28 December 2007

What is the PTC for, really.

After leaving Singapore, I've decided that I have no right to write about Singapore's political system, therefore, there have been nothing to write. But this is something that is not political, per se. And it really got on my nerves.

When the proposal was submitted to the Public Transport Council (PTC) in June, it was rejected because the fare proposed ($1.30 per trip) was not appropriate for a premium bus service, usually priced between $2 to $3 per trip.

Isn't the PTC suppose to be for the people? Isn't that what it is tauted by them (not that we believe them anyway)?

What the heck, if I want to sell my service for this amount, what right has the PTC to insist that I charge a higher price?

If the PTC says that they want to make all services the same. HELLO! Isn't Singapore suppose to be about market forces? Don't we remember how SingTel (during their monopoly) stated that they cannot bring down the cost of overseas calls, mobile phone plans, etc. What happened after M1 and StarHub were given the go ahead? Prices dropped. Isn't that what a free market force is for?

So now you know Singaporeans, PTC is for the "public" (who were know are not public because obscene profits is their goal not the people) transporters and not the people. So really, why bother having them around? To ensure that prices are not raised unfairly? We know how "fair" the PTC is to the public. To ensure that transport operators remain comparative? I don't see how having 2 transport companies dealing with totally different lines can count as competition. To ensure that public transport companies keep their promises? I don't see a change in anything even though we have had price hikes for the past 5 years or so.

So what is the PTC for... really. Can anyone enlightened me?

Take from Today
26 December 2007


Nazry Bahrawi

THESE little green buses are on trial providing a shuttle service from the Yio Chu Kang MRT station and bus interchange to nearby private housing estates. Despite being concerned over profitability, the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit System (SMRT) Corporation launched the route yesterday.

The new service is the result of some prodding by Ms Lee Bee Wah, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC and adviser of Nee Soon South grassroots organisations, who managed to convince the transportation company after months of discussions.

As a result, two green air-conditioned minibuses - which can seat 19 people - would now serve some 1,200 households in Springside, Hong Heng, Thong Soon Gardens and Springleaf estates, stopping at five pick-up points in these areas.

Residents there had in the past complained to Ms Lee about the lack of public transport to a nearby MRT station or bus interchange, especially useful to students and the elderly.

It has been an arduous journey. Ms Lee spent about one year trying to convince SBS Transit and SMRT of the need for such a service, but both were concerned about its feasibility.

While SBS Transit rejected the idea because it was "not viable", SMRT decided to give it a trial run after it conducted a feasibility study, said Ms Lee.

But that was not the only hurdle.

When the proposal was submitted to the Public Transport Council (PTC) in June, it was rejected because the fare proposed ($1.30 per trip) was not appropriate for a premium bus service, usually priced between $2 to $3 per trip.

"So I took another six months to talk to the PTC, Land Transport Authority and the Ministry of Transport. Eventually, I managed to get it approved last month," said Ms Lee, who added that she had even approached Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for help.

Said SMRT's deputy chief executive officer Lee Seng Kee: "We made a projection and based on the population size, we believe that the $1.30 fare is feasible."

When asked what would happen if SMRT does not break even after three months, Mr Lee said: "We are prepared to extend for another four months. At the same time, the committee will talk to residents to use the service.
If that doesn't work, we would look at the numbers again."

Mr Wilson Zhuang, chairman of Springleaf Neighbourhood Committee, said the shuttle service would cut down travel to the nearest MRT by about 10 minutes.

Before the service, residents in the areas would take about 20 minutes to travel to Ang Mo Kio MRT station, which is further away, on bus 169, he said.

But another resident, a retiree in his 50s who declined to be named, said while he appreciate the effort by Ms Lee, he believed it would make better sense if the new shuttle service travels to Chong Pang town centre and Khatib MRT.

He said: "There is no market at Yio Chu Kang MRT station. Housewives would be happier if the service goes to Khatib MRT which is not only nearer but also has grocery shopping facilities."

