In Lui Tuck Yew’s defence

Sigh, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew has announced that he is stepping down after the coming election. No reasons given, but it sounded like the transport portfolio has finally taken its toll on the man.

lty

The reaction online were mixed – many acknowledged his effort and contributions towards solving the transport problems, while some people online were of course glad to see the back of Lui.

Ministers and MPs – from both the PAPpies and WeePies camp – also spoke up and paid tribute to Lui. While most of them shared their different experiences and encounters with Lui, one common theme seem to emerge – that Lui is an honest, earnest and determined man who tried his hardest to solve difficult transport problems.

Yes, there were breakdowns, but should we really pin all the blame on one man? Oh, and make fun of his name in the process?

I’m not too sure about that.

Afterall, this is a guy who identified two big issues with our public transport back in 2011 – overcrowding and old infrastructure – and set about fixing them.

On overcrowding, Lui pushed the government to invest more than $1 billion in buying buses for the public. He also imported more trains for the MRT system, while breaking the ground for entire new lines like the Downtown Line and Thomson Line. The Downtown Line even overcame the bankruptcy of a major contractor to open in time later this year.

Infrastructural problems are difficult to solve, and it seemed like these were the ones which caused the major breakdowns. Unlike other politicians overseas, Lui never seemed to shy from the trouble and always visited the affected stations to observe the situation.

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And he’s not just an observer. Have you heard the constant announcements that trains are moving slower now because of track renewal works? That’s his team trying to fix the infrastructure problems. Things take time, and he has started work on it a long time ago.

Unfortunately, personal abuse never stopped and we’ve now lost a full minister. Our impatience has a price tag – an honest, earnest and determined man who tried his best to solve a difficult problem.

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Infatuation with the West

What is up with the recent infatuation with the West?

No, this is not about the usual invasion of Hollywood movies or American television shows on our screens – this is about the sudden infatuation with the old Chinese legend Journey to the West.

Yes, that classic Chinese story about how a monkey god, a pig and a former heavenly general worked together with a monk, overcame many obstacles and traveled to the West to fetch scriptures.

Journey-to-the-west-1986

It is a very old tale from the 16th century, and remains extremely popular even today. I mean, most kids would immediately know what we’re talking about when ‘Journey to the West’ is brought up right?

Perhaps in an effort to ride on this five-hundred year coat-tail, the government roped in some getai singers, a marquee director in the form of Royston Tan, and a PR agency to produce this abomination of a video:

video

Yes, that is just a screencap of the actress looking embarrassed, probably because the video is that bad.

Here’s a summary of the video, so you won’t have to watch it – an old lady portrayed by a getai singer has health problems and is worried about healthcare costs. Another getai singer appears to explain that she need not worry because there’s the Pioneer Generation card now, while performing fake somersaults amidst unnecessary tacky animated clouds.

The government is not alone in trying to steal concepts from this classic tale.

One of the newest political parties in Singapore, the obviously non-xenophobic Singaporeans First Party, described their election plans as a ‘journey to the West’ that starts from Tanjong Pagar GRC. Which is okay, because it is technically a journey to the West.

Then they surprised everyone today by putting up this article and saying how they’ve learnt to govern from this classic tale about a pilgrimage.

jtw1

Yep, they learned to govern from a tale about a team of four who went to the West, picked up some scriptures then went home.

That’s a really weird plan for politicians. Afterall, most people would want their MPs to stick around after getting elected!

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Low could be Prime Minister

Five Stars and a Moon asked a really interesting question last week – can Mr Low Thia Khiang be Prime Minister of Singapore?

Mr Low, as they rightly pointed out, is the leader of the WeePies and that means that he would likely become the Prime Minister if the WeePies wins the majority in Parliament. We now know that the WeePies will not win the majority, since they will only be running for 28 seats.

What if, however, the WeePies win their 28 seats and the other opposition parties pull their weight and take another 17? The opposition parties could form a coalition government with 45 seats and remove PAP from power for the first time since Singapore’s independence!

