Tuesday, 29 March 2011

This is not what I want Singapore politics to be like

This post will be short, because I am on a business trip right now. But I feel compelled to write this quickly before going back to work, because I am that disgusted and upset.

The PAP recently unveiled 27-year-old Tin Pei Ling as a potential candidate in the upcoming elections. What has been happening on the Internet (especially Facebook) since has been nothing short of disgusting.

Ms Tin is reportedly a business consultant at a big accounting firm, and apparently is married to what would seem to be a high-flying civil servant in a position of some importance. From the news reports I've read, she had been volunteering with grassroots organisations since 21.

Some folks seem to have taken it upon themselves, to dig up what they think is dirt on her personal life, in an effort to put her down and besmirch her reputation. These efforts have included personal photos apparently from her Facebook account before she removed or privatised them (and here is an object lesson to the PAP and indeed all parties: tell your candidates to privatise their online presence before announcing them!), insinuations about who she is married to and how and why she married him, and claims about her purportedly extravagant lifestyle, so on and so forth.

This is essentially a young woman who has taken a huge leap into the unknown by stepping forward as a potential candidate. Her motivations are still unknown (other than whatever she has publicly stated), her competence and suitability as an MP remain to be seen, and she has not said much about her policy positions. In short, she is still pretty much a complete unknown.

And that is precisely my point. I would like politics in Singapore to be about the candidates and their views and their competency/suitability as MPs and office holders. I would not like politics in Singapore to become an exercise in gutter journalism. If and to the extent that a politician makes morality and virtue part of his/her platform or public persona, then that becomes fair game as well -- but only then, and not before.

I would like Ms Tin to be given a chance to show what she would be like as an MP, instead of digging up all this personal stuff -- things which, frankly, to my mind have been overblown and do not say anything about her suitability as an MP, or even her as a person. She is a 27-year-old professional, not a nun.

I find what has happened to be quite offensive and reprehensible (which is why I am deliberately not including details of or links to the comments). It is almost as if people, in their antagonism towards the PAP, are willing to overlook and ignore what is right and what is dignified.

The consequence of all this, is that people will be deterred from joining politics, even more so than before. I for one will openly admit that I have thought about it and decided against taking the plunge, in part because of these things. I have been a victim of these whispers. It is not fun. It is not right. It is not what I would want Singapore politics to be like.

And so I will not like, comment or share these stories and articles. I will lose, and have lost, some respect for those who pile in with their derisive comments on Facebook (some of whom I had respected before). I will choose to publicly express my disagreement with what has happened and is happening, and my sympathies for Ms Tin.

I sometimes feel like we have the government that we deserve. Well, through our actions, we will also get the politics that we deserve. Let's think about what we really want Singapore politics to be like.


KW said...

Agreed. Sometimes I wonder if things would improve at all if the electorate had its way on all things.

Dom Z said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Junhao said...

Indeed. Very disappointed with several websites which I have thought quite well of previously.

Siew Kum Hong said...

In the spirit of allowing the candidate to be judged for what she says, please view this video interview: http://www.razor.tv/site/servlet/segment/main/General_Election/61336.html

Gavin said...

It is good to see that there are still right minded people out there.

Nicholas said...

erm mr siew, the razortv link you posted points to an interview where Tin Pei Ling states that her greatest regret in life is not bringing her parents to universal studios...

isn't that also gutter journalism/dirt-digging, pointing out her silly comments?

Kian Seng said...

There will always be bad apples out there. I believe most Singaporeans will be disgusted too.

europhia core said...

The PAP has been digging up dirt all along...so have SPH, tey are countless examples in which they have done the same.

So don't you think the people deserve some sympathy in this case ?

marc_gourde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sofero.Liu said...

Thank you for the post. With emotions running high, things may have turned a little ugly. I appreciated your post that puts things in perspective and hope for the best from here.

Siew Kum Hong said...

@Nicholas I think there is a difference between pointing people to an interview given to a media outlet, and what has been done.

@europhia core I guess it comes down to whether you think two wrongs make a right, and whether you really want to do what we would criticise others for doing.

Rabil said...

I posted this on my FB status before reading your post - << Msg to Opposition - Focus on the fundamentals!!! Don't be suckered into the character assassination route! This should not be a highlight of an electoral campaign and by having your day with this probable scapegoat now, you will not be able to say PAP is low when they question/attack your candidates' maturity/integrity/capability etc. Let her be the PAP's Sarah Palin... her words/actions will speak clearly for herself. >>

Rabil said...

Again, I will qualify that by agreeing that she has yet to prove herself and we should not be too quick to "dig up dirt" as mentioned in your post.

elissa said...

Well Mr Siew, I think if she were able to give Singaporeans evidence of her capabilities and proof of her mettle, these rumours would hardly matter. Singaporeans have been talking about her Kate Spade bags and high-flying husband simply because we don't know anything else about her. If she gave us more substance (besides "I'm energetic and willing to learn, which is hardly sufficient to make one a member of parliament), I'm sure Singaporeans would be able to recognise her for her achievements instead.

totoro said...

here's a speech titled "Globalisation – High & Low" given by her in 2007.


judge for yourself whether she is fit to be your MP.

Danielboy said...

Just a quick reminder of the things opposition candidates have been labelled in the past: "Chinese Chauvinist", "Traitor", "Liar", "Racist", "Careless", "Libelous", "Libelous", "Libelous".

And then there were those that were jailed.

Tin Pei Ling has been described as cutesy, flippant and infantile.

Let's have some perspective.

Tak Boleh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tak Boleh said...

Siew Kum, When you enter public life, be prepared for intense public scrutiny like it happens in all democracy. Didn't PAP subject opposition party including CST's "O" level results in 1984? Welcome to democracy, my friend.

Tak Boleh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
motochan said...

