Friday, July 31, 2015

Principles to Electoral Contest and Negotiation

I have met some friends today and I was pretty surprised that they were worried of me going into 3 corner fights with other opposition parties.

For those who really know me would have known that I have made the effort not only for my team to avoid 3 corner fight but also advocate against it for other opposition party members.

For the record, I have pulled back the NSP A team from Moulmein Kallang GRC to avoid 3 corner fight with WP during last GE with the belief that WP might have extraordinary good candidates to field in this GRC, deserving a good fight to win and get into parliament. I was disappointed in the end that WP didn't field a strong team there but that's life.

I chose to be in opposition politics only for a few reasons:

1) Break the GRC fortress
2) Deprive PAP two third majority
3) Help to send people whom I think are deserving to get into parliament

It is with these guiding objectives that I chose to stay on and fight. Thus, as long as there are good or better candidates contesting, I do not mind to give way.

For each and every contest, lots of money are spent apart from the time and effort candidates have put in. This is why candidates prefer to contest in the same ward again. Personally, I do not mind to give way, in effect wasting all previous efforts and money altogether, as long as there good candidates from other party wanting to contest.

I would also refrain from getting into other people's turf just to "chope" places without any good reasons. We should be fighting to win, not just to chope places with people whom we ourselves have doubts of their ability to contribute to parliamentary debates and public interests at large.

I believe most potential 3 corner fights could be resolved if the leaders of every opposition parties are rational and could make considerations and decisions according to good reasonsing rather than emotions.

Goh Meng Seng

Singapore - Our Lychee Island

During one of my visit to my parents' homeland in Hainan island, I learned how the farmers grow lychee trees.

They will have to trim the branches periodically so that the tree will have good bearing of fruits as it does not waste too much nutrients to sustain the excessive branches and leaves.

Singapore is just like an old lychee tree. There are too many excessive branches to be fed and thus, the tree produce less than optimum fruits for the people. Worse still, some of the deep old roots are so rotten and it deter healthy growth of the country.

The only way to make this little country Vibrant and healthy again is to trim off all those excessive crony tree branches and even dig in, cut off and remove the rotten roots while keeping the healthy ones.

Else this old lychee tree of ours will just die slowly by getting infectious rotten roots and over burden by the crony branches which suck off excessive nutrients from the fruits for our people.

We only have this little lychee tree which we call Singapore. No matter how hard it is to get rid of the excessive branches or deep rotten roots, we will have to do it. We want to get our country back again to serve its people, not some rotten roots or greedy branches.

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Singapore is BIGGER than LKY & LHL

I refer to the forum letter entitled “Govt critics riding on Amos’ case for their own cause” published on 8 July 2015 (Today).

The author insinuated that my participation in the protest held in Hong Kong on 5 July 2015 was an attempt to “incite participants of other nationalities” to protest against a “local issue”. And the author opined that I am not “patriotic” because I did nothing to stop the protestors from burning the “effigies” of Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong.

My response is as follows:

1) I believe the author, Mr. David Tan, has never participated in any protest before. It is an extremely common practice for protesters (overseas) to burn effigies of their targeted politicians or individuals. In the said protest, I would say that the printed images of Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong are not even considered as “proper” effigies to begin with.

2) A staff from Singapore Consulate was present at the protest site and he didn’t step in to interfere with the burning of the “effigies”. Is he considered as “unpatriotic” by David Tan’s definition?

3) I do not consider the two individuals, Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong as “representation” of Singapore. i.e. they are NOT Singapore and Singapore does not equate to them. I believe Singapore is definitely BIGGER than them.

4) There are reasons why the protesters have demonstrated such disgust of the two persons, so much so that they proceeded to burn their images. You may or may not agree with them, but this is their way of expression in Hong Kong.

5) As I have repeatedly said, I do not respect dictators and definitely have even lower opinion of Lee Hsien Loong after his administration has chosen to use such inhumane and cruel means against a 16 year old boy.

6) I would have raised my objection to the organizers if they were planning to burn the Singapore flag. They didn’t burn the Singapore flag but only two individuals’ images whom I have very little respect to start with. And I do not think they are in any way, represent Singapore’s sovereignty.

7) Thus I do not see why I should interfere in their protest activity at all.

8) Besides, it is a really bad move if anyone from the Singapore Consulate has interfered in their burning of the images. It will only escalate the matter and create a bigger unnecessary bad press for Singapore.

9) In fact, Singapore Consulate’s refusal to receive the letter of protest from the protesters has aggravated the situation back then, resulted the protesters to take further actions of pasting protest signs on the lift lobby. This is totally unnecessary as the protest could have ended earlier and peacefully.

10) Human right is an universal issue. There isn’t a need for anyone like me to “incite” protest by foreigners against such human rights infringement. The reason why Singapore name is being dragged into the mud is basically due to the total mismanagement of PAP government under Lee Hsien Loong in handling Amos Yee case. Anyone with good conscience should feel angry about this and should question why PAP government has damaged Singapore name internationally.

11) When our country is being invaded, we will stand up and fight our enemies. When our government has brought shame to our Nation, we should speak up against it. Only then, it is true patriotism. We should not misplace our patriotism to support any government which has done wrong and brought international shame to our Nation.

12) Last but not least, I am quite puzzled why the author is expressing more concern of the burning of effigies which didn’t cause any harm to the dead nor the living (maybe only a slight dent to ego) but chose to ignore the unjust, cruel and inhumane harm which the PAP government has inflicted on a 16 year old boy.

13) I would opine that this is a total disproportionate and unbalance focus on the inconsequential issue while trying to sidetrack from the more important issue of political persecution of a 16 year old boy.

Goh Meng Seng

MRT Mess - Failure of Leadership Appointment

The massive breakdown of MRT North South and East West lines has infuriated lots of Singaporeans. While PAP government, LTA and SMRT boast about how much improvement the train system since the new CEO has been appointed, numerous breakdowns big and small have been occurring over the years almost as a monthly or even weekly basis. This is despite of numerous increase of fare and pumping in of taxpayers' money into the train system.

What went wrong with the whole MRT system? We used to pride ourselves to have one of the world's most reliable subway system but now, we are suffering from a highly unreliable train system which is constantly breaking down or suffering from delays.

There are a few dimensions of this problem and one of it is of course the over population which inevitably over burden the system which was initially designed to serve only a population of 3 million. PAP's over ambitious and aggressive population policy has worn down the system faster than it was designed for.

Unfortunately, while the train system was facing such unprecedented over-strain, PAP government has appointed someone who may be good in retail business and well connected to the top powerful elites but has absolutely ZERO experience in running a train system. This woman, Saw Phaik Hwa, was the most disastrous CEO PAP Government has ever appointed and the fundamental root problems of the whole MRT system was nurtured and cultured during her era.

The only thing PAP and Saw had in their minds was to squeeze and milk maximum profits from the whole train system. While Saw was good in turning and transform space in many MRT stations into retail rental space which helps MRT to gain enormous profits out from rentals, but she had at the same time cut down maintenance budget for the train system in relative terms to further squeeze more profits. In fact, her whole management focus was on retail and maximizing profits. This could be seen from the various people she employed whom are her former colleagues or associates in retail business. In doing so, it is inevitable that maintenance standards has dropped drastically with more experienced staffs being replaced by cheaper foreign labour.

Imagine that while we are facing an over strained train system, lesser resources were channeled to maintenance services. This further aggravated the situation and it is only a matter of time the whole system will break down.

In short, MRT under Saw, with PAP blessing and approval, has gone overdrive to milk the whole MRT system in the expense of proper maintenance needs. This single minded pursue of profit maximization compromised safety and reliability of the whole train system.  

Thus, when MRT has its first major breakdown, all blames are pointed to Saw. Thus, Saw resigned and the rest is history.

When we thought that with the departure of Saw, PAP government would have learned their lesson and take public transport reliability as their top priority. In view of the challenging time SMRT was facing back in 2012, PAP government should have looked for somebody who really has the relevant experience in running a subway system to look into the teething technical maintenance problems but it failed in doing so.

Instead, PAP government put a formal Army Lieutenant General Desmond Quek who also has absolutely Zero experience in running a train system to be SMRT CEO. 

While the new CEO is good at boasting about how much improvement the train system is after he took over as CEO and increasing his own salary disproportionately to the growth of SMRT earnings, but by the hard true records shown on the list above, we are still facing INCREASING disruptions and annoying breakdowns of the train system! This is a fact and the problem may become worse when more MRT train services and lines are added into the whole system.

What Desmond Quek is seen to be good so far, is to constantly ask for more fare increment and injection of funds by the Government (LTA) while he continues to increase his million dollar salary.

