3/26/2015

Lee Kuan Yew - People queuing to pay last respect

I made a trip down to the Padang and Parliament House to take some photos on the people turning up to pay their last respect to LKY.

The photos run in sequence from the top to the bottom with people arriving and moving into the holding area at the Padang. The Padang was dotted with army tents to provide some cover from the sweltering heat while the queue zigzaged from one side of the field towards the Esplanade. After crossing the road they moved towards Victoria Concert Hall, going through the underpass beneath St Andrew Road to emerge in front of the Asian Civilisation Heritage Centre. From there they walked along the Singapore River towards the new Parliament House.

Another queue in front of the City Hall/Supreme Court was formed for the seniors and children for a shorter route to the Parliament House.


Donation for Mysingaporenews Collection book

Hi, 5 more days to my crowdfunding for Mysingaporenews Collection Book.
Still need more orders or donations for those who wanted to help. I havc placed a paypal facility on the top left corner of this blog for this purpose after receiving comments that some prefer to use paypal.

Instructions

After hitting the paypal 'Buy Now' button, for Description just type 'Book'
As for Item, just key in amount eg 100 for $100 and hit update.
Then continue with the particulars of donors on the right side of same page.

Many thanks.

Redbean

Jokowi got fixed by Japan


In his official trip to Asia’s two biggest economic power, Japan was his stop to be followed by China to end his trip. In his first day in Japan, the Japanese paper flashed his remark that China’s claim in the South China Sea based on the 9 dashes has no legal basis in international law. This put him in an awkward situation when he next visits China to meet its leaders. Jokowi is now seen as taking the side of Japan and opposing China’s claim.
 

Jokowi has come to clarify his position today, claiming that Indonesia is a neutral party and would not take sides. His comment was only referring to the 9 dashes but not China’s claim as a whole. China has been diplomatically quiet about his comment and not wanting to say things in view of his scheduled official visit. The issue would definitely be top of the agenda when he is in Beijing.
 

The purpose of Jokowi’s visits to the two countries is to seek more economic cooperation and participation of the two countries in Indonesia’s big economic plan. The funding and know how of the two countries are greatly sought after by Indonesia. Did Japan corner him to make his anti China comment in return for Japanese investment in Indonesia? And how would this affect China’s position and how much would China put in eventually towards the infrastructure development of Indonesia would be telling.
 

Jokowi would have a tough time explaining his position that the Japanese have deliberately flashed in their media. He would still be warmly received in Beijing as Indonesia is still a very important partner to China in the region. There could or may not be any impact with respect to how much China would be willing to invest in Indonesia and if the assessment is a not too friendly Indonesia, there would definitely be a toning down on the final bundle.
 

How much would Jokowi get from Japan and China would be interesting to watch. Let’s hope Japan would not make another announcement that Indonesia has signed a defence pact with Japan. That would seal the fate with China and scuttle a lot of projects in the pipeline…and a wasted trip.

Lee Kuan Yew – Asian of the Year

I must admit that I was taken by surprise to see the massive queues of Singaporeans lining up to show their last respect to LKY. I am surprise not just by the numbers but the genuine spontaneous turnout not of the Ah Mah and the Ah Pek types that many would quickly jump to conclusion that they were there because of the chicken rice and the free transportation. The crowd were mostly from the young and rebellious group that would likely to vote against the PAP in view of their youthful angst against authority. They came in droves and droves to wait for 4 to 8 hours, braving the tropical heat of the day and the still of the night, to bow to the LKY resting in state in Parliament House. They have forgone their good times in the pubs or in their favourite haunts in Orchard Road to be there just to catch a glimpse of the man that made their lives better, the true beneficiaries of Singapore’s progress and prosperity, a generation that has not seen hardship and poverty except in some individual cases.

Since no organisation thinks it appropriate to do so, Mysingaporenews will, in all its audacity, confer its own version of the Asian of the Year Award to Lee Kuan Yew posthumously. I should have given him the Award earlier but thinking that he would have lived for many more years and would be getting the Award from the Straits Times in due course. So I withheld this self arrogated initiative till now. If I can remember, one of the main criteria for such an award is for a leader to have met many many leaders of the world.

