Thursday, 29 May 2008

Condolences to a great woman

I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family of Miss Molly Lee...

33-year-old Molly Lee was honoured with the Singapore Woman Award by MediaCorp Publishing's Vanilla magazine in March this year.

The former web designer had been fighting ovarian cancer for the past three years.

Despite that, she started an online cancer support group for young women called 'We Are Wonder Women'.

Related links:

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

YouthQuake 2

“Moving with the times - A Transportation Road Map by Youth in Singapore”

The Workers’ Party Youth Wing takes great pleasure in inviting you to participate in an upcoming public forum as part of the YouthQuake Forum Series.

This forum series is into its second installment. The topic for this session focuses on how youth can propose and carry forward a refreshing new approach to transportation issues in Singapore.

The details of the YouthQuake Forum are as follows:

Date: 7th June 2008 (Saturday)

Time: 1400 hrs – 1600 hrs

Venue: 216-G Syed Alwi Road #02-03

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Mas Selamat, where are you?

After announcing to the public who had been held accountable for Mas Selamat's escape in Parliament yesterday, Mr. Wong...I'm telling you that this issue is far from over.

Besides having to know who is suppose to be responsible, Singaporeans' top priority is to know where is this 'dangerous man'? And when can he be detained?

Mr Wong mentioned,"But we cannot work on the assumption that he is no longer in Singapore. Therefore, we have to work on the assumption that he is still in Singapore and all the necessary border security measures ought to be in place."

Hence all check-points will remain tight and vigilant.

Seriously, I'm still not very convinced that Mas Selamat escaped. I just got this feeling that he is still in Whitley Detention Centre.

Up to today there is still no physical evidence to the public that he escaped. Not to mention we have not even found him.

I remembered taking a taxi and the driver was telling me his opinion on this issue. He, as well as some other taxi drivers believed that Mas Selamat had been handed over to another country as a political exchange...our government is taking us as fools...wahhh!!! These uncles can really imagine!

Come to think of it, why not?

Unless Mr Wong and his team is able to find him out, dead or alive, otherwise I'm still for the idea that Mas Selamat never really did escape.

Mas Selamat, Mas Selamat, where can you be hiding? Security is so tight, other countries are also looking out for you...where can you go?

Listen to WKS:

Part 1

Part 2

Friday, 16 May 2008

I agree, Singapore education is not doing enough..heard that, MOE?

16, 18, 21 – what’s behind an age?

Derrick A Paulo
Assistant News Editor

TWO Saturdays ago, the youth wing of the Workers’ Party revived an old debate: Should we lower the voting age from 21 to 18?

Prior to this, the issue came up for discussion last year, when Deputy Prime Minister and then-Law Minister S Jayakumar addressed such a request by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Sylvia Lim.

The minister had set out Singapore’s approach clearly: Different laws prescribe different ages for different purposes; no single age satisfies the ability to exercise proper judgment in all aspects of life.

I was not at the Workers’ Party forum, but the question I have not seen asked is: What do our laws say about the maturity levels of the future generation of Singaporeans?

Let us start with age 16. This is the age of consent, which means the State deems it is no longer necessary to mollycoddle Singaporean youth on decisions about their bodies and the consequences that follow, such as pregnancy or parenthood.

In the United States, teenagers are deemed not mature enough to make such decisions —the age of consent is 18. (This, of course, has not stopped them partaking of the forbidden fruit.) At 16, American teens are considered merely adult enough to get a driving licence.

What is clear is, if it were believed our youth were not prepared for sex and its consequences by the time they are 16, the law would have prescribed a different age. It should come as no surprise — given the wide expanse and travelling distances in the US, where petrol is cheaper than in Singapore, clearly the priority is to enable American children to learn how to captain their own vehicle.

Singapore, a compact city with a good public transportation system, naturally does not place as much emphasis on the ability to drive. Hence, 18 is the age at which our youth are allowed to handle a car. At this age, the law also entrusts to Singapore youth the responsibility for their smoking and drinking habits — in other words, putting into their hands the decisions concerning their personal health.

