Dear folks, I’ve been away on a serious, heavy 3 day conference on human rights in Bangkok. So sorry for no updates on this blog.

I met two Johns, though, and lucky for their presence, my days failed to be super boring.

They are John Liu, from SUARAM (right), and the other is John Tan (left)  from Singapore. Since you probably heard about SUARAM, let me tell you about John Tan.

He spent Christmas in jail last year in Singapore (15days) for wearing a T-shirt with a kangaroo in a judge’s robe.

Hahaha! Mighty creative. But what a reaction from the government of Singapore, eh.

Singapore isn’t all those tourism packages tell you, I am sure you know. But some people do think it is paradise on earth for this part of Asia.

John Tan will tell you otherwise. When he spoke of Singapore, which I will not detail everything here, it seems as if he were speaking about another country.

And my relatives and friends all seem to say they feel so ‘safe’ for their kids there.

Sigh, can we argue with that?  You can read more about John Tan here. He also lost his job as a lecturer due to his political activities. Guys, doesn’t it sound familiar?

Yet, there’s another view of John Tan, you can read it here and decide for yourself.


62 responses »

  1. U mean to say there’s no freedom of speech & expression in S’pore also…?

    Say 4 lorh…!

    The T-shirt is not obscene. Just an expression !
    Why jail? Coz u r somebody with rank?

    Eeerrr…… but can open sex shops. Things there r even more obscene lah….!

    Sooo….. kiasuh!

  2. Truth Will Set Us Free says:

    Both countries aren’t much different, huh?

  3. amoker says:

    Legacy of Lee Kuan Yew. We got Mahathir to thank

  4. rozlan says:


  5. ahoo says:

    Rule of law is very clear herein. One cannot just say whatever they want and make fun of the judiciary. In this case, worse than that as he actually pass ‘bad remarks’ as minister mentor passes by. I think if he is in bolihland and he dares to conduct himself as such, firstly the personal bodyguards of ex-pm and pm would have given him something to remember for life.

    Secondly, ISA may be next for him as he critises the highest court of the land. Freedom of speech does not give us the license to speak wantonly against every tom, dick and harry. So since he is in politic and knows that politic is a game for winner takes all as they are in power, he should not complains.

    We have even worse cases of abuse of political power in Malaysia. Where in the world can you find another lame excuse that ‘one is caught under ISA for her self interest,as her life is in danger’ ? Where else can you find another case that just because someone’s reported that you go against the interest of the mosque in requesting for the speaker to be toned down, they caught you for ISA ? Without any sincere investigation or interogate the victim concerned. Only in bolihland as those wielding the absolute power know exactly who are a threat to our nation and thus the usage of the draconian law such as ISA.

  6. true malaysian""""""" says:

    you should know that Singaporean are “keia shoo:
    at least they get something from they gave.
    We fellow Malaysian,what have our BN give.Well they only give to their cronies.HA ha ha…….

  7. matt says:

    Susan at least their govt does not steal from it’s citizens and also look at how clean singapore is compared to us.Laws are made to keep citizens in check otherwise they will end up like us with only one law which is U MUST NOT OPPOSE.

  8. ylcw says:

    Singapore is a product of the Chinese. Think of the older strict generation Chinese. The “Don’t you dare answer me back, you are so rude, I shall give you a tight slap”, “I know what is good for you” kind. Even in Chinese schools, you used to get your fingers rapped or you get punished.

    Hopefully, when LKY disappears from this earth (I won’t shed a tear), things would change and ease up.

    No government is clean. Authoritarian, merciless persecution of opponents, controlling, etc. is a form of corruption. My expat friends find this culture stifling as they are more used to a liberal culture.

    Singaporeans generally are a complacent and contented lot. That is a honest down-to-earth statement. LKY is smart. Put a roof over their heads, provide them education, jobs, no racial discrimination, run the government well, and a peaceful life. Politics is the last thing on the people’s minds.

    Oppositions like Jeyaratnam, President Ong Teng Cheong, Francis Seow, Lim Chin Siong, Said Zahari, Chee Soon Juan, Devan Nair, and some PAP MPs, who have left the government, are all credible and intelligent people. Their only crime was going up against LKY or disgreeing with some of the PAP policies. No one agrees to LKY “holier than thou” attitude used as an excuse to kill off the opponents. You can sue someone for S$1 and win your reputation, or you can choose to bankrupt him, or force him to leave the country. I find this incomprehensible and detestable. Unfortunately, how do you touch a guy like LKY? So I just console myself that he is soon going to be judged by someone much mightier than him … Someone whom he definitely cannot bankrupt, and have it his own way!

  9. ace says:

    I say he asked for it!!!

  10. In Malaysia we may have a million complaints

    In Singapore, they may have a few complaints

    In Heaven, there might be no more complaints,

    The choice is yours.

