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No ‘H’ (as in Hypocrites) In ‘PAP’, Only ‘P’s…Aplenty

Sec-Gen PAP minces not his words in condemning as ‘completely hypocritical’ SDP Sec-Gen’s action of getting his ‘guys to say all the bad things, you come along and you look magisterial, and benign and say, no you must not hit somebody’.

Just so we all have a common definition, hypocrisy is ‘the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case’. Based on the definition, we have to agree with the PAP Sec-Gen. However,  what Chee Soon Juan has been doing with and at SDP – the activities organised, the focus on producing alternative policy papers, his round-the-island walk etc etc – taken in toto including organisational capabilities, the SDP Sec-Gen appears to believe that the American approach to electioneering, in and out of season, will finally win him a seat in the Singapore parliament. For good measure (or, if you prefer, for goodness sake), Chee even cultivates a sort-of American accent when speaking English.

I’m not so sure that’s the way to go. But I wish him well.

Now, the PAP Sec-Gen further claims, ever so humbly, ‘I don’t say we never make mistakes, but when we do make mistakes, we put them right’. This is in the context of town council management. But we can reasonably take it to mean that to be the case with his party and party members all ways.

What do the records show?

One instance we recall is ‘PAP chairman and Minister for National Development Mr Khaw Boon Wan said the Workers’ Party (WP) should come clean with the people on expelled WP member Yaw Shin Leong’s alleged extramarital affair.’

However, when no less than their Speaker of Parliament was also caught with his pants down, did the PAP come clean with the people? Where the Straits Times went to town with WP Yaw Shin Leong’s adultery, Palmer was left pretty much alone to move on. But that was only after, most probably ‘the power there be’ somehow got Straits Times prominently insinuating Palmer’s co-adulterer being a two-timing woman.

And, of course, the compliant mainstream media has to give PAP a positive spin with headlines such as ‘PAP acts fast and efficiently on Michael Palmer affair: analysts‘. Perhaps, this is what is meant by the claim, ‘when we do make mistakes, we put them right’; somehow the PAP must turn up roses with each mistake made. That’s easy, isn’t it when you have a press that continues to race down the ranking by Reporters Without Borders each year?

But, let’s us stay current. Just this week, we have PM Lee himself, preaching to Civil Servants and to Singaporeans;

– the civil service must remain ‘neutral and non-political’ and
– his (PAP) ministers must ‘protect civil servants from political interference and not involve them in political activities’.

Well, action always speaks louder than words.

We can only believe the PM’s preaching if and when he explicitly allows for and instructs civil servants;

 – to attend MPs meet-the-people sessions in opposition wards as is done at PAP wards and
 – to accede to all reasonable requests by Opposition MPs and interested academicians, citizens for relevant information not disallowed under the Official Secrets Act from the ministries.

We are very clear about what a hypocrite is. But what do we call:

– Those who not only claim ‘to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case’ but go many steps further to speak loudly to themselves that they are such fine men-in-white and so unlike ‘extortioners, unjust, adulterers’, or even an ex-NUS neuro-psychologist who once foolishly used a few dollars of taxpayer’s money to post his wife’s thesis submission? Or self-congratulate themselves to have achieved a ‘sweet spot’ in Singaporeans’ lives.

– Leaders who, as members of a seemingly successful political sect, distinguish themselves by strict observance of the rule by law instead of the rule of law to demand and impose one set of accountability and transparency on members of other political sects and another for their own?

 

– And, let me share this observation that takes the cake…No, not the ‘I’m a son-of-Punggol’ claim. The PAP system has now produced a potential PM-candidate who claimed that in stepping forward to contest in GE2015 it was ‘really to serve the Singapore which I grew up in. For giving me all the opportunities through our meritocratic system. It’s not something that I’ve seen in many parts of the world. I’m indebted to Singapore’. It is his way of ‘remembering (his) roots, and giving back to society’.