Would Mr Low, as de facto leader of the opposition, then become the Prime Minister of Singapore? What would that be like?

ltk

Five Stars and a Moon suggested that Mr Low would not be a good Prime Minister, because he is a for-profit businessman and is not eloquent enough to represent Singapore. Instead of Mr Low, they suggested that either Ms Sylvia Lim or Mr Chen Show Mao would be more suitable as Prime Minister.

We disagree.

While Mr Low is definitely not as well-spoken as Ms Lim or Mr Chen, he’s not had the dishonor of running a Town Council to the ground. Perhaps his expertise in running a for-profit business helped when he was running Hougang SMC, where he was MP for 20 years before leaving for Aljunied GRC in 2011. This financial acumen would be sorely needed in a scenario where WP and another opposition party rules Singapore, because PAP’s financial guru Tharman would likely be gone, and we wouldn’t want Singapore to be bankrupt.

Eloquence is not all that matters when running a country. Ms Lim’s time with Aljunied has showed us that she needs more experience.

sylvia-nothing

And please forget about Mr Chen Show Mao – that is assuming that you haven’t forgotten about him of course. Even though it seems like he has more scholarships than the entire civil service combined, Mr Chen has a natural knack of not delivering at key debates. Perhaps he can run for the President, where his talent for reading prepared speeches would be put to good use.

Of course, the other opposition parties would have to agree to Mr Low being Prime Minister. It is a coalition government afterall. Would they nominate their own leaders? SDP’s Chee Soon Juan, RP’s Kenneth Jeyaretnam and whoever is leading NSP when the elections come around – we may have a by-election for Prime Minister!

Do you think Mr Low is the ideal Prime Minister amongst the opposition party leaders? Let us know what you think at zhunbosg@gmail.com!

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Did the PAPpies goof it up with the new boundaries?

The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) released their report today, and there are a few major changes:

1) GRCs are now smaller with more 4-member GRCs around;

2) More SMCs, including Tin Pei Ling’s own Macpherson;

3) No more Joo Chiat, which was the most tightly-contested constituency in 2011; and

4) Two new GRCs – Jalan Besar (formed largely by the previous Moulmein-Kallang GRC) and Yew Tee-Marsiling.

electoral boundaries

So what do these changes mean? For all parties, PAPpies included, the changes mean that they would have to reshuffle their teams. For example, its unlikely for Lui Tuck Yew and Yaacob to continue co-leading the new Jalan Besar GRC. Same goes for opposition parties, with the WeePie Mr Yee Jenn Jong expressing his extreme sadness today in reaction to the report.

Such reshuffles are common though, and should come as no surprise.

What really surprised us was the odd re-drawing of boundaries. You see, people are always accusing the PAPpies of re-drawing boundaries to benefit themselves by either breaking up opposition strongholds, or drawing boundaries such that it is difficult for opposition parties to compete.

Today, they did neither.

Smaller GRCs and more SMCs mean that it would be easier for opposition parties to compete because they can now form smaller teams for the smaller GRCs or send one individual to fight in an SMC. One of these SMCs, Macpherson, is also likely to be contested by PAPpie Tin Pei Ling, who wasn’t very popular last time round. The opposition parties must surely clamor to compete in this new SMC.

Aljunied GRC, Hougang and Punggol-East were left completely untouched, giving WeePies the chance to stay there and consolidate their support. We wouldn’t be surprised if the senior WeePies like Mr Low Thia Khiang and Ms Sylvia Lim stay there, and send their now-experienced colleagues like Mr Chen Show Mao and Mr Pritam Singh to lead their own GRC teams.

time to run

Yes, the new boundaries essentially mean that WeePies can strengthen their current constituencies while competing in new areas.

If the PAPpies were really trying to give themselves an advantage with the new boundaries, they may have goofed it up.

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What next for AHPETC?

