City Harvest Church Under Investigation

Get Real.....you call this a Church?

CITY HARVEST church is somewhat different from an ordinary place of worship - it uses stars and pop culture to stay relevant, counts a number of prominent business leaders among its congregation and its events have links all around the world.

Even founder Kong Hee calls himself a businessman on the church website and, together with his singer wife Ho Yeow Sun, owns two companies.

One is International Harvest, which company records say is a provider of corporate training services and motivational courses.

The other is fashion company Skin Couture, which has three boutiques - Ed Hardy at Heeren, Skin at Great World City and Christian Audigier at Ion. Clothes sold are described as 'glam rock' and follow trends in cities such as New York and Japan.

This rock theme is even extended to City Harvest's church services, which some members say are akin to attending a rock concert.

Church members have been known to go as far as adapting the most current Lady Ga-Ga or Black-Eyed Peas songs for concerts and celebrations, swopping out original lyrics for some of a more religious nature. These shows are complete with full-scale sets, costumes and coloured lighting, which go beyond an amateur production.
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.....you call this a pastor?


Then this must be the Pope.

MEMBERS of Singapore's City Harvest Church are being investigated for the misuse of funds.

The Office of the Commissioner of Charities (COC) and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) is looking into some financial transactions involving several individuals and companies related or connected to the church. This was revealed in a joint statement by the COC and the Singapore Police Force.

Seven individuals were detained in a raid at 6.30am on Monday by the CAD. During the raid, CAD visited their offices and secured records and accounts as part of the investigation.

By lunch time, 12 people were said to be assisting in investigations which involve charges of falsification of accounts and criminal breach of trust. The charges are said to be unrelated to previous investigations into City Harvest's purchase of a $310 million stake in Suntec City Convention Centre.

The COC had received complaints of misuse of church funds and informed the CAD after assessing that some financial transactions may need to be investigated.

In the joint statement, the COC and CAD said: 'Notwithstanding the ongoing investigations, normal services and religious activities of City Harvest Church need not be disrupted and can continue for its congregations.'
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THE Commissioner of Charities has questioned City Harvest Church (CHC) about its $310 million stake in Suntec Singapore.

The 33,000-strong megachurch announced two weeks ago that it had become a co-owner of the downtown commercial property, which houses a convention and exhibition centre.

The complex's full name is Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The money spent includes renovation and rental costs, the church said. CHC has not created a separate business entity for the purchase of the property.

But in the wake of the announcement, questions surfaced among the public about whether religious organisations - which are registered as charities - should be allowed to go into business using what are essentially donor funds.
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hovivi:
Can non church goers hv some public space! Even a popular shopping/commercial area us been taken over! What's next? And do shoppers hv to risk facing preachers trying to change your religion when going shopping?
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ChickenFeat:
How is collecting fees or donations from members and using the money to invest in commercial real-estate and businesses different from a pyramid and "Madoff" combined scheme?

Aren't the ones who truly own and reap all the profits not the members but the human owners registered under the guise of some business or religious entity?
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coolguy8888 wrote:
last time in 2007, there was an article, Sun Ho and her hubby Pastor Kong Hee have 13 units of Horizon Gardens, each one is 2M....haha that time already need to whistle blow liao....wait until now; Here is the section of the ST article published on 29 Sept 2007....
"The majority owners who signed the sale deal, represented by senior counsel Chelva Rajah from Tan, Rajah & Cheah, want that decision overturned.

But two other parties said they wanted to have their say as well.

One is a group of individuals – including pop star Ho Yeow Sun and her husband, Kong Hee – who own 13 units. All signed the sale deal and said they wanted to participate in the hearing to ensure the sale goes through.

The other is the consortium led by Hotel Properties (HPL) that signed the $500 million deal in February to buy the estate."

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GeylangGang:

Government should look very carefully into this.

Waterloo Temple, take in millions of donations, but donate to charity and public needy. Donated hundred of thousands of dollars to President Charity Show and Community Chest every year

Loyang TuaPek Kong Temple, received millions of dollars, but donate to various organisations, including non-taoist. They brought dozens of ambulances and donate to various hospitals.

That is truly a "divine" religious organisation.
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digitalman:
The money obtained by CHC is through donations and thithes of church members. These donations do not qualify for tax deductions from the contributors, even as churches were classified as Charities. For this reason, the capital for paying off such commercial enterprise does not receive any tax rebates.

The right thing to do under these circumstances, should be that all money collected as thithes and goodwill offerings should be diverted wholly to missionary work, paying of pastors, full-time church workers, pastoral staff and the daily maintenance and orderly running of the churches and their sister churches in the region.

all religous organizations should moderate their growth, especially commercially, they are in the business of soul saving and not on making money. Their focus seems to be distorted, and will need to be put right by their spiritual leaders or government........
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lock2009 wrote:
To ensure sg can live comfortably with all religions and races, the govt should never allow an religious organisation to grow bigger and bigger. There will be consequences. I believe the govt must change the laws and take action now. Else there will big ripples in the next few years.
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Mick wrote:
i am very sure the govt will take action. They do not want to see their position being threaten in the near future. It makes very logical sense for them to pass a law for charity organisations to have restrictions in the business world. If the govt leaves it to the market, they will have themselves to blame in the future. The consequences is for the govt to bear.
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elysian:
Do you think a savvy organisation such as CHC would NOT do a thorough homework before investing over 300 million dollars ? It was reported that their search was ongoing for several years before they decided on Suntec - it was not a implulse decision based on a moment's whimper.

It's pretty obvious that the deal must have been given a nod of approval by authorities, who jolly well knew the implications, before it was allowed to proceed.
As for the probe, its just a q&a session - its not an investigation.

In the worst case, CHC's lease&operate model may have to be tweaked to make it more palatable to the watchful general public - thats all.
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moderate168 wrote:
How about JV between Capitaland and Rock Productions (business arm of New Creation Church) to spend a whopping S$660million to develop an integrated civic, cultural, retail and entertainment hub at Vista Exchange, One North?

From commercial point of view-to buy an existing underutilised commercial building is better than no end digging that obviously against the idea of eco- friendly.

After all, Singaporean has been complaining the island is flushed with FW, FT.....CHC resort to rejuvenate the underutilised place is just doing the businessman in town a favour.

From religion point of view...if it is willing buyer/willing seller basis, why people from other religion bother to intervene.

Buying a stake can eliminate problem like inefficiency in allocation of construction cost as seen in many other projects. Indeed the church -goers should have more peace of mind that money has less chance to be "mismanaged". All shareholders and stakeholders interest will be more well taken care of vs private development.
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More craps from Kong Hee.

From: Zanzibar
Subject: Re: Why are churches allowed to coerce members into paying 10%
On Mar 20, 11:36 pm, "truth" wrote:

> I find this practice of the churches in Singapore disgusting.
> Members are subtly coerced into donating 10% of their
> monthly salary to the church.
> This should not have happened. It must be stopped. It is a
> form of extortion like gangsterism.
> If the church is good and sincere, it should stop this practice.
> Some churches in Singapore has become so rich thru such
> coerce collections that they are sitting on a huge pile of
> cash. These money should be used to help the poor and
> underpriviledge of society. That it has now been abuse to
> go into mega business venture is a very worrying trend.
> Why are the papist leegime so reluctant to rein in these
> unethical activities of the churches ? Are there too many
> christians in the papist cabinet ?

To my knowlege there is no forcing of donations. Generally most of the
attendee dont pay except the rich who got their salary or income very
easily through effortless holding of multiple high powered posts with
influences, thus making themselves look sinful if they dont donate
some away.

Donation is a personal thing. No one checks on you or to see if hand
in any money or not. In some the donation box is there for anyone to
put in or into the "coffee strainer bag"..

And so, seriosuly speaking, no one needs to walk over to the box put
in anything. And no one checks on you or train their eyes to track on
you if you dont it. In short nobody will ask you to do it.

Even in waterloo street temple, the donation box is there for anyone
to put in their donations, and no one will ask you to do it.

To many the problem of giving is between them and the God. If oyu have
no money dont give. give only with a willing heart.

One can still lgive to the poor or charity directly and this also
means they also have their own priority of heart to give.which one
first.

Most chirches who have alot of moeny are donated by the rich people
who have too much money and they prefer to donating very little to
charity or the poor, and then more to the churches. It is a metter of
their preferences and choices.
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From: baldeagle

The Church offer eternal life and a place in heaven
to the believers.

Like all things in Singapore, we have to pay for the good
things. ... there is no free lunches, you know...not even
in Heaven.

