Singaporeans need to stop dropping the ball

I must confess, I wasn’t in Singapore during the Anton Casey saga.
Where he posted disparaging remarks about Singaporeans and the public transport system.

My reaction to that is, now that I’ve heard about it, well it’s true.
anton casey

I’m not some rich fancy son of an MP who can afford to pay the outrages COE prices that comes with owning a car or a motorcycle. I’m dirt poor I take public transportation
But for many other dirt poor Singaporeans, driving is a necessity and they have no choice but to pay for the COE.

What Anton Casey pointed out is, we the poor people are relegated to using overly crowded, consistently malfunctioning and often delayed hunk of junks we call public transport. Like well trained attack dogs, we went after him for posting disparaging remarks about our culture.

Well if this is our culture, where the rich elites bask in decadent luxury at the cost of the poor who keep toiling away to contribute to the prosperity of this Nation, I don’t want to be apart of this.

Do I think Anton Casey should have been let off ?
He was a guest in our country and he clearly stepped out of line disrespecting the citizenry of this country but he shouldn’t have to face legal repercussions or physical threats for saying something offensive no matter how much it hurts your feelings,, you need to get off his case, the only reason why he said something that insensitive is because it’s the harsh reality, I know you don’t want to think Singapore is bad and you have a lot of national pride but ask yourself was what he said a fabrication?

Why do we have to pay outlandish prices for Certificates of Entitlement?
That’s right this country treats driving as an entitlement, not surprised as how it thinks human rights are a privilege only afforded to the ruling elite.
Even if you’re not a car owner, every taxi you take you still have to pay for the ERP every time it passes through a gantry, which are popping up everywhere.

And I’ve had people saying absurd things like Singapore has the cheapest transport fairs.
I actually lived in a town in Europe where buses ran for free, on time and not overly crowded.

So yes, lambaste Anton Casey for his insensitive remarks but don’t forget who allowed such an unjust hierarchy to exist in the first place.

publictransport

And then we have this news article, how patronizing is this that some people treat taking public transport is an “experience” to be had when for most of us, it’s all that we know, propaganda pieces like these are why I’ve given up on mainstream media.

Next I want to express my disappointment in Gilbert Goh and his anti Filipino stance.

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I’m considered an Ethnic Malay, if anything I have more right to this country than any non ethnic malay, how would you feel if I said

Dear Chinese People,
If you insist on celebrating your Chinese New Year
In my country, we will take this as an act of WAR and
Defend ourselves with our lives as this OUR country, OUR land!
Be warned

Yeah you’d think it was stupid, you’d be right and I would be the first to join you in laughing at any ethnic malay person who holds this idea about non malays, we’re Singaporeans some of us have had ancestry that have been here for eons, others are fresh off the boat.

I’m not going to argue your points past number 4 because you’re spot on but what you’re advocating from points 1 to 3 is what the government is advocating regarding thaipusam, we can agree that the government has gone too far in trying to implement population white paper but to those foreigners who are already here, they’re no different than our ancestors who came here looking for a better life.

No matter how bad this country is to us, for some foreigners despite the authoritarian regime, it’s still miles better than their Country and it’s up to us to help them integrate into our society, so they may understand our plight and join us in achieving a democratic society, not add them to list of enemies just because they’re fresh off the boat.

So what they want to celebrate their national day, can they afford the rent of public property?
If so, let them be, public celebrations are for the public it should be an inclusive celebration where everyone is welcome to share the Filipino culture.

We already celebrate Oktoberfest here despite how few German expats there are in this country and it’s not just for Germans.
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We need to build social cohesion in this country where people are loyal to each other and keep the government in check, not build social divides as I mentioned in my previous article about the pledge.

And for the foreigners who are now residing here, please do not use the fallacy of relative privation, we know you came here to seek a better life but we, The Citizens of Singapore, we’ve been here our whole lives and we have more experience than you when it comes to the health of our society. So when we say we’re tired of the government treating us like chattel, don’t tell us we’re being ungrateful plebes because where you’re from it’s worse, we’re doing this for you as well, oh yes you’re being abused too with your cheap labour, to make life far better for everyone, not just the insanely rich.
So don’t hold us back and we’ll have your back.

Peace.