  11. MM says:

    Frankly as a Singaporean, I can see and experience for myself that the government is trying to run the country as best as it could. Take for example the current crisis, the ministers are scrambling to create jobs for those affected by the downturn. There is no denial. A permanent secretary was even rapped by the minister for being too insensitive by highlighting his expensive culinary course in France at this particular juncture.
    I have been living here for 46 years hence I am qualified to judge the result of the government. Things get done here effectively and efficiently. If not we will still be using squatting toilets.

  12. wandererAUS says:

    No country is perfect but, for Singapore to survive purely on human resource, she can ill effort to encounter turbulence…has Singapore a choice?
    A country can only prosper with peace and discipline, if this bloke thinks otherwise, he can move over to Malaysia and can do a EZAM…..

  13. wandererAUS says:

    …..sorry ‘Johnny come lately’ you don’t earn my respect and sympathy. You deserve what you got!

  14. shankar says:

    Singapore is till heaven compared to Malaysia. See what the lairs/leaders of Malaysia had to say:

    KUALA LUMPUR: The cabinet has shot down a proposal for a Race Relations Act after a study revealed that Malaysians were generally not in favour of enforcing better racial ties.
    Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the decision came after exhaustive discussions within the cabinet and with representatives of all communities.

    Stop investing in a dying country…..

  15. shankar says:

    Singapore is HEAVEN: read this from Malaysiakini letters:

    Horror flight on board MH161
    Radhika Iyer-O’Sullivan | Jan 20, 09 3:55pm

    I am a Malaysian currently residing and working in Dubai. On Dec 25, 2008, I flew with Malaysian Airlines flight MH161 to Kuala Lumpur to visit my parents. I was in seat 36H (an aisle seat) and the seat next to me, 36K (window seat) was vacant. The flight stopped over at Karachi for an hour.

    In Karachi, more passengers boarded the plane. One male passenger boarded, showed his boarding pass to a stewardess and she pointed to seat beside me (36K). The man looked at me and said, ‘She’s a Hindu, I cannot sit beside her.’ The stewardess responded, ‘So what? What’s wrong with Hindu?’ The man then began to yell and shout that he would not sit next to a Hindu.

    The crew insisted that he had to because there were no other seats available because the plane was full. Then this passenger sat down but began to verbally abuse my faith and the crew members. I sat in my seat but was physically cringing away from him. The flight supervisor was summoned and until then the man was still seated next to me. Imagine my shock, horror and fear in being next to a hostile, abusive person.

    One steward did stand next to me but did not offer any help and I did not feel safe or reassured. I reached out and told that steward that I did not feel safe anymore. I said this to him softly in English and he told me to sit and wait. He then walked off and a female crew member took his place. All this time I was under the impression that this hostile passenger beside me was a Pakistani.

    I then told the stewardess in Malay that this man should not be seated beside me after what he had said about me. There were other Malaysian passengers sitting in the same area and all of them heard me. She smiled and merely nodded.

    Finally, the flight supervisor, ‘SB’, approached the passenger and after an angry exchange, the passenger said, ‘Move her then!’ and SB replied, ‘Yes, we will move her’. More angry words were exchanged and it was revealed that the passenger was actually a Malaysian. When this news was revealed, the passenger actually stood up with his fists up, ready to be physically violent. I was then hauled out of my seat and taken to the back of the plane. I was kept in the kitchen.

    By this time I had gone into shock and was crying uncontrollably. I was shaking with rage because I was in a position where there was nothing I could do to defend myself. No one else seemed to be doing anything too.

    I could not see what was happening from the rear of the plane but I did see uniformed security personnel approaching my original seat. I could not hear or make out what was happening as there was a group of people standing around my original seat. Eventually, the group left and it was announced that the plane would be taking off.

    All this time I was in the kitchen, shaking and crying. All that was done for me was crew members taking turns to ask me if I was okay and offering me Coke and water! The plane began to taxi and I was then taken to another seat (42H). As I sat down, I asked the steward, ‘Is he off the plane?’ and the answer was, ‘No.’ I was appalled.

    After the plane took off, the flight supervisor, SB, came and sat beside me. He explained to me that they could not put him off the plane because he was a deportee and if they had insisted on putting him off, then the plane would not have been cleared for take off. I was still crying at this point. I asked, ‘Why am I in a different seat? He should be!’ but my question was not answered.

    The plane was not full. There were eight seats vacant in the rear, four on the right aisle and four seats on the left. Seat 42H, where I was put, was one of those vacant seats in the rear. If the MAS crew knew there was a deportee boarding, should they not have made arrangements to place him at the rear of the plane? What kind of airline policy allows a deportee to sit beside a female passenger travelling alone?