Naturally, Singaporeans do not complain about paying 10%
of their earnings to the Churches....they regard it as booking
fee for a place in heaven and for eternal life.

Of course the rich in Singapore donate little to help the
poor.... By donating more to the church...they could buy
a better place...may be a nice villa in Heaven with great
scenery.
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From: "Grandprix"

Subject: Re: Why are churches allowed to coerce members into paying 10%

This is called tithe, an age-old practice.It is used to perform religious
and community services. Now it is to invest and show off. To conquer the
world.
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Indonesian Christians invasion of Singapore - A man is glorified here, not God.

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Singapore Women are the World Table-Tennis Champions 2010!




Now, who says money cannot buy success? Singapore prove they could. While Goh Chok Tong or Mah Bow Tan's promise of reaching the Soccer World Cup Finals in 2010, didn't materialise, the women compensate for it by winning the World Table Tennis World Championships in Moscow.

Although the winning players are foreign talents bought from China, they are nevertheless good buys. And the players themselves are going to be millionaires by the time they step foot on Singapore again in a few days' time.

MOSCOW: Singapore's trio Feng Tianwei, Wang Yuegu and Sun Bei Bei rocked the sports world in Moscow when they beat reigning champions and world No 1 China 3-1 in the World Team Table Tennis Championships.

It was sweet revenge for the Singapore women's team, ranked No 2 in the world, after they lost in the 2008 final and the Olympic final to the Chinese.

China, powerhouses in the men's and women's game for so long, were left stunned by a confident display from the Singapore women.

Feng, Singapore's world No 2, was the star of the team, after she beat China's world No 4, Ding Ning, in the first singles, before coming back to the table to clinch the winning point 3-2 against women's No 1, 19-year-old Liu Shiwen.

Earlier, Wang stunned Liu in the second singles, while Sun fell to Guo Yan, setting up Feng's epic finale as the Singapore women became the 2010 world table tennis champions.

Results:

Singapore bt China 3-1
Feng Tianwei (SIN) bt Ding Ning (CHN) 3-2 (8-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9)
Wang Yuegu (SIN) bt Liu Shiwen (CHN) 3-1 (11-7, 11-8, 2-11, 12-10)
Guo Yan (CHN) bt Sun Bei Bei (SIN) 3-1 (6-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-6)
Feng Tianwei (SIN) bt Liu Shiwen (CHN) 3-2 (11-7, 14-16, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7)

Dr Wong Yue Sie - Singhealth COO suffers massive heart attack



After a close-call for the Minister of Health, another member of the Health Services community suffered a more severe and massive heart failure.

SINGAPORE : SingHealth's Group chief operating officer, Dr Wong Yue Sie has died after developing a massive stroke. He was 49.

SingHealth says that despite emergency surgery after his stroke last Friday, 29 May 2010, Dr Wong succumbed to the severity of the condition yesterday, without regaining consciousness.

He is survived by his wife, Mdm Choy Sok Cheng, 47, and two teenage daughters.

In a statement, SingHealth's Group CEO Professor Tan Ser Kiat said that they have ve lost a gifted clinician leader and a selfless individual who made time for anyone who needed him.

He adds Dr Wong has left a lasting legacy for his family, colleagues and staff.

Among other things, Dr Wong had been the Chief of the SAF Medical Corps.

In 2008, he was seconded to Ren Ci Hospital as its chief executive officer upon the request of the Ministry of Health.

One critical task he faced was the completion and opening of the Ren Ci Community Hospital.

Lie Exposed - S'pore were never kicked out of Malaysia

Newsgroups: soc.culture.singapore, soc.culture.malaysia, soc.culture.china, soc.culture.hongkong
From: reborner
Subject: LKY Lied That Sg Were Kicked Out of Malaysia

I was too young to remember the time when Singapore separated from
Malaysia. All I know is that Lee Kuan Yew put up a good show crying
crocodile tears on TV.

According to LKY, the Tengku kicked us out. However, I have come
across other sources, which point that it was LKY who wanted out and
threatened the Tengku with the Chinese Race Card if he did not let
Singapore go. The Tengku relented.

That meeting happened in a place where there were only two people -
The Tengku and LKY himself. The Tengku has since passed away and that
leaves LKY to tell the world whatever (corrupted) version he wants to,
unchallenged.

Well, as you know, when you tell a lie, you have to tell another lie
to cover that lie. Then you have to tell yet another lie to cover that
one too. It carries on until you cannot remember what lies you told.

So, it finally had to happen. The pack of lies told to us, that we
were kicked out from Malaysia has finally collapsed. Here is an
article in the ST Forum, which touches on LKY's eulogy, which gave
away the fact that we were not kicked out, but instead, Singapore had
planned to leave all along.

MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew made an interestingly significant
remark about Singapore's separation from Malaysia in his eulogy at
Sunday's state funeral for his colleague-in-arms, former Deputy Prime
Minister Goh Keng Swee.

MM Lee said he had asked Dr Goh to negotiate a looser
rearrangement for Singapore, but to keep Singapore within Malaysia.

Added MM Lee: 'He (Dr Goh) decided that the best alternative was a
clean break. After (Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister) Tun Abdul Razak
and (Minister for External Affairs) Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman agreed,
(Law Minister) Eddie Barker and I worked furiously to settle the terms
of the separation.'

MM Lee's remark is intriguing in the light of the conventional
narrative of the events leading up to Separation in 1965. From all
that historians have gleaned prior to MM Lee's remarks on Sunday, MM
Lee, who was then Prime Minister, played the pivotal role involving
Separation.

His remarks suggest that the decision to break away from Malaysia
was decided unilaterally by Dr Goh at the crucial moment; against the
proposition MM Lee, and perhaps the collective Cabinet, had decided;
which was at the very least, to still remain a part of the Malaysian
federation of states.

If the above is true, the apparent contradiction should be
resolved. A key question that arises from MM Lee's remarks is this:
What was the extent and significance of Dr Goh's role in Separation?
Furthermore, MM Lee's remark also suggests that the key Malaysian
leaders - Tun Razak and Dr Ismail - agreed to Dr Goh's proposal of a
clean break.

This would imply that it may well have been Singapore which
precipitated the idea of Separation, rather than Malaysia, as has been
the notion all this while, stemming from first Malaysian Prime
Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman's view. He reconfirmed, when I interviewed
him a few years before he died, that he overruled the strident
objections of his extremist colleagues in Umno in deciding to sack
Singapore from Malaysia.

It would be informative, if not instructive, if MM Lee or Dr Toh
Chin Chye (then chairman of the PAP and the only key surviving member
of the Old Guard today) shed more light on this critical turning point
in the history of Singapore and Malaysia.

Associate Professor Hussin Mutalib


I have always suspected that it was LKY who wanted Singapore out. I
never believed his claims that Singapore was "kicked out". While the
LKY's eulogy implies that it was Dr Goh's idea for separation, I still
believe that it was LKY's idea. After all, he has been known to fib
about history.

Besides the point that he misrepresented Singapore was kicked out, he
has also tried to cover up the fact that he was elected as Sec Gen of
PAP in the early days only by virtue of the Chairman's vote. It was a
tie between him and Ong Eng Guan for the post. Dr Toh casted the final
(Chairman's vote) for LKY. However, LKY tries to deny that did happen,
as can be seen in this article I wrote in Sep 2009

Old Man wants all the glory to himself


In the following article published in the Straits Times dated 5
Sep 09, Did Lee become PM by one vote?, Old Man claims he has no
knowledge of the one vital vote, casted by Dr Toh Chin Chye (the
Chairman of the PAP then), that allowed him to be the PM of Singapore.
It was a nail-biting 6-6 vote, casted by the "inner core" of the
pioneer PAP leaders. It was a tie between Ong Eng Guan and Lee Kuan
Yew.

Being a tie, the chairman, Dr Toh, exercised the chair's vote, and
Old Man became the PM.

But, Old Man, being what he is, does not want to admit it. He
denies that there was such an event. Phew! Now why did Old Man have to
wait for 50 years to say that? All along, it was written in the
history books that he won by the chair's vote.

In the same article, I mentioned how LKY probably planned the merger
in the first place, with the intention to leave the Federation later,
so that he could be the PM of Independent Singapore. It was a perfect
plan to oust his greatest rival then, Lim Chin Siong.

A search on the internet will also reveal a few startling things
about the history of Singapore. Here are some pointers.

Before independence, Chin Siong was Lee's biggest threat. While
Chin Siong controlled the Chinese ground, Lee had the favours of the
British government. But everything was hanging precariously and power
could swing to either side.

