Saturday, April 1, 2017

The conundrum of the Elected Presidency

Singaporeans are so inured to the sophistry of the PAP demagogues that they now take it in their stride for its face value.When the whole of Singapore had not the slightest doubt that the establishment of the Constitutional Commission on the Elected Presidency was a political scheme of the PAP wallahs to prevent Dr. Tan Cheng Bock from contesting the EP, PAP leaders, especially PM Lee Hsien Loong, could be so tongue-in-cheek to try to convince the public that it was not aimed at Dr. Tan but was for some obscure altruistic reasons. Dr. Tan has for some unknown reason hitherto been reticent on this point but for some very good reasons now openly said in a press conference "that out elected presidency will always be tainted with the suspicion that the reserved election of 2017 was introduced to prevent my candidacy."

Quite significantly,Dr. Tan has questioned the PAP Government's decision to include the term of the late former president Wee Kim Wee in calculating when a reserved election should be held which in the eyes of the public is considered too far -fetched. President Wee Kim Wee was never by any stretch of imagination an elected president and for the Attorney-General to start counting the five continuous terms from the term of president Wee is utterly incomprehensible and may be against the nature of justice. Dr. Tan said that there was no proper explanation as to why the A-G advised the Government to start the count from Dr. Wee's term and suggested that the Government can refer the Attorney-General's opinion to court for independent judicial verification.

The Malays do not appear to be comfortable with the presidential election in 2017 reserved for them as many,especially the more discerning ones, regard it as a gesture of tokenism by the PAP Government. Another glaring element to them is the dearth of finding suitable candidates to contest. It will certainly be a blessing to them if there is an independent judicial verification to invalidate the Attorney-General's opinion to start the count from Dr. Wee's term as first elected president. It would mean that the 2017 presidential election will be an open election and not a reserved election for the Malays. This will be a blessing for the Malays because this will save them from having to make a Hobson's choice on the reserved election.

This will mean that the prospects of Dr. Tan Cheng Bock contesting the 2017 presidential election will be so much brighter, which will be to the horror of the PAP leaders, especially the bright spark PM Lee Hsien Loong. Dr. Tan has said that he is leaving his options open and if he qualifies to contest, what his chances are is a foregone conclusion in view of his groundswell of support.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Monday, January 9, 2017

Is China cocking a snook at the joker PM Lee Hsien Loong?

The Parliamentary debate on 9 January on the seizure of the nine Terrex Infantry Carriers looked more like a colourful comic opera which the Singapore public has not had the privilege of witnessing for a long time.The star performer Defence Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen was so ebullient in his bombastic discourse about Singapore Government's sovereign immunity that it might have convinced gullible Singaporeans about its legal validity but not an unsympathetic China. The Parliamentary spectacle was more likely intended to show the world the more iniquitous face of China in the so-called arbitrary seizure of the Terrex Infantry Carriers by Hong Kong Customs but has it ever occurred to the PAP wallahs that even the Singapore citizenry has remained reticent over the issue, not to mention support.

Quite significantly, the Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesman has again re-iterated the One China principle which Singapore could meditate on seriously notwithstanding its vigorous profession of strict adherence to the One China principle. It has been repeatedly pointed out that the Terrex issue is going to be a complex problem requiring an infinite time frame to resolve. It is not something which a surly letter from the high-falutin PM Lee Hsien Loong to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong to demand the return of the seized armoured vehicles could resolve. The reply from Hong Kong is not very encouraging.

Cannot our thick-headed PM Lee sober up for once and think of a more civilised approach to China? For instance it does not lower PM Lee's world standing, if any, for him to appeal directly to President Xi Jinping of China sans any legal threat like the sovereign immunity for the return of the armoured vehicles. By now it should be abundantly clear to PM Lee and his Cabinet that there will be no resolution of the Terrex issue without President Xi's nod. The obvious alternative will be the prolonged detention of the Terrex armoured vehicles until some miraculous relenting of the part of China.

Whether China's relation with Singapore will return to its former exemplary state after this issue is resolved will depend on sincere efforts by both sides to realise this, but would depend more on the divestment of PM Lee's pro-American image. Another is the One China principle which China is not entirely happy that Singapore is earnestly adhering it. Of course Singaporeans will be elated to see a happy ending to this unfortunate episode which they think is of PAP leaders' own making.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Does it resurrect Benjamin Lim?

