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Waiting for Godot

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 6, 2008

Farquhar

Waiting for Godot

Farquhar comes earlier this week and takes a look at the state of the opposition parties on the second anniversary of Polling Day – May 6 2006.

The Opposition is in danger of missing the chance to build on its gains of 2006

Both Acts of Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot” end in the same lamentable fashion. The two protagonists, having wasted an entire day in a series of pointless diversions (one of which was a laughable attempt to commit suicide) while waiting for an acquaintance that never shows, finally agree to depart the scene. But then they put that off as well and remain where they are at the close of the Act, consigned to repeating the same routine in perpetuity.

The absurdist nature of the play, the protagonists’ lethargy as well as their tragic obliviousness is somewhat reminiscent of the dilapidated state of Singapore‘s political Opposition. Each time the Opposition was ascendant, such as from 1984 to 1991, it subsequently blew its chances to consolidate its gains because of futile infighting and a deficiency in political imagination, even as the incumbent People’s Action Party (PAP) devised ever more ways to hem it in and maintain its own political hegemony. It risks doing so again, despite the hopes raised in 2006.

What was different about 2006 was that the Opposition seemed to have finally come of age. Heralded by a new generation of voters that was growing weary of the government’s paternalistic approach and the public’s budding receptiveness to the need for a stronger Opposition, it rode on the expected anti-government swing, and the Workers’ Party (WP) – which had been quietly rebuilt under the astute leadership of Low Thia Khiang – was the chief beneficiary amongst the main Opposition parties (the others being Chiam See Tong’s Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) and Chee Soon Juan’s Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)).

More importantly, the Opposition – and WP in particular – seemed to have captured the popular imagination. WP chairperson Sylvia Lim, leading a crop of fresh faces with professional backgrounds, came to epitomise a rejuvenated WP. In a post-election survey by the Institute of Policy Studies, 61% of respondents either “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that the WP was a “credible” party, putting it some distance ahead of the SDA (49%) and SDP (18%). (PAP scored 87%) Basking in the afterglow of the elections, the WP enjoyed good turnouts at its open houses and relatively favourable media coverage. All this suggested that the ingredients were there for a sustainable Opposition movement that might finally begin rolling back the PAP behemoth.

Nothing to be done

Two years on, the Opposition seems to have lost momentum. Media coverage of the Opposition remains low, and the parties are more often than not missing when it comes to commenting on issues of the day. The Opposition remains divided, with the cautious and low-key approach of the WP and SDA contrasting with an activist SDP. High profile desertions dog the WP. Opposition MPs raise parliamentary questions but lack follow-through, and they seem nowhere near proposing policies of their own.

To be fair, this state of affairs is partly due to the normal cycle of elections and the institutional obstacles that the Opposition has to contend with. Public interest tends to slip away after the hue and excitement of campaigning has receded. Opposition activity is also unlikely to make the government-controlled mainstream newspapers, making it difficult for the Opposition to get its message out. And it is hampered by the shortage of political talent or volunteers to draw on, given the largely depoliticised nature of the citizenry.

But party leadership is also to blame for failing to take advantage of the more favourable post-2006 conditions. The Opposition’s leading lights – its two full-time MPs – cling to an ineffectual conservatism. WP and SDA seem uncomfortably straddled between old-school incrementalism and the imperative to adapt to a rapidly changing and more demanding electorate.

It has warily stuck to the former, a cautious attitude bred by bitter memories of the government’s relentless persecution in the past. WP and SDA remain cagey about engaging the media (one reporter complained that WP appeared perpetually unreachable for comments while PAP MPs were always a phone call away) and have been slow to build an online presence. The WP lacks follow-up on issues that it brings up in Parliament. From rising costs to escaped terrorists, the party seems content to bring up an issue, initiate a short debate (usually taking the form of a condescending rebuttal by the government), and let matters lie. WP and SDA have also hardly organised any events to engage the public beside their usual door-to-door exercises.

Inherent divisions within the Opposition also continue to hold it back. WP, SDA and SDP remain inherently suspicious of each other due to their differences in approach and beliefs, which hinder cooperation. The WP and SDA lack coordination in Parliament and do not support each other much. The possible vacating of the Potong Pasir seat (long held by Mr Chiam, but who is now said to be ill-health) could also bring out the worst in Opposition squabbles over who should fill the seat.

The light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more

All these don’t raise hopes that the Opposition is capable of anything more than simply repeating the cycle that it is trapped in. WP seemed to have confirmed this when Mr Low recently told the press that it was not the job of the Opposition to come up with alternative policies. Mr Low wanted the WP to stay focused as a good watchdog, which is evocative of the role of “loyal opposition” that the SDA’s Mr Chiam has carved out for himself over the past decades.

But an effective Opposition’s aim should be to provide a government-in-waiting as well as function as a watchdog – something that was stated by WP itself as a long-term goal in its 2006 manifesto. Just because the PAP has restricted the role of the Opposition to one of a somewhat harmless watchdog, doesn’t mean that the WP and SDA have to stay mentally confined in that straitjacket.

The SDP’s Dr Chee is a conspicuous exception to this, which only reinforces the suspicions of the WP and SDA. But while he comes closest to advocating an alternative vision, this is still a long way off from what is needed because the SDP focuses too much on the modalities of a liberal democracy. Dr Chee’s standing has also been fatally damaged after years of being discredited by the government. His campaigns of civil disobedience have not found much resonance amongst Singaporeans. That may be changing though. The SDP declared recently that their main focus will be on bread and butter issues, and took to the heartlands on Labour Day with their “Tak boleh tahan” (can’t stand it) campaign to prove it.

More needs to be done, but this is critically hindered by a shortage of talent. The lack of an obvious leader, one who can impose a clear vision and unite the Opposition’s disparate strands, is the decisive factor hampering the Opposition from making more of itself. WP’s star in the 2006 elections, Ms Lim, has so far not turned out to be the Opposition heavyweight that seemed to have been expected of her. She has turned in steady performances in Parliament, but appears content to let Mr Low take the lead. There have been no obvious new initiatives from her. The WP’s continuing conservatism shows that either her influence over the party is limited or that she shares Mr Low’s conservatism.

And so Singapore continues to wait for the Opposition to sort itself out. Some watchers have said that Singapore needs a Barack Obama to show the way. But Obama probably isn’t enough – the Opposition needs someone who combines the ruthlessness and iron-will of Margaret Thatcher and with the kind of clear, sweeping vision that Franklin Roosevelt brought to an America in crisis. Godot might arrive first before such a person is found.

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57 Responses to “Waiting for Godot”

  1. LifesLikeThat said

    First, congratulations to TOC for hitting 1,000,000 hits count today! (I just saw your stats.) Well done! Hope it’ll reach 10,000,000 soon!

    For the opposition, well. I think they should do more, esp WP. I expect more from Sylvia but she’s very quiet. Maybe ghosts of past lawsuits from the kiasi-kiasu PAP still haunts her.

    Hope to see more from WP!

  2. my80ctsworth said

    Wah 1,000,000+ hits loh!..Congrats TOC!

  3. Gary Teoh said

    It is not that the oppositions do not organise functions,it is because their permit is rejected by the police,and the media can’t get the opposition MPs, because it is no point talking to the biased media,which is Pap’s propaganda tool !!

  4. civil serpent said

    “More needs to be done, but this is critically hindered by a shortage of talent.”

    Don’t mean to nit pick but the hindrance isn’t about talents. To think so is to buy into the elitist logic propagated by the PAP in raising ministerial salaries which most will agree is just hogwash. It is also a self-defeating mindset which hands victory to your opponents without even fighting.

    They key is the lack of critical numbers, not talent. Take SDP for example, the few activists they are able to marshall already makes veterans like Chiam and Low look ham-fisted. Just imagine the impact if 100 more join their ranks. But it is anyone’s guess what the critical numbers are.

  5. Logicalman said

    Face it. The mainstream media didn’t even cover news at their doorstep (read the post on demonstration outside SPH Centre), what’s more to say about obscure news that may possibly cast the opposition in a favorable light?

    Let the opposition do their work, away from the limelight. Let the ruling party bask in their glory while they still have it. Come next GE, let the citizens exercise their votes wisely and with a clear conscience. Vote with your heart, not your stomach.

    Everyone has their own style. Ms Sylvia Lim, Mr Low and Mr Chiam are all conservatives, but that doesn’t mean they can’t deliver. Even if they do deliver, without the resources that the ruling party can lay claim to (just look at the obscene surpluses of the Aljunied Town Council), it will be merely a pin-drop.

    What the opposition needs is to have a critical mass to set things in motion. With just 2 full-time MPs from different camps, there’s only so much that can be done. But I do agree that the opposition needs to go beyond the mindset of being just a watchdog. Aim to be a Govt-in-waiting, like what Anwar Ibrahim does in Malaysia.

    An alliance among the opposition appears to be necessary to see any form of breakthrough at the next GE. General Elections is, to say the least, uniquely Singapore, and who knows that surprises await us in the next GE? The playing field is so skewed that parties just can’t afford to go it alone. WP, SDA and NSP should at least work together against the PAP machinery, no matter how difficult it is.

