Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Touchy Topic Is Aired

A telephone poll of 1,000 people by researchers at a local university this year showed 68.6 percent of Singaporeans had a negative attitude towards homosexuals, 22.9 percent had a positive attitude and 8.5 percent were neutral.

The June 25 Saturday headline screamed "$40,000 Fix-up after HIV outcry". A private school located off Upper Thomson Road had to spend $40,000, due to knee-jerk reaction from parents of its students, a sum amounting to 40 per cent of the school's annual operating cost. The hullabaloo stemmed from the parents' belief that all gays are HIV positive, and that a gay teacher would have infected everything he touched.

Mr Paul Fernandez was given a verbal reprimand by police in September 2003 for committing an act of gross indecency with another man on the public staircase landing of a private block of flats in Klang Lane in Singapore's Little India. He claimed it was a consensual act that came to the police's attention only after he made a report that the other man had robbed him. But because of his close contact with children, the police sent a letter to the school about his clandestine liaison with the man. [Homosexual sex, oral or anal, is a criminal offence in Singapore].

A Straits Times report in February 2005 first identified the school as the Centre for Exceptional Children, which takes in students of age 3 1/2 to 12 years with learning disabilities or low IQs.

The school, which had 20 students then, claimed it did not know Mr Fernandez was gay or that he had been arrested. But the parents were aghast. They faulted the school for hiring a gay teacher. Four pulled their kids out. Other parents insisted that the teacher not teach their children and must not be in the same room as their kids.

On 30 March, the school's board decided to sack Mr Fernandez, who was informed by letter in April. Principal Mrs Queenie Tan went on record to say they did not fire him because he is gay but because he did not follow the school's guidelines: teaching in a classroom with windows so he could be observed.

His termination was not enough to pacify the agitated parents. Some wanted the school to replace everything he had may have touched. Re-paint the school, they insisted. Replace the toilet bowls. Throw away the chairs that he may have sat on. Why? Because they were afraid their kids would get the HIV virus by contacting the objects the gay teacher had touched. Mecifully, they did not insist the road be repaved.

No evidence indicates Mr Fernandez is HIV positive. Furthermore, there is no way the virus can be transmitted through objects touched by an infected person. As Dr Elly Sabrina Ismail, 35, a general practitioner explained: 'HIV is transmitted through blood and bodily fluids through close bodily contact like during sex. A virus can't survive for long when it's exposed to the environment. It's just sheer panic without understanding what it's all about.'

But Mrs Tan said 17 parents told her personally that they wanted the renovations carried out irregardless. So, in March, the school relented. It even replaced the teaching aids - like flash cards and alphabet blocks - that Mr Fernandez had used. The school had to order some of the replacements from the UK. It also replaced a microwave oven, hot water flask and toaster Mr Fernandez had used. Even the cupboards were changed.

Mrs Tan informed the parents personally and via e-mail she would be effecting the changes.

Gay coupleExplaining why they replaced the items, Mrs Tan said: 'We considered the general consensus of the parents. They pointed out that even the Government had banned gay parties and this contributed to the negative feeling they had towards gays.'

To allay their fears and concerns, she decided to carry out the changes even though she admitted it was going overboard. Mrs Tan said the school is only three years old and was not due for renovation.

A parent, who only wanted to be known as Mrs Ong, 46, admitted she was being "kiasu" (a Hokien expression directly translating as "afraid of losing out"). Her 8-year-old son is dyslexic. She said: 'In this day and age of mutating viruses, well, I am just a mum who is concerned for my child. I am a kiasu mother. My son still puts things in his mouth and is not aware of what is hygienic and what is not. I was just thinking for my son and the other children.'

Queried whether she knows that the virus cannot be spread through furniture, she responded: 'Yes, but I'm not taking any chances'.

Someone should inform Mrs Ong that Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong has told the world, through Time Magazine in July 2003, "his government now allows gay employees into its ranks, even in sensitive positions." The change in policy was being implemented without fanfare, Goh divulged, to avoid raising the hackles of more-conservative Singaporeans. "So let it evolve, and in time the population will understand that some people are born that way," Goh said, adding a personal note, "We are born this way and they are born that way, but they are like you and me."

