SGDaily Roundup: Week 14

Cabinet Musical Chairs
– The Online Citizen: New Cabinet line-up throws up some surprises [Recommended]
– Random Thoughts Of A Free Thinker: Preliminary thoughts about Singapore’s latest Cabinet reshuffle
– The Online Citizen: TOC Feature: No female full Minister in Cabinet
– Recruit Ong: What cabinet change?
– The States Times: Ho-hum News
– The Online Citizen: Kind Hearts Are More Than Coronets [Recommended]

PM V1.3. Search for the next Prime Minstar
– The boy who knew too much: The Singaporean obsession with A grades [Recommended]
– Desparatebeep: Another Look at Talent

Singaporeans are fed, up with progress!
– Diary of A Singaporean Mind: NTUC Stores for the poor!
– Mr Wang Says So: How The Government Helps Singaporeans Cope With Inflation
– BothSidesOfTheJohorStraits: Channelnewsasia and their chums, the PAP…
– Singapore Life and Times: Rocket Food [Recommended]
– BURMA SITMONE: Singapore eyeing cheap Burmese Rice
– Under the Willow Tree: Apparent Lack of Coordination Between Temasek and Ministry of Finance is Alarming

Prison Break, Singapore Style
– Singapore Review: Half-Hearted Token Search for a Fugitive Means Cover-Up?
– Vinyarb: This is not a game! (but what can we do?)
– Singapore Democrats: Singapore’s great escape
– Sheep City: Tear down a pixel of Whitley Road

Lemons for Money
– Under the Willow Tree: GIC, UBS & Jim Rogers
– …thrills, spills & flatliners: BETTING ON A WRONG HORSE?
– Hear Ye! Hear Ye!: GIC’s injection into UBS just vapourised
– nofearSingapore: Singapore’s investments in UBS; Merrill Lynch; Citigroup (aka triple whammy rotten eggs)
– Hard Hitting in the Lion City: Bad Investment by GIC

Transport Reforms
– Simply Jean: Damn! Are they sure it’s not an April Fool’s joke?
– The Ignorantsoup: It is other factors (not price) that determines whether we take public transport
– Darth Grievous’ Dark Domain 鸟话连篇: Do they actually know what to fix in our transport system?
– BothSidesOfTheJohorStraits: I paid EPR TWICE to sit in crawling traffic???
– Simply Jean: A 2-way street with 1 street just meant for buses?
– Ian On The Red Dot: How Can The People Improve Singapore’s Public Transport System
– A Mind of my Own: Ever Listened to Commuters in The First Place?

PARF/COE Cash Rebates
– Hard Hitting in the Lion City: How does this help?

Malaysia Elections
– Sophie’s World: Did bloggers really create the Malaysian tsunami?
– BP: Will Singapore Go Down The Chute Like Malaysia? Part 1, Part 2 & 3
– The Maxima: Blogs & Elections Pt II
– The Online Citizen: The upset that stunned Singapore

Never The Twain
– Jed Yoong: NEP and Singaporeans
– Insane Polygons: Reckless Hate

Pink Issues
– Yawning Bread: Hotel Singapore now officially gay-friendly
– Musings: Subsidies and Legitimate Discrimination
– Sam’s thoughts: I got outed as gay by the Straits Times!

Housing
– Enblocing Singapore: 1996AD (Not exactly 10,000BC) – Origins of Enbloc Nightmare?

Healthcare
– The Online Citizen: Medishield – one of the most profitable in the world
– The Online Citizen: A 28-hour wait for a bed at the Singapore General Hospital

Freedom, Choice and a place for my Voice
– Random Thoughts Of A Free Thinker: Retiring Hong Kong politician criticises Singapore’s democracy
– Pseudonymity: NUS Student Magazine Censors Interview With Chee Soon Juan
– No political films please, we’re Singaporeans: Activists screen political films in “private function”

Paper Chase
– Simply Jean: So is UniSIM the 4th university or is it not?!