    I spent the next five and a half hours on the flight in tears. I was not able to sleep because I knew that a hostile passenger was only six rows down from me. I was not afraid but in rage. My friends who are reading this would know the kind of person I am. I have always stood up for my rights and for the rights of people whom I love. I would not usually tolerate such abuse and I would not have hesitated in defending myself.

    What stopped me was knowing that I was on a plane, in a confined space and that there were other passengers around me too, women and children. The abusive passenger was not removed from the plane and when we landed at KLIA, he disembarked like a normal passenger and was not escorted or arrested. I also disembarked knowing that I was now in the same terminal, on my own, as this hostile passenger.

    I am very disappointed with the way MAS dealt with the incident. That passenger should have been taken to the rear of the plane and restrained. I was the victim of the incident yet I lost my chosen seat that I had paid for. Apart from offers of water, Coke and some verbal reassurances, the crew did not do anything else for me.

    I have contacted other major airlines and this is how they would have dealt with the matter: I would have been moved to Business/First Class and I would have been escorted into the terminal until I safely exited the airport. MAS did not do anything for me. First of all, they jeopardised my safety and well-being by forcing the passenger to sit beside me knowing that he was hostile towards me and then they did nothing else to keep me safe.

    I was in the same cabin as that passenger, wondering if he was going to walk by or pass me. I spent the entire five and a half hours in tears because I could not stand up for my rights and also because I had to keep my own rage pent-up.

    Once I landed, I rang my husband in Dubai and related the events to him. He took immediate steps to contact MAS but to no avail. I stayed for one week in Malaysia and every single day, I tried to call their Customer Complaints Department. All I got was a voice mail. I left numerous messages but no one called me back. No one contacted my husband in Dubai. It is only after he put it up on the MAS blog that we have received some kind of response. Fourteen days after the incident, someone from MAS called me to offer an apology.

    My husband also received an email from someone who has offered me 25 percent discount on a return flight from KL to Dubai and actually referred to that abusive passenger as a ‘fellow customer’! She also clearly stated that measures taken were to prevent that passenger from getting angrier. So in other words, they do admit that.

    These are the questions I posed to MAS:

    Why force a passenger who is racially abusive and hostile to my appearance and faith to sit beside me? There were other seats available at the rear as I discovered later.This was not a passenger who was merely fussing about his seat, this was a passenger who was potentially a threat to another passenger.

    Why did the flight supervisor immediately give in to his demands and agree to move me? I was not the passenger causing trouble.

    Upon retrospect, I think I was lied to. I do not think the passenger was a deportee. It was a lie told to me to keep him on the plane and keep me quiet. If a lie was told, that means that the crew took measures to protect the hostile passenger and themselves but not me, the victim. If so, then the MAS crew perpetuated the racism and discrimination initiated by the passenger.

    If this is the case, then the entire crew participated in jeopardising my safety and appropriate action should be taken against them. If the passenger was truly a deportee or an INA (inadmissible because of visa) then the plane captain should have documents about him. If a deportee or INA caused trouble on a flight, the captain should have been informed immediately.

    Why was the captain not informed and if he was, why did he not come to see me? I have been informed that KLIA security had been called but there was no one waiting when the plane landed. The abusive passenger disembarked like any other normal passenger. Why was he not nabbed or restrained? Why did not the crew ensure my safety in the terminal too?

    I am demanding a formal, written apology from Malaysian Airlines. I want a truthful, reasonable explanation for all the five points I have listed above. I want some compensation for what I suffered. So far, I have only received an e-mail informing that the matter is under investigation.

  16. Phua Kai Lit says:

    Malaysia and Singapore are both semi-police states
    where the “rule of law” is a joke.

  17. johanssm / khun Pana says:

    But Malaysia have more Red report cards than Singapore.
    “Singapore is not a country” said by an umno clown minister in parliament.So it is !.
    But their Singapore’s ministers and civil servants are diamonds while we have beruks.( apes).

  18. Phua Kai Lit says:

    To learn more about this
    “Disneyland with capital punishment”, check out these blogs and websites:

    1. Singabloodypore:

    2. Mr Wang Says So:

    3. Talking Cock:

    4. The Online Citizen:

  19. Do your allow your baby or your children to decide the brand of milk to drink or the type of schools to go to, Susan ?
    Is this the type of democracy you are talking about or the excuse that they are too young to think for themselves ?

    Likewise Singapore or even the Chinese Governments have to decide, for their people what is best for them.
    With more than 200 years of experience of governing and still look at them to day, what a shamble they are in and the numerous other problems they are trying to tackle or solved ?
    Is this the type of Government you want to live with and bring your family up ?
    Can you imagine the kind of chaos in their countries if China and Singapore will be. If they practice full democracy- just like America – the wild wild west they too went through ?
    Both Singapore and China would not be what they are to day if their people was given their full protest and protest.
    Singapore or China would still be 50 years behind or at least 100 years behind if their people are given their full democracy and the right to protests.
    They would not have achieved what they have to day top universities and the reserves they have, not to mention the respect they have gained world wide.
    I and many others rather live in a country with restricted democracy but feeling very secure and peaceful plus good education for my children all the time bringing up my family.
    I am sure too that your children will appreciate your choices when they grow up- I am proud to be a Chinese and most of all living in beautiful and peaceful Singapore and not Ketunan Melayu !

