Select Committee: Hypocrites vs Experts

Select Committee: Hypocrites vs Experts
  1. Facebook’s representative doesn’t want to answer questions on his firm’s behaviour

Simon Milner from Facebook didn’t want to answer questions about Facebook’s conduct outside of Singapore. After the Cambridge Analytica privacy breach, Facebook kept it quiet from users for years. Even recently, they did not answer the UK Parliament truthfully about this.

Milner had the cheek to ask why he needed to answer such questions. Does he expect Singaporeans to just believe his proclamations about protecting users’ data, despite evidence that Facebook hasn’t done so? OK, actually most of us still use Facebook despite all that, myself included. But that’s why we need Parliamentarians to represent our interests and hold them to account.

  1. Foreign activists talked big but refused to debate their views openly

Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch said Singapore is authoritarian, the same stuff they’ve been spouting for years, quoting only opposition supporters and disregarding what Singaporeans express at the ballot box. But when invited to appear before the Committee, they refused. Maybe because they would be asked about their sources and the flaws in their reports?

  1. Kirsten Han won’t take down news that attacks Muslims

Kirsten Han was asked about several pieces of fake news that caused attacks on Muslims. A fake rape claim that led to anti-Muslim riots and Muslim deaths, a cartoon that portrayed Muslims raping and stabbing babies, a fake video that claimed Muslims celebrate terrorist attacks.

She said she wouldn’t take down such news, even if it’s spreading further hatred and violence. Guess it is not her problem or her job to talk to families of the dead victims.

She said as long as the people accused have a right to rebut, it’s OK to keep fake news online. But when she thought the summary of the proceedings misrepresented her, she didn’t just rebut. She wants the summary to be corrected.

  1. Jolovan Wham threw a “hissy fit”

Jolovan Wham whined that he had waited for hours and had even worn a suit, but was only given a 7-minute hearing. He himself called it a “hissy fit”. He said he had other views to share. Why hadn’t he put it in the written submission then? He thinks the Committee exists as a forum for him to get publicity?

  1. PJ Thum wants to falsely accuse others but doesn’t want to be questioned

PJ Thum submitted a paper saying that anti-Communist arrests were the only time fake news affected Singapore. Firstly, why did he submit this to a committee on ONLINE falsehoods?

Secondly, when questioned on his views, he turned around and said, “I wonder what his (Shanmugam’s) motivation was in grilling me about my academic work”. Eh hello, you submit a paper and expect not to be questioned on it? If Shanmugam had not questioned you, you would have said “the Government has no rebuttal on my views”.

By the way, he admitted that his views don’t take into account the first-hand accounts of the Communists, or even the full views of the British Special Branch that he quotes. He hasn’t even read some of the accounts, especially if they’re in Chinese. Even Bertha Henson said “his reputation as a historian looks like washed down the tubes” after the exchange.

 

Aiyoh, enough about these people. Claim that they believe in free debate, but refuse to be actually debated. Let’s move on to some actual experts. 

  1. Cherian George agrees to using law against fake news

Dr Cherian George, darling of the liberals, was quite fair in his assessment. He has actually studied fake news and how it pits races against each other, and concluded that there needs to be laws against it.

He said, “In cases of incitement, some have referred to the law as maybe the last resort. I would go further. I would say that if today a politician or a preacher stands up and says our country has no room for this other community, I don’t think that’s the time to distribute media literacy leaflets… The law is sometimes the first resort…”

  1. Fake news ruptures societies irreparably

Representatives from Ukraine, Indonesia, Czech Republic, etc. talked about their countries’ disastrous experiences with fake news. Fake news has started mobs that kill innocent people. They’ve split society irreparably along ethnic lines, and in the case of Ukraine, enabled foreign powers to invade easily.

People have started grassroots attempts to stop fake news, but the effectiveness is limited. Technology companies often do not agree to take down fake news. As a result, a quarter or more of people still believe fake news.

  1. Foreign powers are probably already using it to divide Singapore

Dr Shashi Jayakumar, head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security, said fake news aggressors will try to divide Singapore along racial lines. Other common tactics are to infiltrate local NGOs and bribe politicians to sing a certain tune.