Paying for Foreign Scholars
– Ian On The Red Dot: Are Singaporeans Really Paying For Foreign Scholars In Singapore

Our war on terror
– ringisei: Al Qaeda and the media

Aesthetic Medicine and Snake Oil
– Mr Wang Says So: The Elusive Nature of Medical & Other Truths – Part 1
– Angry Doctor: Science and how we know we are right 2

Free Enterprise vs Government
– Singapore Patriot: Consumers the losers with Virtual Map shutdown

Starhub EPL, Singtel CL, Football Fans LPPL
– THE armchair critic: Will the real football fan please stand up??!!

Daily Discourse
– Singapore Angle: Dansong’s Angle Ticker: Patronage Politics, Cancer Nannies, Aesthetic Snake Oils
– Singapore Kopi Tok: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Free Speech
– Singapore Life and Times: Three of the worst
– To Fix a Mocking Peasant: Send this to the ST Forum 3: Corruption-Free S’pore
– Looking through the eyes of_ _: Are we really pragmatic?
– A long and arduous road of an entrepreneur: Moving Targets
– The Void Deck: Dick’s Cents of Justice
– Singapore Life and Times: EZ Today
– Looking through the eyes of _ _: A blessing… Or a curse?
– Desparatebeep: Breaking Bad News
– The State Times: We Should Be So Grateful
– Singapore Patriot: Wanna be PM? Here’s the criteria
– The boy who knew too much: Kiasu and age appropriate toys
– Sgpolitics.net: Rejected ST Letter: MAS should regard it as an obligation to exchange mutilated notes
– The boy who knew too much: Earth Hour: Singapore dims the future, symbolically
– Majulah Singapura: Come Enter Singapore As You Wished For Only $5,000!!!
– Modern Burrow: The reason why Singaporean English will never get good
– …thrills, spills & flatliners: Hadari no more?
– Nomed Letters: Cabinet Reshuffle and the GIC Debacle
– Diary of A Singaporean Mind: Government Secrecy in the Age of Information….
– The Daily Backtrack: Time to douse that torch
– Singapore Life and Times: My rights
– Unfortunately Singapore: Fitna: A Neocon Dutchman’s Self-Indulgence
– I have succumbed to peer pressure: Then what is the next part, Andy Ho Mo Phobe?
– P65: Building Social Cohesion, Respecting Diversity
– Ergo Cognito Sum: Dickson Tan and the Singapore Government

Life, the universe and everything
– Vinyarb: Advertise! online!
– Simple is the Reason of My Heart: Interesting Thoughts on Friendster higher growth vs other Online Social Networks
– future.town: Chapter 18: Rihana and her Umbrella [thanks richard]
– this lush garden within: Cultural learnings of Canada for make benefit glorious nation of Singapore (Day 87 in Vancouver)
– thegreatsze: Vanity
– Ong Jiin Joo: Would you care to hire an Orchestra?
– Endoh Pure Ranting Room: Smoking cause cancer? Think again

Infoblogoramus
– eastcoastlife: Historical European Swordmanship – WS #17

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8 Responses to SGDaily Roundup: Week 14

  1. NEW ARTICLE /BP 5-4-08 says:

    BAD GOVERNANCE + BN = LOSING POWER, GOOD GOVERNANCE + PAP = STAYING IN POWER? PART 1

    [This is a con’t from our interview series this season. In this session J.Kompf poses a few pointed questions to the head of the Brotherhood strategic studies gaming unit Vollaraine, otherwise known as the think tank, the ASDF. Please note: only selected parts of this interview will be published]

    Q: In my last interview with Darkness when I asked him point blank why BN got pummeled in the GE, this was what we said [I am quoting ad verbatim] Darkness: “Whatever, you wish to say about the PAP, one cannot deny it has successfully nurtured the gold standard of governance and public administration. Things are not 100%, there is plenty of room for improvement, but again my feel is it’s too far removed from the ‘reality’ in Malaysia to draw parallels.” Tell me Volariane, do you agree with Darkness? Do you believe there more to the story than just good governance alone?

