on speech: free speech, ethnic harmony and Watain

Musings from Singapore

Free speech, ethnic harmony and Watain


Societies everywhere have become too sensitive about speech. One person taking offence should not be grounds for the police to investigate speech (as regularly happens in Singapore). The broadening definition of micro-aggressions on US campuses is proof of this heightened sensitivity globally. I was quite shocked and disappointed to hear, for instance, that the University of California, my alma mater, had decided that it is a micro-aggression “to say that ‘America is a land of opportunity’, because it could be taken to imply that those who do not succeed have only themselves to blame.”

That doesn’t mean absolutely anything should be permissible. Freedom has its limitations. And while I instinctively disagree with the concept of “safe spaces”, this objection is secondary to a broader, more urgent notion: that the main imperative in society must be to enable different voices to be heard, to promote…

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We cannot remain silent.

via We cannot remain silent.


Constance Singam’s post has made my brain go tick tock for last few weeks.  Have I remained silent because I am afraid? If that is the case, then they have won. The government have been arresting my friends, and charging some of them in court with false charges. If we keep silent, we let them win. As long we have not broken the law, we have nothing to fear. Don’t let them win. Find courage within ourselves. Look for the light, look for love, look for like-minded friends.  Leave behind those who comply, those are afraid, those who want to climb over your heads, who want the promotion so much they would deny you, they would be no better than St Peter himself when he denied knowing Jesus. Courage is a mountain that must be scaled.

Simplify universal health insurance

Medishield seems to be quite a useless, yet compulsory insurance scheme. My question is, who is making profit from premiums being paid? At the moment, I am healthy. And my husband is relatively healthy too. My father, however is suddenly a very sick man. After his heart attack/episode in 2016, he now has to take 7-9 types of medicines. Now the doctors tell us that he has 4th stage kidney failure/disease. Why and when did this happen? When did 1st, 2nd, and /or 3rd stage begin? Is this all just a big con and scam as we always suspected? Big pharma is to blame for a lot of financial problems for others in other parts of the world. Should we not be wary of them here too? The current government is out of touch. In my humble opinion, they are earning way too much of our tax payers money. They don’t know what is really going on for us, regular human beings, Singaporeans. My heart breaks for the likes of Mr Seow, but at the same time, I want to know that my own father will be left behind. Something is rotten in the state of Singapore. Just ask Lee Hsien Yang.

Yawning Bread

The MediShield Life problem faced by Seow Ban Yam may no longer be topical in the news cycle, but it is now when enough facts have emerged that we can see the larger picture instead of being entangled by the details.

MediShield Life is a mandatory health insurance program run by the government.

The outline of the matter can be gleaned from this 31 December 2018 story in the Straits Times:  MediShield Life paid just $4.50 of senior’s $4,477 post-subsidy bill. Since the story is behind a paywall (though the details can also be found here at The Online Citizen), I will set out the gist of the matter here for convenience.

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I want to catalogue it all

I love Joel Tan!

Joel Tan | miscellaneous

1. … the way my neck stretches up to reach the mouth of this skyscraper boy with the floppy hair, wonky smile, and concerned-looking Polish eyes. It’s the first time I’ve had to climb for a kiss. How simple the prelude had been, some small talk about art and moving to Athens like all the other jaded London artists, a smile, a “you’re cute,” and “you too,” a hand on the waist, and then this kiss in the middle of a dance floor, two femme boys caught in an awkward flamingo’s embrace…

2. … the arched, nervous eyebrow of the beautiful young man in sweatpants who courses in and out of my path at the party. At the sixth hour, as we file out into the morning, I see him again. Standing on the frozen kerb, I gently fall in love with his blustering boyishness, his deep voice, the way…

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MARUAH Statement on arrest and prosecution of Jolovan Wham

Gotta stand up for Jolovan Wham, he stands up for the marginalised.

Maruah Singapore


For immediate use

3 December 2017

MARUAH condemns the arrest and prosecution of Jolovan Wham.