  20. TheWrathOfGrapes says:

    Well, John Tan of Singapore got it cheap – only 15 days.

    In Malaysia, if the verdict does not go your way, you sack the judge. Ask Mamakthir.

  21. MM says:

    Phua Kit Lai go live in Zimbawae or Somali where there is no law.Then there is no joke. Pls highlight which country has the perfect law system.Question is does the government tries to continuously enhance the system so that it benefits the society as a whole.

    Well I know for sure that when I walk on the street in Singapore even past midnight I feel safe because the laws are there to protect me.Try to smuggle more than 15g of heroine and you are dead. Better you as one person who shall be hanged then the society as a whole that suffers from your own selfish gain. That’s how the laws work in Singapore.

  22. gnn says:

    It’s a police state…that’s how they get things done… is which key phrase you like or dont like here….”police state”….or “get things done”

  23. Phua Kai Lit says:

    Hi MM

    Take a look at societies like Sweden
    where there is rule of law AND the state does not hang people.

    May I also suggest that you read the blogs of
    Singaporean citizens who are not so supportive of your “Disneyland with the capital punishment”.

    For example:

    Mr Brown:


    New Sintercom:

    Mr Wang Says So:

    Talking Cock:

  24. ahila says:

    Malaysia- BOLEHland mah !
    Singapore-TAKBOLEHland loh!….
    HELL& HEAVAN on Earth my friends….

  25. Phua Kai Lit says:

    Hi MM

    I made two propositions

    1) Malaysia and Singapore are both semi-police states

    2) There is no “rule of law” in both countries

    So, why not criticise these two propositions rather than drag in Zimbabwe and Somalia?

  26. nyonya khan says:

    Compared to Malaysia, Singapore is crime free.. you can rest assured that your daughter won’t be kidnapped, your mother will not be a victim of snatch theives and you can sleep peacefully at night without worrying about robbers and burglaries, while here, mongolian murderers and their associated gangsters are ruling the country, assisted by a corrupt police force and tainted judiciary.
    Simple, Susan, see if you can find one Mat Rempit or hindraf in Singapore?
    Singapore is clean, crime-free, just and fair to her people no matter what ethnicity, and with her citizens’ individual income, prices of essential goods are way more cheaper compared to Malaysia! Of course, one works hard for expensive luxuries, but they don’t rob their own people a la Maika Holdings!

  27. MM says:

    Hi Phua Kai Lit

    what’s yr definition on “rule of law “

  28. ylcw says:

    MM/Phua Kai Lit,

    I love both Singapore and Malaysia. I am neutral which means 33 yrs of living in Singapore and 24 yrs in Malaysia. Of course, families from both sides. I shall try as much in my comments to be objective and insightful.

    Singapore and Malaysia are different. Both have its pros and cons:

    1) The leaders of Singapore are capable and efficient – bright as they come. They have done and are doing a good job, and it would be difficult for the opposition with its small numbers to match.

    Singaporeans are just about to hit the sack after a hard day’s work or school. They are just too busy to worry about politics. Admittedly, I find Singapore politics boring. Yes, any time I would prefer that my children study and work in Singapore. Besides a low crime rate, Singaporeans are safe in the sense that they are first class citizens in their own country. Step out of Singapore, and you become a second class citizen.

    2) BN/Malaysia? To be fair, we do have a few bright sparks here and there. The opposition has the numbers, and many bright and intelligent leaders. Malaysia could be ripe for a change.

    In John Tan’s case: just as I would not want anyone to go to jail or be ISAed for wearing “RPK” t-shirts in Malaysia, neither do I wish for anyone to be jailed for wearing a similar t-shirt (I wear RPK t-shirts for my daily exercises in the mornings!). It was John Tan’s way of expression of a kangaroo court. I have not been keeping in touch with Singapore’s domestic news, but I believe he did so because of the “LKY, PM Lee vs Chee Soon Juan” case. I do not think I am wrong when I say whilst many judges can be viewed as corrupted in Malaysia, people like John Tan view the positive outcome of cases involving LKY & PAP as corrupted – not in the sense of monetary or self gain, but out of fear of reprisals. Frankly, I have no idea as like most Singaporeans, I am not involved with the party.