How does one ‘give back’ to society? By giving up an estimated S$400,000 salary and raking in 3 X more (S$1.2 mil) of taxpayers money as a pre-guaranteed minister??? It’s sad, if it isn’t scary, that such a claim was proudly proclaimed, neither vetted nor retracted/revised. The plausible explanation is a party-wide grandiose delusional understanding of service to country.

 

 

The word for such persons who are not merely hypocritical but also self-righteous is ‘Pharisees’. Please google for your pick of definitions.

The People’s Action Party has morphed into the ‘Pharisees Action Party’ judging by not just their words but more so by their actions. To be fair, there is no law to say that Pharisees are incapable of producing some credible outward outcomes. Perhaps, for some 2 of last 5 decades, longer even.

 

Hey, I am glad for the material outward outcomes from the Pharisees. But, please, spare me the preaching.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dynastic Meritocracy vs Meritocratic Dynasty?

Back in Jan 1999, William Safire, he with the sharp pen, asked LKY pointedly about nepotism: ”Would your son be Deputy Prime Minister if he were not your son?” He snaps: ”If he were not my son, he would be the Prime Minister. He came up faster than any of the others, but I told him it would do him no good.”

Mr Safire helpfully concluded, ‘The scion must await his time.’

Fast forward to Apr 2016, the subject has morphed from ‘nepotism’ to one of ‘dynasty’ and what was, at most, an impolite question has mutated into an outright accusation of “the power that be wants to establish a dynasty”. And in place of pensmith William Safire, we have a daughter denied her right by her MSM editors to express her deceased father’s wishes the way she felt best suited. Perhaps, she was reacting to being publicly insulted that ‘reading (her) unedited writings was like sailing through a fog’.

Regardless, 70% of Singaporean voters (at least on) 11 Sep 2015 confirmed LKY’s claim of his son’s right to premiership was more than correct. Now, LKY is no longer here to discuss nepotistic or dynastic politics – which he was expressly dead against. Still, the queasy overhang of nepotism or dynasty persists. It is indeed ironical that it should be his own daughter, his last-days caregiver who should raise the matter anew and so publicly. Then again, perhaps, she must know more than anyone else of what may well be lurking around the corner – or behind close doors, among cold-calculating minds in conference.

It is very fortunate for us that Dr Lee Wei Ling has insisted that she always ‘try [sic] to stick by the truth’. That’s because it’s only when we know the truth that the truth will set us free. Good on her. Good for us. Good for Singapore.

 

Back to the lurking unease of possible dynasty establishment. In his brotherly, sad, if rebuking response, PM Lee Hsien Loong took a strong stand in reply to the dynasty accusation;

‘The idea that I should wish to establish a dynasty makes even less sense. Meritocracy is a fundamental value of our society, and neither I, the PAP, nor the Singapore public would tolerate any such attempt.’

A very strong denial to a clearly libellous statement levelled at him personally. But we have yet to hear of Dr Lee receiving a letter from Davinder Singh even as she has taken down her offending Facebook revelation.

Since the Singapore education system and mainstream media reporting have hardwired us to think and believe – from seeing the legal actions successfully prosecuted in our own courts over hints and insinuations against the personal integrity of our leaders past and present – any non-action can only leave us wondering about the truth of dynasty.

We can understand that elder brother prosecuting against younger sister is not a Confucian thing. But Singapore’s interest is paramount. Therefore, we hope that at the very least PM Lee will send a lawyer’s cease and desist letter to sister Wei Ling and to demand an unequivocal apology. Via FB will do. No need to feed ST any ad dollar.

Thereafter, since it’s family, he and Singaporeans can then close the case – and (do his favourite thing when something screws up bad) move on.

Would that not be the best course of action for him and, hence, the best outcome not just for him but also for Singapore’s reputation for by-the-book treatment and rule of law?

