WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN [till the next boo-boo]

[Updated June 1, 2002]


The nation-builder press has reported many instances of $ingapore's talking heads using the new "cool word". It's "paradigm" or "new paradigm" or "a paradigm shift". Paradigm has replaced "world class" as the new cool word to be seen and heard using.

What does paradigm mean? A paradigm is a working model or framework to explain a process or a system. When a country wants to move to a new framework, it implies the old methods no longer work. A paradigm shift is a drastic change from the norm. Paradigm shifts would take place in systems where the top commands and the rest follows. It is not an organic or natural shift. Paradigm is the twin word to "pragmatic".

As an example of paradigm shifts - $ingapore moved from having its citizens stop at two babies to encouraging them to have at least three; from learning Malay as a national language, to English and then Mandarin and back to English again. Check out some recent examples extracted from the nation-builder press:

"The paradigms of conveyancing have changed. And if paradigms have changed, then lawyers must look into new areas rather than relying on those which are slowly evaporating."
- Lawyer Derrick Wong, the nation-builder press, Apr 27 2002.

"Singapore is low on the paradigm of business start-ups. The question is: How to improve it?"
- Professor John Altman, an American who specialises in entrepreneurship, nation-builder press, May 13 2002.

"This (censorship review committee) is a process of engagement so that we begin to look at these issues and look for paradigms that can help us deal with the future."
- Acting minister for information and arts, David Lim, in the nation-builder press, May 13 2002.

"We need a paradigm shift in the minds of all $ingaporeans that the arts contribute to the well-being of our society, as well as to the creation of new jobs, and greater competitiveness of our economy."
- Acting minister for information and arts, David Lim, in the nation-builder press, May 23 2002.


THE BIG O #1-4 (Viz Comics)
by Hitoshi Ariga. The Big O was created by Hajime Yatate

Some call theirs memoirs. But memories are what define a person just as history defines a nation. But in the city of Paradigm, everyone has lost his memories.

"Nobody knows why, but the people in Paradigm City have managed to get along anyway: as long as they know how to operate machines and can get electricity, they can pretend to have a culture even with no history."

The most valuable asset in Paradigm is the Memory Repository - a museum if you like. This is where "bad elements" strike to steal back memories.

But only the old mourned the loss of their memories, the young don't care about a lack of history. The city is run by the impossibly powerful Paradigm Group, "an omnipresent corporation that serves as God and country." But Paradigm City has two unexplained phenomena, giant robots and human-looking androids.

The most powerful of the robots is the one called The Big O. Whenever danger strikes at the city, The Big O is called to action. When the robot is activated, its startup message is the ominous "Cast in the name of God... Ye not guilty."

The Big O is an anime that ran on Japanese TV from October 1999 to January 2000. It later appeared on the Cartoon Network in America. It is now being serialised in a new comic book also called The Big O that will conclude the story that was left hanging after the final 13th episode.

In issue #4, it was reported that a new Big O anime series is in the works in Japan and may appear on Cartoon Network in America before it debuts in Japan.


"A baby born prematurely to a young couple at a private hospital needed surgery that only KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) could provide. But KKH said it required a $60,000 deposit before it would admit the baby. As the child was considered a private patient, the couple had to guarantee they could pay the bill. Fortunately, Mount Alvernia Hospital, where the baby was born, agreed to pay the deposit."
- The nation-builder press, May 21 2002

"...I regret making the decision because, in the end, the baby continued to be in intensive care, and KKH now runs up a total bill of more than $300,000..."
- Minister of Health Lim Hng Kiang, the nation-builder press, May 21 2002.

"...no Singaporeans will be denied access into the healthcare system or turned away by the public hospitals because of the inability to pay... Patients requiring emergency or urgent surgery are always admitted immediately without any waiting..."
- Ministry of HealthÕs Healthcare Philosophy found at http://app.internet.gov.sg/scripts/moh/newmoh/asp/our/our01.asp

"...In spite of the complex medical conditions and the sheer numbers of patients we treat daily, patients who come through our doors are constantly reminded that they are children or women first, and patients second.

