Tag Archive | Tan Jee Say

My suggestion to SDP

A few minutes ago I posted the message below on Jee Say Tan’s wall on Face Book. (Jee Say Tan or Tan Jee Say as he is commonly known was a leading light of the Singapore Democratic Party from which he jumped ship to contest and lose the recent presidential elections).

Hi Jee Say, a few days (weeks?) ago, saw in one of yr tweets calling for ideas on how SDP can help the poor in Sg. Can’t seem to locate that old tweet. Anyways. Here’s my suggestion: instead of SDP helping all the poor in Sg, why not help one or two poor persons at a time? More manageable.

For a start, may I suggest SDP help the two vagrants who have been hanging out in the outer balcony of the food court at Square 2, 4th floor (next to Novena Sq and opp TTSH). According to the mixed rice seller whose stall faces the balcony, they come every day in the morning and sleep in the balcony till late afternoon. Then they leave. They sometimes come back at nite. He says they smell. (contd)

Hi JS, previous post continues..
I went to check on them and on a closer look, saw that both looked fat, more likely bloated. Appear groggy frm sleeping rough. Wearing tatters. One of them has trousers already splitting at the crotch. A few v v dirty plastic bags with them and that’s abt all. I gave them $2 each for tea tho I know that won’t go far. They need institutional support, not hand outs.

I wanted to take a pix of them to show on FB but decided against in the end as I don’t think I shld exploit their poverty. Hope SDP and others would do something.


Fishy analysis

A Singapore Management University academic has written an essay on Sg’s recent political development. Strangely, it was hi-lited to me by my dear cousin Peter who is living in London!

After reading the article (click on the pdf link to get the full blast!), I felt impelled (note, not compelled 😛 ) to write the author a short note reproduced below:

Hi Dr Welsh,

I read your analysis titled


I might have been persuaded by your arguments if not for the fact that I found your extrapolation from an old woman’s purchase of fish bones for soup somewhat difficult to swallow.

“Many a moment I have witnessed the conditions of the elderly in particular, as I often recall an elderly woman only able to afford the bones of a fish to make a soup at a local supermarket.The elite rule has multiplied in almost cloning fashion in which the PAP only appoint the elites they can relate to,and systematically a corporatist system of divided rule has evolved.”

Dr Welsh, any decent cook would tell you that bones whether from fish, chik, pork etc make good stock for soup, sauce etc.. 😆

Lucy Tan

The PE party’s over, time …

to call it a day?

Not for the Lunch Party though, which held our usual monthly lunch, this time on a Thursday for a change from the usual Friday slot.

And we returned — after camping out at Dempsey and China Box in the old Bukit Timah campus — to the newly retrofitted American Club’s dining room where most of us felt uncomfortably exposed due to the open and transparent glass and wrought-iron design concept.

Still, after many queries directed at a series of wait staff on whether there was any way we could block out the rest of the dining room from our alcove, we got the answer we wanted. Yes, there was a sliding door and with that door slid to a close, we felt more secluded and could debate in our usual manner, agreeing to disagree, agreeably.

resilient Jee Say

The attendance was good 15 of us out of a possible full complement of 24. Perhaps it was because of the presence of our most high-profile member Tan Jee Say, who last month failed in his bid to become Singapore’s 7th president, but did so with a very creditable 500,000+ Singaporeans supporting him!

TJS was as bouncy as ever; irrepressable, the you-can’t-put-me-down-what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of fellow. As usual, he’s affable but not compliant.

To a man and woman, the Lunch Party had wished him well in his elected presidency bid. That however didn’t and doesn’t mean that any of us voted for him. We just respected his right to want to serve Singapore, even though some of us must have wondered whether the $100K+ he spent in his bid couldn’t have been put to better use. But no one articulated anything so crass!

To a man and woman, the Sep 1 lunch saw members ribbing TJS in the same good natured way we had teased him apres his unsucessful May bid to become a Memember of Parliament.

Now for the food — I didn’t get to capture every dish that was served, as I was busily competing with the others to share my two cents worth on the presidential election and rumours of a split in the ruling PAP 🙄

the new dining room @ American Club


corn-crab soup to start


fish slices in spicey assam sauce

mango chicken, anyone?

can't eat another wasabi prawn 😛


glass of wine, scallops + thou?

Having a political background matters!

Yup, you read right. Say what you like, but don’t you think the only candidate without any real political shadow hanging over him did badly in the recent presidential election precisely because he didn’t and doesn’t any real political affiliation?

I’m referring to Mr Tan Kin Lian who lost his deposit because he didn’t get the 12.5% of the votes needed to retrieve his $48,000. Why, he didn’t even get 6.25%! He got under 5%, leading to jokes about “low 5”! And this despite the fact that he’s been visible for years since he quit NTUC Income — online and offline at Speakers Corner at Hong Lim Park.

