Friday, November 9, 2018

Is this the end of States Times Review?




Well, well, who would have thought that this day would finally come so soon?.

States Times Review (STR), the website  cesspool of bullshit, fake news and twisted lies sprouted by one Alex Tan Zhixiang is no longer accessible in Singapore as of 9 Nov 2018.

On 5 Nov 2018, Alex Tan had published an article titled "Lee Hsien Loong becomes 1MDB’s key investigation target" on STR.  The article made several serious allegations about PM Lee and the IMBD scandal.

Alex Tan alleged that Malaysia had signed several unfair agreements with Singapore in exchange for Singapore banks’ assistance in laundering the funds of 1MDB.

Alex Tan also claimed that the editor of Sarawak Report, Ms Clare Rewcastle, had revealed in an interview with Malaysian media that "Singapore is one of the key investigation targets, alongside Switzerland and United States" in the 1MDB scandal.

This claim was categorically rejected by Sarawak Report who responded to this claim on Thursday by calling it "erroneous" and disowned the remarks. It also sought a correction from States Times Review. "SR has not given any such interview and has not written on this subject," Sarawak Report said in a Facebook post.

Further more, SR had also acknowledged the role that MAS had played in "unravelling corruption linked to the fund"




Alex Tan was ordered take down the STR article by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) by 5pm on 9 Nov, failing which IMDA would then direct Internet Service Providers to restrict access to the site.

Obviously, Alex Tan refused to do so

Subsequently, STR was blocked after the deadline lapsed. 

Soon after, Alex Tan announced on the STR Facebook page that the "States Times Review Facebook page will be shut down "two weeks from now" while the website will remain until the end of the next General Elections." 

Is this the really last time that we will hear from Alex Tan? 

Well, let's see how trust worthy Alex Tan's words are from his track record social media posts.


Nope, he definitely didn't keep to his word on this. 




Freedom of Speech? Where got?



Anyway, it is very unlikely that this will be the last we hear from Alex Tan.

He is simply too self-delusional and egotistical to give it up. It will be a matter of time before Alex Tan returns to pollute cyberspace with his delusional bullshit again.

But in the meantime, please always fact-check what you read on the Internet before you get conned or lied to. Don't let yourself be made a fool.

See some of Alex Tan Zhixiang's previous nonsense here.


Read more here:

Observer News: States Times Review editor responds to website ban; says “STR to shutdown”

 #AlexTan #StatesTimesReview











Thursday, October 25, 2018

Helping the Merdeka Generation


3 June 1959: The then newly elected Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew told a huge rally crowd at the Padang: "Once in a long while in the history of a people, there comes a moment of great change. Tonight is such a moment in our lives." And he lead the rally in shouting "Merdeka!"





PA Kopi Talk, 14 Oct 2018


The video clip above is from the ‘PA Kopi Talk’ held on 14 Oct 2018. PM Lee was responding to a question about the Merdeka Generation package that was announced earlier during the 2018 National Day Rally. 

Here are some key takeaways:
  • Similar to the Pioneer Generation Package, the Merdeka Generation (MG) Package will be funded from the reserves that are built up from the CURRENT term of Govt. 
  • MG Package funding is expected to last the lifetime of the MG. The future Govt and Tax payers will NOT have to bear the cost burden of the MG Package. 
  • Contrary to popular belief, PM Lee does not know if there will be future similar packages. That is for the future Govt to decide. 

About the Merdeka Generation Package
  • Announced by PM Lee at the 2018 National Day Rally (See here
  • The Merdeka Generation refers to Singaporeans who were born in the 1950s. They lived through “battles and upheavals” and also witnessed how their parents “scraped and slogged” for them. 
  • The men were among the earliest batches called up for National Service. They formed the first of the SAF. Many, especially the girls, didn't complete their education. They came out to work early, to support the family and younger siblings. All started working when wages were still low. 
  • The Merdeka Generation today would be in their 60s. Today most would have either left the workforce, or will soon be retiring. Many have similar healthcare concerns as the pioneers. They are looking at their CPF (Central Provident Fund) savings and Medisave accounts and are worried about having enough for their medical needs as they grow older. 
  • MG Package is intended to help with the medical expenses of the estimated 500,000 Singaporeans of the Merdeka generation. 
  • MG Package details will be announced in 2019 but it is expected to include outpatient subsidies, Medisave top ups, premium subsidies for the MediShield Life insurance scheme and payouts for long term care. 





Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A low life psychopathic despicable leech




So in the mist of the Workers' Party MPs' civil case over the gross mismanagement of AHTC /AHPETC, there appears to be some in-fighting amongst the anti-PAP/opposition quarter - specifically between Goh Meng Seng and Alex Tan Zhixiang.

You can read Goh's full Facebook post below. 




Goh is not very far off from the truth when he says that Alex Tan, is "...just whipping up irrational, sensational and emotional anti PAP ranting to leech on those hardcore opposition supporters to earn money via his website, Statestime Review."

Just goes to show, even amongst the die-hard Opposition in Singapore, Alex Tan is considered to be a pariah.

It doesn't matter which political party or ideology you support. What is most needed in Singapore's political discourse is not shrill irrational voices shouting but a dispassionate debate which is based on only verifiable facts.

Despicable leeches like Alex Tan who is pretending to be an opposition activist fighting for Singapore's well-being but in reality he is spreading fake, misleading and sensational news and commentary so that he can make money off web advertisements on his site. The more angry and irrational he can make people, the more internet traffic (and hence more web ad revenue)  he can attract to his site.

There's nothing wrong if you don't like and don't support the PAP govt.

But you should still keep a clear unbiased mind, look at verifiable facts from independent, reliable sources (NOT states times review) before you make a judgement or criticize. Don't be mislead or trick by people with dubious personal agendas.



See some of Alex Tan Zhixiang's previous nonsense here.


#GohMengSeng #AlexTan #StatesTimesReview




Monday, October 22, 2018

What the Singapore Govt has been doing to improve the lives of all Singaporeans


Ever wondered what the Singapore Govt is doing to improve the lives of all Singaporeans?

Have a listen to this speech by PM Lee. This was a speech made at the PA's Kopi Talk dialogue session. (See here for PM Lee's FB post).

It is worth your time (just 24mins) to just listen and judge for yourself if the PAP has delivered, and is continuing to deliver on its election promise- With you, For you, For Singapore.




















Tuesday, July 17, 2018

[ Defending the Lion City ] The heavy burden of NS

Pic source: The Singapore Army FB Page - Photo by: 2SG Ian Ng (10 C4I Bn)


NS, and missed opportunities. These are two extremely emotive issues as far as S’poreans are concerned. Every year, thousands of S’porean males will put pause to their life plans and enter National Service to the country for 2 years (previously 2.5 years).


Losing your hair is the first thing that you "sacrifice" in NS
Pic source: Cyberpioneer


Ben Davis, by all accounts a talented young soccer player, had signed a two-year professional contract in June 2018 with EPL club Fulham FC. Due to enter NS in Dec 2018, Ben had applied long-term NS deferment and was rejected by Mindef.

Mindef stated that Ben’s application does not meet the criteria.
 "Since the inception of National Service (NS), all male Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) are required to serve NS at the earliest opportunity after reaching 18 years of age.

Through the years, support for NS has been maintained because this requirement is applied strictly and fairly to all individuals. Each year, the Ministry of Defence does receive requests for long-term deferment from Full-time NS, often with reasons that NS will impede their development and ability to fulfil aspirations.

As all male Singaporeans liable for Full-time NS put aside personal pursuits to dutifully enlist and serve their NS, it would not be fair to approve applications for deferment for individuals to pursue their own careers and development. Very few applications have been approved over the years and based on criteria which are made known to the public.

In sports, deferments are granted only to those who represent Singapore in international competitions like the Olympic Games and are potential medal winners for Singapore. In the last 15 years, only three* have met this criteria.

Benjamin James Davis' application for deferment was not approved as he does not meet the criteria for long-term deferment from Full-time NS.

This decision was made in consultation with the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth and was communicated to Mr Davis and his parents on 11 June 2018. Mr Davis was also notified that he is due for enlistment and must dutifully serve NS along with others in his cohort."
 
