Saturday, July 31, 2010

Japan proves MM Lee WRONG!

MM Lee has claimed that no amount of Engineering could prevent floods.The Japanese has proven MM Lee WRONG.

The Japanese has started to build the G-Can, termed as "Underground Temple" to rid Tokyo of floods. This massive project which cost about S$4Billion was started in 1992 and completed in 2006. You can view more photos and read the introduction of G-Can here.

It has almost rid Tokyo of flooding due to typhoons and heavy rains. It is also believed that it could act as a massive underground bomb shelter.

You could read about the background information of this G-Can Underground Temple here.

Instead of letting GIC and Temasek Holdings losing billions of dollars in financial crisis, it will only cost us less than 10% of the total losses suffered by GIC and Temasek Holdings to engineer our way out of flooding. Tokyo is many times bigger than Singapore and I guess we should use less than the total amount of money needed for such project.

The following is a video in Japanese which show what will happen if such flood control measures like G-Can is not in place:

tokyo flooded
Uploaded by sokodoko44. - See video of the biggest web video personalities.

The video is part of a Japan government report warning that as many as 3,500 people could die in the event of such flooding. Water would also quickly flow into Tokyo’s subway network, putting as many as 97 stations out of commission.

Goh Meng Seng

Sunday, July 18, 2010

illegal hawker? My Story

In the past two weeks, when my party, National Solidarity Party, went on our usual political outreach on Sundays to promote our publication North Star, we were warned for illegal hawking and our Vice President Christopher Neo was eventually summoned for this offence of "illegal hawking". I shall not deal with the details of the case here but it is pretty bizarre that political activists who make sacrifice of their time and effort to be involved in public service of politics were charged for "illegal hawking".

It is pretty insulting actually. Most probably someone in National Environment Agency doesn't really know what exactly an illegal hawker is. I will illustrate what it means to be an illegal hawker here.

I am born in a poor family of 10. My parents have to feed and send 8 children to school. I am proud to say that my parents have given all they have to provide these 8 children the best education that each could achieve and that include sending 1 to polytechnic, 2 to local universities and 1 overseas.

They could only do that by becoming illegal hawkers. There is nothing shameful to admit that I was also an illegal hawker since I was 5 years old, helping my parents to mend our temporary "stall" or going around the flats to sell their lasi lemak, ottah kwei and bee hoon. I am the youngest and thus I have to help out in the morning before I go to school. I spent most of my holidays hawking these food "illegally". If there is anything PAP or ISD want to dig, this is the ONLY DIRT they could find about me, a young illegal hawker at the age of 5 till 11.

My parents have to wake up 3am in the morning to prepare all the food for sales to the morning working crowd.They have made a name for themselves in the neighbourhood for selling the delicious nasi lemak and dumplings. Pre-orders for dumplings during the festive season were in the tens and hundreds. Well, I did receive orders from my fellow Primary School classmates quite frequently as well. They still remember my parents' nasi lemak and will mention it each and every time without fail when we have our occasional reunions!

Beside helping out the sales, which trained me to be very quick in mental Maths calculation (yeah, that's why I scored full marks for my Maths in Primary school!), I have to help out with the carry of bags of chili and endure the strong smell of belachan when they prepare the chili for the nasi lemak. All 10 of us have to squeeze in a small two-room rental flat with only 1 bedroom.

Life was tough but enjoyable though. I enjoyed every minute of it, especially going up that 20 storey high flats to shout out "Ottah, Ottah kwei, Nasi Lemak!" Even the avoidance of the "dee gu" (law enforce officers from NEA) was just like hide and seek or playing catching for me.

My parents have tried to apply for hawker license many times but failed. They were not granted the license or any hawker stall at the market. But for survival sake, they have no choice but to become illegal hawkers to bring 8 children up and provide them with all the education they could get. If they haven't done that, there might be another 8 delinquent youngsters on the streets and eventually add on to the social problems of Singapore!

It was all pure hard work and determination of earning enough money to raise 8 children with proper education that make them carry on with that label "illegal hawkers". To me, I am proud of my parents for their dedication to us, their children. "Illegal hawkers"? Who cares! When the system fails to provide the adequate means for the family to survive, then we will have to find our own ways to survive.

