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Former SAF scholar joins Reform Party

Posted by theonlinecitizen on January 20, 2010

Kelvin Teo

Reformers at a Jurong Walkabout - from left to right - James Teo (treasurer), Justin Ong (youth chief), Tony Tan (RP Central ExCo)

One can be forgiven for believing that there is somewhat a connection between high-flying scholars and the ruling party. This can be attributed to the number of former scholars who are serving in Parliament and the Cabinet under the ruling party. Mr Tony Tan (TT), however, took an alternative path vis-à-vis his other illustrious colleagues.

A recipient of the SAF Merit Scholarship, he earned a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours from the University of Cambridge. He also earned a MBA and Biomedical degrees from the University of Leicester and Central Queensland University respectively. He left SAF to found an educational provider, achieving success that earned him the Spirit of Enterprise award. He has remained within the educational sector ever since.

Joining the Reform Party, he became a member of the Central Executive Committee in 2009. The Online Citizen was fortunate to be able to catch up with Tony, soliciting his views on various issues, and even managed to catch a slight glimpse into the upcoming educational seminar organised by the Reform Party.

In this exclusive interview, Tony Tan shares his perspective on the economy, national service and education. To find out more about Tony Tan and the Reform Party, why not pop over at the Reform Party’s Seminar on Education? It will be held on 130pm, 23rd January at Berkshire School Pte Ltd, 100 Beach Road #02-19A, Shaw Towers, Singapore 189702. The facebook page for the event is accessible at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=231270716589&index=1

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TOC: Why did you join politics?

TT: There are numerous reasons, but with one purpose – the hope of being able to make a difference to the people in the street however small it is. I am concerned what the government’s vision for Singapore is. I am also concerned with what ordinary Singaporeans want Singapore to be? Forty-four years ago, we achieved independence by circumstances. We were then at a crossroad – to be swallowed up by a bigger nation, or to trail blaze and succeed. The latter happened. We made it because the people in the street understood the vision and united with the leaders.

After 44 years, do we still have these successful ingredients in place to ride out the impact of globalisation and increasing competition from neighbouring countries? Do the people and the leaders still share the same vision? The vision appears to be developing Singapore to be a world-class city with Swiss standard of living. And the yardstick with which this “standard of living” is to be measured by what seems to be our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Some Singaporeans have started questioning the quality of living standards despite the high GDP growth we have attained. Should we be afraid or excited about the vision of a world-class city with Swiss standards of living?

Being raised by a single mom with 3 brothers and 3 sisters, I understand poverty and the importance of social mobility and social safety nets. They make the society more inclusive and compassionate. According to MOM website and the Department of Statistics, more than 50% of the labour force earned S$2,000 or less monthly in 2006. Rising cost of living erodes their quality of life substantially. In 2007, the government argues the need for a higher GST to help the poor. Today there are families living in the parks after losing their HDB flats. The government has made a promise to help the poor. Can they convince Singaporeans why they cannot keep their promise?

I disagree that the performance of the ministers and the government should be measured by merely one factor – the percentage increase in GDP of Singapore. If that is the only focus, all issues would be studied with only 1 key consideration: what is the economic cost or value to Singapore? How can we build an inclusive society with such a one-dimensional approach?

The first group of members that formed the PAP many years ago included Union leaders, postmen and teachers. They formed the old guards and they fought hard on issues for the men in the street. We may need people from all strata of the society to be represented in the Parliament. If the issues for ordinary Singaporeans are not given priority and accorded attention in the Parliament, then we need to send in ordinary Singaporeans into Parliament to bring those issues across to the government.

Each of us has 1 vote. Singaporeans are the custodians of this country. Not any political parties. We need to get the message out to as many Singaporeans as possible to support or join any opposition parties.

TOC: You initially carved a career in SAF. Having been there and done that, what kind of reforms do you think our military can implement that will improve the lives of our servicemen?

