten and defeated by the very government I taught you to trust; worn-down, beaten and defeated by the very system I counseled you to have faith in; worn-down, beaten and defeated by the very people I advised you to respect and honor.

Dom, forgive me. I taught you wrong.

The above was triggered by a recent court ruling. Private Dominique Sarron Lee’s mother, Felicia Seah, has sued the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), and his platoon commander as well as the chief safety officer of the exercise, alleging negligence on their part.

According to this article on the Straits’ Times, the defendants then applied to strike out the claim on the grounds that “there is no reasonable cause of action and that the suit is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process”, according to a provision in the Government Proceedings Act. The defendants argued that they are indemnified from being sued for negligence for deaths and injuries if the acts are certified to be attributable to service.

Judicial Commissioner Kannan Ramesh accepted that the arguments applied to this case and ruled against Mdm Seah.

As if that is not bad enough for the family, the court also ordered Mdm Seah to pay legal costs, amounting to some $22,000 to the defendants.

When I read that, it is almost as if Mdm Seah was stabbed twice. At the second stabbing, someone has even applied salt to the weapon (see picture) and then twisted it before pulling it out again.

According to this press release, the Committees of Inquiry concluded that the Training Safety Regulations (TSR) were breached. It is written in the press release that the Chief Military Prosecutor will determine if these personnel should be subject to a General Court Martial (GCM), to establish their degree of culpability and if found guilty, mete out the appropriate punishment. Police investigations are also on-going to determine whether to prosecute the personnel involved in Civil Court.

None of the news reporting this case gave me any information on whether any of the negligent persons was at the very minimum even reprimanded, if not punished in a GCM. Posting them to another position is not punishment. And what was the outcome of the police investigations? I would have accepted that the suit is so-called “frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process” if I had known that some of those have already been punished, somewhat.

Unfortunately, I cannot help but feel outraged at this court ruling thanks to the really deplorable standards of journalism in Singapore. Then again, maybe it’s not an issue with the standards, but rather the ever lower ranking Singapore gets in the Press Freedom Index every year (153 out of 180 in 2015). Those reporting on such matters simply did not dare to dig too deep.

Perhaps because the death of Pte. Dominique Lee has happened more in 2012, the Internet reaction was far more muted compared to that of the school boy who plunged to death after police investigations into an alleged outrage of modesty case. It was of no surprise to me why we Singaporean males have very little pride in NS. Compare our indifference to the well being of our conscripts, and the public reaction in Taiwan over the deaths of one of theirs.

No, I am not suggesting anyone break the laws here. But there has not even been a protest or a vigil held at Hong Lim Park.

I guess some of us would have simply shrug and said, “Too bad.” But this could have been anyone’s son, or brother. Or even someone’s husband or father doing his in-camp training. This could even have been me.

So I guess, I wouldn’t be audacious to say: Je Suis Dominique.

Frankly, I cannot imagine what it would have been like for my mother if it was me. I know she would be devastated, but I can only imagine how she could have managed to live on.

~ * ~

Have you ever wondered?
Why must we serve?
Because we love our land
And we want it to be free,
to be free, yeah

This is part of the lyrics of a song we often sang during route marches and jogs when we were conscripts. There was a time I believed what I was singing and I deeply believed this is my country, my way of life and I should defend it with my life. I have not wavered from my belief many years since, even when I certainly isn’t cut to be a soldier.

Now, I’m not so sure anymore.

Was those years worth it, for what Singapore has become?

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens…

【Warning】 This post contains some spoilers. Proceed no further if you have not watch the movie.

Be warned! Spoilers lead to the Dark Side

I share a friend’s opinion that if you take too long to to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens, then it is your own fault to come across spoilers. Otherwise, there will be other spoilers that will come your way sooner or later.




Last reminder that this page contains spoilers! Leave now!!!




Anyway, back to the movie. I was disappointed when I was told that Disney has thrown out the entire Star Wars expanded universe. On hindsight, it is a good move because it puts an end to all the speculations, and the unrealistic expectations of the fans. When no one knows the storyline, they will not have too much expectations on it and thus there also won’t be as much criticism about the deviations from the novels. It also isn’t far fetched to say that even if one had not watched any of the prequels, one can still watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens and enjoy it.

However, for those who have read the novels, they will be able to see traces of the now defunct Star War expanded universe in the movie. For e.g. A scion of the Skywalker family turning to the dark side, the death of a main character, the destruction of the Republic capital planet, and a star and planet destroying weapon all reminds me of Jacen Solo, the death of Chewbacca, the Yuuzhan Vong capture of Coruscant, and the Sun Crusher from the Star Wars expanded universe. In fact, even the use of the name Ben would reminds me of the novels of the expanded universe. Perhaps, the script writers were paying a tribute to the expanded universe in a subtle way to appease the old fans. (And no, Chewbacca didn’t die in this movie like he did in the novel “Vector Prime”.)