Lee then planned a merger with Malaysia. It appeared that the
merger was an excellent way to rid Chin Siong. Both the Brits and
Tengku were uncomfortable with Chin Siong because he appeared to be a
communist.

Till today, there is still controversy if he was communist. I
would be inclined to believe the Chin Siong sounded communist because
he used the Chinese race card to rally the people. (Hey, hasn't Old
Man used the same Chinese race card for decades too? And no one dares
claim he is a commie?)

I do not believe Chin Siong was a communist. The Brits (whom LKY
was very much aligned to) were only too keen to link Chin Siong with
the commies to contain him. With the merger planned, Lee had an
excellent excuse to get Chin Siong locked up since both the Brits and
Tengku did not like to have Chin Siong around.

You can do a search on "Lim Chin Siong" to get more news about the
Lim Chin Siong vs Lee Kuan Yew dispute. That was really something.

My opinion on the Lim vs Lee episode

It was either Lim Chin Siong or Lee Kuan Yew. The fight for power
to control was on the balance. While Lim used the Chinese ground for
his support, Lee used the Brits for his support. What probably tilted
the balance was the merger. Lee got the Tengku on his side too,
because the Tengku was wary of Lim as well.

After the threat of Lim was over, it was time for Lee to create
enough trouble for the Tengku, so that Singapore could be fully
independent. Lee's story was that the Tengku kicked Singapore out.
Tengku's story was that Lee wanted out and hence created problems.

So who is to be believed?


With the fact now exposed that Old Man is willing to twist history
about the single vote by Dr Toh Chin Chye, who knows what other facts
he has been twisting since the 1950s? After all, the Tengku is no
longer around to dispute the story.

My viewpoint on the merger

The merger probably served Lee very well. It was the perfect way
to rid of his biggest adversary, Chin Siong. At the same time, he
could engineer for Singapore's independence so that he could be the PM
of a truly independent Singapore.

It was not that Lee did not know that Malaysia's constitution
stated the special privileges for the Malays. He asked for the merger
with his eyes opened. Yet, after merging, he contested that very
special privilege. It is like asking your neighbour to invite you to a
party, then when he graciously lets you in, you start ordering him how
he should host the party.

The merger itself caused Malaysia to have problems with Indonesia
and Philippines. Malaysia's plan was to include Sabah, Sarawak and
Brunei. Singapore was initially NOT on the list. Singapore asked to be
invited and was accepted.

Indonesia and Philippines saw the merger as an expansionist plan
by Malaysia and felt threatened. This was the Confrontation period.
There were terror attacks from Indonesia against Malaysia. And
Singapore, being part of Malaysia by virtue of the merger, was also
attacked.

A point that I would like to make here is that, the PAP cites this
incident was that the "sea of Malays around us" seeked to attack the
majority Chinese Singaporeans.

I feel that Lee is trying to play the race card that Singapore
being majority Chinese, are seen as enemies by the Malays around us.
The fact was that this was actually about one Malay country
(Indonesia) against another Malay country (Malaysia). Singapore was
dragged in, because we were part of Malaysia. Not because the Malays
were against the Chinese.

The above is yet another twist and lie, in the books of the PAP,
headed by Old Man.

My Conclusion

Lee can claim that he is the "Father of Singapore" and that he is
the one behind Singapore's success. But we have seen how he twists
history, such that he is seen that he has attained a godlike status.

My opinion is that if Ong Eng Guan had been PM, he would have
taken Singapore the same path. Perhaps, we would see the Ong Dynasty
instead of the Lee Dynasty.

As for Lim Chin Siong, I also feel that if he had been Singapore's
PM, we would still be the same Singapore, more or less. Some critics
say that he was a communist and would steer away from Western
technology, which brought about Singapore's economic success.

I dispute the above. Firstly, it was never proven he was
communist. Secondly, if he had been PM, I am sure he would have
abandoned his reference to China, changed allies, and taken advantage
of the Western influence.

If Lee could have changed so quickly from let's merge with
Malaysia to let's create trouble for Malaysia, surely Chin Siong could
have changed his spots as quickly as Old Man.

Of course, also if Lim had been PM, in all probability, we would
have to tolerate the Lim Dynasty instead.

Singapore does not depend on one man alone. Singapore's success is
due to a group of hardworking leaders and citizens. The man at the top
is shaped by what the group of leaders and the community do. He is
dispensable.....no, he is expendable.

It looks as time goes on, LKY has difficulty in remembering the number
of lies he has told Singaporeans. For every slip up he makes about the
past, he reveals a ton of untold secrets about Singapore's, PAP's and
his own history.

The latest slip up to be exposed is of course, we were never kicked
out of Malaysia. It was planned by the Singapore side to use Malaysia
as a scapegoat to get independence from the Brits - and to lock Chin
Siong up, so that LKY could be PM of Independent Singapore.

Origin: http://wherebearsroamfree.blogspot.com

One MRT death every fortnightly?



TRAIN services on the North-South Line were disrupted on Vesak Day 28 May 2010 by a man who died on the tracks at Sembawang MRT station.According to a Stomp report, the disruption took place at around 11.40am. A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) spokesperson confirmed that a man had died on the MRT tracks.

According to some readers who were present, train services were delayed for up to an hour at the Sembawang station. The area was cordoned off by the police as well, the readers told Stomp.

Reader subbx said: “SCDF personnel could be seen climbing onto the tracks.”

The initial confusion resulted in some readers thinking that a train had broke down.

Reports have yet to established whether the death was an accident or a suicide.

The SCDF spokesperson said: “A man was extricated from underneath the second carriage of the south-bound train. The victim was declared dead at the scene.”
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MRT suicide videos:
http://mrt-videos.blogspot.com/search/label/Suicide
5,000 passengers affected by disruption in eastbound train services
Posted: 20 March 2010 1831 hrs

SINGAPORE : An SMRT spokesman has said that some 5,000 passengers were affected when an eastbound train service was disrupted on Saturday afternoon.

A passenger had jumped onto the track at Tanah Merah MRT Station and was hit by a train heading towards Pasir Ris.

SMRT said that to maintain services on the East-West line, eastbound trains were turned around at Eunos and Tanah Merah MRT stations, while the middle platform at Tanah Merah MRT Station was used for eastbound train services.

Announcements were made in all stations and on affected trains to inform passengers of the delay and to advise them that the trains may be more crowded.

Normal service resumed at around 3.40pm.

Passengers who were unable to complete their journeys due to the disruption can claim a full fare refund from the Passenger Service Centre in any of the 58 SMRT stations, within the next three working days.

SMRT is assisting the police in its investigation.

Half-height platform screen doors have not been installed at Tanah Merah Station.

So far, they have been installed at Pasir Ris MRT station, as well as Jurong East and Yishun stations.

By 2012, they will be installed in all 36 above-ground MRT stations in Singapore. - CNA/ms

MRT suicide videos:
http://mrt-videos.blogspot.com/search/label/Suicide
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Quick Snippets from the Editor, Sgpolitics.net
14 Aug 2009

Why is there such a large discrepancy between the value of contracts awarded to Singapore Technologies Electronics for installation of platform screen doors at SMRT train stations and at Taiwan’s Neihu Line?

It was reported in the Straits Times on 13 Aug that the first sets of platform screen doors had been erected at Pasir Ris MRT station.

Despite repeated calls for platform screen doors to be installed at all above-ground MRT stations to prevent the obvious tragedies, the Government chose to place the lives of commutes second to cost considerations, and agreed to this suggestion only when costs had come down due to the global downturn.

This pussyfooting by the Government resulted in 31 unnecessary deaths in 2007, or around one death every 12 days, as a result of accident or suicide on the MRT tracks.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has awarded a S$126 million contract to Singapore Technologies Electronics to install platform screen doors on all above-ground MRT stations by 2012. Let us hope accidents and suicides at MRT stations in the meantime can be kept to a minimum through vigilance by SMRT personnel.

Meanwhile however, netizens have discovered that Singapore Technologies Electronics had been awarded a contract of far lesser value to install platform screen doors for Taipei’s Mucha Extension (Neihu) Line in Taiwan. The information concerning this can be found at ST Electronics website, and was also posted at popular forums like Sammyboy.com.

In 2005, ST Electronics was awarded a S$10.5 million contract to design, supply and install platform screen doors for the 12-station Neihu Line, due to be completed by the 3rd quarter of 2009. This works out to be slightly under S$1 million per station.

Compare this cost to what LTA is paying ST Electronics to build platform screen doors at SMRT train stations — S$126 million for 36 stations, which come up to S$3.5 million per station.