It is indeed unfortunate, but unavoidable. I'm sure the PAP filters its people extensively, and without knowing more, am quietly confident that Ms. Tin is as good as, if not better than most of us, and certainly a ton braver than those who have chosen to slime her. At the very least, she's braver than I am, to choose to step forth and sacrifice her privacy for the sake of whatever her motivations may be.

Let this online outburst of anti-Ms Tin also be a lesson to all our 4G political aspirants, be it PAP or the Opposition. Our 3G and older political leaders can use their age as an excuse to swear off social media, but not them 4G MP aspirants. The best defense against slime slingers and rabble rousers is for the candidates to own the online conversation, and engage the majority. Keeping quiet and hiding behind the veil of silence is no longer an option.

If Ms. Tin is indeed made of sterner stuff, she'll live through this. If our future political leaders don't have the tenacity to look past the slushies and make that sacrifice, then I don't think they'll get my vote in the first place.

Kum Hong, you worry too much. Reminds me of the me of old. The evolution of politics, just like bureaucracy, takes eons. We're only beginning to crawl out of our caves, and there's plenty more yet in store for us all.

I for one am excited by the latest developments, and look forward to attending the rallies.

Kojakbt said...

Hello Siew,

Is it alright if I post your this write-up to other sites online?


Rabil said...

I am looking forward to see more developments online and also hope to hear more from the moderates and fence-sitters.

While the haters are free to air their grievances, views and opinions, it would be comforting to see more logical, rational and measured responses that would earn more respect and encourage more thinking.

Siew Kum Hong said...

@elissa, Danielboy, Tak Boleh, motochan I choose not to take the low road. I absolutely agree that a lot of the things done to opposition politicians in the past are way beyond the pale -- and that is why I hold many of the opinions I do. But that does not justify what has been done to Ms Tin.

@totoro I watched the Razer clip. I am less than impressed. But that's precisely my point -- let's judge her on what she's written and said, and not the stuff that's appeared online to date.

@Kojakbt Of course, if it is in full and with proper attribution. Thanks.

Kojakbt said...

Thank you!

Kojakbt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kojakbt said...



EricTham said...

cant agree with you. politics is politics. it is dirty. An MP is a public person, and if u want the vote, u can be expected that people want to know about you, your character, your life...
If there are dirty linen in the closet, even that has to be taken out when people consider voting for you. Afterall, the MP plays a big part in shaping the lives of many

Luke said...

There is a difference between arguing for a normative principle and describing the current state of affairs.

I believe Mr Siew here is contending that politics should not involve salacious mud-slinging. Most who disagree are simply saying that this is what happens in politics, so we should not be surprised nor disgusted. Its akin to suggesting that those who choose to be working as maids should go in with their eyes wide open, and we should not try to improve their work conditions etc. Its simply part of the job.

I'm with Mr Siew on this, that there should be certain moral standards involved in public debate and politicking. In any case, the subject of discussion here is arguably one of the least able candidates PAP has put forward in years. Surely there is no need to slander.

i'm more worried about how she has already assumed that her position as MP is secure. And the sad thing is she might be right since she will be riding on the coat-tails of Goh Chok Tong in Marine Parade. It is one thing to be a passionate civic volunteer, and another altogether to be a politician representing the rights and voices of constituents. This opens another can of worms for the GRC system and how our taxes are not paying for the most able in parliament.

Lim Mingji said...

totoro - speech can be written by someone else.

waileong said...

Mr Siew, while your post is timely, it ignores the reasons Ms Tin was attacked online.

First, as you know, the online crowd is largely anti-pap, so they attack any pap candidate, regardless of age. Nothing we can do about that. Indeed, I would even say that in some ways, pap caused this because they stifled the mainstream media from expressing the real opinions of people.

Second, the unavoidable fact that Ms Tin is married to the PM's right hand man. It certainly creates fodder for her critics, especially when one sees no other distinguishing points in her profile.

Hence, don't be too hasty to jump to conclusions that this will deter other young people from stepping into politics. If the pap is unwilling to tackle the population's desire to be heard, then such attacks will continue for all pap candidates, not just young ones.

Chloe Ask said...

The response is viscereal, to borrow LKY's word. Why should taxpayers' hard earned money be wasted for on-the-job training of this little girl? We are not talking about a Sarah Palin here, we are talking about a child swept into parliament through an abuse of the political system. To appease the angry hordes, let's see if the lady in question is prepared to donate 90% of her MP allowance to the poor. Hey, how much does a 27 year old need to spend?

Recruit Ong said...

What a joke. Where were you Mr Siew when the pap and their lapdog media was attacking and tarring opposition folks like Dr Chee, JBJ, Tang Liang Hong, and so on? face it lah, all this while the PAP under the old man has been doing their nasty disgusting and utmost to deter anyone from joining politics... one set of standards for themselves, another for the rest.

CH said...

Should Parliament then become a training ground for PAP young candidates while experienced Opposition leaders are forced into NCMP seats? This is not evolution but retrogression.


That Guy said...

"I would like politics in Singapore to be about the candidates and their view..." Her view is wrong. Therefore she is wrong. This is not 'gutter journalism', this is discovering the truth and exposing it. Odds are her views are the same. The prospect of her being a MP is frankly, quite disturbing. Do not delete this post is you are not afraid to face the truth.

mishaloong said...

Kudos to Mr Siew for speaking up for what he believes in! I share his sentiments on this matter 100%, disgusted as I am myself with the gutter 'politics' in which some netizens are engaging, particularly with respect to Ms Tin. No one who does not know her and is unfamiliar with her work has any right to judge her, let alone condemn her outright. That is not only unfair and unjust in the extreme, but downright nasty. Those who do so should be ashamed of themselves.

Let's move away from the ad hominem attacks and start scrutinising the issues and then determining whether the candidates are worth their salt, based on their views and on their track record.

AwCheow said...

Hi Mr Siew,

In my opinion, having netizens digging out dirt (supposedly) of a potential parliamentary candidate is part and parcel of what one should expect when one stands for election to a public office. In a certain sense, becoming a politician is not so different from being a celebrity.