“In today’s world, learning has become the key to economic prosperity, social cohesion and personal fulfillment. We can no longer afford to educate the few to think, and the many to do.” – David Blunkett

Why I refuse to recite the Singapore Pledge

No pledge

Since I was 15 I’ve refused to sing the national anthem and to recite the pledge.
I know it seems like typical teen rebellion but I’ve uphold this practice for over a decade.
Don’t get me wrong, I know the words to our pledge and I can recite them but I don’t mean a word of it if I said it.

So lets analyze the pledge and why I refuse to recite it.

We the citizens of Singapore
Pledge ourselves to be one United people
Regardless of race, language or religion

Do we really pledge ourselves to be one united people?
Especially the regardless of race part.
How archaic is it that we’re so concerned about race, that it’s in our identity card.

Take my ethnic heritage for example, my mother was born to a Malay woman and a Javanese man.
My father was born to a Chinese mother who was adopted by a Malay family after the war raised Malay and a Malay father.
So being half Malay, my identity card says my race is Malay.

Here’s the problem, I don’t feel Malay and people mistake me for being Chinese often
Sure I speak the language, I don’t follow the traditions and culturally I don’t see myself as Malay.
On top of that, unlike most Malays, I’m an atheist to boot.
I don’t feel a sense of kinship with someone just because they’re Malay, Chinese or Javanese.
My kinship towards people comes when we share similar principles and views about the world, not superficial things like “race”.

If I was to describe what I am, I’d just say I’m Singaporean, my Nationality and that is changeable.

And there are more and more children in this day and age who are products of interracial parents.

And Lee Kuan Yew himself is not fond of high ranking Malay Officers in the Armed Forces.

Not much to say on the language part.
I mean it’s annoying when people who are born here are mono linguists, I won’t name which Channel 8 Mediacorp artists, so there we go even on the language part we have mono linguists.

Religion, well all I can say is, when the founding father, Lee Kuan Yew says disparaging remarks about Muslims and Jason Neo gets to skirt around the law for being derogatory towards a school bus full of muslim kindergarteners and skirt around the law for 4 years, while a sixteen year old boy is being trialed as an adult for making mention of Jesus once and Christians twice in an 8 minute long video about Lee Kuan Yew, I’m just saying, something smells fishy.

As an atheist, I find blasphemy laws for non believers, also known as “Sensitivity laws” to be ludicrous.
I understand why blasphemy laws apply for believers because to question is to doubt and to doubt defeats the purpose of faith but me as an atheist, if a religious person tries to ingrain their religious doctrines into my head, am I then not allow to refute  their indoctrination for fear of “wounding their religious feelings”, What about my feelings?

You’re right to say my feelings don’t matter and neither do the feelings of the religious, being able to have a debate, no my Singaporean friends a debate doesn’t need to happen in some auditorium with tons of viewers debates can be impromptu on the spot and informal too, and challenge religious ideology or any ideology for that matter broadens one’s mind and offers a new perspective. It’s part of being able to think for yourself when you’re allowed to have your beliefs challenged.

Oh did I mention Jehovah’s Witness is criminalized here?
Surprised?

Now the first half is done, lets move on to the last part.

To build a democratic society
Based on justice and equality
So as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress
For our Nation

Are we really a democratic society, though?
We’re nearing our 50th anniversary of independence and Parliament is still mostly a Single Party Government focused on themselves and how to stay in power with their propaganda tools, the MDA and SPH.

Feels more like a fascist autocracy than a democratic society.

Refer to my paragraphs on religion about justice.
Operation Coldstore was a huge injustice.
Equality, well as the saying goes “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others” – Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Happiness, we’re one of the most depressed countries in the world, not surprising considering the long work hours, the mind numbing conformity, the stress of being an over achiever for examinations, the desire for material wealth.

Prosperity, well I guess this part is right but we’re not able to get at any of the wealth, that’s the government’s money, not ours, Young Lee makes almost 2.2Million a year on our prosperous nation while elderly people unable to retire do back breaking work .

Progress, a joke right?
Male homosexuality is criminalized and we openly discriminate against them, especially in the Army during National Service.

A lot of our TV programmes take us back to the good old times of the 1960s, there was Growing up (to be fair they go through the decades but for the longest seasons they were 60s), then that one other show with the 3 adolescent kids, I’m sure I’ve seen a couple from Channel 8 too, alright look, I don’t watch TV anymore but when I did, I recall a few prominent shows about the 60s.
And even on youtube, I get bombared with commercials on SG50 about how good times were back in the 60s.
Singapore, for goodness sakes, it’s 2015, can you please stop obsessing with the 60s and trying to go back to the “kampong spirit”, just allow the people to have their own culture, goodness.