For ease of comparison, in the US, sale of alcohol is restricted to ages 21 and above, and 18 and above for smoking. The latter situation, one suspects, is a result of the strength of the tobacco lobby. There is something to be said for responsible and moderate drinking, while no health benefits can be derived from smoking — but political interests sometimes overpower longer-term considerations. Where does that leave voting, and what it says about the differing levels of maturity or priorities, or about the long-term interests in various countries?

In the 21st century, where suffrage is enshrined in all but the most authoritarian of states, it is logical that the age of voting speaks volumes about each country — their values, their culture and where the balance of power lies. A look at American history would reveal a country born in the throes of the concept that there can be no taxation without representation. That may be why representation at the various levels — local, state, federal — is still a powerful ideal there, even if there has been a loss of faith in politicians, be it due to their peccadilloes or general incompetence. For America, it makes sense that the age of voting is 18.

What about Singapore? It joins the likes of Malaysia, Kuwait — which only allowed women full political rights three years ago — and strife-torn Lebanon as one of the few countries left in the world to insist on a voting age of 21. Is there something that these countries share as a common bind? It would be hard — and wrong — to generalise.

As far as Singapore is concerned, voting in elections is a very serious matter, premised as it is on citizens making reasonably mature decisions on national issues. That we have set 21 as the age to vote means that the three years of life experience after turning 18 are crucial for enabling our youth to be in a better position to exercise their vote.

For Singapore males, a good part of those three years would have been invariably spent in National Service. Their female counterparts, though, could have traversed various paths — from joining the labour force to pursuing studies here or abroad.

With a growing number of youth going overseas for these three years, would it not be best to engage them on national matters while they are here, in our schools — the common space all Singaporeans share — before they go their separate ways?

In short, there are questions to be answered before we even start considering what the voting age should be. Above all, are we doing enough in our schools to prepare our youth to make all-important political judgments?

If our youth are not ready to vote by the age of 18, clearly the answer is no.


Thursday, 15 May 2008

Mrs Lee Kuan Yew in serious condition after brain haemorrhage

SINGAPORE: The wife of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was admitted to the neuro-intensive care unit (NCU) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital this week.

A statement from the Minister Mentor's Office said Mrs Lee, 87, suffered sudden weakness on her left side and slurring of speech around noon on Monday.

She was then taken to the National Neuroscience Institute for an urgent brain scan. The results revealed massive right intra-cerebral haemorrhage, and Mrs Lee was subsequently admitted to the NCU.

The haemorrhage stabilised after two days of close monitoring and treatment. She was then transferred to the general ward on Wednesday.

Mrs Lee currently remains in serious condition although she is able to recognise immediate family members.

Related links:

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Happy Mothers' Day

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs... since the payment is pure love. ~Mildred B. Vermont

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb

I would like to say this to all mum:

Thursday, 8 May 2008

YW President’s statement on Vote@18

The Workers’ Party Youth Wing (WPYW) wishes to thank, once again, all participants who attended the inaugural YouthQuake forum on votng @ 18 on Saturday, 3rd May 2008.

A full house with many new and youthful faces is testament to the timeliness and impact of this matter but more so an editorial by Andy Ho of the Straits Times (8 May 2008) perhaps alluding to the WPYW forum (as a public forum - which is factually accurate).

We agree with the arguments raised in Mr. Ho’s editorial, since virtually all of these arguments were raised by the speakers at the above event and duly recorded by Mediacorp, and urge that this matter be debated in Parliament regardless of partisan standing.

We stand united for the betterment of the nation.

Watch this space for the next forum coming up on issues of national importance and their impact on Singaporean Youth!

Perry Tong

President, WPYW

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Non-sensical approach from a Non-AWOL Team

Read this:

How to tahan something like that!!!!!!!!!!!!

So this is what a Non- AWOL team can produce or come up with? Genius! First in the world! No doubt!

How is one going to determine or justify which precinct is the dirtiest?

