Blog Posts by Jeanette Tan

  • Singaporean World War II survivors recall frightening, amusing events of the period

    In tiny but sunny Singapore, our elders led far more exciting lives than the rest of us who were born in the decades post-World War II.

    Over the weekend, in commemoration of 15 February 1942, the day the Japanese troops landed in Singapore, we spoke to four World War II survivors who shared one significant memory each from those years that stays with them.

    Apart from the devastating, painful, frightening and haunting memories they share with us, there also come the stories of hope, of humour and of brief reprieve.

    The poignant
    Retired Singapore ambassador to Russia Joseph Conceicao. (Yahoo photo)Retired Singapore ambassador to Russia Joseph Conceicao. (Yahoo photo)
    Joseph Conceicao, 91
    The retired Singapore ambassador to Russia says his most poignant memory from the war was in late 1941, a few months before the Japanese troops arrived, and in the wake of massive bombings that took place around the island.

    "I was about 17 then," he said. "I was walking with two cousins; we had heard about the bombings and they were not very far away from where we stayed so we wanted to see."

    They walked across a field toward a junction

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  • Residents mostly shrug off AHPETC debate

    Residents living in Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East mostly appear little affected by the fierce debate in Parliament last week on the financial statements of their opposition-run town council.

    Yahoo Singapore spoke to residents from these constituencies over the weekend and found that, while a few have since had a sharp negative change in their views of the Workers' Party or the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), many were unconcerned.

    This comes after two days of fiery exchanges in Parliament between Members of Parliament of ruling People's Action Party (PAP) and the WP over the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO's) findings of lapses in the AHPETC's financial accounts.

    [READ ALSO: The dramatic things people said on day 1 of the debate, and the even more dramatic things people said on day 2 of the debate]

    "I'm very confused by all the numbers, and also very worried," said tutor Anna Seow, 33, who lives with her parents in Ubi under the Aljunied group representation

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  • Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has 'successful' prostate cancer surgery

    [UPDATED 1:10pm on 16 February: Added statement on result of surgery]

    Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s surgery for prostate cancer was successful, his office said on Monday.

    “The surgery went very smoothly, and he is expected to recover fully," Professor Christopher Cheng, the lead urologist at the Singapore General Hospital who undertook the operation said in a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

    Cheng confirmed that there is no relationship between the previous lymphoma and the current prostate cancer.

    "PM Lee is grateful for the good wishes from all," the statement read.

    On Sunday, the PMO announced that Lee would undergo surgery on Monday for prostate cancer.

    He "is expected to recover fully" after the surgery, which will be for the removal of his prostate gland, the office said in a statement.

    The robot-assisted keyhole prostatectomy will be carried out by Prof Christopher Cheng, lead urologist at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), the statement added.

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  • Why Thaipusam is no longer a public holiday in Singapore

    The manpower ministry says Thaipusam is no longer a public holiday in Singapore because it was one of several religious observances that were given up by various religious leaders in 1968.

    In a letter to the Singaporean Today newspaper on Friday evening, Ministry of Manpower (MOM)'s Workplace Safety and Strategy Division director Alvin Lim said the religious public holidays were given up due to the need to compete in the global market, following the withdrawal of British colonial troops.

    His letter could be viewed as a response to claims that public holidays here were allocated by race, as opposed to what it actually is — religion.

    Muslims, he said, chose to give up the Prophet Muhammad's birthday as well as an additional day after Hari Raya Puasa. Christians chose the Saturday and Monday that followed Good Friday and Easter Sunday respectively. Hindus chose between Thaipusam and Deepavali, and opted to give up the former.

    "These were difficult decisions for the leaders of each

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  • #TGNA, #TokGuruNikAziz: Tributes pour in for Malaysian opposition leader Nik Aziz

    Tributes poured in overnight from various Malaysian political leaders and citizens in the wake of the passing of opposition spiritual advisor Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who died on Thursday evening aged 84.

    Nik Aziz was one of the leaders of an opposition political party called the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (shortened as PAS). This, in turn, is one of three key parties forming the combined opposition front Pakatan Rakyat — the other two being the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the People's Justice Party (PKR), which is de-facto led by opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim.

    Tens of thousands of tweets with the hashtags #TokGuruNikAziz and #TGNA were posted by local political leaders and Malaysian citizens alike. In the post below, we bring you some of the many:


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  • What you need to know about the AHPETC saga

    What's the deal?
    Singapore's lead opposition party, the Workers' Party, runs a town council overseeing all the constituencies it now represents, called the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC). In an ongoing saga, the AHPETC has been facing questions over, among others, its management of its accounts, as well as the collection of its service and conservancy charges (S&CC).

