"But the gap is only this wide"

Renewed call for wage shock therapy

It looks like Lim Chong Yah is not one to back down easily. Given his prominent status as founding chairman of NWC, architect of the previous wage shock therapy, and the first and only Emeritus Professor of both NUS and NTU, can the government continue to ignore him? When Prof Lim first called for a repeat of wage shock therapy in April this year, both PM Lee Hsien Loong and NTUC Secretary-General Lim Swee Say publicly dismissed the proposal in the space of two weeks. There was no effort at all to engage him, to hear out his views in…

Keeping up to date on voiddecker.com

Have you been reading this, Minister Tan?

The Singapore government has long taken pride in being firm to stick to what it thinks is right, rather than what’s in favour. Having to admit openly to heeding public opinion makers and the general populace is a hard pill to swallow, especially when the stance it once championed is proven wrong. So when there are calls for policy changes, be it from experts, think tanks, opposition parties or ordinary Singaporeans, the government’s instinctive reaction is to dismiss the calls. Ministers and PAP MPs will caution us with doomsday scenarios. Right on cue, the local press will publish reports quoting…

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A foreign intrusion

From Channel NewsAsia: Chong Pang residents can own one cat per flat Good news for feline lovers in Chong Pang. From today, residents in the area’s 123 blocks are allowed to own one cat per flat under the “Love Cats” programme. See also previous post: Chong Pang cat programme? You’re having us!

The joke's on us

Chong Pang cat programme? You’re having us!

Our local papers may be controlled by the government, as we saw in an earlier post on the release of the tell-all book by former ST Editor Cheong Yip Seng, but that hasn’t stopped our fine journalists from exercising creativity in manoeuvring around the OB markers and even expressing their great sense of humour. Imagine my delight at spotting this wonderful piece of satire on TODAYonline about the introduction of a pilot cat programme in Chong Pang. Hilarious stuff — and it’s not even April Fools! Mr Cheong must be proud. Chong Pang residents can own one cat per flat Good news for feline…

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A Singaporean society anchored by values

From Channel NewsAsia: (Mr Lawrence Wong) also noted that many Singaporeans are talking about the kind of values they would like to have for the future. “In all the conversations I’ve attended, the issue of values comes out quite a lot,” said Mr Wong. “Many Singaporeans do talk about them, desiring to have a society that’s anchored by values… people (want) a kinder (and) a more gracious society.”

Permission to speak, sir!

Permission to speak, sir!

Singaporeans live in a controlled environment. Most of us go about minding our own business without thinking much of it. Spare a thought, however, for our civil servants and journalists dying to speak out, especially those who endured a 30-40 year career to do so. New guidelines from a Public Service Division circular last week have lifted the gag order on civil servants so that they can take part in the national conversation. The PSD said this is “in the spirit of the (Our SG Conversation)”, so that civil servants can “engage in meaningful discussions on most government policies and share their…

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Sex.Violence.FamilyValues – To ban or not to ban

Ah Beng

Singapore’s subcultural identity crisis

By Lorong Cat It is no longer Singaporeans’ pet topic to talk about Ah Bengs and Ah Lians these days. That’s because we have found a different common enemy and, boy, are they bigger fish to fry! By the same token, it is causing a mini wave of nationalistic sentiment, hence we are letting up on the Bengs and Lians pretty much like how the Taiwanese have embraced their 台客 (Taike). So I was caught by surprise when the term Ah Beng was revived to my sore ears lately, here in London. Wow, for a tiny country like us, we are…

Found in our government cabinet

Dialogue or broken record session?

To all of you who worry about overpopulation and diminishing quality of life as a result of it, rest assured that your concern is very much well founded and the problem is only going to get worse. To know why, look no further that who is in charge of population policies in our government: DPM Teo Chee ‘What do you think?’ Hean, Minister of Thought Process Delegation. In a town hall session on population challenges held last week, DPM Teo enlightened us with an opening speech that was revealing in its own way, for it confirmed our doubt that he…

Void Decker on Twitter

Void Decker on Twitter

Dear friends (is anybody out there?), the Void Decker is now on Twitter: @voiddecker. The purpose is not to tell people what I had for lunch or to subtly show off something cool I did – or maybe I would but I will try to limit that – but primarily to recommend articles that I find interesting. I will also tweet any new posts on this site of course. I was searching for a WordPress widget that allow me to post links to news articles or blog posts, not unlike a blogroll, but it looks like I can pretty much do…

Speakers Corner at Hyde Park

Whither free speech?

Guest post by Lorong Cat with Void Decker Back in September, a Californian man pulled together an anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” and posted it on YouTube. It contained blasphemous scenes making fun of the Prophet Muhammad. This video sparked anti-American riots across the middle east and culminated in the murder of the U.S. ambassador to Libya in a mob attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. The filmmaker was subsequently arrested but for minor offences not directly related to the video. U.S. President Obama was quick to release a statement condemning the video as crude and inappropropriate but went…

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Singapore work-from-home initiative

Channel NewsAsia: Singapore has one of the highest percentages of employees working from home, with companies embracing work-life harmony as a way to improve productivity and employee retention. According to a survey by a Singapore specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half, 87 per cent of Singapore employers allow their staff to work from home, compared to the global average of 79 per cent. Only Hong Kong (94 per cent) and Switzerland (94 per cent) have a higher percentage of employees allowed to work from home, while Italy (45 per cent) and Chile (38 per cent) have the lowest percentage of employees…