    Singaporeans and the world do respect LKY for his achievements. One really has to study LKY history to understand then why he is not loved by many Singaporeans. To bankrupt someone, indirectly causing suicide, or indirectly causing departures from Singapore is just a more finesse form of ISA. It involves the oppositions’ families’ anguish too. LKY also has a wierd way of thinking – a) university graduates should get married together to produce intelligent children. So no hope for us stupid people! b) university graduate mothers would be given first preference for their children in schools over non-graduates. This was my time, and I am not sure whether it is still practised.

  29. kittykat46 says:

    Singapore is an authoritarian state. The only real difference is its economically efficient, and relatively uncorrupt.

    Singapore defenders would say they cannot afford full democracy as it would create chaos.

    I’m not talking about full democracy. I’m talking about respect for the right to have a dissenting view. Is that too much to ask for ?
    Both Korea and Taiwan have fortunately realised that an authoritarian state forever more is in the long run corrosive to overral national development.

    Malaysia has Ketuanan Melayu. Singapore has Ketuanan PAP.

  30. ylcw says:

    I forgot to add 2 more policies during my time:
    1) One-child policy. If a mother sterilizes herself, her child will get first priority in any good school. It was the wrong policy. The population started dwindling, and they now say have more babies with lots of incentives on offer. How now to have more babies – already sterilized? And even if you pay the women nowadays to have babies, they are not even interested.

    2) Any youth with long hair is perceived as unruly and shall be served last in a queue in all government services. Nowadays, mohawk hairstyles, kojak, tattoos, long hair, guys with ear-rings. Yep, times have changed.

    I am not sure when, but it was in the 80s when the PAP fared quite badly in the General Elections – because of all these silly policies. Singaporeans voted quietly whilst the opposition got crucified! I can still recall how furious LKY was, and giving us the lecture of our lives. Other than that, the Singapore government can do lah!

  31. ylcw says:

    Dear Susan, my first comment has not appeared!

  32. jonathan says:

    Hi Susan,
    Maybe when BolehLand really has its LEGOLAND, you’d find that familiar feeling you are in that island down south of BolehLand.
    I’d rather trade a country where even with its shortcomings, there’s excitement in its democratic or undemocratic ways of doing things than in a sterile environment that decides everything for you. To me the product of KiasuLand that will forever stay in my mine is a comment from a KiasuLand in KL before going to a shopping mall ‘Got air-con from the LRT station to the Mall ah or in an open-air food court or mamak stall or suana ah? My suggestion, ‘why don’t I cart you in a fridge’, I didn’t know it snows down south!

  33. Popiah says:

    Singapore is more controlling than Malaysia. Both states run along strict rules and double standards. Singapore will change after LKY is gone and he will be gone soon because he can’t lick nature. He will die and the grave will claim him and Singapore will see change.

    Those who praise Singapore because of the physical and economic benefits don’t understand the meaning of freedom and justice. As long as their tummies are full they are content. They are like animals and have no higher concerns.

    To the woman passenger on MAS flight from Dubai I would advise you to seek legal advice and also complain to the Managing Director of MAS. Don’t waste your time with the petty good-for-nothing pass-the-buck staff.

    In a Western airline you could have had the passenger charged for criminal intimidation and airline pilots will phone ahead and have the police wait for the culprit and arrest him. In your case it was outright criminal intimidation and bullying and shame on the useless and cowardly MAS staff. They are unprofessional and have no sense of right and wrong. Getting you to move and stay in the kitchen was extremely stupid.

    Don’t just moan and groan – take effective action however inconvenient. If I had been on the same flight as you I would have thumped that passenger wwho is a coward. But you should move on after complaining to MAS Managing Director and writing to the media also. Don’t waste your breath and let it affect you too much. Not worth it.

  34. MM says:

    Dear Popiah,

    Ideology cannot fill stomach. Ask the Palestine whether they want to fill their stomach or to fight for some abstract ideology. In the past peasant revolt not because of some beliefs or that their right have been suppressed. Basically it is out of the lack of the very basic need – food.Without ideology will not kill you but you can die of hunger and thirst. Singapore government is not perfect. Who is ? Most importantly they tried. Only those who commit crimes or corrupt need to fear living in Singapore. As for the right to free speech, there must be a limit to what one can say without not having to answer for any consequences.

  35. I do love Singapore’s environmental policies. The fact that you could be thrown in the slammer for leaving a wrapper on the ground, now that’s some vigorous compassion for our environment.


  36. mathialee says:

    Hmm I was once in the UK traveling to Ireland on a budget airline, and there was a huge abusive man sitting in front of me. Small, packed plane, delayed by bad weather too. The flight staff tried to calm him throughout the flight. Once we landed though, the police came on board to arrest him.