27 November 2007

Hope Concert 2007 in Singapore

Tickets at $28 and $68 (includes cocktail reception) can be purchased by sending an email to information@oursafehaven.com. Or click on the poster above to go to their website.

Please help a good cause.

25 October 2007

A beautiful blog entry

I just read a beautiful blog entry by a father of 2. This dad shows what it really means to be Singaporean and living the real Singapore dream, a multi-cultural society where justice and equality is for all.

The Irrational Section 377A

I'm sad. Sad that the country that I love, hates me in return for the service (NS and ICTs) I've given to her. I'm a criminal in the eyes of the law and the parliament. My hatred for the PAP has run it course and now I'm just sad.

Good bye, Singapore. We (my partner and I) have decided to divorce you since you hate us so much.

23 October 2007

My predictions

I predict that S377A will be around for the next 50 years. It will survive even after Singapore dies.

I predict that Christians and Christianity will rule Singapore in the end and it will because a Christian country (where laws are biblically based) even though more than 60% of the population will not be Christian.

I predict that Singapore will fall into the same trap as USA now, where Church and State is not separated.

I predict that Singapore's economy will grow strong inspire of discrimination and injustices in the law.

I predict that as more Asian countries because more accepting of the GLBT community, we will leave Singapore and plant our roots overseas.

I predict that even if the whole of Asia (apart from the Muslim countries) allows same-sex unions, Singapore will still have S377A.

I predict that the PAP will never right this wrong because it will never effect Singapore economically.

I predict that even if 70% of the population is neutral (don't care one way or another) or pro-repeal S377A, the PAP will still site the usually,"Singapore is a conservative society..." and keep S377A.

I hope my predictions will never come true, but I'm really doubtful that Singapore will become any better for GLBTs, esp. when the gahmen panders to the fundamentalist christian minority, but having most of them (I think 50%) Christians does make one understand why.

18 October 2007

Let's make adultary illegal too

Sometimes I wonder how stupid the fundamentalist christians think we are. Just because you don't put your religious views into a letter, we don't know where you are coming from?

Take this letter from Renae. My rebuttal is in blue.

Today, Voices
18 October 2007

Most not for gay agenda
by Renae Sim Pei Pei

I AM concerned about the recent petition to Parliament to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code, which forbids men from having sex with each other in public or private.

I am not against homosexuals; I recognise that they are as human and Singaporean as I am. As citizens, they already enjoy the same rights as the others.

Does this sound familiar? Let me refresh your memory, "Love the sinner, hate the sin". Let me paraphares this, "I am not against homosexuals but I still want them to be criminals". Sound hypercritical?

And what about her fabulous statement, "they already enjoy the same rights as the others". Let me see, the rights that heterosexuals have that we don't
1) Get married
2) Have children (i.e. adopt as a couple)
3) Protected when your spouse dies
4) Being able to put your spouse's name as beneficiary on insurance forms
5) No security (financial or otherwise, i.e. we don't get our partner's CPF, pensions)

Does it look like we have the same rights! Furthermore, to add injury to insult, we have to serve the army, pay taxes AND considered criminals. Does that sound like we have the same rights?

But what they are pushing for now is the Singaporean majority's approval of their behaviour. It is clear the majority does not covet the agenda that gay activists are pushing for. If Parliament repeals Section 377A, we will be unwittingly consenting to such behaviour.

So not have S377A means the gahmen/Singapore is consenting to gay men having sex. So the gahmen/Singapore consents/condones extra marital affairs, pre-martial sex and how about the latest - anal and oral sex between heterosexual couples. These are all condoned by the gahmen/Singapore and I presume (using Renae's assumption) is actively promoting it too. So the gahmen is sending a message to Singaporeans that you should have extra martial affairs (because there is no law against it), that you should have pre-martial sex (because there is no law against it), that you should have oral and anal sex with your spouse (because there is no law against it). Gosh, as a fundamentalist christian, aren't you cringing? Now that you know our laws are for/condoning these things?