TT: Many areas come to mind. The one area that will be of significance is the duration of National Service and the number of NSmen in-camp trainings. To continue to enjoy the support from NSmen, the ministry needs to seriously review the operational demands on NSmen. How we can achieve that will be elaborated in the subsequent question.

During those call-ups, are NS men gainfully employed? Do they feel they have contributed? National Service is the best and the single largest platform to engage our citizens. Are we making the most of this opportunity to make our citizens feel that they are making a meaningful contribution to the nation and be proud of it? Emphasis must be given to engage the NSmen, apart from ensuring that they clock their number of “high key” and pass their IPPTs. In short, win the support and win the “heart” of the NSmen.

From 2001-09, on average, there are 3 deaths per year. Since 2005, the Republic of Singapore Air Force had maintained an outstanding record of zero fatality for pilots. Why can’t the SAF as a whole strive for zero death? This should be one of the Key Performance Indicators for a peacetime armed force. Any loss of life is one too many. The Reform Party believes that an explicit target zero deaths arising from military training is needed.

TOC: Your party colleagues have advocated a decrease in defense budget. Based on your experience, how can our military reduce its spending?

TT: According to military and strategic analysts, such as Tim Huxley (author of Defending the Lion City), Singapore is using a forward-defence military doctrine . Our current investments in new weapons systems and technologies are to develop 3G SAF which seeks to dominate terrain by precision strikes, unmanned warfare and integrated knowledge command and control.

In the long run, the SAF will have to rely on Navy, Airforce and selected Army troops, while focusing the bulk of NSmen for defense. When that happens, there would be significantly fewer operational skills for NS men to be trained and honed. The duration of full-time NS can be reduced to 12 months. Duration of in-camp training may be over the weekends with minimum or no disruption to their jobs.

This change may mean that instead of putting 5 people on the ground supported by 1 who uses high-end technologies to achieve the military objective, we may just need 1 on the ground supported by 2. Although expenditure and investment on technologies and its enablers will increase, a sizeable saving in defence budget can be achieved by reshaping the Army. The need for a strong defence to protect our independence and sovereignty must still be maintained.

We need to start thinking about this, and how we can achieve this. In subsequent seminars of the Reform Party that will focus on defence and security threats, we will discuss this in greater detail.

TOC: There are who servicemen embark on educational pursuits during their national service term and have complained that they are either too tired or do not have enough time for their studies. How can such servicemen be assisted in their educational pursuits?

TT: For those who wish to repeat their GCE “O” or “A” level exams, MINDEF should grant them deferment. Later enlistment does not mean enlistees serve shorter duration.

For the others, with reduced duration of full-time NS to 12-18 months, servicemen should commit their energy and time fully on meeting training requirements. They can continue their education after NS full time.

TOC: While you have been an exception, other regulars who left the military after years of service have found it difficult in re-adjust to the demands of the working world. Thus, how can the social mobility and employability of former regular servicemen be enhanced?

TT: I believe the statement does not just apply to military servicemen. It also applies to professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) and anyone who has lost their jobs and forced to seek employment in other industries. Change is one of the constant realities of Singapore’s economy. The future workforce will need to learn to accept faster pace of changes to the employment needs of the economy.

Currently, there are quotas for polytechnics and universities, and the subjects on offer are designed to meet the manpower needs of industries. When the manpower requirements change, people lose their jobs, and their option is to get re-trained/skilled for other employment opportunities.

So what can we do to prepare our young ones for the globalised world? We would be discussing this issue and some of our proposals at the upcoming Seminar on Education.

TOC: Can the current education system equip students with necessary skills to deal with challenges in this knowledge-based economy? Why?

TT: To make our future workforce more resilient to economic changes, students should be empowered. They should be allowed to pursue their interests and develop their potentials, apart from academic pursuits. Students should take charge of their education and decide for themselves how they want to progress and set the pace at which they want to achieve it. There should be equal opportunities for all Singaporeans since young, regardless of abilities and disabilities.

