Yesterday, the PAP circles were jubilant in sharing DPM Tharman’s ‘words of wisdom‘ in defence of PAP’s authoritarian fascism.
But look how WP member and NUS sociology professor, Dr Daniel Goh, remarked on the alleged fanaticism over Tharman’s grand performance, egged on by none other than George Yeo-owned, pro-PAP mothership.sg‘s sensational article singing full praises for the minister and his wonderful defence of the Singapore system which said the BBC presenter who hard-talked Tharman got “sucker punched”.
In the meantime, we leave it to our readers to watch the whole video themselves to decide who won the debate, or if anyone even won.
No lah, not sucker punched. But I know what Martino Tan is implying because I was damn proud of Singapore listening to DPM Tharman at St Gallen. Hell yeah, give it to them Singapore bashers of the old imperial conceit.
The interview is a must-see, for understanding the direction of how at least one half of our Leviathan is trying to move towards, which is not bad at all. Our state is in two minds, maybe three, and here is the much better one of the lot.
DPM said, “we’re achieving a paradox of active government support for personal responsibility, rather than active government support to take over personal responsibility or community responsibility.”
This I find too much of a simplistic caricature of the Singapore model versus the decadent West. Government for the people versus government of the people.
Sometimes active government support for personal responsibility is wiser, sometimes active government to take over personal responsibility is required, paradoxically, for the personal responsibility to be realised.
Only a government by the people can tell us when’s what, not even the esteemed DPM.
By Molly Meek
<A reply first posted at @Min Zheng’s post consolidating some thoughts, if anyone is interested. Warning: Exceeds 14-character attention spans times over.>
Not too fond of the Singlish video of his (“pronounciation”?) though he makes sense in the Little India Riot one. My impression remains: he is more intelligent and articulate than many of those around his age in this country (and perhaps this is because this country sucks though I dare say there are those who can make equally sensible points with more finesse). He makes more sense in his comments about the Little India riot than lots of adult observers online, though I think he is being sensible without providing startling insight (which is rare enough these days, I admit). I actually share a lot of the sentiments he has about the education system and how ridiculous it is in the Little India Riot video, and I wish more teenagers would have that ability to detach themselves from what they do in school. Perhaps I seem too exacting here, but I’m saying this because of those who have given him undue praise. Those who continue to severely overrate his talents need to just wake up once and for all. These are the very people who could be causing him to overrate himself in spite of the emphasis on logic and evidence that he himself has emphasized.
Amos Yee has no lack of confidence in front of the camera and is therefore not self-conscious about the little errors he makes here and there, which may be a good thing if he manages to not allow it to ferment into arrogance. He does not give a damn about pleasing either establishment figures or anti-establishment figures, which is also potentially a plus until he fails to practice what he preaches about the need for logic and evidence or see the sense (however limited) in what others say.
I still think no one should have bothered with a police report over the LKY video though he clearly made a terrible move with the latest saga. The joke is really on those who keep on “supporting” him now and on those who spun unbelievably sappy narratives to change his image when he was in remand. I have no idea, though, why some of those who spoke up against his arrest seem to be taking a step back just because he has done something they find much harder to defend. These are two different matters, after all. One should not give up objecting to someone being flogged for rape when he has merely looked lustfully at a women just because the same person is revealed to be a thief. If people would just have that clarity of thought that Amos Yee showed in his best moments, we would have less trouble in this country.
Finally, he has been consistently admirable with his willingness to face the consequences of his actions, but he fails to see that this itself does not make him right or that it is not always he alone who suffers the consequences. Does he really think he is going to pay for the damages in the event that he loses a defamation suit, for instance?
Editorial Note: Yes, Singaporeans need to exercise more discernment, and separate apple from orange, and not lump everything together.
I wrote the following last weekend but did not publish it until now because Amos Yee’s case was still sub judice:
I avoided making any public comment on the Amos Yee case because parties associated with the PAP would seize upon anything to suggest that some eminence grise was behind his video, that Amos was being exploited for some perverse political enterprise. This accusation is regularly leveled at opponents of the PAP. When five SMRT drivers were in jail following the bus drivers’ strike in 2012, the authorities showed them a photo of me and asked if they recognised me. No doubt someone was most anxious to divert the story from that of labour discrimination to one of political manipulation so as to absolve the SMRT and, therefore, the government, from any culpability.
However, tonight, as I contemplate the conclusion of the trial and await the judge’s verdict next Tuesday, I have one or two things I feel I must say even if only the ISD pays attention! In all of my forty-five years, I have never been so disgusted, so ashamed to be a Singaporean as I have in these last 6 weeks watching the state torment and bludgeon a teenage boy who had, in its opinion, the temerity to utter sentiments that, if the truth be told, many, many people were feeling in the wake of Lee Kuan Yew’s death. I need not rehearse the points made by Amos in his fateful video post but I’d wager there are many who did not share the public mourning and did agree with Amos that the man who was being so lamented had a tremendously dark side which resulted in terrible outcomes for the people whom he made his enemies and that, therefore, his passing from the political stage was welcomed. I am one of them: I welcome his passing from the loathsome, crepuscular political stage he engendered.
I was so profoundly disgusted to watch the state use all the means at its disposal to throw a bulwark against this boy for fear that the sacrosanct memory of the departed prime minister might be tarnished. Can anyone be blamed for entertaining the suspicion that the real reason they treated him thus was not because of his obscenity or his harassment or his sedition but plainly and simply to safeguard the former prime minister whose posthumous reputation will be so useful to the PAP’s vote share at election time?