"It's this belief in personalised patient-centred care, together with our medical expertise, that has created a tradition of medical excellence at KKH. And this fundamental principle still holds true to this day...."
- KKH's "Philosophy of Care" found at http://www.kkh.com.sg/article.cfm?id=23§ion=14

"The Hypocrite's Oath."
- The Mirror of Opinion, May 21 2002.


"No newspaper in the world is obliged to run any letter, no matter how long, without the right to ask for changes to be made in it."
- The Forum Page Editor, nation-builder press, May 24 2002, on why they refused to run Chee Soon Juan's letter.

"We read the letter. It's not too long and makes its points clearly."
- The Mirror of Opinion, May 24 2002.

Here's Chee Soon Juan's letter which was not published.

Chee's amended reply to Henson article:

It is clear that Ms Henson does not want to engage in reasoned debate on the right to freedom of assembly and speech in Singapore ("The message matters, not the messenger, Dr CheeÓ, ST, May 5 2002) and has instead chosen to stage personal attacks.

In the process she committed errors of logic and fact. For example, she said: "I for one would have liked to hear what he has to say about workers' conditions". That is precisely what Mr Gandhi Ambalam and I were trying to do at the rally. How can Ms Henson or anyone else know what we have to say if the Government won't let us have the rally?

Ms Henson also asked, albeit rather rhetorically, whether I could offer alternative solutions for the present problems that beset Singapore's workers? The SDP has published a report about poverty and labour in Singapore entitled First World For Whom? where we not only pointed out the problems with the Singapore economy and plight of the working poor but also offered studied alternatives.

We held a launch cum press conference one week before Labour Day to introduce this report. The local media completely blacked out the story. Isn't it a little unfair for the media to first censor news about SDP's alternatives and thereafter accuse us of not coming up with any?

Ms Henson also made one glaring omission. On a day when hundreds of thousands of workers all over the world marched to commemorate International Labour Day, why is it that only the Singapore government banned attempts for Singaporeans to do the same? Were workers and other activists all over the world also just pulling off "stunts" and "antics" as Ms Henson puts it? Where is the respect of the rights of workers and citizens to publicly demonstrate their unhappiness over government policies?

The truth of the matter is that the PAP knows that the only way that it can control Singaporeans is to prevent them from coming together. Surely, it is aware that Singaporeans are unhappy over issues such as elderly Singaporeans having to literally work until they die, thousands of families being so poor that they cannot even afford to send their children to school, Singaporeans, unbelievable as it may seem, still making incomes of less than $500/month, Singapore making First World GDP per capita income but paying workers Third World wages and Singapore becoming so stressful that countless people have had to seek psychiatric help.

These are some of the issues that would have been raised at the Istana rally had it been allowed to go on. We would have also spoken about the alternatives that were open to Singaporeans, especially workers. Most important, we would have told Singaporeans that in order for them to pressure the PAP for change, the ability for citizens to come together on occasions such as Labour Day was imperative.

Ms Henson also excoriated us for not following the law and accused that what we did was for the benefit of non-Singaporeans. How she wants to interpret our actions and intentions is her prerogative.

What we would like Singaporeans to note is that there are just laws and unjust laws. While it is the responsibility of every citizen to uphold laws that are just, it is also our duty to resist unjust laws made by the government to stifle dissent.

If Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, and Aung San Suu Kyi were all to follow the laws laid down by their governments India would still be a British colony, segregation in the U.S. would still be in effect, South Africa would still be divided by apartheid, and Aung San Suu Kyi would still be in prison.

Before Ms Henson chides me for comparing myself to these leaders, let me assure her that that is not my intention. I am merely pointing out the fact that without resistance and disobedience to unjust laws, justice and democracy cannot be won.