There are however parts of the movie that one would consider ridiculous. For e.g. the Resistance trusting defector First Order Stormtrooper Finn without even minimal background check, and then acting on his information without asking for the details. Perhaps it was to reinforce the impression of Han Solo as a person who often shot from the hip, and to add some humorous moments to the movie, but in a desperate situation whereby complete destruction is imminent this in my opinion is utterly ridiculous even when we considered that the Resistance didn’t have much time to think it over. Also, exiting light speed at what would consider point-blank range into a planet and not smack right into it clearly defies physics. Either way, a movie is a movie and there’s no need to slavishly attach to certain facts.

For those who would expect a Master Chief like character from Halo, Captain Phasma would be a complete disappointment. I actually end up considering her nothing more than moving decoration, and perhaps a character that is added as an afterthought such that whatever crazy stunt Finn and Han Solo’s was going to pull on Starkiller Base would work. However, if that is the case she wouldn’t be needed either since Rey appears to have an aptitude for technology and it would enforce our impression of her attachment to the Force. Hopefully Captain Phasma will play a greater role in the next two episodes instead of being just a shiny looking stormtrooper.

General Hux doesn’t appear to be much either, except to give some less than inspirational Nuremberg Rally style speech to the troops before the firing of the First Order’s secret weapon, which did very little other than to remind me that the First Order is very much modelled after Nazi Germany.

There’s also much in the movie that is unexplained. Who is Rey? A part of her recollections seems to suggest that she was once a Jedi Padawan, perhaps in Luke Skywalker’s new Jedi Order. How does she suddenly know how to utilise the Force or certain Force skills without formal training? For e.g. Jedi Mind Tricks appears to be something that needs some practice and not some idea that suddenly come to mind to someone who for her entire life has thought of the Force and the Jedi as some kind of myths. Then again, that’s probably meant as a kind of bait to keep the interests of the fans going for the next installment of this trilogy.

Even so, I enjoyed the movie. Though at the same time I am also sad to see one of the main characters die. It was rather painful to watch that scene, and the way this episode ended almost make it certain that there’s no way for his return other than in the form of Force Apparations. Though how that is going to happen for a non-force user would be hard to explain. Fortunately, in the Star Wars expanded universe someone has pointed out that there is often a reason for bad feelings

I’ll leave it at this, since I believe I have already given too much away.

Random Discourse – GE 2015, the Aftermath…

On the night 11-9-2015 and the morning 12-9-2015, there were two very common comments among my friends “I don’t understand.” and “What the hell is going on?”

If those Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and Google Hangout messages were voices, I could imagine myself sitting in a control room trying to make sense of the voices screaming out in shock and disbelief.

Yes, I don’t understand either.

I mean, I expected a bloodbath for the independent candidates, the Reform Party, the People’s Power Party, Singaporeans First, the Singapore Democratic Alliance and even the National Solidarity Party. I don’t really expect big gains for the Workers’ Party and I had hoped for the Singapore Democratic Party to finally return to Parliament after so many years. I was even hopeful that the Singapore People’s Party may recapture Potong Pasir.

But I really cannot understand the “resounding slap” that was given to SPP, SDP, and WP. I am really angered by this. Why are we punishing the people who did not cause the current predicament, and are actually trying to help?! These parties have put up pretty credible and qualified candidates. I wondered how these people would have felt and thought after the post mortem analysis of the election results. What, is the message are we sending? Would their reaction be to “take off their sandals and shake the dust off their feet”, and never to return?

If so, then we are headed into a future that may perhaps be even more unbearable than we can imagine. One may say then it shows they have no fighting spirit, that they have no heart for Singapore. But a mid-30 percent vote is no affirmation or encouragement for people to come forth and serve or the present alternative ideas. It is like throw a bucket of cold water at someone who is full of enthusiasm, or sticking one’s own warm cheeks to the cold butt of a corpse.

Yes, just what the hell is going on?

In particular, Potong Pasir. It was like someone ripped my heart out. Punggol East simply gave me the impression that there are two standards of measure for hard work. The disparity between the affirmation given to Tin Pei Ling and Lee Lilian made me feel that way. So, no one should complain about the double standards and hypocrisy of the PAP, because Singaporeans apparently practised that themselves!

There are many speculations: New citizens voters, carrots like the PG card, people getting fooled by all that attack on AHPETC, or even speculations about people “doing their last bit” for the deceased Lee Kuan Yew. Or perhaps, they believed that the voters of Aljunied and Hougang should be the only ones to continue to shoulder the burden of democracy. I won’t speculate, because it really doesn’t matter. The die is cast, we’ll have to accept what comes.