    SDP, sad to say, is a different creature altogether. She needs to rethink her image and style if she wants to be part of a credible opposition in Singapore. Many of her pet peeves just don’t sit well with the typical Singaporean, and the way she makes her views heard, it’s like kamikaze, too scary for the average Singaporean. Many respectable members of the blogosphere (namely, those who are linked to TOC) have put down their alternative views in a firm, yet non-offensive manner. This is what we need to see and hear from the opposition. Once there’s buy-in, mindshare and support, it will be easier to engage the ruling party and get the right things done.

    By the way, shouldn’t the search for the next President of Singapore begin about now? Having a president who’s serious about his/her duties beyond ceremonial stuff should count as part of a credible opposition, isn’t it?

  6. Daniel said

    Dr Chee and his accomplices have really done well to expose to the world the oppressive nature of PAP for those who don’t agree with many of the ruling party’s self-serving policies. So let not deny that. We might call that crazy, mad or anything but the impact of their action actually speak for itself. Crazy are we to continue to believe that election can change anything and bring us justice and equality. Absolute power already corrupt to the core and citizen are become so used to it and apathetic towards it even if they are exploited. Citizen no longer can tell if gov is doing right or wrong and just accept it as way of life. Intellectual who brought up by the education system to trust that information and evidence are everything to substantiate claim, and no longer use their precious most important basic instinct to make judgement. Well, if certain party just withhold information suddenly the intellectual become helpless and voiceless. Such is our society. We put blind trust and faith to the election system. Are we to believe that election is actually fair ? Voting might be fair but how about the prerequisite work done just before the election to buy supporter vote using taxmoney or rules changes ?

    WP or SDA take the more conservative approach but still get hit left or right most of the time by PAP. It feels like a ant trying to bite a elephant, and yes the elephant will not step the ant to silent it but just use its nose to blow the ant away. Not that WP, SDA are ineffective but exactly how many of the suggestion they make get humdumb or downplay by the ruling party ? The ruling party act arrogant, know-it-all, defensive, calculative, take other’s suggestion as their own credit, and petty. Will we ever see changes in LKY’s lifetime ?

  7. Logicalman said

    Thanks Daniel.

    I’m not sure how much Dr Chee has managed to expose to the world about the oppression we have here, or whether his method or madness has yielded concrete results, but I continue to see the global media singing praises about Singapore (read the BBC post about our water recycling success, SMEC – emerging golden triangle of wealth management, etc). Even the global media said surprisingly little about the Mas Selamat saga; maybe it would have been different if it had been Osama bin Laden? 😉

    Anyway, SDA and WP are represented in the parliament, SDP is not. It says something about the kind of opposition people have faith in. The general electorate is not naive. I don’t think they cannot see through the electoral gimmicks of the ruling party, after so much has been said and written about them. The last election results can be considered a milestone for the opposition, going by past records, the last-minute heavy machinery employed by the ruling party, the James Gomez and wayang saga, and the fact that the ruling party had no skeletons from the closet that anyone could expose. Come next GE, with the Mas Selamat scandal swept into the closet, along with record inflation, GST, controversial Citigroup/UBS investments, pending ministerial pay hike, etc, I believe the opposition can win a few more seats, GRCs inclusive. By the way, the 18 year olds of today would be 21 by then; the time to reach out to them is now.

    WP and SDA’s approach may be too soft to our liking, but at least they have gotten one foot in despite the odds against them. With proper leadership, management, core values, and strategy, they will be able to go far.

  8. Gary Teoh said

    Dr Chee’s strategy is effective and right approach.Look at DAP in Malaysia,how the leaders were put to jail and eventually they suceeded.PAP know that chee is smart and brilliant, and they tried all means to put him down, just as they destroyed JBJ, Tang Liang Hong and Francis T Seow.If you are a lame opposition leader, pap just don’t be bothered to heed you.They feel that Chiam and Low are moderate, so pap just don’t bother them .If pap don’t like a person, they will go all out to smear you, to dig out all your weakness, even if you misuse $2 fund . So don’t be fooled by pap.

  9. Logicalman said

    Hi Gary

    Perhaps Dr Chee does have his strengths, but I still think if he can channel them into more productive areas, he will be more successful in his attempts to liberate fellow Singaporeans from oppression. And personally, if we want to learn from Malaysia, I would suggest Anwar Ibrahim.

  10. Saint Splattergut said

    Any reason why you didn’t mention Mr. JBJ? 🙂
    Perhaps it’s too early to tell?
    Btw, SDP did try to organize some sort of Opposition summit a while ago. A meeting that never materialized, because there was strangely no response from the parties.

    P.S. Been a while since they tried, someone refresh my memory if I’m wrong about any of the details.

    -SS

  11. Daniel said

    Logicalman,

    “Even the global media said surprisingly little about the Mas Selamat saga; maybe it would have been different if it had been Osama bin Laden? ”

    Sometimes I wonder if it is Singapore’s stake in investing in these countries like US, Australia, etc that these government from these countries do not want to taint their economy and relationship with Singapore especially Singapore has such substantial investment in their key asset like in area of telecom, biotech, or thing like that, and is key supporter of these countries’s policy ? Could this be the reason that PAP is buying so much asset not only for commercial interest but at same time to buy their “supporter’s vote” too that in the end they just simply zip their mouth. Although these countries have free press but to what extent these press is so ‘free’ as not to jeopardise economy benefit and relationship with other countries ? Do they still harbour FEAR too they will be sue like FEER.

    I can’t hardly expain why the world feel so indifference towards Singapore while the citizen feel angry about Selamat’s case ?

    Strange, the more questions I ask, the more I feel weird about this tiny red dot call Singapore.

  12. Logicalman said

    With all due respect to Mr JBJ, I do not think butting heads today will bring about any transformation. I do, however, see an excellent opportunity for Mr JBJ’s son Philip, to transform through his role in the Law Society and as a role-model for young professionals. Likewise, Ms Catherine Lim has been transforming babyboomers like us through her thought-provoking writings, Mr Leong Sze Hian through his meticulous analyses and sincere questions, and Mr Gerard Ee through his life as a public-spirited servant leader.

    In this time and age, the best way to engage the ruling party is to show them what white is all about. White is not about their uniform, or their combined IQ & accolades. White it’s about unadulterated good principles, strong core values, and oneness with the people.

  13. Tan Ah Kow said

    According to Farquhar:

    “The SDP’s Dr Chee is a conspicuous exception to this, which only reinforces the suspicions of the WP and SDA. But while he comes closest to advocating an alternative vision, this is still a long way off from what is needed because the SDP focuses too much on the modalities of a liberal democracy.”

    Whilst it could be argued that Chee may have needed to use less abstract language to bring his message across to as Farquhar puts it:

    “the largely depoliticised nature of the citizenry.”

    My take is that it is the depoliticised nature of the citizen that needs to be addressed before anything else. And that the starting point is indeed from the modalities of a liberal democracy.

    The argument that bread-and-butter issue ought to be the starting point of any alternative policy discussion is to mistake the trees from the forest!

    Often a times when one hear about complains about SDP not addressing the “bread-and-butter” issue, the issue often boils to what I call “Oliverlian” plea for more from the ruling party. So when I hear complaint about the SDP, and for that matter, the WP or SDA, it boils to why didn’t these oppositions parties pressed for more within PAP rules of the game. In other words, to be a political party, all they need is a policy agendas that say, “we will give more than PAP” in order to become “credible”.

    Take for example the SDA, under Chaim, his political agenda since his time, even in SDP, boils down to nothing more than get upgrading funding for his constituency — i.e. his so called bread-and-butter issue. As for Workers’ Party under Low and Sylvia, boils down to nothing more than bring membership numbers up — i.e. more members equals more credible. Regardless of whether the numbers are made up of fair weather ones or the battle harden ones that one finds in SDP.

    Let’s try to see the “Forest” that the SDA and WP. Frankly, there is none. All you see are “trees”.

    The SDA, upgrading and getting a MRT station for Potong Pasir. At least one thing could be said about the SDA is that they managed to fulfil one right policy — i.e. get the MRT station open in Potong Pasir albeit vicariously. But it’s a party in terminal decline and fast fading into history.

    The workers party manifestos, a collection of minute details but can’t pin-point any clear Party principles to hold the party together. For example, when it comes to issues about gay rights the party itself could not form a coherent policy. And couple with an over emphasis on gaining members at the expense of principles means that it has trouble pleasing all people all the time.

    The SDP at least has an overarching principle to work from — even Farquhar was able to pin-point — that is, “liberal democray”. Electorate may say the heck with liberal democracy, I want bread-and-butter but at least the SDP goods is clear for all the see. So one can agree or disagree with. In a sense, the SDP and the PAP are similar in that you know what you are getting. In the case of the PAP, in a nutshell, it is making Money at all cause.

    As for the issue of whether one should expend so much effort on the modalities of liberal democracy, well given the PAP dominance in virtually all aspects of lives social, political and economics, it is quite clear that if the oppositions party chooses to play by PAP rules is not going anywhere. And more importantly, since the electorate are so depoliticise, kia-si and kia-su should it not be the starting point by which to address the problem?

    I mean how can one hope to address, NOTE the word here is ADDRESS not just talk about, “bread-and-butter” if one is so afraid to confront the source of the problem in the first place?

    The SDP by being willing, possibly to the point of fool hardiness, showing that despite being persecuted is not ready to surrender already show what can be done. Even Farquhar has acknowledge attitude toward civil disobedience campaign “may be changing”. Isn’t that is what is needed, through deeds and actions, to lead the electorate from Kia Si-ness to garang-ness by being not afraid of being Kia Su?