    A: Herr Kompf, it was a point blank question, so you can’t blame the man for shooting from the hip like a gun slinger – I think all of us in the ASDF including Darkness knows the score on the issue of good governance and how it relates to the broader context of power & politics. This hardly requires any elaboration. It’s undeniable in the last 5 years the idea of good governance has assumed a relevance to the political and cultural understanding of most oligarchies in Asia. This understanding was in part precipitated by the Asian financial crisis. However, let me state very clearly good governance (GG) as a justificatory premise is really a double-edged sword. In other words it could just as well be used or abused depending on how one chooses to frame it – while GG is an effective anecdote against endemic corruption, facilitating democratization and alleviating poverty etc, it can also be used as a very effective crowbar to justify all sort of inequalities, that I feel needs to be emphasized. I would even go as far as to say, if we do not delineate clearly the goal of GG and define it ambit sufficiently, it can all too well facilitate a tyranny.

    Q: That’s a very interesting take – I don’t believe, I have ever had that kind of reply before – could you give us a specific example of how good governance can be used as a crow bar? Is this something that is specific and unique to South East Asia?

    A; Is it specific to South East Asia? Hardly Kompf – if you really look closely at the events which led to the invasion of Iraq in both the US and the EU, you could just as well tease out at least a dozen examples how ‘good governance’ was regularly used by the neocons to specifically to justify the conventional war – in the US, the press corps were muzzled, counter narratives were not only systematically suppressed, but everyone who even put their hand and asked intelligent questions like why don’t we explore diplomacy first were branded as unpatriotic and probable Al Qeada sympathizers. Here what we are seeing is in effect some form of reign of terror reminiscent of McCarthyism, but let us be very clear; the one justificatory premise which allowed all these inequalities to be taken to its illogical end was premised on the idea of good foreign policy i.e good governance vis-à-vis – America can and will make the world a better place. Unfortunately, theory did not pass seamlessly into reality – today with the benefit of hindsight, we know not only has the US squandered it’s moral high ground by pursuing such a senseless foreign policy, but it has also exacerbated the terrorist raison. In a nutshell this is what happens when the whole idea of good governance in this case good foreign policy is taken to it’s illogical end – it produces lousy results!

    Q: Perhaps I was not very clear in my question – can you please give us a specific example how good governance is regularly used and abused in the context of the recent developments in Malaysia and I possible can you relate it to the Singapore experience?

    A: Certainly – let me give you an example of how good governance assumes a justificatory premise; in the case of Indonesia following the Asian financial crisis which precipitated the demise of the Suharto administration, good governance was widely used to justify the democratization of Indonesia. In Malaysia, good governance takes the shape of the reformist movement and it has been widely adopted by the opposition to pressure the ruling regime to consider re-evaluating some of its less savory policies such as the ISA and the NEP.

    Now these examples are what I call the beneficial effects of good governance.

    Now compare and contrast this with the case of Singapore, where good governance is frequently used by the ruling elite as an excuse against introducing liberal democratic reforms or stopping a roomful of rag tags from singing a complain song. When you see it in that context Kompf, what clearly emerges is good governance can really be used to rubber stamp anything, including maintaining the status quo ante.

    In this case you really need to ask yourself whether GG is such a good thing when used in this regard? This goes back to my original moot point, there is a need to craft the goal of what we typically term good governance and delineate its ambit so that its not coupled with power and politics, otherwise GG as an ideology, a methodology or even a political dogma can all too easily be used and abused – as we can see the temptation is too delectable to resist.

    To be con’t

    [Vollariane / Kompf – Interview Series 2008 – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

  2. NEW ARTICLE /BP 5-4-08 says:

    BAD GOVERNANCE + BN = LOSING POWER, GOOD GOVERNANCE + PAP = STAYING IN POWER? PART 2

    Kompf Q: It’s interesting that you used the term ‘excuse’ instead of ‘defense’ when you mentioned, “good governance is frequently used by not only by the Singapore ruling elite but also government agencies such as the security services as an excuse against introducing liberal democratic reforms.” Could you elaborate further on your choice of words?