I find it rather disagreeable that potential candidates, regardless of their age or life experience, should be shielded from the reality of public life, whether by self restraint on the part of netizens or otherwise, for two reasons.

Firstly, the very office that potential candidates are running for is a position of leadership. One of the qualities that I personally will look for is resilience, a characteristic that seemed to be in short supply as our youths become more sheltered. I do expect my leaders to be able to deal with such criticisms that are based on mere speculation and insubstantial grounds, for I will also expect them to be able to deal with criticism of their competency as a political leader. Surely, criticism about one's real capability is much more hurting than criticisms based on grounds that may not even be real.

Secondly, I do believe that while netizens have a tendency to harp on the more sensational aspects, most internet-dwellers are discerning enough to separate the issues that matter from all the hubris. I would say the same for the majority of the people in Singapore (but I may be mistaken). Asking for political candidates to be shielded from the realities of public life suggests that the general public cannot be trusted to decide wisely on their choice of political leaders. The implication of immaturity on the part of Singaporeans does not give enough credit to Singaporeans, and if voters feel that they are not trusted to elect their leaders, it does not bode well for the building of a Singapore with committed Singaporeans.

That said, I do believe that certain allegations made by netizens about Ms Tin are not exactly commendable. Nevertheless, I do feel that she should not be shielded from such baseless allegations if she is to be seen as a credible leader if she gets elected.

Nicholas said...

i think many of you disagreeing with mr siew don't know what leaked information he is referring to...it involves ex-boyfriends and wedding/honeymoon photos, i.e. nothing to do with her political views - i think that is unbecoming as well

however, i am struck by the realisation that a lot of the feelings about this comes from the fact that this girl looks quite innocent and helpless, like a deer in headlights

if this were a 27 year old man, we wouldn't be reacting the same way

this double standard is arguable sexism - a debate for another day

tygertyger said...

As a potential MP, her job is to speak up for her constituents with empathy for their concerns, and ultimately have a vote over policies that affect all our lives. When recruiting, you would gauge a candidate's fit for the job from CV and qualifications, and the fit with the organisation from the interview. As one of her potential "employers" that live in Marine Parade GRC, I have found her CV/Qualifications lacking, in no small part because I doubt she can truly empathise with her constituents, like me. I have yet to come to conclusion from her "interview" but the TV clips have not been promising. Slinging about her personal details is disturbing, yet it highlights a very human element of running for office - people need to identify with you and your views/actions, before they will vote for you.

Socky said...

This is POLITICS. Obviously there'll be dirt being dug up and all. For all you know, she might have been thrown into the political sphere for this very purpose itself to divert attention away from other factors that are angering the citizens like inflation and such.

Also, if you are trying to put in a fair word for her, put in a fair word for the opposition as well. If not, you will just look like a one-sided PAP supporter instead of someone who is genuinely trying to defend this young female candidate.

Finn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Finn said...

I'm sorry Mr Siew, I disagree with you this time. It's not 'gutter journalism' to find pictures and quotes that are publicly available on sites like Facebook. If they make her look immature and materialistic, it's just too bad.

I wouldn't like politicians to descend to the level of the street fighters in America either, but what Ms Tin has 'endured' so far is barely a step above what we all go through in school.

I thought you were brave enough to step into the political arena, I would have been proud to vote for you. But if you're telling me you can't go through what Ms Tin has gone through, which is extremely soft by any country's standards, then I am quite disappointed.

Contestsinkie said...

Which is why online presence is a double edged sword.

Future election candidates should be careful of what they share on the internet.

We are in new media age.

John said...

I disagree with you, Mr Siew.
Why shield her true self from the voters? Without all these from the internet I do not know that she is so childish and immature. I do not want my MP to be a young girl who like to act cute, proud to show off her designer bag, stamp her feet like a 17 years old. So young, how to have enough life experience to do her MP job? I am especially uneasy to see another who's who get into politic thro' back door or get high post in some organisations.

Kojakbt said...

Someone posted this on TR:

Author: johntoh

I am also of the opinion that it's a tad too much to dig and comment negatively on who she chose to marry. It's simply a private and personal matter that should not be politicised.

But then after looking back I somewhat understand(but don't agree) the reaction of many here. I understand 'cos it's how the PAP also "play" this "game" when dealing with the opposition.

Not only the PAP sue and bankrupt opposition figures like JBJ, CSJ and Tang Liang Hong and tried to completely demolished their lives. The PAP even went for the innocent printers of these opposition party. I mean, surely the printers does biz with opposition parties purely on commercial reason, but the ruthless and cruel PAP also sued these printers and one even had his personal affairs(involved in extramaritial affairs) publicised openly.

Even our former AG Francis Seow who was eventually detained under ISA, had his personal affairs - he held the hand of a woman(not his wife) while crossing High Street - dragged out into the open by the PAP.

So people learn this from the PAP. To politicised EVERY single thing about your opponent no matter how private or personal that may be. To show no mercy whatsoever. To completely demolish that person at all cost. No compassion. No fairplay. No honor. Just pure unadulterated ruthlessness!

So all the extremely negative comments made about Tin here, is just purely a reflection of the way PAP goes about their "business" in destroying their opponents as well. So people learn and think this is the way the "game" should be played.

My point here? Ultimately, it's the PAP who should be blamed for getting S'pore's politics to its present state of "affairs".

Just my two cents worth.

Kojakbt said...


>> No one who does not know her and is unfamiliar with her work has any right to judge her, let alone condemn her outright. That is not only unfair and unjust in the extreme, but downright nasty. Those who do so should be ashamed of themselves.

Well, if what you said is true, then MM Lee ought to be ashamed of himself too.

I recalled before Chiam was voted into the parliament in the 80s, Chiam ran against Mah Bow Tan. MM Lee, obviously with the help of the civil servants in MOE, managed to dig out Chiam's 'O' level results and announced to the whole Singapore that Chiam was "inferior" to Mah, who was a President Scholar.