Why is there such large discrepancy in the value of the contracts awarded to ST Electronics for installation of platform screen doors for train stations at two different countries? Is LTA grossly overpaying ST Electronics? Surely costs cannot have gone up over 250% over a period of only a few years!

ST Electronics is the electronics arm of ST Engineering Ltd, whose Board of Directors comprise of many establishment-related personalities like Lieutenant-General Desmond Kuek Bak Chye (Chief of Defence Force), Dr TAN Kim Siew (Permanent Secretary for Defence Development), and Mr Davinder Singh (former MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC).

ST Engineering Ltd is a Government-linked Corporation that is 50.63% owned by Temasek Holdings as of 16 Feb 2009. Collectively, GLCs account for more than 60% of Singapore’s GDP.

There is a need for LTA to justify why it is paying so much to install platform screen doors and awarding such a large contract to a GLC, when a much smaller contract had been awarded to build screen doors in Taiwan.

There is a need for greater transparency and accountability in this matter.

Wake Up & Get Real! Your CPF Money is No Longer Yours


This CPF thingy is an absolute exploitation of human rights in Singapore. It is totally unacceptable for people who have no rights in our savings, meddle with it and even tweaked it without our approval. CPF law = PAP law, under such defintion we are doomed and Singaporeans will have no money for old age. I can’t imagine Singaporeans when they reached the age of retirement with money in the CPF savings, still seen picking cans and carton boxes in the street. I wonder how does PAP ministers sleep at night when the people sleep in the street with money in CPF controlled by PAP. - David

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According to the CPF’s web site, the property pledge for the CPF MS at age 55, has been changed to the following: “If you are unable to set aside your full Minimum Sum in cash, your property, bought with your CPF savings, will be automatically pledged for up to half of the Minimum Sum”.

The important thing to note with this rule is that if the shortfall is less than half of the MS (or $58,500, at the current level), the remaining value of the property ($58,500 less the MS shortfall) becomes irrelevant.

This is different from a previous “property pledge” rule, as seen in this 2003 CPF Board press release, which allows members to choose to pledge their property for up to half the MS.

Under this rule, members who are unable to meet the MS are allowed to pledge their property for up to the full 50 per cent of the MS – rather than just making up for the shortfall. Therefore, if their MS shortfall is less than the 50 per cent of the required amount, the remainder from the property pledge would translate into funds available for withdrawal.

Here’s an illustration. Currently, in the example given in the new CPF booklet “Reaching 55”, a person with $100,000 in the CPF Ordinary (OA) and Special Accounts (SA) can withdraw 30 per cent, which is $30,000.[1]

Under the new “property pledge” rule, the MS shortfall of $47,000 (current MS of $117,000 less the $70,000 retained in the RA) will automatically be pledged with property.

Under the old “property pledge”rule, this person would have been able to pledge the full 50 per cent of the MS, which is $58,500. This means he or she would be able to withdraw $41,500 (from the $100,000 in his or her OA and SA, less $58,500), as compared to just $30,000 under the new rule.

Another implication of this new rule will take effect in 2013. For members who turn 55 on or after 1 January 2013, the CPF cash balance can only be withdrawn after setting aside both the CPF MS and Medisave Minimum Sum. If this is not met, they can withdraw only $5,000 from their CPF account, regardless of any property pledge.

With the MS in 2013 being likely to be $135,000, assuming the current rate of increase of $6,000 per year remains constant, there may be more people who will face an MS shortfall when they turn 55.

Furthermore, since February 2009 , property sale proceeds must be retained in the RA if there is a shortfall in the MS. In some cases, where the member’s MS shortfall is too great, the property sale proceeds retained may be even more than 50 per cent of the MS. Part or even all of the net sale proceeds may not be available for the member to buy another property.

The view that one’s HDB flat is an asset enhancement – something one can monetised for retirement – may increasingly become less valid, with the MS increasing every year.

Given all the significance this “property pledge” rule change has on CPF members, it should be asked as to why there was no announcement made in Parliament or to the media?

To be sure, even the previous CPF booklet “Reaching 55” (attached) covering the period 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 showed the new “property pledge” rule.

So when exactly was this rule changed?

-TOC
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Fear tactics has always worked here. People dare not vote against the ruling party because of fear. Fear that they and their children will be marked.(not so effective lately. Fear that their estates will become a slum and thus their property value will drop. Fear that the the economy will fail and moms, wifes & sisters become maids overseas. Well its about time the opposition used the same tactics. Instill fear in the people that all their savings in the CPF is being taken away, that the HDB houses have only paper value, that our billions are being lost by brilliant lady. Instill fear that we their children will become labourers in their own country, that their children cannot afford homes. That the country is being overtaken by foriegners. Soon we will have super rich foriegners staying in Sentosa, Marina & Orchards.
---------------------------------------------
PAP government linked companies like Temasek Holdings headed by Ho Ching and GIC headed by MM Lee had borrowed heavily from CPF Fund and made huge losses of more than S$58 billions Singapore dollars in bailing out US banks and speculative tradings especially in 2007. So need to constrain local citizens from withdrawing their CPF monies.
Better still if our citizens die intestate and the whole of their assets including CPF monies will belongs to the government and also to sustain the multi-millionaires PAP ministers pay and increments. -Benson
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Uncle Leong wrote on this CPF Life thing some months ago, at this very site TOC – u do a search and could locate it.
Indeed, there is NO GUARANTEE that CPF life Fund will be solvent. And this Gan already said very very clearly in reply when Halimah raised a question IN PARLIAMENT why CPF Life payments ARE NOT Guaranteed. Halimah questioned, ‘how come, this is not a commercial contract (and even commercial contracts can have guarantee), how come as a government CANNOT guarantee’.
You know WHAT Gan answered, ‘be rest assured’, haha really serious that was his repy. And you know of late, ONE INDIAN Minister said, “this is a government of trust”
So guys – tan koo koo IF CONTINUE to vote for pap bastards!!!
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The whole revised CPF withdrawal scheme will become a sort of monster nightmare to many of us, courtesy of PAP.

Just imagine CPF as our National Savings Bank, telling its depositors that they can’t withdraw their savings in full at age 55 but withdrawal will be deferred only with monthly payouts starting at age 65.

If you happen to die between 55 to 65, you don’t even have a chance to smell your hard earned savings and good luck to you, thanks again to PAP. Why force this destined age group to leave their minimum CPF sum to their heirs ?

I think this must be the most restrictive and unequitable policy implemented by PAP as it seems to penalise those whose lifespan is between 55 & 65.

Can we ever forgive PAP for implementing such a damn policy ?
- Alan Wong
--------------------------------------------
CPF is getting as complicated as taxi charges. If you do not may a trip to CPF office,you will never understand CPF withdrawals etc. Unlike the good old days when you reach 55, you can withdraw the whole amount and do what you always dreamed about.

I am just wondering what the Government or CPF is doing with our money forcefully withheld under minimum sum, special account, medi-save etc.

Does CPF Board publish an annual report on what it does with the withheld sums/investment besides reporting on amount withdrawn for housing etc.? - Ram
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Malaysia Agree To Give Up Railway Land in Singapore


SINGAPORE, May 24 - Singapore and Malaysia said on Monday they have resolved long-standing disputes over land and water that have plagued ties between the two neighbours for the past 20 years.

Malaysia will relocate its railway station near Singapore's central business district to an area close to one of the two bridges linking the two countries, freeing up land in the city-state for redevelopment.

Malaysia has sovereignty over the site on which the Tanjong Pagar station is located, as well as land on both sides of the railway tracks that run through Singapore, under agreements dating back to British colonial rule.

Singapore said in turn it would not seek to extend a water agreement dating back to 1961, which allowed the city-state to buy water from the southern Malaysian state of Johor at below-market rates.

Singapore will also hand over the waterworks it operates in Johor to the Malaysian state government when the current agreement lapses.

The agreement between the two countries emerged after a meeting between Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"It's a big breakthrough. It paves the way for closer ties now that long-standing sore points have finally been resolved," said Citigroup economist Kit Wei Zheng.

The two countries said the Malayan Railway land will be developed by a joint venture between Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah, which will hold 60 percent, and Singapore state investor Temasek , which will own the balance 40 percent.

Other agreements reached by the two countries include the building of a rapid transit link between Singapore and southern Malaysia, and the joint development of an "iconic project" in Malaysia's Iskandar region by the two countries.

Malaysia has been promoting the Iskandar region, a showcase economic zone just north of Singapore, that it hopes can become a hinterland for its wealthy neighbour just as China's booming Shenzhen complements neighbouring Hong Kong. The zone has, however, attracted relatively few investments from Singapore.

