30 September 2008

J B Jeyaretnam passes on

Opposition politician J B Jeyaretnam passed away in the early hours of 30 September 2008. A lawyer who sprang into prominence by winning the Anson constituency by-election in 1981, thus breaking the People's Action Party's monopoly of all seats in parliament, he paid for that act of insolence (at least in the eyes of the PAP) by being targetted and soon sued for defamation. He was bankrupted as a result of having to pay enormous sums as damages.

Yet, he never gave up the fight. Again and again, he threw himself against the steamroller of an authoritarian state. Despite paying dearly for his pugnacity and idealism, he became a beacon of hope for any Singaporean who believed in liberty and democracy. We were awed by his courage and tenacity, and we must surely be grateful that he kept, at times almost single-handedly, the flame alive.

29 September 2008

More people on this island, but poorer

Singapore's total population grew a stupendous 5.5 percent between June 2007 and June 2008, but the economy is flagging. The new demographic report gives many interesting details, enabling a different way of looking at our racial composition. Full essay.

27 September 2008

Viewer advisories and the laugh test

Singapore censorship policies requires broadcasters to issue viewer advisories before they air offensive content. But what constitutes "offensive"? (This essay is not work safe.) Full essay.

25 September 2008

Is engaging the mainstream media pointless? Part 1

I was quoted in the newspapers in three different places today. Were they accurate representations of my views? An example for evaluating if the media is fair. Full essay.

23 September 2008

River light-up may not wear well

Coinciding with the inaugural F1 Grand Prix race in Singapore, the first phase of the lighting makeover of the Singapore River was switched on, on 20 September 2008. At the same time, this year's Singapore River Festival was launched. Both use the same concept -- of flashing rainbow lights. How does an otherwise historic district look now with such a tacky scheme? Photo essay.

20 September 2008

Burmese patriots "undesirable", says Singapore government

Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng explained in Parliament that some Burmese who had organised "unlawful" outdoor protests were "rightly decided" to be "undesirable" elements. But how right is that? How "lawful" is the law? Full essay.

18 September 2008

Facing down a grave security threat: politics

Cycling events by political parties are not allowed, said the government, unless it is organised by a charity foundation, such as the PAP's own. Gopalan Nair is sentenced to three months' jail for insulting judge. Singapore prides itself in being tough, so that we enjoy a safe and peaceful society. Full essay.

17 September 2008

Occluded by the Merrill Lynch headlines, an Indonesian riddle

A brief history of Temasek Holdings' fling with Merrill Lynch, the thermonuclear end to which seized such attention that a Jakarta court ruling almost went unnoticed. Full essay.

16 September 2008

At Malaysia's Freedom Film Fest 2008

This grassroots-organised event featured a weekend of short films on various human rights issues. In the discussions that followed, Islam featured strongly. Full essay.

12 September 2008

The Mr & Mrs Tan gambit

I had a thought-provoking conversation with a senior journalist about how far the government would go in adopting the likely AIMS' proposals. The issue of internet regulation begs much bigger questions about what we expect from law, and the insecurities of our ministers. Full essay.

11 September 2008

150,000 Singaporeans live abroad

Sometimes you find nuggets of information when you trawl through the Parliamentary Reports. But why not have a Freedom of Information Act, so we can ask directly? Full essay.

09 September 2008

Between cowardice and the rule of law

Attorney-General Walter Woon once again reiterates that no one is above the law. What will he do with section 377A, our anti-gay law, that the government has said will not be "proactively enforced"? And what lessons does the Dred Scott case of1857 hold for us? Full essay.

05 September 2008

The panic of the anointed

The bulk of Christian clergymen are apprehensive about interfaith dialogue, a newspaper report said. Nearly half feared their religious convictions would be undermined by such contact. What would these guys have thought about meeting island natives with tinkling penises? Full essay.

In Jurong GRC, more wanted a by-election than not

Helping out with a street survey is an eye-opening experience. Here are a few observations I made about Singaporeans' view of their political rights and their understanding of democratic mechanisms. Full essay.

04 September 2008

My brilliant solution for Singapore's demographic future

Guest writer Pan Hong-En had an Eureka moment. Here he describes, tongue-in-cheek, what he believes can be a solution to our baby shortage woes. Guest essay.

Mitcham's edited Gold

An Australian diver makes Olympic history, but the story doesn't quite make it into news. Too inconvenient perhaps? Guest essay by Tim.

AIMS' proposals progressive but can be improved

A government-commissioned panel issued a consultation paper last week with respect to internet regulation in Singapore. The group of 13 bloggers which had submitted our own proposals to the government in April this year held a press conference giving our response to the consultation paper. Full essay.