Dynastic Meritocracy vs Meritocratic Dynasty
On the other hand, if no action is taken, two questions will arise; is there some truth in the accusation and do double standards in the prosecution of libel exist (one for non-family, one for family…by ‘family’, we mean also ‘PAP family’)?

It would then also be reasonable for us to examine further PM Lee’s response, anew and more closely.

‘The idea that I should wish to establish a dynasty makes even less sense. Meritocracy is a fundamental value of our society, and neither I, the PAP, nor the Singapore public would tolerate any such attempt.’

 We can agree that PM Lee has very strongly denied any ‘wish to establish a dynasty’. But that’s different from giving a categorical undertaking that none of his children will ever be part of the PAP ruling elite group going forward.

That should be no surprise. As recent as Dec 2014, PM Lee revealed that “his four children are, ‘at the moment’, not interested to enter politics”.

‘At the moment’…very interesting, isn’t it? Déjà vu? Perhaps. Like Senior Lee once telling Junior Lee. And now, Junior Lee repeating to Junior Junior Lee that “it would do him no good”. So, another scion must again await his time?

Regardless, I do believe that discrimination must not apply either way. Just as non-relatives or strangers should not be discriminated against in any consideration for a position, so blood relations or friends should also not be discriminated against. Who is best suited for a job is what matters i.e. meritocratic considerations should prevail.
Clearly, PM Lee has definitely not rule out, nor rule in, any of his children joining politics. But if any does, he/she is expected to, like him be able to – and be seen to – rise up faster than any of the others.

So, there can be no doubt that meritocracy continues to be alive and be above all else, including dynastic ambitions going forward with regard to any family in politics. That cannot but be a good thing for Singapore.

Still, to outsiders looking in, it’ll be hard to tell, if a long, long time to come in a Singapore far far away, whether Singaporeans continue to be hardwired to just cannot tell if we are living in a Dynastic Meritocracy or a Meritocratic Dynasty.

The prognosis is not good. From what we see of the self-serving elites thrown up by Singapore meritocracy (all thanks and praise to the PAP), there are no eternal ideologies, no eternal heresies, only eternal self-interests. Mr Ngiam Tong Dow is absolutely right. “When you raise ministers’ salaries to the point that they’re earning millions of dollar, every minister — no matter how much he wants to turn up and tell Hsien Loong off or whatever — will hesitate when he thinks of his million-dollar salary. Even if he wants to do it, his wife will stop him.” Proof? After LKY stepped down as PM, no minister or top civil servant has had to resign whether it’s a fearsome, if limping, terrorist who escaped or the occasional NSFer dying or a teenage committing suicide or 2 MRT trainees killed or when 8 innocent citizens who put their trust in our health workers lost their lives (those responsible were not even named, now, that’s real progress!). Meritocracy a al SG50 is either perfected or so thin-skin like the elites it has grown up, so fragile it cannot submit to transparent accountability. And daft citizens continue to vote to support the system as evolved.

 

So, Dynastic Meritocracy or Meritocratic Dynasty which? If citizens care not, can that be a good thing – come SG100?

 


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Please Please Tell Me Now, Is There Something I Should Know…

 

I wish to allow  myself this preamble.

From what I have read and known, my blog, SG Press Freedom of Speech: 3 Sides To The Story, has been the only one that directly requested Dr Lee Wei Ling to ‘please have the 2 versions – unabridged, ‘unedited’ posted in your FB. That is all that is needed to ‘settle the issue’ by the court of us Singaporeans.’ Perhaps, Dr Lee read the 5 Aug blog and decided to go one step further by sharing the email exchanges related to her disagreement with the Straits Times.

We are all grateful to her for the effort. Thank you, Dr Lee!

Now let’s take a look at new info.


“Please please tell me now is there something I should know….”

Before that, we must give her credit to tell AWSJ that what is happening is ‘a Singaporean matter’. She did not say that it is a ‘family matter’. And so it is because if her claims were true, every Singaporean will be deeply affected and more than concerned.

