Monthly Archives: August 2008

Have suggestions for the Govt?

The following is a tongue-in-cheek (maybe) idea from Jack Sim, founder and director of the World Toilet Organisation, on how to “facilitate innovative suggestions and avoid any misunderstanding with the Government”. Jack Sim reportedly once said: “We need to make toilets and sanitation sexy.”

Each time a citizen wants to suggest a new way of improving any aspect of Singapore society, he runs the risk of being accused of:

1. Not appreciating the overall government good work since 1965.

2. Being ungrateful and always complaining.

3. The bureaucrats tend to use such accusations to turn the table on the complainant and make him feel like he is in the wrong to suggest improvements.

4. After all, this is the best run country in the world and there is no perfect government in the world. Continue reading

Seeing stars: Uniquely S’pore – Equality

Leong Sze Hian / Senior Writer

Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that most bond breakers come from more affluent families.

I refer to media reports about the break-down of scholarship awardees who stay in HDB and private property.

I would like to suggest that the percentage of scholars from HDB flats be further broken down to the different flat types, i.e. 1 – 2 room, 3-room, 4-room, and 5-room and bigger. Since the private property data was broken down to landed and condominiums, why not the HDB data ?

I understand that the statistics last reported in the media was that more than 60 per cent of scholars comes from HDB 5-room and bigger, and private property.

According to the Department of Statistics’ (DOS) 2008 Yearbook of Statistics, 69 per cent of HDB flats were 4-room and smaller. Continue reading

Don’t beat down activists

Below is a letter which Gerald Giam wrote to My Paper in response to the paper’s article on politics and the Olympics by its sports editor, Chia Han Keong.

Gerald’s letter has not been published.


Dear Editor,

I was disappointed to read your sports editor Chia Han Keong’s commentary, “Keep politics out of the Olympics” (my paper, August 4).

Mr Chia said that activists who “plan to protest and disrupt” the Olympics are “no better than” the Munich Olympics terrorists. Continue reading

National Day or MP Day?

Gerald Giam / Deputy Editor

As August 9th draws near, springing up all over the island are posters of smiling People’s Action Party Members of Parliament (MP) and Government ministers wishing Singaporeans a Happy National Day. While this might be a regular sight that Singaporeans have been conditioned to accept all these years, I question its necessity.

Like most other Singaporeans, I love National Day and the festivities that come with it. Singapore has achieved much over the past 43 years and we have much to be proud of and grateful for.

But why is there a need for politicians to splash their faces across every other National Day poster? In my little sub-constituency of Canberra in Sembawang GRC, I have counted at least two giant sized billboards. Continue reading

Seeing Stars: Uniquely Singapore – Progress

Leong Sze Hian / Senior Writer

In this special series of Uniquely Singapore, Leong Sze Hian takes a look at the 5 stars of our flag and how it relates to certain issues. This first article focuses on “Progress”.

I refer to the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) report, “Focus on older people in and out of employment”, released at the end of July.

67 per cent of older workers (age 50 and over) worked as production, cleaners, labourers and related workers.

According to the MOM’s Report on Wages in Singapore 2007, the lowest paid category of workers, was the group comprising cleaners, labourers and related workers, with a median gross pay of $ 968.

The annualised wage change for this group was zero, from 1997 to 2007.

In the case of cleaners, labourers and related workers, the wages were largely flat in the earlier age groups, before declining for those in their 40s onwards to a low of 0.63 for the 60 – 64 age group.

Since the median gross pay for this group was only $ 968, does it mean that older workers are paid even less ? Continue reading

A party for patriotism on National Day

John Ang / Guest Writer

National Day to me has always been simply a day to spend staring at the television.

The only thing that I looked forward to was the fly-past of the F-16 fighters and the fireworks. I didn’t sing along to the national songs, nor the anthem, and I didn’t really give two hoots about it being the celebration of the successes of Singapore. In fact, my apathy went so deep that some years I do not even know which birthday we were supposed to be celebrating.

This year didn’t look like it would turn out any different. NS hadn’t made me love Singapore more in any way (rather, the opposite was true). My decision to dig deeper into our policies and politics had stripped away my illogical conclusion that if Singapore was clean, safe, and had buses and trains that ran on time, everything else had to work out fine too. So, when one of my old friends invited me to a National Day party at his house, I reluctantly accepted out of courtesy and dragged my feet every step of the way, dreading the imminent moment where I would have to force out a display of nationalism.

Oh, how wrong I was! Continue reading

Celebrating the S’pore spirit?

At the crack of dawn at 5.30am when I go to work, one get to see many of the elderly behaving like the proverbial early bird getting the worm – scavenging at dump sites and rubbish bins for cartons, drink cans and anything that can be sold for cash. You get to see people rummaging through the rubbish bins of the nearby Sheng Song supermarket for any thrown-away vegetables and fruits that are still edible.

Going Back

We, the citizens

Tan Kin Lian / Columnist

Our national flag contains five stars, representing the values of democracy, peace, progress, equality and justice.

These national values have been creatively arranged into our national pledge, which is taught to every student in school and recited by the people at each year’s National Day Rally.

We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language and religion, to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality, so as to achieve peace and progress for our nation.

Singapore can be proud of the racial and religious harmony of our united people, regardless of race, language and religion. This has contributed to the peace and progress of our nation.

I wish to discuss the three key values that make this possible – democracy, equality and justice. Continue reading