When the result for Aljunied GRC is finally announced and that WP has managed to keep it hanging by a thread, the alcohol took over and I fell asleep slumped on my computer chair. It was a fitful sleep, and I woke up with a bad hangover, feeling like a part of me has died. Something angry and dark has awaken.

Singapore, to me, is no longer the same again. Henceforth, the recital of the pledge rings hollow. All that call for unity is bullshit. While in the past though I felt the National Anthem could not inspire like Israel’s Haktiva, at least I can be proud of it. Now, there is no pride either.

The Singaporean Singapore has died. Long live the New Singaporean.

For those who voted for the opposition and saw it getting trounced, it is time to ponder how we are to go from here. If you want to quit and leave, then go. There is nothing to stop you from pursuing your happiness elsewhere. Or would you prefer to volunteer for the opposition, and fight till the very end?

Before I end, I would like to add, as a friend has rightly pointed out, “The only surprise is when the complainers say one thing and do another. No conviction in their words. These are the Singaporeans I currently abhor.”

For those of you in this group, only you know who you are. I do not wish you ill, nor will I say you have lost the right to complain. But I’ll prefer not to hear you whine, because I will be ready to rub it in any time. Don’t be a pussy. If the 3 in 10 did not whine and just suck it up, then you have the least of reasons to. Just STFU… before I slap you.

Feign innocence and protest all you want, but there is a 7 in 10 chance my anger has found its target. If you unfortunately happen to be the 3 in 10, well… you know, I know, heaven know. Let us just swallow back our own sorrows in private.

Random Discourse – GE2015 at Half Time

We are at the half way mark of the General Elections 2015 (GE2015) campaign. And I do not like what I see, because as far as I know, there’s far little about what each party has installed for the future from what I gathered.

The PAP simply boasts about its achievements of the past 50 years, but is rather vauge on the plan going forward. Personally, I am sick of them trying to milk the legacy of the late Lee Kuan Yew. Enough is enough already. You chaps aren’t Lee Kuan Yew. PM Lee seems to think of the immigration and foreigner PMET issue as no big deal, and simply expects us to just “trust them” on it. That’s the cue that I should be looking elsewhere with my vote as well, unless someone can to my satisfaction account for CECA and why I continually feel like a minority in my country of birth .

As for some of the smallers parties like the Reform Party, the People’s Power Party, the Singapore First Party and National Solidarity Party, they simply continue to focus on public anger, and riding on the fat hope that they can ride that into Parliament. That isn’t so bad but some like the RP and NSP are clearly are doing a very good job doing themelves in. They probably breathed a sigh of relief that Lim Swee Say isn’t from the opposition. Anyway, Mr Cheo of the NSP, it is my considered opinion that motherhood isn’t a weakness, especially when you have a fellow single-mother in your party in a GRC team. The low TFR and women in the workforce these days made motherhood even more respectable. It simply isn’t something you should be joking about and my recommedation is that you should retire from politics along with Steve Chia.

As for the SPP, it was with great admiration when I saw Mr Chiam See Tong walked to the pulpit – even though with much difficulties – and make a speech. It was the symbol of a fighter, and yet also a symbol of all that is wrong with the SPP – the lack of new blood and a leadership renewal. Chiam will not be there forever.

While I can’t remember most of the speech of the other SPP candidates, Nadine Yap’s speech left a lasting impression when she talked about how some people who fall through the cracks are helped and that the government really doesn’t know everything nor does it have the best solutions for all the problems. If anyone were to tell me the opposition is out there to oppose for the sake of opposing, then Nadine would be my ‘poster girl’ to refute such claims. These are people who believed in a cause, and in making good something the PAP simply isn’t doing enough, if not doesn’t give a damn shit about.

The SDP is the only party who not only talks about the current problems, but suggest alternate policies. It is however difficult to make the electorate buy them even when they are the only ones who actually talks about a plan. They have a lot of people with good qualifications who speak eloquently. Sadly, getting the vote is not just about making good speeches but I still wish them all the best. Unlike what the media may make the SDP out to be, these are not some crazies and perhaps maybe the ones who will give to the younger generation of Singaporeans the Singapore they are looking for.

As for the Workers’ Party [WP], I am sick of listening to endless arguments over AHPETC and who is right or wrong. Let me just say this, I think all the clarifications the WP has done is good enough, but yet not enough. Let me explain why.

I understand the WP’s need to keep up with this, because not everyone is as well connected to the Internet and social media. Thus, there is this need to continually drum it into us. But it is still not enough even though I have already accepted that the state of affairs as is, and even viewed it as a set up.

It is not enough to tell me the manner in which AIM got hold of all the town councils’ computer system is much worse, and that the books at the People’s Association [PA] are in an even sorrier state. A number of us are already sick of the PAP’s hypocrisy and double standards and trust me there will definitely be a reckoning for that.