The judgement is outAHPETC is solely responsible for the management of their funds, and MND has no legal right to appoint auditors under the current law.

wpvictory

Now here’s a quick background of the case in case you missed it:

Today the judge ruled that under current laws the court cannot compel AHPETC to accept MND‘s auditors. This unfortunately means that if MND were to give AHPETC any grants, we will not know where the money would end up in.

Yep, the situation in AHPETC is really that bad.

The judge described AHPETC‘s behaviour as a ‘travesty’ and acknowledged that there were ‘grave and serious’ questions about AHPETC‘s state of accounts. The judge went further to say that if AHPETC was a private management company they would have been sued in a civil or criminal court.

Even the judge agreed that AHPETC‘s financials are in a mess.

So what should the WeePies in AHPETC do next? Here are the three options we see:

Option 1

Keep quiet. This is the WeePies SOP anyway.

Option 2

Celebrate the victory! Democracy has triumphed! Ignore what the judge said and how he described AHPETC‘s financials – alternative voices in parliament comes at a cost, even if the price tag states ‘One Bankrupt Town Council’. Hurray for WeePies!

Then proceed to go bankrupt in June 2015, and blame MND for not bailing them out.

Option 3

Do the right thing – get rid of the couple who paid themselves handsomely with taxpayers money and appoint a new agent that’s actually capable. Work with MND to make sure that the money goes to residents who need it. The residents will thank you for doing this.

For the sake of their residents and WeePies‘ own credibility, we hope they would go for Option 3!

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Sorry, we were wrong about Amos Yee

We were completely wrong about Amos Yee – he’s not really the PR master that we previously thought he was, but more of a demolition worker. Specifically, the kind who goes around blowing up bridges.

Since his infamous rant against Christianity, he has launched tirades against the police, his own parents and reporters. And his most recent episode revolved around his bailor Vincent Law.

In summary, Amos accused Vincent Law of ‘molest’, then retracted whilst saying he plans to apologise, before penning a 6,000 word essay making more accusations against Vincent.

Wow, more twists than a Taiwanese soap opera.

dramatic

In the midst of all the wrangling, Amos even found time to call out The Online Citizen’s (TOC) lack of integrity. Specifically, Amos accused TOC of twisting the truth when things didn’t go their way – TOC had built Amos up to be a symbol for freedom of speech, only to find out that he really is an asshole who accuses people of molest.

This dissonance was probably too much for TOC writer Terry Xu, so he went ahead and loudly proclaimed that Amos Yee has apologised when all Amos did was to put up a sarcastic Facebook update saying that he needed three days to apologise.

Awkward.

terry was premature

In their defence… Nah, there’s not much of a defence really. They got overly excited, jumped the gun and ended up with an Amos-sized egg on their face.

TOC has so far yet to comment on Amos’ criticism, but have since published two articles about Amos. These new articles, however, were submitted by anonymous writers. Quite different from the previous TOC pieces on Amos. Terry Xu has neither responded to Amos’ comments, nor written a new article about Amos.

We wonder which bridge would Amos destroy next.

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Who we kidding? Jurong is not and will never be cool

So whoop-dee-do, Jurong is going to get a new high speed rail station that goes all the way to Kuala Lumpur (KL). Which I suppose is great news, because going to KL is now a lot easier and hopefully cheaper. And since you’ve already gone all the way to Jurong might as well go to KL right?

What I don’t understand is why everyone is so exceptionally happy about it.

Some said this will ‘transform’ Jurong, calling Jurong the second CBD. Straits Times even said that glamour is heading towards the west!

wtf am i reading

ZHUN BO?! It’s just a train station with high speed trains to KL, which is a city Singaporeans go only when their companies force them to. So hello, please wake up your idea Mr PM Lee and Mr PM Najib – Jurong will never be cool.

What will most probably happen is a whole lot of small businesses will set-up shop in Jurong, hoping that they can hire Malaysians to work for them. Then they’d realise that they can’t hire that many Malaysians because they must go list their jobs on the government jobs portal first. So they get stuck, and move their business back to wherever they came from.

