Blog Posts by Calvin Cheng

  •  

    Singapore must now confront its foreign worker dilemma. (AFP News)Singapore must now confront its foreign worker dilemma. (AFP News)

    Calvin Cheng was a former Nominated Member of Parliament and a member of the Media Literacy Council. He writes in his own capacity and blogs at www.beyondtheemotive.com

    Any hope the Government still harboured of the electorate accepting the "6.9 million" Population White Paper may have just gone up in flames.

    One must not underestimate the shock to the Singaporean psyche in seeing images of burning police vehicles, crowds attacking ambulances and rioting masses; for Singaporeans born post-independence, these things just do not happen in Singapore. They see them on the TV, or the internet, or the papers -- but not in their own backyard.

    When news of a riotous crowd attacking police vehicles started filtering out, the reaction from Singaporeans, online and on the streets, was one of utter disbelief.

    People do not attack police vehicles in Singapore, much less set them on fire. The most difficult situation ambulance drivers have to normally handle is unruly patients; never in their wildest

    Read More »from COMMENT: In wake of the riot, what now of the Population White Paper?
  • COMMENT: Keep calm and carry on posting

    Activists, bloggers call on MDA to withddraw licensing scheme. (AFP)

    The drama that has unfolded over Singapore’s Media Development Authority’s decision to license some news websites in Singapore is tragic.

    On the one hand, we have a government completely bewildered over the reaction towards what they see as a minor update to its regulatory laws.

    On the other hand, we have freedom-of-the-internet advocates going apoplectic over what it sees as a major policy decision that amounts to curtailment of free-speech and the death-knell of alternative news websites in Singapore.

    The two positions and the reactions are so far apart and so irreconcilable that the call for dialogue seems futile.

    One reason for the divide is the difference in time frame from which the two parties view the decision: the government is looking at the situation now, and its opponents, the possible impact in the future.

    Scheme's rationale

    The government’s decision is actually made on very simple logic.

    Current print newspapers at the moment are owned by only two media groups: Singapore Press

    Read More »from COMMENT: Keep calm and carry on posting
  • Do we need another Workers’ Party MP?

    COMMENT

    In the run-up to the by-election of Punggol East, it is clear, that final fight comes down to the two largest parties in Parliament: The People’s Action Party (PAP) and The Worker’s Party (WP).

    The Worker’s Party chairman Sylvia Lim stated very early that this by-election was going to be a report-card on the PAP. Some political observers have commented that this is even more so than in Hougang, a Worker’s Party stronghold. And although the WP’s party candidate Lee Li Lian has recently admitted that the by-election would also be a barometer of the WP’s record, it seems that more questions are still being asked about the PAP rather than the WP.

    This is natural. Being the incumbent, the PAP has much to prove after a water-shed election that saw an entire GRC falling for the first time to the opposition. It is also natural and obvious that this election, like all elections, would be a barometer of a ruling party’s record.

    However, as even the leader of the WP Low Thia Kiang has

    Read More »from Do we need another Workers’ Party MP?