Mindef's reply to media query, 16 July 2018

*Note: The three athletes who have been granted long-term NS deferments are: national swimmers Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen, and sailor Maximillian Soh.


============================

UpdateMindef released a following up media reply (18 Jul 2018)
"The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) recognises Mr. Benjamin Davis' achievement in securing a senior contract with Fulham Football Club (FC).  
However, deferment from National Service (NS) is granted for exceptional sportsmen to represent our national interest and not their own career development. When granted, deferment is given for a defined period after which these sportsmen must return to fulfil their NS duties. Mr Davis' application does not meet the deferment criteria and was therefore turned down. 
When asked during the deferment application process when Mr Davis intended to return and serve NS, Mr Davis' father would not commit to a date and expressed that he would put Mr Davis' professional career first. Mr Davis went on to sign the contract despite the rejection for deferment and his father has publicly stated that he would encourage Mr Davis to renounce his Singapore citizenship in order to pursue his career.  
Mr Davis' actions are meant to further his own professional career, not national interest. As his father openly admitted, he is looking out for his son's future, not Singapore's. They have no intention of returning to fulfil their son's NS duties, especially if Mr Davis is given a full professional contract after the two years of his senior contract. To allow deferment for this type of appeal, would severely undermine the ethos and sacrifice of Singaporeans who have all put aside their personal interests to complete their NS duties.   
Many talented sportsmen, including footballers, have completed their NS dutifully first before pursuing their professional careers. MINDEF has in place schemes during full-time NS to enable them to continue training to retain and improve their skills. We also provide additional training opportunities in the lead-up to major games such as the Southeast Asian and Olympic Games where our sportsmen represent Singapore and do us proud."
Mindef,  18 Jul 2018

============================


When Ben’s case made the news, it quickly gained widespread attention and attracted much support for his case for deferment, and naturally, harsh criticism of Mindef and its deferment policy.

But is the criticism of Mindef’s decision and the deferment policy justified?

Here is the crux of the issue as I see it.

Everyone who is liable for NS, will also be forgoing/postponing various opportunities for their two year service.

So what exactly is it then which makes Ben’s case for long term NS deferment to be exceptionally different/special?

Is it the fact that he has an opportunity to become a professional soccer player in the English Premier League, and in future perhaps improve the state of local soccer? 

Or is it because he has popular support (or at least so it seems to be on social media), including that of the Football Association of Singapore, for his deferment? 
(This raises another hard question – should “popular support” matter? Is it fair and proper for Mindef to even take “popular support” into consideration? After all, how does one define “popular support” and how does one objectively measure and compare it? But let’s put that aside for now.)

How is Ben’s case so compellingly different from another gifted S’porean who is accepted into a prominent medical school, and can become a brilliant doctor who saves countless lives or discovers a cure for some fatal disease?

What about a creative artist who could be the next Picasso? A talented musician that might be the next Michael Jackson? Or marvelous chef who could be a Michelin Star chef? All of whom have been given the opportunity to further develop their talents.

Are these S’poreans’ situations/aspirations deemed less worthy of deferment consideration than Ben’s? In addition, it is hard to argue that their pursuits will contribute any lesser towards Singapore than Ben's.

Perhaps more significantly, what about the rest of us ordinary, mundane S’poreans, who may not have any particularly special opportunity or situation?

If Mindef allows NS deferment based on “missing out rare golden opportunities”, does that imply that ordinary S’poreans are to be considered less important than these “talented” guys? Does it mean that our own sacrifices and missed opportunities, no matter how normal or mundane, are any lesser than that of Ben’s?

Would allowing for Ben’s, or any other person’s deferment on the basis of not missing out a “once in a lifetime opportunity” undermine or strengthen the very lynchpin of National Service - that NS is a social leveler and a necessary rite of passage for all S’porean males regardless of race, language, religion and social background?

Where and how should the line be drawn? Would such a change in NS policy be fair and equitable? These are very hard, soul-searching questions that are not quite so easily answered.