Is it not an indictment of the PAP Government that it requires the tragic death of a promising 14-year-old Benjamin Lim to jolt it into making a review of the criminal investigation procedures to protect vulnerable teenagers like Benjamin Lim when they are hauled in by the benign police for interrogations? The Benjamin Lim,s case elicited a lot of public interests and sympathies because of the manner in which the police handled his case. Until now it is not clear why the police had to send four burly policemen in plainclothes to haul a frail-looking 14-year-old student to the police station. And to add to his agony, the competent school principal had merrily neglected in his duty to provide an appropriate staff to accompany Benjamin Lim to the police station to ensure his well-being, at least psychologically. What went on in the police station with Benjamin Lim at the mercy of the benign police officers could only be imagined.

The Coroner's verdict in Benjamin's case can be said to have left much to be desired. It is understandable as the Coroner had an unenviable task of arriving at a balanced verdict in view of the immense publicity on the case. To be fair, he can be said to have done a creditable job, only that he cannot be expected to please all. The public just cannot understand how Benjamin Lim could have simply committed suicide if it had nothing to do with his traumatic experience at the hand of the benign police.

The Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugam can be given credit for his commendable attempt at damage control. Although it had to be done after the tragic death of Benjamin Lim, it at least could have a salutary effect on the mind of anxious parents whose sons may fall foul of the law that they could at least have basic safeguards against ruthless interrogations of the benign police. Why it should be stipulated that the presence of Appropriate Adults is at the discretion of the police could be an unfortunate dampener in an otherwise consummate solution.

Whilst it is still early to assess any beneficial effect which could emanate from this review of criminal investigation procedures, it would very much dependent on the benign police giving inspirational spirit to the scheme because the delinquents are always at a disadvantage. Benjamin Lim's father would have been a more happier man if his son had been able to be protected by this belated scheme and he may even still be horsing around.

In conclusion, it may be appropriate to quot e this Chinese saying: It is not too late to repair the pen after the sheep have died (亡羊補牢,为時未晚). It especially applies to Minister K. Shanmugam's attempt at damage control.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Nero fiddled while Rome burned

There is sadly a general feeling that the narcissistic PM Lee Hsien Loong may be suffering from some kind of myopia in that he could not or would not want to face up to the deteriorating economic situation in Singapore or in the region. When questioned, he had the gall to dismiss it as a seasonal trend urging the people not to worry over it instead of coming up with any possible solution to mitigate the beleaguered big and small businesses from their hardship. The happy-go-lucky Prime Minister  would rather spend his time playing with babies and mingling with his constituents. It goes the same with his millionaire ministers except one or two who would harangue the populace on the imminent threat from Islamic terrorists and the measures to mitigate it should Singapore be attacked.

Depending on how one would look at it, it could not escape the indignity of the public that it is a kind of travesty of justice for the Prime Minister and his ministers to draw such obscene salaries from the taxpayers' money for giving such run-of-the-mill service. And the one who takes the cake is PM Lee himself who could make such stupid and insensible statement about the deteriorating economic situation. They fit the Chinese saying:"Pocket and pocket till contented" (袋袋平安) which is a pun on the real adage:"Generation after generation to live peacefully” (代代平安).

Now it takes the hard-hitting words of the Chief Executive of the Singapore Business Federation to jolt the inebriated PM Lee from his deep slumber. He painted not only a deteriorating economic situation this year but a worsening situation in 2017 for businesses big and small in Singapore. He also urged the PAP Government "to consider measures to assist businesses to overcome headwinds in the upcoming Budget 2017, even as it considers longer-term strategies."

Is it not an apt title to describe Singapore :"Nero fiddled while Rome burned"? How on earth can the 70 % electorate vote in such a mediocre PAP government is still an enigma. But they will have to face up to the unpalatable fact of voting in a self-serving government giving mediocre service to the public, a result of their incomprehensible ingenuity to cast their sacred votes for the PAP. There is an appropriate Chinese saying: "A wrong step will lead to an eternal regret" (一失足成千古恨).