Such tactics are already used in Malaysia and Indonesia, so they will probably try to use it against Singapore. Such power is typically built up before any conflict happens. Singapore is more vulnerable to such tactics because we are an open multi-cultural society. Thus, “it would be a mistake to assume this is not already happening in Singapore”. And even if it’s already happening, we wouldn’t be able to detect it.

  1. All experts think action is needed to fight fake news

Experts in law, media, technology and national security, both local and foreign, agreed we need more action to fight fake news. These include media literacy, technological solutions, legislation, etc.

We can’t just rely on the “marketplace of ideas” that people like Kirsten Han talk about. Because of social media algorithms and information overload, people are fed only news that they’re likely to agree with, or ignore other sources.

  1. Current legislation is not enough

Dean of SMU Law Dr Goh Yihan said current legislation is not enough to tackle fake news. Most of the existing laws don’t require the fake content to be taken down. Otherwise they have limitations, e.g. the Sedition Act only covers certain types of speech and the Prevention of Harassment Act requires the people affected to sue.

As for the freedom of speech, multiple experts said it doesn’t extend to falsehoods, in fact falsehoods undermine the public discourse. Thio Li-ann said it’s like “crying fire in a theatre”— not worth protecting because it’s fake and causes so much harm.

 

The people who oppose further action are basically technology companies who obviously don’t want to be regulated, and a small group of activists who put their faith in “free speech” despite what has happened to the “free societies” they talk about so much, the US and UK. Those who support further action are internationally renowned academics and people who saw fake news flood their countries. Who would you rather believe?

Advertisements

Breaking down the “Whatsapp to PM”

Breaking down the “Whatsapp to PM”

I received this on Whatsapp:

Clipboard01

Let me break down why this doesn’t make sense:

Dear Prime Minister.
We are not against you. But at least listen fm us lower income families. No problem for high income families. Your budget makes no sense at all. I am not like one of these many lemmings on here that praise it and don’t know what its about. Can you care to explain the following:
1) If you have a budget surplus of almost $10 billion from last year, why are u still raising the GST?
2) Isn’t giving u $300 on one hand (bribing one with one’s own money) and taking it away on the other hand with a GST increase, rather meaningless?
Hello, the surplus is from market fluctuations. It’s the first time in years we have a sizable surplus. Even with it, we would still run a $5 billion deficit this year if it wasn’t for the returns from our reserves. So it’s really like striking 4D.
My understanding is every year the government spends more money than the revenue it collects. We have a structural deficit. Don’t believe go read the statements. It’s all there. But we get a surplus because we dip into the net income from our reserves. Income goes up and down. So not wise to take from there or based our future plans on investment returns.
What’s more, our expenditure this year is about $80 billion. Over the next decade, caring for our aging population will become more expensive. So we’ll spend a total of let’s say $1000 billion. The surplus is only 1% of that.
So not raising the GST would be like- Someone striking $100 in 4D today, spending everything right away, and also quitting their job. Even though they know their parents are old and will probably need $10,000 for healthcare in the next few years.
Another misconception is that GST falls more on the lower income. In fact, the top 40% of Singaporeans and foreigners combined paid 84.2% of GST collected in 2010. Plus, lower and middle income families will get extra subsidies when the GST rises.
Don’t forget also most of the lower and lower middle income don’t pay taxes at all. Only 45 per cent of Singaporeans pay income taxes. They take more out of the system than they put in.

3) Why are we spending billions $ on infrastructure like rail and roads when we have a zero population growth and almost negative birthrate? Who are we building these infrastructure for? To accommodate your target of 6.9 million population? So, we are spending Singaporean taxpayer money on infrastructure for foreigners?
Wa, MRT breakdown you complain. Want to spend to fix it you also complain. If you can fix it without spending a single cent, I will gladly elect you as PM. You may be the world’s first magician PM.
If we don’t build new infrastructure like new airport terminals and industrial clusters, our economy will stagnate. Young people will find it hard to get the kind of jobs they aspire to. Wages will stagnate- but because we import so many goods, the cost of living will not.
And the 6.9 million again. Government is not targeting this- they’re just planning for possible eventual growth. It’s like when getting married and buying a house, most people will get a slightly bigger one to plan for future children right? Instead of moving and renovating again when they need an extra room?
In fact government has tightened the inflow of foreigners significantly. The foreign workforce (excluding FDWs and construction) has only increased by 6,700 between 2015 and 2017, as opposed to 32,300 from 2013 to 2015. Small businesses like mine are already suffering and even closing down because of this!