Thus we can see the fundamental problem of MRT system very clearly. While there are external factors like explosion of population which causes the train system to wear out faster than it is designed for, the real fundamental problem is GREED in profit maximization and the totally unprofessional appointment and management of the top leadership by their own kakis.

SMRT is an important public entity to ensure our economic efficiency can be maintained with efficient and reliable mass public transport system. It should not become an entity for PAP government to "reward" their own people or for purely self serving profiteering agenda. Neither should it be a dumping ground for retired general with absolutely zero experiences in running such important public train transport system.

SMRT is not just any other company which you could just manage with your mouth or shifting resources here and there. It needs people who really understand the whole technical aspects of the train system and its operations to manage it effectively. No matter how smart you are or what a scholar you are or how good you are in maximizing profits, you will need to get the fundamentals right Reliability of the whole train system will affect the whole country's economic efficiency. This should not be taken too lightly

Up till now, from Saw to Quek,the results speak louder than anything else: they have BOTH FAILED in running SMRT effectively, FAILED to maintain its technical reliability despite of the fact that they were increasing their own salaries over their tenure.

No matter how much tax payers money PAP is willing to throw into this system, as long as they do not have the right person who knows the whole train system inside out, they are not going to get any reliable results out of such massive injection of funds.

Desmond Quek should be replaced immediately by someone who really have the wealth of professional experiences in running such a subway system so that the right talent and focus could be used to solve the current problems. Else, Singaporeans will have to continue to expect regular train break downs and disruptions as part and parcel of their lives.

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Voice of Conscience

Andrew Loh expressed frustration and disappointment that no MP, be it PAP or WP has made any comment on the torture, unfair treatment or cruel inhumane vindictive political persecution of AMOS.

I would like to share with him and all here why this is so. I was persuaded by many well meaning supporters and close associates not to comment or get involved in this Amos saga simply because they opined that I will lose support and votes from Singaporeans who may be either opposition supporters or middle ground voters.

Why so? Amos is seen as a rude and ungrateful spoilt brat by many Singaporeans and many of them hold the view that "he needs to be taught a good lesson " or "he deserves it".

It is indeed sad that our society and Nation at large has lost the sense of appropriateness, conscience, Rule of Law and human decency just because many of us are overwhelmed by disgust, annoyance, hatred or simply apathy.

Such common thinking resulted in a literal MOB RULE mindset in which these people would just want HARSH punishment towards spoilt brat Amos, disregarding whether what he has done warrant any criminal charges or imprisonment or worse, sending to IMH or 18 months of reformative centre detention... They might have wished Amos to be locked away with keys thrown away if they could!

The vindictive PAP Government feeds on such irrational sentiments of Mob Rule thinking and thus we ended up with a gungho aggressive AGC trying all administrative means to punish Amos in any ways they can, going into extremes in their vindictive political persecution of a 16 year old boy. They have totally Forgotten their role as legal officers is to uphold Rule of Law and not some political persecution of their masters.

And the sad thing is, most Singaporeans have stood by watching silently, condoning such vindictively cruel, inhumane and insanely disproportionate brutal assault on a 16 year old boy. Some have even cheered, clapped and urge the authority on such act!

Amos is not the one who is mentally sick. These people are the ones who are mentally sick.
The sad thing is that apart from a few politicians, most have lost their voice of conscience. They chose to keep quiet for fear of losing votes from the irrational Mob!

Personally I have received several private messages from supposedly opposition supporters who chastised me for taking part in the Protest against PAP Government's vindictive, inhumane and cruel political persecution and said Amos deserves it and I will lose support by fighting for him! Some have even openly attacked me as TRAITOR just because I participated in the protest held by foreigners, forgetting that it is human decency and pure conscience of Rule of Law which I am standing for.

These people view that a spoilt brat like Amos is more disgusting than a regime which will go all out to persecute a 16 year old with such extreme cruel and inhumane means!

A spoilt brat like Amos could do no big harm to anyone except annoying many people. What he deserves is just zero attention from all of us. But a Government which will break all backs to seek all possible administrative means, even trespassing the rule of law just to persecute Amos will do more harm to our nation!

It has destroyed Rule of Law, instilled fear which curtailed free speech and worse, destroyed trust in our legal system!

Instead of taking the stance to stop all these nonsense from such fanatical move by PAP Government to extract maximum punishment from a naive and ignorant spoilt brat, both PAP and opposition MPs have chosen to remain silent.

Instead of taking the lead to show leadership in putting sense and reasons into people's mind of proper balance and moderation, they decided to allow PAP Government to feed on and perpetuated Mob Rule!

Instead of standing up and be opinion makers and leaders, they have chosen to hide cowardly behind perceived safety of populist Mob mentality.

This is the sorry state of affairs in Singapore, so much so that foreign observers and activists have to wonder what has happened to our country whereby those who are supposed to fight for the well being and rights of the people, suppose to be leaders of the people, have become enslaved by that little ballot box!

I know I am going to be attacked by many people again for making this post but heck it. If I have to lose my voice of conscience in exchange for enough votes to win Elections, then I would rather not have such support and prepared not to win Elections. I would rather keep my soul and conscience intact than go into parliament with an empty heart.

Goh  Meng Seng

Friday, June 12, 2015


Despite of numerous pleads from supporters and friends who fear that I might lose votes from those who think it is not appropriate for anyone to discuss about the Mt Kinabalu tragedy or "blame" anyone because it is some "unforeseeable natural disaster", I have persisted in putting the records straight that 12 year old kids are not supposed to be allowed on such "mountain climbing expedition".

Why? You may ask. Am I not afraid of losing votes when my detractors will capitalize on this and paint me as heartlessly politicizing this tragedy?

When I heard about the tragedy of 12 year old students dead from the earthquake while on "mountain climbing expedition", my first reaction is "that is insane to send 12 year old kids to climb mountain!". It is a natural quick reflex reaction from a person who have not only go on quite a number of mountain climbing expedition but who has actually led such expeditions.

When I watch the video of the happy and cheerful victim making her last farewell video before the tragedy happened, I was devastated. She was just like my own 12 year old daughter! Always happy and cheerful whenever she went on some excursions. However, this is no ordinary "excursion" but some crazy ambitious outdoor expedition that was not meant for 12 year old kids!

I felt extremely sad but at the same time, extremely angry with the irresponsible decisions made by those people up there.

I will put it plainly, between risk losing my elections or putting more innocent young kids to risk their lives to some activities that some silly MOE allows to happen, I would rather risk losing my Elections than allowing MOE continue to white wash their responsibility off and carry on putting young lives to take unnecessary risks.

MOE and its Minister are not just brushing off their responsibility by trying to repeat that this is just "natural disaster" and "there is no fatal incident for the past Mt Kinabalu expedition", subtly implying that there is nothing wrong for MOE to approve such activities for 12 year old kids.

Furthermore, Minister Heng Swee Keat's open statement which says that the Mt Kinabalu climb is not "challenging" really made me extremely mad. He must have asked some people from his ministry to do some "research" on Mt Kinabalu climb and the common stance is that it is not "technically challenging" because you do not need to use special mountaineering gear or equipment to climb Mt Kinabalu. However that doesn't mean that such climb is not "risky" at all! Thus such statement from the Minister is totally misleading.

In the bid to wash off their responsibility, MOE and its Minister have unwittingly and stupidly spread the misinformation to Singaporeans who may not understand what mountain climbing is all about. This may lead to more Singaporean kids being sent to take unnecessary high risk to participate in such risky activities! That is why I find it totally necessary to stand up and fight against such propaganda of misinformation else we will be risking more young lives like my daughter!

Most people said to me, "Can you wait until the funeral or grieving period is over?" I wish I could but not with such pervasive propaganda by the Main Stream Media under PAP's control. The poison of such misinformation would have spread too widely, too deeply.

Never mind if people misunderstood me as being "disrespectful" to the dead. No amount of "SHOW of Respect" can resurrect them. The only good thing I can do for the dead is to prevent such misinformation to poison Singaporeans' mind and to save many other young kids from being put to such unnecessary high risk activities to put their lives in danger. I hope the dead students and teachers in this insane expedition can forgive me for being vocal during this period in performing my duty and role.

I will continue to blast MOE and the Minister until they wake up their bloody idea. They have to recognize and admit that sending groups of 12 year old kids to climb Mount Kinabalu is totally wrong in putting them to unnecessary high risk. Else I will continue to drum into their thick skull until they change their policy stance.

I sincerely hope all other Singaporeans who share the same view as me will stand together and press on, by writing and voicing out against such insanity and propaganda of misinformation by PAP. Let us get this straight to PAP, don't mess around with our children's lives!