It is not the first time I have broken an unjust law. It will also not be the last. This is not a boast. Neither is it a threat. It is only a statement of determination, in my own imperfect way, to do what I can to bring about a more open, more democratic political process in my country. - Chee Soon Juan

To find out more of the Singapore Democratic PartyÕs new book First World For Whom? go to http://www.singaporedemocrats.org


In the new budget, a Member of Parliament's allowance will be taxed from 2003. Previously, an MP's allowance was tax free. Your "servants" earn $10,800 a month in MP allowance. But the tax on the rich has just been cut.

"It is good for businesses and individuals; also helps the needy."
- The nation-builder press, May 5 2002. This yearÕs budget reduces taxes on the rich and raises the GST to 5% affecting all Singaporeans. The GST will tax the people approximately $1.32 billion each year.

"The Budget is a blueprint of a country's values."
- The Mirror of Opinion, May 16 2002

The nation-builder press, Mar 13 2002.

The nation-builder press, Mar 15 2002.


"Sixty or so Malaysians were arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) because they were alleged to have been involved in the Sept 11 New York World Trade Centre disaster. They had links with international Islamic terrorists, in particular the Bin Ladin chapter, according to the Malaysian Government.

"But then, when the Western media said that Malaysia is a hotbed of Islamic extremism and was the 'host' to the Sept 11 event, the Malaysian government threatened to take the publication to court while profusely denying the allegation.

"Then the FBI director visited Malaysia and gave the country a clean bill of health - which Malaysia gleefully publicised to ensure that no such allegations against the country are ever made again. But the 60 'Islamic extremists with Al-Qaeda links' still sit in jail - detained without trial for their 'crimes'."
- FreeAnwar.com, May 6 2002.


"And when all else fails: beat the dead horse of terrorism in Indonesia. Indonesia is now a country of laws. We do not make arbitrary arrests of our citizens, precisely because this was the policy of the New Order (Suharto), when thousands were arrested, tortured and incarcerated without judicial proceedings of any sort. We do not make arrests without a preponderance of evidence; exactly the same as in other democracies in the world."
- Mahendra Siregar, expert staff of the minister co-ordinator for economic affairs, Indonesia. This letter was printed in The Economist, May 11 2002.


"What was originally supposed to be a war against terrorist groups with global reach - ostensibly Al-Qaeda - has now become a global war... even against groups that do not threaten or attack the United States."
- Charles Pena, US defense analyst, Cato Institute, 2002.

"Are they in $ingapore? We don't think so because we are quite careful."
- General Lee Hsien Loong in the nation-builder press, Sept 23 2001 (above). He was responding to western media reports that Osama bin Laden's group was laundering money through $ingapore.


Thirteen Singaporeans were arrested under the ISA between Dec 9 and Dec 24 2001. They have been jailed without trial and there has been no news about them for 158 days.


Burma's democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi was freed on May 6 2002, after 19 months under house arrest. Her freedom came about because Burma's pariah status had finally brought the country's economy to its knees. It was boycotted by many countries and companies. $ingapore is Burma's biggest investor with the amount reported between US$770 million to US$1.5 billion in 65 projects in property development, manufacturing, food and beverages (AP report Mar 25 1998).r

The nation-builder press, Feb 12 2002.

The last big visit to Burma was made by three $ingapore ministers in Feb 1999. Lee Yock Suan, Mah Bow Tan and Lim Hng Kiang went to Burma to promote economic cooperation between the two countries. On Feb 12 2002, the nation-builder press reported "Myanmar sliding into economic catastrophe" and said the country's current reserves are "no more than US$240 million". It did not mention what happened to $ingapore's billion dollar investments.

As for Suu Kyi's views on $ingapore, this is what she told Burma Project co-director Alan Clements in the 1997 book, The Voice Of Hope.

Alan Clements: Let's be specific. How do you feel about $ingapore's massive infusion of economic dollars (Clements put the figure at US$770 million) into SLORC-controlled Burma? We all know that a vast percentage of these millions of dollars goes right into the bank accounts of the generals and their most favoured friends.