4) Why is our defence budget 40% larger then our healthcare budget, more then $4 billion more. To buy weapons and equipment to fight who? Name our enemy, Mr. Prime Minister. With an aging population, healthcare should far surpass the defence budget, not the other way round
Seriously “Name our enemy”? If we were weak, you think our much larger neighbours won’t want to annex us? Malaysia wouldn’t just grab Pedra Branca? Indonesia wouldn’t make good on their threats to ban Changi flights from their airspace? What about China trying to grab the Spratly Islands so close to us? How do you think the Malaysians and Indonesians will negotiate with us on territorial issues if our defence was weak on those years? You think they invite us to sit down nicely for tea? Grow up!

5) Increasing the education budget by giving more edusave bursaries to our student is like giving crumbs to us. Your govt is giving full scholarships to foreign students, why can’t we get that deal instead?
Public scholarships for foreign students come with bonds to work with a Singapore-registered company. The number is small and they’re competitive- if you and I were foreigners, I’m not sure we would qualify!
And yet, as locals, all of us get subsidies, and all needy students can get bursaries regardless of their results. That’s because the government spends much more on local students.
These scholarships do more than attract and retain foreign talent. They build goodwill with neighbouring countries, help keep our campuses world-class, and give many students in developing countries a leg up in life. Why do the same people who ask Singapore to take in refugees oppose this?

6) If u need more money, instead of taxing the poor with a GST increase, why don’t u raise the tax rate for the high earners (those earning over $1 million a year). I am sure there are thousands of such people, including all your Cabinet Ministers and many MPs. If you tax them more, u surely can avoid the GST.
Its daylight robbery when the common people struggle with low wages due to a lack of minimum wages whereas a minister can earn up to 26.5 months of wages in a year – where is the justice?
Maybe GST is raised to fund such obscene pay out?
Regarding Ministers’ pay. When Parliament was reviewing it, not many people know the WP actually proposed a higher package than what the PAP did eventually. Why? Maybe they understand we can’t reduce the pay too much, if we want to attract capable people and keep them incorruptible.
Overall, our top income tax rate is already 22%, 5 percentage points higher than Hong Kong. And the US just cut corporate taxes dramatically. So if we raise our wealth taxes too much, businesses and rich people can simply relocate, either physically or on paper. Guess who loses out? Our tax revenue and the poor people who need welfare.
The “common people” you speak of- 55% of Singaporeans don’t pay any income tax. For every $1 in taxes the poor pay, they get back $6 in subsidies. For every $1 paid in taxes by a middle income family, they get back $2 in subsidies (higher than “egalitarian utopia” Finland by the way). For those in the top 10 per cent, for every $1 they pay, they get back 20 cents. There’s simply no proof that our system taxes the poor more.

This doesn’t read like a real message from a lower-income family. There are no details on how the family will be affected. It just recycles the trite half-truths the opposition trots out to make people angry.
And of course, if someone wants to reach the PM, they should send him an email! Sending a Whatsapp to random people won’t help. But of course the aim was never to reach the PM. It was to lie to people, make people angry, and have the message go viral on Whatsapp. Very irresponsible if you ask me!

 

Donald Low wants our kids to look up to paedophile promoter

Donald Low wants our kids to look up to paedophile promoter

I almost cannot believe what I heard when someone told me university don Donald Low has praised pro-paedophile activist Amos Yee for being this wonderful independent-minded, computer-skilled kid that all our Singapore kids should look up to. What he is basically saying is– ignore everything else, the kid is creative, capable of self directing, comfortable with digital technologies etc.

WhatsApp Image 2018-01-11 at 00.15.38

One cannot get more muddle-headed than this kind of warped, confused argument. I understand Donald Low has an axe to grind with the Government given his recent run-ins with some powers-that-be, mainly through fault of his own. I understand he is trying to show up our youth’s lack of passion and individualism. I understand the Malaysian-born intellectual is trying to tell Singaporeans your country and your youth is not that great. To think that he is taking money from Government and taxpayers, but uses the privilege to constantly whack Singaporeans and our government!