Further credit should also be given her for her stand that she ‘always try to stick by the truth’. I firmly believe that Jesus’ words, ‘you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’ (John 8:32) apply not just in the spiritual realm. For e.g., if the doctor doesn’t know (diagnose) the true state of your condition, you are unlikely to be make whole from his treatment.

So, what is the truth behind Dr Lee’s claims? Or, to put in another way, what does she know that we do not? Let’s try to make some educated guesses.

(To keep the legal wolves from the door, let me state categorically that what I now write is merely speculative. There is no intent, either overt or covert, to make any claims whatsoever against anyone living or dead. This is purely an exercise in open analysis to try to understand why Dr Lee said what she did. In fact, it is an exercise in critical analysis, much like the GP subject I took in pre-U.)

Dr Lee’s 3 Assertions
‘HL has no qualms (about) 1) abusing his power to have a commemoration just one year after LKY died, ‘ Dr Lee wrote.

‘Let’s be real, last year’s event was so vivid, no one will forget it in one year,’ she added and warned that ‘if the power that be wants to 2) establish a dynasty, LKY’s daughter will not allow LKY’s name to be sullied by 3) a dishonorable son.’

What’s Suggested or Implied
1. Abusing his power
We can understand that to mean ‘the use of one’s position of power in a way that is not proper or allowed’, perhaps, usually for a purpose not in keeping with the power bestowed upon one.

But why did Dr Lee preclude that with ‘he has no qualms’? ‘Qualms’ means ‘an uneasy feeling or pang of conscience as to conduct; compunction’ (TheFreeDictionary).

Is Dr Lee suggesting that HL possesses not a pang of conscience to do what he would do to commemorate LKY’s passing for a purpose not in keeping with what is proper? By pre-qualifying her assertion with ‘qualms’, is she implying that it is a practised habit of sort (perhaps, it’s been done often before, and/or it’s been thought through very thoroughly already) such that one’s conscience is numbed?

2. Establish a dynasty
This one is tricky. I doubt very much if such a subject is ever openly discussed between brother and sister. So, the only reasonable guess is that she must have observed, heard or read something that gave her the impression that HL wants to establish a dynasty.

So, what could she have observed, heard or read?

The motivation of establishing a dynasty must only come from with the family members, the prior, immediate or next generation.

Based on Dr Lee’s revelation, being her daughter who has already kicked her brother in the teeth over her papa’s legacy, we can take her word that LKY had no such intent. Only the die-hardest detractors will believe that the current spontaneous open feud is a master act of pure deception. Then again, that’s argument is impossible as it now puts complete paid to any young Lee as the next PM or the one after.

So, we are forced to look for clues with HL and his family. Could it be those seemingly small acts during family gatherings (at birthday celebrations, wedding, funerals etc) that Dr Lee has observed/heard that gave her that idea of the desire of a dynasty in the making?

Could it have been how some family members fought over who should be the one in the order of line-up during a funeral possession, the eulogies or even the protocol of who to carry grandma’s/grandpa’s photo?

But that’s all pure speculation. Only Dr Lee knows the truth as she saw it. Only she can tell us.

3. A dishonorable son
To be dishonorable is to bring shame or disgrace (in this case) to one’s parents as a son.

I personally think that LHL has tried his darndest to live up to his parents’ expectations. But that’s just my own view. Let’s get on with our critical analysis.

What could LHL have said or done that is interpreted by Dr Lee to be dishonouring LKY’s name? Well, one way is to look through what’s on public record to see what LKY wanted done particularly when he could no longer decide for himself or has the power (like, as when he was PM or SecGen of PAP) to make a difference.

Well,  LKY has never criticised LHL administrations, at least, not publicly or directly. But Dr Lee might have seen or heard during family discussions or when alone with her papa.

Let’s see. LKY is on record to say that he despise all the hero-worshipping. OK, that one is already adequately covered these 2 weeks. What else?