It is not enough because WP hasn’t shown itself to be better and different from the PAP, a party who never apologises and just tell us to ‘move on’ and simply expects we accept their often less than satisfactory clarifications. Show us you can do better than that, WP. A lot of us can see you are now doing your utmost to make things right in AHPETC, and things are getting better. But, tell the residents of Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East, you are sorry you under-estimated the scope of the task you have taken over, because it was exponentially bigger than what you have managed previously in just Hougang SMC. Tell them you are sorry you did not do better and you understand their disappointment that you haven’t quite live up to expectations. Tell them their disappointment did not discourage you but instead inspired you to do better because you wanted to live up to their expectations.

Many of us will always be here to cheer you, because we all wanted so much for you to succeed.

~ * ~

Next, I am utterly disgusted that we have taken a step backwards in our political progress. It reminds me of the gutter politics in 1990s. It utterly offends me when Lawrence Wong and Sim Ann took Dr Chee to task for something that he has already been punished for. This is not the old days where we get all taken in by all that talk about integrity and moral greatness. It’s not like people from the PAP are all paragons of virtue. We all remember from the not so distant past, Michael Palmer and Choo Wee Khiang.

I suppose Sim Ann should know the legal and justice system was never designed to make an offender accept or admit what he has done as wrong. That’s the function of religion. Even though I am not even saying what Dr Chee is doing back then is wrong, I disagreed with and is offended by his methods. But Dr Chee has already been punished, and no one, much less Lawrence Wong and Sim Ann should demand more than a pound of flesh. How presumptious of them to believe they can ride the moral high horse and beat Dr Chee with this big stick!

Lawrence Wong might want to know I am not entirely satisfied with the explanation given for the grass used for the pitch in the Sports Hub. If both Wong and Sim wants to take others to task, then expect the electorate to closer scrutinise what they do in the years ahead, should they get re-elected. Do note, we will probably be about as kind to them as they have been to Dr Chee. Live by the very standards you demand of others, alright? I wouldn’t guarantee we would be as gracious to them if they have taken the same path as Mr Lui.

~ * ~

Lastly, I am not liking the campaign so far because I have seen at least two messages on social media that I object to. Take a look at the one on the right. While I am no fan of the Pink Dot movement, I am appalled by the depth some people go to distort the WP Manifesto (see image on right).

A wiser and calmer soul rightly pointed out: Repeal of Public Order Act only allows peaceful freedom of assembly by all citizens and does not mean support of Pink Dot event which takes place at Hong Lim park every year as approved by the authorities. WP will not be the government even if it wins all the 28 parliamentary seats it is contesting, only the PAP as the government can repeal Sction 377A of the Penal Code and enact laws to allow gay marriages. It maybe argued that it is actually the PAP who supports Pink Dot by allowing their annual event and also by openly saying that it will not enforce section 377A strictly unless the act is committed publicly. In fact, the civil service already take in homosexuals since the 1990s.

To add on, the accusation that the WP supports the LGBT lobby offends me on two levels. First of all, the above has only gone further to enforce the impression that Christianity is nothing but a bigoted religion of haters. How does this help to win more souls for Christ? I disagree with Pink Dot, but they are free to assemble and make their view known even when I disagree with them. I only expect the same courtesy in return. As a Christian, I remember that God has allowed me to live, when I was foolish enough to declare “There is no God!” in the follies of my youth. Shame on the person who attempts to slander and manipulate religious sentiments against the WP, simply to drive swing voters towards the ruling party. By serving your own political agenda, it wins Christians no friends in the secular world, and it hardens the hearts of those who have yet to know Jesus.

Other than the above, there is this message that was forwarded on Whatsapp (see below), allegedly sent from Sylvia Lim of WP. The sub-standard message itself would have given a bad impression of the WP candidate, and it was pretty clear that isn’t the kind of message the WP has been trying to bring to the electorate. The message actually contains some elements of what the WP and the SDP have put forward, and it suggest to me the person who put this up seems to want to bring the two opposition party into a confrontation. Pretty interesting to see why the other parties are left pretty much alone while the SDP and WP seems to get all of the ‘love and attention’

I am not sure how far and wide the message has spread, but for those of us who know how strictly WP has controlled media release, they would have been aware nothing of this sort will ever get onto any media without first appearing on WP’s official webpage. So if you see any more of such crap being forwarded to you, do not forward them.

~ * ~

By the way, I almost forgot… I dislike Han Hui Hui. I personally think she should get gainfully employed and not live on donations. If you shared my sentiments, that’s fine. But please do not go and harass her at her rallies. That’s unbecoming and rude, and it also flies in the face of the concept of a democratic society. At least give her the respect for having the courage to stand for elections. In fact, at one point of time the tic-for-tac responses between the PAP and WP over AHPETC actually made even Han Hui Hui looked visionary. At least, she’s keeping to her cause on the CPF. That determination in itself is something admirable, even when I don’t agree with her methods.

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