What’s so different about him from the other three competitors?

IMHO, I think it’s political affiliation. Tan Kin Lian really had none, never mind the fact — which few people knew, really and truly — that he was a PAP assistant branch secretary at some time in his NTUC career.

By contrast, all the competition had overt political connections, never mind if everyone of them strenuously tried to distance himself from, if not entirely disown those connections.

Take Tan Jee Say. He was as recently as May a failed election candidate standing under the banners of the Singapore Democratic Party. He resigned from SDP, as he must, to contest the PE.

He and his running mates — who failed in their joint bid for the Holland-Buona Vista group representation constituency — were very much in evidence in his PE campaigning. The ever-delectable Nicole Seah was there as were other National Solidarity Party luminaries. OK, all in their personal capacity, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. But you get the picture. 😆

It was the same for Tan Cheng Bock. OK, he too said he was his own man. Independent. Above politics ad nauseam. But come lah, he was a PAP man for decades and successfully contested countless elections wearing the PAP badge.

Even all the evidence he proudly displayed to show his independence — speaking out against the Nominated MP scheme, getting free parking in HDB carparks on Sundays et al — were ironically achieved while he was a PAP MP, not because he was independent loner Tan Cheng Bock.

He spoke in parliament and was listened to because he was an important long-serving PAP backbencher who scored the highest percentage of votes in his final election — which incidentally he did not because he was just Tan Cheng Bock, independent but because he was a PAP candidate through and through, white on white.

Given the decades’ long association that he has had with the PAP, it would take decades, not months or a couple of years for the public to view him solely as indie Tan Cheng Bock without also seeing the PAP association in everything he does.

So, guess what? I think he was given a handsome outing because voters inherently associated him with the PAP and his success in garnering almost 35 per cent of the votes is due more to his PAP DNA than he was sweet Mr Independent.

Some observers say that Tan Cheng Bock attracted opposition support. I would like to suggest it’s not so much opposition support per se as voters who had voted against PAP in the general election, ands having taught the PAP “a lesson”, deciding they would rotate the support to a candidate with PAP cred.

As for Tony Tan, he got the solid PAP supporter vote all right. Although he too, in the mood of times, tried to move away from the PAP banyan, he was never vociferously anti or ungrateful about his PAP background. And he is to be respected for that.

And the lesson to be learnt from the recent pressie election? If you want to get anywhere in the next PE in 2017, you better have some political name recognition, overt or at arm’s length. Otherwise, be prepared to lose your deposit!

With the right Tan as president…

  • there’s no need any more to scold the President Elections Committee for being too liberal with the issue of certificates of eligibility
  • my early rush to the Raffles Girls School polling centre last Saturday morning and the tedious trek home after that was certainly worth the effort!

As for those who don’t know whom I supported for president, they need only refer to this link https://singaporegirl.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/which-president-tan-will-open-parliament-on/

Finally, my riposte to those who keep yada-yadaing that two thirds of Singaporeans didn’t vote Dr Tony Tan, the president-elect, is to ask them to look at the numbers this way:

Tan Kin Lian: 2,011,257 Singaporeans didn’t want him to be president.

Tan Jee Say: 1,585,456 Sgreans didn’t want him to be president.

Tan Cheng Bock: 1,378,060 Sgreans didn’t want him to be president.

Tony Tan Keng Yam: 1,370, 791 Sgreans didn’t want him to be president.

So you party poopers, eat your hearts out! All the other Tan-candidates have far more Sgreans not wanting them to go to the Istana than the president-elect! 😛 😛

In any case, it’s more than unreasonable to expect anywhere near a million votes for the Istana seat when there are as many as four candidates, and all credible, based on the PEC’s ruling.

When was there a four-corner fight with credible candidates in our election for Parliamentary seats? Certainly not at the last general election!

And even if the president-elect does corner up to half the number of votes available, it could still be said that half of Sgporeans don’t want him to be their president!

That’s natural when there’s electoral competition. And in the nature of democracy, we must abide by the candidate who manages to garner the most support, even if it’s just a majority of 1. Given this possibility, a 7,000+ majority must be considered both credible and conclusive, no ifs, buts or humiliation, Economist! 😛 X 3 


Elected presidency turns into Frankenstein…

…. for the PAP?

I can’t help being prompted to think this way by the turn of today’s events: four candidates vying for the one post of president 🙄

Some two decades ago, the presidency was turned into an elected entity by the People’s Action Party in anticipation of “freak” election results bringing in a rogue government bent on raiding the country’s reserves built up by past (read PAP) government.

Some two decades later, the drama doesn’t seem to be unfolding quite according to script.