But I am sure, Prof, you pick a very poor example. In fact, you have shown that you have allowed your personal disdain for the PAP or whoever you are trying to get at, to cloud your moral compass. You are no longer able to distinguish the simple right from wrong. Someone once said the more books you read, the more stupid you become. This is a classic example. At the most basic level, you are suffering from over-analysing and missing the forest for the trees. To add to injury, you call those who disagree with you on this narrow-minded.

Have you actually listened to yourself? Let me put it clearly for you. What you are saying is this –

· You must have the ability to compartmentalise, you simpleton Singaporeans. Forget how Adolf Hitler led millions to deaths in World War 2. Forget he murdered six million Jews by gassing them. Our youth should look up to Hitler because he was a great leader, he was able to move millions to follow him. He has his magical charm as a great orator. Singaporean kids, please look up to Hitler, never mind those flaws.
· Kids, please look up to Harvey Weinstein. He was a great movie producer. He was behind many great movies and film stars. He is creative and independent-minded and has an eye for great movie projects. Forget the fact that he has raped, molested, abused hundreds of women. That’s OK, you silly Singaporeans. Please know how to differentiate different skills.
· Convicted Bedok rapist should be complimented for his resilience in spotting woman victims, his determination to continue to look for victims until he gets caught. We should look up to him for his uninhibited passion and bravery to get what he wants. Forget the sex crimes he committed.
· Las Vegas mass shooter has great ability to setting up a shooting range all by himself. He was a great weapon buyer, how did he amass so many. He displays great shooting skills, finishing off 58 deaths in minutes. He is fearless, determined and it took the police a while before they got him. And he was honourable in killing himself and not allowing the police to get him. What a hero which our kids should emulate. Forget about the dead victims and their families.
· City Harvest pastor was a great orator who could persuade tens of thousands to part money for his illegal activities. He was a great pastor who has touched the hearts of many. He was enterprising in moving into Hollywood to bring evangelism there. Forget about all his deception, kids.
· The couple who abused their flat mate and got her killed should be complimented for being able to do it for so long without being caught. They should be complimented for doing such acts to a friend and fellow human being without her resisting and reporting on them. What great power they are able to impose on others. Kids, please build your imposing skills on others.
· Finally, Amos is an army deserter. Most Singaporean kids serve army but this gutless fellow ran away. He is a fugitive. He insults Christians, Muslims and use vulgarities on them. He insults LKY and thinks a cartoon of LKY having sex with Thatcher is ok. He is now in US promoting paedophilia, that it is ok for sex predators to prey on young kids and paedophilia should be legal. Singaporean kids, please ignore all that. This kid has an independent mind, great computer skills and dares to run away, stands up to Government for his all these offences. Kids, please look up to him.

Ok, I may exaggerate. But Donald, I am afraid you have lost it. You have issues with the Government, fine. Go attack them on policy issues. It could be your recent episode. It could be your close friend Leon having to apologise in Parliament. But whatever it is, don’t hate, don’t get personal. Once you allow your personal agenda and issues to affect your judgment, you start saying and doing stupid things. In the end, you only harm yourself.

Jail Singaporeans who bribe Malaysian traffic cops

So the news is hot on a certain corruption case. Some people are crying foul over the bribery case at this Singapore firm Keppel Offshore & Marine. To be more accurate, a bribery case overseas. In Brazil. Outside Singapore, that is.

Ok, it’s bad to bribe people. Singapore is this squeaky clean place. We pride ourselves as having one of the least corrupt regimes in the world. We top all the rankings for the least corrupt Governments. So naturally, the Opposition will see this as an opportunity to have a go at their enemies in the Government, in Temasek and its GLCs.

But wait a minute. Let me offer another view. I know it’s politically incorrect. Certainly no PAP minister or head of corporation is ever going to publicly say this.

Get real!

I have been travelling around the world for the last 35 years. I have worked with medical practitioners, drug makers, hospitals, academicians, regulators in developed and third world countries. Hey it is a greasy world, man.