"The points of agreement would facilitate resolution of the issue which has been outstanding for more than 19 years," the two countries said in a joint statement.

Why the Nazi is proud of Singapore


The Head of the Nazi Propaganda Unit Joseph Goebbels once said:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

He would have been proud of the PAP which has outdone the Nazis by masquerading its fascist totalitarian system under the guise of a “democracy” in the eyes of the world.

In the past month, not a single day pass without some good news trumpeting the PAP’s accomplishments or painting a rosy picture ahead as if Singapore is indeed entering a “golden period” as predicted by its “forecaster extraordinarie” Lee Kuan Yew.

In the meantime, the key grouses of Singaporeans such as the influx of foreigners, high HDB flat prices and increased stress remain buried underground.

It’s more good news ahead for Singapore as the economy continues to rebound strongly in the first half of the year.

According to the Straits Times, a “wave of optimism” has swept through Singapore based on a series of new surveys which indicate that confidence is rising among both companies and consumers.

A Hay Group poll has forecast salary rises of 3.2 per cent on average here this year. However, the increase still pale in comparison to the expected 8.8 percent pay hike to be received by PAP ministers.

With the next election looming ahead, Singaporeans are overwhelmed by an overdose of PAP propaganda in the state media which will put China’s Xinhua News Agency and North Korea’s Korea Central News Agency to shame.

Singapore Teachers on Verge of Rebelling


Subject: Singapore Teachers rebel
Another storm is brewing within the Ministry of Education.

Aisha Quek wrote to the Straits Times Forum last week about the unreasonably
long hours her husband has to work, including not being able to take MC.

What was thought to be just a lone voice sparked off instead, over 2700
comments in the YahooSg! forum within a matter of days, after YahooSg!
published an article based on her letter. This week, more people have
written in to the Straits Time to lend their support to Aisha Quek. Teachers
are getting fed up with official circulars warning them not to speak to the
press or outsiders about their long hours and widespread low morale. But it
is an open secret that majority of teachers are unhappy with their working
conditions and school management. One principal, Charles Surin of Hai Sing
Catholic, was careless enough to get himself into the papers for alleged
bullying and intimidating of his staff.

Matters has gotten so bad that even the Director of Schools has started a
thread on MyForum, a closed online forum for teachers, to gather feedback.

Maybe we could see 10000 teachers go to Hong Lim Park, to demand for better
working conditions, and for a stronger Teachers' Union to stand up for the
rights of teachers.

State funeral for Goh Keng Swee - none for Ong Teng Cheong


I was wondering who has the authority to put on a state funeral for the deceased. Is there a committee board or just some random guy in the government? Im very surprised that Ong Teng Cheong did not get one but some deputy minister get it?

Ahhhhhh.. and here lies the mystery
If you rock the boat, then you don't

If you follow like a slave, till death we will remember you.

I believe there only one member in this State Funeral Criteria Selection Committee and we all know who he is.

Go do some research on Ong Teng Cheong and you will know why he didn't get a state funeral. And also why have an idea why we have such a staid, bland president right now. Great job to have though.
--------------------------------------------
I refer to media reports that the honour of state funerals was accorded in the past to former presidents Yusof Ishak and Benjamin Sheares.
I would like to ask whether a state funeral was accorded to the late former President Ong Teng Cheong when he died in 2002.

If not, why is it that he is the only president who was not given a state funeral?
As Singapore’s first elected president, I think many Singaporeans may feel that he deserved a state funeral.

The late President Ong Teng Cheong dedicated 27 years of his working life to public service, as President for six years, Deputy Prime Minister for three years, Second Deputy Prime Minister for five years, Secretary-General of NTUC for 11 years, chairman of the People’s Action Party for 12 years, Minister for Communications, and Member of Parliament for 21 years.

Who decides whether a former president is to be given a state funeral? Is there some criteria for deciding on a state funeral?

I suggest that a state funeral be accorded to all former presidents who die in the future.
Letter from Leong Sze Hian.
---------------------------------------------
President Ong Teng Cheong’s political career spanned 21 years. He was Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, before he resigned to become Elected President in 1993. And it was as Communications Minister that Ong pushed for the development of the MRT system, the largest construction project in Singapore’s history. His next challenge came on the labour front, when he became NTUC Secretary-General in 1983. Ong was diagnosed with lymphoma-cancer of the lymphatic system in 1992. But this did not dampen his desire to continue serving. He became Singapore’s first Elected President a year later, and it was a presidency marked by many charitable projects, which touched the lives of many Singaporeans. Ong stepped down as President at the age of 63.

As chairman of the People’s Action Party (PAP) and secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress, Ong was considered a firm Lee Kuan Yew loyalist. In January 1986, he sanctioned a strike in the shipping industry, the first for about a decade in Singapore, without telling the cabinet. He said that he did not inform the cabinet or the government because they would probably stop him from going ahead with the strike. There was a major corporate and Cabinet backlash against his decision; however, the strike lasted only two days, and a deal was struck. He was also a former Minister of National Development.
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Suicides are rampant in tiny Singapore


Every day there are 7 attempted suicides and 1 of them is successful. This gory truth is often hidden by the Pap govt to paint a beautiful picture of a caring govt. The reality is the govt policies suck like shits. And the result is we have the highest suicide rate in the world! Read on...

Posted by theonlinecitizen
Leong Sze Hian / Columnist

In a written reply in Parliament on 26 August, by the Minister of Education, Dr Ng Eng Hen, to a question by MP Cynthia Phua, the incidence of suicide among youths (rate of youth suicide per 100,000), was 4.9 in 2006 and 6.7 in 2007. This is an increase of 37 per cent. (link)

The number (age between 10 and 24) who committed suicide increased by 36 per cent from 36 in 2006 to 49 in 2007.

According to media reports, 374 people killed themselves last year, but for every death, there were seven failed bids ; 706 were arrested for attempted suicide, about half of the estimated 10,400 walk-in patient cases at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) have thought about dying, about 4,380 who called the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) were high-risk suicide cases, and 87 suicides were aged 65 and above – an increase of 26 per cent over the previous year (“Special report : suicide attempts – when all hopes is lost”, ST, Aug 10).

The incidence of elderly suicide is double that of the general population, having crept above 20 per 100,000 people over 65 years old from a low of 17.3 in 2002 (“Depressed and alone : The old need help”, ST, Aug 11).

Looking at the above statistics, does it mean that about 280 per 100,000 residents (10,000 divided by 3.6 million resident population) contemplate suicide in a year ?

How many are youths and what are the causes?

I think one of the reasons why suicides are un-reported, is because family members may be reluctant to do so as the suicide attemptors may be arrested, and may also be charged in court and sent to jail, as suicide is a crime under Section 309 the Penal Code.

Are there any other countries in the world that make suicide a crime ?

I would like to suggest that Section 309 be reviewed, as it may be the cause of under-reporting of the suicidal statistics – which may lead to under-treatment and help for these Singaporeans.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the suicide rate per 100,000 was 6.8 for the United Kingdom, and 7.9 for Thailand. Singapore’s rate was 10.3.

To what extent, has our education system, employment and financial problems, contributed to the above suicide statistics ? For youths, perhaps the Ministry of Education could provide statistics on successful suicides and attempted suicides.
--------------------------------------------

May 19, 2010
There is something terribly wrong with this country. I don’t think there can be any doubt to those aware. Yesterday, we had two suicide attempts reported. One successful, the other not, but passed off as an accident. The first was a man in his fifties, fueled possibly by desperation and the uncertainty of his family’s future.

He launched himself out of his flat on the 7th floor. The second, reported as being an accident by the mainstream media, yet witnessed as a suicide attempt, involved a man in his thirties and the MRT tracks, so often the deathbed of many in recent years. He failed on this occasion. Now, treat these two individuals with indifference and contempt if you wish. I’ve found that we very rarely sympathize with people anymore.

It doesn’t take much mental effort to brush of suicides as an attempt to escape the harsh realities of life, or life in Singapore, especially if the people involved are middle-aged men. But I dare you to enter the mind of a child, driven to the brink of ending his own life.

Around 1 am last night, I received a tip-off regarding yet another failed suicide attempt. An 8 year old boy, had thrown his bag and a stuffed bear down four stories, and was ready to follow suit. Fortunately, he was spotted by a female resident, who then managed to stall him long enough for other residents to break into the flat and grab him.