    I wouldn’t blame the MAS crew too much. I suspect 1. They were afraid of the man getting violent if they did not give in, and thus jeopadise the safety of more passengers. 2. They were not confident of the local police backing the flight crew by being there to arrest the guy, so in contrast to the UK-Ireland flight crew, the MAS were more powerless. 3. They did not have sufficient training on how to deal with the situation 4. They might have gotten into trouble with unreasonable management for moving passengers to first class without the appropriate ticket

    Hmm if the upper management doesn’t respond appropriately, probably best to go to the press, or high traffic blogs — Consumers have to take things into their own hands at the end of the day, if no one else will

  37. mathialee says:

    Singapore – it’s heaven for those with the cash.

    And hell for those who don’t.

    Unfortunately, only one side of the story seems to get over to Malaysia for some reason.

    If you read the online news ( you’ll realise how hellish life can be for migrant workers, for the lower-income groups.

    Singapore is responsible for some of the worst exploitation of foreigners (from the developing countries, not the foreign talent who have a god-like status here). Exploitation happens both locally and in these foreign countries too. Most of these abusers are unethical businesses that are ignored by the Singapore govt, or the corrupt govt in the home countries.

    Eg. Construction workers and maids in Singapore are treated like slaves, and are cheated of huge sums of money. Sex workers from abroad are trafficked/ cheated into the trade, both in Singapore and the surrounding islands of neighbouring countries.

    Sad thing is that in ASEAN, and other Asian countries, the leaders are all good friends (despite what they like to show you in the press) who will help each other by ignoring all this crime and exploitation, because it is the poor that are harmed by these crime, and not the rich folks with the LVs walking down the streets of heaven.

    As a Singaporean, all I can do is apologise, and hope to do something to change….

  38. keepingsane101 says:

    wah, u should have snapped back at that moron. its a shame that such ppl, all grown up and educated still can be such an racist idiot.And, what kind of airlines, especially Big names one don’t have properly trained crew members? if so how the heck did those crew memebers actually got the job[duit kopi ka?]?
    I’m thinking that those MAS crew members are just cowards and thinks that reporting it to authorities and all are juz to troublesome to them, so they want to save the hassle. I’m also a Malaysian, and used to take MAS from Bangalore to Penang. And I find the MAS air steward/stewardess less friendly. In fact, AirAsia has more helpful and friendly ppl!!!

  39. ylcw says:

    Dear Popiah,
    I do not view Singapore as not having freedom and justice. Life is normal with grouses popping up now and then. Judging is fair in normal cases .. not too sure of the “politically kangaroo courts” as highlighted by John Tan. I do not think it nice to liken our neighbours to “animals”. My family, Susan’s and others families are over there too.

    You are in Spore, working in a corporate entity. You are bright, successful and talented. You climb up the corporate ladder. The brightest of your children gets sent to the best Ivy League universities. The govt works tirelessly to scout for gifted individuals to develop them further with fully sponsored MBAs & PhDs. The government is always looking ahead to propel the country further. Isn’t this the main grouse of Malaysian non-Malays? There is no meritocracy and level playing field?
    Unless one immerses oneself in an environment, it might be difficult to understand a situation. It was only when I came back to Malaysia that I understood more of our politics over here. In Chinese-run Hong Kong, the busy life overrides politics too.

    I would say though that the people are “sedated” to the extent they just accept the PAP policies. e.g. national service. Either you view it as a waste of time or a good discipline. The guys come out fit and slim. They know how to make their own beds and cook. After NS, they put on weight again!

    The positive side of the negative policies are that the PAP is willing to change when they find these do not work. The few policies mentioned by me no longer exist (I think so). Singapore has a “Chinese-mentality”, and is still quite traditional.

    The ones having problems are the normally the opposition. The government believes in “nipping problems in the bud (LKY’s style)”. I recalled a Msian Chinese PR of 26 yrs (SIA pilot). LKY singled him out as instigator of the strike, and he had to leave Singapore. If you were this guy, what happens then? Come back with your family to Malaysia and face the racial discrimination? Your choice.

  40. […] Singapore – hell or heaven on earth? Dear folks, I’ve been away on a serious, heavy 3 day conference on human rights in Bangkok. So sorry for no […] […]

  41. Phua Kai Lit says:

    Hi Mr/Ms MM

    I’m not a lawyer. Just an academician who believes in the power of ideas to move and inspire ordinary people and shape history.
    My definition of “rule of law” would be equal treatment of all under the law. No arbitrary applications. Also, following not only the letter of the law but also the spirit of the law.

    Laws can also be unjust e.g. South African apartheid laws, and the Malaysian ISA. The tricky part is what to do with unjust laws. Do we actively protest against them or deliberately break them through non-violent civil disobedience? Or should we suffer in silence?

    There is no rule of law in Malaysia and Singapore because of selective application e.g. in Malaysia certain people get away with making “seditious” statements against certain ethnic groups because they come from a major ruling regime political party.