The next time Mrs Ong has to be at a government office, she should be extra cautious about taking a seat in the waiting area or opening the door without gloved hands. Of course, she could choose to patronise only private hospitals, dental clinics, stay in private property and enrol her kid in private schools.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

That Knock On The Door At Night

Motorists in Singapore have a device in the vehicle which can track the driver's whereabouts, thanks to the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system of sensors which are also used in many commercial car parks. The citizen's National Registration Identification Card (NRIC) number, which is also the Passport Number, Driving Licence Number, Income Tax Reference Number, and now Birth Certificate Number, basically reduces the individual to a series of traceable digits. George Orwell must have had Singapore in mind when he wrote about Big Brother in his chilling novel "1984".

Mr Mika Sampovaara, a 35-year-old trader from Finland who moved to Singapore last year, obviously wasn't thoroughly briefed on the local situation here. He received a letter from the Department of Statistics (DOS) in March, inviting him to take part in the General Household Survey.

Mr Sampovaara demurred. "I don't have anything to hide, but I should have a basic right to privacy. They want to know my passport number, date of birth, education level, my wife's name, and so on. It's very unusual for me. Whatever the institution, reputable or not, that's a lot to ask for," he said.

When he told the DOS that he did not wish to participate, he did not expect the official response: "I was told that was not an option and had to give them the information they wanted."

If he didn't do so on time, he would be fined; anyone who refuses to answer or knowingly provides wrong information to a goverment officer in Singapore faces a potential fine of up to S$1,000.

But Mr Sampovaara comes from Finland, a country where there is no obligation for people to take part in such surveys. This was confirmed by the Embassy of Finland. In fact, about 37 per cent of the people there refuse to - or do not - respond to similar household surveys.

"Don't get me wrong, I love Singapore very much. It is a very safe country and I've had a wonderful time here so far," said Mr Sampovaara. "I do not like to be forced to do anything just for the sake of doing so," he added.

The department claims that the survey, conducted once every 10 years, is extremely important. After compiling data on how much families earn, spend and travel, it helps the Government plan public programmes and policies. Apparently, the DOS remains unmoved in the face of his stand. Mr Sampovaara said he had received at least ten (10) telephone calls from the department, which randomly selected 90,000 homes - about 10 per cent of households here - for the survey.

When he declined to cooperate, a DOS officer came knocking on his door. It was after 10pm. "I told him to go away but it was hard to sleep afterwards," said Mr Sampovaara.

Ms Ang Seow Long, its Assistant Director of Publications and Statistical Information, said: "It typically takes about half an hour for a family of four to complete the GHS. It's important that respondents provide the required information so that the results are complete and nationally representative. The majority of respondents are co-operative and have helped to maintain a high response rate." Note "high response rate" and not "100 per cent response rate".

She reiterated that the households that had been selected could not be replaced - to ensure that the survey remained representative. She said there were safeguards in place to protect the confidentiality of the information given to the DOS. However the DOS officer coming to your door does not carry a non-disclosure agreement, and it is doubtful he/she will sign one prepared by you.

Mr Sampovaara, to whom the issue of privacy is vital, still hasn't budged. He is beginning to realise there are no easy answers.

Meanwhile in Finland:

Section 10 of the Constitution of Finland, entitled "The right to privacy," states: "Everyone's private life, honour and the sanctity of the home are guaranteed. The secrecy of correspondence, telephony and other confidential communications is inviolable. Measures encroaching on the sanctity of the home, and which are necessary for the purpose of guaranteeing basic rights and liberties or for the investigation of crime, may be laid down by an Act.