According to the information I received, when the boy was asked why he wanted to jump, he said that his mother had done the same. Further probing revealed that his mother had committed suicide the year before, and he was being raised by his father, who was at work at the time. The boy was taken by the police, supposedly to his father’s workplace. Their whereabouts are currently unknown.

What demons could’ve lured this young lad, whom I understand from my source to be a bright and sensible individual, towards the traps of death? According to the boy, his father had earlier called him “useless” for failing an exam. While I am bewildered by the lack of sensitivity, I suspect there may be a deeper issue than that. When faced with the reality of losing someone close to us, we undergo the 5 stages of grief.

However, the progression of those stages vary from person to person. Some of us race down to Acceptance. Others brisk walk, but find that they have to turn back. And then, there are some who dwindle at Denial, who feel safe with Denial, who cling on to Denial for fear of the other stages and the horrors they will bring.

Yet, before we jump at the father’s throat, keep in mind that as much pain as a child losing his mother has to go through, a man losing his wife feels no less. Both individuals have had to go through trauma that, quite frankly, is premature. The boy will receive professional help, according to the police.

I wonder though, if they will offer the same help to the boy’s father, or if a charge of negligence is all he will receive.

Singaporeans lost $70m to Govt in Casino Levies


As of May 10, the two casino operators had collected about $70 million in entry levies.

Revealing this yesterday, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan said it would be "premature to draw conclusions" from such data on casino patronage and its "attendant social impact", as it was still early days yet in their operations.

All the levies go to the Singapore Totalisator Board to fund projects that benefit the community, Dr Balakrishnan added, in a written response to a query from Nominated MP Terry Lee.

MCYS will ensure enough resources are dedicated to tackle the issue of problem gambling.

In response to MediaCorp's queries, the National Council on Problem Gambling said it has been actively engaging Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) to put in place social safeguards.

The council cited some of the measures taken, describing these as "work in progress".

- Responsible gambling brochures: Available in both casinos

- Council's helpline card: Placed in restrooms and brochure distribution points, at both casinos

- Voluntary loss limit: At RWS, patrons can request use of voluntary loss limit room to lock their valuables in security boxes that can only be opened with the casino staff's assistance. At MBS, patrons can request to set a limit on their betting account that cannot be changed for 24 hours.

- On-site intervention: At RWS, available on Saturday afternoons. None at MBS.

- Responsible gambling training: At RWS, provided to all casino staff. At MBS, given to all staff.

- Responsible gambling messages: Shown on all jackpot digital machine screens, plus side-screens on table games or standing digital displays.

Lamborghini winners take Cash instead of Cars


Two punters won a Lamborghini each at the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) casino last week.

The duo, who were playing the slot machine game Mystery Jackpot, were among those who have won over $70m in the first three months since the casino opened, RWS said.

Each car is worth $850,000 and does not come with COE, but both winners opted for $650,000 in cash instead.

Singaporean Rina Sim, 51, had gone to the casino with her parents, aged 86 and 75, on May 7.

While her parents played at the VIP tables on the second floor, she tried her luck at the slot machines in the smoking area, making $5 bets.

The electrical company manager was down to her last $50 when she hit the jackpot.

Suddenly, the buttons on the machine stopped working. She could not continue playing or retrieve her ticket.

The message "Congratulations, you have won the Lamborghini!" flashed on the machine.

She said: "I didn't want to be too happy at first in case it was a mistake. I thought maybe the machine was spoilt."

Sex inside Car is illegal


A CABBY (above) and a transvestite were caught in the throes of passion by a policeman on patrol in Changi.

Yesterday, taxi driver Lee Hak Huat, 53, and beauty adviser Khairy Sulaiman, 28, were each fined $800 for behaving in an indecent manner.

They admitted to appearing nude and engaging in sexual activities inside Lee's cab, which was parked at Turnhouse Road, opposite the former Changi Hospital, in the early hours of April 23.

A magistrate's court heard that Lee had met Khairy earlier at Changi Village and began chatting. They agreed to have sex and Khairy got into Lee's taxi. There, Khairy removed his top, while Lee removed his pants. Khairy allowed Lee to caress him.

About 15 minutes later, police officer Adrian Quek passed by and detained them.

Pleading for leniency, Khairy said he was a first-time offender. Lee had nothing to say. Both could have been fined up to $1,000 or jailed for up to one month each.

TianAnMen-style Crackdown in Bangkok


Thai troops opened fire on protesters for a second consecutive day of fierce clashes in the heart of Bangkok that has left five people dead and at least 46 wounded.

Security forces moved to regain control of a road close to the Suan Lum Night Bazaar, a popular spot with tourists, after Red Shirt protesters spilled out of their fortified rally base which was under siege by troops.

The protesters, who are trying to bring down the government of prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, threw stones, used slingshots and launched fireworks at the troops.

Three journalists, one of them a Canadian with the France 24 television channel, were shot in their legs and wounded while covering the violence.

Soldiers used tear gas against the protesters, who set fire to piles of tyres in the road, torched an empty police bus and vandalised army vehicles as well as a water cannon as part of their efforts to disrupt the lockdown.

Volleys of gunfire rang out through the afternoon, sending people fleeing in panic. At one point troops fired directly at protesters and then advanced up a road shooting into the air.

Two of the dead appeared to be Red Shirt security guards, said the director of the hospital where they were taken, adding that one victim was shot in the temple and the other in the chest.

A third fatality was a 32-year-old man who died earlier of gunshot wounds.

Red Shirt leaders have warned the government to prepare for a great, tragic night ahead.

At least 35 people have been killed and about 1,000 injured in Bangkok in a series of confrontations and attacks since the protests began in mid-March.

The mood was tense inside the encampment, which has been fortified with razor wire, truck tyres doused with kerosene and sharpened bamboo poles.

"Abhisit has already started civil war," top Red Shirt Nattawut Saikuar said.

"We urgently demand the government withdraw the military and stop all violence. I don't know how we can survive the night if Abhisit does not agree to a ceasefire."

The Red Shirts consider Mr Abhisit's government illegitimate because it came to power in a 2008 parliamentary vote after a court ruling ousted elected allies of their hero, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was unseated in a 2006 coup.

Defence minister General Prawit Wongsuwon said the military operation was meant to force the movement's leaders back to talks with the government.

The army had warned Thursday it would deploy snipers around the protest site and blocked roads to prevent more protesters joining in.

A renegade general allied with the Red Shirts was fighting for his life after being shot late Thursday close to the protest site. His supporters said he was targeted by a sniper. The army denied any involvement in the incident.

Major-General Khattiya Sawasdipol had a "low" chance of survival, said Chaiwan Charoenchokethavee, a hospital director.

Video of Khattiya being shot in the head....(Parental Guidance Required)


----------------------------------------------------
Army snipers who killed the Major-Gen....

Thai Policemen open fires at Armed Soldiers

Shooting between police and army personnel was also reported at several locations, as policemen joined the side of the anti-government demonstrators.

The emergence of divided loyalties among members of the security services transformed the stand-off with Thailand's Red Shirt opposition into a crisis for the government.

The British Embassy, which stands just yards from the main demonstration site held by the opposition, was closed until further notice after a warning it was an attack target.

The Red Shirts resisted Thai army efforts to impose a cordon as hundreds more joined the demonstration.

Increased violence came in response to the shooting late on Thursday night of Major Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol, a renegade military officer who had built the fortified opposition encampments in central Bangkok. He was yesterday in intensive care as doctors operated on a gunshot wound to the head and a hospital spokesman said his chances of survival were "low". The government denied that an army sniper had shot him in the head.

Spokesman, Panitan Wattanayagorn was unrepentant over the deaths and troops authorised to fire live ammunition at "terrorists" but only under strict rules of engagement that stipulated there must be a direct threat to life.

Clouds of black smoke filled the streets as explosions and gunfire raged throughout the area of upmarket hotels and shopping centres where violence has been concentrated and was spreading across the main junctions of the central business district, Ratchaprasong. Grenade attacks caused damage at a shopping centre and a mass transit railway station.

Mr Panitan said the military would step up its offensive in the days ahead. "In the next few days, they will be stepping up their security measures, especially outside of the Ratchaprasong area," he said. "They will continue to search for weapons. They will continue to adopt measures to try to reduce the number of protesters coming to the area."

The deaths of nine men and one woman on Friday brought the numbers killed since demonstrators took over the area in March to 35, with hundreds more injured. The Red Shirts have demanded the resignation of Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Eton-educated prime minister, and early elections.

Mr Abhisit was installed with the backing of key advisers of the royal household. His accession was tarnished from the start by the widespread belief that the same figures were behind the coup that deposed Thaksin Shinawatra, the populist prime minister in 2006.