Aside from his wish to demolish his Oxley Road house, LKY also‘signed an Advance Medical Directive, a legal document instructing doctors not to use any life-sustaining treatment to keep him alive if he cannot be resuscitated.’ Was that legal instruction carried out? We don’t know for sure. But we do know that LKY was breathing with the help of ‘mechanical ventilation’ for close to 2 months before he was finally reported to passed away. Dr Lee must have known about the directive. And as a neurosurgeon, she would have understood, more than any of her siblings, how mechanical ventilation-assisted breathing was not in keeping with, if not the letter, then the spirit of her papa’s directive.

But, perhaps, as only a daughter in a Hakka family, it was not left to her to say, ‘let papa go, let papa go NOW’ much earlier? So, perhaps, she read the prolonging of papa’s lifeless life as a dishonourable act?

What else?
What else is knowable but not known to Singaporeans?

Only Dr Lee can tell us. We can only cheer her on to ‘always try to stick by the truth’…and, perhaps, reveal the truth, the whole truth in due course.

Meantime, for all the worldwide ruckus she’s created, I salute Dr Lee for not trying to explain the deletion of her posts because, well, she’s only a ‘Facebook newbie’ who was clicking here and there for fun or to learn the ropes and accidentally kicking her PM-bro in the face for the world to see.

For all the differences in views about her Facebook postings, I urge all Singaporeans to set aside our differences and celebrate the fact that Dr Lee is a bigger person than being a liar in this national episode.

I personally think she calls a spade a spade – even if all the spades are found in her own garden.

 

 

 


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PM Lee vs Dr Lee: Singapore’s Interest Is Paramount

 

George Carlin’s keen observation may bring a smile, a knowing smile to our faces.

But our family is like a rock upon which we build the very foundations of our lives. It is a rock to which we turn to in times of trouble. Therefore, we should not and do not wish for another to be in serious family disagreements of any kind. Least of all, for any disagreements to spill out in the open, especially so in this social media age.

So why am I writing this piece about the spat between our (SG) First Family siblings, PM Lee & Dr Lee Wei Ling? Well, in a very ironical way, it is out of respect for Mr Lee Kuan Yew himself and his belief that a political leader’s reputation must be jealously guarded and defended. Here’s what are widely reported:-

Dr Lee Wei Ling’s Claims
“HL has no qualms (about) abusing his power to have a commemoration just one year after LKY died,” Dr Lee wrote.

“Let’s be real, last year’s event was so vivid, no one will forget it in one year,” she added and warned that “if the power that be wants to establish a dynasty, LKY’s daughter will not allow LKY’s name to be sullied by a dishonorable son.”

Strong words these, “abusing his power” & “establish a dynasty”, to level at the sitting Prime Minister of Singapore who, less than a year ago, found it necessary to be the first PM to ever sue an ordinary citizen for libel. In that lawsuit, not even such explicit words were the basis for PM Lee’s legal  action.

Defamation/Libel Suits In Singapore’s Political Context
In a 3 Dec 1999 Asiaweek interview, here’s what then-PM Goh Chok Tong said, “But if they’ve defamed us, we have to sue them — because if we don’t, our own integrity will be suspect. We have an understanding that if a minister is defamed and he does not sue, he must leave cabinet. By defamation, I mean if somebody says the minister is on the take or is less than honest. If he does not rebut it, if he does not dare go before the court to be interrogated by the counsel for the other side, there must be some truth in it. If there is no evidence, well, why are you not suing?”

“They” refers to “political opponents”. But. as PM Lee has adequately demonstrated, the same ‘understanding’ or principle to not only rebut (he had rebutted Dr Lee, link) but to ‘dare go before the court to be interrogated’ also applies to non-political, ordinary citizens, is what PM Lee had done with Roy Ngerng less-than-explicit libellous assertions.

Your Move, Mr Prime Minister
So, there you have it. Putting it together, it is imperative on SG political leaders to demonstrate beyond doubt their integrity and, in the process, the very reputation of the Singapore system that Lee Kuan Yew has devoted his whole life to building.