Aung San Suu Kyi: I don't think it helps the democratic cause and in the long run it will not help their economic cause either. Because I do not think that without a change in the political system Burma will be able to maintain its economic development. The reason why it seems as though Burma has developed economically over the last six years is that we started from less than zero, and it's very easy to show progress from that point.

Alan Clements: Can you explain how investing in Burma doesn't help the country from where the investment originates? $ingapore thinks it is secure.

Aung San: The $ingaporeans think that the lack of democracy is not an obstacle in the way of economic success. It may not have been so in their own country, but $ingapore is very different from Burma. Here in Burma, the present system of government is such that there can be no economic progress. The system of education is such that there cannot be any sustained development. They have not looked at the factors that really matter. What they're looking at is the fact that Burma is virgin territory. Let's take the tourist industry as an example. People just want to go to a new place that others have not yet been. So they calculate that if they invest in the tourist industry of Burma they will be able to reap good returns. But as I understand it, the tourist figures are not good.

Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. She does not have a million-dollar salary.

Read more: Burma-$ingapore Axis http://www.singapore-window.org/804caq9.htm


The nation-builder press, May 4 2002.

Seventy percent of Singaporeans do not pay taxes. About 110,000 Singaporeans are unemployed. With the GST at 5%, $ingaporeans will likely pay $1.32 billion in GST to the government.

"You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich."
- Both Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher attributed the above quote to Abraham Lincoln. But there is no evidence in LincolnÕs speeches that he ever said that.

"Neither can you help the poor man by raising the cost of living."
- The Mirror of Opinion, May 4 2002.


The nation-builder press, May 6 2002.

The nation-builder press, Apr 20 2001.

"The overall amount of remuneration paid to cabinet ministers and ministers of state in the last financial year was $27.8 million."
- The nation-builder press, Apr 20 2001. $ingapore has 17 ministers + 10 ministers of state = 27.

"27 ministers continue to be paid $27.8 million a year. Every $ingaporean including the110,000 unemployed will share $17.6 million in NTUCÕs GST help package for one year only."
- The Mirror of Opinion, May 6 2002.


"A strong supporter of the union movement and a champion of education and training. This was how the NTUC described PM Goh Chok Tong... when conferring on him the Distinguished Comrade of Labour award."
- The nation-builder press, May 1 2001.

Workers sacrificed $7.5 billion in 1999Õs CPF cuts:
"After (NTUC) agreed to wage cuts of up to $7.5 billion in 1999, many foreign observers wondered how we were able to pull this off ever so smoothly, as it were."
- Ee Boon Lee, editor of Petir and NTUC News writing in Managing The Crisis (published 2001).

Workers are asked to pay more taxes (about $1.32 billion) with the 5% GST in 2003:
"The (GST) increase is estimated to offset half the total shortfall from the tax cuts of around $2.5 billion..."
- Reuters, May 2 2002.

"From next year onwards, $ingaporeans will be sacrificing almost $9 billion a year on the advice of their million-dollar public servants."
- The Mirror of Opinion, May 2 2002.


"We have to bring down our corporate and personal income tax rates to make ourselves more competitive. However, this will cause a large shortfall in government revenue, which has to be made up one way or another. The most effective way to do so is by raising the GST rate."
- General Lee Hsien Loong, the Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, nation-builder press May 4 2002.

"Here's another effective way without raising GST: Use our profits from the 'US$100 billion reserves'. SM Lee Kuan Yew has said the returns on our investments are 'adequate'. If the returns are only 1% that's US$1 billion or S$1.8 billion."
- The Mirror of Opinion, May 4 2002.


A United Nations envoy May 2 2002 criticised heavy-handed police action against May Day marchers as "deplorable" and urged the government to recognise the right and need of the people to demonstrate peacefully as it resulted from government restrictions on freedom of expression and the press, malaysiakini reports.

UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Param Cumarasamy said, "When freedom of the press, including the electronic media, is curtailed by censorship, directly or self-imposed, or by control by the government, then the public or certain sections of the public will be denied the space to express or impart their opinion publicly."

[Part Two...]