Mr Thaksin called on his successor to concede the demand for an early election in a statement issued from exile in Montenegro.

"I believe that (a) political solution still exists for Thailand and the prime minister is able to prevent more casualties and save our country," he said. "All this is dependent on his decision and he can choose between violent means and peaceful means, or between his position and the lives of innocent people."

The Red Shirt leadership offered a truce to the government as the spirits of the estimated 6,000 protesters rose.

There was no response from the government on new negotiations. Hardliners have vowed to seal off the camp, cutting electricity, water, mobile phones and food supplies, while preventing reinforcements arriving to boost numbers.

But the loyalty of tens of thousand of heavily-armed soldiers in the cordon around the camp is not assured. At one point yesterday soldiers used a loudspeaker to send a message to the Red Shirts: "We are the people's army. We are just doing our duty for the nation. Brothers and sisters, let's talk together."

Observers believe many police officers are openly sympathetic to Mr Thaksin, who is a former policeman.

The new arrivals and the latest killings lent the Red Shirt movement fresh impetus when it appeared to have been flagging after 62 days.

Singapore banks must repay over-charged Customers

Sg banks have been over-charging customers with all sort of fees at exorbitant rates, it is time they should be made to repay the customers like what happened down under.

The MAS is taking no action, a sign that they are involved in the conspiracy to extort money legally out of the people, enriching the banks and the rich shareholders like Temasek Holdings, which basically a money-making arm of MAS.

Singaporeans should raise their voice now or be condemned as lambs waiting to be bullied and slaughtered.

From: "truth"
Date: Sat, 15 May 2010 01:55:00 GMT
Subject: Australian banks start to repay overcharged customers

truth comment: this is the beauty of class action. they know their actions
are illegal. so they succumb to the threaten suit.

The National Australia Bank has begun repaying the millions of dollars in
fees it overcharged customers over seven years, but lawyers involved in the
case say those errors are just the tip of the iceberg.

It has been revealed that over the last three weeks, NAB has been repaying
excess fees it took between 2002 and 2009.

NAB sent a letter to customers informing them of the repayments just three
days after lawyers announced a $5 billion class action against local and
foreign banks.

Yesterday, CitiBank announced it will also cut the amount it charges for the
late payment of credit card bills.

The chairman of the law firm Maurice Blackburn, Bernard Murphy, says the
banks realise they have been charging excess fees for years.

"The banks understand that their position is very hard to defend and they
are trying to get their house in order before the class action," he said.

"But even if they do, it can not have any effect in stopping rebursement
application by all those millions of customers who have been overcharged
over the last six years."

Up to 500,000 people were expected to join the class action against local
and foreign banks for repayment of dishonour and late fees.

Official figures show the banks collected nearly $1.2 billion in dishonour
and late fees in the 2008 financial year.

A Tribute to Dr. Goh Keng Swee


He had one word to describe the state of the economy when he became finance minister in 1959: ‘Wretched’.

FORMER Deputy Prime Minister and Singapore’s economic architect Goh Keng Swee died early on Friday morning after a long illness. He was 91.

Dr Goh Keng Swee will be remembered, above all, for his role as one of the prime architects of Singapore’s economic success. Many of the key milestones in Singapore’s journey from Third World backwater to globalised, First-World city can be found in the story of his life, vividly portrayed in the new book Goh Keng Swee: A Portrait by his daughter-in-law Tan Siok Sun.

The son of a rich Malacca family – his father, Goh Leng Inn, was a manager of a rubber plantation, his mother was from the family that produced famous Malaysian politicians Tun Tan Cheng Lock and his son Tun Tan Siew Sin – Dr Goh joined the Department of Social Welfare in 1946, and was active in post-war administration.

He resigned from the civil service in 1959 to enter politics and was elected as the People’s Action Party representative for Kreta Ayer, his constituency until he retired in 1984.

Upon Singapore’s independence in 1965, Dr Goh also became Minister for the Interior and Defence until 1967, assuming responsibilities for strengthening Singapore’s military and domestic security capabilities. A key policy was the creation of National Service, a mandatory conscription system for able-bodied young males.

In 1979, Dr Goh moved on to the Education Ministry, where his Goh Report greatly influenced the development of Singapore’s education system, introducing key policies such as streaming and religious education.

Dr Goh retired as Deputy Prime Minister in December 1984, due to personal reasons.

The body of the late Dr Goh will lie in state at the Parliament House from May 20 to 22, for the public to pay their last respects.

As a mark of respect for Dr Goh, the State flag on all Government buildings will be flown at half-mast from May 20 to May 23.
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Goh Keng Swee's forever saving for the rainy days:

It was one of those sweltering days in May when the PAP candidate for Kreta Ayer and his canvassers went campaigning in the squatter slums and labyrinthine lanes of gu chia chwee ('bullock cart water' in Hokkien), the colloquial term for Chinatown.

Dripping in sweat and hoarse from making incessant pleas to residents to vote for the party, the group was relieved when Goh Keng Swee stopped by a sugar cane stall. As they huddled around the oasis expectantly, the former senior civil servant placed 10 cents, gulped down his drink and mumbled 'I have paid for my drink. If you want to have a drink, go ahead', before walking away. They were stunned.

'We looked at him, the stallholder looked at us. We thought he would be giving all of us a drink.' Chan Chee Seng, who accompanied Goh on his 1959 election rounds, was recounting yet another anecdote about the legendary thriftiness and frugality of Singapore's famed finance minister.

If that was not ample proof of Goh's parsimony, Chan found it when he rode in his car, a rattling Vauxhall which had seen better days. It was with a gasp of disbelief when he realised that part of the vehicle's floor panel had corroded to such an extent that 'you could see right through to the road'. 'You see,' he shook his head, 'Goh did not even want to pay for a rubber mat to cover the gaping hole, let alone repair it!'

S R Nathan, who worked with Goh in the defence ministry in the 1970s, said that Goh was so averse to spending that whenever he travelled overseas he would carry soap flakes to wash his underwear in the hotel bathroom. Former diplomat Maurice Baker visited Goh in his hotel room during a trip one day and saw him drying his one and only piece of underwear on the heater.

To today's Singaporeans, these penny-pinching habits would seem ridiculous and laughable but they formed the hallmark of PAP's founding fathers. Thrift was their name. Nothing was more repulsive than waste and extravagance. 'I can count the number of treats they gave me on my fingers,' Chan reminisced with a grimace. 'If a minister offered us a cup of coffee, it meant a cup. He would not offer another cup and we wouldn't dare ask.'

If you could not get a treat from them, it was even less likely you could get a loan. That Shakespearean maxim 'Neither a borrower nor a lender be'' would sum up their attitude towards money to a T. As an up-and-coming lawyer, Lee Kuan Yew would often receive an appeal for a loan and his Hamlet-like reply would be: 'I am afraid I will not be able to make you a loan. It is against my principles to lend money to a friend because I have found from my personal experience that when I gain a debtor, I lose a friend.'

On that sultry day in Kreta Ayer, Chan and fellow party members felt much disconcerted by Goh's close-fistedness. Now with the benefit of hindsight, Chan realised that it embodied the qualities that made the man such a great steward of Singapore's hard-earned finances. 'He wasn't squeezing us. He just didn't want to squander money. Every cent counted. We were lucky we had ministers like Dr Goh. That's why Singapore could save a lot of money and become one of the most affluent countries in the world,'' ruminated Chan.

Toh Chin Chye was lost in thought on a drive around the city in 2003.

Many of the gleaming towering edifices were unrecognisable to him.

What on earth was that, he asked pointing suddenly to the spiky durian-shaped structure on Marina Bay. As the car cruised around the Rochor Road area where he used to be member of parliament, the sight of the teeming crowds at Bugis Village snapped him out of his reverie. 'For what you have now, you've got to thank Dr Goh,' he blurted out.
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IN FEBRUARY 1986, GKS left his government home, where he had lived for 25 years, and moved into a rented apartment in the Orchard Road area.

It was not the only adjustment GKS had to make in his post-retirement years. Over the years, he had grown apart from his wife, Alice, and the decision to separate finally from her was perhaps the most painful of his life.

He had agonised over this matter for a long time, and when he told (his son) Kian Chee of his intentions, he also instructed his son to look after his mother's emotional well-being.

To ease the transition, Alice would remain at their government-owned house at 15, Goodwood Hill temporarily, and would also receive a generous financial settlement.

GKS also dissolved the family company in which he, Alice, Kian Chee and (grandson) Ken-Yi were equal shareholders, and he transferred his sole property in Upper Thomson to Alice as her residence.