Capital Punishment, state mandated executions are still murder.
The human right to life is an inalienable right to all humans, it cannot be given nor can it be taken away. Capital punishment is torture, knowing when you’re going to die and waiting for that day being brainwashed to accept that fate for everyday until you’re lead to the gallows.
Capital punishment punishes those without the capital for good representation.

Corporal Punishment, imprisonment is punishment enough, in many parts of the world.
But here, convicts may have to deal with having their human dignity abused by being caned.

These are not hallmarks of progress.

And that is why I refuse to recite the pledge, it is so far detached from reality that I would have to lie to myself to believe in it.

Peace!

Men should pledge themselves to nothing; for reflection makes a liar of their resolution” – Sophocles

Amos Yee: Not just a Rebellious Teen

amosmandela

Reading an article on TheOnlineCitizen.com interviewing his bailor Mr. Vincent Law has really given me an insight on who Amos Yee is as a person.

When Amos was taken back into remand, I had assumed 2 things.
Either Vincent Law does not have the $30,000 to front or Vincent Law offered to the front the $30,000 and Amos Yee declined his proposal.
Needless to say, I was glad it was the later.

A lot of people are under the impression that Amos Yee just a young angry teen full of angst, rebellion and lacking in empathy.
If he truly was lacking in empathy, He would have taken the offer by Mr. Law and squandered it by breaking the terms of the bail a second time, yet he chose not to.

He understands the injustice of Act 377A in Singapore that criminalizes male homosexuality and empathizes with their fight to get this law repealed, it serves no purpose in a civilized society and no amount of slippery slope fallacies used by the ruling governing body can ever justify this blatant discrimination.

His less than subtle, humourous and sarcastic commentary on the Little India Riot showing maturity and understanding of situations while being balanced and constructive, is a sign of a green and thriving mind that is well beyond its years.

The only fault of his youth is that it’s not given him the tactical understanding of how work around the system but again, even if he did work around the system, I wouldn’t doubt the system would find a way to incriminate him as it has shown itself to with other critics.

In the shared conversation with Mr Law, where he confronted Amos about his religious beliefs, Amos yet again shows a wisdom that is well beyond his age, Yes we can take issues with religious doctrines, we can criticize them and we can disagree with them but that doesn’t mean we have an issue with the religious just because we’re atheists.

Amos Yee has truly shown true strength in his character.
His unrelenting desire to not conform or compromise.
His maturity in responding to “Cookie Tan” the man who openly made his desire to maim the genitals of a teenage boy then stuffing said member into the child’s mouth.
Choosing to remain in remand over risking someone else’s money.
His ability to articulate his thoughts into material.
These aren’t just actions of a rebellious teen, these are actions of someone who sees injustice and will not stand for it.
Admirable traits in someone so young.

Since day one of this saga, it has been refreshing to see how one Singaporean teenager has been so brazen and defiant in standing up for his freedom of speech, I only wish more of us have the tenacity of Amos Yee.

And I hope at the end of this saga Amos comes out unbowed unbent and unbroken.

Peace!

If someone tells me that I’ve hurt their feelings I’m still waiting to hear what your point is” – Christopher Hitchens.

Additional Links
Read more about Amos Yee on his Blog

The Humble Banana

For certain Christians, it is a nightmare for Atheists like myself.
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Except that it’s not, as the evolution of the banana from barely nutritious seed filled berry to what we know as a banana today is easily explained through artificial selection.

For ignorant people
banana
It is a derogatory term used to describe an oriental person who tries to act white.
Yellow on the outside, white on the inside.

But for an amazing group of people.
freeamosyee
The banana is a symbol of support and solidarity for a prisoner of conscience.

Every time you see a banana, whether it’s bright yellow or green, remember your human rights and your civil liberties, those that have been revoked and restricted from you.

Just as Hong Kong has it’s Yellow Umbrella.
We too have our yellow Banana.

Peace!

We’re often stuck with the names our enemies give to us,” – The High Sparrow from Game of Thrones (The Books)

Awesome blogs I subscribed to and you should check out:
Amos Yee’s Blog
Jess C Scott’s Blog
The Heart Truths
Like Dat Oso Can Meh
Singapore Anti Death Penalty Campaign

The Double Standards between Jason Neo and Amos Yee

Four years ago, a Young PAP member, no longer YPAP now, named Jason Neo took a picture of a school bus filled with muslim kindergartners with the caption “Bus filled with young terrorist trainees

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The only picture of this I could find has the caption censored and this also why I’m anti censorship because it disrupts the flow of information.