Our students need to be confident, outspoken, multi-skilled, and be prepared to unlearn what they learnt and to learn like an unlearnt. The learning environment should change. From one where students are asked to accept what is taught to one where students will challenge what is taught. Like a forest, we need to breed new varieties that will add biodiversity to the current. The learning environment should also be representative of the society where different people with varying strengths fulfill different roles.

The future of Singapore also depends on whether the students of today are engaged to stay committed and rooted to Singapore. The students should be engaged to understand the various government policies and how they affect the lives of Singaporeans. They should be engaged to think and understand what are the alternatives, and how these can make a difference to the present system. Change is the only constant reality. Participating in change allows students to be engaged and to want to contribute to nation building. In short, the Reform Party believes in the importance of political education, which will bring about inclusivity.

TOC: Do you think our education system is suffering from an asymmetric distribution of teaching and learning resources, i.e. the best teachers and learning facilities going to the better schools? Why? If yes, what can be done to address this asymmetry?

TT: To answer that question, we need statistics from Ministry of Education (MOE). Numerous like-minded individuals have also asked whether children from the lower social economic strata of our society have performed more poorly in national examinations. Currently those data are not available.

Apart from that, some parents have highlighted that relief teachers, who are non-NIE trained, are teaching their children. MOE and each school should make public the percentage of relief/untrained teachers, adjunct teachers, trained teachers and experienced teachers (>3 years).

The Reform Party believes in Transparency. Information that is of interest to the public should be made available.

TOC: What is your opinion of the integrated programme that allows selected students to skip “O” levels?

TT: In one of the TOC articles on education , it was penned:

The former president of Japanese multinational Matsushita remarked some years ago to the then-Economic Development Board (EDB) Chairman Ngiam Tong Dow that our educational structure had some brilliant individuals perched like eagles on high peaks, but the average education level of the rest was not high. He advised that Singapore should concentrate on educating the masses to raise the average level and not just focus on the top scholars. He said that to advance as a nation, we need “high broad plateaus, not solitary peaks”.

We need to challenge all students to ensure that their potentials are developed to the fullest. Mr Ngiam has clearly pinpointed that our education system had helped the brightest to be “perched like eagles on high peaks” and the integrated programme is another such example.

During the Seminar on Education, we will share some of our proposals to improve education for the masses. As for the brighter students, we also have proposals to allow them to pursue wider spectrum of subjects and easing on the age restriction as to when they can do GCE O/A level examinations.

TOC: Do you think our current education system favors the early bloomers and sidelines the late ones? What improvements can be made to make the system more inclusive so that adequate attention is paid to both groups to allow them to realise their potential?

TT: Currently about 1 in 3 students are in the “Normal” stream. Students who are in “Normal” stream feel abnormal and at that young age, they may lack the maturity to understand the need to group them in accordance to learning abilities. This would have a negative psychological effect on their confidence in learning and may hinder the development of their potentials in other areas.

Should we avoid the creation of a “sure-fail” formula by placing slower or less interested academic learners or late bloomers together, and labelling them as “Normal” when they know it is not normal to be in such a grouping?

Parents are anxious that their children may be streamed to Normal. It is perceived that the future of Normal students is less bright as they are at the bottom of the academic ranking in PSLE. But is this academic ranking necessary? Why must the PSLE consist of English, 2nd Language, Math and Science? What are the possible tradeoffs that we have in focusing our future generation countrywide on PSLE during their formative years?

This is also one of the issues we will be discussing at our Seminar on Education. Please join us at the seminar and give us your feedback on our proposals on how to avoid streaming students of different abilities too early and yet still allow each to learn and develop at their own pace.

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A few other pertinent questions have been put across to Tony. They are listed below and they will be discussed during the Seminar On Education. Interested to know more and have other burning questions or issues to raise? Do make a trip down to Shaw Centre and participate in the seminar cum workshop on 23rd January.

  • Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew recently admitted that our method of bilingual education is flawed. Should Singapore continue with bilingual education, and if yes, how we should go about administering it, bearing in mind the past failures?
  • Is there an endemic problem with regards to stigmatisation based on academic achievements within certain facets of our society? Why? And what can be done if there was such a problem?
  • What is your opinion of the government’s decision to implement the primary school fees hike?
  • What is your opinion of the current system of primary school admissions?
  • Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek commented that although Singaporeans score high in standardised tests for maths and sciences, however, rarely do Singaporeans go on to be world-beaters in the corporate (entrepreneurs) or academic world (top-notch researchers). Why is there such a huge gulf between the math and science achievements up to high school (Junior college) level and that beyond?
  • What kind of reforms should our tertiary institutions consider implementing so that our undergraduates will enjoy a quality education that will enable them to take on challenges in their careers?
  • What hindering factors are stopping Singaporeans from pursuing advanced degrees, and what reforms can be made to enable those who wish (especially working adults) to pursue a further an advanced degree achieve their goals with peace of mind?
  • What is your opinion on the current system pertaining to the dissemination of government scholarships?
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Posted in TOC Reports | 14 Comments »

Men In White silent on key historical issues, say scholars

Posted by theonlinecitizen on January 19, 2010

Wong Chun Han / Pictures courtesy of Asia Research Institute, NUS

Good crowd turnout

Rather than shedding light on the unfamiliar chapters of Singapore’s political history, the authors and publishers of Men in White have kept readers in the dark in some regards, scholars argued.

According to literature scholar Philip Holden and historian Hong Lysa, significant historical silences were evident in the 692-page tome on the history of the People’s Action Party published last September by Singapore Press Holdings.

Particularly noteworthy were the book’s failure to discuss important political issues such as merger with Malaysia and women’s rights, said the scholars at the National Library last Saturday.

Their assessments were well-received by about 150 people in attendance at ‘Men in Black or White: History as Media Event in Singapore’, a public seminar jointly organised by the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute and the National Library.

Billed by organisers as first public forum to examine Men in White as “a sensation generated from the intersection between history and the mass media”, the seminar assembled three speakers – Holden, Hong and former Straits Times journalist Tan Tarn How – to critique the book and the media attention on its publication with their respective expertise.

Approaching from a historian’s perspective, Hong, an independent scholar and former member of the NUS History department, criticised the book’s inadequate discussion of the issue of merger with Malaysia.

The political, social and economic implications of the merger were not discussed, despite their central importance to Singaporean and PAP history of the 1960s, said Hong. Also notably absent were clarifications about the specific motivations of the 13 PAP legislative assemblymen who abstained on the motion of confidence on the government in July 1961.

Hong also noted the book’s particular concern for the political events of the 1950s and 1960s and the question of whether Lim Chin Siong and other Barisan Socialis members were communists. This, she suggested, may represent an attempt by the book’s authors to dismiss the story of the PAP’s “sullied birth”.

The arrest of leading Barisan Socialis members during Operation Coldstore in February 1963 would have blemished the PAP electoral victory in September, if those arrested were not branded as communist subversives. Questions would thus have remained over the legitimacy of the PAP’s victory, which arguably was facilitated by the weakening of the Barisan Socialis, she explained.

The book’s silence on significant political events and themes was also a letdown for Holden, an associate professor with the NUS English language and literature department.

Particularly disappointing for him was the failure to discuss events like the PAP’s resignation from the Socialist International in 1976, Devan Nair’s resignation from the Presidency in 1985 and Operation Spectrum in 1987.

Holden also noted the superficial involvement of women in the Men in White narrative. Issues of gender equality were not discussed, nor were there any mention of the Women’s Charter, which passed into law in 1961. Notable female PAP members such as Dr Aline Wong were omitted altogether.