Risk of Climbing Mount Kinabalu

I have roughly gone through the THREE main risks of climbing Mount Kinabalu and I shall elaborate more here.

1) Wet Weather

On top of any mountain which is 1000m and above, it will always be WET in the morning. Many climbers have stated in their writing that it started to drizzle or rain during the early morning climb to the summit. Actually that may not really be "rain" but just "condensation" during "dew time" whereby the sudden drop in temperature in the atmosphere will result in a condensation of water vapor droplets in the cloud or atmosphere. These will turn into water droplets and drizzle down onto the mountain. This is also the source of water for the many rivers and streams running down from the mountain.

Such condensation will make everything wet on the mountain and couple with the granite rocky path leading towards the peak, this will make the climb extremely slippery. Most of the time the climbers started very early in the morning (2 am) so to catch the sunrise and thus, you just imagine walking uphill along such slippery rocky path in the darkness with sharp rocks everywhere along the climb. Is that risky?

As Kinabalu is situated in tropical region, humidity in the atmosphere is high and thus, you should expect such wet situation every morning without fail.

2) Thinning of Air and Altitude Sickness

At the height of 4095m, the thinning of air and thus reduced oxygen is a real challenge to many people. When your lungs lack oxygen, your heart beats will rise, your brain lacks oxygen, your mind will become lethargic and reactions to situation will be compromised.

Even when you do not suffer from altitude sickness, your body coordination will be compromised. And if you are expected to climb that slippery rocky path, the risk is actually much higher than most people think.

3) For any mountain climbing, the more hidden risk lies in the descending part. This is because after the climb of the summit, there will always be the feel of excitement and joy. On top of that, due to the effect of gravity, people normally thought that the descend should be "easy". However the strain on the knees and ankles is the greatest when you descend and if you are not careful enough, you may just slip and fall down the path. And if the descend is made in the morning, the initial descend will be faced with slippery path.

Most serious injuries to the knees and ankles are suffered during the descend.

These are the basic inherent risks which mountain climbing will have and that is why mountain climbing of certain height will always be considered as medium-high to high risk.

For Kinabalu, despite of what many people say of such "easy climb" or "technically not challenging", it will still be considered as High Risk to me basically because of its height and natural elements. This is especially so for young children of 12 years old

Goh  Meng Seng

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mountain Climbing not for 12 year old kids!

 The Trekking at Mount Kinabalu

First and foremost, my deepest condolences to the families of the students and teacher who died from the Sabah Mount Kinabalu Earthquake. I believe those students and teachers who survived the tragedy must have suffered tremendous trauma and I hope that psychiatrists are sent to provide the necessary counseling to help them overcome their traumatic shocks and pain.

This article does not seek to pin point the fault of earthquake death to anyone. It is true that no matter if you are adult or a child, you are subjected to the same risk to death from such sudden act of nature. However, there is really much to fault MOE and the school for approving or allowing 12 year old kids to go on such "Mountain Climbing Expedition".

The common excuse given was that the Primary School has been conducting this expeditions for the past few years without incidents, so we should assume there is nothing wrong in having such expedition for 12 year old kids. This is absolutely wrong argument to deflect responsibility for both MOE and the school. It is like saying you have won a few rounds from Casino and thus, gambling in Casino is absolutely safe!

The other flawed argument is that when we walk on the street, we also face risk of being injured or killed by car or other accidents. The key thing is, you do not have a choice to face such risk in our daily life but we do have the choice whether to allow our young 12 year old kids to face unnecessary risks for such expedition!

Some people say that we do not want to cultivate kiasu kiasi (timidity and cowardice) people so we should continue to support such expedition for 12 year old kids. This is totally wrong perspective. We should not cultivate the mindset of recklessness in the bid to look for gungho (overly tough) training for our kids! We should cultivate the middle path, to take calculated risks and how to deal with risks.

What is risk? What is Risk assessment and management?

We face risk everyday, with or without knowing it. Some risks we can afford or mitigate it with some training or preparation (like teaching kids how to cross roads, take public transport, take escalator...etc). But there are some risks cannot be mitigated due to age. Eg. Driving for 12 year old.

Age may be a multiplier for risk factor. Eg. asking an 80 year old man or 12 year old kid to climb mountain as compared to 20 year old man. Why 12 year old kid is unsuitable for mountain climbing in general?

I have been active in outdoor adventurous activities in my younger days and I have brought a number of groups of students of age 17 to 18 to climb mountains. As trainer, instructor and leader of such expedition is always taxing because you know that you are responsible for more than 10 young lives. Their parents have entrusted you their lives and expect you to deliver them back, safe and stronger.

Ironically, as an adventurer, we have to be extremely paranoid when it comes to planning and putting up safety measures and contingencies. First criteria for a safe and meaningful expedition, is to have only suitable participants for the trip. They must not only be physically and medically fit, but also mentally prepared for all sorts of emergencies. As the leader of the expedition, we have to believe in Murphy's Law, what can go wrong, will go wrong.

Participants for mountain climbing expedition must also be able to take care of themselves as well as others, in times of need. They must be able to conduct first aid, search and rescue mission plus evacuation on their own. They must learn jungle survival if they are lost or stuck in the jungle for whatever reasons. Instructors and leader of the expedition are also human and unfortunate things may also happen to us; be it injury, comma, death or otherwise. The participants are expected to have the ability to save our lives as well!

On top of strenuous physical training, there are a whole list of skills for participants to learn (rope skills, jungle survival, first aid, evacuation drill, map reading, contingency drills etc etc) and those instructors are expected to know their stuffs as well. They are not just some "lobo" nannies but expected to be proficient in the various skills as well.

Thus I was surprised that 12 year old kids were allowed to take part in mountain climbing expedition to Mount Kinabalu! They would have failed the basic fundamental risk assessment of being unsuitable participants. They do not have the necessary physical and mental build to deal with any emergencies, least making evacuation plan.

There are a list of outdoor activities with different risk levels and for 12 year old kids, they should not be involved in high risk or even medium risk outdoor activities. Risk level for outdoor activities depend on quite a number of factors which include, but not limited to, the following:

1) Place of conduct. Is it under controlled environment with easy access to main evacuation routes? Isit deep in the forest, high up the mountain?

2) Terrain. Is the terrain easy or tough? Water? Height? Rocky? Thick forestation? Generally speaking, terrain with water is considered medium to high risk. A 12 year old kid may know how to swim well in a controlled environment like swimming pool but the risk factor will definitely be extremely higher when it comes to sea, with uncontrollable natural forces like under current. Physical strength will be vital for survival if the undercurrent is strong. Thus, age plays a very important role in risk assessment. Similarly, for steep mountain climbing, age will matter a lot because unlike simple flat terrain trekking, going up and down the ridges add risk of falling to death or injury. Most 12 year old kids have not developed their body fully and the risk of falling off the trail gets higher.

It may look deceivingly easy and safe, but it is not.

3) Weather. Adverse weather has different impact on people of different ages. Young kids are more prone to slip and fall during wet weather.

4) Preparedness. Are participants well trained and prepared for the activity? Are the instructors well trained to deal with emergencies and contingencies?

I do not object the idea of cultivating our young ones with outdoor activities. However, we must also select the appropriate activities for such cultivation, in accordance to the participants' physical and mental capabilities and development

Even for my Ventures and Rovers scout troop which consisted of 17 to 18 years old JC students, we start right from the basics instead of jumping right into relatively higher risk mountain climbing expedition. A progressive training process is planned, right from simple camp craft learning, rope skills, map reading, jungle survival, first aid, simple leisure camp, annual training camp, then towards training for mountain expedition...etc. This process may take up 9 months.

For the instructors, we will have to do recce of the site, meaning, we have to conduct our own climb along the route a few weeks before the actual climb. This was done no matter how familiar we were with the mountain because terrain may change drastically over short period of time.

So if anyone tell me these 12 year old kids are suitable to climb Mount Kinabalu because they have gone through some 3 months of physical training, I say you must be either kidding or insane.

This is what Mountain Climbing at Mt Kinabalu is all about

In my view, these 12 year old kids have neither the required physical and mental build, nor the necessary training to go for this mountain climbing expedition. They are only suitable for the low risk camping activity in controlled environment aka, a designated campsite.

If the idea is about "leadership training", there is no necessity to go for a mountain climbing expedition. In fact, mountain climbing does not provide much "leadership training" as compared to a properly conducted training camp in a designated campsite. It is through such training camp, with a higher level of difficulty, that we select the new generation of leaders to lead our scout troop. We do not identify or choose the new leaders through the mountain climbing expedition.