    Vollariane A: Kompf, by any practical definition of the word it has to be an ‘excuse’ because if one uses good governance as simply a convenient hammer to justify, explain and argue everything under the sun. Then maybe you can tell me how it can possibly even qualify as a logical premise or anything resembling a ‘defense?’

    A ‘defense’ since I last checked my dictionary is a counter point. Where is decays into an excuse is when none of these justificatory premises are even subject to scrutiny or debated, instead it is bracketed and packed off to Siberia – let me give a real life example. First I need to qualify myself, otherwise some readers will mistakenly think I am on some gender crusade or something. I am not gay, but it beggars the imagination when the police regularly say this or that may cause trouble if a group of gays decide to met up and ride their tricycles in a public park – here we see not only the corrosive effects of how the idea of good governance is taken to ridiculous ends i.e how it leverage on our primal fears to assume a justificatory premise i.e what may or may not happen. Specifically the fear that should we tamper with the status quo ante then it may bring the whole edifice crashing down. In the long run Kompf, I really do not see how that sort of narrow definition of good governance is going to be intellectually sustainable in the long run especially if the global market requires us to be more innovative and creative society.

    Q: How does the politics of blame relate to the whole idea of craving out competitive advantage? I am sorry, I don’t see the correlation.

    A: The politics of blame is a very good description Kompf – let me use a metaphor here to convey my point economically and how it may relate to the issue of competitive advantage; how do you stop a cat from regularly jumping on the stove? Switch it on. That’s effective because the cat will very quickly draw the association between pain and jumping on the hot stove – that also means it will not jump on a cold stove either – you really need to ask yourself whether that is such a good thing in the long run? If you juxtapose this corrosive formulation on the broader context of society; then you can more or less ask yourself a variety of contextual questions. For example: how effective is it for lets say a screen writer to craft his art by having to negotiate around traffic cones of what may or may not be censored – OK you may say art is the stuff of primrose and rosebuds and it does little to send a shiver down the spine of the tax man, but the same corrosive mentality could just as well permeate the entrepreneurial class since they have to regularly operate in a corseted environment which may not be able to support their métier. Will they stay or go? Can an individual yield his full potential under a restrictive climate? It would seem Kompf, I am talking about generalities here, but nothing can be further from the truth. This is jugular because what the politics of blame also does is define the whole idea of the individual and organizational excellence so unimaginatively and narrowly that what it regularly does is produce only facsimiles of what was previously deemed to be successful or good. Under those terms, you really need to ask yourself the ground zero question like will a Singapore Bill Gates or Steve Jobs emerge under those corseted conditions?

    With a bit of imagination, we may even extend the politics of blame to ask a few questions about how we are managing foreign talent; why is the drop off rate so high? Do they not know those who decide to pack up and leave are the crème de la crème and those who choose on to stay may in fact be the ones which are least reliable? how do you expect them to sink roots and integrate into our society when the narrative denies them even the modicum scope for taking equity in the social political process? Yes, I am sure you can say foreigners do not have a right to dabble in politics, but what I feel one needs to appreciate is can that sort of punitive approach really solicit deep spirited trust? I really don’t think so. As you can see the politics of blame is really like a hydrogen filled airship, it begins to flame up almost immediately whenever it’s superimposed against the fractious happenings of our broader society – but please bear in mind that all this happens under the broad banner of what we regularly terms as good governance i.e the tao or the right way to doing things. IMO there is no tao here, unless you tell me it makes sense to regularly drive over a cliff or make lousy policy decisions which are passed off as brilliant pieces of work – it make one molecule of sense because there is no way in which the politics of blame coupled with the idea of GG can possibly harmonize or even reconciling the divide, settle differences and winnow diversity to good effect – how can it when it reduces everything to a nail? Under those conditions Kompf, you need to ask yourself is it so unusual why the hammer is the preferred tool to solve problems in this part of the world?