I’ve been following the Amos Yee case as much as I can and many Singaporeans, including myself, are outraged at how the government went about handling this issue, arresting a teenager and trying him as an adult for “intentions to wound the feelings of the religious” amongst two other charges.

In most discussions involving Amos Yee, the name Jason Neo is mentioned and the incident that happened with him, people are urging the authorities to apprehend him and bring him to court, while the authorities keep saying “we’re still investigating the case”.

Yes, I agree it’s hypocritical that a young teenage boy, practically a nobody, gets arrested within 3 days of posting his materials and a prominent young PAP member gets to skirt around the justice system after 4 years, with authorities saying they’re still investigating the Jason Neo matter. No question it is despicable, deplorable and disgusting how hypocritical the system is.

Here’s the thing, Jason Neo and Amos Yee did nothing wrong in their criticism of religion and the religious.
They have every right to do so, secured by freedom of speech and freedom from religion.
Albeit what Jason Neo did was out of ignorance and stupidity, stereotyping an entire religious group and comparing them to a terrorist group but last I checked, being stupid isn’t a criminal offense. Amos Yee made a comparison between a religious figure and a religious organization towards LKY and pointed out some uncomfortable truths.

Muslims should indeed condemn the words of Jason Neo but at the same time practice restraint and not call onto violence towards the man for being incredibly stupid and they have to which I commend, especially at the time where the subject of Islam is volatile, internationally.

The actions of people who oppose Amos Yee’s opinion however, have not shown such grace, citing calls of violence and making physical threats against a teenager, physically assaulting him and the local media’s attempt to smear Amos’ character by calling him mentally unsound.

There are double standards between Jason and Amos’ incidents on all sides.
There are those who pretend Jason was just joking whereas Amos was trying to start trouble.
There are those who think that Amos should be freed while Jason should be brought to task.

I stand on the side of Free Speech, while I support Amos’ right to speech, silencing Jason’s would make me a hypocrite. I do not have to support or like what Jason said to allow him to speak, it is his inalienable freedom as a human being and my moral obligation to call him an ignoramus for saying such a moronic statement, even if he thinks it’s a joke, it’s not a funny one.

These are 2 similar incidents, despite the different circumstances, about Freedom of Speech and Freedom from Religion.
The authorities need to come clean about their complacency towards Jason Neo’s case and drop all charges against Amos Yee.

Freedom of Speech is for everyone, not just those you agree with.

Peace!

To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” – Voltaire

Additional Links:
Police queried on 4-yr old case involving ex-YPAP member
Amos Yee’s post about the Media

 

Western Democracy won’t work in Singapore

This is the party line towed by Singaporeans when Journalist Articles mention the restrictions to human rights and civil liberties in Singapore.

First of all, what is “Western Democracy” ?
I was under the impression that Democracy is Democracy.
According to the dictionary this is what it means

government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

If you know what a “Western Democracy” is, please by all means, leave me an explanation in the comments. Is it like “Western Confucianism” or  “Eastern Epicurean-ism” Whatever that means.

Seriously though, is the democratic facade in Singapore such a thick veil that it’s hard to see for the average person? If you think 9 opposition seats out of 99 is a democracy, you probably don’t understand what a democracy is.

How are issues supposed to be debated when almost the entire parliamentary body is made up of a single party that covers for and supports one another? That is neither “western democracy”, “eastern democracy” or democracy. It’s what we call an Echo Chamber.

In otherwords, it’s an autocracy, “government in which one person has uncontrolled or unlimited authority over others; the government or power of an absolute monarch” the opposite of a democracy where the masses govern, here you have an elite person or an elite group deciding what’s best for the masses. 

I’ve long said that Singaporeans are unable to think for themselves and often rely on the government to think for them, well this is what 50 years of autocracy has done to the people, it’s damaged us as a society, a society that tries its hardest to silence dissent and keep its citizens free from thought.

It’s time for change, it’s time wake up Singapore, do you remember your Singaporean pledge, the part where you say “To Build a Democratic Society”, do you actually mean it or do you just say it because the Principal in your school makes you recite the pledge?

Peace!

“In nation after nation, democracy has taken the place of autocracy.” – John Charles Polanyi