We haven’t had “freak” election results as far as I can tell and the last time I checked, I won’t in my wildest dream describe the Government now in charge as a “rogue” government.

So why do we have at least one presidential candidate — who is openly endorsed by the anti-PAP website, Temasek Review Emeritius , and failed Opposition candidate Nicole Seah — declaring: “Now is your opportunity to elect a president to ensure that the government does not abuse its position for their own benefit, but to carry out what it has promised to Singaporeans. The president must have the moral courage and conviction to stand up and speak up for you.”

The candidate who made this declaration is Tan Jee Say who also reiterated his belief that the primary purpose of the Elected President is to provide checks and balances on the government.

While none of the competition is as openly combative, all are careful to distance themselves from the PAP which forms the government, never mind if in fact all of Tan Jee Say’s rivals were closer linked to the PAP than the average Singaporean or even rank and file PAP faithfuls!

Now if this turn of events doesn’t go according to script, the outcome of the Aug 27 election may turn out to be an even more surprising ending — at least for the architects of the Elected Presidency!

It could go like this.

Years ago, Chiam See Tong or someone in the Opposition camp coined the by-election-effect strategy. Which in effect was to allow the PAP to form the government on nomination day so that Singapore voters who wanted political stability could then become more adventurous with their votes and give them to the Opposition.

The Aug 27 election offers the perfect opportunity for Singaporeans who want to have more checks on the PAP, be adventurous with their votes or both. They could treat the presidential election as a by-election!

After all, hasn’t continuity of stability been assured with the PAP already returned to power three months ago?

Going by CV and breadth and depth of experience alone, Tony Tan should be the unequivocal choice of all thinking Singaporeans.

The devil is that there is a significant section of Singaporeans who want to show the PAP two fingers (in return for grievances perceived or real) despite not being hard-core Opposition. So CV and experience be damned. This is over and above the traditional anti-PAP crowd.

If these should intuitively coalesce around one of the other three Tans instead of diluting their voting power by going with their heart, then Singaporeans could indeed wake up on the morning of Aug 28 with a “freak” election result.

Still, Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong did say he could work with any of the candidates, didn’t he? And whomever it might be, it’ll still be a President Tan 😆

What makes me really angry!

Nope, not about MP Penny Low caught by TV cameras looking at her mobile phone while singing Majulah Singapura at the National Day Parade! Instead, I feel sorry for her for the way ubiquitous cameras keep invading her private space, even if she’s an MP — or especially if she is an MP and condemned to be on best behaviour, 24/7!

Nope, I don’t begrudge our government ministers their pay, whether it’s $1 million or $10 million. And definitely not our President his $4 million annual salary, because among his many onerous duties is one that I regard as necessary but oh so painful on the mind and spirit that no amount of moolah can compensate for: signing the execution orders for those felons sentenced to death.

What gets me angry is when I hear about town councils promoting recycling habits among their residents and mindlessly destroying the very eco-system that supports the dirt poor among us: the waste paper, cartons, and other bric-a-brac give the few $ which they depend on to survive a little better beyond public assistance and/or ad hoc charity!

What gets me really angry is when I hear (on 93.8FM some time ago) and read about attempts today to raise multi-million $ to buy dinosaur fossils (see article reproduced below), no matter how rare and in what good condition they may be, for our museums.

Let those who want such “trophies” to be in our museums pay for it out of their own pockets, not tap those with the money but which could be put to better use helping the living right in Singapore.

I’ve in mind this prime example of poverty and deprivation about which I’ve posted for almost a year, here, here, here and here.

I’ve a plea for Tony Tan, Tan Jee Say, Tan Cheng Bock and Tan Kin Lian, our four presidential hopefuls: whichever of you wins the race, please stop championing all the brand name charities! Concentrate instead on those — like the old tramp — without the voice or the patron to bring their needs to the public eye. Your nod in their direction will  ensure that this marginalised sliver among Singaporeans will eat better and live better for the next six years!


Purchase of 3 dinosaurs at risk as donations fall short of target

Less than $2m of immediate $8m needed raised as new deadline looms

By Tan Dawn Wei, News Editor

The deadline set by its sellers has come and gone, but the money to buy three dinosaurs for Singapore’s upcoming natural history museum is still not in the bag.

Since it embarked on an intense race to raise $12 million for the fossils from Wyoming in the United States a month ago, the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research has managed to collect only $1.89 million through several donors and public donations through its online portal.

It has since negotiated an extension of the deadline – originally July 31 – with its American sellers and now has one to two months to raise the rest of the money.

The immediate task is to collect $8 million first to secure the three dinosaurs. The remaining $4 million, to be used for transport and to mount the exhibits, can be raised later.