Women were reduced to mere signs, he argued, serving as symbols of social progress rather than historical actors in the PAP story, and providing a foil for men to define themselves against.

Pannellists at the MIW Forum

Suggesting that this could be the result of an unconscious reversion to gender stereotypes by the authors, Holden further proposed that the book and its title were underpinned by a definition of masculinity as the possession of integrity and character – qualities which those who oppose the PAP are alleged to lack.

Besides these silences within the book, there were also issues with how Men in White was presented and discussed in the media, according to Tan, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, who studies Singapore’s media and arts policy.

Although conceding that the Straits Times was capable of good journalism when not restrained by government and corporate interests, he felt that its reporting in this instance was “mostly PR and not journalism”.

Noting that the total SPH coverage of Men in White amounted to about 50,000 words, he described the effort as “extensive” and “breathless”, carrying “a warm fuzzyness” about it.

In contrast, the SPH coverage of the publication of The Fajar Generation, a collection of essays by former members of the University of Malaya Socialist Club, “never really engaged with what is being said [in the book]” and avoided discussing its content, said Tan.

He argued, extrapolating from the example of the Men in White coverage, that both the local mainstream and online alternative media lacked “thickness” in its content, being in want for richness, quantity and quality.

Tan, who spent 16 years with the Straits Times, concluded his prognosis with a caution, calling for wariness of the media’s “omissions in deed and in writing”.

Posted in TOC Reports | 6 Comments »

Youthquake 6: Online media can’t replace traditional media

Posted by theonlinecitizen on January 18, 2010

Nur Izyan / Photos courtesy of WP Youth Wing

Bernard Chen, Secretary of the Workers’ Party Youth WingLast Saturday, Workers’ Party Youth Wing (WPYW) organised a public forum titled “The influence of online media on Singaporean youths”. It is the 6th Youthquake Forum, part of a forum series founded by the WP Youth Wing.

(Left: Bernard Chen, Secretary of the WP Youth Wing)

The first speaker was Elvin Ong, a business undergraduate at SMU. The second speaker was Bernard Chen, history undergraduate at NUS. He is also the WPYW Secretary. The final speaker was Terence Lee, a journalism student at NTU who is also the former News Editor of The Online Citizen (TOC).

“I am a consumer. I am the one who makes the choices of what websites to surf, what to read, what not to read and what interests me,” said Elvin Ong. According to him, the online media must know their audience to ensure that the materialised efforts and objectives are not “intellectual masturbation”. Online media such as TOC should communicate the nature and the objectives of their writers in order to better communicate its agenda.

Citing Facebook as an example, Bernard Chen noted that it is common to see the people joining 2 groups that have opposing viewpoints. As an anti-establishment tool, the online media is capable of changing our perspectives over time. However, Bernard also put forth that internet may not necessarily change the seemingly apathetic nature of youths today.

Bernard believes that face-to-face meetings trump the online avenue. Such up-close meetings provide a personal insight to the thinking and mindset of the people. While he acknowledges that the online medium could just be a façade and does not necessarily influence policies or the parliament, it is nonetheless a tool that amplifies the little voices. This consequently encourages action and participation.

Terence Lee commended government ministries for jumping onto the bandwagon to interact with netizens, citing the Ministry of Health as an example. However, he highlighted that a barrier is nonetheless present with disabled comments which disallows a direct interaction. Although alternative media such as TOC and Temasek Review are gaining more recognition amongst the people in the statutory boards, Terence acceded that TOC is not capable of creating change. The onus remains on Singaporeans.

(Right: Youthquake Panellists – from left to right – Elvin Ong, Bernard Chen, Terence Lee)

The dichotomy between the online and offline media was a heated topic raised by the floor. Whilst online provide the voices, it still remains a closed door culture. Elvin put forth that the question was not substantial. Terence added on that the purpose of journalism is to put forth views and that the issue at hand is in fact the disconnect between alternative and mainstream media, not that of the online and offline media.