Nobody wants to break the law unnecessarily. I do not view my parents as "law breakers" but rather survivors of the system on the fringe. They did not choose to cheat, rob or become criminals but just "illegal hawkers" to earn a living for all of us. When the survival of the family is at stake, you will have to find ways to fight the lesser evil of the law.

I write this to illustrate one very important point. As far as possible, we will be law abiding citizens. But when the circumstance is such that our survival is being threaten, the only way would be playing on the fringe of the law. The situation NSP and all other opposition parties are facing due to the inappropriate enforcement of "illegal hawking" law on us is pretty similar to my story.

The survival of NSP is being threaten now due to this "illegal hawking" summon. The only difference is that WE ARE NOT HAWKERS but VOLUNTEERS in Political Public Service. The law is inappropriately applied to us and it would mean that politically, NSP will face closure if its political activity of promoting its messages and publications are being curtailed.

Just today, I have met an old gentleman who accused us of appearing just before elections. I explained to him that we have been selling our North Star all around Singapore for years! PAP has always sneered at opposition parties by saying we only work when elections come. That is totally untrue and PAP knows it. Be it walkabout on the ground or various press releases on policies and current issues, NSP has been pretty active doing all these.

It is now NEA trying to curtail our political activism on the ground by issuing such silly summon of "illegal hawking". Choosing between becoming a totally law abiding of silly law which make us politically inactive and being an effective political party actively engaging the ground but risks being summoned as "illegal hawkers" by NEA, I would choose the later. I am not here to make NSP just a flower vase of PAP's farce pseudo Democracy. I am here to make NSP an effective party that would actively challenge and put proper checks and balances on PAP's dominance of power.

This is not only about the survival of NSP or any other opposition parties alone. It is about the sustainability of the healthy political development for Singapore. If there is a small price to be paid as being insulted as "illegal hawkers" by the unreasonable PAP's rule, so be it.

Goh Meng Seng

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sales of NSP North Star Online

We will continue to carry out our usual weekly political outreach on Sundays from this Sunday onwards.

On top of that, if you are unable to see us on the ground but very curious about what kind of publication the authority doesn't want us to sell on the ground, you could purchase a copy from our NSP website at the following address:

You could well purchase past copies as well from this site.

I hope that every supporters on the internet would purchase one copy and give us feedback if any.

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Minibond Saga in HK - Role of Democratic Pressures

The following is the news in Reuters on DBS paying compensation to Minibond victims in Hong Kong:

DBS Hong Kong to pay $84 mln in Lehman settlement

PRESS DIGEST - Hong Kong - July 14

DBS Group Holdings Limited
4:05pm GMT+0800
HONG KONG | Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:13am EDT
July 14 (Reuters) - DBS Hong Kong, a unit of Singapore's DBS Group Holdings (DBSM.SI), will pay out a combined HK$651 million ($84 million) to some buyers of Lehman Brothers constellation notes, the territory's financial regulator said on Wednesday.

Customers classified by the bank as having a low to medium risk profile would receive their money returned plus interest that would have been payable had it been placed in a fixed-term deposit, Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission said in a statement.

Investors in Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia who bought the product had lost their money after the U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers went under in 2008.

The constellation notes are credit-linked notes related to the collapsed U.S. bank. (Reporting by Kelvin Soh; Editing by Chris Lewis)

I have played a very small role in this Minibond Saga, both in Singapore and Hong Kong. But I am very glad that the Hong Kong Victims have finally get at least 60% to 70% compensation from the banks and financial institutions.

This is especially an important lesson for Singaporeans to understand how TRUE DEMOCRACY could work to their advantages in times of such crisis. The Hong Kongers have put great pressures on its government to make good of a settlement for the Minibond saga. This could only be possible with the help and pressure exerted by the Pan-Democratic Legislative Councilors (equivalent to our MPs in parliament) through the various hearings conducted by the Legco.

In Singapore, the government would prefer to protect the interests of the banks and financial institutions in such an ultra-capitalist manner basically because the government itself holds substantial shares in most of the local financial banks and institutions. It would be difficult for the government to be a good referee (i.e. regulator) as well as the main players (shareholders of these institutions). Naturally, the interests of investors would be compromised in the process.

This situation is further worsen by the fact that there is a lack of true checks and balances in parliament. In HK's case, the Legco enforce an equivalent of "Commission of Inquiry" to get civil servants from the Finance ministry as well as chiefs of those banking institutions to be questioned thoroughly. Such pressure has finally paid off by a reasonable settlement being made by getting the institutions to compensate up to 60% to 70% to their investors.

