Of the PM’s Speech August 20, 2007Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.
I must admit that most of what I know from the speech came from the articles in the Straits Times and Channelnews Asia. This is because I was actually watching Manchester United’s disastrous showing against Manchester City (yes I have Manchester United leanings.) Having said that much of the PM’s Speech has no doubt been analysed and dissected by the various bloggers such as Aaron Ng. No doubt in time to come many blogs will be talking about this speech by the PM.
To sum it all of, after reading the various accounts of the speech (admittedly through the Mainstream Media, it does have its uses after all), it appears that there is going to be much tweaking of systems such as the CPF, new employment laws to employ the aged, the development of Punggol 21 among others. Many bloggers have already addressed these issues and there is nothing more that I can or feel compelled to add.
Nevertheless, there are some issues which I believe needs be addressed:
1) Homosexuals in Society
Singapore has abolished appeals to the Privy Council. Yet we still choose to retain a law (Section 377A) inherited from the colonial masters even though English Law is to be applied in Singapore only under limited circumstances. Of course there are those who claim that a balance can be struck by retaining the law and not prosecuting. This is a ridiculous notion and is more deadly to Singapore’s Judicial system rather than Ms Sylvia Lim’s comments regarding the constitutional amendment. To rubbish it further, I shall borrow a statement from the Late Lord Denning,
” it tends to the discredit of a legal system in a country if its Parliament makes laws or its courts make orders which they cannot enforce“
To put it into local context, replace the italicised words with “will not enforce”.
Not to mention that you could possibly face discrimination in job applications among other things.
Of course there is no reasonable way to convince people to “do unto others, what you would want others to do unto you”. This becomes near impossible when Divinity enters the picture. However that said the best course of action now will be to repeal a law which discriminates and I daresay leads to the demeaning of fellow human beings. And to reject as hogwash those arguments which try to fudge the issue by ingenius play of the word equality or use the slippery slope.
The abovementioned word has been a common feature in many of my prior posts. It is also a feature in this one. It is my belief that for Singapore to develop more as a nation, be it in the arts or as an economy, there needs be more space for an alternative elite in society. Banning Martyn See’s films, censoring pieces of art among other things do nothing to help Singapore’s quest to become an arts hub; rather such measures not only result in regression it also makes us look foolish. Artificial dynamism, as seen in the case of Crazy Horse, does not work. In fact such censorship (self or otherwise) in society may also hamper the goal of becoming an Education Hub as seen when Warrick University refused to set up shop in Singapore. The only way Singapore can sustain development in the face of a rising China and India is through the ingenuity of her people. There needs be more trail blazers who may be mavericks. Fighting on the basis of costs merely delays the inevitable in the face of both nations’ immense population. Its not as if Singapore can import millions of foreign talent to slow labour costs.
Yes, it is indeed time to upgrade the two wards. The funds are under the purview of the Minstry of National Development. Unless Hougang and Potong Pasir are not considered part of the Nation then by all means, withhold upgrading. In that case anyone who lives there should not serve National Service, should not pay any taxes to the government, should not contribute to CPF…etc…
Of course there are positive developments. The blogosphere has been quite free from interference; unless you consider the white ninjas as such. Furthermore it was the first time Opposition members were invited to attend the Prime Minister’s speech. Perhaps in time we will see a Repeal of that ridiculous law (377A) and the depoliticisation of the National Day Parade. Perhaps. That said, it is Ned’s hope that there is a serious attempt to ensure that the conclusion in the PM’s speech comes true; that Singapore truly becomes a city of possibilities for everyone irregardless of race, language, religion, orientation, gender, among other things; rather than such words be mere fluff to make a speech more palatable.