On the question if the internet is an empowerment or communication tool, Bernard reasoned that the essence of the message is more important. Nonetheless, the internet is a viable tool for political action and to put forth political or even social causes that is overlooked by the offline media. According to a survey on GE 2006 voters, respondents revealed that people around them were more influential on their voting choice than door-to-door visits by election candidates.

The notion of habit was highlighted where it has become a habit that the first material of reference is the newspaper. To this, Elvin responded by making references and quoting Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on how the prevalence of diverse opinions may not necessarily be a good thing while giving examples of sensational tabloids such as The Sun. It may actually cause readers to eventually revert to Straits Times which is seen as the main source of news.

When asked to comment on the credibility of Straits Times, Terence said that Straits Times had put in efforts to put forth alternative view points and less propaganda in the reports, in contrast to the level of propaganda found on the Straits Times 15 to 20 years ago. Financial constraint was raised when speakers were questioned on the probability of the alternative media on bringing about news.

Inevitably, the issue of political education was raised by the floor. A participant from the floor questioned the suitability of comparative political systems as a syllabus given that political education is not for training students into political scientists. Elvin said while the syllabus is a contentious issue, one should trust the civil service to evaluate all possible options.

The session however ended with some unanswered queries such as the involvement of online media during the cooling off period which cannot be ascertain due to the indefinite nature of the “cooling-off period”. And on the impact of social media such as the Facebook on the decisions made in parliament, Terence felt that it was still uncertain as the impact will be seen in the younger generation where such social online media influences.

Posted in TOC Reports | Leave a Comment »

Former CEO of NTUC Income calls for “collective protest”

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 5, 2008

Former Chief Executive of NTUC Income, Mr Tan Kin Lian, is calling for a “collective protest” against Income’s “bonus cut”.

In his blog posting, Tan says that he “will be asking a lawyer to organise policyholders who wish to submit a collective protest against the bonus cut. This will be sent to the board of directors and to MAS.”

Here are two excerpts from Tan’s blog posting.

We have bought many life insurance polices with NTUC Income that are affected by the recent cut in annual bonus. The reduction in bonus is about 45%. We understand that this large cut will apply not just for one year but for every year into the future.

When we bought the policies, we were given a benefit illustration showing how the future bonuses would be distributed. While the actual bonuses were not guaranteed, we expect that NTUC Income would honour the underlying promise to distribute the bonuses in the manner that was illustrated.

You can read the entire blog posting here: Tan Kin Lian.

To participate in the protest, click here.

Read also: “Tan Kin Lian, an upset Income customer” by TODAY.

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Posted in Current Affairs, TOC Reports | 152 Comments »

Youths call for right to vote at Youthquake forum

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 4, 2008

Selene Cheng

“The power of Parliament comes from the people, and the power of the people comes from our right to vote.”

The Workers’ Party Youth Wing (YPYW) launched its inaugural YouthQuake forum series today on the topic “Should Singaporean Youths be Allowed to Vote at 18?”

The public forum, targeted at youths, took place at the party’s headquarters in Syed Alwi Road.

WPYW executive committee member and chairperson of today’s forum Bernard Chen said that the YouthQuake forums aim to “promote greater awareness of youth-centric issues, to promote debate and discussion on issues that affect [youths]”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Current Affairs, Selene Cheng, TOC Reports | 24 Comments »

James Gomez gives TOC exclusive update

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 3, 2008

James Gomez, an opposition candidate in the general elections in 2006, is in Singapore currently. TOC met up with him and asked him what he’s been up to.

Here is a short video.

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Posted in TOC Reports | 15 Comments »

Should Singaporean youths be allowed to vote at 18?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 1, 2008

The Youth Wing of The Workers’ Party will be holding a public discussion forum on the issue of lowering the voting age to 18 this Saturday, May 3. (See details below.)