In due course, GKS and Alice were divorced, and he married Dr Phua in August 1991.

There was encouraging news as well. GKS had a full remission from his bladder cancer, and in the early years of his second marriage, he seemed genuinely relaxed and happy.

He had been a tea-drinker all his life, and his daughter-in-law was surprised to see him switch to drinking coffee. It was almost as if he had a new lease on life. He became more cheerful, his sense of curiosity restored.

GKS travelled regularly with Dr Phua to Thailand, Australia and China, and he was prepared to try new experiences he would never have considered before.

It was as though, with the removal of ministerial responsibilities, he had started to live life again as a private citizen.

He said: '....You know, as a Minister, your work is your life. Even when you are not working at the desk, you are still thinking of your work. You've got no other life outside your work. But really, there's no other interests outside your work.

'Such other pursuits that you undertake, such as exercise, golfing, is really to make you more fit to work. Even listening to music is just to clear your mind so that you can address your mind to work problems more effectively. So we just get encapsulated in this business.'
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N 1939, GKS joined the War Tax Department as a tax collector. The nucleus of the department came from the Estate Duty Department, and consisted of Edwin Tongue (Collector-General), Dudley Tudor (Collector), G.E.D. Lewis (Public Relations Officer), Tony Loch, J.G. Rappaport, GKS and Lee Siow Mong.

Lewis was to comment later: 'Two Chinese Raffles College graduates straight from College: one of whom was Goh Keng Swee, who was not particularly good at tax collecting - indeed Tongue proposed to terminate his services, but he was saved from that fate by the Japanese invasion, and later on went to become Singapore's Finance Minister, and a successful administrator; and the friendly Lee Siow Mong.'

The Department's office was situated on the ground floor of the Victoria Memorial Hall, and this would be the place where love would blossom for GKS: his future wife, Alice Woon, worked in the same department as a clerk-cum-secretary.

Alice was the younger of two daughters of Woon Chow Kit, a clerk with the Federated Malay States Railway, who hailed from Kuala Lumpur. Woon was married to a self-effacing Japanese lady (Alice's mother), Shimiko Togami, and was posted to Klang, Selangor, residing in staff quarters provided by the company.

Alice had only just completed her Senior Cambridge examinations (the equivalent of the O-level examinations) and was looking to join her older sister, Mabel, who was already working at the War Tax Department as a secretary to Lee Siow Mong.

Mabel stayed with their paternal uncle Philip Woon at Genting Lane whilst waiting for Alice and their mother to be relocated to Singapore.

However, at Alice's job interview, Tudor, being the person who interviewed her, felt that at 16, she was too young for the job and eventually selected instead Ong Kim Leng, who was a few years older.

Alice had other ideas. Possessing a feisty disposition, Alice was never going to take no for an answer. She managed to persuade Tudor to let her be put on probation, and Tudor succeeded in convincing his superior Tongue, who was notorious for his bad temper.

Alice's starting salary was $30, as compared to Mabel's monthly wage of $40; but as fate would have it, she would be compensated with something unexpected - she found herself being put to work in the typing pool, located right in front of GKS's office.

GKS was in the habit (though he was still a young man) of misplacing his spectacles and, on one occasion, he called out, 'Miss Woon, have you seen my spectacles?'

Alice replied, 'Mr Goh, they are right on top of your nose!'

Embarrassed, GKS muttered his thanks, before readjusting his glasses and taking a good look at the secretary who had located them.

The courtship between GKS and Alice stretched over several months, and most of their dates consisted of rickshaw rides to Mooi Chin Restaurant at Middle Street, ice cream at the Luna Cafe near the Cathay Cinema, or movies at the Alhambra Cinema on Beach Road.

GKS and Alice were always joined by Mabel and his nephew Tan (Hin Jin), the former being instructed by her mother to jaga (keep an eye on) her younger sister.

This story was to have more than one happy ending: Mabel subsequently married Tan, and so Tan, who was related to Dr Goh by blood, now became his brother-in-law.

(GKS was 24 and Alice was 17 when they got married on his birthday, Oct 6, 1942, at the Kampong Kapor Methodist Church. World War II had broken out and Singapore was occupied by the Japanese. The couple's wedding dinner was a small at-home affair with 30 guests.)

Pap will murder Yong Vui Kong next Friday


I just received word from Rachel that the Court of Appeal has rejected Yong Vui Kong’s appeal against his death sentence. Vui Kong’s lawyer, M. Ravi, is applying for time to present a clemency petition. Furthermore, the Court of Appeal has closed off further arguments and the Mandatory Death Penalty will stay.

Executions by hanging are carried out by the State usually at 6am on Fridays. The death sentence could be carried out next Friday, 21st May.

The Court of Appeal reserved its judgement on Mar 15, 2010. It delivered its judgement today at 11am. See here for a timeline of articles/posts/videos on Vui Kong’s case. Read also these two news articles from 2005: The precision of ritual in the gallows’ shadow and Singapore accused of hypocrisy on drug stance.
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Drug trafficker loses appeal
Selina Lum, Straits Times website, 14 May 2010

SINGAPORE’S highest court on Friday dismissed the appeal of a condemned drug trafficker, saying that it was closing its doors to such challenges against the constitutionality of the mandatory death penalty.

The three-judge court, comprising Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong and Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang and V. K. Rajah, were handing down their decision on the case of Yong Vui Kong, a 22-year-old Malaysian sentenced to hang for trafficking heroin.

Delivering the verdict, CJ Chan observed that there have been many challenges before the courts regarding the constitutionality of the mandatory death penalty on various grounds in the past, which have all failed.

In the present case, he said, all possible arguments on this issue have been raised, considered by the court, and rejected.

‘Further challenges in court on the constitutionality of the mandatory death penalty have been foreclosed by our decision in this appeal,’ he said.

But Yong’s lawyer, Mr M Ravi, is not giving up. He told reporters he plans to go to court again over comments made by Law Minister K. Shanmugam to his client’s case at a dialogue session with Joo Chiat residents on Sunday.

Mr Ravi said if that fails, he will make arguments against the ‘flawed’ presidential clemency process.
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From: baldeagle :
It is a good day.

It is not about the courts...
It is about whether the law should protect
the trafficker or the law should protect our
children from being killed by drugs.

It is about whether we should kill the poisonous
snakes that come into our homes ..or let them
freely enter homes.... to kill our loved ones.

Hanging the drug traffickers is like killing the
poisonous snakes.

Only fools will give protection to drug traffickers
and not kill poisonous snakes that entered our
homes.

Low Thia Kiang Whacked Minister Ng Eng Seng



Govt has made 3 commitments on MTL: Low Thia Khiang
By Cai Haoxiang

WORKERS' Party chief Low Thia Khiang said in an e-mail statement in Chinese yesterday that the Government's reassurances about the mother tongue issue meant it has made three commitments on its teaching and standing.

One, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will never again review the weighting of mother tongue languages in the Primary School Leaving Examination, nor will it find other avenues to do so.

Two, the MOE committee set up to review the teaching and testing of the mother tongue languages will only chart the directions for their teaching in the next 10 to 15 years, and not re-examine their value in the education system.

Three, the mother tongue at primary level holds the same weighting in terms of teaching hours and examination marks as other subjects.

Mr Low said this final undertaking is based on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's statement that the mother tongue will continue to be the cornerstone of Singapore's education policy in the future, as it was in the past.

He then pointedly added: 'If the MOE feels I have misunderstood, please immediately clarify to avoid creating the wrong impression again (and cause) people to feel happy for nothing.'

Mr Low's statement comes a day after PM Lee and Education Minister Ng Eng Hen held a media conference addressing the mother tongue weighting at the PSLE.

The opposition MP, a former secondary school Chinese-language teacher, also scoffed at Dr Ng's acknowledgement that his recent remarks gave the wrong impression that the mother tongue weighting at the PSLE may be cut.

Dr Ng had said on Tuesday: 'I think I should have chosen my words more carefully and apologise for creating that wrong impression.'

Mr Low said: 'I am perplexed and find it hard to understand how Dr Ng said he made the wrong choice of words to create the wrong impression. Is it possible that Singaporeans who care about education and Chinese-language education... all misunderstood Dr Ng's meaning?

'Is it because newspapers reported it wrongly, leading to the mistaken impression of the public, or did Dr Ng and PM Lee wake up in the nick of time and quickly took good advice to prevent this issue from becoming a burden in the next general election?'

Noting that Dr Ng had demonstrated a strong command of English when speaking in Parliament, he added: 'I am surprised he couldn't find the right words.'