Not content to put the fear of, well, god, into him, the public authorities arrested him in his grandparents’ home, handcuffed him and hauled him away, remanded without adult protection for days before they put him in front of a judge. And as if to compound or underline the government’s bellicosity, the state-run media published downright untrue headlines about the case.
I was disgusted and ashamed to watch a child handcuffed and shackled in my name, and wearing a nauseatingly ugly prison uniform while surrounded by any number of policemen. This treatment has continued every time Amos has been brought to court and no public body or official thought it apposite to enter an objection. Each time I read that Amos was so shackled, I wonder what threat the public authorities believe this skinny sixteen year old poses to public safety. Well, let me tell them there is none. This boy is not violent; he is neither a danger to himself nor to others. He only offended by his words. There was no reason whatsoever to treat him the way the police did. And speaking as a social worker who has worked for many years with children, I am so very deeply concerned at the long-term damage this experience will do to him.
To watch the state deal with a gifted child on the threshold of a lustrous adulthood, the government utters a fundamental untruth when it says that people are our only resource. In fact, its only resource is its own reputation, however beleaguered it currently is. And to extend it, it would bully a child.
There is no public official today who can be proud of himself for the treatment dealt this boy well before he was convicted of any offence. Even the shameful spectacle of the public prosecutor bargaining for a reduction in Amos’ bail conditions if he would submit to psychological assessment had nothing whatsoever to do with the purpose of bail, which is to compel subsequent attendance in court. Amos is not a flight risk.
Therefore the suspicion that the state intended to make life as difficult for him as possible cannot have escaped the mind of anyone who has paid attention to the case.
That the state considered the utterances of this boy to endanger the reputation of a two thousand year old institution and the memory of a world renowned statesman, widely considered the father of his nation, was testament not so much to the virulence of his words but to the scandalous wickedness of the state which punishes a young boy for daring to offend the memory of the PAP’s founder and jeopardise his electoral utility.
I am nauseated by how the justice system has treated this boy. And every parent, every social worker, every teacher, should be equally scandalised. To me, not a lawyer, this is a repudiation of the sacred confidence we vest in our courts. Tonight, the state stands indicted before the court of natural justice.
I sincerely and earnestly hope the PAP will suffer for so doing come election time.
Why has no public body raised its voice in defence of this boy? Why did the Director of Social Welfare, whom we charge to safeguard vulnerable children, not assume her statutory duty and inquire into his wellbeing. Why did she not make appropriate inquiries when he disclosed parental abuse? She cannot pretend to be ignorant because the entire nation was aware of how he was abused at home and in public. Until this moment no social worker has called for this young man to be protected rather than attacked and assaulted. As a social worker I am so thoroughly ashamed of the members of my profession, of social work teachers at SIM and NUS, of the Singapore Association of Social Workers, who have refused, in craven cowardice, to raise their voices in defence of a child whose “crime” was to say something that some, and only some, considered objectionable.
That stranger who hit Amos outside the State Courts encapsulated and summed up the state’s attitude to Amos. And it is this: that if you challenge the status quo, the received wisdom, the reputation of those with power, you will be hammered and bludgeoned. His entitlement to punch Amos was an entitlement he believed conferred upon him: he watched how the state dealt with Amos and felt himself justified in replicating it. And the state has confirmed this view by keeping his identity private while splashing Amos’ identity all over our media, both print and broadcast. As if to quantify and codify the prevailing temper, that so-called journalist, Bertha Henson, cheered from her cowardly sideline when Amos was assaulted. That malevolent woman, together with everyone who approved of the unprovoked assault on Amos, has forfeited her right to be regarded any more as a human being because she has connived in the abuse of a child. To harm a child is inhuman; to cheer when it is done is anti-human.
The state which has played out this sorry saga must hang its head in shame. Amos Yee was not just assaulted on the piazza of the State Courts, he was assaulted by Singapore itself. It is no longer, no can it be, a return to business as usual. Because our community and our government have today descended to the depths of depravity where children are beaten in public, where the system closes an eye as we shackle and handcuff them, where journalists cheer as children are assaulted, where newspapers write misleading headlines.
All in the name of protecting a dead politician whose enormous reputation and, indeed, many misdeeds, have neither need for nor right to protection.
Under Proportional Representation, which most of Europe uses, parties would be allocated seats according to their percentage of vote share nationwide.
Gaining 40% of the votes would hence mean the Singapore Opposition getting 34 out of the total 87 elected seats in Parliament after GE2011. The variety of parties voted in for GE2011 would then be represented with the following graph, following the percentages of vote share they gain islandwide:
Then again, if people were given chances to vote for all contesting parties islandwide, the results would most likely vary from this, even. And parties like the Workers’ Party (and even the Singapore Democratic Party) that have higher credibility and fellowship, would most likely gain an even higher percentage (40+% instead of 10+% for WP alone), something much more than the other parties, and hence allocated even more seats. Who knows, given national polling, PAP might even get less than 50% and lose the right to govern!
Guess who is the pathetic one? The one handcuffed, in shackles, who could not walk properly?
No, no, no. Not the one who could still argue so reasonably well, who could take the greatest dictator on earth and skin all his wrong mindsets and acts alive.
But the PAP, the leadership of LHL, the police, the ones who filed the police reports, and a judiciary that, unlike other countries’, refuses to give such a baseless case a miss.