Is it therefore not fair to say that the onus is now on PM Lee to begin legal proceedings against Dr Lee Wei Ling for her claims? If not for his own personal reputation, especially as Prime Minister, then at the very least in honour of his late father who devoted his own life to establishing SG’s reputation for leaders of integrity.

As a starting point, PM Lee must now seek a formal, unqualified apology from Dr Lee for her claims.

Otherwise, if no action is taken, Singaporeans will forever be wondering, ‘What does Dr Lee know that we don’t, for her to make her claims?’ ‘Why does PM Lee not dare go before the court to be interrogated, to clear his name about his abuse of power and wanting to establish a dynasty?’
Therein lies my motivation to write this article. Listen to PM Lee himself, “We can pay no greater tribute to Mr Lee (LKY) than to uphold the principles upon which he built this country.” PM Lee must now let the court decide if he has indeed ‘abuse his power’ and/or ‘want(s) to establish a dynasty’.

 

Either that or his father will ‘feel that something is going wrong, I will get up’ from his grave. This being the 清明/Qing Ming time of the year, the least the son can do is to honour his papa and not disturb his eternal rest needlessly.

Not doing so would be more than ironical, no?

 

 


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Budget 2016: Parliament Debates in a Fog

 

The Straits Times reported (http://www.straitstimes.com/singapo…) that 10 out of 26 MPs who spoke during the Parliamentary budget debate on 4 April 2016 repeated called for cautious spending and expressed concerns that the healthy balance sheet, which projects a surplus of $3.45 billion, could inflate expectations among Singaporeans for more spending in the future.
So here we go again. No doubt these MPs are brandishing their credentials as fiscal conservatives but every year, the budget debate can be no better than being conducted in a fog when the true substance of the budget and hence the government’s actual fiscal position are masked from view.

The Mask of the Budget
The Budget presented on 24th March 2016, like every budget, provides the total revenues and expenditures of the government including the net investment returns contribution derived from 50% of the expected long term rate of real returns on the net assets of the reserves which is a revenue and special transfers to endowments which are expenditures. The annual budget position is provided in the following table.
This is what the government presented to Parliament, hence the public.

The Face behind the Mask
In 2015 Singapore’s fiscal position received an IMF assessment under the Article IV consultations (https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/f…). The findings are represented as a percentage of GDP, the table below converts the ratio into dollars and provides the difference between the budget and the actual fiscal position; the face behind the mask so to speak in keeping to the theatrical metaphor.

The actual fiscal position showed that the government is running much greater surpluses than it presented in the budget and this has been the case at least since 1990 the furthest back the data series ran in the IMF website.

 


Understating Revenues
Total revenues expressed as ratios to GDP are provided in the following table in which I have added the net investment returns contribution to the operating revenues in comparison to total revenues reported by the IMF assessment.
This shows that the Budget has understated the total amount of revenues by a wide margin. This is largely due to the omission of what the IMF termed as net acquisition of non-financial assets, which is land sales revenue in Singapore speak.

Overstating Expenditures
Next, total expenditures expressed as ratios to GDP in which I have added special transfers to total expenditures in the budget.
The series shows that the Budget has mostly overstated expenditures although in recent years it has understated marginally. This is due to the treatment of special transfers to endowments which is represented as an expenditure in the budget. However, since only interests earned in the endowments are spent, then the special transfers to endowments are really savings not expenditures. This is certainly the view of Mukul G. Asher and Chang Yee Kwan at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy when they wrote
“……government transfers to various endowment funds are reported as a component of fiscal expenditure. Again, this is an anomaly, as such transfers accrue to national savings and only those actually spent in a given fiscal year should be classified as expenditure”. (http://www.asiapathways-adbi.org/20…)