The list of outdoor activities with different degree of risk levels are as follows:

Low Risk

Camping in school compound
Camping at designated campsites on Singapore mainland
Trekking along flat and less dense forested terrain, near to road access 

Intermediate risk

Camping at campsites off Singapore mainland (outlying islands)
Camping on small hills
Trekking along slightly dense forested terrain with uphills and downhills., away from road access.

 Medium Risk

Canoeing at reservoirs
Swimming in lagoons with safety net
Camping overseas
Trekking along dense forested terrain deep in the forest
Mountain climbing of less than 500m in height take less than 2 days 1 night

Medium High Risk

Canoeing along the Coast of small islands take less than half a day 
Swimming in pools with waterfalls or rocky features
Mountain Climbing of less than 1500m not more than 3 days 2 nights

High Risk

Mountain climbing of height above 1500m taking more than 3 days 2 nights
Swimming in open sea with high waves

The dangerous Ferrata (see here about Ferrata routes) climb which the students are said to be climbing. The simplest Ferrata route includes the following:

1. Walk the Torque

This is a shorter and simpler version of the ferrata and can be completed leisurely within 2-3 hours. Length of route is only 430m. You’ll still get a taste of the ferrata and get to try out a few obstacles such as the  2 cable Monkey bridge,  Tyrolean traverse &  Balancing beam (you’ll get to do all these in the low’s peak circuit too!)

The number of days you spent in the wild will also increase your risk exponentially, mainly due to fatigue which will result in loss of focus and concentration power of the mind. Age will also matter. For example, if you put a 12 year old kid to enroll in activity which may be medium risk, the nature of risk may just shoot up to become HIGH RISK instead. Thus it is only wise for planners to choose their activities carefully in accordance to the age of participants.

I do not think 12 year old kids are ready for any activity which is in the category of medium risk or above as we need to take into consideration that due to their age, the risk factor may just increase exponentially. In my view, they are only suitable for intermediate risk and below, which may be considered as medium to medium high risk to them already.

Thus you see that to allow 12 year old kids to go for Mount Kinabalu climb is to put them on extremely high risk outdoor activity. Is it prudent for MOE to approve such activity for Primary school kids?

I seriously wonder how MOE do their risk assessment. Are they totally ignorant of the multiplying effect of risk due to young age for such outdoor activities? Are they totally ignorant of the risk involved in mountain climbing? Height and gravity can kill! Not to mention rocky mountains!  Are MOE so naive to believe fully on commercial information of tour agencies without doing their own due diligence by engaging independent expert knowledge or assessment? Are MOE so silly to believe that 12 year old kids are fit to climb mountain when SAF only enlist males for National Service at 16?

MOE has the greatest responsibility as the gate keeper of safety for any excursions conducted by schools, especially Primary Schools. It owes its responsibility to the parents who entrusted them the lives of their children. It is ironic that as an education ministry,  it doesn't understand the limitation of age and the need of progressive cultivation at all. Allowing students with unsuitable age to engage in high risk mountain climbing activity without any progressive training is totally irresponsible and unacceptable. That is totally insane.

Risk management is to mitigate or reduce risk. Even my 12 year old daughter understands that. But to send 12 year old kids to high risk mountain climbing expedition is not reducing risk but instead, increasing their risks to unacceptable level!

I hope MOE should stop all these nonsense immediately. I would grudgingly agree to let students of 16 years old to engage in intermediate mountain climbing (I started my first mountain climbing at 16 as well) but for any age below that, it is definitely a big no. Even for that age, a progressive training program should be put in place to prepare students for the climb.

For those who keep defending MOE or the school for such insanity, think twice before you do say anything silly. Would you dare to try it out yourself or send your 12 year old kids for Mount Kinablalu climb again? If yes, good luck to you. You will really need that.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, May 25, 2015

Answers to my Detractors At Anyhowhatum Blog

Credit: Photo by SPH during GE2011

The following are the answers I have given to the critical questions posted to me by one of the my detractors, blogger at

I hope these answers which I have given could address most of the common doubts and questions most people have in mind about me and People's Power Party.

1. Mr Goh you've made quite a few remarks about some aspects of the Worker's Party's style or methods. And to be blunt, some have quite a sting in them. You were of course a former member and stood on their ticket, and people assume that you left in a huff or with acrimony. Did you leave the WP on a good note or were you forced out? (Here it depends how you answer, but i'll assume it's not on very bad terms)

If you feel that some of the remarks are stinging, then you should ask yourself whether it is really relevant with good reasoning or not. If it is just some irrational ranting, then it should not be stinging, right? 

What do you expect from a politician? Do you expect him to be loyal only to their own party affiliations or to the people and Nation? Especially when there are public interests involved, do you just expect politicians just close both eyes because it involves his own party affiliations or do you expect him to stand firm and defend public interests? These are the fundamental questions we should ask ourselves and we have been unhappy about PAP MPs all this while because we feel that they are more concerned about their own party’s interests rather than ours, the voters. Similarly, when it comes to pertinent questions of competency or even integrity, should we do the same as PAP people and keep absolute silence over such issues which may implicate opposition party like WP?

I have explained in quite a number of posts on my blog, I chose to leave WP because of the mistake I have made on the internet which was conceived as damaging to WP’s image. However, this incident has also highlighted the differences I have with WP leadership over internet engagement policy. I chose to leave on my own, without pressure from anyone, because I do not want to create any disruption on WP’s progress just because of this issue.

The exit is cordial, no hard feelings.

2. If that's the case, why then do you express displeasure at the way they do things? Of course I'm not suggesting that every time you speak it's anti-WP, but people tend to remember this more. (again you batted this away - like a baseball player)

As explained in my answer to your first question, it is about Public Interests. You should observe that every comment made is all about public interests; i.e. whether public funds are used appropriately, management of TC is done appropriately, integrity of those people in public office etc.

This is why I have written into my party, People’s Power Party, the important Core Values which we believe in:, namely, Public Service, Integrity, Honesty etc etc. If you view it as “anti-WP”, then I cannot help it. As far as I am concerned, it is “Pro-People” and “Pro-Public Interests”. I could of course, like many other opposition activists, chose to keep quiet over this just in fear of losing votes from hardcore opposition supporters, but I guess that is unhealthy and opportunistic. It would mean that when something wrong happens to my own party’s management of public entities, if we ever win any seats, I will also try to do a hush hush cover up or just protect the party at all cost, instead of being transparent and accountable for whatever mistakes we have made. Do you want me to become like this?

Integrity is something easy to talk about but not so easy practice. It means that even if nobody is watching, you will not steal. Regardless of what situations, you should always be upright in your Speech, Thought and Actions. It means that regardless of who makes the mistakes, even if it is King, Queen, Emperor, own family members or own people with the same political affiliations, you should always speak up without fear or favour, bravely on what’s wrong, what’s right and what should be done or avoided.

I come into opposition politics not merely because I am “Anti-PAP” but rather, I take it as public service and for public service to work towards the welfare of the people and Nation, instead of merely taking side, irrationally and irresponsibly, with any people. My answer may disappoint a lot of hardcore opposition supporters but this is what I am, who I am. If you really do not agree with me or believe in my principles on this basic fundamental position, then you have the right not to vote for me.

3. The point is Mr Goh, no 1 faults you for speaking your mind, but the thing to remember and I'm sure you'll be the 1st to admit, the PAP are very kiasu (or even kiasi). Every small mistake the opposition make, they on it like a flash. They control every aspect of the media, and these things are made into a huge issue. The media not only reports it, they dissect it, examine it, analyse it and even offer opinions on it - unfavourable of course. So the perception is that you bear a grudge against the WP, and by doing so, you're just helping the PAP out. How would you respond to these assumptions/perceptions?

It is actually very simple to deal with such thing. If there is a problem or a mistake is made, just admit it, apologize and promise not to make the same mistake again. There is really no need to take overly defensive position. Just like YSL saga, up till now, we do not know exactly what happened. How can like that?

When it comes to management of public entity, whether we like it or not, accountability and transparency are of utmost important. When there is a question of “integrity”, then it must be addressed thoroughly. But look at how WP treated the whole issue of integrity when LTK has first promised to investigate on why the contractor has not done according to contract but went on to request additional payment from hawkers for scaffolding but later on, retracted this promise and said no investigation is needed. Do we opposition has any moral high ground left when we want to demand transparency and accountability from PAP?

PAP may be politicking to the dot by exploiting WP’s weaknesses but that is beside the point. If WP was able to handle the issue in an appropriate manner, with full transparency and accountability, I do not think PAP could win anything from such politicking.