Who started this business of pre-judgement?

g2m6 said...

i disagree. to begin with this aint private info stolen but info published by her previously. it shows her maturity or a lack of it. is dat desirable in a potential MP?

furthermore, i think most people r not upset wif her. afterall she can do and live her life the way she wants. however it is dif when she is throwing her hat into the GE. A job to go into spore's highest office - parliament. As an MP what she does and think will hv an impact on the life and fortune of spore and sporeans. she will represent her constituent; she will vote on laws or repel them including section 377.

most i think r upset wif her candidacy rather than her. after all, like it or not, she, like most, if not all rookies, will be parked in a GRC, and so given a smooth and sometimes free ride to parliament. as an MP she will draw $14k a month. even if every1 in macpherson do not vote for her she can technically still go into parliament since macpherson is under marine parade GRC. i think the fact dat she will go into parliament so long as she gets her nomination papers in order is wat most people r upset with and not with her as a person.

SG said...

Dear Mr Siew,

I totally disagreed with you. If you agree to put yourself up as a candidate, you better be prepared to face all kinds of comments; and even expecting the public or media to dig out your private life. Why should you expect the public or media to be different from other countries? Through the scrutiny, you would know if this candidate is good enough to stand for public service. You can say that we should give her a chance, let me tell you something, there are many candidates now, be it in the ruling party or the oppositions, that are given the chance. You have said it yourself, you decided not to participate precisely because of this kind of "limelight", then I think this candidate we are talking about shouldn't put herself through this too. She should know best.

Cory said...

Her replies seem orchestrated for her age to match with that likely requires life experiences to gain. I hope is not April Fool joke.


Trebuchet said...

Hi KH, to me you are basically right. We shouldn't stoop to stuff below the decent level of discourse.

That said, I would really like to have PAP candidates give deeper, more substantive views about what Singapore should be like in their opinion, and what their philosophy of life really is.

Their public service track records should also be made public, since 'public service' in Singapore tends to be something we find it hard to 'dig up' or figure out once we're given the bare details.

I think the PAP, honestly, has set a good public standard for the basics of a good candidate. It's even better if they can show in detail that their candidates meet that standard. This is true too for the other political parties. In fact, that standard could also be debated.


Stephan Chen said...

I would be naive enough to believe in the possibility of types of antagonisms, and the sooner we move away from its debilitating variant, the better.

thesun said...

Good post to keep everybody sane and focused. We now see if she is smart enough to roll with the punches and pick herself up, with a bruised eye and smile with some teeth punched out.

If she can win the crowd this way, turning disadvantage into advantage by just ignoring the mob and focusin on selling her ideas, she is not a naive political newbie after all.

Cardin Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LoNerd said...

It is apparent that PAP is going to bring her as a trainee in what is probably the best paid internship in the world – 15k monthly salary; part-time work; 6 years guaranteed job and pay.

Indeed, they do not seem to think that it is not unethical to use large amount of people’s money, a constituency and a MP position for this internship. The people don’t deserve this.

Siew Kum Hong said...

To be clear, I find Ms Tin to be a particularly poor choice of a candidate. The Razer TV interview shows it, extremely clearly. She clearly lacks the maturity, and I struggle to find any substance in anything she said there. I am in Marine Parade GRC, and if she is on the PAP ticket, then yes that is definitely a significant factor in my voting decision.

But I continue to believe that public figures deserve to have a private life, unless they choose to bring their private life into the public arena, e.g. by running on a platform of morality. For instance, a public figure's children should be off-limits. To the extent that folks disagree with that, then we will just have to disagree.

We do not need to dredge up her personal life and make all sorts of terrible insinuations, to bring a candidate down. If a candidate is undeserving, it will show through that candidate's words and deeds as a candidate. And that is exactly what has happened here.

The comments re the GRC system are well-founded. But that cannot justify what has happened here.

And again, I choose not to do what I criticise others for doing. This is the golden rule: treat others as you would have others treat you.

Recruit Ong asks me where I was when JBJ, Tang Liang Hong, and Chee Soon Juan were treated the way they were by the PAP. Frankly, I was mostly in school -- in secondary school, in JC, in university. I was not in the public arena, this blog did not exist (heck, there were no such things as blogs), the Internet was in its text-based infancy. Which just shows what an absurd response that was. (I do suspect that I would've written about it in the newsgroups back then.) And to the extent that the oppression of opposition figures has continued, I have asked questions in Parliament where I found it relevant, and otherwise have sought to speak up through mechanisms other than this blog, e.g. by contributing to the Universal Periodic Review report by COSINGO last year. And what about you, Recruit Ong?

Jon said...

Dear Kum Hong,

While I primarily disagree with what has been done, I find it hard to feel bad for her. Politics aside, prospective employers are known to check google, facebook and twitter. Anything you put online is not private, period. Thinking that you can or attempting to clean up at will is naive. Expecting people not to dig up your dirty laundry which you have chosen to put online is foolish.

I agree children, family etc. is off limit. However in this scenario, everything that has been dug up was willfully put up by Ms Tin. In short, she asked for it.

I think it is an excellent lesson for the younger generation that your online trials cannot be cleaned up as easily as you think.

Kojakbt said...

@Siew Kum Hong,

>> And again, I choose not to do what I criticise others for doing. This is the golden rule: treat others as you would have others treat you.

Do you know how LKY treated Chiam when Chiam was running against Mah Bow Tan in 1984?

I did some digging. This was what the old man said about Chiam as reported in ST on 20 Dec 1984:

The Straits Times
20 Dec 1984
(Page 18)

PM: The truth about Chiam



"You know Dr Lee, he's an old performer. But, Mr Chiam, you don't know him. So I looked him up in the records just to make sure what bright star was going to fall into our firmament as against Mah Bow Tan.