So besides getting contractors to clean up the estate, more people are going to be employed to weigh litter? Is Aljunied Town Council trying to create job opportunities here? What a unique way of doing it! Uniquely Singapore indeed!

Cynthia Phua said...the council would tie conservancy charges to the index only if it found an objective measure of cleanliness.

If only they can find an objective measure of cleanliness! Please tell us how! Very curious...

And Mr. George Yeo, was this how other countries are doing to help clean up the estate? Is this what you have learnt from your visitation to other countries?

Our Non-AWOL team is indeed very creative.

The main difference between AWOL and Non-AWOL is the ability to think out of the box and come up with interesting, first of a kind type of policy! How wonderful!

Instead of charging the dirtiest precinct higher S & C charges...why not give discounts to the cleanest precinct? If a measure of cleanliness is able to be put in place then the latter should be implemented! Wasn't this taught in School? Motivate your best students and help the poorer ones, not rub salt into the wounds!

People of Aljunied GRC, if this is to be implemented, you had better either help look out for inconsiderate neighbours or exercise your votes wisely. Show them you don't like what is being implemented. Show your displeasure!

This should be the last straw,unless our Non-AWOL team come up with more brilliant ideas in future!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Youthquake - 'Should Singaporean Youths be allowed to vote at age 18'

WPYW first Youthquake forum is here and gone...time flies :)

For more details, read these links: (An event report with pictures will be uploaded soon)

Also look out for the article on this event to be published in the next issue of 'Hammer'.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Response to Seng Han Thong

Shortly after WP's May Day Press Release, Seng Han Thong rebutted:

Union leader challenges Workers' Party to hire only S'poreans

An anecdote about a Singaporean coffeeshop woman worried that "a sweet, young beer girl from China" was undercutting her wages has triggered a feisty exchange of barbs between the Workers' Party (WP) and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) assistant secretary-general Seng Han Thong.

The tale of the beer girl had been related recently by Mr Lim Boon Heng, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office. He had said that such beer ladies from China helped to draw more business to the coffeeshop, in turn helping the Singaporean keep her job.

In its May Day message, the Opposition party said that this anecdote was an admission that the People's Action Party (PAP) had created an economic model in which Singaporeans had to be dependent on foreign workers to retain their jobs.

Yesterday, Mr Seng, who is also the PAP MP for Yio Chu Kang, challenged the WP to set an example on the issue of foreign workers.

"According to their statement, I propose that they start with their Hougang Town Council by ensuring that all their workers and employees are Singaporeans only. That's the best way to start," said Mr Seng, speaking to reporters after NTUC's May Day Rally.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also defended Mr Lim's comments in his Mandarin speech at the rally. Pointing out in jest that he did not entirely agree that having more pretty beer ladies — and hence encouraging more Singaporeans to drink — was a good thing, he said that Mr Lim's point that foreign workers were important to the economy was a serious one.

The Prime Minister noted that while "some people disagreed" with Mr Lim's answer, it highlighted several "important facts", including how foreign workers are "hardworking and willing to work long hours" and "strengthen Singapore's overall competitiveness".

Mr Lee added: "By hiring them, coffeeshops can open late, or even 24 hours round the clock. More importantly, with the help of foreign workers, our airport, seaport, factories, offices, hotels, restaurants and retail outlets can offer better service and business hours."

Reply from the WP's...Press Release on 2nd May:


We refer to Mr Seng Han Thong’s reported response to WP’s Labour Day press release.

It seems that Mr Seng, a labour MP, has conveniently forgotten to address WP’s questions about his ex-boss Minister Lim Boon Heng's insensitive comments.

Instead, he side-steps them by querying whether all employees of Hougang Town Council (HGTC) are Singaporeans.

For the record, the staff of HGTC are all Singaporeans. However WP recognizes the contribution of foreign workers and is not against their employment.

For instance, HGTC does not object to its contractors deploying foreign workers in the estate.

The WP Labour day message raised three issues pertaining to workers in Singapore in view of the changing economic circumstances, the government policy on foreign manpower and the government's attitude towards the employment of foreigners.