    We also note how the ISA was used to deliberately target (and intimidate by example?) a newspaper reporter who was just doing her job and a much respected female politician from an opposition party using trumped up charges.



  42. MM says:

    Dear Phua Kai Lit

    “There is no rule of law in Malaysia and Singapore because of selective application e.g. in Malaysia certain people get away with making “seditious” statements against certain ethnic groups because they come from a major ruling regime political party.” – I understand such selective application of law is very prevalent in Malaysia. But have not heard of any in Singapore. Can you highlight some examples supported by facts ?

  43. Phua Kai Lit says:

    Dear MM

    1. You have your answers from the late Jeyaretnam and your famous/notorious Dr Chee Soon Juan (on his SDP website). Also, you can always have PAP-style “rule of law” if dubious new laws and regulations are introduced all the time to suppress non-violent dissent, disadvantage the Opposition and perpetuate PAP rule.

    2. Barack Obama said in his inauguration speech that “…. we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals”. I would like to borrow that and modify it to say that
    “We reject as false the choice between our economic prosperity/public safety and our UN declaration of human rights”. You can have a society that is prosperous, safe and also respects human rights. Examples? Plenty of these in Northern and Western Europe!

  44. Someone who is years behind said that only graduate
    should marry another graduate is way behind. I suggest he should read up more and keep himself up to date of this out of date poliocy.
    Regarding the one child policy, Singapore government gives you hips these days to have more children.
    I lso thought like a ‘human’ and did not want to die as an animal before I immigrated to a ‘free’ a very free country some 25 years back. Believe me the freedom of speech gained as a result did not get me and my family very far. Perhaps you should try

  45. Anonymous says:

    u guys are depressing.yes free speech and expression are suppressed, others outside singapore don’t know about this but so what? what about the rest of the singapore who lack education, funds, and are so displaced simply confused, trying to make ends meet on a daily basis. don’t we need to focus on these, don’t we need to help each other, don’t we need to educate each other? let’s not take on the mighty durga , let’s take on the little people, let’s educate each other – not on political issues but simply education – to think for ourselves and not believe what we are told. find solutions, find the roots of issues, find our true being.

    why look to Europe? the birth place of colonialism. find our true being.

  46. MM says:

    Dear Phua Kai Lit,

    Jeyaratnam has my respect though I may not agreed with some of his ideas. But Chee Soon Juan ? A guy who ran down everyone including Chiam Chee Tong who bought him into politics ? A guy who always white wash the government in other countries ? That is individual human right going too far. Let the people of Singapore decide their fate and future. It has been proven in history that incompetent government will fall some day. So do not epouse some grand human right ideology and trying to impose it on others. Ironically such practice violates the right of another.

  47. Menyalak-er says:

    Hahaha, wonderful discourse here Susan and friends! Just remember the cardinal principle of ‘Ruling’: “Do and do… Rule on rule… and they all fall backward, be injured and snared and captured” (Isa 28:13) Singapore’s ‘Benign’ Confucianistic Rulers has made a lie to their refuge and a falsehood as their hiding place. It’s all about “control” which Hypermamak was the epitome of the worst kind – but then, many of us are by nature and preference: paternalistic, misogynic, feudalistic – thus ‘Asian Valued’ aren’t we?

  48. ylcw says:

    Obviously Najib Manaukau has not understood what I have written.

    “Someone who is years behind said that only graduate should marry another graduate is way behind.”
    Are you talking about LKY or me? A few months back, I recently read a report by ST of LKY reiterating this philosophy. He said he still believes strongly in this theory as one does not have to worry whether his child will go to the university. He said tests had proven that. Isn’t this the reason why Ho Chin is his daughter-in-law? My point here is this was one of the reasons why “years behind”, the PAP did quite badly in the GE. I did also mention that Singapore has changed quite a bit now.

    “I suggest he should read up more and keep himself up to date of this out of date policy.” It was not a policy, but a “Hitler” theory. The policy put in place by him was that children of U grads would have priority for their children (entry into good schools) – I agree with you, THIS POLICY is OUTDATED.
    Please feel free to ask Straits Times for reference.

    “Regarding the one child policy, Singapore government gives you hips these days to have more children.”
    Didn’t I mention in my comment “The population started dwindling, and they now say have more babies with lots of incentives on offer.”? So, are Sporeans jumping into this offer?

    Didn’t I also mention that at least the PAP is willing to change policies that do not work? So what is your problem?

    I am just relating stuff that has and is happening in Singapore so that Malaysians have a clearer picture.

    The message I am putting across to others is that one cannot expect a Sporean to just wake up on the wrong side of bed and proclaim “I am in a bad mood today, I am not going out to work, but I shall protest against the government”! Protest against what?

