30 “HOT”socio-political issues to ponder and reflect on in our little red dot

1. The government was asked by the UN in 2011 to set up and independent Election Commission (Election Boundaries) which they rejected, responding it was not necessary as the current system is already fair and transparent. I don’t think the mainstream press publicised this news openly back in 2011. I only found out about this information on a feedback form at a Yale-NUS university discussion forum, which elaborated on the topic of Civil Society back in 2015.

Cross reference:

There were also calls made for a National Human Rights Institution and an independent elections commission to be set up. (3 Feb 2016, ST)

2. A 16 year old boy was strapped to a bed for a day and a half after he expressed suicidal thoughts to prison psychiatrists. [*The Noose censored out an implied scene of an individual strapped to the bed in one of their episodes on Toggle, though it was initially openly broadcasted on TV.] Later suspected of having autism, Amos Yee was placed at IMH for assessment in the block with “mentally ill” patients (quoted from Mary Toh), and eventually found not to have autism.

*However, Amos Yee had openly hinted in 18 December 2015 (FB Page) that the “traumatic-looking” face he showed during July 2016 to the media was merely an act, and that his suicidal claims were false, though he maintained that he was handcuffed to the bed and enjoyed it:

I faked the claims that I wanted to commit suicide; being handcuffed on a bed was pretty metal; I managed to fool all those psychiatrists, and many hong kongers; I am your non-murderous God BWAHAHAHAHA) (30 Dec 2015, FB page)

3. Political detainees claims of being ill-treated, and the government’s response:  “If we have in any way maltreated, or ill-treated, or tortured any of the detainees, file a police report, bring us to court, the court can decide. They have not taken it up. We don’t ill treat people, we don’t  beat people. In fact the detainees who came out said they were well-treated, not only to the domestic press, but also the foreign press. And one of the mother of the daughter’s said she put on weight. (forced uncanny laughter) – Lee Hsien Loong

4. Our ministerial salaries are supposedly “practical”, since it can go up to twice that of Obama’s. And is the allowance of an is NCMP sufficient enough for an individual to focus on the role without taking on a day job? Pegged to 15% of MP’s annual allowance, which means their basic allowance is below $30,000 a year when I calculated.

MPs will see an allowance cut to $192,500. (Jan 7 2012, AsiaOne)

192 500 / 12 = 16,041.666 (MP’s one month’s salary)

16,041.666 x (15/100)= 2406.15 (NCMP’s one month’s salary)

An NCMP/NMP’s annual allowance will be $28,900.

2406.5 x 12 = $28873.8 (NCMP’s yearly salary)

5. Death Penalty and ISA in Singapore –

I don’t think any legal system has the right to take away someone’s life, unless the individual requests for it.

I can understand when ISA is used to detain suspected radicalised individuals without trial, though I have a wavering stand when it comes to ISA being used on some local political prisoners from Operation Spectrum and Operation Coldstore. I can understand it’s a fine line, because we cannot rule out that local politics and terrorism might come hand in hand, and threaten our national security. But, if it’s used as a political tool to wipe out any form of opposition, the system can also be abused. How do we then work to enhance on this grey area, and reduce it’s loopholes?

6. We cannot be charged for harassing a dead person. Oh wait, that can actually happen in Singapore under the Protection from Harassment Act. Amos Yee was initially charged for harassing our late Mr Lee Kuan Yew though the charge was later dropped.

For a simple summary of the Act, click HERE.

7. Should marital rape be made illegal or, remain legal in Singapore?

8. Should the Hijab be allowed to be worn in all occupations? * In regards to our educational landscape – apart from Islamic religious schools, my opinion is that polytechnics and universities would be a suitable age to allow the wearing of a Hijab.

9. Stateless and stucked in Singapore

10. Abuse faced by foreign workers?

Mr Chia hopes to see greater protection for sick and injured workers. He has seen workers given only two days of medical leave plus light duties for fractures.  He points out that the workers do not usually get a copy of their medical certificates or reports. This may make it difficult for a worker to “provide evidence that he is being misdiagnosed or given insufficient rest for his injury”, Mr Chia says. Companies that fail to report workplace injuries and private practitioners who do not provide adequate medical treatment for foreign workers should be taken to task, he adds. 

