Monthly Archives: March 2010

General Elections walkovers: Why doing away with it will help Singapore progress.

I read with interest of Mr Tan Hong Ngan’s letter to The Straits Times. In it, he called for the Government to do away with General Elections walkover because it was unfair to the opposition parties:

This is because of Singapore’s unique group representation constituency (GRC) system, which puts enormous strain on the opposition to match the People’s Action Party, owing to lack of resources and credible candidates.

He carried on to say that every Singaporean should be given a chance to vote:

Although we boast a high voter turnout in every election, the underlying picture tells only half the story. It is not very surprising if a citizen does not get to vote in his lifetime in democratic Singapore. This basic human right to choose one’s leaders is denied to some because of the GRC system.

A quick insight of GRCs. GRCs operate with a plurality voting system, voting by party slate, meaning that the party with the largest share of votes wins all seats in the GRC. This means that even with a one-vote plurality or majority, the winning team gets to win the whole GRC. All Singaporean GRCs have had a People’s Action Party (PAP) base. Some opposition parties have won seats in SMCs, but never in a GRC.

The official justification for GRCs is to allow minority representation. However, opposition parties have criticized GRCs as making it even more difficult for independent and opposition members to get elected, as a single strong candidate will find it very difficult to win and a very expensive group deposit of at least S$67,500 (S$13,500 per candidate) is required to stand for election.

The opposition has also charged the government with deliberately modifying GRC boundaries at very short notice, and “stuffing” otherwise weak GRCs with cabinet ministers. Many PAP MPs have also entered parliament by being placed in a Minister’s GRC and so have never faced a vote.

I also agree with Mr Tan on his next point:

If only one party stands in a GRC, the poll should still be carried out. The lone party must win enough votes to secure the parliamentary seat.

This will make the competition fair and give those Singaporeans who have never voted because of walkovers, a chance to let their vote do the talking.

But then, we have Mr Kong Siong Kwong, who rebutted Mr Tan with his letter, ‘Banning walkovers unfair’.

Mr Tan argued that ‘this basic human right to choose one’s leaders is denied to some because of the GRC system’. This may be a fallacy. The group representation constituency (GRC) system is not intended purposely and primarily to create walkovers. Even if it was, the incumbent does not hold sway over events on Nomination Day. Opposition parties can field their candidates, albeit with some difficulty.

The problem is simply that opposition parties have not been able, try as they may, to put up a one-party or multi-party team to contest. This sad situation has existed for many years.

But why should walkovers be banned? What about being fair to the only nominee who is also Singaporean and entitled to his rights? It is inequitable to insist that this one candidate must be voted on and secure more than 50 per cent of the votes cast in order to establish that he has the support of constituents.

We can clearly see which side Mr Kong is on. I like what Callan Tham, in his Trapper’s Swamp blog post said about Mr Kong’s comments:

That’s not how a democracy works. Nominees have to earn the votes, and a walkover, especially in a GRC with its high entry barrier, does not imply that the constituents have given their mandate to them. By holding the polls and making them earn a majority will we know the will of the voters.

That is our right, and that is how a democracy should work. It is not about being fair to those running, it is about the mandate, and holding them accountable, and making sure they have the support of the voters to represent them in Parliament.

I for one, who would be glad that we do away with walkovers. The opposition parties that are currently in Parliament are so few, they might as well as not be there.

Without walkovers, we get to see a fairer competition between the PAP and the opposition parties, which in other words, means progress for Singapore and her citizens.

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TwestivalSG: Tweet. Meet. Give.

Did you go for TwestivalSG yesterday?. It was probably Singapore’s biggest tweetup ever. Even people who are not on Twitter turned up for the event too.

If you have no idea what a Twestival is, no worries. I will give you a brief overview. For starters, tweeples (people who tweet), don’t hide behind a computer or an iPhone all day long just to tweet. Like the motto of TwestivalSG, we tweet, we meet and we give.

Every year on the 25th of March, people in hundreds of cities around the world will come together offline to rally around the important cause of Education by hosting local events to have fun and create awareness.  Twestival™ (or Twitter Festival) uses social media for social good.  All of the local events are organized 100% by volunteers and 100% of all ticket sales and donations go direct to projects.

Well, I volunteered for this event. So when the organiser, Mike Foong, asked me what I wanted to volunteer for, I immediately signed up for, what else?. Registration. I figured, if I wanted to meet people, plonking myself down at the registration table was the best way to do it. And i did, I finally met tweeps like @patlaw , @clicktokill , @litford, just to name a few.

So, I was the official ‘door bitch’ with @daphnemaia. Enjoy the photos. Taken by the pros, @inrsoul and @dazzachazza.

Me and my fellow doorbitch, @daphnemaia

@allanjits, @inrsoul and me

@clicktokill, @nikpaniki, @inrsoul and me

@clicktokill, @patlaw and me

@smithankyou, the unofficial Twitter mascot

The host for the night, @JoeAugustin with the organiser, @mikefoong

@angelsherwin was paid to strip, all in the name of charity

but he chicken out and did a dance instead. Nonetheless, many tweeples still donated.

Performnce by @jackandrai

@furryphotos and @daphnemaia. Sweetest couple ever 🙂

@clicktokill and me.