    Is the SDA and WP approach of addressing Kia Su and Kia Si by being Kia Su and Kia Si really helpful at this time of overwhelming PAP dorminance?

    To be fair to the opposition parties, I believe much of the ball for change is really in the court of the electorate now. By electorate, I mean those who are not benefiting from the PAP largess. The question for which only they, not the opposition parties or for that matter the PAP, can answer is: do they just want a bit more or do they really want change?

    If all they want is just a bit more, then they are better off just wait for a miracle for PAP’s kindness to flow. If they want change, then they better be prepared to support the oppositions.

  14. JDread said

    Opposition has always been judged by ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ or ‘brave’ or otherwise. Seems that netizens have no other benchmarks or never thought of an important one – capability. Always promoted by PAP but holds true.

    For opposition wards to function is a nearly impossible task. Potong Pasir and Hougang started out without even a Town Council office. Now they have the office, the staff, the functions running. Even some PAP MPs can’t do that if they were thrown on their own.

    Would you like an opposition MP that gimmicks like Chen Shuibian but when you pay your S&C charges, GIRO doesn’t work, their counter machines doesn’t work, their staff don’t work but when you can’t pay your dues, they still go ahead and fine you? Think about it. You might like to hear a lot of issues from opposition but will get tired of it after a while. An incapable opposition running your ward is something you will get tired of but have no choice until the next elections.

  15. JDread said

    SDP didn’t show up for the opposition meetings during the last elections. Maybe it’s getting it’s just desserts….. LOL :p

  16. Whatever happened to the Hammersphere? They seem to have closed the gates to readers.

  17. SergeantPepper&dahLoneyHeartsClub said

    To be very frank about it, the opposition clearly lacks imagination and calibre. Look at the tongue-tied idoitic way they respond to simple questioning. A smart strategist like Anwar Ibrahim is what we dont have and NONE of the opposition members can hold a candle to this type of calibre. I strongly think that it is time the old farts step down and roll over. Just go away and let the young studs step in and do their potent stuff.

  18. patriot said

    The Oppositions, liked the depoliticised Singaporeans, are fragmented. But since they wish to be in politics, the Oppositions got to win the hearts of the commoners. To do so, they have to prove their mettles, the capabilities to lead the people to a better and more fulfilling existence.

    As noted by Farquhar, the Oppositions have not taken advantages of the opportunities that presented themselves from 2006 to now. The last Election Result shown some promises in WP and SDA who won and retained their respective wards. The Former also almost upsetted the PAP in Aljunied GRC and that was a very encouraging moment. The people, especially those in Blogosphere were very upbeat and so was WP herself. Sylvia Lim proved herself to be a potential calibre, however it seems she is holding herself back in deference to her chief Low TK.

    With escalating rises in inflations causing higher costs of livings, Mas Selamats’ Escape and SWF Issues and great unhappiness expressed widely in the Blogosphere, the Oppositions surprisingly become very quiet and ‘Kwai'(less proactive/combative). Except for Chee Soon Juan(SDP) and his few supporters getting the focuses of the Medias, rather than the supports of the people, the Oppositions as a whole have communicated little with the people now. It is a letdown to the people.

    When WP called for more people to join her before the Last Election, the response got her many new members into the Party. Now WP seems very satisfied with that and liked whence the stomach is filled, it is time to relax or even take a nap, it(WP) becomes complacent(doing little).

    Chee SJ would be a good Opposition Leader as he seems very aware of critical areas to focus on, but unfortunately he also seems to go for it alone or at most with his few followers. He failed miserably to win the people to his causes, to fight the System with him. Personally, this comes as a great disappointment, for I think he wanted international attentions more than the supports of the locals in his political endeavours. If only he can win the hearts of Singaporeans.

    Chiam See Tong does not seem to have groom anyone to take over from him, neither did any of his party members has come to the fore. It seems that if he retires, his party will retire with him, not much of a foresight exists there.

    JB Jeyaratnam had his days in the past and like Chee Soon Juan, he is quite a loner too. Though he was/is a feisty politician, we cannot expect him to be very active for long. Unless he(JBJ) has successors to inherit his political acumens, the next election maybe beyond him(for aging and health reasons). The people are unlikely to bring a very old man into the Parliament.

    Folks, sorry for the long post, as there are many aspects to look into for different perspectives and I end here for the time being.

    patriot.

  19. Daniel said

    “Would you like an opposition MP that gimmicks like Chen Shuibian but when you pay your S&C charges, GIRO doesn’t work, their counter machines doesn’t work, their staff don’t work but when you can’t pay your dues, they still go ahead and fine you?”

    Strange. Another case of FEAR, DOUBT and CERTAINTY. The statement put is as if the whole estate is run by opposition party independent of government.
    Opposition Party is not president nor do they have the power and right to screw public service up.Are GIRO and other public service run by opposition party mah ? If these service screw up, what is it going to do with opposition party even though they in charge of the area ? These services are the responsibility of the service companies not the party in charge. Note that the law policy to fine people is not perpetuated by opposition party nor they have the right to fine anyone. These are laws setup by the ruling party. Do blame the right person.

    I wonder what the commenter will say about the coffers who do such a act. Mr Wang has just highlight a real example of ‘misuse’ of public fund by the coffers.

    http://mrwangsaysso.blogspot.com/2008/05/aljunied-town-council-and-matter-of.html

    Fund that suppose to improve estate end up been used as investment vehicle, with (Approximate to nearest) 4millions/32millions = 1/8 been used for estate use, and 7/8 for investmet . Who is the one benefit in the end ? It is so obvious because investment is profit-orientated, whereas using fund to help estate is cost-orientated, and when investment return profit, coffers in charge will reap rewards and bonus and advertise using MSM of how smart they are, of course, if it is loss, just tell the citizen, it need 30 years and then quickly ‘move on’. Question is how is the coffers been reward when investment make money, and how are they penalised if they lost money ? Is there any accountability and responsbility for the coffers ?

    What if opposition pary are the one playing with fire with investment instead, will the MSM go full force lambasting them ?

    Such thing is not new to us anymore, is it ?

  20. Daniel said

    Why not give opposition party a chance. If they don’t perform, we don’t have to take care of them . The PAP will naturally be just as happy and arrogant to fix the oppostion party, won’t they ? What have we to lose ? Give opp party Five years. Can we say the same for the ruling clown party ? Give them ten years, twenty years, coffers still feed us nonsense and insult our intelligence, non-disclosure this and that as they like and please ? So five years for opposition party who give us hope, or Forever for clown party who give us rhetoric and nonsense. I say Forever for PAP because as long as their seat overwhelm the opp party, the opp party is just as good as worthless, and be will hard to solicit change for the citizen.
    So pick your choice.

  21. Jackson said

    In the recent Msia elections, a third of parliament belongs to opposition. Hope to see that in Singapore. After more than 50 yrs or PAP rule, buay sianz meh? I believe the reason why PAP still maintains average 60-over % votes is because LKY’s generation is still around. I believe in the next elections, the emerging young voters will change the course.

  22. Gary Teoh said

    To Patriot,
    The way you commented the oppositions reminds me PM Lee the other day talked about the weakness of oppositons MPs.As Chiam is getting old, I see so far there is no capable leader in SPP who can take over Chiam and continue to run Potong Pasir.If there is no credible leader, then P Pasir may fall to pap given all the upgrading promises to the voters, voters may switch to pap.That is the sad end of opposition party, once p pasir falls to pap, it will be difficult to wrest back the seat from pap.

  23. droids said

    I agree with your assessment of the state of the opposition in Singapore. They need to buckle up and set a clear and realistic direction. Dr Chee is too radical, Chiam is old and does not seem to have a plan. Low and his WP while having enjoyed significant increase of credibility still cannot in the near future become a viable alternative government.

    You are right on the apparent lack of visibility of the opposition ever since 2006. Some may bemoan the strict regulations and heavy PAP control, but that doesn’t mean the opposition cannot try to buckle up. In the first place, the internal organisation of the opposition is not even strong. Add this to the PAP hegemonic nature, Singapore will almost not certainly have a credible opposition in the near future. (which delights the PAP no doubt) In terms of presence, I see one more important platform which is yet to be utilized fully by the opposition- the Internet. Support for the opposition has tremendous potential if you consider the rise of the new generation and its relation to the Internet.

    This new generation is synonymous with the Internet, constantly plugged into it and socially connected through it. This medium with lesser state regulations has the potential to be a powerful opposition platform. As it is of now, the opposition need to coordinate themselves (intra-party) and launch their agenda aggressively on this new media. (Online campaigns, Facebook, discussion forums, feedback, viral marketing) I am not referring to the typical citizens blogs, anti-establishment forums or sites like this (even The Online Citizen seem to have better presence), I am referring to a concerted, organised and intergrated communications plan of the opposition. The recent Repea377A campaign was greatly bolstered by use of the internet. If a one man show (Yawning Bread or Mr Brown) can become such a hit among Singaporeans and become part of the online culture of the country, why can’t the opposition get into the act as well? Just taking a look at their corporate website- you can’t help but sigh and shake your head.

    The power of the Internet is almost limitless, the opposition should make use of this platform to connect with Singaporeans at a deeper level rather than just appearing during regular elections, asking toothless questions in parliament (I’ve seen better questions poised by netizens about the recent Mas Selamat issue than what MPs have asked in parliament) or organising protests. I have more detailed thoughts on the usage of effective marketing and the Internet which the opposition should utilize, which can be read in details here.

