28 Apr 2004

Lawyer charged with disorderly conduct

Lawyer charged with disorderly conduct

So in Singapore if you dare to question or refuse to keep your mouth closed you can go to jail. The following article seems to smack of a vendetta against the defence lawyer of a man who has been condemned to death. Yet again it shows that the judiciary here can be used on an ad hoc basis to ensure that we are all 'criminals' if we question authority.

The article is from "The Straits" jacket, where they write only what they are told to write. I wonder if Amnesty International are aware of this situation.

And talking of Amnesty International I notice that the furore created by the PMs blopper of not knowing how many are put to death in Singapore, and the report citing Singapore as having the highest death penalty in the world, per capita; has never been refuted or a subject of discussion since promises were made quite sometime ago.

The Straits Jacket writes....
LAWYER M. Ravi was yesterday charged in a magistrate's court with behaving in a disorderly manner at a bar at Magazine Road.

Out on bail, Ravi is accused of yelling at the top of his voice in a bar.
The 35-year-old was accused of shouting at the top of his voice at the China Bar at about 1.55am on Nov 6.

He is out on bail of $5,000 until the case is mentioned again on May 25.

A person found guilty of disorderly behaviour in a public place can be jailed for up to one month and fined up to $1,000.

A second offender can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $2,000.

Ravi first made the news in September last year after he had a heated exchange with High Court Judge Woo Bih Li while trying to seek a retrial for a condemned drug trafficker who had exhausted all avenues of appeal.

Justice Woo has since made a complaint to the Law Society against him for improper conduct in court.

27 Apr 2004


Royston Tan's CUT

Royston Tans Click here "Cut", linked from Talking Cock

23 Apr 2004

Lenin and Singapore

Lenin and Singapore

Manuel Castells again

The Last "tiger" of our story, Singapore, baffles me, as everybody else. Unlike the three other countries, no civil society has really developed in Singapore in the 1990's, and the state seems to be as powerful as ever, in spite of statements to the contrary. This applies to authoritarian politics, and the control of information, as much as to the steering and monitoring of Singapore's development. The state continues to work in close contact with multinational corporations, as was 30 years ago, but, having become rich, it also now uses its own resources to invest in companies, either by itself or in joint ventures. Per capita income in Singapore now exceeds the average of the European Union. The city-state works smoothly in a fully planned metropolitan system. The island is the first country to be entirely wired with optic fiber, and is poised to become the first smoking-free and drug-free country (drug traffickers are sentenced to death, and often executed). The city is clean: littering the streets is penalised with heavy fines, and with community work performed in green uniforms, with the culprits exposed in the media. Political and cultural dissent is kept to a minimum, without the need to resort to extreme repression. There is formal democracy, and token opposition. When an opposition leader denounces government abuses, he is sued in court by the corresponding government official, and the court takes care that the daring critic is heavily fined or jailed. There is effective management of inter-ethnic tensions. And there is relatively peaceful co-existence with its surrounding Muslim world, although the whole population continues to be organised in armed militia, and the Singaporean Air force is on a constant state of alert to proceed with retaliatory bombing of large cities just minutes away in their flight plans. The towering figure of Lee Kwan Yew, while no longer Prime Minister, continues to permeate Singapore’s political culture and institutions. He succeeded in inventing a society out of nowhere, and making it the historical proof of the superiority of "Asian values," a project probably dreamed in his Oxford years, as a nationalist without a nation. (Chua 1998) In fact, he rediscovered Victorian England, with its cult of moral virtues, its obsession with cleanliness, its abhorrence of the undeserving poor, its belief in education, and in the natural superiority of the few highly educated. He added a high-tech twist, actually funding studies to establish a scientific basis for the biological superiority of certain groups. Not on a racial basis, but on a class basis. His beliefs directly shaped Singapore's policies. For instance, college-educated women in Singapore received, in the 1980s, special allowances from the state to give birth to as many children as possible, as well as family leave to educate their children, while working-class women (Chinese or Malay) were taxed for having too many children. The aim was to improve the quality of the Singaporean population by increasing the proportion of children born to educated families. The whole of Singapore is based on the simple principle of survival of the fittest. The ultimate goal of state policies is to enable Singapore to survive, and win, against the implacable competition of the global economy, in an interdependent world, by means of technology, social engineering, cultural cohesiveness, self selection of the human stock, and ruthless political determination. The PAP implemented this project, and continues to do so, an accordance with the principles of Leninism that Lee Kwan Yew knew, and appreciated, in his resistance years as a labour lawyer in the anti-colonialist movement. And, indeed, it is probably the only true Leninist project that has survived, outlasting its original matrix. Singapore represents the merger of revolutionary state with the developmental state in the building of legitimacy, in its control of society, and in its maneuvering in the economy. It may also prefigure a successful model for the twenty-first century: a model that is being sought, consciously, by the Chinese Communist state, pursuing the developmental goals of a nationalist project.

Manuel Castells(End of Millennium, page 305-306)

More Singapore business in Burma

More Singapore business in Burma

Mark Baker
Sydney Morning Herald
10 April 2004

Qantas has defended its partnership in a new Asian budget airline with two prominent Singaporean businessmen who have commercial ties to Burma's military regime.

One of the partners this week left open the possibility of the Singapore-based airline flying to Burma - despite an international boycott on tourism and investment called by detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon, while refusing to disclose which routes were being considered, later insisted that he and his partners would "do the right thing" in response to the Burma boycott.

"If they are discouraging tourism and all the rest of it, it's probably very unlikely we'd want to fly there," Mr Dixon said.

The new airline - likely to be called Jetstar Asia - plans to begin flying later this year to a range of budget tourist destinations within a five-hour radius of Singapore. It aims to build a fleet of 20 aircraft within three years. Qantas will have a 49.9 per cent stake in the $S100 million ($78 million) start-up and will initially hold the chairmanship of a six-member board. Two leading Singaporean businessmen - Wong Fong Fui and Tony Chew - have taken a total 31.1 per cent stake in the new company, with the balance of the shareholding held by Temasek Holdings, the powerful investment arm of the
Singapore Government.

Mr Wong was managing director of Burma's privatised national airline, Myanmar Airways International, for seven years up to 1998, and Mr Chew is a member of the Myanmar Business Group, an association of Singaporean businessmen with interests in Burma.

Asked whether his strong business ties in Burma and Vietnam made them likely
destinations for the new airline, Mr Chew told a press conference in Singapore on Tuesday: "I think every destination is potential."

Mr Dixon said the airline was studying a range of potential routes, but said he could not be specific until approval had been granted by Singapore's transport ministry.

Pressed on whether Qantas was swayed by calls from Ms Suu Kyi and her National
League for Democracy for tourists and businessmen to stay away from Burma until
democracy was restored, Mr Dixon appeared unsure about the boycott, which has
drawn strong international support.

"Are you saying a social issue, a conscience issue or a commercial issue?" he said, in response to a question from The Herald.

When told it was a political issue, he said: "I'm quite sure all the shareholders would take in political issues, they'll take in social issues and they'll take in commercial issues.

"I think you can rest assured, given our background, and I'm quite sure with Mr Chew and others, that we'll make the right decision when it comes to things like that."

Mr Dixon said Qantas had "a track record around the world for doing, basically, the right thing, and I'm very confident Mr Wong and Mr Chew and Temasek will [do] the same".

Singaporean companies - including some with substantial government shareholdings - have been attacked by international human rights groups as being among the most active foreign investors in Burma in recent years.