The Personal Data Protection Act of 1999 (PDPA)[1081] went into effect on June 1, 1999, and was amended by the Act on the Amendment of the Personal Data Act.[1082] The law replaced the 1987 Personal Data File Act[1083] to make Finnish law consistent with the EU Data Protection Directive. The new act introduces the concept of informed consent and self-determination into Finnish law. The previous act regulated the use and disclosure of information in a personal data file but did not generally require the individual's consent or provide for the same level of notice and access.[1084] Processing without consent may still occur under the new system, for example, if there is "assumed consent," or the Data Protection Board has granted permission, or if the matter concerns publicly available data on the "status, duties or performance" of a public figure.[1085] The PDPA lays down civil and criminal sanctions (including imprisonment of up to one year) for unlawful processing.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Justice For All

When narcotics agents arrested 23 members of a drug syndicate in October 2004, it was more than just another routine bust. It was the first report of cocaine, a "high society" drug potentially more dangerous than heroin, having penetrated Singapore's wealthy youths and expatriate community.

The list of those arrested - 16 Singaporeans, five foreigners and two permanent residents, read like a who's who of the elite high earning upper class, and included brokers, businessmen and executives, an award-winning French chef, a show personality and a TV journalist. They zoom around town in flashy cars, eat at expensive restaurants and hang out at Boat Quay pubs popular with expatriates.

One of them was Briton Andrew Vale, a top financial broker on the Structured Credit Desk with British based finance firm Credittrade, who used to drive a Rolls Royce around town.

Nigel Bruce Simmonds, 40-year old editor of high society rag Singapore Tatler, was sentenced to two years jail for the consumption and possession of drugs.

Petrus Van Wanrooij, 56 year-old managing director of an oil firm, sentenced to 11 months' jail for consuming Ecstasy. His lawyer claimed in mitigation it was consumed in an attempt to alleviate his erectile dysfunction condition.

Of the arrests, the most spectacular was that of a former High Court judge's son, 34-year old Dinesh Singh Bhatia, winner of The Young Professional of the Year Award in 2001.

Dinesh's mother is the former Nominated Member of Parliament and orthopaedic surgeon Dr Kanwaljit Soin. His father is Amarjeet Singh, a former judicial commissioner and also a senior counsel, who was instrumental in expediating the arrest and caning of U.S. citizen Michael Fay for spray painting his wife's car.

His parthian shot when Michael was sentenced:
You know, once you loosen up or the laws become lax, everything comes in. The floodgates are opened. It doesn't pay to mess around with the system."

For consuming Class A controlled drugs like cocaine, Dinesh faced a sentence of up to 10 years' jail, a S$20,000 fine or both. He was sentenced to one year's jail for consuming cocaine.

A subsequent appeal reduced the jail term to 8 months.

In meting out the reduced sentence, High Court Judge VK Rajah said Dinesh did not seek out the drugs he took, his consumption was not planned but taken on the spur of the moment. The amount of drugs he took was also not substantial, added the judge.

However he ruled out a fine, saying that this should be imposed "sparingly" and only in "purely exceptional circumstance".

This ruling, a group of lawyers are now claiming, has thrown up several questions:

What is a "purely exceptional" case? What does the judge mean by imposing a fine "sparingly"?

Finally, the Chief Justice Yong Pung How has himself overturned jail sentences in favour of fines, notwithstanding his "benchmark minimum" 12 months' jail for drug consumption.

Writing in the June 2005 first issue of the Association of Lawyers of Singapore's newsletter, "Pro Bono", Mr Subhas Anandan cited three cases in which the Chief Justice overturned jail sentences and handed down fines instead:

>> Insurance manager Ng Kheng Tiak had his 12-month jail term set aside, and fined $20,000;

>> Footballer Muhammed Razali Ishak's 1-year sentence was replaced by 2 years' probation, a $5,000 bond and 100 hours of community service;

>> Polytechnic student Pillis Nikiforos escaped a 8-month jail term and got off with a $5,000 fine instead.

The Chief Justice did not provide written grounds to explain why he made these exceptions.

Mr Anandan's article also highlighted the discrepancy thrown up by Bhatia's 8-month sentence: It went against the 1977 ruling by the Chief Justice in which he indicated that the minimum sentence for first-time drug offenders should be one year. That led Mr Anandan to suggest that judges do not attempt to establish guidelines in sentencing. He said Parliament should be left to legislate minimum jail-term guidelines, rather than leaving judges to do this to "fetter their own discretionary sentencing powers".