WP said, first, the government's attitude should be to put Singaporeans first; secondly, we should resist any erosion of Singaporeans' societal standing; and thirdly, it is the government’s responsibility to show compassion for the plight of the workers facing the pressure of high inflation.

Therefore, the issue here is not of foreign workers’ employment per se but rather how the Singapore Government and the Labour Union will ensure that the dignity and societal position of Singaporeans workers are not compromised in view of globalization and labour mobility.

Yaw Shin Leong
Organising Secretary
The Workers' Party

Thursday, 1 May 2008

May Day's Press Release

Putting Singaporeans First

The top down tripartite collaboration amongst the Government, employers and a pro-government labour union is a sure recipe for potential compromises for the Singaporean worker.

Overall employment creation in Singapore for the whole of 2007 is 236,600, surpassing 176,000 in 2006. However foreign employment rose to a new high of 144,500 in 2007. This means only 38.9% in 236,600 jobs created last year truly benefited Singaporeans.

Singaporeans will be none the better off, even if more jobs are created, when more than 60% of the jobs created go to foreigners. Although Singaporeans may participate in skills upgrading programs, many realize that promotional prospects are limited.

A certain portion of these jobs created could have been part time contract work positions. While the above statistics illustrate a rosy picture of high employment rate boosting the general public’s confidence in the Singapore’s economy, these figures require more detailed analysis to understand the actual employment status that Singaporeans are in.

Could it be that more Singaporeans are holding contractual part-time work positions, whereas foreigners might be benefiting from the full time positions created?

If this is the situation, this will disadvantage some segments of Singaporeans, resulting in less than ideal employment terms, such as compromised medical benefits and annual leave.

Singaporean's Societal Standing

To face the future with confidence and optimism, Singaporeans must be assured first of our societal standing in the midst of global uncertainties. Under the current top down tripartite collaboration model bold measures are taken to tackle macro economic challenges, and the impact on Singaporean workers must not be written off.

With reference to a recent report in the local media, Minister Lim Boon Heng gave an explanation to a distressed Singaporean woman concerned about losing her job to a ’sweet young beer girl from China’ that the foreigner’s presence actually helped to draw in businesses, in turn saving the Singaporean woman’s job. Such a ‘brush-off’ comment by a ministerial authority is hardly assuring.

According to Mr Lim’s logic, is he conceding that the PAP has created an economic model whereby Singaporeans must now be dependent on the foreign workers to retain our jobs? Singaporeans must now thank foreigners for helping us keep our jobs!

As a result of this ‘unique’ economic model, the societal standing of the Singaporean worker is now being eroded in our very own country.

Singapore is indeed becoming a ‘City of Possibilities’, however, it’s not for Singaporeans but foreigners. While Singaporeans are still conceptualising our great future filled with ‘possibilities’, alas, this might already have been stealthily taken away.

Showing Compassion

The current harsh reality of rising food prices and inflation is a major concern for all Singaporeans, especially so for the lower wage workers, whose livelihood is also threatened by the increasing numbers of foreign workers.

Our government must be compassionate and be proactive to initiate more substantial measures to help Singaporeans. Whilst NTUC has initiated a food voucher program, our government should also do something on top of the initiatives by NTUC. This is not to suggest that our government should subsidise food prices across the board but they are definitely capable of giving more help.

The Workers’ Party hereby repeats our call to reduce Singapore’s GST rate by 2% and to keep our GST rates at 5% for at least a year. We also propose that the government reduce fuel tax as a compassionate gesture to ease Singaporeans’ financial burdens.

In spite of this sombre backdrop, Workers’ Party encourages fellow Singaporeans to hold our heads high and not to lose heart. The Workers’ Party will continue to pressure the government so that Singaporeans’ privileges and opportunities are not compromised in the midst of a top down tripartite collaboration amongst the Government, employers and a pro-government labour union.

The Workers’ Party wishes all Workers in Singapore a Happy Labour Day.

Yaw Shin Leong
Organising Secretary
The Workers’ Party

1 May 2008

A report from 'TODAY' with regards to this Press Release can be found here.
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