Mah Bow Tan, age 16, took his 'O' levels - six distinctions, two credits. Mr Chiam, age 18 - 1953 I think - six credits, one pass. He passed his English language, not bad.

The next year, in 1954, he worked harder, he got a credit for his English. So you see, it's not because he doesn't know English that he found difficulty in expressing himself.

It's what's inside here (tapping his head). And you better search your inside here before you cast your votes. Goodbye and good luck."

Can the old man just dig up anyone's record from the Govt system and tell the whole world? Isn't this an infringement of Chiam's privacy?

tan said...


Anonymous said...

''I find what has happened to be quite offensive and reprehensible,gutter journalism would deter people, including him, from joining politics.''

Mr Siew ,why is it that such gutter journalism will deter ppl from entering politic?If those who wan to enter politic are clean with their private life ,nothing to hide ,i dun see how its detering .

It will only be detering if they cant expose to light .And pls ,if they cant expose to light dun enter politic then .There is an old saying tat goes ,'' If you did not go against your conscience in your daily life ,you wun feel frighten even when someone knock on your door in the middle of the night ;;

Anonymous said...

''Some folks seem to have taken it upon themselves, to dig up what they think is dirt on her personal life, in an effort to put her down and besmirch her reputation.''

Mr Siew ,the main point is not about digging up on others personal life .Accordng to the PAP as a political figures ,you are require to come clean with your private life,scrutinize by the public at large .Isnt that what the PAP always say?

When you enter politic ,you should have know that there isnt much private life since you are a public figures .PAP did the same thing to a potential presidental candidate in the last president election by diging up his private life .A press conference was held to expose his private life .So do you think its fair ?

Mr Siew ,ther is a saying which goes ''what comes around ,goes around ''.

Anonymous said...

''I choose not to take the low road. I absolutely agree that a lot of the things done to opposition politicians in the past are way beyond the pale -- and that is why I hold many of the opinions I do. But that does not justify what has been done to Ms Tin.''

Mr Siew ,since you claim that you hold on to that opinion then you didnt you make it known in parliament by telling the ruling party you are against any form of in gutter journalism (which include the PAP very own ).

Since you are able to express your feeling in here ,i cant comprehend what hold you back from expressing that in parliament .You should have done the same thing when the ruling party dig up the private life of MR kUAN ,the potential presidental election candidate during the last election .

Tan said...

PAP has trained us to think in this way. Do we forget the gutter journalism old LEE has done on his opponents?? Remenber remenber ... ...

Chon Wen Jun said...

What do you stand to gain by defend Singapore's very own Sarah Palin. With the guts to stand for the PAP comments are unavoidable. Whether is it pro-economical policies vs welfare policies the truth will be known very soon. All i can say is the people on the ground is getting very tired of nuances an certain strongholds are becoming complacent, somethings has to be done

Kojakbt said...

Minister Ng Eng Hen said Internet is not credible:

(from ST 31/3/11):

Dr Ng Eng Hen, PAP organising secretary (special duties), was asked what the party's policy was on dealing with the Internet smears and falsehoods that have hit a few of its new candidates.

'That's unfortunately inherent in the online media when you have faceless, nameless people. And we've taken a very harsh response only in terms of those that affect racial aspects because that's a national need... The (younger) generation on their own must decide to put in certain rules. So, for example, some people are trying to set up sites where there are rules in terms of your decorum and I will welcome those.

'But this is very light-touch regulation... We'll let it evolve. People don't know the accuracy of these accusations. They will just leave it because it is not credible.'

Anonymous said...

'''But this is very light-touch regulation... We'll let it evolve. People don't know the accuracy of these accusations. They will just leave it because it is not credible.''

Not credible?There are pic to support the claim .What u mean by not credible?

At least its better than the main stream media .Oppositon party ,NSP have deny that they are sending sucide squad to contest the Tanjong Pagar n Marine Parade GRC .They deny ever saying that to the media reporter .Mr Ng So how credible is the main stream media ?

SDPP is the one contesting in Tanjong Pagar n Marine Parade .Not ,NSP

ivyclark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ivyclark said...

Scrutiny is one thing... it can be healthy and positive. But digging up dirt like that is just negative, unprofessional and immature.

Anonymous said...

''Scrutiny is one thing... it can be healthy and positive. But digging up dirt like that is just negative, unprofessional and immature.''

When you scrutinize ,it is inevitable to include dirt as well .

If you only look at the positive side ,fail to scrutinize the negevite then its the half truth . Whats the point of scrutinize if it only include the positive side .Anyway ,the positive side of PAP candidate have already been completely cover by the main stream media .What is left for netizen is the negative part .Netizen is just doing what the main stream media fail to do .

mikengkt said...

I fully agree with your entire article on the recent online postings on Ms Tin PL. I just want her to know that she has my full support.

The Pariah said...

Those who say that PAP smears and so we could also jeer: TWO WRONGS DON'T MAKE A RIGHT.

No need to smear and jeer - it will just trigger sympathy (rightly or wrongly so).

Just watch and listen to Tin Pei Ling.

Fluff - is already shown from the interview snippet on razor TV.

Bluff - let's see.

New PAP is fluff and bluff - or what?

charles said...

Want to be in politcs , better be clean.

Gary said...

Kum Hong,
I view that video clip you recommended.

What can I say? That, the standards expected of a potential pap MP have become rather low, indeed very low.

I heard nothing in that almost 10 minutes clip that suggested even the slightest realization on her part about what she is embarking on. She sounded like she has already taken for granted that she would be sitting in parliament as a pap MP - that is how regrettable I think things has sunk under the PAP.

She and the rest of the latest PAP cohort of newbies deserved to be slapped by the voters out of their overt overconfidence for taking the voters so much for granted.

She is certainly immature. I have a very horrible feeling that she will treat parliament proceedings, if she gets in,like a social club chattering hole - where it would be of little consequence either way in any debate. She needs to grow up, but please not at our expense and in the highest forum in the land.