Health factors are another reason why Singapore must not repeal Section 377A. Studies in the United States, Australia and Cambodia have shown that men who have sex with men are most vulnerable to HIV.

This really takes the cake. Studies are now sighted. Let me just tell say this, men are going to have sex with other men REGARDLESS of S377A. Just because it is illegal is not going to stop men from having sex with men. Look at the statistics. Men who have sex exclusively with other men are still around, and it has not stopped nor will it every stop, regardless if S337A is there or not.

Studies have also shown that people with multiple sex partners have a higher chance of getting HIV. And it doesn't matter if you are gay or not. How about a law against having multiple sex partners? Yea, like that would put a stop to people having more than 1 sex partner.

Why not have a law that makes men who have foreskins criminals? Studies have shown that circumcised men are less venerable to HIV.

The problem with people like this is that they don't see the bigger picture. If S377A is so useful in preventing HIV transmission (because NO men is having sex with each other) then why is the HIV numbers of men who have sex exclusively with men (MSM) on the rise (which made the gahmen do a double take). If you use her logic, then HIV infection rates for MSM should have fallen or even become zero.

The problem with S377A is this, with it there, the gahmen cannot launch a campaign to educate MSM about the risk of unprotected sex. How can you campaign it when it is actually illegal in the first place. And this is the big problem. The HIV infection rates in Singapore are increasing (not only with MSM but everone) because our education about safer sex is so lacking. Not everyone in the world are like fundamentalist christians, who can withhold sex until marriage or even have sex with only their spouse. They believe the world is "clean and pure" as sex is the biggest taboo in the christian culture. Violence is okay but sex is BAD, BAD, BAD.

I am most unwilling to see society degenerate with the legal approval of homosexual behaviour and fully support the Government's decision to preserve the law.

Let we really see where she's coming from, typical fundamentalist answer. "Do not want to see society degrade...".

Just a note from history, when African-Americans were considered 2nd class citizens (very much like gays in Singapore now), when thinking people started to protest against their unfair treatment, the answers the fundamentalist christians gave were, yup you guessed it, "... do not want to see society degrade..."

Which brings be to the 2nd letter (see below), which is basically the same thing. This is getting so boring, every point that fundamentalist christians bring up have been rebutted and refuted by thinking people. Sad to say, like a broken record, they will keep repeating the same statements over and over again, even when more and more people stop believing in them.

And because they are so worried about morality of society, I'll like to propose the follow laws:

Pre-marital Sex
"Whoever voluntarily has gross indecency before they are married under the law, shell be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years"

"Whoever voluntarily has gross indecency besides their spouse with any man or woman, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years"

Orgies (yes, heterosexuals do have orgies too)
"Whoever voluntarily has gross indecency with more than 1 man or woman at the same time, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years"

"Whoever voluntarily has gross indecency using sexual aids like toys, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years"

"Whoever voluntarily has gross indecency with themselves, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years"

I think with these extra laws to keep the morals of Singaporeans, Singapore will be the most moral and upright nation in the world.

Today, Voices
18 Octobel 2007

The measure of indecency
Charis Lee Ting Li

I refer to Felicia Tan Ying Yi's letter ("Teach youth the spirit of the law, not just its letter", Oct 17). Ms Tan talks about the importance of giving the youth the right tools and attitudes to help them make their own moral decisions, which I fully agree with.

However, I believe the most basic tools take the form of laws, which, beyond being a strict taskmaster, serve to reflect the consensus of the wider population.

Morality is not a black-and-white issue but if Section 377A prohibits "gross indecency", some sort of moral compass is needed here.

The problem is that not many people want to recognise that "gross indecency" is exactly what the term implies.

26 September 2007

Now even vegetarians and cat lovers are "contrary to public interest"!

Do you find this amazing? Do you find this ridiculous? Do you find that the police have no other reasons in their thick skull but "contrary to public interest" therefore have to be banned?

I was reading the article and was so stunned when I read this line

The groups included the Vegetarian Society, the Cat Welfare Society and
two gay support groups Pelangi Pride Centre and Women Who Love Women.