    Anyway, cheers.

  24. droids said

    My apologies, the right link is this:

    http://conservativesingaporeans.wordpress.com/2008/05/04/even-if-you-are-not-good-look-good-at-least/

  25. Tan Ah Kow said

    Dear Farquhar,

    Whenever assessments about opposition parties are made, this word “credibility” always crops out. I have always been perplex by what many of your readers and the Singaporean electorate at large mean when brandishing that term.

    I noted that when you referenced the IPS study you noted that the result showed:

    that the WP was a “credible” party, putting it some distance ahead of the SDA (49%) and SDP (18%)

    More tellingly you seemed to have also in you use of the quotation marks suggested an ambiguity about what credible means.

    Tried as I could to read beneath, to borrow YawningBread’s phrase, the textual surface of this “credibility” word to discern what the underlying attitude of your readers, and by extension the Singaporean electorate, towards this credibility thing, I must admit I have failed miserably.

    What does credibility means?

    Is a political party consider credible if they play by the PAP rule?

    Is a political party consider credible if they the do it in a “non-offensive” manner?

    What is “non-offensive”? Is exposing the failing of the instition of state, like the judiciary, security or pointing out the inconsistencies of the PAP policies too offensive?

    Is a credible political party one that panders to the Kia Su and Kia Si attitude of the electorate or one that inspire to be NOT Kia Su and Kia Si?

    Is a credible political party one that focus on wining election but have no clear principle to work from?

    Help someone please explain what credible means.

  26. Robert HO said

    RH:
    1. Allow me to repeat, that ‘winning’ 82 out of 84 MP seats is downright IMPOSSIBLE mathematically, politically, electorally, etc, WITHOUT MASSIVE CHEATING.

    2. For real, actual, proof that LIE KY LHL PAP CHEATED BY STUFFING FAKE PAP VOTES INTO 10 FAKE BALLOT BOXES AND THEN GOT THESE LATE BALLOTS COUNTED, in direct contravention of election laws and rules, to ‘win’ Cheng San GRC in 1997, visit my blog/s.

    3. LIE KY LHL PAP erased Cheng San GRC after 1997 because they knew they would lose again — additional proof of their electoral fraud. Probably LHL poor showing in his own GRC in 2006 was because of his absorbing more of the Cheng San voters than other PAP GRCs.

    4. The West love LIE KY because he speaks good English unlike every other Asian leader and he panders to them with billions [giving US$3+ billion every 2 years to US] and unquestioning support for all their polices, acting as apologist for their agendas. LIE KY also serves the American agendas in the region by using SG resources to serve American geopolitical interests, including watching and acting against our muslim neighbours, whom the Americans are wary of. As long as LIE KY LHL PAP continue to prostitute to the Americans and the West, they will get American support, including their media support.

    5. The Americans and the West don’t really give a damn for human rights or democracy. They have consistently deposed even democratically elected leaders who opposed them and replaced them with pliant puppets like LIE KY. LIE KY unscrupulously seized power by just such a deal with British PM MacMillan, to serve British interests. Otherwise, PAP chief LIM Chin Siong would have been PM. Instead, the British and LIE KY arrested him without charge or trial under the ISA and decimated LIM’s PAP supporters.

    6. Coming to the present, comparing the lacklustre ‘leadership’ of LOW and CHIAM vs Dr CHEE, it is human and inevitable that strong, charismatic leaders DO NOT ATTRACT similarly strong characters. Thus, Dr CHEE has only a small following of devoted troopers who join his street protests and demonstrations. He is unlikely to attract more. On the other hand, a feeble character like LOW has attracted a bigger following of talented people like Sylvia LIM, James Gomes, etc. Thus, the WP is arguably the strongest Opp party. Dr CHEE is unlikely to do more than make news. Asians, especially Chinese, don’t agitate much. Millions have starved to death in China and North Korea and they died quietly, without rebelling or storming the govt granaries or govt institutions. Dr CHEE is making points but little else. It is almost going against human nature.

    7. Thus, with a govt that cheats massively in elections and an Opp that is only growing with feeble types like LOW but disdains the charismatic, strong leaders like Dr CHEE, who is now totally off cue with street protests, SG politics will likely remain stuck in a growing arid, suffocating and oppressive atmosphere until someone finds the explosive tinder that will spark Change. I have long believed that that Tinder is LIE KY LHL PAP election rigging in 1997 Cheng San GRC but few are publicising this except me although many know and can repeat the proofs with just 1 phone call or email to Mr David DUCLOS.

    8. But with the ageing tyrant now nearly 85, who still bestrides his little islet with a huge presence; once he dies, a new paradigm will break out overnight, even before his body is cold. The most awaited death in history. He has worked and schemed tirelessly to build himself into a little colossus whose legs straddle the islet. Once dead, uncertainties will replace certainties. Once forbidden thoughts will come unbidden into all our minds. Once taboo and OB thoughts and actions will come naturally, like to people everywhere when a long-ruling tyrant dies. There will be Change, just how no one knows. A confluence of events have already happened while the steady erosion of LIE KY LHL PAP power and credibility has surged in the last few years alone, thanks largely to the internet and web resources like TOC.

    9. So, bet on Change. It will come soon.

  27. logicalman said

    “In our countries, where we have 75-year-olds making decisions, they’re going to be slow and they’re going to miss the bus.” Lee Kuan Yew, 2001
    (Ref: http://www.singapore-window.org/sw01/010128nw.htm)

    Maybe that explains why we have missed the Bus of Change again and again 😉

    Perhaps we will get it right soon.

  28. patriot said

    Robert Ho had posted the Cheng San GRC Election 1997 ‘incident’ many times and at many Internet Sites. I am not aware of any response by PAP itself, or anybody else for that matter. Personally, I suggested in my postings in the Internet before that the rights of reply(and response by anyone) should have been exercised for such a ‘serious’ allegation.

    But, disappointingly, I registered no such exercise of rights nor was there anyone else commenting on the ‘Allegation’, for whatever reason. Maybe not having the ‘facts of the incident’, fears and cautiousness all have a part in the silence. However, no response from PAP completely astonish me to this very moment. Is PAP ‘accepting’ the Allegation? And ‘if it does’; what purpose does election serves? Where is the hope of the electorates voting in oppositions? A string of very difficult questions arises.

    However, as we are in a way assessing the performances and potentials of Opposition Parties in Sg, I notice that at this juncture, many are hoping that they(oppositions) could win more seats in the next election and if possible deny the Ruling Party a 2/3 Majority. Some are pretty optimistic basing their opinions that the Ruling Party has been uncaring, if not downright behaving like business people, profiteering on them.

    Others see it otherwise and I am one of this group, other than finding the Oppositions’ ill preparedness which includes the vital people relation building efforts and wholesome plans to run the Country lacking. The Oppositions are ‘opposing’ each others in the sense that they (were)are unable to relate to each other. On the contrary, it appears they are ‘competing’ for the turf amongst themselves. Are they promising? I guess the PAP could’nt be bothered with them(my own reading).

    Droids made the observation that Oppositions are inactive in Cyberspace, failing to capitalize on the vast advantages this medium provides. It is cheap, interactive and a perfect medium to disseminate the Party Agenda and expand their exposures. As I has claimed before, the Internet benefits all politicians and governments, as free ideas are being offered by Netizens all the time. Netizens give ideas, knowledges and facts freely without charges(fee-$) and consultations(without being asked).

    Despite the complexity of politics, it is fire and it is dirty as everyone knows, those who play with it should play it professionally. Ideally, all politicians should be of wholesome characters and sefless, but we know, they are hard to come by. Hoping for good honourable oppositions can only be as good as wishing our present leaders will realized our difficulties and regain their consciences in dealing with us and running the country.

    I will say a personal statement here that the Country can only be as successful as its’ citizen. IF THE PEOPLE ARE UNHAPPY, ALL THE GLORIES OF THE STATE AND ITS’ LEADERS ARE ILLUSIONS.
    MATERIALISM ALWAYS LEAD TO VAINNESS AND THENCE TO EMPTINESS. The Emperor can always have his new clothes but ultimately he will rot in one of them.

    patriot.

  29. patriot said

    Hi friends;

    I have read Robert Ho’s very serious allegation of Cheng San GRC Voting ‘Incident'(irregularity) in 1997, at many websites for some years and have yet to register a single response from anyone, not even the Party and the Politicians allegedly involved. The Rights of reply was also not exercised. What is the implication(s) of it? And if we supposed that the lack of refutation(denial) from the Accused Parties(PAP and its’ Members) is a non-denial of the Incident, then the question will be more than what is the purpose of voting(election)? It will also mean how can Opposition Political Parties overcome any Election manipulations(irregularities). This will also mean where is the meaning of the Electorates’ votes? Since his/her votes may not represent his/her intention and purposes anymore. I consider this a complex matter beyond the control of all except the ‘Manipulator’.

    Droids said the Oppositions have failed to utilize the Internet to further political activities, it is true; however, WP for example has disallowed its’ members from Party Political Bloggings. Apart from avoiding controversies, I think they want to avoid complications that may arise from blogging contents. And we have to agree that they(oppositions) face real challenges here. That said, I believe, political parties members could always comment and post like us to help boost the parties’ images and reaches to the people. And interactions with the people is vital. So, indeed they failed to capitalize on the Internet, a free and useful medium.