11. Sex Workers rights 

12. 377A & Pink Dot movement. Teenagers starting to openly label their sexual orientation at a young age (*a bit overhyped).  But it does highlight how society has progressed in regards to talking about the topic though, though the mainstream media is still at it’s primitive phase.

13. Single Parents woes

14. Speakers’Corner – Right to free speech and assembly 

15. Underage Sex, and what constitutes Statutory rape

16. No minimum age to get a tattoo in Singapore

17. Polygyny allowed in muslim marriages. All other types of secular/non-muslim marriages have to be monogamous. Polyandry and polyamory is banned.

18. Costly defamations suits, with the most recent being Blogger Roy Ngerng ordered to pay PM Lee S$150,000 in damages.

19. Films on personal accounts or interviews with political detainees were banned by MDA before. Tan Pin Pin on her recent film – To Singapore With LoveThe documentary can be shown in Singapore only at a “purely private” screening, said MDA. On Sept 10 2014, MDA gave the film a rare Not Allowed For All Ratings (NAR) classification. It said in a statement that the film “undermines national security because legitimate actions of the security agencies to protect the national security and stability of Singapore are presented in a distorted way as acts that victimised innocent individuals”.

20. Members of opposition parties usually get exposure on TV only during the General Election timespan. The rest of the period belongs to PAP territory, especially their ministers e.g. almost every few days on Channel 5 news, or when they get invited to CNA or Channel 5 Discussion shows like – Let’s think about it (season 1-2) which is most likely structured to not only tackle the latest social issues, but also with the agenda of promoting the newer government’s policies.

According to the CNA article (1 sept 2015):

  • PAP is the only party to have 2 speakers for the televised political forums. The other opposition parties gets 1 speaker each.
  • The opposition parties will get half of the airtime, while PAP gets the other half.

21. Lee Kuan Yew’s death and legacy seemed to have been over-sensationalized by the media. 

22. According to ST article (18 August 2015):

Party Political Films are  banned to ensure:

  • Political debate in Singapore is conducted in a responsible and dignified manner
  • Films must not be used “to sensationalise serious issues in a biased or emotional manner”

23. The Straits Times focus on the AHPETC saga, was indeed overspread like kaya on a bread. When I went to calculate, there was slightly more than 100 ST articles on the matter alone.

24. Asking Singaporeans who they vote for is taboo, like asking them how much their salary is. Being recorded on your political opinions is an OB marker too.

25. I pull the rabbit out of the hat at the start of the performance, I then humbly hide it again, and finally put it out at the end of the show. News of Ng Chee Meng depature from SAF exploded onto our mainstream media, hinting his potential “unexpected” entry into politics. Dr Ng Eng Heng commented that he was not surprised if the former was to enter politics due to his leadership and capabilities, and told him not to be too distracted over such queries with the upcoming National Day Parade then. The irony of these 2 sentences.

26. The pre-school children brought by their teachers to attend Lee Kuan Yew’s funeral could possibly comprehend the essence of what they were doing.

27. We look at holistic admissions in Singapore, we do not necessarily look solely at grades as the main deciding factor. We send our kids to tuition only when necessary, not to merely keep up with what other parents are doing. We always ask others for their grades, and we are not afraid to share our grades to them too. Hmm..

28. Our school teachers do openly and comprehensively teach on discrimination faced by minority groups e.g. individuals with disabilities, social issues, freedom of speech, human rights issues in Singapore, civil society, constitutional laws, policy-making, electoral system, political landscape, ISA, various accounts of political history, diverse sexuality topics e.g. masturbation? If even our parents are not aware, nor opened to share about such essential life knowledge, the next best person to turn to would be schools.

29. School branding. Would SAP schools evolve, and provide Tamil and Malay as a mother tongue language in the future so that further pathways can be more inclusive for all races? Which also aligns to our meritocratic values.

30. Different races and religion not openly clarifying on misconceptions or doubts they have towards one another, because of the way our social landscape has shaped us to “not ask too much as it might be deemed as offensive.”

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Featured image credits:  Paris Chia Photography (website), @Instagram@Facebook

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