  49. Phua Kai Lit says:

    Dear Anonymous and MM

    1. No, not trying to impose on others. Just trying to convince skeptics that economic prosperity/public safety is not incompatible with human rights

    2. Changing the topic slightly,
    I think it is OK to borrow ideas from others
    (including our former colonialists). We in Malaysia and Singapore have borrowed good as well as bad ideas from elsewhere.

    In fact, where did the “keep on promoting high rates of economic growth” (as measured by flawed indicators such as GNP and GNP per capita)
    idea – which is actually threatening our planet – come from?



    In the face of the worsening economic crisis,
    I’m trying to find out how the nasty fascist

  50. Phua Kai Lit says:

    Dear Anonymous and MM

    Sorry, the second part of my message got cut off.

    Here it is:
    In the face of the worsening economic crisis, I’m trying to find out how the nasty, fascist
    Hitler regime managed to end hunger and unemployment in Germany so quickly. (Good ideas can come from loathsome regimes too!) Something to do with the building of the autobahn and rearmament but I don’t know more than these at the moment. I’m also reading up on how ordinary people in the USA managed to survive the Great Depression with its 25% unemployment.

  51. MM says:

    Dear Phua Kai Lit,

    We may hold different views with regards to human rights but at the outset both of us are hoping that the citizens of a country would be able to live a better life devoid of poverty and chronic discrimination on race and religion.

  52. Bukit Antrarabangsa says:

    Economist Counmtry Brief 2007

    Malaysia GDP ……..US 186 Billion
    Singapore GDP……..US 161 Billion
    Man shall live by GDP alone. You only say that after you have a GDP of US 168 Billion produced by such a “Little Country”
    I rest my case.

  53. ylcw says:

    Bukit Antrarabangsa, considering the self-denial mode by the Msian govt on recession, figures don’t mean anything anymore to us people on the street – that is the difference between Malaysia and the “Little Country” – CREDIBILITY!

  54. MM says:


    one more significant difference. Singapore police do not commit murder. Their duty is to protect the people in the country

  55. Horrified says:

    When I was overseas, Malaysians complained about the government, Singaporeans put their flags on their letter boxes.

  56. nurul hani says:

    singapore is heaven and malaysia is hell. thats a fact. what else you want? BN to blatantly kill all the rakyat, rape all the wealth of Malaysia for you to sse then only you will know the difference? STUPID ASS!!!!!!!!!!

  57. Crankster says:

    Digressing from the issue of Singapore and Malaysia, I agree with Popiah on the issue of the passenger on Malaysia Airlines. The national carrier is progressively getting from bad to worse.

    I also think she should sue them for such poor service.

  58. anti rasuah says:

    Saya tidak suka orang yang sukan bagi dan makan rasuah!

  59. looes74 says:

    Having been staying in Singapore since 1993, I can tell you that Singapore has become more and more liberal. You know once upon a time, very few people dare to throw rubbish indiscrimately. There would be cameras with CWO printed shirts on delinquents. Now, no more.

    There would still be isolated cases. Seriously if Malaysian authority are half as competent, I would be damned happy.

    By the way, one thing about Singaporeans. They don’t believe in demos. But whenever things go against Singaporeans’ interest, you would see the mailboxes of MPs and even ministers are flooded with tons of e-mails.

    Singaporeans mentality is to acheive results without sweating. Hey, that’s what KT chinese are doing. the KT by election. The one Ong fella is bragging about…….

    Aiyah, same one lah……Singapore PAP got a shock in 1991 GE when they lost 4 constituencies. But the thing is PAP learn their lesson. They adapt, evolve and move forward. Look at what they are doing now. They wouldn’t dare to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs……

    BN is different. Malaysia is different. Of course, Malaysians are more expressive. Mau menang mesti mau gaya mah. What say you!

  60. sushi says:

    don’t look at Singapore as heaven. the human rights record also bad.

    just because sacrificed minor benefit didn’t mean there no oppressed. just we didn’t saw the oppressed happened or we choose to ignore but no rights should be trade off.

  61. joos says:

    Don’t be misled by SDP holier than thou stance towards human rights issue. I do not believe sdp is capable nor sincere in their fight for human rights and have made it known in some of my youtube comments. What sdp did was despicable and deceitful when they track down my remarks on non relating issues with the intention to harass me even though the initial remark was made more than half a year ago. The harassments are filled with foul and vile content with the intention to intimidate. It is ironic that sdp claims to be the champion of free expressions when resorting to such deceitful tactics. In youtube “wendyneo” produced a series of anti S’pore videos all in the same styles as the kangaroo court tactics used by john tan. Some believe that they are the same person. I believe “wendyneo” is the collective works of the sdp vehicle of intimidation. I despise sdp and please don’t just pay lip service to human rights.

  62. Imperfectisfun says:

    I haven’t been visiting Singapore since the idea about “NuWater” came out last time. Argh… I just can’t

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