    The opposition political parties are individualistic in their political activities as we never get to see them having any joint actions and activities. On the contrary, they seem liked competing for turfs. I also have the observation that the deputies in opposition parties, unlike ministers and ministers of states, have very little says when dealing with medias. The Chiefs of these parties tend to hoard all the limelights. This, I think, ill prepare the parties for successions. And it is also selfish of the Leaders.

    Wishing for opposition parties to to win more seats and if possible, deny the present Ruling Party a 2/3 Majority, to me, may be no different from hoping for the Present Leadership to regain its’ conscience and care better for us to have happy livings and not treat us like customers whilst the leaders behave like businessmen. And it can esaily change their policies.

    Based on the above-mentioned in both my posts, I personally do not see much potentials in the Opposition Parties now, nor do I see PAP losing any sleeps over them. If Robert Ho’s allegation is true and not corrected, PAP is guaranteed a winner in coming elections. But Robert himself is confident that change is coming based on the fact that the people are highly disappointed and disenchanted. Others call for opposition parties to be given a chance, hopefully the people heed the calls.

    As for myself, I am not hopeful, but I do see a possibility that PAP itself may have internal splits. PM Lee Hsien Loong’s handlings of the Mas Selamats’ Escape, SWF, hikes in essential goods and services and Foreign Talents Issue cannot be totally agreeable to all his members. I do not believe that there are no dissenters in the Cabinet and that he is fully respected by them. If a few parliamentarians voluntarily step down or quit, that will start the ball rolling. Bloggers and commenters in Cyberspace were(are) speculating that a third Lee Family Member is being prepared to take over the Premiership, again, if this is true, I am of the opinion that many parliamentarians will not agree with the ‘arrangement.

    Well, we really got to wait and see.

    patriot.

  30. gorgorsitioeh said

    Do not worry to much, so as to speak. Change is inevitable. One day, even the four seas will evaporate and the rocks will rot and dissolve. It’s just a matter of when, which is the time when the electorate is mature enough politically. We just have to be patient and pray that fewer and fewer people are apathetic politically. The time when the white men get anxious will be the time when people are no longer contented with sitting down and accepting everything that have been thrown at and/or provided for by them the white men.

    On a side note, it’s a blessing that the handle of the hammer is made of wood. Wood is a non-conductor of electricity.

  31. Logicalman said

    If MM Lee’s advice to China concerning the way they handled Tibet protests is any indication of the Govt’s strategy in Singapore, it is this: they will openly ignore protests, including untoward comments in cyberspace, and not stir up any ruckus, because anything else becomes news, and indirectly publicity against the Govt. That’s not to say that they will not privately take any action; knowing them, if there are grounds for a good defamation lawsuit, they will, but it has to be worth their time and while in view of the high opportunity costs. Unlike in the 80s when we were still growing, the Govt today is handling hundreds of billions of dollars, so any action has to be justified.

    For the opposition to be successful, yes, they have to harness the internet and engage the netizens, since they can do little through the mainstream media, and cyberspace is a fixture in the lives of the new generation of voters. More importantly, they have to work together for the common good of the people. As patriot noted, the opposition oppose each other, and this in my opinion, is highly unproductive. The opposition needs to open up and connect now, not when elections are round the corner, and this engagement has to be on-going. Instead of having meet-the-people sessions behind walls, online chats and dialogues could be organised, so that there’s a constant and healthy flow and exchange of ideas.

    I have also yet to see any online/keyword ads on Google or Yahoo. Unless ads are banned outright, they should be used to broaden mindshare and reach out.

  32. Farquhar said

    Dear Tan Ah Kow,

    Thanks for your comments. You are right in pointing out that “credibility” is a nebulous concept, but in this case one would imagine that what Singaporeans had in mind when they answered IPS’ survey was whether they would consider voting for the party. The more “credible” a party is in their minds, the more inclined they are to voting for it.

  33. Robert HO said

    RH:
    1. Here is a goldmine of quotable quotes from the SDP:

    http://www.singaporedemocrat.org/classic/index.php?id=informations/reality.html

    2. From this SDP “Rhetoric Versus Reality” section, I extract:

    “Political opponents…if they’ve defamed us, we have to sue them – because if we don’t, our own integrity will be suspect. WE HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING THAT IF A MINISTER IS DEFAMED AND HE DOES NOT SUE, HE MUST LEAVE THE CABINET.”
    -PM Goh Chok Tong, Asiaweek, Dec 3, 1999

    3. As many interneters have noted, I have been posting articles and comments on LIE KY LHL PAP election cheating for years, first in soc.culture.singapore [where all my postings are prefaced with “RH:” for easy searching] and subsequently elsewhere, totalling hundreds over many years, to date. Yet I have not been sued or convicted for criminal defamation. Why? As GCT stated above, LIE KY long had this policy of demanding that any Minister ‘must sue if defamed, or else resign’. Yet I have very, very, publicly named LIE KY LHL as common election cheats, common fake-ballot-stuffers like any Third World tyrants, without being sued.

    4. The reason is simple. It is not I who make this allegation. I merely report it. It was Mr David DUCLOS, a Roman Catholic eurasian Singaporean, a former police inspector who well knows the laws [equivalent to an ASP rank today] AND his lawyer friend and co-eyewitness, who has his own law firm in Singapore. Thus, 2 of the most credible witnesses you can find in Singapore. Not likely to wilt under court cross-examination even by the fiercest LIE KY browbeating. Thus, 2 cross-supporting, unshakeable testimonies that can stand up to any court, any biased judge, any fierce LIE KY intimidation.

    5. THAT, is why I have not been sued to date.

    6. Dr CHEE Soon Juan has also phoned Mr David DUCLOS, who confirmed over the phone what he had first emailed me. So, by that phone call, Dr CHEE became yet another witness. I urge any right-minded person to also make that phone call, if only to find out the truth for yourself. I also urge any news org to make that phone call, again, if only to find out the truth.

    7. This is God’s Divine Retribution working. LIE KY had arrested 22 totally innocent, mostly Roman Catholic social workers in 1987/8 in his fake ‘Marxist’ CONspiracy to intimidate the entire religious communities in Singapore and to intimidate anyone from helping the WP as a handful of the 22 did. Thus, it took another Roman Catholic, Mr DUCLOS, to eyewitness and report LIE KY LHL PAP election cheating in Cheng San GRC in 1997. God’s will.

    8. On another point, it is a pity that the WP has forbidden blogs for its members. A strategic blunder of the hugest level, to the point of being stupid. Why? Note that TOC has achieved 1,000,000 hits in just a very short time. Probably more than all the much older, political blogs of SDP, WP, NSP, etc, ADDED TOGETHER. This proves the deep, deep, desire of online Singaporeans for alternative, opposition, views and news which can currently only be found in blogs and not in PAPaganda media, which nobody believes any more.

    9. Thus, to tap this huge, swelling, deep-seated desire for alternative news and view, this insatiable HUNGER for the real truths about every policy and event, Opp parties should do more online, not less, certainly not ban blogs for its members. Note that all the Opp parties and their websites HAVE THE SAME DISDAIN FOR BLOGS, FALLING INTO THE PAP TRAP OF BRANDING BLOGS AS NOT RESPECTABLE OR AUTHORITATIVE. Note that Opp parties and websites DO NOT EVEN MENTION BLOGS OR BLOGGERS, EXACTLY LIKE THE PAP!

    10. The intelligent thing to do is to capitalise on the best blogs, to mention and carry the best blog CONTENTS regardless of where it appears, that is, whether in blog or a ‘respectable’ url. Some of the best content I have read came from blogs, many in TOC, not the SDP or WP, etc. To shut out such excellent articles purely because its url ends in blogspot.com is clearly self-defeating. It is 1 reason why TOC has hit 1,000,000 readership while the Opp websites are struggling pathetically. TOC is tapping a huge, huge, swell of deep-seated desire and hunger for Alternative news and views that the SDP and WP are currently not reaching.

    11. To online surfers, there is absolutely NO difference between TOC and say, BBC website. In terms of looks and even contents, TOC is just as respectable and respected as the BBC. It is the CONTENT that counts, for almost everybody. To discriminate against a website just because its url ends in blogspot.com is stupid. Thanks to templates and easy formatting, there is no difference between TOC and BBC. All websites now look professional and the surfer flits from blogs to professional news site in just 1 click, thus blurring even more, any distinction they might have just months ago.

    12. The mere fact that even the incumbent, dominant, cautious, PAP has now gone into blogs in a big way proves they know the power of blogs. Yet the WP bans blogs and the SDP won’t even mention blogs, bloggers or repost their contents. Thus, while TOC has become a brilliant daily must-read, with good quantity as well as quality, the Opp websites have degenerated into just occasional, grossly insufficient, postings of mostly internal news and events. Sad.

    13. When surfers flit from favourite to favourite in just 1 click, they don’t even bother to register whether the site is a blog or a ‘respectable’ site. They all look the same. They don’t even note the url. Now, with multiple tabs, 1 click opens multiple webpages in tabs, thus blurring even more, any distinction between blogs and ‘respectable’ websites. It is time Opp rethink their policies towards blogs or continue to shoot themselves in the foot.