Friday, December 23, 2016

A heavy slap in the face for the high-falutin PM Lee Hsien Loong

It was pointed out in my post titled "Is China flexing its muscles against Singapore?" on 29-11-16 that the issue of the nine Terrex armoured vehicles detained by Hong Kong Customs on 23-11-16 could evolve into a complex problem requiring an infinite time frame to resolve. Even the dispatch of a high level SAF Team to Hong Kong and the imploration of the Ministry of Defence (reported in the Straits Times today) could not appease an intractable China to relent. This shows the level of misgiving that China's President Xi Jinping has towards a so-called untrustworthy PM Lee Hsien Loong who has evidently exasperated him with his pro-American antics to the point of disillusionment. It may not be too far-fetched if President Xi insists on the personal imploration of a demagogic PM Lee Hsien Loong before any benevolent move could be made to resolve the Terrex armoured vehicles issue. It may be a test of the mental prowess of the two leaders and if PM Lee foolishly stands his ground, it may be the end of the Terrex saga.

There is another interesting angle that may have been overlooked. In order to further humiliate Singapore and PM Lee (which again is not too far-fetched) China may lithely decide to impose a storage fee and a charge for providing guards to protect the armoured vehicles of a sum of a million dollars or more before the vehicles can be released. Of course there will be no problem for Singapore to pay up but it will have to live with it for a long time.

From this episode it may not be too brazen to say that President Xi may regard PM Lee as an American poodle which may affect his hitherto exemplary relationship with PM Lee. Hopefully this unfortunate narrative may transcend any deleterious effect which may befall on the economic front between Singapore and China which is mutually beneficial but more in favour of Singapore. President Xi is too magnanimous for that but on the other hand PM Lee must make a genuine effort to divest himself of his pro-American image to show a more balanced world view which is in Singapore's interest.

American President Barack Obama has shown exceptional affinity towards PM Lee in their relationship which may have an intoxicating effect on on PM Lee in relation to his pro-American antics. Whether the maverick President-elect Donald Trump will continue this brotherly relationship after his inauguration is questionable because of his unpredictable character. For PM Lee this will be a lesson gained and, if learned, should stand him in good stead.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Is China flexing its muscles against Singapore?

It was just a matter of time for the precarious honeymoon between China and Singapore to come to a head. It was done by China with such finesse that it came as a severe jolt to the disoriented PAP leadership, especially the day-dreaming PM Lee Hsien Loong. It was the Hong Kong Customs, no doubt under instructions from China, which detained nine Singapore-bound Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles although the Japanese-owned container ship APL which carried the armoured vehicles had passed through a Chinese province earlier. It was a shrewd Chinese move to avoid direct intricate dealing with Singapore which has willy nilly to deal with a less authoritative and unenthusiastic Hong Kong. The ostensible reason for detaining the armoured vehicles was that they were suspected to carry ammunition and sensitive equipment and the ship's cargo manifest was not in order. This has become a complex problem and may need an infinite time frame to be resolved, provided it gets the condescending consent from China.

The China spokesman has finally emerged to castigate Singapore, which is helmed by the jocular PM Lee Hsien Loong, for its role in undermining China's one-China policy on Taiwan. If this is not a direct slap on PM Lee  Hsien Loong, then PM Lee will still be under the illusion that he is still a trusted equal of President Xi JinPing. The nauseating antics of PM Lee in ingratiating with US President Barrack Obama have not gone unnoticed by the astute China President Xi who viewed them with humour and patience waiting for the day to teach this monkey a lesson.

It will be an interesting exercise to guage the reaction of Singaporeans, especially the ethnic Chinese, to the show of animosity by China towards Singapore by detaining the nine armoured vehicles in Hong Kong and the timing for this so-called show down. Will it be reasonable to say that the Chinese Singaporeans are first taken aback, like the rest of Singaporeans, but think that China is right in jolting the PAP day-dreamers, especially the US-inclined PM Lee, from their fantasy of bringing Singapore dangerously close to the US axis? They could not have been oblivious to the antics of PM Lee in usurping the role of the Chairman of the APEC meeting in Peru in his desperation of a last-ditch effort in salvaging the pro-US Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the amusement of President Xi of China.

If the day-dreaming PM Lee Hsien Loong has not learned a lesson from the armoured vehicles detention in Hong Kong and persists in his antics of ingratiating himself with the US at the expense of China, the day will come when an exasperated President Xi will candidly say "enough is enough".