Wednesday, December 07, 2005

  1. Devan Nair is dead.
  2. Who is Devan Nair?
  3. History will judge his role.
  4. History is not the truth. History is a representation of a truth. This representation is in so far different only because of various obstacles we have. They include the ever present technical difficulties, and perhaps more insidiously, the lens of interpretation.
  5. Some of his words will be revisited by some and shall be ignored by many. Some will choose his words to suit the occasion of this space and time.
  9. In January 1950, Mr. C.V. Devan Nair, a teacher in SAS and an Assistant Housemaster, was escorted from the school/boarding house and detained by The Singapore Special Branch (Police). Devan Nair was not an Ex-Saint. From 1953 to 1956, I stayed in the room where Devan Nair stayed. Another Assistant Housemaster, an ex-Saint and a well-known politician, was Mr. J.B. Jeyaretnam. He was one of the Assistant Housemasters before C.V. Devan Nair.
  10. Is there really anything we can learn from Devan Nair as a President?
  11. Is there really anything we can learn from Devan Nair after he stepped down as President?
  14. Why did Devan Nair chose to go to Canada?
  15. Why do some lawyers actually thin such an argument will actually work in Canada?
  16. Will Devan Nair be buried under a host of hyperlinks? Some blogger, please write a more substantial account of Devan Nair than WikiPedia. He was after all, our President.

Friday, December 02, 2005

1. is a new blog by the Clown who i used to guest blog at his blog.

16. He is not that terrible a writer. He wants publicity. He says a lot of other things.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

1. It is my opinion that Singaporeans are generally unhappy people. And since I am a young Singaporean, I shall speak of young Singaporeans.

2. Singapore has only slightly more than 4 million people. However, a Singaporean today is essentially a consumer and since Singaporeans do it so well and with so much vigour, Singapore is an important consumer market. It is rather important (not essential) for the economy that Singapore does continue to spend their money in this fashion. Young Singaporeans are the best consumers.

3. The "ruling" ethos however in Singapore is one of hard work, thrift, and community above self.

4. The state tell Singaporeans that western ideas of freedom of speech are merely western ideas, and we should do it uniquely Singapore. On the other hand, they implicitly allow the onslaught of consumerism.

5. Young Singaporeans knows the latest model of Swedish Handphones,but nothing about Sweden's model of democracy. Some Singaporeans can lyric only about the world of warcraft and find studying a painful trip.

6. Young Singaporeans have very high expectations generally before they become 18.

7. I generally hear young people (after the age of 18 - below the age of 24) describing their lives in Singapore as either 1) boring, 2) broke or 3) liddat lor.

There is a rare minority who think there is not enough freedom of speech because they think have something important to say that is currently prohibited. There are those who think there are not enough freedom of speech because they think its an ideal.

Singapore is worried that the young talents of Singapore will migrate and will increasingly demand for more change. There is also correspondingly a new demand for "fun" and "culture" and its a big consumer industry. Singapore opens up.

10. I have described young Singaporeans as avid consumers who cannot ever be satisfied for long or feel there is not enough practice of "western" ideas. There are of course young Singaporeans who live generally fulfilling days but I believe they are increasingly becoming the minority. Most of them have very high expectations.

11. The state wants to give young Singaporeans what they want to make them "happy". They do so by "opening up" and allow them to dance on bar tops, bungee jump, visit sexpo, and the list rambles on. These solutions are somewhat "consumerist" solutions. Alcohol is cheaper! Let them consume these goods - they will be happy.

12. Why are young Singaporeans still so unhappy? I think it boils down to the fact that young Singaporeans have been stripped off their identities by consumerism. In this pragmatic, cold and effecient state - we have been offered more consumerist solutions, ironically by the state which used to emphasised thrift and hard work. Without identities, young Singaporeans have choosen to pursue various lifestyles - and quite naturally, the lifestyle offered by consumer society today is 'MTV life' - lets just call it "flashy and decadent".

13. With a stronger economy (recently), a lot of these "high expectations" would be somewhat satiated (for a while). This howevever, as we all should realise, is subjective and is the greatest trap of all. If happiness (consumer goods) must be brought at X price ++ regularly to sustain happiness, one's level of happiness will always be slave to one's monthly pay or credit card limit. The pursuit of the 5 Cs and the western "flashy and decadent" lifestyle is pretty expensive.

14. It is also expensive as far as you subscribe to the now somewhat antiquated notion that happiness is a warm and happy family - people living together and sharing their lives. These warm and cozy feelings are often opposed to the 5cs and the "flashy and decadent" lifestyle. We just can't have everything.