    14. Thus, to sum up, vast possibilities in the use of Cheng San and blogs are being foregone by the Opp. But this will not last. Once LIE KY dies, his idiot son LHL will not be able to put the same fear in all of us. This inability to continue the fear, plus the freer atmosphere brought about by modern lifestyle changes including the internet, will force Change upon the LIEgime, whether it likes it or not. The will of the people will then gain somewhat more over the corrupt, dishonest, lying, election-rigging, power abusers who work only for their own interests. LIE KY’s death will be the spark, the tinder, that will scorch all of the previous excesses of a govt long out of touch with the people. Whether the Opp parties are intelligent enough to capitalise on this Death and Birth Of A New Era remains to be seen. I believe Mr DUCLOS and Cheng San will be the ghosts that will then strongly surface to haunt the LIEgime.

    15. In a world where we know world happenings almost as soon as they happen, even in minutest detail if we are interested, from eyewitness blogs as well as regular news sites, see videos and photos captured by eyewitness blogs, there is a big blurring of “news sources”. The photo or video you see on BBC may well have come from a blogger. The information you read about the event may have originated from a blogger eyewitness. There is a world movement from the traditional Top Down to Bottom Up. The online world, which is an increasing component of the real world, is all Bottom Up. Note that every website has a Contact Me to elicit suggestions and complaints for further improvement. For long, progressive companies and orgs have taken Feedback seriously. Now, the Average Ang feels he has the right to feedback complaints and dissatisfactions and even to demand rectifications. Today, the Average Ang knows that he can change things, that he is not just a lone customer or a voter but part of a majority, that he can demand and get Change. In an era like this, can any LIEgime, no matter how powerful, resist Change and Refuse Accountability? All it needs is a Death to spark it all off.

  34. logicalman said

    Dear Robert

    Thanks for your account, as well as the email extract posted on your blog, on the alleged vote-rigging. The key witnesses, in my opinion, are the Mr David Duclos and his friend, van driver & assistant, the security personnel at the gate, the Returning Officer, the scrutineers, as well as the opposition party candidates present that night. I have some questions/comments below:

    1. Was any police report formally made? I know you have emailed to various parties but did anyone make any police report?

    2. Was any suit filed against the backdrop of this incident, given that substantial evidence is available? Why wouldn’t the opposition want to seize upon this opportunity and press charges, after you have made known your findings?

    3. Mr Duclos may have given his personal testimony, but what about the scrutineers, returning officer and opposition candidates? Have they, or are they prepared to give an account of what they saw that night?

    4. I personally don’t think the testimony of Mr Duclos & his friend alone will hold water, because they were 80m away, and the compound lights were off, save those on the buildings, and it was dark, as stated in the email extract It’s therefore important that the other key witnesses are prepared to testify for this case to stand, or at least for the irregularities to be vouched, other than hearing from just Mr Duclos.

    5. If those boxes did bear the opposition party seal, but not the ruling party’s, would the RO have declared them valid and counting still have proceeded?

  35. Daniel said

    logicalman,
    whether the PAP in the end did rigged the vote is subjective. The very act of the coffers staying in the ballot box where they should not have only fuel speculation of rigging. But the very fact that is the most important highlight is that PAP deliberately break its own law and become above the law in the election speak very much of itself of its credibility and integrity.

    If the ruling party can do this openly and yet give their own righteous excuses, what more of audacity for things that hide behind the public ?

    What PAP done in the election cannot be erased and remain in the internet forever, and for generation to read .

    Do give the following a read and everyone should judge for themselves how ‘honest’, ‘righteous’ is the eyes of judge and law in Singapore. Will Judges ever bite their master just like a dog will bite its master ?

    Did the government document these evidence in their archive ? Where can we get this information from government publicly ? MSM is not known as ShittyTime for nothing.

    So here’s the evidence that most of the things had been done by opposition party and likely not reported by MSM then, and so opposition party was then been blamed by lack of initiative and proactive action. That’s the power of media. People here trust the media then, and many still trust the media today, and if media don’t report, it don’t happen. Sadly, majority of citizens still think this way.

    If the coffers did deliberately break their own law then they should stop telling citizen that they are speculating. Yes, I believe it is as good as true that they rigged the election if they act above the law themselves.

    Anyway, read on…

    Break the law by coffers themselves
    http://www.singapore-window.org/ag0721.htm

    http://singabloodypore.civiblog.org/
    “In the 1997 General Elections, PAP ministers were seen entering polling stations illegally. When the SDP lodged police complaints, then Attorney-General Chan Sek Keong said that because the ministers were found inside the polling stations and not loitering outside of the stations, they were not in breach of the Parliamentary Elections Act. (see AG’s explanation at http://www.singapore-window.org/ag0721.htm).”

    http://singaporedissident.blogspot.com/2008_01_01_archive.html
    “Thanks to Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong who said PAP politicians were not in violation of the Parliamentary Elections Act when they were actually found unlawfully inside a polling station during the 1997 elections. According to his weird logic and reasoning, it was an offense only if they were caught loitering near the station! Not if they were actually caught red handed inside it!”

    Yes, the government will like people to move on and hide their heinous acts forever. But these will not be forgotten, and they be held accountable for their action and deed one day. Waiting for that day. Election day ? Must be kidding. Is there anyone to stop them anyway during election ? It is not that police and judges are separated independently of ruling party, right ? When they submit subserviently over to the coffers, it is as good as whole country belong to the ruling party. Oh, the anti-corruption unit also run by PM Clown.

    They will not be forgiven neither will they be forgotten for the generation to come. Absolute power corrupts and pervades.

    The fact that the government today still think and act to oppress the citizen worsen the situation and fuel the anguish.

  36. Daniel said

    logicalman,
    whether the PAP in the end did rigged the vote is subjective. But the very fact that is the most important highlight is that PAP deliberately break its own law and become above the law in the election speak very much of itself of its credibility and integrity.

    If the ruling party can do this openly and yet give their own righteous excuses, what more of audacity for things that hide behind the public ?

    What PAP done in the election cannot be erased and remain in the internet forever, and for generation to read.

    Do give the following a read and everyone should judge for themselves how ‘honest’, ‘righteous’ is the eyes of judge and law in Singapore. Will Judges ever bite their master just like a dog will bite its master ?

    Did the government document these evidence in their archive ? Where can we get this information from government publicly ? MSM is not known as ShittyTime for nothing.

    So here’s the evidence that most of the things had been done by opposition party and likely not reported by MSM then, and so opposition party was then been blamed by lack of initiative and proactive action. That’s the power of media. People here trust the media then, and many still trust the media today, and if media don’t report, it don’t happen. Sadly, majority of citizens still think this way.

    If the coffers did deliberately break their own law then they should stop telling citizen that they are speculating. Yes, I believe it is as good as true that they rigged the election if they act above the law themselves.

  37. Daniel said

    Anyway, read on…

    Break the law by coffers themselves
    http://www.singapore-window.org/ag0721.htm

    http://singabloodypore.civiblog.org/
    “In the 1997 General Elections, PAP ministers were seen entering polling stations illegally. When the SDP lodged police complaints, then Attorney-General Chan Sek Keong said that because the ministers were found inside the polling stations and not loitering outside of the stations, they were not in breach of the Parliamentary Elections Act. (see AG’s explanation at http://www.singapore-window.org/ag0721.htm).”

    http://singaporedissident.blogspot.com/2008_01_01_archive.html
    “Thanks to Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong who said PAP politicians were not in violation of the Parliamentary Elections Act when they were actually found unlawfully inside a polling station during the 1997 elections. According to his weird logic and reasoning, it was an offense only if they were caught loitering near the station! Not if they were actually caught red handed inside it!”

    Yes, the government will like people to move on and hide their heinous acts forever. But these will not be forgotten, and they be held accountable for their action and deed one day. Waiting for that day. Election day ? Must be kidding. Is there anyone to stop them anyway during election ? It is not that police and judges are separated independently of ruling party, right ? When they submit subserviently over to the coffers, it is as good as whole country belong to the ruling party. Oh, the anti-corruption unit also run by PM Clown.

    They will not be forgiven neither will they be forgotten for the generation to come. Absolute power corrupts and pervades.

    The fact that the government today still think and act to oppress the citizen worsen the situation and fuel the anguish.

  38. Daniel said

    http://www.singapore-window.org/ag0721.htm

  39. Daniel said

    http://singabloodypore.civiblog.org/
    “In the 1997 General Elections, PAP ministers were seen entering polling stations illegally. When the SDP lodged police complaints, then Attorney-General Chan Sek Keong said that because the ministers were found inside the polling stations and not loitering outside of the stations, they were not in breach of the Parliamentary Elections Act. (see AG’s explanation at http://www.singapore-window.org/ag0721.htm).”

    http://singaporedissident.blogspot.com/2008_01_01_archive.html
    “Thanks to Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong who said PAP politicians were not in violation of the Parliamentary Elections Act when they were actually found unlawfully inside a polling station during the 1997 elections. According to his weird logic and reasoning, it was an offense only if they were caught loitering near the station! Not if they were actually caught red handed inside it!”

  40. Daniel said

    http://singabloodypore.civiblog.org/
    “In the 1997 General Elections, PAP ministers were seen entering polling stations illegally. When the SDP lodged police complaints, then Attorney-General Chan Sek Keong said that because the ministers were found inside the polling stations and not loitering outside of the stations, they were not in breach of the Parliamentary Elections Act.