Ultimately, Mindef’s decision to reject Ben’s deferment and many other similar cases, will come across to many as seemingly cold, cruel, inflexible and devoid of any emotions and compassion.

But unfortunately, I believe such tough decisions have to necessarily be so in order to be unscrupulously fair to all who have served, will serve NS, and especially to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

The bar for long term NS deferments, including any change in deferment policy, must be placed so high such that if any deferments are granted, each case must be, and will be clearly seen by S’poreans as being dispassionately logical,  unbiasedly reasonable and indisputably justifiable to warrant granting deferment.

Mindef has the unenviable task and responsibility of ensuring that the heavy NS burden continues to be borne fairly and equitably by all generations of S'porean males, or risk NS becoming a divisive institution that will ferment resentment amongst S’poreans and ultimately tear apart our country’s military defense and nation-building efforts, instead of uniting us all as one Singapore.

To Ben, this would be what I would advise: Serve out your Full time NS commitment. Take it as a way of expanding your horizons/experiences and improving your overall toughness. 2 years will pass quickly. After that, you are free to do as you please. Deferments for reservist/ORD training are much easier to get.





Read more here:


CNA: Sport Singapore (SportSG) supports MINDEF's decision to reject Ben Davis' deferment application (18 Jul 2018)
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/sport-singapore-supports-mindef-decision-to-reject-ben-davis-10541308

Mindef Reply to Media Queries on the Rejection of Benjamin Davis' Deferment from Full-time NS (18 July 2018)
https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/portal/mindef/news-and-events/latest-releases/article-detail/2018/july/18jul18_mq

TODAY: Ben Davis won’t give up Fulham dream, may forgo S’pore citizenship if NS deferment appeal rejected (16 Jul 2018)

Mindef Reply to ST Query on Benjamin Davis' Request for Long-Term Deferment from Full-Time NS (16 July 2018)
https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/portal/mindef/news-and-events/latest-releases/article-detail/2018/july/16jul18_mq

Straits Times: No National Service deferment for Fulham teen Ben Davis, says Mindef (14 Jul 2018)

TODAY: High Court sets new sentencing benchmarks for NS dodgers (25 Jul 2017)
https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/high-court-sets-new-sentencing-benchmarks-ns-defaulters

Straits Times: Fairness, sense of purpose key to maintaining support for NS (6 Apr 2017)

Straits Times: 28-year-old jailed 16 weeks for evading NS (3 Feb 2017)

Senang Diri: 45 Years of National Service: NS defaulter's homecoming for National Museum concert (30 Dec 2011)






Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Mahathir the Riddler and The High Speed Rail Project





Updates:
And so the flip-floping continues on from M'sia...

19 July 2018: TODAY - In U-turn, Dr Mahathir says Malaysia to negotiate deferment of HSR with Singapore 
When asked by reporters on whether there are options to defer the project or reduce the cost, he replied: “At the moment when we look at the financial situation of the country, we thought that we couldn’t go ahead with that.”
"The problem is that if we just unilaterally discard the agreement, we have to pay a very high compensation." 
Having studied the contract, it was decided that “we will have to do it at a later date or we may have to reduce the price”, Dr Mahathir added. Read more here.


18 July 2018: New Straits Times - HSR not entirely off the table, fate lies in upcoming discussion between Malaysia and Singapore 
 "We have not excluded the possibility of the project going on, but are not making any suggestions unless there is a consensus from both countries.” Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin told reporters at the Dewan Rakyat lobby. Read more here.


========================================================


Here’s a summary of the HSR headlines from a Malaysian News/Media portal – The Star Online, from 24 Jan 2017 to 9 July 2018. (Latest news at bottom)

Read them and see for yourself if you can decide what Mahathir/Malaysia really, really wants to do with the HSR project.


