January 26th, 2010


Who's the real ugly Singaporean

A letter featured in the world's most screwed up paper: New ugly Singaporean.

HERE is a new breed of Ugly Singaporean more sinister than the ones who cut queues, pile up the buffet plate or rush onto the bus before other passengers can alight.

Those belonging to this new breed fancy themselves as keyboard warriors and deface Internet sites with postings that are plainly worrying.

Hiding behind the anonymity of the Net, they post comments that reek of prejudice, racism and envy.

For instance, it is virtually unavoidable these days to read anti-migrant comments online. These netizens flood message boards with anti-foreign worker vitriol that degenerates into childish name calling and personal attacks on those who are courageous enough to defend foreign workers.
This is a ridiculously simplistic way of putting the issue across. Either the writer is stupid or he is worryingly sinister. He would like to have us think that there are two camps: the evil anti-migrant people (apparently the majority online) and the heroes to are pro-migrants. While it might be commendable for people to defend others (migrants or not) from prejudice, who is to label one group of people "anti-migrant" to begin with? Suddenly the large number of people feeling unhappy with the foreign policy as it is manifested in Singapore are dismissed as the bad guys who "flood" message boards. On the other hand, political sycophants are elevated to the status of heroes even if their objective may simply be to defend the policies of the ruling party rather than to put an end to discrimination.

Childish name calling? Personal attacks? Keith Garard Tan, the writer of the offensive letter, seems to be doing exactly that. And he is truly sinister to this bimbotic blogger. If you voice out when you think you have suffered an injustice that is perpetrated by the very government that you have "voted" in, you are guilty of the sin of envy. Is Tan as stupid as to really think so or does he have a political agenda in saying so? One can never quite tell. But, either way, the letter stinks.

According to Tan,

These ugly warriors use labels like 'traitor' frequently. The irony is that these same anonymous posters say they want to leave Singapore because they feel they are being forced out by foreigners taking their jobs.
What is so ironic about wanting to leave Singapore after labeling others as traitors unless Singaporeans who desire to leave Singapore are traitors in the eyes of Keith Gerard Tan? If there is irony, perhaps it is that Tan himself is anti-migrant and is labeling aspiring emigrants as traitors. The second irony is of course that it is ironic how Tan is speaking of irony.

But perhaps Tan's real concern is as follows.

Another example: The Eric How controversy, in which an inflammatory Facebook diatribe by an unidentified individual who called himself Eric How and claimed to be a member of Young PAP triggered a witch hunt.
Did he just say "another" example? Pardon me, but what was or were the previous examples given? In any case, I have to confess that I do not know what Tan is driving at. Is he saying that the supposed impostor is an ugly Singaporean? But that one impostor should not be considered a "breed" of Singaporeans. Is he saying that those involved in the so-called witch hunt are ugly Singaporeans? Hey, but why should pro-migrant people be considered "courageous" while those who want to defend Singaporeans against the accusations of "Eric How" not courageous people who take the effort to expose those who post the inflammatory remarks to which Keith Gerard Tan seems so opposed? Apparently, it's good to defend migrants, but it's bad to defend Singaporeans or attempt to expose someone who makes remarks saying that Singaporeans have their karma to blame for their plight. 

Those in this new breed of Ugly Singaporean worry me because they suggest a sense that beneath a placid exterior lurks a collective subconscious that is intolerant, mean and narrow-minded.

People like Keith Gerard Tan worry me. They either show how stupid Singaporeans can be or how far some would go to assassinate those who are critical of Singapore as his political gods have made it.

Premier Trash

According to PM Lee:

For the opposition . . .  one scholar or two [and] you think "wow" this is a luminous transformation. Well, it is a significant development ... but finally let's look at the person, not what degrees he has, but what he is able to do for Singapore.

I can tell you, we interview many scholars and each time we field a few of them. And we interview other people too and we often field people who are not scholars. It is good to see it in perspective.

We hope that anybody who enters politics is somebody of not just ability but integrity and commitment. These are young people who have got good records academically and been in the civil service.

We wish them well, but we hope Singaporeans will judge individuals like that as rigorously as they would judge individuals who join the PAP side. In other words, it's not just what degree you have, but what sort of person are you and what can you do. (CNA article)

Nonsense, Hsien Loong. If it is about the sorts of people and what they can do, why privilege good academic records and evil civil service experience? That's not any better than deciding on candidates based on whether they have scholarships, you know? And it is obviously political suicide to have a party consisting solely of scholars, so these are just empty words that amount to no more than a cheap attempt to take a stab at the opposition.

It is not about what you can do, Hsien Loong. I happen to think that you are capable of doing lots of things including what I would want you to do, really. But whether you will do those things is another matter. Ultimately, it is what you stand for that matters to me. If you are the embodiment of my misery, I do not care who you are or what you can do. In fact, the more capable you are, the more worried I would be.

It doesn't matter what you can do if you merely stand for your father instead of standing up against him.