  41. Daniel said

    Yes, the government will like people to move on and hide their heinous acts forever. But these will not be forgotten, and they be held accountable for their action and deed one day. Waiting for that day. Election day ? Must be kidding. Is there anyone to stop them anyway during election ? It is not that police and judges are separated independently of ruling party, right ? When they submit subserviently over to the coffers, it is as good as whole country belong to the ruling party. Oh, the anti-corruption unit also run by PM Clown.

    They will not be forgiven neither will they be forgotten for the generation to come. Absolute power corrupts and pervades.

    The fact that the government today still think and act to oppress the citizen worsen the situation and fuel the anguish.

  42. Daniel said

    http://singaporedissident.blogspot.com
    ‘Thanks to Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong who said PAP politicians were not in violation of the Parliamentary Elections Act when they were actually found unlawfully inside a polling station during the 1997 elections. According to his weird logic and reasoning, it was an offense only if they were caught loitering near the station! Not if they were actually caught red handed inside it! ‘

  43. Robert HO said

    TOC MOderator’s Note:

    Dear Robert Ho, your comments are disallowed. Please refrain from repeatedly posting your allegations about “LIE Kuan Yew” and the Cheng San matter. You have done so on many occasions already.

    If you should want to repeat it, please do so by providing a hyperlink to your blog instead of repeatedly posting such long comments here.

    Thank you.

  44. logicalman said

    Hi Daniel

    I am not saying that the Govt is above suspicion. In fact, based on Robert Ho’s account, there are indeed irregularities which should be investigated. The question is whether the key witnesses are prepared to come forward and do something. Of course whether the Govt or judiciary will find ways to explain it off or form a COI for that is another thing altogether. The Mas Selamat escape and COI report are already full of irregularities which went unanswered. Maybe I have answered my own question. It may amount to nothing, that’s why the witnesses are not coming forward.

    By the way, can anyone advise whether if the PAP seal is not on the ballot box, instead of the opposition’s, will the box be disqualified from the count? If so, why wasn’t this matter challenged by the scrutineers, brought up before the results were announced, or immediately reported or discussed post-election?

  45. Perry Tong said

    Dear Godot,

    apparently and indeed you have arrived first. And what will you do after your relatively early arrival?

    Many comment, few are willing to act. In GE2006 WP suddenly gained thousands of strategists and advisers – each insisting that his or her way would guarantee electoral victory. When asked to contribute to his or her respective vision. Silence ensued with nary a shadow in sight.

    This is the state of the opposition in Singapore.

    To Logicalman:

    The seal on the ballot boxes are not party seals. They are Elections Department seals. I witnessed the delivery, witness to empty box, sealing, voting, sealing, delivery to counting centres, counting, tabulation of results, announcement of results, sealing of counted votes and delivery to High Court vault. Then some 6 months later, opening of High Court vault, delivery for incineration, breaking of seal and incineration of all items including 1 voter name list left inside by a PAP election agent accidentally (they tried to retrieve it but it cannot be done and was incinerated as well).

    Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, when we fight we fight because we must we must.

  46. Daniel said

    logicalman ,
    Like you, I feel that Robert Ho’s claim is baised against the government but I have asked myself why did the government break its own law in the first place during election ? This is the fundamental question we should ask in the first place. Other is quite irrelevant because given those condition and situation run by the coffers, we will not have the concrete and substantial evidence need to evict the coffers. They will say just as they please with MSM providing the loudspeaker to convict everyone that they are not wrong. We only have speculation surround the event. This is not politics that contestants are allow into ballot box even though the law forbids it.

    Merely, having a country judge to override its decision with a dubious reason to acquit Goh and others if they break their already constitute a serious flaw in the whole election. This is the question we should ask. Has this not broken, will this ever fuel any suspicion ?

    “If so, why wasn’t this matter challenged by the scrutineers, brought up before the results were announced, or immediately reported or discussed post-election?”

    Isn’t in those day, FUD is so strong unlike today ? There is no blog to speak of, noone even dare to speak against the government in those day even though we knew coffers in ballot box should be forbidden to be fair. And you have the trusted MSM media to tell that it is okay for those people inside the ballot box. This I remember very clearly reading that even though the opp party shout unfair. MSM downplay the effect. Do check out the newspaper archive in 1997 in national library if you ever get hold of it. You know what I mean then.
    Moreover, there’s always this this fear that you be next to be visited by the police. Remember the is no voice then like what you found in blog today.

    Yes, you did answer your own question. Why did those witness like guards did not speak out on Selamat’s case since they are involved in the case ? Is it out of fear or so-called National Security ? Is it the same for those police involved in handling the ballot area ? The difference is that the some police in the election spoke out while they migrate oversea ? Did that really tell you something. Will it be crazy for people to stay in Singapore if they reveal something against national security ?

    Another question is if witness come forward, will it do anything at all given that all the judges are submissive to the ruling party ? Will any lawyers in Singapore willing to fight a losing case ? Didn’t we know that in history of Singapore, PAP never lost a case against it because the judges side with the party ?

    We possibly could fuel more questions than answers and still never find an answer at all. Therefor, the only fundamental question is why those coffers can break their law in the first place that fuel the speculation and run away with it so easily ?

    cheers, logicalman

  47. Melvin said

    [however, WP for example has disallowed its’ members from Party Political Bloggings.]

    I guess this WP referred to is not WP of Singapore 😀

    Regards

  48. patriot said

    Dear logicalman;

    Hi; the reason why I focused and mused over Robert Ho’s POSTINGS AT MANY SITES, is because I felt and feel that many, which will include PAP Members, Judiciary Staff, Police Officers and PAP Supporters will notice the Postings. They were not just posted at many sites, they were also repeatedly posted for years. THE POST CONTAINED(CONTAINS) VERY SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS.

    In my opinion, THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE ALLEGATIONS WOULD HAVE BEEN REPORTED TO THE AUTHORITY FOR THEM TO TAKE (IMMEDIATE)ACTIONS AND HAVE THE ALLEGATIONS REFUTED. THE ALLEGED PARTIES WOULD HAVE TAKEN LEGAL ACTION(S) AGAINST THE POSTER(ACCUSER). BUT THE POSTINGS KEPT APPEARING IN COMMENT SECTIONS OF MANY NEW ARTICLES. BUT UNBELIEVEABLY ROBERT HO IN A RESPONSE TO ME SAID THAT NO ONE WILL SUE HIM FOR A MATTER OF FACTS. THE WHOLE SAGA IS SO BEWILDERING!

    As all can see here at Post 33 by Robert Ho, we can see another Post by him. Quote him quoting Chee Soon Juan now. Quote: “Political opponents…if they’ve defamed us, we have to sue them, because if we don’t, our own integrity will be suspect. WE HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING THAT IF A MINISTER IS DEFAMED AND HE DOES NOT SUE, HE MUST LEAVE THE CABINET.”

    -PM Goh Chok Tong, Asiaweek, Dec 3, 1999″.

    From Robert Ho’s Postings, we know he pointedly said that Goh Chok Tong was one of those in the said Polling Centre, on the Night of the ‘Alleged Incident’.

    Now, how do we decipher the WHOLE SAGA?

    patriot.

  49. Tan Ah Kow said

    Farquhar May 8, 2008 at 10:17 am says:

    Thanks for your comments. You are right in pointing out that “credibility” is a nebulous concept, but in this case one would imagine that what Singaporeans had in mind when they answered IPS’ survey was whether they would consider voting for the party. The more “credible” a party is in their minds, the more inclined they are to voting for it.

    My point about credibility is not about whether there is some kind of universal definition or the “nebulous”-ness of it. More fascinating for me would be what goes into the thought processes of Singaporean when it comes to to determining if a political party is credible or not.

    I mean what were their “criteria” for them deciding why one party is more credible than the other?

    For example, in their thought processes, do they account for the message a political party is saying is credible or do they just consider only the image (don’t worry about the message) of a political party?

    Put it another way, do their criteria of credibility hinges on how “offensive” or “in-offensive” a political party seemed?

    Of course, there will never been uniformity of process. There will be some that think one way and some that think other way.

    Also I would not necessary use labels like moderates, conservatives or radical to describe the different thought processes. One possible neutral approach could be to group mindset according to prominent blogs. For example, which is based on my subjective judgement, you could have:

    Group I mindset (sitting on the fence type thinking)
    —————
    Littlespeck’s
    Aaron’s He ye
    Catherine Lim’s blog

    Group II (slightly assertive but still sitting on the fence type)
    ——–
    Mr Wang’s
    TOC

    Group III (very assertive type)
    ———
    Yawningbread
    Perspective Unlimited
    KTM

    How many Singaporean mindset fall into Group I (make judgement largely on face value), II (possibly, would judge by the message but appearance important) or III (holds strong views about things, will judge by political message rather than appearance not important)?

    Of course, my grouping is based on my personal opinion but by classifying mindset to prominent blogs we can at least have an indirect way of studying thought processes.

    What are your thoughts Farquhar? The same questions goes to the readers too?

  50. Tan Ah Kow said

    Oh I forgot to mention in my comment May 9, 2008 at 6:25 pm, the classification represented the nature of the messages that was conveyed by the blog when one reads it. It is not necessarily a reflection of the actual thought processes of the specific authors!

    The authors of the blogs may have set up their blog for musing or some kind of devil’s advocate mechanism, rather than an assertion of their own view. One can’t definitively conclude if that represents actual views of authors.