In great contrast, Singapore Minibond victims are left to their own peril. Whatever little effort the MAS puts up, the settlement is a sham which favors heavily to the financial institutions, with compensations as little as 10% only. The only consolation is that Great Eastern has willingly put up 100% compensation to its investors.

But we cannot trust and depend on the magnanimous acts of these institutions. We must have a system which could balance the interests of the masses vs the capitalists. We should not have a government that will face conflict of interests in this case, to act responsibly and fairly.

It is an important lesson of the Democracy for all of us. You will not realize the importance of Democracy unless you need it.

New and Old Bus Fare comparisons

The following is an article by "Blowing in the Wind" on the comparison of New and Old bus fares:

Old and new bus fares compared
It's not only long-distance commuters who have to pay more under the new fares in Singapore. So do many others if you compare the old fares with the new. Here's how the so-called "distance-based" new bus fares compare with the old fares, which were based on how many "stages" one travelled. I am comparing only the adult fares payable by EZ-Link cards on air-conditioned buses.

Up to 3.2 km now 71 cents, earlier 69 cents (up to 4 stages)

3.3 km to 4.2 km now 81 cents

4.3 km to 5.2 km now 91 cents, earlier 3.6 km to 5.6 km 91 cents (4.5 –7 stages)

5.3 km to 6.2 km now $1.01

6.3 km to 7.2 km now $1.09, earlier 5.6 km to 8 km $1.11 (7-10 stages)

7.3 km to 8.2 km, now $1.15

8.3 km to 9.2 km now $1.21, earlier 8.4 km to 10.4 km $1.21 (10.5 – 13 stages)

9.3 km to 10.2 km now $1.25

10.3 km to 11.2 km now $1.29

11.3 km to 12.2 km now $1.33

12.3 km to 13.2 km, now $1.37

13.3 km to 14.2 km now $1.41, earlier 10.8 km to 14.4 km $1.31 (13.5 – 18 stages)

14.3 km to 15.2 km now $1.45

15.3 km to 16.2 km now $1.49

16.3 km to 17.2 km now $1.53

17.3 km to 18.2 km now $1.57, earlier 14.8 km to 18.4 km $1.41 (18.5 – 23 stages)

18.3 km to 19.2 km now $1.61

19.2 km to 20.2 km now $1.64

20.3 km to 21.2 km now $1.67

21.3 km to 22.2 km now $1.70

22.3 km to 23.2 km now $1.73, earlier 18.8 km to 23.2 km $1.50 (23.5 – 29 stages)
23.3 km to 24.2 km now $1.75

24.3 km to 25.2 km now $$1.77

25.3 km to 26.2 km now $1.79

26.3 km to 27.2 km now $1.80 , earlier 23.6 km to 28 km $1.60 (29.5 – 35 stages)

27.3 km to 28.2 km $1.81

28.3 km to 29.2 km now $1.82, earlier 28.4 km and more $1.65 (35.5 stages or more. That was the maximum fare)

You can see the fares between 29.3 km and 39 km in the chart below.

39.3 km to 40.2 km now $1.93

Over 40.3 km $1.94 (now the maximum fare)

Both the old and new fares were taken from the SBS website when I blogged about them (When is a fare hike a fare cut?) in April when the new fares were announced. The old fares used to be based on "stages". But I could convert them to kilometres since each "stage" covered a distance of 800 metres.

The new fares can be seen in a chart on the SBS website, which seems to have taken down the old fares. Here's the complete new fare chart which I also published in my earlier post.

I asked in my earlier post if the Public Transport Council could please explain how two in three commuters won't have to pay more despite the fare hike.

For that's what it said it found in a survey.

But now the Straits Times reports more than 80 per cent of the 600 respondents in a poll said they have to pay more since the new fares came into effect on July 3.

That contradicts what the council said.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A month of barring and banning - Joshua Chiang

An insightful sum up of recent draconian acts of the PAP government in recent month by Mr. Joshua Chiang

First there was the barring of former ISD detainee and 'Marxist conspirator' Vincent Cheng from speaking at a public forum organised by the NUS History Society at the National Library.