"(We) informed the organisers of our position of not allowing outdoor
events assessed to be contrary to public interest," the police
spokesperson added.

Now their position on the gay support groups is legendary so that comes as no surprise but vegetarians and cat lovers? It seems that now any civil society group can be banned from having a booth or whatever using the legendary phrase "contrary to public interest". I bet you if it was a booth for the ruling party or the YPAP, it wouldn't be "contrary to public interest" because only non-PAP stuff is "contrary to public interest".

And I can bet you that if a lot of noise is made about this issue, the police will issue another statement saying that it was because of safety or traffic problems or whatever in other to "explain" themselves. It is amazing I find that they couldn't give the real reason (we don't want gay groups to have booths to "promote" their cause and since we cannot just ban them, we ban all). Or even a plausible excuse (it wouldn't be real but at least plausible). If these are the "top brains" the PAP is trying to woe into civil service with money......

26 September 2007

Substation event gets police nod after civil society groups excluded

Zul Othman

THE police have turned down a request by The Substation to organise an
outdoor flea market that would have included booths run by 19 civil
society groups.

The flea market was supposed to be part of a six-hour event, The Tunnel
Party, last Saturday to mark the 17th anniversary of The Substation,
Singapore's first independent, non-profit, multi-disciplinary arts centre
founded by late theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun.

It was to have been held next to the Fort Canning Tunnel and also feature
music and arts shows.

A police spokesperson said: "In the Substation's initial application for
the event, the police noted it would include outdoor booths for civil
society groups to promote their cause."

The groups included the Vegetarian Society, the Cat Welfare Society and
two gay support groups Pelangi Pride Centre and Women Who Love Women.

"(We) informed the organisers of our position of not allowing outdoor
events assessed to be contrary to public interest," the police
spokesperson added.

Rather than call off the show, the organisers decided to rebrand it as the
SeptFest Gig and moved it to the pavement area behind the Singapore
Management University (SMU) School of Law and School of Accountancy.

The change was met with approval by the authorities.

The organisers "have done away with the outdoor booths for civil society
groups. As such, the police have approved the application for SeptFest",
said the police spokesperson.

The SeptFest Gig had some 23 outdoor booths, ranging from flea markets
vendors to stalls peddling homemade jewellery. It attracted some 700

The Substation's artistic co-director Lee Weng Choy told Today "it was
important for us to continue with the event because we see it as part of
a large process".

The group deems such events as important because if these gatherings are
successful, it said, it sets a positive precedent for engagement between
the arts, civil society and the authorities.

Mr Lee said: "Some of our stakeholders, such as the bands, the commercial
flea market groups and the public, might lose faith in The Substation if
we cancelled an event again."

Last year, the police turned down its application to close down Armenian
Street for a street party, also a collaboration with artists, arts groups
and civil society groups.

24 September 2007

Back with bad news

I just got back from a nice vacation with T. And read that S377A is still around. Am I surprised? No. Is it typical? Yes. Do I want to comment on it and on PM Lee's remarks about it? No. I have said all that I can say. Since the PAP doesn't care two hoots about anything else except their re-election possibilities (amongst other things), there will be no change until their "iron rice bowl" is threatened. That is something I believe will never happen (and they know it too). Maybe I'm being too pessimistic but then again, having a sword of Damocles on me is not something that will make me have any feelings towards the PAP or have any positive things to say about Singapore in general, so pessimism it is. And so far (since I've started this blog), the PAP has never failed to re-enforce my pessimism.

As all have been said, the PAP is always pro-money. Any decision they make, if it doesn't involve money, would not be taken seriously and thus they would used the typical replies that "Singapore is not ready for it".

Do I really care? Not anymore. I'm just glad that I can live in a country where I'm not treated any differently in the eyes of the law (regardless conservative/fundamentalist attitudes) as over here, the individual rights is as important as communal rights.

Good bye Singapore. I'll never be part of you every again.