[Side note: Chief Justice Yong Pung How once said that he would ignore any cases submitted by lawyers based on British case law involving sentencing because Britain is a permissive legal culture and even enhanced the sentence in that particular case, just to make a point.
Banker friendThe close relationship between Lee Kuan Yew and Yong Pung How is well known. Then Prime Minister Lee himself appointed his banker-friend to that position, who had not practised law for 20 years. Lee waxed lyrical about Yong for an hour in televised parliament proceedings, reminiscing about their student days at Cambridge University, the way Yong kept meticulous lecture notes enabling Lee, a late arrival at Cambridge, to catch up with his law studies. CJ Yong, who has held the post for 14 years, was re-appointed for another 2 years on April 2004. This was the second time that the Chief Justice had his term of office extended, after he crossed the retirement age. Effectively, he is now serving at the discretion of the executive, since it is the Prime Minister who decides on re-appointment.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Creating Buzz In The City

The 19-year-old lass who posted nude pictures of herself on the internet set Singapore's blogging community abuzz in the hot month of June 2005, but lawyers say she is probably not breaking any obscenity law in the conservative city-state, where oral sex is illegal and prostitution not.

Writing under the handle Sarong Party Girl (a.k.a SPG, a derogatory term for a girl who, in her own words, dates Caucasians because of their "huge disposable income, excessive dates, extravagant holidays and kinky underwear"), her weblog unabashedly records her life, erotic aspirations, and numerous sexual escapades with non-Asians while she waits to penetrate (pardon the pun) the academic world. It was claimed she had a following of about 3000 readers since she started her blog in February last year.

Forbidden Fruit"There is nothing wrong with having a nude picture of yourself published or on show, as long as there is an artistic value to it," she told the Straits Times. "These pictures were nice." She admitted however that the blog had been kept secret from her Christian parents (who has since persuaded her to remove the revealing pictures).

"If someone were to flash himself physically, it's very clearly an obscene act," opined lawyer Jonathan Kok. "But on the internet, it's a grey area."

Bloggers like 22-year-old Gabriel Seah think nothing of her lack of inhibition. “The Internet is a free society.” But others like Ng Heng Ghee, a 33-year-old IT technician and father of two, thought otherwise. “What she has done reflects badly on her parents.”

Maybe her photo would have been more acceptable to horrified conservatives if, like the Crazy Horse topless revue planning to set up permanent abode in Singapore's Clark Quay expatriate hang-out, her breasts were "artistically bathed in light".

Some of her supporters argued that when Michelangelo carves a nude statue of David, it is called it art. Davinci sketches the nude male form, it is called art. Botticelli paints bare breasted, voluptuous maidens, it is called art. These and thousands of other works of artistic expressions dealing with the unadorned human form are celebrated; we consider them treasures of our species. But when SPG posts a rather tasteful, professionally taken (apparently she was paid for the shot) black and white nude photo of herself, one that was carefully planned, lighted and art-directed with thoughtful consideration to composition and form, it gets slammed as pornography.

And what does SPG has to say about all the flak?

"That photograph is of me taking a moment to appreciate myself, and telling everyone else that they should do that too...

But the newspaper articles.. what were they about?

They were about a nipple.

Give me a ... break. Who has not seen nipple? Who in Singapore has not sucked a nipple in their life?

I KNOW nipples. To the jerk that insulted my parents, my mother sure raised me well, buster. From the time she suckled me, she sure as hell did.

Singapore will NEVER becoming artistically vibrant unless we really lighten up. Why is it all right to see naked pictures on the blogs of girls from the US, some of which are assuredly more highly eroticized then mine, but scandalous to have it come from a Singaporean girl? The last time I checked, we have all the same bits."

Naturally there were some bloggers who took offense at her bare-it-all attitude, and some shot themselves in the foot by capitalizing on her methods.