We opposition people have been harping on PAP’s mistakes as well and New Media is no where inferior than PAP’s controlled MSM. But if you have observed very carefully, PAP has evolved from previous aloofness in treating or ignoring these attacks from New Media as “mere ranting”, to a position of taking serious actions against those “mistakes” exploded on New Media. In fact, they have taken quick reactions to some of the flaws or mistakes exposed on New Media.

My point is this, ths is fair game. Democracy is built upon the premise that Human Beings cannot be trusted with power (any form of power, be it small or big) because over time, Power corrupts, Absolute Power corrupts absolutely. Thus the system of Democracy is based on separation of Powers so that effective checks and balances could be installed. As for politicians involved, we should learn to understand that we should not put 100% trust on anyone of them, including me. Only through active citizenry whereby mistakes and scandals are exposed and people responsible for these are brought to shame, then we can be sure that power, in any form, is not being abused by those in public office.

As far as I am concerned, regardless of black cat, white cat or blue cat, whoever steals, is bad cat. Whichever catches the rat, is good cat. Whichever sleep on its job, is lazy cat. My loyalty only goes to the people and Nation, so to make sure that good cats are maintained in public service. If any cat has turned lazy or bad, then kick them out, no matter who they are, which party they come from.

4. Of course when you briefly quit politics, it's quite alright to speak out about what ails the opposition parties, I notice you've also not been endearing to your former party (which you led) - NSP. But now that you've formed a new party, will you hold back your fire? Unless of course you end up in a 3 horse race, where you have to show the voters there, the difference between you and whichever opposition party contests there, and also against the PAP obviously.

For people who are already in public office, we have to use higher standards to keep them on their toes. For others, we compete on strength, characters and ideas or ideals we can offer. Some people feel that as opposition party leader or member, we shall not speak ill of other opposition party for two reasons:

1) Opposition Unity
2) Self serving

But look at this from another way. Is there any concrete “Opposition Unity” in the first place? WP has declared openly that they will walk their own path. So could there be “Opposition Unity” without WP’s involvement?

Attacking PAP is not considered “self serving” but attacking on other opposition party is considered as self serving? If there is a three corner or multi-corner fights, then you are suggesting that it is alright for me to say bad things against the other opposition parties because we are in direct contest. However, if there is no direct contest, I should not say anything bad about other opposition party’s mistakes made? It is more self serving and opportunistic to choose to say bad things about those who contest against you while keeping quiet when they do not!

Let’s say PAP lost power and WP became the ruling party. So now what? Do we continue to whack PAP but defend WP’s mistakes due to inexperience all the while?

My point is simple, if your actions are dictated by your self interests as well as the elusive “opposition unity”, then you will most probably misplaced Public Interests to be inconsequential. And this is the whole point of engaging in politics, be it opposition or PAP or otherwise. You should have your heart placed at the right place:- Public Service and thus, to safeguard Public Interests.

5. Which brings me to the next question - As you know there's a core opposition vote everywhere - even 'The Slipper Man (remember him?) managed to retain his deposit in a 1 v 1 fight. But since there's only like 27 actual contests (no thanks to the GRCs), maybe the next election we might see 30 contests, finding an empty constituency is going to be hard. The fear is that 3 or 4 horse races dilute the core opposition votes, and also the crucial swing or neutral votes needed to cross the line. Your party being the newest could face a voter backlash, have you considered that?

As long as the total number of candidates from opposition does not overflow, there should not be multi-corner fights. But if there are parties which try to increase their number of candidates, then multi-corner fights are unavoidable. The fundamental problem lies with the total number of candidates, not total number of opposition parties.

If there is really going to be multi-corner fights, then it is about time for voters, especially hardcore opposition supporters, to learn to vote with a discerning mind. It will no longer about PAP vs Opposition. It is not about that superficial “branding”. If opposition supporters just vote according to superficial “branding” instead of scrutinizing the strength and weaknesses of each individual candidate put up for contest, then they are encouraging big brand party to field their candidates irresponsibly! If all opposition supporters learn to vote responsibly, with the aim to choose the GOOD people whom they could trust to bring value and contributions towards the Democratic cause, then there should not be any “dilution” of votes. Unfortunately this would mean other opposition candidates will have to lose their election deposits, so be it. In the long run, it will help to shape the political landscape; political parties should not anyhow put up candidates to contest in multi-corner fights as there is a price to pay.

As for our party PPP, it may be new but it is run by people with years of experiences and most importantly, people with their minds and hearts put in the right place for Singapore with a set of strong Core Values and Political Beliefs. My personal motive in getting back into partisan politics again is to make sure that people who have the competency, capability and
most importantly, the right attitudes, core values and political beliefs to get into Public Service as opposition MPs. In short, a gatekeeper to ensure good people are fielded while keeping out those dubious ones. The rest is up to voters like you. If we lost badly, so be it. We will respect voters’ choice but the lost is not merely ours alone. But we believe opposition supporters would be wise enough to vote for the interests of the Nation, not merely for “party loyalty”. The era of “putting a donkey up and you will get my vote” should be over. We should evolve into a more discerning and sophisticated lot in order to advance for a more matured Democracy.

In short, I will do my best for the public interests of Singapore and I hope opposition voters will do the same, vote for the public interests of Singapore too.

6. Of course we all hope there could be opposition unity, but if push comes to shove, are you prepared to take the plunge and have a 3 way contest?

It is a premature hypothetical question. As far as I could, I will try to avoid 3 corner contests. But if I can’t, then I will have to assess the candidates sent by the other opposition party, whether they are really better choice than ours, objectively speaking. If they are truly people of caliber and we believe they have something to contribute to parliamentary debates, we will avoid. If not, we will stand firmly on our ground. For those parties who refuse to reveal their candidates, then it could only mean that they do not take such electoral contest seriously at all. We will ignore them and continue with our contest.

7. And what about losing your deposits, surely you'll have to consider that too? The amount here is outrageous, don't you agree?

It is too premature to assume we will lose our deposits. But if we do lose our deposits, so be it. As I have said, we will respect the choice of voters. No regrets.

8. Ok you've explained why you've come back into politics, speaking to TOC and TRE (video interview correct?) The thing I'd like to know, is why did you leave the NSP in the 1st place? I mean it's very normal for a leader to step down or face a challenge after losing a general election, but that doesn't mean he should actually quit the party. Take Ian Duncan-Smith, William Hague or Edward Heath in the UK. Conservative leaders, lost the election but remained in party as MPs. Even Tengku Razaleigh in Malaysia, he's still an MP despite losing the leadership challenge. Shouldn't you just have stepped down as leader but remained in the party? And you could still come back as a candidate under their banner for the next GE.

If you have a strong guiding principle of Public Service, then you will understand why I left and why I decided to come back now.

I joined opposition politics via WP in 2001 with two things in mind. I have told my wife to give me 15 years and I will try to achieve two fundamental goals:

1) Help opposition to Breach the First GRC fortress
2) Deprive PAP of two third majority

But this should never be at the expense of public interests; I am intolerable of issues of integrity and incompetency.

After GE2011, Hazel wanted to take over the SG post of NSP. I do not think it is a good idea for her to take over because of her lack of experience in running a political party. Running a political party is very different from running a business entity. It needs special skill sets. Besides, she was pretty new to NSP. I could have stopped her if I had contested for the SG post as well but it may create tensions even before the group of people who have just joined NSP could have the chance to integrate with the other party members.

In considering the situation back then, I was extremely happy that opposition, through WP, has finally breached PAP’s GRC fortress in Aljunied GRC. The first milestone I have set for my 15 years of participation has come to fruition. My assessment back then was that I have confidence in WP to maintain the momentum garnered from this initial success and thus, the second milestone of depriving PAP the two third majority would most probably happened in the coming GE. By the next GE, my 15 years “contract” would have expired!

Thus, after much consideration and in view of the achievement of the first milestone plus giving NSP a chance of preventing premature crack or break right after GE, I decided to take a step back and go into partisan sabbatical.

By taking a step back, I see my role as political observer and I should become non-partisan in order to put up my views as independent. It would be wonderful to be non-partisan political observer forever until I die but situation doesn’t allow me to have that luxury.

9. 1 other possibility for your new party to avoid 3 way contests is to of course join forces in a coalition with other parties like the SDA does. You could team up with say SingFirst, the DPP, even the SDA itself and all contest under 1 umbrella. Will you consider this option?