Civil society activist Jolovan Wham was arrested and charged with organizing public assemblies without a permit, vandalism and refusal to sign statements made to the police. The protests that Mr Wham is charged with leading are well-documented in mainstream and social media, and it is readily apparent that none of them posed a credible threat to public order. Mr Wham’s actions are merely public criticisms of the government’s stance on detention without trial, capital punishment and free speech. It is revealing that in the police press release announcing the arrest of Mr Wham, the police make a great deal of Mr Wham’s “recalcitrance” as if he were a child defying parental authority.

Singapore’s Constitution guarantees citizens of Singapore the right to freedom of speech and expression, and the right to assemble peaceably. Article…

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From the wreckage of a presidential ‘election’, racism rises like a disturbed ghost

Selected President. Installed President. President Non-Elect.

Yawning Bread

Now that the People’s Action Party government has installed Halimah Yacob as the so-called president of Singapore, racism has gained a legitimacy we once thought was forever barred. That said, this presidential charade was not the first time the PAP dispensed with its founding principles. Racism was introduced into our electoral system in 1988 through the ugly invention called “Group Representation Constituencies”. In 2017 as in 1988, the PAP demonstrated that principles can be disposed like tissue paper when they need to fend off limits to their power.

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MARUAH statement on conduct at Bukit Batok By-Election

Stop Sloganeering. We want free, fair and democratic election processes.

Maruah Singapore

We refer to recent reports on the comments made by the ruling party, the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the opposition party, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), during the campaign of the by-election in Bukit Batok.

Parts of the campaign are currently degenerating into a sloganeering on the character of Dr Chee Soon Juan, the SDP candidate. This looms ominously as the statements are made by ruling party members in the name of the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong; the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu and the Speaker of Parliament, Halimah Yacob.

As election campaign watchers, MARUAH, a human rights group, would like to put on record that this is a disappointing approach taken on by the ruling party. We cite our research in 2011 that showed how media and public figures had conducted themselves at the 2011 General Elections. At the 2013 by-election in Punggol East it…

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On Integrity, Hypocrisy & Setting Bad Examples at Bukit Batok By-election

it is sad when our PM loses his own integrity. I am ashamed of him. It makes me want to act, in real life, not just on stage. to take action, to do something. I’ve never liked the idea of being involved in politics before. Now I think, I feel, I must.

Jentrified Citizen

Presentation1 When leaders set a bad example – PM Lee and Minister Grace Fu continues the demonising of Dr Chee Soon Juan during the Bukit Batok by-election.

It is really shameful to see our Prime Minister and senior ministers behave in such a despicable manner during the Bukit Batok by-election. Ministers Grace Fu and Halimah Yacob continued the PAP’s bashing of Dr Chee Soon Juan last night at the Bukit Batok rally. They threw various slurs at him including mocking him for being “unemployed” and for being rude to former PM Goh Chok Tong, something that happened eons ago.

It is very ironic and hypocritical that we have highly educated Singaporeans buying into the character assassination of Chee based on what the PAP-govt have claimed and what the local MSM have reported including over some flimsy allegations. Yet these same people have never spoken up against the numerous unethical actions committed…

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The sickening sound of sucking up

perhaps … perhaps .. perhaps … or as they song goes “Quesas.. quizas?

Yawning Bread

Close-up of a billboard in Bukit Batok Close-up of a billboard in Bukit Batok

Sometimes timber houses can look very solid from the outside, but a sharp eye may spot signs of rot in the wood. The excessive adulation of Lee Kuan Yew, on the first anniversary of his death, may be a sign of decay in the state apparatus.

Throughout last week, when social media collectively vomited in disgust at what looked like state-organised worship, I tried to check myself. Maybe it’s only the people active on social media who are feeling disgusted, I suggested to myself. Maybe there are indeed huge numbers of Singaporeans who think it entirely appropriate to prostrate themselves, light joss-sticks, perhaps even ululate in the streets (if they knew how), to mark the anniversary.

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about me

I am still learning how to use the internet. I only came here because of Yawning bread and Alex Au. I never wanted to be a ‘public figure’ or ‘famous person’. My name is Winifred Neo Swee Lin. My parents are/were the best examples of Singapore life. They had one child, just me, I believe, late in life…. ( mum had me when she was 29, late back in 1963) she was also always ill, and caring for all of her family. here is a photo of her and dad….IMG_9209