@danielgoh and me

And finally, the organising committee and volunteers of TwestivalSG. L-R: @williswee, @sarah_chong, me, @daphnemaia, @mikefoong, @omgzam, @sm7catscan, @inrsoul and @blackawfee

And at the end of it all, I was high and satisfied.

Have you donated yet? 🙂

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Jack Neo: Forgiven but never Forgotten

So, Jack Neo apologised today. I was expecting him to explain why he made such a stupid mistake. But his much anticipated ‘tell all’ turned to be only a ‘I’m sorry’ speech.

For those who don’t know about Singapore’s very own ‘Tiger Woods’ scandal’, let me give you a brief introduction. 

Jack Neo, Singapore’s most successful film-maker, confessed to a two-year affair with a freelance model less than half his age after the woman exposed it by showing up at his Pasir Ris semi-detached home. A few days after that, a string of women came out to ‘air their grievances’ about how the famous director hit on them. His wife, who was surprisingly calm, told the media that she ‘doesn’t care how many women Jack has because she loves him and that she already knew about the affair for a year’. Singapore’s Foreign Minister, George Yeo, a personal friend of Jack, decided to join in the debate about the scandal, by asking Singaporeans to ‘rally around Jack and his family‘. 

I understand the uproar over this incidence. Jack is supposed to be a role model just for the fact the he is the most popular and well-known director in Singapore and he was awarded the PBM in 2004 and a Cultural Medallion in 2005 for his accomplishments in the movie industry.

I also know where some social workers and Singaporeans are coming from when they feel that Mrs Neo’s ‘nonchalant’ attitude over this incident is a ‘disgrace’ to all women. ‘What value is she teaching us?!’ or ‘Is she even a woman’? is their battle cry. After all, what do couples pledge to each other when they say their marriage vows?.

But let’s pause for a moment, shall we?. Why are we baying for his blood?. I’m not supporting extra-marital affairs, but doesn’t everybody make mistakes?.

Yes, as a Christian, Jack should have remembered the ‘Thou shall not commit adultery‘ commandment. Well, he committed that sin, but who are we to judge him?. Let God judge him instead.

I think the witch hunt to find which other women he is involved with is very shameful. I mean, he already committed adultery. Would the number of women he slept with make any difference?.

I would say it’s the Neos’ curse for being famous. Would a normal guy’s extra-marital affairs gain as much attention as this?. Of course not. 

I will say this to those who are baying for his blood. Stop ‘punishing’ him and his family already by trying to look for his ‘other women’. To confess about such ‘dirty linen’ in the public takes courage. Think of the ridicule that his 4 children will go through.

I believe to Jack, he is already being punished by his wife’s decision, which I must say is very brave, to forgive him, which will probably make him even more guilty. I mean, which wife would remain so calm instead of getting mad and divorcing him immediately?. Hopefully, he will learn his lesson.

I’m not one to speculate, but I believe Mrs Neo did what she did to protect her children. After all, a her children is still young. By forgiving her husband and not leaving him, she is allowing her children to grow up in a complete family setting.

So let’s respect her decisions. I believe she has already suffer a great deal by choosing this path. 

But sadly for Jack, while Singaporeans are generally a forgiving bunch and his movies will still continue to entertain us, this scandal will be a black mark on his once unblemished record. 

And what is Minister George Yeo’s role in this scandal?. I have no idea.

Refresh my memory, did President Barack Obama give his ‘two cents worth’ when the Tiger Wood’s scandal broke?.

I rest my case.



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Our Not So Secret Lives: Crossroads

Not So Secret Lives is a story about 2 youths, Trey and Jesse, and the friends around them using a blog. The story is fictional but the issues are what teenagers go through these days. I strongly recommend this blog/show because Trey and Jesse will touch on taboo subjects like Sex, HIV and STI, which my readers will know I blogged about in my earlier posts.

I was invited to the blogger preview of the new season, Our Not So Secret Lives: Crossroads. Not to worry if you missed out on the first season. You can catch up on it in the blog.

The new season begins with Trey finding himself awake the next day after a hangover at a party the previous night in a hotel room, naked. And there is a strand of black hair. Then he starts feeling real guilty about waking up and having no idea what happened.

He starts lying to Jesse over and over again and doesn’t dare to face her. As he recounts the incident of that particular with his best friend, Cameron, the picture of what happened that night became clearer. And he realises he had unprotected sex.

I feel that since he already has a girlfriend, he shouldn’t be getting drunk and having sex with random strangers. The result of his irresponsible actions may lead to serious consequences. AIDS, for one, comes to mind.

“Harmless fun may not be as harmless as you think”. Find out why at Not So Secret Lives. You can join in the discussions too in the Facebook fan page

There is a contest too. Click here

Prizes
Four $200 CapitaGift Cards are up for grabs.
Judges’ Choice: Best written blog entry
Judges’ Choice: Best submitted entry (via Google form on blogs)
Lucky draw prizes (x2): One participant (blog reader) will be picked from all qualified submitted entries (excluding the Judges’ Choice) along with the blogger from whose blogsite the participant had submitted the entry through.

Submission deadlines
The contest starts on 7 March 2010, and ends on 28 March 2010, 2359hrs. Any entry after 28 March will not be considered for the contest.




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