24 Jan 2017: The Star Online - Mahathir opposes HSR project
Citing financial constraints, the former prime minister (Mahathir), who is chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, said the HSR contract signed between Malaysia and Singapore may not be a done deal if the Opposition comes to power. We need to do a study whether it is feasible or not because we don’t have the money and we have to borrow money, and that is not something the Government can bear at this moment. We have to know whether we really need this HSR or not,” he told The Sunday Times in an interview. Read more here


28 May 2018: The Star Online - Mahathir to drop high-speed rail project with Singapore: FT
"We need to do away with some of the unnecessary projects, for example the high-speed rail, which is going to cost us RM110bn ($28bn) and will not earn us a single cent. That will be dropped," Mahathir told the Financial Times. "We have an agreement with Singapore. We have to talk with Singapore about dropping that project," he said, according to Reuters. Read more here


2 Jun 2018: The Star Online - Guan Eng on HSR: 'You can get something... for half the price.'
Asked if the economic benefits outweighed the cost of the rail link, Lim replied: “Is it worth it? You can get something for cheaper, for half the price.” Read more here.


12 Jun 2018: The Star Online - HSR project postponed, not scrapped, Dr M tells Japanese media“We cannot say we will never have high-speed rail (HSR) in Malaysia. What we can do is we can postpone the project because it is far too costly at this moment.” After being sworn in as prime minister, he had announced on May 28 that Malaysia will be dropping the HSR project with Singapore, citing it as an “unnecessary project. However, in his interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Dr Mahathir commented that the Singapore HSR project is merely postponed. “We actually postponed the implementation of that project.Read more here.


15 Jun 2018: The Star Online - Govt will consider reviving HSR project in the future
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng: “As far as the HSR is concerned, it's scrapped for now as announced by the Prime Minister but in the future, that is something that we want to discuss with the Government” Read more here.


9 Jul 2018: The Star Online - Singapore not told of HSR status but knows what Malaysia wants
Mahathir: "We have not given them full notice yet but they know what we want to do."Watch the interview on YouTube here


Video source: The Star Online






Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Mahathir doing what he does best - Being vague




Video source: The Star Online


Here are some unbelievable quotes from the media interview.

"Decisions are not so easily made. When we make a decision and announce it, the market reacts negatively. The market apparently likes to be told lies about how good everything is so they will give you good marks. But if we tell them we have discovered a lot of wrongdoings, they react by running away with the money, they stop investing and all that. But in fact what we are doing now is to ensure that this country is financially run properly."


"So when we make an announcement, we have people who react negatively. So that's why we have to be very careful about what we say."


"As far as the Singapore Government is concerned, we have not given them full notice yet, but they know what we want to do"

"I think you should read your own press...(when asked what M'sia wanted to do about the HSR) 


This is all bullshit and blatant political showmanship to publicly pressure S'pore as well as seek out nationalist political support by making S'pore the common evil enemy of all M'sians.

There is no big mystery or some genius strategy of Mahathir at work.

This is exactly what he did  during the 1998 to 2003 "package deal" negotiations when he was last PM. When he did not get what he wanted, he tried to apply public pressure on S'pore by making misleading public statements. S'pore then had no choice but to set the record straight by releasing the official correspondences between the two PMs. (See here for a summary of the 1998-2003 negotiations)


The most plausible explanation for Mahathir's apparent reluctance to officially communicate to the SG Govt about M'sia's decision to cancel the HSR project, is Mahathir knows very well that once he does that, S'pore will have indisputable proof that M'sia was the one who first initiated to officially cancel the HSR project, and hence M'sia becomes liable not just for S'pore's losses but potentially for all other involved parties' losses.

If M'sia's coffers are really as empty as Mahathir says, do you think he would dare to risk incurring the cancellation's potentially huge liabilities?

For all we know, just the very notion of officially canceling the HSR project and becoming liable for losses may well push M'sia right into the realm of national bankruptcy.

This is just "wayang kulit" (shadow shadow puppet play) put up by Mahathir to see if S'pore will blink and cave in first on officially canceling the HSR project.

If S'pore does so, and falls into Mahathir's trap, then M'sia would have a plausible reason/excuse to deny any liabilities for the cancellation, citing that S'pore was actually the party who first officially communicated the project's cancellation whereas all M'sia did was merely do media interviews, press releases only.

Unfortunately for Mahathir, and M'sia, there is no happy ending to this wayang kulit. He must be senile to hope S'pore would fall into his clumsy trap.