SDA platform is no longer effective without Chiam’s SPP. To create another platform of alliance will take time and it will not be possible for this round of GE. I am open to the idea for opposition parties to contest along COMMON POLICY PLATFORM instead. We find great similarities in some of the policies offered by different people or opposition parties. There are of course differences but we can put aside the differences in policy perspectives and concentrate on the common ground to put up a credible front against PAP’s current policies. I believe this is more important than forming an “Alliance of Convenience”. Naturally for parties who are wiling to collaborate on the common policy platform would not go into clash with each other.

10. If you don't mind, I would like to ask 2 questions which I slammed you for in my articles. The 1st was your leadership of the NSP in the last elections. Do you agree that you made some tactical mistakes -especially in Tampines? I have a few friends there, and they're pretty sore that you left it too late to attack Mah Bow Tan and the sky-rocketing HDB prices. You could have pulled an upset there if you focussed on it by sending an A team, or come very close, maybe even getting a NCMP seat. Do you agree you made a mistake, and will you do things differently this time and go for the jugular?

You are observing from a distance and thus, I do not blame you for your inaccurate assertions.

My attacks on MBT and HDB prices, started at least 9 months way ahead of GE. If you look at what I have written on my blog, you will realize that this is a step up deliberation on HDB issues. Timing was just right actually, to build up on public opinion just before polling day. Although it is really not easy initially to convince 85% of HDB flats owners that their flats should be cheaper, but I should say that the whole campaign on HDB has turned up well.

Even up till today, the strong consensus on HDB flat pricing is still emerging very strongly on all fronts. PAP MBT didn’t dare to hold a debate on HDB issues even I have challenged him three times over MSM!

As for the A team or not, I have already explained in my blog posts. I have offered Tony and Hazel to contest in Tampines, but they have declined. I have offered Nicole Seah to contest in Tampines, she has declined as well. I respect their decisions and I do not force people to do what they decided not to do.

It is on hindsight that people think Tampines is an “easy target”. Way before 2009, nobody hated MBT. Nobody talked about HDB issues. And MBT, as the Minister for MND, has naturally FORTIFIED Tampines with all sorts of upgrading projects. For those who live in Tampines would have noticed that right before GE2011, at every corner you turned in Tampines, you could see upgrading projects in process!

I would also remind you that for Tampines, since ever it became a GRC, opposition party contested there has never crossed 41%. PAP has gotten more than 73% in 2001 and 68% in 2006 respectively! I think it is unfair to expect my team to create a 19% vote swing from 31.5% in 2006 to win Tampines in GE2011! The average National vote swing was only 6%. And considering the fact that this result is a swing of 11.3% after a 10 year period of being under SDA which was a restrain on the development of NSP party’s branding back then, I feel that it is already a remarkable fight.

I should say that it should be clear to everybody that this Minister-Specific strategy which I have applied in GE2011 has shown results. PAP has never wanted to debate or fight on any specific policy issues during any elections. They would AVOID all policy debates or discussion AT ALL COST. They know that they would be cornered into a defensive mode if elections are fought along policy views. They will create distractions or simply ignore strong opposition challenges on any specific policy. I do not think I have made any tactical or strategic mistake here with regards to Tampines campaign, else, you and your friends won’t be feeling strongly that MBT and his team should be kicked out. And the fact is, even when MBT’s team won, MBT has been forced to relinquish his post as Minister for MND! I would say that we might not have won the whole battle, but at the very least, we have won half of the battle of getting rid of MBT as Minister!

For the coming GE, there are new issues and new strategy has been planned. It is not appropriate for me to reveal any details now as it is too premature to do so.

11. The other question is related too - your advice to Tan Kin Lian to run for the Presidency. His 5% not only lost him the deposit, but made Tony Tan President. Do you regret now advising him to run?

I do not think those (about 100K) who voted for Tan Kin Lian would have voted for Tan Chen Bock. Those who have voted for Tan Kin Lian are mostly die hard anti-PAP people who have lost their money during the mini-bond saga. Tan Chen Bock, as a PAP member back then, did nothing to help them or voice out for them. They would have either voted Tan Jee Say or simply spoilt their votes. Thus, it is rather presumptuous to assume that Kin Lian’s participation in the Presidential Elections has cost Tan Chen Bock his presidency.

On the other hand, I supported Kin Lian because he has shown that he is willing to step up to fight against injustice and unfairness during the Mini-Bond saga. Non of the other candidates have done so. In fact, some of the Mini-bond victims have gotten back some of their money because of Kin Lian’s efforts. Besides, Kin Lian was the first one to show any interests in Presidential Elections after the Mini-bond saga. He is never opportunistic in his approach and genuine in his intent to uphold social justice. I do not know much of other candidates but I know Kin Lian well in upholding the values he has put up. I believe in having a President who has strong beliefs and Core Values of honesty, integrity and fairness. If you ask me whether I will do it again to support Kin Lian as President, I will definitely do it again if Kin Lian ever wished to contest. I know Kin Lian isn’t political savvy in his projection of image but that’s also what I respect him for, being truthful to himself without much pretence on what he speaks. Elections, as I have said before, should be putting the RIGHT people, GOOD people into important position of power.

12. Of course such things made you quite unpopular with certain segments within the opposition camp. And you know lah Singaporeans, always have 'conspiracy theories' - some even say you're a PAP mole planted and encouraged to run to dilute the opposition! So are you a mole or Trojan Horse?

I do what I believe in as good for Singapore’s political aka democratic development. I do not take opportunistic view of “winning at all cost”; e.g. putting a donkey just for the sake of winning. I believe strongly in integrity, honesty, fairness and public service. I believe in helping or pushing people with GOOD characters, right attitude and hearts in the right place to serve the people into position of power. At times, I even hope that certain people should not have contested, not because of the lack of paper qualifications or any other reasons, but because I know of their character flaws or they have integrity problem. But in politics, I have to make compromises. For these strange bed fellows, I will not help them in any ways to win because I know that if they win, Singapore will be in great trouble.

At the end of the day, other people can say anything they want but my stance is pretty clear. Moles will not try to help to build opposition parties up, not only one party, but TWO opposition parties, from small ships into credible battleships in such a short span of time. Moles will not push for rebranding exercise of opposition parties, not one but TWO, with all sorts of suggestions and strategies to rebuild public confidence in opposition camp. Moles will not hit hard at the HARD SORE policy issues like HDB, which was the GREATEST POLITICAL CAPITAL of PAP which it has accumulated over 40 years! Well, I don’t think any moles would spend prolonged period of time and effort, in writing policy issues and hitting at the core of PAP’s incompetency.

I can only say, these people who really make up such conspiracy theories, should have their heads checked.

13. Ok I'll try to end it here with just a few more questions. Opposition politics is a lonely and hard road to travel, with so many pitfalls, not only does the PAP try to squeeze you and make the field very uneven, you end up having detractors (including myself) condemning you for your efforts. Do you regret it? Does your wife and family ever tell you, 'Ah Seng, sua lah, enough lah, just quit and be a private citizen?' Do you ever feel like giving up because of the hardships and lack of thanks?

I have no regrets, really. If people like you and PAP IBs ignore me, then it is clear that I am irrelevant. I do not blame you for writing bad things about me because I know you are not insider who will have privileged information to help you understand the greater whole picture. Politics isn’t simple, but it isn’t that complicated at all. Just keep your heart in the right place, do whatever you need to do with your conscience clear, then whatever other detractors say, are totally irrelevant. You cannot please everyone all the time. While I have detractors like you, but I also have strong supporters and following as well. You are my mirror to show me how people look at me. If I have free time like this, I will try to correct your wrong perception. If not, I will just leave it aside. Or I simply learn from you on how I could do better (though this is very rare). I draw strength from lots of people who have given me strong support and encouragement. People who can see exactly what I am trying to do and where I am coming from will have stronger believe in me, my strength and my team.

Every “revolutionary effort”, has always started from a small group of people, with a small group of supporters. In time to come, consistency will prove my point and consistency can only be achieved by having strong guiding beliefs, principles and a set of Core Values.

Well, for my immediate family, of course my wife and child would love to have their husband and father to spend more time with them. But they also know the importance of my political work and I am blessed to have their full support on all fronts. I am greatly indebted to them for their love and support. Most importantly, they are proud of what I have done and what I am doing as well. This is something that money cannot buy.

I have written a few articles in my blog about stories of my childhood. You should go and read it. I am not someone who will give up easily when the job isn’t done. In fact, I love challenges and fighting for social justice. And you must be mistaken. You may think that there are a lot of people who will hate me in Singapore but I am beginning to feel that you are the minority whenever I meet strangers on the streets who will wave at me, smile at me, shake my hand and even thank me and encourage me for the work I have done. It is not “thankless” to me. I felt touched by each of these encounters and this is the main reason for me to carry on fighting.

