Archive for June, 2012

ST Editor replies: We believe our coverage of the Hougang by-electio​n was balanced and fair.

June 23, 2012

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to your reply to Mr Low Thia Khiang’s 30 May 2012 letter to you.

You said you believed that your coverage of Hougang by-election was fair and balanced. But fair or not, balanced or not is not for you to say but for readers to judge.

You said the photo showing Mr Png Eng Huat, the man in the middle of the controversy, framed by his party leadership dramatically summed up the story of that day. But that was only half the story and not even the most dramatic part of it. The other half and the more dramatic part was Mr Teo Chee Hean making those dramatic accusations. So to be fair, you should have placed a photo of Mr Teo Chee Hean, perhaps smiling, making those accusations side-by-side the photo you chose.

You claimed to have acted with circumspection. Again, self-praise is no praise.

You claimed to have reported news dispassionately. Then why use phrases like “After a dramatic 24 hours” instead of just “After 24 hours”? Why so drama?

You also claimed to have reported news objectively. But depending on your objective, what is objective to you may not be objective to readers.

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Give credit where it’s due

June 23, 2012

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the 30 May letter by Ms Tan Say Yin,

Ms Tan claims that Mr Yaw Shin Leong and Mr Png Eng Huat rode on the coat-tails of Mr Low Thia Khiang and therefore the accusation that young PAP MPs enter parliament by riding on the coat tails of ministers is no longer unique to PAP.

I beg to differ. The comparison is not accurate and the rides are not the same. In the previous election, it was possible that Mr Yaw got elected but not Mr Low. That would be like the rider getting to his destination but not the elephant on which the rider was riding. That is simply not possible and that is why it is wrong to characterise it as riding.

On the other hand, when young PAP MPs contest together with ministers and enter the parliament together, that definitely can be considered as riding. The young PAP riders cannot get to their destination without the elephant minister they are riding on getting to the destination too. If the elephant minister fails to reach its destination, young PAP riders will also fail to reach their destination as demonstrated when Mr Ong Ye Kung failed to enter parliament when Mr George Yeo failed too.

If Ms Tan wants to refer to young WP MPs riding on the coat-tails of Mr Low Thia Khiang, she would have to refer to MPs such as Pritam Singh and Mr Muhamad Faisal in the same Aljunied team. Even so, it is possible that Mr Low wasn’t the only elephant in that team. Mr Chen Show Mao could have been another elephant in that team though we won’t know for sure unless we surveyed the Aljunied voters. There could also have been much bigger, intangible elephants that the Aljunied team including Mr Low rode on such as PAP policy failures, PAP high handedness and voters’ wish for greater political plurality.

If Ms Tan wishes, she can characterise Mr Yaw and Mr Png as wearing the Mr Low badge just as young PAP MPs wear the LKY badge.

Ms Tan credits PAP for transforming Singapore from a slum to a First World city state. That is simply not true. Singapore had already attained a middle income status in 1960 with a per capita GDP of $1,330 [1]. Post-war Singapore was never a slum waiting to be transformed by Lee Kuan Yew into a First World city [2]. The King of Thailand wouldn’t have sent 20 of his sons to a slum for education in the late nineteenth century [2]. A slum could not have staged a manned air flight as early as 1911 [2]. Singapore was credited with the finest airport in the British Empire in the 1930s [2]. How could Singapore have been a slum when LKY himself had acknowledged in an Aug 1967 speech to American businessmen in Chicago that we were already a metropolis [2]?

If Ms Tan wants opposition supporters to give credit where it is due, she should give credit to Dr Albert Winsemius who was the genius and the mastermind behind the economic master plan that transformed Singapore from what it was at independence into a First World city state.

[1] Carl A. Trocki, Singapore: wealth, power and the culture of control, Page 166

Singapore had already attained a middle income status in 1960 with a per capita GDP of $1,330

[2] Peter Wilson / Gavin Peebles, Economic growth and development in Singapore: past and future, Page 26

Post-war Singapore was never a backward fishing village waiting to be transformed by Lee Kuan Yew into a modern economy. The King of Thailand wouldn’t have sent 20 of his sons to a fishing village for education in the late nineteenth century. A fishing village could not have staged a manned air flight as early as 1911. Singapore was credited with the finest airport in the British Empire in the 1930s. LKY had already acknowledged in an Aug 1967 speech to American businessmen in Chicago that we were already a metropolis.

Desmond Choo: Change has begun

June 16, 2012

Dear Mr Desmond Choo,

I refer to the 27 May 2012 Straits Times report of your comments after losing the Hougang by-election. You said the slightly increased share of PAP vote is a sign that more people in Hougang agree with your vision. The table below shows that the slight increase amounts to 157 voters or 0.7% of Hougang voters.

WP PAP Spoilt votes Total votes Total valid votes WP % PAP %
2011 14,833 8,053 261 23,147 22,886 64.80% 35.20%
2012 13,447 8,210 294 21,951 21,657 62.10% 37.90%
Change -1,386 157 -33 -1,196 -1,229

Thus, after giving out free porridge, free hearing aids and $100,000 toilet upgrade from Rotary Club, you only managed to increase your votes by less than 1%.

Out of the 1,386 votes that WP lost, only 157 were lost to you. Another 33 were lost to increase in spoilt votes and the remaining 1,196 simply vanished into thin air. Thus, while it may seem like your vote share increased by 2.7%, in actual fact, it only increased by 0.7% or 157 votes.