Then there was the forum held at Fort Canning Park two weeks ago where another ex-detainee, Teo Soh Lung launched her book "Beyond The Blue Gate" about the events surrounding Operation Spectrum and her days as a detainee in Whitley Detention Centre. That, surprisingly went ahead without incident. Despite the fact that there wasn't any official outcry over the book, only one major bookstore, Kinokuniya now sells it. (Though you can purchase it from other sources here -

a) Contact Rizal via cellphone: 91460944 or email:
b) Online purchase through Ethos Books Online
c) Select Books (Tanglin Shopping Centre)
d) At Pagesetters Services Pte Ltd, 65 Ubi Crescent, #06-04 Hola Centre, Singapore 408559

There are no other major bookstores in Singapore whom I know will carry titles critical of the Government, for eg. books by Chee Soon Juan. (But you will find Men In White, The Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew displayed proudly at all other major bookstores)

But one book apparently got the authorities worried enough to ban its sales in Singapore, even going to the extent of asking Kinokuniya to remove it from its shelves. The book in question is Once a Jolly Hangman. It paints an extremely unflattering picture of the process in which Singapore carries out its Mandatory Death Penalty, except that, based on what the author unearthed, the process appears rather abituary. (see here -

You will also be surprised that the opposition party newsletter you pay a dollar for, for the past donkey years, is actually not allowed to be sold as the political parties do not have an NEA license to 'Hawk'.

(see here -

Now this is worrying because not only is selling the newspapers the major source of income for most oppositional parties, it is the best way in which they can disseminate their views. We know of course that dropping political pamphlets into letterboxes is wrong ( Last I heard the chap who distributed the anti-PAP flier has been arrested. Getting around the lack of a hawking license to sell the party papers is not as easy as it seems because you will find all sorts of laws and legislation that are so loosely written that they can easily be used to stop you from selling anything.

Which leads us to the question of why did NEA act only now, considering that opposition parties had been selling their stuff on the streets for years. I've even bought a copy of The Hatchet Man from JBJ once.

Well I wouldn't presume to read the authorities' minds but you would be interested to know that most opposition parties nowadays regularly sold out their newsletters. Which means every time a party goes out to the housing estates and hawker centres, 3,000 copies of publications containing alternate views gets circulated around. It also means that there are many people sick and tired of reading the Straits Times.

And finally there is the ban on Martyn See's film on Dr Lim Hock Siew in the name of mantaining confidence in the government. (

All in all, it is a rather oppressive month, and not because of the weather. I remember a National Day speech by PM Lee in 2006. He said, "We have to debate. If we didn't have a debate, I think we will come to the wrong conclusion." Right now my impression of 'debate' is really the joke I keep using - "Debate is de thing that you catch de fish with".


On a very separate note, my brother's maid returned to Burma for good. (Sorry i can't bring myself to call it "Myanmar" - it is the name the regime, and those who recognize the regime uses) Just the day before she left, I asked if she could get me an autographed poster of Aung San Suu Kyi. It amused her to no end.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

NSP Public Statement with regards to Summon issued by NEA

We hereby categorically make the following open statements with regards to NEA’s action against us in our recent outreach on 4 July 2010 at Blk 137 Tamines St 11:

1) We strongly believe that it is totally inappropriate to use the Environment Public Health Act to charge us for “Illegal Hawking” when we are merely promoting our party publication North Star News. There is no issue of public hygiene with regards to selling a publication. There is no applicable licence, as confirmed by NEA officer, for political parties carrying out such activity. How could we be charged for not applying a licence under the ACT when there isn’t a relevant one to start with?

2) We are a legally registered political party carrying out our legitimate political outreach just like any other political parties or grassroot organizations like the Resident Committees (RC). We sell publications just like all other political parties, including PAP (in some branches) and RC which periodically send members to sell National Flags, dinner tickets, fun fare tickets etc. We are all volunteers who are providing Public Service in terms of grassroot or political activism. WE ARE NOT HAWKERS, least illegal ones, who depend on such activities to earn our individuals’ livelihood.

3) It is a total blatant INSULT to us, including all other social-political activists (from RP, WP, PAP, RC etc), who have sacrificed their free time and effort when NEA considered all of us as ILLEGAL HAWKERS.

4) We are a lawful and law abiding organization but we will not ignore UNFAIR and UNREASONABLE rules and regulations. We will fight to change these rules and regulations for the betterment of Singapore.

5) We will defend our Dignity as political activists in Public Service with whatever little resources we could garner.

