PM succession doesn't have to follow old ways

PM succession doesn’t have to follow old ways

Chan Chun Sing’s promotion to full minister back in August reignited discussion on who is poised to be the next Prime Minister. Succession is expected around the year 2020. Most observers believe Heng Swee Keat and Mr Chan are frontrunners for the job, followed by the likes of Tan Chuan Jin and Lawrence Wong. All four, with Sim Ann, were part of the newly elected “fabulous five” in the 2011 General Election. Prevalent in the discussion is the legitimate concern that should one of these end up as the next PM, he or she will have less than ten years…

Supporters cheered when Mr Mah woke from a long slumber

Mah Bow Tan: I retired after wife urged me to sleep at home instead

Former minister for national development Mah Bow Tan has revealed in an interview that he had retired from politics after his wife had urged him to sleep at home instead, and not because he was caught doing so on the job as widely believed. Two years after stepping down from his post, the MP for Tampinese GRC said he had left office with no complaints or regrets. When he retired after the 2011 General Election, there was widespread surprise that he had actually been around for the preceding decade. Many were under the impression he had retired in 1999, when…

On Lee Kuan Yew and what he said

On Lee Kuan Yew and what he said

A few loose thoughts on Lee Kuan Yew, who found himself in the spotlight again as National Day came around. Just to be clear, I haven’t read his new book, but have read snippets of it online. 1. First off, I find it odd that Channel NewsAsia/TODAYonline uses the title “former Minister Mentor” to address Mr Lee, while The Straits Times and foreign media use “former Prime Minister”. The latter is more appropriate because it recognises the fact that he was once the leader of the country (not to mention the longest serving). What his last cabinet position was is secondary….

10 thoughts on hawker centre cleaning saga

10 thoughts on hawker centre cleaning saga

If you, like Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, haven’t moved on from this whole hawker centre cleaning saga, here are ten thoughts that may interest you. For background reading, please refer to the “dossier” and this email chain between AHPETC and NEA. All observations below are on the assumption that everything in the dossier is true. 1. The NEA officer, Ms Chin Peiyun, clearly misled AHPETC in the email on 7 Feb 2013 by writing “pl note that the Hawkers Association will make the necessary arrangements with their contractors on the scaffold erection/ dismantling during the spring cleaning period from 4-8 March…

Keep the rallies going, and the quality too

Keep the rallies going, and the quality too

By Lorong Cat The period of 12 months from when Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008 to its anniversary in 2009 was a tumultuous one. This period was marked by an unprecedented wave of financial meltdown with some of the biggest banks in the UK getting nationalised with taxpayers’ money and also coincided with an Israeli incursion into the Gaza strip. Both of these developments spawned weekly large scale demonstrations in central London. I was new to London and my first “participation” in a major demonstration was during the 2009 G20 summit in London where world leaders representing 20 major…

Maybe that's why it looks so clean

The dirt path from AIM to town council managing agents

The reason given for the PAP town councils’ decision to engage AIM to manage its software system was to reap economies of scale, instead of having each town council develop or purchse its own system separately. This makes sense, but going by this line of argument we can reasonably expect opposition parties to not enjoy similar economies of scale. So why should it be a surprise that Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) has to pay higher prices than Tampines Town Council in management fees? CPG Facilities Management, who manages Tampines TC and other PAP town councils, would have the economies of…

Majority Rule

Democracy, gang rape and a failure in communication

There was a fuss and a lot of misunderstanding over a quote MP Zainudin Nordin posted on his Facebook page a few days ago, particularly on the highlighted sentence: People use democracy as a free-floating abstraction disconnected from reality. Democracy in and of itself is not necessarily good. Gang rape, after all, is democracy in action. All men have the right to live their own life. Democracy must be rooted in a rational philosophy that first and foremost recognizes the right of an individual. A few million Imperial Order men screaming for the lives of a much smaller number of…

PM Lee draws groans as “Mee Siam Mai Hum” comedy gig goes global

PM Lee draws groans as “Mee Siam Mai Hum” comedy gig goes global

Washington — PM Lee Hsien Loong made his long-awaited première on the after-dinner comedy circuit last night, drawing largely negative reviews from an audience of stoic and middle-aged U.S. businessmen. Armed with a stockpile of crass and offensive jokes, he drew groans — and few laughs — with his quips, including several about China’s environmental problems. “Beijing residents joke that to get a free smoke all they have to do is open their windows!” Mr Lee said, as members of his entourage were seen shielding their faces and cowering in their seats in visible embarrassment. Mr Lee also alluded to thousands of…

Hail the victor

Punggol East sends signal of zero tolerance to PAP in by-election

Huat ah! Congratulations to Lee Li Lian and what a victory this is for the Workers’ Party in the Punggol East by-election. Chua Mui Hoong calls this a tipping point in the political landscape and a harbinger of more to come, but some may argue that the tipping point is already reached at General Election 2011 with WP’s victory in Aljunied GRC. But she is right that Punggol East has a demographic profile of the future, and the ruling People’s Action Party relies heavily on support from the baby boomer generation that can only diminish in coming years. Indeed, this by-election result is one…

Section 377A: A lesson from history?

Section 377A: A lesson from history?

As we head into a by-election to start off the year 2013, it is fitting to remind ourselves that exactly a hundred years ago, women were still fighting for their right to vote. The women’s suffrage movement lasted many years, and was at its peak in the 1910s. Eventually, the UK finally granted women partial rights in 1918, followed by full rights in 1928. The US had the Nineteen Amendment ratified in 1921. Today, nobody in his sound mind would dare proclaim that it is wrong to allow women to vote. Yet, back then, opposition against this right was very…

Punggol East candidate says: Let them eat bak kwa!

Punggol East candidate says: Let them eat bak kwa!

[Warning: This is pure satire] SINGAPORE: The four candidates vying for the Punggol East parliamentary seat will be campaigning hard over the next nine days to capture votes from some 31,600 residents. The four are: Dr Koh Poh Koon from the People’s Action Party (PAP), Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam from the Reform Party (RP), Mr Desmond Lim from the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) and Ms Lee Li Lian from the Workers’ Party (WP). Already, residents recounted the drama today at Rivervale Plaza, a hotspot for campaign activities where Mr Lim was the first to arrive this morning. “Dearest residents of Punggol…

Spoilers Alert

What’s the frequency, Kenneth and Desmond?

It’s confirmed then that Kenneth Jeyaretnam and Desmond Lim are set to spoil the fun that we are all hoping for: a straight fight between PAP and WP in the Punggol East by-election. I never understood the frequency These two men are clearly on different wavelengths from the electorate. Mr Jeyaretnam claimed that “an overwhelming proportion of people welcomed us to Punggol East, and they knew us and they were glad to see us contesting”, yet it is obvious from social media and online forums that supporters of the opposition cause are overwhelmingly against either of them running for the…