Titled, “YouthQuake – Should Singaporean Youths Be Allowed To Vote At 18?”, it “seeks to educate, empower, and unite young people to bring youth-centric issues into the forefront of public discourse.”

TOC speaks to its Organising Secretary, Mr Bernard Chen, about the forum.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in TOC Reports | 3 Comments »

No voting NO: Burmese embassy staff contrive to disenfranchise voters

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 27, 2008

Selene Cheng

Burmese national desperate to vote goes topless, but still no vote

A sea of red greeted me as I made my way up the road to the Burmese embassy at St Martin’s Drive. Burmese lined both sides of the road, the rows of people in red standing three abreast along a pavement sporadically broken by blue uniformed policemen.

The crowd was gathered to vote early in a referendum to approve a new constitution for Burma.The constitution, drawn up by the military junta, is seen by many Burmese as a bald attempt by the junta to cement its grip on power. It disqualifies opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from holding key political positions as she is married to a foreigner. Miss Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, won an election in a landslide in 1990. To this day, her election victory remains unrecognised.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Current Affairs, Selene Cheng, TOC Reports, TOC's Writers | 12 Comments »

Breaking News: Burmese nationals throng embassy in S’pore

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 27, 2008

Developing news story

Latest update:

15.50 hours

A group of six Singapore Special Ops forces were seen moving up the slope of St Martin‘s in full riot gear. A contingent of female police officers were also seen.

15.14 hours

Embassy staff slow voting to a trickle as almost 2500 Burmese throng embassy.

TOC thanks all eyewitnesses for their continued updates from the ground. Pictures and a fuller report will be forthcoming on TOC from our writers on scene.

Around 2500 Burmese nationals are thronging the Burmese embassy to vote in a referendum for their new constitution. Many were wearing red t-shirts and caps that said NO, in opposition to the referendum.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Current Affairs, TOC Reports | 7 Comments »

Bloggers send 20-page proposal to minister

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 21, 2008

A group of bloggers, led by Choo Zheng Xi and Alex Au, sent a 20-page proposal to the Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, Dr Lee Boon Yang, today (April 21, 2008). The paper , titled “Proposals for Internet freedom in Singapore”, expresses the bloggers’ concerns about Internet regulation in Singapore and offers proposals for the government to consider in its current review of such regulations.

The full paper is in pdf file. (See below).

21 April 2008

Dr Lee Boon Yang

Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts

Sir,

Proposals for Internet freedom in Singapore

The government has repeatedly acknowledged that Internet technology is constantly evolving and that regulation of the Internet must keep up with the times. Moreover, as a nation, there are vast benefits we can reap from our ability to use the technology effectively and creatively, and regulation should not be a dead hand foreclosing these opportunities. Heretofore, the government has promised and exercised a light touch, but it would be better if policy is based not merely on forbearance, but framed by more clearly articulated principles, in the interest of greater transparency and coherence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Current Affairs, TOC Reports | 42 Comments »

Jeyaretnam speaks on Reform Party’s plans and constitution

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 19, 2008

Mr JB Jeyaretnam speaking on his Reform Party’s plans and constitution at a press conference held at the Quality Hotel, April 18, 2008.

Video of the chairman of the Reform Party, Ng Teck Siong, introducing the new party here.

You can watch theonlinecitizen’s videos on the subsequent Q&A session here:

Part One

Part Two

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Posted in Current Affairs, TOC Reports | 20 Comments »

Breaking News: MDA approves Martyn See’s film for screening

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 16, 2008

TOC has just been informed that the Media Development Authority (MDA) has approved Martyn See’s film Speakers Cornered for screening, with a NC 16 rating.

See had submitted the film to the MDA in December 2007.

Martyn See will post more details of this in his own blog Singapore Rebel soon.

The film is also available on YouTube.

Clarification: Martyn has clarified on his blog that the rating does not amount to an approval for screening. He will have to apply separately for the film to be screened.

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Posted in Current Affairs, TOC Reports | 9 Comments »