Monday, June 20, 2005

A Clean City No More?

Looking for body parts in incineratorA horrific crime was discovered last week in safe Singapore when dismembered body parts of a 22-year-old Chinese factory worker were found dumped unceremoniously into the Singapore River. The grisly find of the nude torso was discovered at the Kallang Riverside Park on Thursday, a popular location for morning joggers and brisk-walkers. Two notable elements in the case stand out: a single China girl working in a sweat shop for marginal earnings; and a "family man" enstrangled with the sexual attraction of a young foreign female. It is unlikely that this is the type of "buzz" the authorities had in mind when they rammed through their unpopular foreign talent policies and opened the floodgates to bar-top dancing, gays in civil service and two casinoes to boot. It is also questionable whether this is the Swiss standard of living promised by the former prime minister Goh Chok Tong.

Two years ago, at the age of 20, Miss Liu Hong Mei travelled far from her hometown in Chaoyang, Changchun City (Jilin province) in north-eastern China, to seek her fortune in Singapore.

She found a job as a production operator in a semiconductor factory, earning about S$900. She worked hard for two years. Colleagues described her as a friendly, soft-spoken young girl.

Then about a year ago, she reportedly fell in love - with a man more than twice her age. He was her supervisor, Leong Siew Chor, age 50, slightly balding, slim and bespectacled. She knew he was married with two daughters and a son.

But still, they started dating. Many of her colleagues knew about their affair and advised her against seeing him. Yet Miss Liu persisted. Then something went tragically wrong. Miss Liu didn't turn up for work on Tuesday, 14th June 2005.

Worried, her colleagues at Agere Systems, a company packaging computer circuit chips and employs half of their workforce from China, lodged a missing person's report with the police.

Their hearts must have sunk when news broke the next day that a woman's chopped-up body parts had been found, washed up on the banks of the Kallang River. Two cleanly severed parts - a woman's upper torso and the lower half of her body, cut at the pelvis and knee joints - were found in separate cardboard boxes.

While the police mounted a massive search for the rest of the body, forensic experts scrambled to identify the woman, comparing her fingerprints with those in the database for foreigners with work permits. Within 24 hours they were able to place a name to the headless corpse. It was Miss Liu's.

The police moved swiftly, going to her workplace at Serangoon North Avenue 5 to gather evidence. They took Leong away for questioning after searching his locker and checking the bags of all those who worked there. Investigators also went to his four-room flat in Geylang Lorong 3, where they found green plastic bags. Miss Liu's upper and lower torsos had been found wrapped in green plastic bags. At 6am on Friday, Leong was arrested.

CID officers took him back to his flat that night for three hours, handcuffed and shackled, and took away some possible clues like his computer and bicycle.

On the evening of Saturday 18th June, Miss Liu's partially decomposed head and lower limbs were recovered.

'We tracked down the cleaning company that was contracted to clean the river and managed to stop the garbage from being incinerated.' He added that they did not expect to find Miss Liu's feet in the pile as investigations had showed that they were 'disposed of somewhere else'. CID officers intercepted the load at around 10.30am, about half an hour before the pile was scheduled to be taken from the Pandan Road cleaning company to the Tuas incinerator. The rubbish was an accumulated pile collected over a three-day period, from Wednesday to Friday.

DSP Adrian Quek, Head of Special Investigation Section with the Criminal Investigation Department said: "We had to literally, physically go through three tonnes of garbage, opening up every single plastic bag to make sure it's not what we are looking for. So in the midst of the search, we managed to discover a yellow plastic bag. And when we opened it up, we found something wrapped inside a newspaper and on further examination, we realised it was a human head. The head was partially decomposed but we could still see very prominent features such as the ear and the length of the hair. It appeared to be at least shoulder length hair."