Do we seriously think we can work in our same squeaky clean mode in these countries? Do you expect all our SMEs and business executives to do business only the Singapore way or nothing? How do you think our straight-laced Government people run into all kinds of bureaucratic problems in Suzhou and other parts of China in mega industrial projects when everyone knows where the greasy solution is? If you think bribery, big or small, is out of the question for our businesses, you might as well not venture anywhere in the world, let alone Brazil. Stay home and sell roast duck to coffee shops. As LKY himself once told us, “Grow up!’’.

Next, are we really serious that we want to go so far to go on a witch hunt and try to prosecute the unknowing senior management over the case in Brazil? So we would have to charge every towkays who entertain and dish out cash and other gift to win business for us in Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and other less developed countries? If we put side for a moment the law, the Keppel executives were trying to make money for our GLCs which earn money for taxpayers through structured, formalised commission arrangements. They were not being bribed. They didn’t pocket the money themselves. They were making things happen for us. And yes, overseas, outside Singapore.

For that matter, are we going to be checking on every Singaporean who had to pay bribes – sometimes willingly, other times unwillingly – at airports, toll roads, customs in Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and then charge them and their bosses? And all our weekend drivers in Johor who had to pay the traffic cops on the road side. Jail them for paying a bribe overseas, that is. Like what they are asking for at Keppel.

Get real.

 

Cultural Revolution in Hollywood: or why didn’t you wear black?

headline
Seems like the liberals are eating their young again. I’ve always said that the tyranny of the left is as bad, if not worse, than the right.
And so it’s been proven time and again. Feminists and the Hollywood crowd are now busy screaming at those who dared wear a different colour from black at last week’s Golden Globes.
In the very same week that women in Tehran were ripping off their hijabs in protest, Social Justice Warriors hiding behind their blogs and columns are busy destroying other women for not conforming to their narrow agenda.
What does it say when there is female empowerment in Iran, while white liberals are tearing women down in Hollywood?
Imagine the chilling atmosphere currently in Hollywood? Imagine being attacked for the clothes you wear and the individual choices you make. It’s not just sexual predators who (rightly) should be afraid in Hollywood now. It is every one who doesn’t subscribe to the insidious groupthink of the moment.
This is the sort of thoughtcrime that used to be punished mercilessly in Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Children would tell on their parents for thinking the “wrong” thoughts out loud. The left has gone mad, as we always knew it would.
Remember, re-education camps, brainwashing, pressuring the individual to conform to group behaviour…These are methods pioneered by the left. These are the natural result of Hollywood’s Cultural Revolution.
It’s gotten so bad that stars had to bring a female minority as fashion accessory and protective bodyarmor.
Meryl Streep knew she was going to get it for being a Weinstein groupie (and taking his money) for the last few decades, so she scrabbled around and found a chinese woman to bring to the awards. Don’t forget Meryl’s the one who went full guns blazing on Trump for his “pussy” remarks, and chickened out by saying next to nothing for ages about Weinstein.
hollywood2
Michelle Williams, who was perfectly happy filming with Kevin Spacey in 2017, got spooked and grabbed on for dear life to Tamara Burke, the black activist. Talk about a #metoo moment.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Hollywood.

10 things Human Rights Watch doesn’t want you to know

Right here far away in cold Hokkaido, I can just feel the veins bursting out of some people in the establishment as I read US organisation Human Rights Watch’s latest report slamming Singapore. I am surprised I have not seen any response from the usually thin- skinned government. But here’s what I  can offer to our friends in there! No charge!

 10 things Human Rights Watch doesn’t want you to know

  1. Their own founder says they are not credible

HRW own founder Robert L. Bernstein publicly said they rely on witnesses “whose stories cannot be verified and who may testify for political advantage”, and that undermines their credibility.

 

  1. They are well established liars. They spread half-truths and lies

They painted the activists as being persecuted for speaking up. But they never told you what the real stories were. How convenient.

Our dear friend Jolovan Wham organised public assemblies without a permit- ignoring legal ways to assemble– and repeatedly refused to sign his police statements. Go to speakers’ corner la. Amos Yee also ignored police and court instructions to report to a police station (besides insulting religions and posting obscene images). He refused to serve army and ran away. If everyone ignores the police and courts like them, what will happen to our rule of law? Incidentally, I guess Amos Yee promoting pedophilia in name of free speech makes us a better country, HRW?