14. Assuming that you fail again - I'm not trying to put you down, but new party, 1st time of asking is quite an uphill task - just being realistic, supposing you fail again, will you keep plugging away like JBJ and Chiam have up to old age, or is there a time frame where you will hang up your boots?

When Chiam left SDP in 1997 and contested in a newly formed SPP, he won. This was because he was no stranger and he was an MP. I cannot say I am as popular as Chiam but I am confident in myself and my team. Not many people in opposition have all the relevant experiences and skills in running a party, lest running a whole election campaign proper. I am one of the very few who have hands on experiences in planning for campaign logistics as well as media management. Besides, I have a team, though small but with relevant skill sets and experiences, to help me out.

When I gave a briefing on PPP to all the founders and supporters, I have stated categorically that PPP will become the ruling party or part of ruling coalition one day. It may not happen during my lifetime but it will outlive all our founders and achieve that aim. This is because we have started it right, with the right Core Values, Political Ideologies, Philosophies and objectives all embedded in our Constitution.

15. Ok last question - national issues aside - opposition parties tend to overlook municipal issues, which are very important to voters. They want to be assured that a team can take over from the PAP and run the Town Council and their estate well. How confident are you in fulfilling this role, and do you have a team in place that can run the estate seamlessly?

Running a Town Council WAS NEVER AN ISSUE! SDP has run THREE Town Council back in early 1990s. WP has run its Hougang Twon Council for two decades! Why is it an issue now? You will really have to THINK REAL HARD, why do we have issues now when we don’t in the past?

Running Town Council is REALLY a NON ISSUE if you understand Separation of Powers to implement proper checks and balances. On top of that, you must also understand Conflict of interest and how to avoid it.

MPs’ MAIN CORE Job, is Parliamentary Debates, less of estate management. How many PAP MPs really know how to run an Estate? You just employ people with professional experiences and qualifications to do it while you are to ensure the system of management is in proper order with proper checks and balances through separation of powers. On top of that, prevent conflict of interests.

I think most of you have been misled by PAP to put all focus on TC management. This is what PAP wants you to focus on for the next GE, instead of those teething policy issues!

As for the pertinent question about whether I have a team of people who can manage the TC, yes, of course! You just need professional people with estate management experiences to run the TC, not some rocket scientist lah!

Goh Meng Seng

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Point by point Response to my Skeptics on PPP

My response I have put up on TRE

I thank you for all of your comments here. Most of your questions or concerns have been answered or covered in my video interview with TOC. Please wait for the release of the video for more detailed answers.

I am also writing a Chinese article on my blog, to put up the full perspective of my thoughts and political path I have chosen.

In short replies to all the criticism here, these are my main points:

1) I have plunged into opposition politics in 2001 because I felt the urgency to do so in view of the dangerous situation of the possibility of total wipe out of opposition back then. All other people like Sylvia Lim, Yaw Shin Leong, James Gomez,Lee Wai Leng etc all felt the same. There is nothing opportunistic about it.

2) We have the aim of breaking PAP's monopoly of power by first breaching the GRC fortress and secondly, depriving PAP two third majority.

3) I left WP because of the little mistake I made and also because I felt strongly that individual member should continue to learn to deal with new media effectively. Tilik has also left WP subsequently.

4) Nevertheless I have learned all the good practices from WP and subsequently, applied and experimented these in NSP with great success.

5) After GE2011, Hazel wanted to take over NSP SG post. Although I think it is really a bad idea but I finally agreed. In view of the overall good results of GE2011 for all opposition parties with WP achieving the First goal of breaching the GRC fortress, I believed opposition could achieve the second goal of one third seats pretty quickly. Thus, I decided to take a back seat and a sabbatical from frontline politics.

6) However, it was not long before WP got into a series of problems. These have inevitably shaken confidence of the middle ground voters in opposition.

7) NSP on the other hand, has also faced internal problems, resulting in the departure of Nicole Seah and Jeannette with some others. Many NSP members wanted me to go back to NSP initially but the mismanagement of the party has caused irreversible harm which I could not mend.

8) There are other parties inviting me to join. But I do not want to disrupt their management at this point of time.

9) I have decided to return to opposition politics because there is a real danger and possibility that a regression of the initial goals might just happened.

10) Rest be assured that I won't be contesting against WP in Aljunied. I am not someone who will rob the victims in the fire, even though I am intolerable of some of the things happening there.

11) On the other hand, in view of the Post-LKY era, it is an opportunity to initiate a full political discourse on whether the current system of concentration of power is sustainable or good for Singapore's stability in the long run.

12) We also need to rethink how Singapore should be governed differently, in a more balanced way.

13) Thus People's Power Party is created for a combination of reasons in need for the continue development of Singapore's democratic process.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, May 11, 2015

Do it Right for the People

I have written three little stories about my younger days and they may seem not to have any connections to anything but they do point to something very important and relevant to us now.

The three articles are as follows:

1) My Little Secret of My Past
2) My Wild Days
3) The Little Illegal Hawker in Politics

These articles sum up something very fundamental about me, the Core Values I hold as a person, as well as my empathy towards many people, especially towards Amos Yee.

These stories may not be unique to many of you out there, most likely sound rather familiar to many of you one way or another, and there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of our past. We live our lives as it is, the little mischievous things we did in our young wild days and the little battles we fought along our path of growing up. These are our footprints in life, big or small.

It is sad that PAP MPs and people are trying so hard to show how "NORMAL" they are, how "poor" they were in order to strike resonance with all of us. They got it wrong there. It is NOT some SOB Stories we need to come to the conclusions that they are one of us, they are like us. It is the VALUES which they hold and the EMPATHY or rather, the lack of all these, which make us think they are truly disconnected from the whole lot of us.

Their actions now, speak louder than their SOB stories. Their inability to empathize with us is glaring in their attempt to destroy the life of a naughty boy like Amos Yee. Didn't they have a REAL LIFE of wild days during their youthful days?

To be able to appreciate idealism, strong sense of social justice and upright characters is a blessing because most people most probably would have been too "corrupted" with the reality in life to view such as "naive youthful highfalutin idealism" after they grew older.

Even for someone like PM Lee, I would expect him to have his fair share of mischievous wild days of fun with distinct rebellious nature of youth, else, I am sad to say that, he has not lived his life well at all!

Ironically, I would say those who reported police over such trivial things done by a mischievous little boy are as mischievous, if not more as Amos Yee himself. No mature and sensible adults would have taken such mischievous acts by a little boy too seriously. They seriously have misplaced self righteousness.

Serious people will fight seriously for injustice or unfair treatments or welfare of the people generally at large. Just like I protested and fought for the mischievous student who might have his life destroyed by that police report made by the disciplinary master, or just pure angry retaliation against big bullies who bullied my friend. And serious people will fight on the matter of principles to defend the rights of democracy and its processes.

In contrast, only petty people fought against and find faults with a little mischievous boy. Yet, PAP people are trying to convince us that they are just like us... Is that a mischievous attempt to make us laugh?

The little illegal hawker in politics

It seems that PAP MPs and people are starting to showcase themselves as the "ordinary poor folks" in their bid to gain trust from common voters, basically saying "we are just like you". Citing their "poor family background" is their best attempt in trying to "get connect" to Singaporeans at large, despite the fact that they are so well paid nowadays.

Well I don't think they could ever "beat me" on putting up sad stories of their poor past. Living in rental flat is really nothing but imagine if a family of 10 squeezing into a rental flat with only 1 bed room? That's how my family lived in the 1970s.

My dad was a taxi driver but his income couldn't possibly cope with the family expenses. My parents failed to get a proper hawker license after numerous N times trying. Thus, our family became the family of illegal hawkers!

I became the youngest illegal hawker in the family at the age of 5. I would help my mom and dad to set up our little road side store to sell Nasi Lemak, Kuey, Otah, Bee Hoon etc. Business started from 5.45am till 9am or even later, depending on sales. Sometimes, we have to just grab our goods and run when the "Earth Bull" (environment officers) made their rounds to try and catch us.

When I got older, I started to do my rounds with two baskets full of food to sell it at the 20 storey flat next to ours, walking through each and every floor, yelling out "Otah Otah Otah Kuey, Nasi Lemak". On lucky days, I could sell everything I brought in the two baskets! But that was hard work. However, this has prepared me for the tedious political legwork, going through the flats knocking on every door.

Even my Primary School's classmates became my customers after they have tasted my parents' Nasi Lemak! I would take orders periodically and then get my dad to send me to school along with my 10s or even 20s packets of Nasi Lemak! Up till today, my primary school friends still remembered fondly about eating that delicious Nasi Lemak which they bought from this little illegal hawker in class!