On this point alone, LKY was at least 4 times over qualified and beat anyone hands down. He met all the heads of govts of the world more than 4 times over during his 50 years in politics. From China he met Mao Zetung, Zhao Ziyang, Li Peng, Hua Guofeng, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jingtao and the current Xi Jinping. From India, he met Nehru, Rao, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, not sure if he had met the ST Asian of the Year Modi. In the USA he had met Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, the two Bushes, Clinton, and Obama. From Britain there were Wilson, Callaghan, Heath, Thatcher, Major, Brown, Blair, Cameron, and probably a few ancient PMs.

Who can beat this kind of record? Of course in Malaysia he had met them all from Tengku to Najib. But the honour of being Asian of the Year is more than just meeting other heads of states. Not many PMs or Presidents had done and achieved as much as he had with his long tenure in office. This is a record that is not going to be broken for a long time to come.

Perhaps ST should come out with a more honourable award like Asian of the Century that would be more befitting to this man. It was a pity that the ST did not give him the Award as the Asian of the Year when he was still around. He missed the Nobel Peace Prize as well to complete his collections.

This unquestionable Asian of the Year is now RIP in Parliament House to receive the respectful bows of a people that are not ungrateful to appreciate what he had done for them and their country. Singapore is unlikely to produce another son on par with the likes of LKY in the next 50 years or 100 years.

3/25/2015

Who is the real Shinzo Abe?

Tokyo Subway Gassing Was Abe’s First Strike

By Yoichi Shimatsu
3-19-15

This essay by the former general editor of The Japan Times Weekly, is the first in a retrospective series of articles on the Tokyo Subway Gassing issued on the 20th anniversary of that precedent-setting attack.
 

Within three hours of the Tokyo subway gassing that felled 20,000 commuters, our reporting team realized that the government was manipulating and censoring the news media to divert public attention from state sponsorship for terrorist cells planted inside the Aum Shinrikyo cult. In open challenge to censorship and disinformation, our investigative journalists, in tandem with Japanese-language Takarajima 30 (Treasure Island) magazine, exposed the key political heavyweights who had financed and directed secret agents inside the neo-Buddhist sect. The aim of Aum’s sponsors was to obtain nerve gas, nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles from post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine in order to stock Japan’s clandestine arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.
Working with the only two news outlets willing to print leaks from honest but disgruntled police detectives and government officials, our editors recognized that the subway gassing was not just a crazed plot to trigger a global Armaggedon, a factually unfounded theme repeatedly cited by the collaborationist media. The untold story is that the subway attack was part of a larger coup attempt by the neo-militarist faction inside the powerful coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Clean Government Party (Komeito). The paralysis of the nation’s capital was a preliminary step toward isolating and eliminating those respected personages who defend the antiwar Constitution.
 

The retrogressive coup failed for several reasons. First, on the week after the gassing, an assassination attempt against National Police chief Takaji Kunimatsu was foiled by his nearly miraculous recovery from four gunshot wounds. His survival rallied those constitutionalists opposed to the shadowy alliance of neo-militarist politicians, yakuza, defense corporations and the nuclear industry. Second, our tiny remnant of the free press was able to sustain public discussion as well as discredit politicians who sponsored terrorist elements inside Aum Shinrikyo.
 

Unflinching truth in reporting reversed the pendulum of political opinion against the coup leaders. A few big fish like Liberal Democrat spymaster Toshio Yamaguchi were exposed, removed from office and imprisoned for their role in creating Aum. Other guilty parties got away amid the confusion that gripped the capital. Among those escapees was a WMD specialist named Shinzo Abe, who had acted as mentor of arms dealer Kiyohide Hayakawa and Aum’s “science minister” Hideo Murai….

 


The full report can be viewed at http://rense.com/general96/tokyosub.html. This would give the background to what Shinzo Abe has been doing and explain his aggressive and militant policies that could lead to a war with China. The Japanese themselves are wary of his intention and where he is leading Japan forward, to a war of mutual destruction with China. Abe apparently is the connect between his father and the inhuman chemical and biological Unit 731 of World War II and the hawkish govt of today’s Japan. His proud appearance in a photograph in front of a fighter aircraft with the marking 731 is no coincidence. He knew what it meant and is telling the world what he is up to.
Shinzo Abe is a very dangerous man.

Remembering LKY – No smoking


One of his legacies must be the No Smoking campaign and the banning of smoking in cinemas, restaurants and public spaces. And of course there was no smoking in the airlines too. In those days one would smell so foul after watching a movie or having a meal in restaurant that scrubbing for an hour in the bathroom would not help much. And there would be the unsightly and smelly ashtrays on the dining tables with all the cigarette butts to share with the diners. Arrrghhh!
 