I think people reacted badly precisely because the ruling party is being rather insulting by foisting a square peg into a round hole. If she becomes an MP by virtue of a GRC default, then we truly need a revolution to re-assert the sanctity of parliament. The situation in the pap has certainly taken a moronic twist. I am saying this in all seriousness.

Soodo said...

A sample of the quality of parliamentary debate in United Kingdom.


We are nowhere near this. And sad to say, Tin Pei Ling will take us even further away from this standard.

badgebabe said...

In the words of Martyn See:

“I think it is okay to make fun of Tin Pei Ling. If we are a properly functioning democracy, she would’ve been torn asunder by comedians and caricaturists. But alas, we are not. In the end, she will stroll into her MP office, with make-up and handbags intact, and she’ll look back on this week as being the most trying period of her political career, and then she’ll have the last laugh, at your expense.”

mikengkt said...

Yes, it is true that she is 27 yrs of age. If she is being elected into Parliament, she has a Term to show her substance and to perform well in her constituency and as a MP. Like I said before, age does not matter that much to me. We need capable MPs with practical wisdom...

Siew Kum Hong said...

@Jon I think your position is very valid. But I think what has happened here goes beyond what you have described re the practices of prospective employers. Prospective employers are very unlikely to ask a candidate about her and her relationship with her husband, based on a photo of a candidate with a man who is not her husband.

@Chon Wen Jun You asked "What do you stand to gain by defend Singapore's very own Sarah Palin". I think you are mistaken. I'm not defending her at all. I am defending the idea that politics should be above this. I think you need to make that distinction.

@Loy You asked me why "i cant comprehend what hold you back from expressing that in parliament .You should have done the same thing when the ruling party dig up the private life of MR kUAN ,the potential presidental election candidate during the last election". Simple answer -- I was not in Parliament at any time when such incidents took place.

@Gary I would agree with a lot of what you've said. And that's the point -- critiquing her based on the Razer TV interview is fair game. Not the other stuff.

@badgebabe I also think it is fair game to make fun of a candidate. But that's not what happened here.

@mikengkt I absolutely don't agree that candidates should be given a chance to to prove themselves by showing their stuff in Parliament. That misses the point of elections, which is that candidates need to prove themselves by showing their stuff in election campaigning, so that they can get into Parliament. Your comment would suggest a certain sense of entitlement on the part of PAP candidates and supporters, which would be very troubling if true.

grupert2000 said...

@Nicholas: I think you made a very interesting point about the gender bias. Also the outward appearance - innocent looking. Netizens were criticised for being superficial but possibly, those who think she is a "poor young girl" are more guilty of being superficial? Human nature is something politicians got to deal with - managing themselves and the different kinds of people in this world. If you don't have true concern for the people you lead, no matter who they are, then you are in the wrong business. Perhaps getting too philosophical here....??

Gary said...

" Perhaps getting too philosophical here....?? "

Not at all!

You make rational sense.

EVERYTHING, IMO, anything worth doing must start off on a sound philosophical basis, including whether the ruling party has a right to monopolize indeed define what is and is not suitable material for the people's representative in parliament. By proposing Tin's candidacy whose background (which only a fool would think is coincidental) includes being married to the PM's own PPS speaks volumes about the truth of the purportedly 'broad' 'talent spotting' claim that the pap through Lim Boon Heng only just the other day would have Singaporeans believe.

To put it plainly, the pap is treating its operation of the govt like a family business. You get the likes of Grace Fu, daughter of MM Lee's ex-media man James Fu and late party grassroot stalwart, Fong Sip Chee's (aka the 'rat catcher') son, Arthur Fong, etc. The background of its presnt slate you already know.

You cannot fail to conclude that rather than a broad approach, the pap in fact practises a very fixed and conservative provincial approach to recruitment into its rank of potential govt office bearers. The hallmarks of pap recruits include their being completely loyal even servile, weak in political ambition, are thoroughly vetted inside out, have a huge group think mentality, are 'deaf, dumb and blind' when required or ordered, have weakly held and 'flexible' principles, poorly developed social consciousness and of course, greedy. Look around, examples of such pap MPs abound.

Kelvin said...

Good for your Mr Siew. Now that is "opposition" I respect. Not the vindictive drivel spewing unto the internet the last few days.

Mr Tin has definitely not helped herself with the interviews so far, but it borders on mean spiritedness when people start assassinating even her regret of not bringing her parents to Universal.

I find it so darn hilarious that the so-called "anti-PAP" crowd is so quick to adopt the very tactics that they lambast the PAP for. What irony. I guess that makes them no better. So what "alternative" are we talking about?

Kojakbt said...


>> I find it so darn hilarious that the so-called "anti-PAP" crowd is so quick to adopt the very tactics that they lambast the PAP for. What irony. I guess that makes them no better. So what "alternative" are we talking about?

well, the so-called "anti-PAP" crowd is just letting PAP have a taste of its own medicine...

As the saying goes, "What goes around, comes around..."

Wealth Journey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

''Loy You asked me why "i cant comprehend what hold you back from expressing that in parliament .You should have done the same thing when the ruling party dig up the private life of MR kUAN ,the potential presidental election candidate during the last election". Simple answer -- I was not in Parliament at any time when such incidents took place.''

Mr Siew ,this is not a valid explaination.

Since you have the opinion that such gutter journalism will bring about detrimental effect on the political culture of singapore ,all the more you should have bring it up in parliament to retify and put a stop to it regardless whether such act committed by the ruling party was done BEFORE or at the POINT of your term in parliament .

If such gutter journalism act was committed AFTER your term in parliament ,it might be justify for you to shove off any responsiblity as a member of parliament (since you cant represent us in parliament after your term of office).Gutter journalism have been practise by the ruling party for decade ,its hard to believe you are not aware of such act .