Roy Ngerng defamed our PM without basis. Is HRW saying that only Westerners have the right to sue for defamation?

All conveniently left out by HRW in service of a “good story”.

 

  1. Their research is biased and unprofessional

I read their report about Singapore. Who does it quote? Opposition supporter Kumaran Pillai of hardly-neutral site The Independent Singapore. Unnamed activists.

Not a single Singaporean who’s not in the activists’ circle. No statistics that show how many Singaporeans share these views.

As NGO Monitor said, their research is biased and lacks professional standards. A few white folks send out a few emails to one or two anti-government fellows and voila, they have the most scientific report on Singapore! We all know the questioner and the respondents are both biased.

 

  1. They’re funded by predatory capitalists and Western governments

Their biggest donor is George Soros, who bet massively -and very profitably- against Asian currencies in 1997. We all know how that turned out for Southeast Asia.

NGO Monitor also says HRW accepts money from Western governments and isn’t transparent about it.

 

  1. They’re linked to the CIA and US government

Their advisory board has plenty of links to the US government. One of their ex-advisors, Miguel Díaz, was a CIA analyst.

HRW’s ex-Washington advocacy director Tom Malinowski has worked for the US government extensively. As HRW director, he parroted the US government’s support for illegal CIA kidnappings and torture.

 

  1. Foreigners telling us how to run our country

They end their report with a list of recommendations to the Singapore government. As I read it, all I could think was- who do they think they are?

Our laws are formulated according to local conditions and voted through by a democratically elected Parliament.  Why should we listen to some foreigners with an obvious bias? A few white guys flash the words Human Rights and our liberals and intellectuals go orgasmic over it.

I’m also very disappointed in our local media and opposition parroting them without question. After all, I found all the problems above in half an hour of Googling. Why did the media not provide the “balance” they keep talking about? Our own dumb media also went to become their echo chamber!

 

  1. They don’t have to clean up the mess when racial and religious riots break out

HRW says that The Real Singapore shouldn’t have been charged for publishing false stories stirring up feelings against Filipinos. Same for Christians that distributed pamphlets that insulted Islam to Muslims. And of course, Amos Yee insulting both Christians and Muslims.

Easy for them to say. These white folks never have to run a country. But if racial and religious riots really break out because of these inflammatory acts, who suffers? Not them in their cushy offices in Fifth Avenue New York. It’ll be us – regular Singaporeans.

 

  1. They just want headlines. Read: Asians are all idiots, dictators.

Not a nuanced, factual view. One that reinforces Western stereotypes of tyrannical Asian governments.

After all, they depend on wealthy donors who like to see their reports make headlines. Hey I didn’t say that, The Times of London did.

 

  1. They don’t care about social and economic rights

They only speak up for political and civil rights. But look at their own country- in the first 200 years of their nationhood, they suppressed the rights of minorities, women, immigrants and their colonies – us! Now that they’ve gotten rich from that, they suddenly tell everyone to embrace individual rights above all else. It’s classic “do as I say, not as I do”.

They forget that this approach in the US has led to

– their children being killed in mass shootings. More mass shootings than days in a year!

– the highest healthcare costs in the world

— public discourse and now policy filled with outright racism and lies

I was born in a Singapore run by Angmos. Then, we not only didn’t have rights to free speech, we also didn’t have rights to food, rights to elect, rights to safety or hopes for a better future. The Singaporean government has given us all these rights, within a framework of strict laws and respect for them. From day one! So, I would rather trust them than some foreigners who haven’t done anything for us.

 

  1. Claim they support rule of law and democracy, but encourage Singaporeans to ignore them

According to their founder, they’re supposed to respect the internal workings of democracies, even if they don’t agree with the results. But they support Singaporeans who knowingly flout laws. They support Chee Soon Juan, who has repeatedly been rejected by Singaporeans at the polls, often with the lowest vote share of any politician. They tell people to disregard laws, police procedures etc.

Do they think Singaporeans are that stupid? That we can’t see these activists’ arguments online? That if we were so against government policies, we wouldn’t express it at the ballot box? For a country that elected Donald Trump, that’s real cheek.