In 2010 when NEA tried to hinder NSP's political outreach of selling newspaper, they used "illegal hawking" as the charge against us. During the CEC discussion of whether to just pay the fine and move on, I put up my strongest objection to pay the fine. I was ready to fight it out in court. I gave my most angered and passionate argument in CEC that I have been an illegal hawker since young and the illegal hawking law is specifically used against people who sell food. This is to ensure that basic hygiene standards are met for food hawkers and responsibility can be extracted if anything went wrong with the food sold.

I lived my young life as illegal hawker and understand that such illegal hawking is committed out of unfortunate circumstances which is aimed to earn enough money for our livelihood, to feed the many mouths we have in our families.

However, what we do as a political party, is political grassroot work, not illegal hawking. We do not need to go illegal hawking to keep ourselves alive! Our activity is purely political activity, not mere hawking. Thus if PAP government wanted to charge us for illegal hawking, I am prepared to go to court and fight it out, knowing that we will lose but this will let the whole world know that PAP is actually run by dictator who does not believe in Democracy. It is a total farce to allow political parties to register but ban them from conducting their legitimate political activity!

I am glad we stood firm on this principle else if we really paid the fine it would mean that all opposition parties will have to stop their legitimate political activity altogether. After getting this basic fundamental principle drawn clearly, all opposition parties benefit from this saga as they will no longer get harassed by the authorities for "illegal hawking" when they go around selling their newspapers.

Sometimes I feel that as politicians, we will need to stand firm when we feel that people are treated unfairly by the State. In this case, if we were unwilling to even fight for our rights to carrying out legitimate political activities, how could we expect ourselves to fight for rights and welfare of Singaporeans at large?


My Wild Days

When I first watched what Amos Yee said on YouTube, my first reactions were, Bo Tua Bo Shoi, no big no small, disrespectful with his barrage of vulgarity. This is even though I dislike Dictator like LKY, I still think what he has done was rude and disrespectful, crude.

But I do not feel what he has said is in any way sedition in nature.

Looking back at my younger days when I was at his age, I have my fair share of wild days. As expressed in my earlier post on my little secret of Unorthodox Hot Temper in my Primary School, strong characters and sense of Social Justice, I became more wild in River Valley.

I became the ACCIDENTAL Chairman of Student Council after the preceding Chairman was forced to resigned. On the outlook, I am the type quiet Mr Nice guy, obedient and never create trouble kind.I was Chosen by the discipline master to replace the Elected Chair and naturally, I resisted at first but accepted reluctantly eventually.

But this position didn't last long when the discipline master reported police over a case of vandalism whereby his car was scratched. He accused a student who was just disciplined by him for the crime.

I felt that was unacceptable when the police just arrested the student when there was just mere suspicion. This act would have ruined the life of this student if he would have a black mark on his record. Counselling should be the appropriate approach.

Anyway, I didn't confront the discipline master or principal directly. Just like Amos, I made use of the mass media but in a more subtle and sophisticated way.

I was a regular contributor to the young writer section of the Chinese papers Zaobao. I wrote a fictitious story which mock and insinuate the way of how the school authority handled this issue was totally unjust and inappropriate.

It was published and of course, my school's disciplinary Master wasn't that stupid and soon found out from his friend working in the papers that I was the one who wrote that article.

Eventually I resigned as the Chairman of Student Council and the rest is history.

Well, when I look back, I realize what I did back then wasn't that different from Amos, making use of the media to voice out the unhappiness of injustice. But we do not have internet nor YouTube and I wasn't rude at all, just naughty with that stink of sarcasm and mockery.

Yes, I believe most of us were wild before in our younger days. Just that time has changed and the mindset of the young ones nowadays is totally different from ours.

Who didn't have their wild days? 人不轻狂枉少年,if you Haven't been wild before, you must have wasted your youth. We just need to have that little bit of empathy towards the young people who have gone overboard in their wildness, light touch and most importantly educate and counsel them into taking the more proper path.

My Little Secret of My Past

Ok, since the PAP IBs have surfaced to show their impatience, I shall talk about this little secret of my past.

As you might have known, I come from a SAP school River Valley High but not many people know that I also come from a village Primary School which was full of gangsters. Incidentally, I just found out Lee Lilian is my junior from this Primary School!

I was usually a very quiet student indulging in my own world, thoughts and dreams. I might not be the top in class but my studies were pretty ok.

But there was another side of me and this was revealed by my FB friend. Beyond that "good student" look, I was and still am unorthodox and I have extremely hot temper back then.

The extremely strong sense of justice and fairness would invoke strong responses from my hot temper whenever injustice was uncovered.

Once, a little rascal gangster attacked a fellow friend and a prefect right after school on the street outside our school. My friend was pretty small size in body build and was hantum on the back. I raced towards the attacker and hit him back, gave chase after he tried to get away. My whole lot of prefects followed me and gave chase.

Well, naturally, the whole lot of us, almost all prefects, were called up by our discipline masters the next morning and were given a lengthy lecture, with hair being pulled and palms being hit by his ruler.... such punishment was considered "light" by any standards during that time!

But from that day onward, those little rascals from those gangster groups would stay away from us, the prefects, keeping a far distance while the leader of the pack, called for truce thereafter.

Ironically, I wasn't the head prefect but apparently, become the unorthodox leader of this group of prefects. I became the "Pai Kia" of the "Hor Kias"; "Gangster figurehead" of the "Good boys".

When I became the "accidental" Student Council Chairman in River Valley High, that great sense of "Social Justice" and Hot Headed Temper reigned again. But this time, with some sophistication. Let's leave this story for another time, another day.

This great sense of "Social Justice" has remained in me up till now, although my HOT Temper was subdued by my practice of Buddhism and meditation over the years.

But my "Cow Boy Pai Kia Ah Beng" character still has a great imprint on my characters nowadays, though mitigated with more wisdom and mindfulness. Beware if you want to provoke me; you may get that unorthodox backlash upon you if you really make me angry, although it is very difficult to achieve anger in me at my age.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

New Era of Political "Ground Work"

The Birth of New China was pushed by a Medical Doctor, Sun Yat Sen. Why would a Medical Doctor give up his medical practice and went into revolution? Dr Sun said, as a Medical Doctor, he could only heal the physical body of the people, but not the sufferings of people of China and the weakness of China. Thus he gave up his medical practice and turned into revolutionist who was determined to overthrow the Qing Dynasty to form the Republic, so to revolutionize China into a modern country.

However after his success of overthrowing the Qing Dynasty, he realized that the mindset of the general public was still stuck with the feudalistic system. Simple example like people still calling "万岁" (wishing 10000 years to the Emperor) and treating him like an Emperor. In fact, President Yuan wanted to revert back to Monarchy rule and declared himself as Emperor not long after Dr Sun stepped down to allow Yuan to succeed him as the President in compromise for setting up the Republic!

This is the historical lesson we should learn from the past. Revolutions or change of government will not be sustainable if the mindset of the general public has not changed. For any political contest, the tactical moves made to win seats is just a mere means to the bigger vision. You can swing public sentiments to support your party to win seats into parliament but without a strong fundamental foundation of mindset change, such victory will be short live.

Spreading of the ideas and ideals of Republic was slow and difficult in the early years of Dr Sun's success due to the lack of information infrastructure. But in this new era, social media and internet have revolutionalized political engagement and as opposition with little resources, we should make full use of such cheap, effective and efficient media to effect change of mindsets and political landscape.

Some people look down on the work of "keyboard warriors" but it is the combination of these "keyboard warriors" which has caused a rapid change of political landscapes in many countries, including Singapore.

There are people who accused politicians like me of "not doing ground work" as in physical knocking doors but little do they know that evangelism of political ideas through social media and internet is becoming more important to effect strong, fundamental change in voters' mindset. For example, the campaign on HDB prices would not be so effective if it is not for internet and social media.

"Political ground work" has a fundamental change from just a Public Relations and Visibility exercise like shaking hands and kissing babies on the ground to more time consuming political dialogues, intellectual engagement and political evangelism on the social media and internet.

This will become more important in the years to come whereby newbies will have to prove themselves by providing more convincing political views, debates and policy deliberation on the New media as voters are getting more educated and intellectually sophisticated.

Yes, there are still a substantial group of voters, mainly elderly voters, who will not log on to internet but their children and grand children with access to information from the internet will have great influence on them. The HDB debate was the greatest example in showing the enormous influence of social media.

Social media may be easily accessible, cheap, effective and efficient but it is still very time consuming. So please don't look down on the political work people do on social media in this era. The study which shows that Social Media has become equally influential as Main Stream Media has a lot implication on such political work on internet.