Singapore no different from North Korea by banning foreigners at Pink Dot

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The recent ban on foreigner participation for Pink Dot really makes me worried for civil society in Singapore (not like I weren’t before).

Imagine setting a rule saying no one is supposed to turn up in orange for your event, and you failing to make sure of that, would lead to you the organisers being prosecuted.

Then it is very easy to sabotage your event, all I have to do is pay $50 to someone who will turn up in orange for your event, and your event has to stop and you will be charged. How clever, and how disgusting!

Some people say the regulations are aimed directly at Pink Dot, a gay support event that most of conservative society would frown upon and hence not suport anyway.

But I think the effect is greater than that. If the PAP were really against the gay support movement itself, they could jolly well have banned the event altogether, on the premise that it violates our laws against ‘promotion of the homosexual lifestyle’, the same clause the regime uses to ban positive gay and lesbian portrayals on TV and media.

The purpose and intention of the ban on foreigners for Pink Dot, is obviously for something greater – political rallies!

Imagine banning foreigners from attending your Population or other political demonstrations at Hong Lim Park. Already numbers are dwindling due to shrewd police ‘officers’ sneakily video-taping people (I think people should turn up in Guy Fawkes masks, but then they will start banning masks at rallies). Now with the ban on foreigners, it makes it so easy for the PAP to jeopardise your event – use $50 to buy a foreigner (or someone who claims to be one) to stand at your event, and tada, your event has to stop, and you prosecuted.

How long will Singaporeans take this?

Just like how North Korea stops outsiders from interacting with their own people, Singapore is doing the same.

I really don’t know how different we are from North Korea. Can someone enlighten me?

Dialects not allowed to be sung at The Voice Singapore-Malaysia

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The mainstream media zooms in on the Mandarin requirement of the competition

The Voice, that had been hughly popular in China, producing none other than our famed Nathan Hortono, is having its Singapore-Malaysia version. Although there is no restriction on race, the requirements do state the need to be ‘fluent in Mandarin’. This has caused irk among many netizens and the mainstream media in Singapore has added fuel to the fire. They say the organisers are not living up to multiculturalim and could be undermining potential non-ethnic Chinese talents.

However, there is a bigger, less-talked-about problem with the requirements. That is, that songs ‘of any language’ can be sung, with the exception of ‘dialects, like Cantonese or Hokkien’. This is believed to be due to dialect restriction on the Singapore side. (PAP has anti-dialect regulation in its Broadcast Acts; although it has allowed dialects on TV during the SARS period, and Radio 95.8FM still has daily dialect news broadcasts, and movies also allow a certain percentage of dialect use.)

This is awkward because even Mandarin-promoting China is not fuzzy about dialect songs. G.E.M, who hailed from Hong Kong, is a star in China through these singing competitions where she wowed with her Cantonese songs, no less. No authority or individual in the Greater China region, had any complaints. It is unpalatable that far over here in Singapore, where dialects were our mother tongues, these vernacular languages are dealth with with such intolerance, to the extent of exterminating them. Is this not a greater suppression on talent?

Of course, our mainstream media will not pay heed to such ‘difficult topics’. They will only seek to thrive on silly arguments amongst you, and mix and match on their ‘non-confrontational’ news coverage. As long as it does not say bad about our government!

Grace Fu: No rocket science to deciding line-up of Parliamentary questions

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As reported by States Times Review, Leader of the House and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Grace Fu recently complained about Parliamentary speeches getting longer, and as a result, she had to stay until 10pm in Parliament.

Grace Fu: I am working longer hours

She said: “Compared to previous terms of Government, Parliament sittings are getting longer — with Members of Parliament (MPs) staying behind until 10pm at a sitting last month… To some extent, we can sit longer if need be… But in overall terms, I would prefer to have a focused, meaningful sitting… this would be more beneficial for the quality of debate.”

The S$1.76 million-a-year PAP Minister then told all MPs to keep their speeches short to save time: “Participate vigorously in debates by all means, but keep your speeches short, sharp and to the point.”

Minister Grace Fu then pulled out statistics saying that Parliament sessions are working longer hours now and the average sitting duration has hit 6 hours: “The House that the average sitting duration for the 13th Parliament under the present term of Government was six hours and 23 minutes, compared to five hours and 40 minutes for the 12th Parliament, and five hours and eight minutes for the 11th Parliament.”

‘No rocket science’ in deciding Parliament question line-up

At the parliament session on May 8th, WP MP Pritam Singh asked how the priority of Parliamentary questions are being decided given the ‘lack of time’. The opposition MP then said he had to wait for months for his question to be answered for a question he raised last year.

To this, Minister Grace Fu answered: “There was no rocket science to deciding on the line-up. If there are lots of questions on a topic… If a question concerns a topical issue, it gets put in front. A balance is struck between questions from all sides of the House.”

No talk on Singaporean workers’ long working hours

Singapore workers work the longest hours in the world, averaging 45.6 hours a week. However, no mention of long working hours was ever made in Parliament.

France’s election sees two mainstream parties knocked out for first time

The election was the first time the country’s two mainstream political parties had been knocked out in the first round of voting since the Second World War.

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Pro-European Union centrist Emmanuel Macron has pledged to unite a divided France after sweeping to victory in the final round of a historic presidential election.

While anti-establishment sentiment in France – which also characterised the UK’s Brexit vote and the ascendance of Donald Trump to the US presidency – was epitomised by Le Pen, Macron’s win also marked a breakdown in traditional French politics.

The election was the first time the country’s two mainstream political parties had been knocked out in the first round of voting since the Second World War.

That’s not the only reason this election was extraordinary: it saw anti-immigration Le Pen’s Front National clawing its way from the fringes with a projected 11 million votes, an historic gain; turnout was the lowest in decades as millions abstained in protest; and it was dogged by corruption scandals and claims of external interference, in particular from Russia.

As Europe, investors and liberal observers worldwide breathed a sigh of relief that the business- and EU-friendly Macron had held off what is seen as a tide of populism, analysts warned that optimism should be tempered.

Jessica Hinds, European economist at Capital Economics, noted that Le Pen is looking to rebrand and normalise her party, while Macron’s growth-boosting reforms, starting with an overhaul of France’s rigid labour market, may have to be watered down.

“We remain cautiously optimistic that Macron can deliver at least some of his reforms. But it will not be an easy task,” she said, noting that any failure may serve to bolster further support for his populist rival.

Public Finance International

Singapore’s education system cannot match 21st Century economy

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By Albert Tay

The problem is our education system and education curriculum and education structure and culture and content, cannot match up with 21st Century demands and expectations.

This is a fact.

And the reason? The PAP.

In its pursuit and insistence on keeping the rigid and elitist education system, they sacrificed hordes of Singaporeans who now cannot find themselves fitting into the new jobs of the 21st Century, whereby locals need to be replaced by foreigners who are more adept at these new millemium skills.

And here we are blaming the PAP for not having restrictions on foreign staff in compaines based in Singapore. But the real reason is our outdated education system cannot keep up.

Where is the entrepreneural spirit in our education system? Where is the critical thinking needed for the 21st Century?

In order to sustain the PAP’s dominance in politics in Singapore, the PAP has chosen to keep Singapore students and grauduates stupid and docile and unable to react to 21st Century situations. At the same time, nurturing a generation of spoilt brats who have no manners and no guts at the same time.

That is why I support the WP’s and SDP’s recommendations for changes to our education system.

Fix that, and we fix the economy.

But before that, we have to change the ruling party because the PAP will not change.

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Despite the wayang