Tag Archives: Singapore

Protest, But Not In Public, Says Singapore Government!

The government of Singapore has charged opposition party leaders with an illegal procession and assembling without a permit just days after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the city-state would ease a ban on outdoor public demonstrations. The Singapore democratic Party said seven of its members were charged although party leaders denied any such illegal action. Demonstrations in Singapore by five or more people must be approved by the police. Democratic Party chairman, Gandhi Ambalam, responded to the accusations by emphasizing, “the charges that we face are in complete violation of our basic rights to freedoms of speech, assembly and expression.” He also noted the alleged offenses were committed about two years ago. “It’s strange that in our unique Singapore it has taken the authorities such a long time to bring us before you,” he told the court.

Singapore’s prime minister said he will allow public demonstrations at a “Speakers Corner” where citizens can say anything they desire as long as they do not discuss, race, language, or religion. All the he has to add is the word “politics” and Singapore can then have the world’s fairest forum for non-discussion of anything.

A Singapore Story Of A Maid

There are approximately 200 million migrants working in nations throughout the world. Their individual stories are not that significant in themselves but they frequently highlight the abuse and degradation an immigrant must endure in their struggle for survival in a strange land. Ms. Ida Lestari Ninsih, left her native Indonesia and went to Singapore in search of a better life. She soon secured employment as a maid in the home of Linn Yi Khung, who works for Singapore Airlines and his wife Aileen Lay Hoon. Within a few months of obtaining the position, Ms. Ninsih encountered abuse. Ms. Hoon hit her repeatedly, dragged her by the hair, and knocked her to the floor for failure to do tasks. Mr. Khung punched the maid in the eye, knocked her down, and dragged her along the floor as his three children watched.

Ms. Ingsin finally couldn’t take it anymore and jumped out a window and fled to the cono manager who noticed the bruises on her body and called the police. At the trial, Mr. Khung claimed the maid was lying because she didn’t want to pay the $10 fines he levied when she made mistakes. The judge did not accept his story and he was found guilty along with his wife.

The story is minor, but it reveals the daily horror which is encountered by maids and migrant workers. In many cases, they are compelled to endure further abuse because there is no friendly condo manager around to summon the police. This is simply a Singapore story but it could happen in any nation.

Singapore Makes Money From Myanmar

Presideent Bush has issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business in Myanmar, but many of the companies who are on the US blacklist are openly doing business with Myanmar. Myanmar’s military junta rulers go back and forth to Singapore for everything from medical needs to having a good time. Senior leaders like Gen.Than Shwe travel to Singapore and his wife has been seen engaged in extensive shopping sprees. But, the exchange between Singapore and Burma is a two way street. Temasek Holdings, for example, is estimated to have invested over $3 billion in Myanmar. The prevailing view of Singapore businessmen is they have a wonderful opportunity to make money while the rest of the world avoids doing anything in Burma due to the oppressive military leadership.

According to an article in the Jakarta Post, “Without financial and technical support from Singapore, the junta would be greatly weakened and might seek peaceful political solutions with the National League of Democracy…There is too much money to be made.” The tragedy of the people of Burma is being too close to Singapore and too far away from nations that might assist them in their struggle against military oppression.

Terrorist Went To Wash Hands And Walked Away!

The govenment of Singapore apologized for allowing an alleged Islamic terror leader to simplyvanish from a jail. Authorities said Mas Selamat Kastari, who once allegedly plotted to hjack a plane and crash it into Sinagapore’s international airport, slipped away from a detention center. Mas Selamat is supposedly commander of the al-Qaida linked Jemaah Islamiyah’s Singapore branch. Minister of Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng said Mas Selamat escaped after being taken to a room where he was to meet members of his family. He asked permission to go to the toilet and apparently opened a window in the washroom and just walked away.

Security breaches are virtually nhead of in Singapore, small nd densely populated little island whose sophisticated intelligence system keeps close tabs on its inhabitants as well as anyone else. Hundreds of security forces have been deployed all over the island to find the missing man. Ironically, the departed fugitive walks with a limp so somewhere in Singpore there is limping man hobbling along trying to find a way out of the island.

Singapore Leader On Burma- “They Are Rather Dumb Generals”

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s leading statesman commented on his efforts to advice Burmese military leaders by noting they were, for the most part, not the brightest people in the world. “These are rather dumb generals when it comes to the economy. How can they mismanage the economy and each this stage when the country has so many natural resources?” He expressed concern that if Myanmar’s present military leaders were suddenly swept from the scene there would be chaos because the army so permeates the entire economy of the nation. Yew said he had been trying for years to offer advice to Burma’s military junta and thought former prime minister and head of the intelligence, Khin Nyunt, was listening and willing to make changes until swept from office and placed under arrest. “I do not believe,” said Yew, “they can survive indefinitely.”

There is little doubt the basic essence of Yew’s comments are correct about the inept performance of the military junta when it comes to managing Burma’s economy, but at the same time they have been proficient in the imposition of a cruel dictatorship upon the country. An unknown factor is whether or not there are lower level officers who are aware of the need for change in their country. The hope for Burma is that such elements exist and will some day assume positions of leadership to institute change. In the meantime, nations like China and India are the only hope for exerting pressure on the military junta.

Singapore Opposition Parties Rally For Myanmar

Leaders of Singapore’s opposition parties rallied in front of the prime minister’s office in protest against their nation’s failure to take decisive action against the Burmese military junta’s brutal crackdown on monks and protestors. They were led by Chee Soon Juan, a noted critic, who has been in and out of jail for his vocal public comments about the Singapore government. The group had planned a 24 hour protest and wanted to submit a petition to the government which stated: “We demand that the government open its books of the Government Investment Corporation and Temasek to the people starting with its investments in Burma.” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong did criticize the Burmese junta, but made clear that Singapore intended to maintain its investments and diplomatic relations.

The Burmese military leaders are aware that Singapore, China and India want to invest within their nation seeking access to its natural resources, particularly oil. The world can condemn the military junta, but as long as nations like Singapore maintain relations and continue investing in Myanmar, there is no need to alter policies. In fact, the military thugs probably don’t even mind a few negative words from the prime minister of Singapore because they understand it’s for show and tell to prove to the world it cares. There is a cynicism among many Asian leaders which results in abasement of rights in Myanmar.