Wednesday, March 31, 2010

César Chávez (31.03.1927 – 23.04.1993)

File:Cesar chavez crop2.jpg

“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.” ~ César Chávez

César Estrada Chávez was a Mexican American farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist whose work led to numerous improvements for union laborers. His birthday has become César Chávez Day, a state holiday in eight US states. Many parks, cultural centers, libraries, schools, and streets have been named in his honor in cities across the United States.

He was a vegetarian:

“I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals feel afraid, cold, hungry and unhappy like we do. I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question the right of humans to eat other sentient beings." ~ Cesar Chavez

Read more about Chavez on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Attend SDP's Alternative Economic Programme forum this Sunday

After publishing a series of articles on their Alternative Economic Programme, the SDP is organising a forum this Sunday to collect public feedback on their proposals. Please feel welcome to attend and participate:

28 Mar, Sunday, 2-5pm

A Public Discussion: The SDP's Economic Alternative Programme
Hotel Grand Pacific (formerly Allson Hotel), 101 Victoria St, Victoria Rm, Level 2

For more info, read here.

Let's Talk with Dr James Gomez

Singapore Democrats

In this episode we get up close with Dr James Gomez who was a candidate with the Workers' Party in the 2006 general elections. He currently teaches at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and heads a political group in Singapore called Singaporeans for Democracy.

This will be the final episode of Let's Talk in the present series. We will be taking a short break to work on another video project in the next several weeks after which we will return with a brand new series of interviews with Singaporean personalities.

In the meantime, visitors can watch past episodes of this programme here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is Singapore a democracy?

I recently had a conversation with a friend on whether Singapore is a democracy. Let's strip it down to the fundamentals.

Democracy is commonly regarded as a system of government with four key elements:

1. A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.

2. The active participation of citizens in politics and civic life.

3. Protection of the human rights of all citizens.

4. A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.

Are these 4 key elements present in Singapore? In 2009, Freedom House's report on Singapore said that Singapore is not an electoral democracy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why bloggers must disregard cooling off day

When the proposal for a "cooling-off day" was made in late 2009, I posted that my blog will disregard the election regulation.

Parliamentary sittings are now taking place to convey the details of the new regulation, prompting Ng E-Jay's latest TOC editorial, Cooling-off day may lead to heated confusion.

The editorial highlights that countries like Australia, Indonesia and Italy also have one to three days of campaign silence before polling day.

It goes on to explain,

However, the necessity for a cooling-off period in these countries is dictated by their much larger geographical area with the view of accommodating people from rural or inaccessible locations who might need more time to vote. That factor obviously does not apply to Singapore.

Moreover, these countries have a free and independent mainstream press, unlike Singapore.

In Singapore, the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act restrict the publication of newspapers to companies that are licensed by the authorities. With the exception of MediaCorp’s daily freesheet Today, all daily newspapers including the Straits Times are printed by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), whose management shareholders are appointed by the government.

I've mentioned before that in Australia's 3 day "cooling off" period, only TV & radio advertising is not allowed. All other public campaigning continues, newspaper and online advertisements are allowed right through election day without restriction.

And in the countries mentioned above, bloggers like you and me are not prevented by law from posting our thoughts.

What is the Singapore government so paranoid about? I'm sure that even all our combined readership levels can't match a fraction of what the mainstream media has.

It's bad enough that there's so much censorship in Singapore, and that all the media is monopolized by the government. Should we, as bloggers who might be the only available source of independent and alternative news in this country, then practice so much self-censorship on a matter as simple as who we voted for and why?

Are we really going to cause public disorder by blogging about our choice of candidates? After treading into almost all public spaces for expression, the government is now treading into our personal spaces for expression as well.

I'm again urging all Singaporean bloggers to join me in disregarding this ridiculous cooling off day because we have a right to post and share our opinions, political or not, on our personal blogs at any time.

Or maybe the PAP will start giving out "Internet self-discipline awards" like China, to urge us to do otherwise.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Court of Appeal reserves judgment in Vui Kong’s appeal

After two stays of execution, the 3-judge Court of Appeal has reserved its judgment after hearing the arguments put forth by Vui Kong’s lawyer, M Ravi.

Pro bono to save a life: M. Ravi, Vui Kong's lawyer, with the 3-man team of lawyers from London who assisted him with research & advice and were at the hearing with him. They are Parvais Jabbar, Edward Fitzgerald QC and Saul Lehrfreund

Updates and news reports from The Guardian (UK), TODAY and Straits Times are well compiled in Jacob George's blog:

We will notify you when M Ravi is notified of the judgment date. Please help by disseminating this e-flyer in the meanwhile:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Yong Vui Kong's appeal on March 15

Please forward this information to your friends. The Court of Appeal (Supreme Court) will hear Vui Kong's appeal this coming Monday, 15 March at 10am.

Encourage your friends to sign the petition and come for the hearing.

Click on the image for a large size:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

My thoughts on Singaporean men wanting brides from China & Vietnam

I was in the train the other day and overheard this conversation between a group of Singaporeans (all around 45 years old):

Man 1: Aiyah your son can go to China lah, a lot of women there. Pretty and can make good wives. Singaporean women no use.

Man 2: Later cheat my son's money how?

Man 3: Vietnamese brides better. More obedient.

Man 2's wife: Ya good, can help me do housework.

It's very disappointing that men and some women still hold such views of women in society. They expect them to be obedient and domesticated wives, and they presume that women from "developing" countries will meet that expectation.

This is probably why there is a rise in agencies offering young Vietnamese women as wives for Singaporean men. You would have also noticed an increasing number of women from China married to Singaporean men.

I find it pathetic that Singaporean men actually want women from "developing" countries because they assume they will be more obedient.

They think that Singaporean women are too difficult, demanding and materialistic because they often speak their minds and have some ideas of what they want to do with their lives. But that's how people, both men and women, behave in any modern society around the world!

It seems that it's not the Singaporean women with the problem, but the Singaporean men with mindsets like those mentioned above, who suffer from insecurity and a lack of self-confidence. Because they have no luck with women in Singapore, they put the blame on the women and call them "lousy", often ignoring that the problem lies in themselves as well.

Eventually, when these brides from Vietnam and China become more modern, where are these Singaporean men going to find their subservient women? Maybe they'll start looking for women from tribal and nomadic communities.

To the men reading this, I'm not going to give you courtship advice. All I'm going to say is be confident and be yourself. If you think you're worth it, the other person will love you for who you are.

If you like someone, tell or show the person. If they don't seem interested, move on. There are 6 billion people in the world today and I'm sure you've got a lot more to do with your life.

And stop thinking that women should be obedient and subservient to you. We live in the 21st century, so get with the program already.

Rachel Zeng's blog: Singaporean women are useless because they are less ‘obedient’?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010