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Archive for the ‘TOC’s Writers’ Category

Reducing commuting time – national effort needed

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 14, 2008

Tan Kin Lian

Like most big cities, Singapore is getting over-crowded. It is easy to build highrise apartments and offices for a bigger population but the challenge is in transporting these people between their homes and workplaces and back.

A denser population has led to congested roads, crowded trains and buses and long commuting time. Road traffic is a major contributor to the high energy consumption and increase in oil prices in recent years.

We have to find ways to reduce the need for commuting. People should be encouraged to find work near their homes or to move their homes closer to their places of work. Students should be encouraged to study in a school near their homes too.

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Posted in Current Affairs, Tan Kin Lian | 11 Comments »

Uniquely Singapore

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 12, 2008

Uniquely Singapore

The Unions, the Press, and the People – Part II

CASE’s Relationship with NTUC

Leong Sze Hian

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) founded the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) in 1971, and it remains an institution member today. (938 Live) (CASE’s letter to Business Times)

According to NTUC’s web site:

The NTUC Family includes 9 co-operatives, and 6 affiliated organizations – the Singapore Labour Foundation, NTUC Club, NTUC Link, the Ong Teng Cheong Institute of Labour Studies, NTUC LearningHub, and the Consumers’ Association of Singapore, and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i).

NTUC is the parent body of CASE.

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Posted in Current Affairs, Leong Sze Hian | 31 Comments »

The Unions, the Press and the People

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 8, 2008

Leong Sze Hian & Choo Zheng Xi

Let the people eat…detergent?

Does the media’s reporting of detergent prices reveal a deeper conflict of interest that may harm the country?

Once in awhile pearls of wisdom are found in The New Paper. Larry Havekamp a.k.a. Dr Money, in his financial column in The New Paper, likened statistics to bikinis: what they reveal is suggestive, what they conceal is vital (New Paper, May 5).

We refer to the article in the Straits Times headlined “Rice and cooking oil lead price rise: New Case survey of prices across retailers points out cheaper options for buyers” (Straits Times, May 3).

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Posted in Choo Zheng Xi, Current Affairs, Leong Sze Hian | 32 Comments »

Aljunied Town Council – Taking the easy way out?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 7, 2008

Leong Sze Hian & Andrew Loh

All 14 town councils run by the People’s Action Party (PAP) will not be increasing their Service and Conservancy (S&C) charges this year.

– Channel NewsAsia, “PAP town councils to freeze S&C charges this year” (February 28, 2008)

Barely two and a half months later, on May 5 2008, this is what ‘officials’ at the PAP-run Aljunied Town Council (TC) said:

Officials also said they will consider raising the conservancy charges for the dirtiest precincts to cover the extra work that goes into maintaining them …

– “Aljunied trash index aims to wipe out litterbugs.” (Straits Times, May 5, 2008)

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Posted in Andrew Loh, Current Affairs, Leong Sze Hian | 48 Comments »

The truth about life insurance

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 7, 2008

Tan Kin Lian

Many people buy life insurance to provide financial security to their family. If premature death occurs, the policy provides a cash sum to take care of the future financial needs of the family.

Insurance agents are drilled into thinking that they play a “noble” role in safeguarding the future of many families. This is half the truth.

Here is the other half: Many families are being grossly overcharged for the modest financial protection offered by the life insurance policy. After deducting the high expenses, their net savings do not earn a sufficient yield for them to live on during their retirement.

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Posted in Current Affairs, Tan Kin Lian | 122 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]”.

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

High cost of living – what the government can do

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 30, 2008

TOC is happy to welcome Mr Tan Kin Lian on board as the latest addition to our writing team. He is the former chief executive of NTUC Income, an insurance cooperative in Singapore.

Lessons from the general election in Malaysia

Tan Kin Lian

The Malaysian general election held in March 2008 produced results that surprised not only the politicians but ordinary voters as well. A Malaysian friend told me that the ordinary people wanted to send a message to the ruling Barisan National, which had governed the country for over 50 years, about their unhappiness with the current situation. They did not expect to see a change in five state governments to the Pakatan Rakyat.

One key issue that contributed to this unexpected election results appears to be the high cost of living. It is not sufficient for the Government to explain that the higher prices are due to external factors. The people expect the Government to find effective ways to deal with this problem. This is what they elected the Government to do.

This election result has lessons for Singapore. What can the Government do about the high cost of living in Singapore?

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Posted in Current Affairs, Tan Kin Lian | 105 Comments »

The fat lady hasn’t sung

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 29, 2008

A primer on the possibility of a game-changing Pakatan Rakyat government in Malaysia.

Sonia Randhawa

TOC is happy to welcome Sonia onto the TOC team. She is TOC’s first Malaysian writer. She is also the former Executive Director for Malaysia‘s Centre for Independent Journalism.

Fear has shaped the politics of Malaysia for a long time, at least since, and possibly before, 1969. Fear has been a carefully-crafted constant. What there is to be feared has been dynamic, ranging from our economically-powerful, overly-Chinese southern neighbours, to the Americans, the Indonesians, the Jews, the Communists and, most consistently, each other. This is what ended in Malaysia on 8 March.

Not everyone in Malaysia realises that. The Crown Prince of Kelantan made a call for “Malay unity” just last week. Sorry, but that is just sooo 2007.

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Posted in Current Affairs, Sonia Randhawa | 25 Comments »

Uniquely Singapore

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 28, 2008

Uniquely Singapore

$3 billion benefits to cope with inflation?

Leong Sze Hian

With headlines in our local papers screaming “S’poreans in line for $3b payouts” (TODAY, April 15), “$3b payout over the next six months” (Straits Times), “2.4m S’poreans to get $3b in benefits this year” (Straits Times), one would be hard pressed to find anything amiss.

The Ministry of Finance’s (MOF) press release that some 2.4 million Singaporeans stand to get $3 billion in benefits this year, to help them cope with the rising cost of living, is laudable.

Until you sieve through the $3 billion help package itself.

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Posted in Current Affairs, Leong Sze Hian | 64 Comments »

Demonising the Internet – and bloggers

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 28, 2008

Andrew Loh

With so many shenanigans and so much bad press, is it any wonder that bloggers here are gaining a reputation as irresponsible netizens?

The above quote is from Clarence Chang of The New Paper in an article titled, “Why are S’pore bloggers clueless and careless?” (2005).

Also in that article, Chang says:

They slime, ‘flame’ and take potshots at others. The more outrageous the comments, it seems, the better. In Singapore, bloggers appear to think that anything goes.

Three years on, it seems that the attacks by the mainstream media (MSM) on the Internet, and bloggers in particular, haven’t let up.

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Posted in Andrew Loh, Current Affairs | 36 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.

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

Bloggers’ group proposes sweeping changes in Internet regulation

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 18, 2008


For immediate release

By Choo Zheng Xi and Alex Au

18 April 2008

Bloggers’ group proposes sweeping changes in Internet regulation

A group of committed bloggers will submit recommendations to the Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts within the next few days, on the subject of Internet regulation. This open letter, which will be released to the public at the same time, will call for sweeping changes to bring Singapore in line with international norms and the reality of the new technology.

Its key proposals include:

1. All regulation of speech should be platform-neutral, given the steady convergence of various platforms as a result of the digital revolution. There should not be different rules for different media.

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Posted in Choo Zheng Xi, Current Affairs | 37 Comments »