So ,as a member of parliament you are only authorise to comments on issue that happen during your term of office?Issues that happen previosly ,and still ongoing ,should not be include in your parliamentary debate?

Should we wait for disaster to arrive in order to correct n rectify it(Anyway ,as i hve say ,PAP have been using such gutter journalism for decade .This is no reason for you to claim ignorance or unable to forsee such disaster ahead .)

That what safety net is for .You put up a safety net to prevent any mishap in the future .You dont wait for disaster to appear before a safety net is in place .Claiming that a forseeable disaster which didnt occur during my term of office ,as such we cant be blame for not putting up any precaution isnt convincing .

Should we wait for fire to occur before telling resident that its wrong to pile up unwanted items on the corridor of HDB flat?Properties and lifes will be lost by then .Its too late

Anonymous said...

'' Simple answer -- I was not in Parliament at any time when such incidents took place.''

Mr Siew,your arguement is weak .It take you so long to speak up on the issue of gutter journalism .The time you choose to speak up happen only AFTER a PAP CANDIDATE private life was being dig up by netizen .It left netizen wonder what takes you so long to speak up .Why u choose this time to speak up when it involve a PAP CANDIDATE ,not that of an opposition candiadte thats subject to the same treatment by the ruling party.

Double standard or favourtism?Let netizen decide .

Luke said...

@ Loy

I think its unfair to accuse Mr Siew of double standards or to fault him for not bringing up the issue of gutter journalism when he was in parliament.

To be sure, there are a myriad of issues plaguing citizens, and there are only a limited number of concerns one can raise. The most pressing ones of the day tend to be aired. Further, much of the debate in parliament centres around motions for amendments to Acts or passing new laws etc.

Consequently, Mr Siew, as just one individual, does not hold a monopoly over what can be or is debated in parliament, nor can he move a limitless number of motions to address a limitless number of issues.

The fact that he is speaking up on gutter journalism now, cannot be construed as "double standards". Indeed it is consistent with his previous role as NMP when he dealt with pertinent issues of our day. Is he not dealing with the issue now? Should this not be commendable? Otherwise, we could enumerate an endless list of PAP misdemeanours and blame Mr SIew for not raising them all in parliament or in his lifetime.

Finally, Mr Siew has not argued that the PAP is exempt from gutter journalism or slander. In fact he contends that they do, but we should not allow ourselves to descend to their level. How is this a double standard? He has also made the point clear that he is not defending Tin Peiling on her abilities as a potential MP. He certainly sees her as less than suitable. How is this favouritism?

Just in case rhetorical questions make things unclear, or gets twisted as they are so apt to be on online forums, what I mean to say is that it is not Mr Siew's primary life goal to rid the world of gutter journalism. To accuse him of practising double standards when he did not raise it in parliament is rather unfair.

Fighting fit said...

The reality is there are all kinds of people in the world; some of those who don’t like or disagree with something can be loud or very persuasive. The Internet has become an effective channel for them–but not for them alone.

The new candidates caught in the middle of the storm appear to have been caught off-guard by this. Poor preparation is the lesson, it seems.

Before someone decides to be a politician and a public figure, he or she has to consider carefully the possible areas that are vulnerable to attacks–a prior court case, failed university course, drink driving arrest, squabble with a neighbour, etc. These are just examples, but you can see how they can become sore sticking points.

After considering them, the party, or at least the person, must have a strategy to handle the points–a crisis plan. There are some things you can deal with beforehand. Like Mr. Siew said, some pictures can be removed online for a start; of course if someone had already saved copies, that’s too bad. Do you come clean early on? Or do you wait for it to surface? Then what do you do?

Has anyone seen any evidence of extensive consideration or planning done to combat the backlash? There does not seem to be any. If they were prepared for the backlash, they didn’t need to admit being taken aback by the fury of cyberspace–just follow the plan.

If we think a bit deeper still, being taken aback and unprepared possibly reflects another aspect. When we are surprised by something, it means we didn’t know to expect it, which means we don’t know it well enough. That means we are unfamiliar with it. Whatever IT is, if you want to run for office, start by knowing the people. Then you will know what buttons to push and what not to.

Bottomline, many lessons here. For party leaders, know your candidates well. If you really want them to run, after knowing their "grey" areas, plan and prepare how to handle those areas. Know the people--your constituents. History (or PR veterans) should give you clues on how people will react.

May Rulers of the World Be Righteous said...

I agreed with Siew Kum Hong. Likewise we do not want politics in Singapore to be one that allow a chosen candidate to go uncontested through the cover of a GRC. She needs to be really tested in a SMC.

g2m6 said...

Minister of Health already concluded that all candidates introduced and 2b introduced will not only do their job but do it "extremely well" ... wonder how well he know the 20+ candidates and how long has he worked with each of them for him 2b in a position to give such sweeping statements. really quite scary that some if not all of them are so confident of their choices and judgement sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Hope my post wont be deleted .If not ,that really show the democracy value thats being uphold by the our NMP .

Anonymous said...

My last post cant get through even after a few attempt .That really show the calibre of our NMP .Its ok ,i get the answer .Hope my post will get through tmr .If not ,that really show .

Nicholas said...

And this is the kind of stuff we get in exchange for freedom of speech. The question is: are the moments of brilliance worth the heaps of nonsense that go with it?

Nicholas said...

wah mr loy

chillax la, no need to flood our email inbox liddat rite...err how do i unsubscribe to the follow up comments har

anyway why u attacking mr siew so much, he speak up the most of all mps and this is the reward he gets?

spam the pap mps who dun speak up instead la :)

(erm actually dont...they dun have sense of humor with that sort of thing one...:P)

moonraiser said...

To Quote
'The consequence of all this, is that people will be deterred from joining politics, even more so than before.'

Well i guess this isnt really too much of a problem is it?
I mean...
-Low/No accountability for mistakes
-No need to apologizes for mistakes
-Iron ricebowl
-High pay while 'learning on the job'
-Can make personal attacks against oppo but not vice versa.