    Minister of Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam had directed the Auditor-General's Office to conduct an independent financial audit into AHPETC's accounts. The report was released to the public on 9 February.

    What did the Auditor-General's report say?
    The report found five key lapses in the AHPETC's accounts:
    1. Lack of governance over transactions with related parties;
    2. Poor monitoring of S&CC arrears;
    3. Poor record and accounting system;
    4. Non-compliance with rules on sinking fund;
    5. Insufficient internal controls

    Who are the people and parties involved?

    • Sylvia Lim, Workers' Party chairman and also
    Read More »from What you need to know about the AHPETC saga
  • M Ravi suspension due solely to mental condition: Singapore Law Society

    [UPDATED on Thursday, 12 Feb 2015 at 7:37am: Adding new response from LawSoc, information from medical report]

    Singapore's Law Society president on Wednesday responded to allegations that it had political motivations behind suspending local human rights lawyer M Ravi, insisting his mental condition was the only reason for their move.

    This after it confirmed the order was served on him on Tuesday, where it said it would allow him to continue pending a mental health examination confirming his ability to do so.

    Senior Counsel Thio Shen Yi told national broadsheet The Straits Times that the Law Society's decision to issue Ravi the directive "is based solely on the council's concerns that the present state of Mr Ravi's mental condition impairs his fitness to practise law."

    "The Law Society is an independent body and does not engage in assisting or hindering any of its members in any political aspirations they may have," Thio reportedly said. "The council owes a duty to the public and to its

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  • Singapore police investigating threat against PM Lee on Facebook

    Singapore's police are investigating a post on Facebook that has threatened to put a bullet through the country's Prime Minister.

    A search by Yahoo Singapore found a page entitled "GM Pheonix [sic]" with at least two posts tagging PM Lee Hsien Loong in them.

    One post, which had a photo of a bullet against what appeared to be fabric from an army camouflage uniform, was published on Friday at 7:30pm. It challenged PM Lee Hsien Loong to "find me if you can", while saying "this bullet will go through your head soon". The post also claimed there was a bomb planted at Changi Airport by a "guy wearing black hoodie".

    The page's "About" description says the group of administrators running it "contain [sic] several unstable hacker [sic] from Malaysia and Singapore".

    Links to the post were shared with the police on its Facebook page over the weekend, and on Sunday evening, local media said police acknowledged that a report had been filed with them, adding that they are investigating it.

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  • Singapore woman alleges police abuse during Thaipusam procession

    A woman in Singapore has reportedly lodged a police report alleging three police officers of pushing her onto the ground during a scuffle that led to three men, including her husband, arrested for rowdy behaviour.

    The men were arrested during the annual Hindu Thaipusam procession last Tuesday, and charged with disorderly behaviour.

    The incident, where the woman was at as well, allegedly occurred at the junction of Serangoon Road and Desker Road, when three men were arrested for allegedly disrupting, in a rowdy manner, police efforts to stop a group from playing music to accompany kavadi carriers in the area.

    A video clip of the incident, uploaded by sociopolitical site The Online Citizen, showed a woman falling to the ground at one point.

    Responding to media queries about the report filed, police reportedly said in a statement that a 30-year-old Indian female had lodged it on Wednesday.

    "(She) alleged that three officers had hit or pushed her on 3 February 2015 at Desker Road, during

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  • Do you think the People's Action Party might perform better in the upcoming general election, about the same, or worse?

    According to new findings from local agency Blackbox Research, it depends on where you live.

    Some 3,000 Singapore residents — 90 per cent citizens, PRs, and the rest made up of various work pass holders — were polled between October and December 2014 for their take. The agency also ensured that the respondents were representative of Singapore's population based on gender, income, age and housing type, among other demographics.

    Residents in the central area seemed most optimistic, with 73 per cent saying the PAP will command "about the same" or a higher percentage of the valid vote, compared to their performance in 2011. The remaining 27 per cent said they would perform more poorly than they did in 2011.

    Respondents in the East were more divided, with 54 per cent saying the PAP would do about the same or better in the coming election, and 46 per cent saying they would

    Read More »from [INFOGRAPHICS] How well the PAP might do in Singapore's next election depends on where you live: survey


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