6) However, we also hope that we could first meet up with the relevant people in NEA with the authority and power to make decisions on such serious matters to resolve this issue ONCE AND FOR ALL for the benefits of ALL social political activists who are actively engaged in their respective organizations.

7) With due respect to NEA as the law enforcer, we will voluntarily take a temporary break for the coming Sunday (11 July 2010) and we hope that NEA would reciprocate by meeting up with us to resolve this serious matter amicably.

Goh Meng Seng
Secretary General of the 13th CEC

国民团结党: 针对国家环境局对我党党员发出传票的公开声明


1) 我们坚决的认为稽查员以环境公众卫生法令对我党党员在例行活动发出非法贩卖传票是绝对不恰当的。我党推销党报绝对不会对环境或公众卫生造成任何问题。而国家环境局在早些时候也承认他们也没有任何适当的准证能让政党申请。如果没有适当准证可供我们申请,他们又凭什么控告我们在没有申请准证情况下非法贩卖我们的党报呢?

2) 我们就像任何政党、政治团体或如居民委员会的基层组织一样,是一个合法注册的政党团体,进行着合法的政治活动。我们也如这一些组织,包括一些行动党支部和居委会时不时到处售卖国旗、党报、庆典酒席门票等,到全岛各处去推广我党党报。但是我们并非小贩,更不是非法小贩,而是投入公共服务的志愿活跃份子。我们并非依赖非法贩卖物品来维持各自生计的非法小贩。

3) 国家环境局把我们归类为非法小贩,不只是对我党,而是对所有牺牲自身时间和贡献于这土地的社会-政治活跃份子(包括革新党、工人党、行动党、居委会等)的莫大侮辱。

4) 我们虽然是个合法和奉公守法的政党,但是我们也绝对不会对不合理的法规坐视不理。我们必定尽我们所能去争取对新加坡有利的变革。

5) 我们也必定全力以赴的捍卫所有身为公共服务里的志愿社会-政治活跃份子的尊严。

6) 然而,我们也希望能先与国家环境局有相关权力做出重要决定的官员举行会谈,以便能一次过圆满解决此影响深远的事件。这将有利于所有参与公共服务的政党和各个基层团体的活跃份子继续参与我国的社会与政治建设。

7) 鉴于给予国家环境局作为执法者应有的尊重,我党决定自愿在这来临的星期天(2010 年7月11日)暂停我们原定的例行基层活动。我们也期许当局能以善意回应我们的要求,能与我们对此严肃的事件展开会谈以达至圆满的解决方案。


Friday, July 02, 2010













NSP Press Statement: Fare Increase in Disguise

New Distance Fare System is Fare Hikes in Disguise

We are greatly disappointed by the new fare system that the PTC intended to implement on 3rd July 2010. Our recent research on SMRT as well as LTA Public Transport websites shows that almost all the MRT fares that we have checked from different lines have increased quite substantially.

Please refer to the following table for our findings:

We are not able to do a complete table on the various fare comparisons for all possible rides but from our sample findings, it shows that fare increase resulted from the new Distance Fare system ranges from 3.75% to more than 7%.

The PTC has not made such straight forward indications when they try to convince Singaporeans that most of them will enjoy lower fares for their daily travels on public transport. The PTC should stop misleading Singaporeans with its assertion that most Singaporeans would benefit from this new fare system. PTC should be more truthful upfront by publishing the whole matrix of comparisons between fares for MRT rides between all possible combinations.

Any fare increase more than 2% in such simple straight forward MRT rides is totally unacceptable as wage increase for many of the lower wage earners who utilize public transport most do not have much increment on their wages.

Many Singaporeans rely on MRT for their travelling needs and there is little alternative to MRT rides without wasting great amount of time in interchanging between buses and being trapped in traffic jams. Such enormous outrageous hike in fares is totally unacceptable for a monopoly like SMRT.

On the other hand, it is impractical to expect bus commuters to waste time changing buses during peak hours just to “enjoy” any lower fares. Such “lower fares” may only be lower in comparison with the new long haul trunk services.

We believe that even with such “lower fares”, it will still be higher than the old fares for long haul rides. PTC should present to Singaporeans the comparison between NEW and OLD fare structures for some main trunk services.

We strongly condemn PTC for its attempt to implement such a fare system which is in fact an outrageous hike in fare in disguise.

Goh Meng Seng
Secretary General of the 13th CEC