    [Vollariane / Kompf – Interview Series 2008 – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

  3. shoestring says:

    “People’s Action Party MP Lim Wee Kiak called complacency a “side-effect” of an overly successful Government and civil service.”

    – ST April 5 2008 on the Mas Selamat case. The government was too good, so the people became complacent. It’s not the government’s fault – damn if you do (be too good), damn if you don’t (be too good).

    Classic example of an excuse.

  4. Dentist Jan says:

    Coooooooueee!

    To whoever is on duty in the Brotherhud press. One of my gf’s told me rather excitedly today, the ST will be regularly featuring a write up on happenings in blogosphere!

    May I know whether this will mean all of you will end your anti-social underground stance and things will return to normal? I really cannot see how the ST can deal with you chaps when all of you shuttling around in the cover of darkness (no pun intended).

    I am just thinking aloud so pls don’t be too hard on me, but it seems like a good opportunity for the BP to work with the MSM.

    Dont you think so?

    Many thanks and do have a very nice weekend ahead.

  5. Darkness says:

    Good Afternoon Jan,

    I am businessman, that means whenever possible I like to give a square deal. I find it immensely satisfying as it goes a long way to foster deep spirited trust and understanding. But I also have certain expectations; I also expect to get a square deal in return.

    And this brings me to my main point. In my experience, it doesn’t pay to deal with folk who have a hidden agenda and who are only fixated on the short term, you will be hard pressed to find common ground and it will just buy you a whole lot of grief – trust me.

    I have every reason to believe the people who have conceived this plan are also the same people who were responsible for the recent NLB fiasco – the same highbrow attitude is mirrored here; they will sit on their high chairs ready their clip boards and award you and me Brownie points based on what we write. If it serves them, you will get a mentioned, if it doesn’t then they will just intone, we catch no ball. What we are likely to see is the same sanctimony, arrogance and insiderism which does little to solicit either trust or understanding. I could be wrong of course, but I don’t believe so; that doesn’t surprise me, as that’s the way with stupid people who think they are very smart, when they fail, once, twice and thrice, they will never shift gears, but instead try, try and try again, not realizing on every occasion they are just reinforcing failure instead of increasing their chances of success – its best to let this people run themselves into the ground.

    We are not interested to play their shitty game. They can go play with themselves. We are not disturbing anyone, but I believe we have every right to choose who we want to work with. If the rest of blogosphere wants to deal with this ST folk be my guest, if it works out, I am happy for you, but please count us out – we want no part in this great experimentation.

    The way I see it, you can never hope to forge a win/win relationship with the folk in ST – it’s a bit like asking Count Dracula for the directions to the blood bank, you will never get a straight answer and even if you do, you will just find yourself going around in big and small circles – that’s because there is a big fat conflict of interest there – I rather deal with people who have a high level of personal integrity who may even have less clout, resources and influence but at least they have a genuine heart to work towards a better tomorrow. We can build strong buildings when the foundation is good, but the same cannot be done when we deal with a bunch of pirates.

    Jan, I believe there is wisdom in knowing the difference between fools and real gold. Trust me all that glitters isn’t gold.

    Darkness 2008

  6. patriot says:

    My salute to You Darkness!
    From patriot, a citizen of Singapore.

  7. Harphoon says:

    Dear Regular and New Readers,

    I am please to announce, 4 more new writers / researchers will be joining the BP by the end of this month.

    They are:

    (1) Super Puma

    (2) Kadjal

    (3) sestimatic

    (4) Jumo

    I will be releasing their data on a future date.

    Happy Reading

    Cheers!

    Harphoon

  8. rosy says:

    the fear that should we tamper with the status quo ante then it may bring the whole edifice crashing down.We have more information on willow tree and i think it will help you….

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