Conclusion
In the Article IV consultation, the IMF wrote
there is scope to provide more clarity of the coverage and meaning of the reported fiscal balance. Several items including the government’s investment income and intra-government transfers via special funds and programs and land sales, require adjustments to be made to the fiscal balance to obtain a macro-economically relevant measure of the fiscal position.”
And “policy discussions could be enriched by supplementing the budget presentation with an alternative based on the overall fiscal balance in line with the GFSM. This would clarify the additions to the government’s fiscal reserves implied by the budget. In so doing, it would reveal the budget’s implications for fiscal sustainability and evolution of fiscal reserves”.
In other words, without the crucial supplementary information and necessary adjustments required of the extremely large items affecting the overall fiscal position, any debate or discussion in or out of Parliament of the effect of revenues and expenditures on the nation’s finances is a akin to “sailing through a fog”.
Hence I found the quality of the debates desperately wanting. These having invariably lead to calls for control on spending in the name of prudent budget and fiscal sustainability, less Singaporeans developed the nasty habit of enjoying government handouts. And yet, given the actual fiscal position, there has been no debate about the socio-economic costs of huge budget surpluses, low social expenditures or simply that prudent budgets and increased social expenditures can both be achieved by spending re-allocations and increased taxes for the top percentile who are favoured by present tax regime such as barely taxed capital income.

Understandably one cannot debate what one does not know. However, this cannot be the basis for the sound debate and hence selection of long term socio-economic policy choices. In the interest of those choices to attain a fair and secured future, if your humble scribe is able to access the necessary information, then equally so can your well remunerated MPs.
Chris Kuan


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SG Press Freedom of Speech: 3 Sides To The Story

As the saying goes, there are 3 sides to every story – yours, mine and the truth.

Even though blood is thicker than water and Dr Lee Wei Ling is the only daughter of Mrs & Mrs LKY, she is no card-carrying member of the PAP. On the latter fact alone, I grant that her current run-in with SPH and the Chief of Government Communications (CGC) about not being allowed ‘freedom of speech’ is for no other reason(s) than what she had stated i.e. to have it told publicly, without censorship, her belief that LKY would have disapproved of the cult-like First Anniversary Remembrance activities of his death – and the prominence given in ST’s reporting.

Well, the ongoing toing-and-froing of he-said-we-said-she-said amongst the CGC, ST editors and Dr Lee will not settle the issue in any way whatsoever. More than a week has passed. There are other players behind the scene with other hidden agenda (or sagely advice) coming into play. The more people there will be as the days go by i.e. provided it is not stopped dead in its tracks by a higher ‘unseen hand’.

By settle the issue, I mean whether it was editing or censorship and, hence, the lack or absence of ‘freedom of speech’ that the ST appears set on defending that it exists.

 

(*This paragraph is an update to the original post dd 5 April.)

*As at 8pm, 6 April, Dr Lee has since clarified and posted in her FB the entire section that “my SPH editor considered irrelevant. I felt this information puts Papa’s one year commemoration in the context of what other countries do.” This is all very well. But not quite enough. To make a correctly-informed judgment, Singaporeans need to have full picture of what actually transpired. Readers need to have her original submission and the 3 editors’ “edited/censored version”. Dr Lee, please have the 2 versions – unabridged, ‘unedited’ posted in your FB. That is all that is needed to ‘settle the issue’ by the court of us Singaporeans.*

Dr Lee, I’m sure you will do right by your father to publish for all to see the ‘edited’ (or censored) version that was unanimously demanded by not one but all three (?) ST editors. That way, we Singaporeans all, can judge for ourselves the three sides of this story. You will be carrying on the tradition of what you said of your pa, ‘If your statement is a fact, fine.’ So, do give us all Singaporeans this opportunity to show, yet again, ‘our self-confidence and gained the respect of other countries’ that we, indeed, are a matured people able to judge all sides of a story.

For now, we only have yours in the sequence and portions as you chose to share with us…and, that, in a sense, is censorship.

Over to you, Dr Lee.