"This strike action has succeeded beyond all our expectations."

What a striking difference five days made

What a difference five days made Twenty-four, times five, little hours Brought the MOM and the powers Where there used to be complains … What has happened in the space of these five days since those Chinese drivers first went on strike? Ministry of Manpower (MOM) warned SMRT to thoroughly review and improve its human resource and management practices. SMRT announced that it was already planning to give the drivers a $25 increment. SMRT also said it is now looking into their wage concerns and will share its decision with them next week. A first townhall was held with China…

SMRT Chinese drivers strike: A bus load of issues

SMRT Chinese drivers strike: A bus load of issues

This strike by SMRT’s Chinese bus drivers is turning out to be a very interesting development. And it’s not just the thesaurus’s worth of euphemisms that we learned yesterday. While the mainstream media is busy explaining itself today why it avoided the word ‘strike’ — because apparently what they did is technically not one — and whether it’s legal or not, the incident has brought out a whole load of social issues that deserve closer examination. Foreign labour pay It is now out in the open that SMRT pays its bus drivers differently for the same job. This differentiation applies not only between…

Not red vs blue? Why not?

Not red vs blue? Why not?

Singapore can’t go down ‘red vs blue’ path, says PM Lee Hsien Loong. No, he was not talking about birth control pills versus Viagra to boost our birth rates, in which case I may actually agree with him. In his exact words: “If Singapore had a blue constituency and a red constituency, I think Singapore will be in trouble.” It is moments like these that I shake my head, sigh, and mutter to myself: “Here we go again.” Why not, PM Lee? Will Singapore be in trouble, or is it the PAP who will be in trouble? The PM may…

"Did you take the $1.1M? On a coin toss. Call it"

The million dollar question

So what would you really do if you find SGD$1.1 million in the cab you are driving? Sia Ka Tian, a 70 year-old Singaporean cab driver, made the news worldwide when he returned a bag containing $1.1 million cash left behind in his taxi. The money was subsequently claimed by a Thai couple and the cabby was rewarded with an undisclosed amount. While Mr Sia is rightly lauded for his honesty, many others will think it was silly of him not to take the money. In fact, such is the incredulity generated by Mr Sia’s act that one news website…

Gotcha indeed

Headlines and defamation suits

This is a week where headlines themselves become the subject of headlines. In this latest article in a series with Yahoo!, Law Minister Shanmugam clarified on what the government will or will not sue on. I don’t remember anyone from the PAP being so up front about this, so it was quite refreshing to read what he has to say about it. Most reassuring of all, he confirmed that it’s perfectly fine to called the PAP a bunch of incompetent, anti-Singaporeans idiots, because that’s just an opinion. Yes, go ahead and knock yourselves out. It’s not okay, on the other hand,…

"An email from Void Decker!"

It’s not slower growth, stupid!

Dear Vivi, Long time no hear! Having fun immersing yourself in your current job as Environment and Water Resources Minister? I was so happy to see you in the news yesterday. It’s always good as a politician to keep your profile up despite your literally shitty portfolio. Remember, visibility is key! For bloggers, it’s easy because they can just write some silly things to make fun of the government. Politicians, on the other hand, are supposed to be wise. I’m glad you have used the old trick of looking clever by repeating the party mantra when you actually have nothing of value…

No gallows

Death penalty for the government then?

Consider the following scenarios: First, the case of Noinoi. In 2006, Mohd Ali Johari was charged for the murder of his two-year-old step-daughter, Noinoi. He admitted to slapping her, immersing her in water repeatedly. He was a father at 17, a gambling addict, runner for illegal bookmakers, immature, deficient parent. He said he sometimes brought Noinoi home with him as he thought that she would help him avoid detection by the police. Look at “Nelly” and “Rose”. Nelly (aged six) was placed under foster care after her mother, uncle and grandfather were arrested for illegal gambling. She had been cared…

Lest we forget

Saving future Private Lees and Third Sergeant Tans

It goes without saying that we need to protect our sons and daughters in service before they can protect us. Reports on the findings of the inquiries into the death of full-time National Servicemen Dominique Sarron Lee and Tan Mou Sheng, coming just days after Remembrance Day, make for some tragic reading. Amidst the details of what went wrong and who were at fault was a short mention that Dominique’s mother, Ms Felicia Seah, has been visiting her son’s grave in Choa Chu Kang Cemetery every day since he died in April. How depressing is that? My own experience in…

Not akan datang

Sex.Violence.FamilyValues — Ban and blame (ourselves)

I fully agree with Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim that the ban on Sex.Violence.FamilyValues is “not a step backwards”. After all, was there any step forward to begin with? A play-safe mentality has always been the MDA’s trademark. Notwithstanding that, it still surprised me that 20 out of 24 members in the Films Consultative Panel (FCP), which the MDA had consulted on, felt the film should be banned. The remaining four thought a R21 rating as appropriate. This panel purportedly comprises “members of the public, representing different age groups, races, religions and professions, including those with knowledge about the film industry”. Yet,…

From Third World to First - A book review

From Third World to First – A book review

By Lorong Cat From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000 by Lee Kuan Yew My rating: 5 of 5 stars Dear Harry, Thank you for your company during my daily lunch hour for the past couple of months. When I heave open the hard bound book that is the second volume of your memoirs, I feel as if I have been transported back in time to post-colonial Singapore. I have benefited from the peek into your early struggles and that of your colleagues Goh Keng Swee, Toh Chin Chye and Raja. I am intrigued by your account of…

Entitlement mentality

Entitlement mentality

From Channel NewsAsia: “The government will always do its part to help the less fortunate especially through education, through housing, through financial assistance schemes but also through upholding meritocracy and keeping paths up open,” said [Prime Minister] Lee. […] But Mr Lee stressed that the government is not able to do everything for the less fortunate. He said: “The government cannot, and should not do, try to do everything. It is too impersonal. It can be bureaucratic and help then becomes a matter of social administration, not of care and compassion. And eventually, this fosters an entitlement mentality, instead of…

Coming to an HDB estate near you

CCTV is Jack’s best friend

Jack Bauer could well be headed to Singapore. Yes, I’m referring to the no-nonsense death-defying counter-terrorist government-agent-turned-rogue-protector of the USA from the acclaimed TV series 24. As fans are aware, the series ended its eight-season run in 2010. It was getting a bit tired towards the last few seasons to be honest. After all, how much more elaborate can the nuclear bomb plots be? How many more government moles can we grind our teeth over? But let’s not forget — Jack is still alive. And now there is a new playground that has all he needs to run around in…