Leong was charged with Miss Liu's murder. The murder was believed to have taken place at his Geylang flat between 9.30am on Wednesday 15th June 2005 and 9.15am the next day, while his family was holidaying in Thailand.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

How To Use Singapore Courts

Goh Chok TongAugust 20, 1997
South China Morning Post
PM's fury at being accused of lying

An infuriated Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said yesterday he wished he could take legal action against a top British barrister who accused him of lying in a defamation case and charged that the Government was using the judiciary to stifle dissent.

"If I can, I will sue him," a red-faced Mr Goh told a packed courtroom when asked how he felt about being called a liar by Queen's Counsel George Carman, defending opposition leader J. B. Jeyaretnam.

"I think [being branded a liar] is an insult to the judiciary and to the Government," an enraged Mr Goh said when answering his lawyer, Thomas Shields, also a QC.

Mr Goh, 55, was the first to take the stand in the case which he, Senior Minister Lee Kwan Yew and nine other leaders of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) brought against Mr Jeyaretnam, 71, leader of the Workers Party.

Mr Carman accused Mr Goh of "not being truthful to the court" and "exaggeration" after the premier gave evidence on events that followed an election-eve Workers Party rally on January 2 when Mr Jeyaretnam allegedly defamed the plaintiffs. The PAP scored a sweeping victory in the elections.

A legal expert, commenting on Mr Goh's court statement, said no one could take defamation action on statements made in court. "The point Mr Goh was trying to make, I think, is that if Mr Carman repeats the allegations outside the court, he will sue him," said the expert.

Mr Carman also suggested the Government was using an "artillery of multiple actions in the courtroom to obtain massive damages" from opposition politicians who would be made bankrupt if they could not pay up.

Mr Carman asked Mr Goh: "I suggest that this litigation is designed to bankrupt this man [Jeyaretnam] and keep him out of Parliament."

Mr Goh: "Your suggestion is groundless. He is no threat to us."

Mr Carman: "I put it to you that the court provides an instrument by which you can financially oppress your political opponents?"

Mr Goh: "How else can we vindicate ourselves?"

The plaintiffs contend Mr Jeyaretnam defamed them by telling the election rally his fellow Workers Party candidate, Tang Liang Hong, had filed two reports to the police after being branded an anti-Christian, Chinese chauvinist by PAP leaders.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

You Win Some, You Lose Some

1. SMRT has received the Public Transport Council (PTC)'s approved fare revisions and would need to study the impact on our commuters. Based on our preliminary assessment, there are no fare increases for children and students. We are also glad that PTC has accepted SMRT's proposal for higher fare increases for standard-ticket users. The standard-ticket increases will cushion the impact on Singaporeans who are frequent users and Ez-link cardholders.

2. We are supportive of PTC's move to apply the new fare formula, which is more transparent, objective and better presents the social and economic conditions faced by commuters and operators. It also takes into account SMRT's productivity efforts. The approved fare increase is less than the increases in CPI and WI, and moreover, SMRT's productivity gains have been shared with commuters.

3. With the modest fare increase, fares still remain affordable for Singaporeans, and amongst the lowest in the world. Nevertheless, SMRT is sympathetic towards the needy. To meet the needs of the low-income group, SMRT will contribute S$1million to the Public Transport Fund, which is being driven by NTUC and the CDCs.

4. SMRT would like to assure commuters that we will continue to pursue system and service improvements to deliver a high level of service, safety, efficiency and reliability. In addition, we will continue to improve cost efficiency and productivity efforts. These savings will help mitigate some of the increases in the CPI and WI components of future fare adjustments.

The above press statement issued by SMRT Corp and SBS Transit claimed that the companies have withheld from requesting fare increases in recent years because of the economic downturn (the last increase in 2002 caused a humongous hue and cry from the populace). They continued by adding that rising fuel prices and operating costs have made it difficult to continue holding off the increase.

CASE (Consumer's Association of Singapore) responded by stating that it was not the right time for fare increases, as the salaries of lower income workers have not gone up. CASE also mentioned that the fare hikes are not justified, as SMRT Corp had made a record net profit of $126.9 million in the financial year ending 31 March 2004. SBS Transit posted a $49 million profit last year.