15. Young (fortunate and educated) Singaporeans, like myself, are stepping in a world where we have either too much money to spend or never enough.

16. I predict an increasing rise in suicide rates.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

1. All men are equal under the Law for sentencing purposes

2. The Law takes into account individual characteristics of the person in question and the unique surrounding circumstances for sentencing purposes.

3. These two legal facts are sometimes in tension. The role of the court is to resolve this tension.

4. The particular individual characteristic of Melvyn Tan that has been highlighted in the press his renowed ability to play the piano well and his potential contribution to Singapore's music scene.

5. The unique surrounding circumstances that have been highlighted in the press is that he chose to surrender because his parents are aged and he wants to visit them. He could well choose not to do have submitted the jurisdiction of Singapore.

6. It is problematic that these are the facts that have been highlighted in the press because these circumstances did not exist 28 years ago when Melvyn Tan committed the crime.

7. The individual characteristic of Melvyn Tan 28 years ago when he committed the crime was an opportunity to fulfil a potential of a talent which with the benefit of hindsight, materialised.

8. What the court has appeared to have done, however, is also to take into account unique circumstances that have materialised over the space of 28 years after the criminal act is done.

9. There is nothing problematic usually if the court takes into account events after the act is done for sentencing purposes if it suggests that the intention of the criminal is unique or understanable on the onset from the average criminal or has done acts to somewhat mitigate that crime. It is also not problematic if the court take into account the fact that the penalty has already been exacted somewhat somehow.

10. An illustration is a robber who stole but donated all his money to charity instead for paying his gambling debts. A further illustration is where Barry injures Geist but risks his own life by rushing him to hospital as fast as he could, and is shown to be repentant by his later acts. A further illustration is a man who assaulted a women 40 years ago but is now already 80 and is prone to heart attacks and doctors say he is not going to live much longer. A further illustration is the father who killed a daughter who is suffering very very badly to relieve her of the pain.

11. Melvyn Tan committed the crime, like many all other NS defaulters, for his own sake. It is difficult to know what Melvyn Tan could have done to mitigate the crime. It took him 28 years to submit to the jurisdiction of Singapore.

12. There are perhaps various NS defaulters who had various opportunites to fulfil their potential of talent but have been lost because were sentenced to prison, and later required to perform their obligations.

13. There are NS non-defaulters who had various opportunities to fulfil a potential of talent which would have materialised if they did not serve their NS obligations.

14. Many NS defaulters do so in order to work to pay off debts for their families.

15. The tension between the two legal facts does not seem to be properly resolved in this case. It is not difficult to consider the circumstances which had arisen unique. However, the difficulty is how to consider Melyvn Tan's acts as one which was motivated by unqiue intentions or that in these 28 years, he had been somewhat somewhere been the subject of a unique non-legal "penalty" - compared to other NS defaulters that generally suffers a greater sentence.

16. Putting these two ideals aside, this is an emminently wise decision from a utilitarian perspective.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

1. The debate over Nguyen Tuong Van's life has been mired in misdescription.

2. Some opponents aim to fight the legality of the action.

3. There are meritorious arguments against the usefulness and the relevance and the cruelty of the death penalty.

4. There are no legal arguments against it.

5. One can only conclude legally that Singapore has the sovereign and democratic right to exercise the death penalty.

6. Any legal arguments against the death penalty in this instance become futile. The response is always the same because the basis is the same.

7. Singapore has the sovereign and democratic right to exercise the death penalty, and the death penalty does not yet breach customary international law.

8. Singapore has the sovereign and democratic right to exercise its own laws where we are within the limits of international law.

9. These are the basis for any argument for the death penalty.
a) We are sovereign.
b) We are democratic.
c) We are within the limits of international law.

10. All efforts of the anti-death penalty camp has been attacking the third argument, claiming that we are not within the limits of international law. It is clear that we are. So this is hopeless.

11. Nobody seriously suggests we are not sovereign or we are not democratic.

12. We are sovereign and we are democratic. And we do not breach international human rights law.

13. Those that are fighting the legality of the actions of the Singapore state therefore cannot legally speaking succeed.

14. That is why I suspect the very intentions of some of these anti-death penalty opponents who claim that the act is illegal.

15. The only question that is left is why are some of the members of the anti-death penalty camp reasserting falsehood?

16. Either they believe it or they have other less noble aims.