WOW!! Just WOW..

Now seriously i dont mind losing some privacy and i am very sure most 'lesser mortals' do not mind as well.

So... where do i sign up to be a MP????

moonraiser said...

And besides...

we are all just learning from our dear leader MM Lee. Let me quote from one of the more popular Forum

"The PAP Government, over the 53 years it has been in power, is not known for its magnanimity or grace. Lee Kuan Yew, of course, can be held responsible for this, being as he was the one who sat on the throne, and still is the man behind the one who sits on the throne.

Lee Kuan Yew’s influence, make no mistake, runs deep and wide in the PAP and the government. It is thus without a doubt that his ways influence and are practised by the lower-rungs in the government. Anyone who thinks otherwise must be completely naive.

Lee Kuan Yew’s influence too spreads far and wide in Singapore society. Indeed, many hold him up as some sort of demi-god, and fall to their feet at his very presence.

With this in context, lets take a look at some of the things Lee Kuan Yew has said about some people whom he dislikes or has – evidently – utter contempt for.

It is a lesson in meanness.

Lee Kuan Yew has :

- Called the late Mr JB Jeyaretnam a “mangy dog”.

- Called former president Devan Nair an “alcoholic”

- Called James Gomez a “liar and a cheat”

- Called Chee Soon Juan a “psychopath”

- Called Chee Soon Juan a “dud”

- Called Tang Liang Hong a “anti-Christian Chinese chauvinist”

- Called former solicitor-general Francis Seow a “womaniser”

- Called Singaporeans “dogs” – “We had to train adult dogs who even today deliberately urinate in the lifts.”

- Called Singaporeans “daft”

- Compared Singaporeans to animals – “the spurs are not stuck on your hinds. They are part of the herd”

- Called Singaporeans “ignorant”

- Vowed that he will “make him [JB Jeyaretnam] crawl on his bended knees, and beg for mercy.”

- Called Low Thia Khiang “dishonest”

- Called Sylvia Lim “dishonest”

- Said this of author Catherine Lim: “If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try.”

- Displayed gangster like behaviour towards JB Jeyaretnam: “Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet, we meet in the cul-de-sac.”

- Called Australia “the white trash of Asia”

- He locked up Said Zahari for 22 years.

- He locked up Lim Hock Siew for 16 years.

- He locked up Vincent Cheng for 3 years.

- He locked up Teo Soh Lung for 2 years.

- He locked up Chia Thye Poh for 32 years, totally incapacitated him.

You get the idea." End quote

We are all just following the example from our dear leader.

Or do u dare to disagree with our dear leader MM Lee?? OH THE BLASPHEMY!!!!!

g2m6 said...

isnt it strange that civil servants cant join political party / take part in politics but then so soon after serving their last day of service they can be part of a party and not only dat but bcome party's coming election candidate? shouldnt it be like a black out period eg at least 6 mths or 1 yr after retiring / resignation b4 they can join a party & / or run for election? wat purpose does it serve if so soon after leaving civil service they can be into politics? and is there any violation since its pretty obvious they couldnt hv just joined politics after they leave services meaning some of the top civil servants must hv already been in contact with political parties?

The Hopeless Traveller said...

Politics is always dirty. Welcome to the real world. In today's world, where the PAP can no longer have a stranglehold on the media, everyone has a fairer playing ground.

..goodbye.. said...

i agree with some stuff said about her being overboard, but with all due respect sir, you have to realize that because people wanna know what kind of mp she's gonna be, and because we know so little about her, or any other candidate for that matter, that inevitably people are gonna dig up things that can help form their perceptions of her, and it's something that is very natural to do when u wanna know something about someone whom u know so little off, esp when the price of it is a place in parliament and managing your country.

The Pariah said...

If Elections Dept can't even give a straight answer pronto about PAP putting up banners BEFORE Nomination Day, I don't harbour any hopes that they will take action on the posting/circulation of this YouTube video!

Although the CIVIL SERVICE is supposed to be "independent" and "above politics", their track record for the last 4 decades speaks volumes!

That is why OPPOSITION PARLIAMENTARY REPRESENTATION is made all the more imperative!

The Pariah, www.singaporeenbloc.blogspot.com

kapture said...

Unfortunate - Mr Siew Kum Hong, I for one think that your term as NMP was stellar and absolutely look forward to you rejoining politics. I, among many others, can only hope you will reconsider in future.

Dream Soul said...

I agree with your views shared in this blog. Tin Pei Ling should be given a chance....

SingaporeMemoryProject said...

Dear Sir/Madam,

On behalf of the National Library Board (NLB), we would like to invite you to pledge your blog to the Singapore Memory Project as part of efforts to collect memories that are already manifested in existing online channels.

The Singapore Memory Project (SMP) is a national initiative to collect, preserve and provide access to Singapore’s knowledge materials. Spearheaded by NLB, the SMP aims to build a national collection of content in diverse formats (including print, audio and video), to preserve them in digital form, and make them available for discovery and research.

By pledging your blog to SMP, you are affirming that every memory matters. Whether your posts are an account of your daily life, or an expression of your thoughts, the SMP hopes to find a home for your memories so that it can help build towards an understanding of Singapore. You will also receive a badge that you can display on your blog in recognition of your contributions.

Contributors to this blog pledging initiative will be listed on Singapore Memory portal’s blog pledging webpage. All blogs pledged to SMP will archived using NLB’s web harvesting software, in addition to images of each blog’s landing page.

If you are keen to pledge your blog to SMP, simply fill up our response form at this following URL: http://singaporememory.simulation.com.sg/Public/Pledge.

You may find out more about this initiative at http://www.iremember.sg/?page_id=2822.

We are looking forward to your contribution.

Simulation Software & Technology (S2T) Pte Ltd
583 Orchard Road #14-02 Forum The Shopping Mall S(238884), Singapore
|w: www.simulation.com.sg