SMRT went ahead with the price increase anyway, and sugar coated it by setting up a $4 million fund to offset the impact of the price hike for the financially destitute. This is not dissimilar to the casino decision making strategy which was to go ahead with the building of the gambling den inspite of the widespread objection on moral grounds, and then temper it with the proposed set up of treatment centers for gambling addiction.

This is the same SMRT who claimed lack of funds to supply safety barriers at the station platforms despite the alarming incidents of commuters falling to their deaths on the train tracks. Maybe they will come up with discount vouchers for funeral expenses.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Racist Scholar

PSC Scholar Chua Cheng ZhanThe story of the PSC (Singapore's Public Service Commission) scholar making racist remarks blew up a storm in the multi-racial island state and sparked a flurry of strong comments about the conduct of one Chua Cheng Zhan, a government scholarship holder studying mathematics at Northwestern University in Illinois USA.

You read his blog entry on April 10th 2005 and make your own assessment:

somehow, the singaporean association here in my school has become an indian association. so gross. and somemore non-singaporean. its just so repulsive…these ugly guys with dark skin n irksome features. ya. i discovered i’m so racist. at the club (under lighting in which everyone is supposed to look good), i still find indians and filipinos (dark ones) so repulsive n such a turn-off. anyway, so now we have this ugly mass as our president. n his indian counterpart who isn’t even singaporean is our senator. what is the world coming to? why are indians dominating the singaporeans here? all these mang ka-li….gross gross. don’t come near me!
>.< disgust.

Wait, it just gets better…
This is his entry dated April 21 2005:

i think an issue which finally dawned on me is that my family is pretty impressive in some senses… like i told my di i realised it…n he was like “duh”. hahahaha. putting it in light of sociological analysis (ahem)…maybe i was justified to have not noticed it earlier. coz i have always been in like the “best”….since pri sch. thru RI, n HCJC. like it juz seemed “normal” that everyone was getting scholarships n everyone was smart. but i suppose to many others, this didn’t seem “normal.” den my bro got into GEP n got straight As for A levels etc…it just didn’t seem out of the ordinary for me. now i think about it, actually it is.
n the followup question is always : is ur sister stressed? i think somehow me n aaron came to e same ans…sadly to say, if u’re pretty far frm comparison u juz dun bother to compare. (like, does proton saga compare itself to a jaguar??) or there is juz little need to compare. not saying proud or anything. juz a sociological observation.ha…i love sociology!!!!


I refer to the article, 'Scholar under fire for racist blog entries' (The Sunday Times, April 17). The Public Service Commission (PSC) has investigated the issue and Mr Chua Cheng Zhan has given us his explanation.

PSC does not condone the making of racist comments by its scholars. It views this matter seriously and has issued a letter of reprimand to Mr Chua. We note that Mr Chua has taken full responsibility for the comments made on his personal blog and has apologised publicly for his insensitive remarks.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind all PSC scholars to conduct themselves in a manner becoming of holders of a PSC scholarship at all times.

Choo Lee See (Mrs)
Director, Public Service
Commission Secretariat
For Secretary,
Public Service Commission


"I guess I was not myself when I wrote those things. I don’t use my own persona when I write on my blog. I realise they were in very poor taste and I deeply regret my actions. I am not like that."


"One evening, I drove to Little India and it was pitch dark but not because there was no light, but because there were too many Indians around."

This astonishing remark was made by PAP Member of Parliament Choo Wee Khiang, in a speech in Mandarin during a parliament session in 1992, calling on the Government to be "selective" in controlling the number of foreign workers. However the Singapore Government chose not to act against him for a breach of parliamentary privilege although the utterance could easily be construed as innuendo for a call for ethnic cleansing.

On June 7, 1999, Choo resigned as MP two hours before pleading guilty to a charge of abetting his brother-in-law to cheat a finance company by issuing false invoices worth $1,000,000 in 1990. He was sentenced to two weeks in jail, fined $10,000 and was barred from contesting parliamentary elections for five years. In a statement, then Acting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was saddened by Choo's resignation and that Choo "has done the right thing."