I guess when that happens, Straits Times can write an article proclaiming ‘Glamour heads to Jurong! Again, again and again!’

spin

Ugh. I dread when that inevitable day comes, and even more so when the government PR machinery trips over itself to proclaim success anyway.

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AHPETC: Breaking the law… and breaking the bank?!

Really have to credit the WeePies for their element of surprise.

When problems first emerged in 2014 the WeePies pretty much said they’d fix it. The same problems surfaced again in 2015, and once again they promised to fix it. Now, a few months on, the WeePies are suddenly saying that they will have enough money till June 2015, as long as they don’t transfer any money to their sinking funds.

ZHUN BO?! Keep saying you’ll fix you’ll fix… now suddenly drop bombshell and say that you’d be bankrupt in June 2015 even if you break the law?!

Anyway, here’s a helpful infographic for those who have not been following the case. Easier for you to see how AHPETC arrived at their current mess:

AHPETC timeline

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AHPETC is like a period: Better late than never?

In a surprising turn of events, Ms Sylvia Lim broke the WeePies‘ usual code of silence by sending an electronic direct mailer (EDM) to her residents.

In her EDM Ms Lim highlighted two things that her three-in-one town council has done since acknowledging that they messed up the town council’s money:

1) Appoint an unnamed accounting firm to look at AHPETC’s financial and auditing matters; and

2) Working on their FY 2013/2014 accounts for submission by June 2015 and FY 2014/2015 accounts by August 2015.

Hurray for residents in the East – your town council is finally doing something, years after their financial mess was discovered! Better late than never, am I right?

better late than pregnant

What’s up with all the mystery about this accounting firm though? Just name them lah. I’m sure – or at least I hope – any accountant that you appoint would have better financial brains than the husband-wife combo you currently employ.

Oh, and this unnamed accounting firm is the fourth team of accountants to have looked at AHPETC’s accounts in the past three years. It took AHPETC’s original auditors Foo Kon Tan Grant Thornton, the Auditor General of Singapore, AND international auditing giant PricewaterhouseCoopers before the WeePies did something.

I must say that the WeePies either really enjoy dealing with auditors or are simply refuse to admit their own faults.

sylvia srs audits

Oh well, at least they’re finally doing something. Like what my parents used to tell me in the past whenever I failed my exams: at least they’re trying. Let’s hope it’s not too late for their residents!

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The Amos Yee charade

Wow, such drama.

Mr Amos Yee was literally given one tight slap today outside the court on his way to attend a pre-trial conference. Why is this young man in court again? Because he uploaded a YouTube video criticising Christianity and Mr Lee Kuan Yew! And when he was released on bail, Mr Yee repeatedly broke the bail condition.

Thanks to Mr Yee’s habit of breaking his bail conditions, taking care of him is getting more and more expensive. His first bail was set at $20k, and he was bailed by his parents. This was broken, and the subsequent bail was again set at $20k. This time, his own parents did not want to risk bailing him anymore and a Mr Vincent Law volunteered to bail him out.

Mr Amos Yee broke his bail again and Mr Law may well have lost $20k of his own money. Mr Yee’s new bail is set at $30k, and I wonder who would be the brave soul bailing him out this time. Especially after Mr Law realised that he was burned the last time, and has since discharged himself as the bailor.

Potential total of bailing Mr Yee? A staggering $70k.

And what a charade this Amos Yee character is turning out to be.

Insulting a religion, slamming a recently deceased leader, showing up in court eating a banana, breaking bail repeatedly and now getting slapped – it’s like this guy is running a masterclass on how to grab the headlines! And what perfect timing too – right before a long weekend so that people have things to talk about on the way to their weekend getaways in Malaysia/Thailand/Indonesia.

amosfreedom

Even Roy Ngerng, Han Hui Hui and Kenneth Jeyaretnam is riding on his coat-tails to try and get some publicity for themselves.

amos roy

Mr Yee, a true PR master indeed. Any gahmen officer or PR professional would do well to take a leaf from Mr Yee’s playbook.

amos pr skillz

Just make sure you don’t break any laws while doing so!

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