    I emphasis again that the point about trying to gauge the Singaporean mindset of credibility against posting on blogs is that blogs contains threads of communications that one can deduce tangible pattern of thought processes. Words like “Conservatives”, “Moderates”, etc are themselves nebulous so not helpful in identifying patterns.

  51. Logicalman said

    Hi Patriot

    Thanks for your comments.

    I can only guess that either they think it’s not worth suing Mr Robert Ho (no political affiliation, no bad blood, perhaps no $, as in the billions that will make them bat an eyelid) or they are just waiting for someone, some organization, or better still, some rising political party to take up his cause seriously, and then sue that person(s), organization or party for billions. Million-dollar suits these days are just not worth the money or time because of inflation; am sure lawyers charge more these days, following in the footsteps of our venerable NTUC and town councils.

    So, I can only advise political parties, publishing houses, etc not to take up Robert’s cause, not because I don’t believe in it, but because we have seen enough of those high court dramas that bulldoze politicians into pulp. Even if the case has its merits, it happened so many years ago that significance has been lost. If Govt can ask us to move on when Mas Selamat still stares at us from all over the island, how much more this alleged incident? What’s more important is to focus on current & future issues, as have been widely discussed in this & other respectable blogs. Come election time, it would be good to bring these into remembrance, because these are issues that have been broadly debated by many people (not just Robert and friends) but dismissed by the ruling party and MSM without any merit.

    On the point about parties who don’t blog, my take is similar to the above. It’s tantamount to giving them bullets to destroy the parties. Bloggers are different in the sense that it’s not worth their time and there’s no money in it. Ruling party can afford to blog because the opposition’s unlikely to sue unless seriously defamed; it’s also a way for ruling party to get feedback from netizens (we can ignore all those talk about blood boiling or vitriol, it’s just trojan).

    Anyway, my advice is not to say too much on these forums, not because we are afraid, but because to win the battle, no respectable persons will discuss their strategies openly, especially when the enemy can listen in. Any useful feedback/suggestion, forward directly to the opposition parties. As for writing articles to point out inconsistencies/cover-ups, etc, such as those that Sze Hian & Andrew have been writing, keep them coming. These are important for us to understand where the gaps are. How to resolve the gaps, let the opposition tackle that in their manifesto at the next GE.

  52. patriot said

    Dear logicalman;

    I accept your points and thank You for it.

    Yours sincerely:

    patriot.

  53. Yi Kuen Hu said

    So many opportunities presented on a silver platter for WP members LTK and SL to engage the PAP members in parliament and extract forthcoming answers. Think back all the questionable GIC/Temasek investments,NKF scandal, insufficient CPF for retirement, conflict of interest with regards to key appointments,etc, and the recent MSK fiasco followed by an incredulous COI report. The WP relationship with the PAP in parliament is just too cosy. It is not too unreasonable to assume that both parties have been sleeping in the same bed. For the sake of the country, will LTK and SL please end this sweetheart relationship with the ruling party.

  54. Farquhar said

    Dear Tan Ah Kow,

    Thanks for your comments. One can get some indication about what makes a voter plump for a certain party from the IPS survey – for example, 39% of respondents said that “personality of candidates” was “very important”; only 20% felt the same way about party manifestos (which is can be taken as the party’s message).

    Could you clarify what you mean by “offensive” or “inoffensive”? By replacing “moderates, conservatives or radical” with “fence-sitter/assertive” it would seem that your definition is how much a party is willing to toe the PAP line. Farquhar’s view is that one can build up credibility independent of being “offensive/inoffensive”, as long as the party has good candidates and has the message that resonates with the electorate. One problem that the PAP face is that the attractiveness of its message is weakening in some quarters, such as amongst the younger generation or the more affluent voters, so there’s not much point in emulating the PAP line for those people.

  55. Tan Ah Kow said

    Dear Farquhar,

    I must admit often when I read blogs or talk to people (i.e. Singaporean electorate) to try to dig into their mindset. The word, or words-to-similar-effects, “offensive/inoffensive” often comes to mind. As you eluded to in your quote of IPS survey:

    “for example, 39% of respondents said that “personality of candidates” was “very important””.

    The world “offensive” and “radical” seemed to be in the minds of many when contrasting SDP Chee and WP Low/Sylvia. For example, I did a word association game with albeit a small pool of people representing the three Mindset Groupings (I, II and III).

    When asked about Chee’s credibility, and by proxy, SDP’s, respondents’ from GROUP I invariably used words like “he is to offensive”, “too radical” as criteria for not qualifying Chee as credible. If you dig further, to dig out what THEY, not what the dictionary definition, mean by “offensive” you will get the word “radical”. In other words, Chee is too “offensive” because he is too radical. So on and on you get a circular argument. This group of people often find Chee beyond the pale largely because of their circular definition that they won’t entertain the message behind what Chee attempts to bring. In other words Chee is so offensive/radical that his message is therefore suspect regardless. This probably driven by the mindset of GROUP I is that the status quo (i.e. Economics, Social, Political, etc) of the Singapore Society is sound. Yes, there maybe some failings here and there, but on the whole, the rules of the game, itself is not wrong, but if change needed, can be fixed and that the goodness of the incumbent Government, which current is PAP but could also apply to WP if they were in power, will shine through. This group are largely the sitting on the fence type. They want to be seen as the establishment’s anti-establishment figures.

    GROUP II people will use the word “offensive” to describe the credibility of CHEE. Unlike GROUP I they have reservations about the style in which CHEE tries to bring the message across but not necessarily disagree with his message. When I asked why they think CHEE is not credible, the usual phrase is “His [CHEE] style is too offensive!” or sometimes the word radical is used in its place. When I probe further, sometime I was able to tease out ranging from grudging acceptance to hidden admirations of Chee’s message and his reasoning for acting the way he does. For example, you will hear phrases like, “yeah but if Chee tone done” or “if Chee spend more time on “bread-and-butter” issue or “I disagree with his style but do admire his courage”. In GROUP II, Chee is not beyond the Pale to the point of persona non grata as in GROUP I.

    With GROUP III types are those that don’t buy “style”. They buy the message and have strong views. This group can be staunchly Pro-PAP or Anti-PAP or will only make judgement until they have carefully analyse what they are being sold. Unlike GROUP I, they have no problem allying with establishment and anti-establishment viewpoints. In the case of GROUP I, they accept analysis on face value, for example, if the establishment say “we are going to liberalise such and such a policy”, Group I will say “see the establishment” has changed! GROUP III type will say “ok, show me the evidence that you have liberalised!”. To GROUP III, credibility must be shown through deeds rather than how the message is delivered. Trying to play word association game with this group is often difficult. When I spoke to these group, you often have to contextualise what they are saying to get a sense. In other words, if I asked question like “Do you think Chee is offensive”, you will get responds like “How do you define Offensive?” or “Do you mean Chee is offensive or his style is offensive?”.

    How does my analysis so far answer the question about Singaporean’s view about “credibility of political parties”?

    According to your analysis and as you’ve summed up:

    Farquhar’s view is that one can build up credibility independent of being “offensive/inoffensive”, as long as the party has good candidates and has the message that resonates with the electorate.

    But if you take into consideration my analysis the question then is:

    (a) How do you sell credibility to GROUP I type electorates? If my analysis is accurate, it would seemed “good candidates” as you put it will essentially have to chime with status quo definition of good. In which case, the candidates must not been seed as offensive — i.e. to have to much fervour to upset the status quo! To put it bluntly must be willing to play by the current rules!

    (b)To Group II, good candidates would be one that seemed to those that are willing to be SEEN to be “not offensive” or play by the rules but have an offensive heart! In another words a real political animal, play by the rule now, and when I win change the rule but not seen to be “political”.

    (c)To sell to Group III you need to define what is “Good Candidate”, no bullshit! For establishment supporter, good candidate means willing to tow the line come hell or high water. For anti-establishment supporter, no credibility if you play by the establishment rule! For independent GROUP III type thinking people, your policy and actions must chimed by mine definition of what is “credible” before I will by it.

  56. Tan Ah Kow said

    Oops the following sentence:

    “The world “offensive” and “radical” seemed to be in the minds of many when contrasting SDP Chee and WP Low/Sylvia.”

    should read:

    “The world “offensive” and “radical” seemed to be in the minds of many when contrasting SDP Chee and WP Low/Sylvia personalities”

  57. Tan Ah Kow said

    Farquhar,

    One problem that the PAP face is that the attractiveness of its message is weakening in some quarters, such as amongst the younger generation or the more affluent voters, so there’s not much point in emulating the PAP line for those people.

    On face value, PAP’s mishaps in terms of, well, let’s just say the propaganda game may seemed to be under the assault given the barrage of counter-points presented in the NET. But whether it is more attractive in the past than now, going by your weakening argument, is difficult to determine.

    Certainly for many GROUP I and GROUP III PAP-supporter mindset, the core PAP message remains the palatable if not attractive as ever. That is why when you see Workers’ party’s latest response to challenges from PAP proxy the NTUC, WP made so much effort to qualified with an underlying acceptance of PAP mindset that Singapore’s economy still depends on foreign investment and labour. Even WP Sylvia during recent pronouncement about Singapore Judiciary did not deviate from PAP’s propaganda about Judicial independence despite some, let’s just politically correctly say, some discrepancies about the claim.

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