I was in a trip home in SQ. The whole cabin was filled with smelly cigarette smokes like someone had thrown in a smoke grenade. The two assholes sitting beside me were puffing non stop like they were just released from hell. I had to vacate my seat and, as there were no other seats available, I had to seek refuge standing at the back of the aircraft next to the toilet. It did not help much as the whole aircraft was in smoke except that is was less awful than sitting beside two smelly chimneys trying to outdo each other with how much smoke each could produced. Remember those hazy days?
 

No one would have the guts to ban smoking in public places when many smokers were in positions of power. My last battle was against the Kent Ridge NUSS Guild House several decades back. The committee members were, as usual, mostly smokers and drinkers. And you know what, the main reception hall, a public area when all visitors and children were usually found, aircon and yes, a smoking area. When I protested, I was told to sit outside in the open air, for non smokers. Can you beat that!
I wrote to the ministry to complain. Only then, subsequently, that the committee reversed the decision and the main reception hall was snuffed out. Smokers go outside please. That was 25 years ago.
 

Only LKY could be tough enough to do away with this dirty and smelly habit and to offend all the die hard smokers. Even Rajaratnam, a chain smoker, had no choice, cannot smoke in Parliament, not when LKY is around. Today, all aircon rooms and offices, public areas, shopping centres, restaurants and cinemas, are no smoking areas. Open air food courts and hawker stalls too are non smoking areas except some designated zones.
 

You have only one man to thank for, to make it all possible, for a healthy and clean environment. One no longer smells after seeing a show or after having a meal. Today we take this for granted, unthinkable. It is unbelieveable that non smokers had to tolerate the abuses of the smokers, forced to inhale and to smell. Airlines no longer need to provide ashtrays, buses no longer have ashtrays, public toilets no longer littered with cigarettes except some dirty joints. You don’t have to watch a football match clouded by cigarette smokes.
 

Sorry smokers. Only non smokers could appreciate what No Smoking means to their lives. To the smokers, cigarette smell and smoke are ecstasies and they will pay an arm or a leg for them. Smokers would not understand the agonizing moments that the non smokers would have to bear with. I hope it stays this way until a chain smoking dictator comes along to change everything back to the 60s and 70s, and to make everyone smell like him and share his nicotine and second hand tobacco smokes.
 

Try imagining smokers smoking in the trains, buses and taxis today! It was the old normal.
 

PS. The banning of smoking is well received by the people. And there was no complaint. Nice.

3/24/2015

George Yeo remembers LKY


There was an interview with George Yeo on CNA yesterday evening on his personal encounters with LKY. There was one particular point that stood out glaringly in a tussle of opinions and interpretation on investment in India. LKY was not in favour, skeptical given the difficulties in that large subcontinent. George was always the optimist, sharing his positive impressions of how great India was as an investment opportunity. And in many occasions LKY dismissed his views and maintained his negative outlook of India.
George claimed that LKY seemed to have been convinced by his feedback and relented, changing some of his reservations about investing in India. That could be the reason why the CECA was signed. The CECA must be George’s and Chok Tong’s pet project as both were deeply involved in the initiative to invest in India in a big way.
 

Did LKY changed his view of India or did George manage to change his view? Read this interview with CNA,
 

‘I remember leading a delegation to India in early 1993. We spent two weeks in India and when we came back the report to the Cabinet was a relatively upbeat one. He was profoundly skeptical. And never failed, afterwards, to send me articles which expressed skepticism about India’s development.
 

But every time I visited India and reported what I saw to him, he listened. So while he had a view his mind was not closed. And gradually I saw how his position shifted, not wildly, and in many cases., he was proven right. Two years later when it was clear that Singapore was making progress in India he said to me over lunch, he said be prepared for a change of government. And a year later he was proven right, even though when he mentioned it to me, it did not seem likely.’
 

Was LKY’s position or skeptism changed? ‘I saw his position shifted, not wildly... Two years later when it was clear that Singapore was making progress in India he said to me over lunch, he said be prepared for a change of government. And a year later he was proven right.’ What has this to do with his skeptism of India’s development?
 

Did LKY give his blessing to the signing of the CECA. Until his departure, LKY had never mentioned a word about investing in India and neither had he said a word about the CECA.
 

The divergence of views of the two men was wide and whether the gulf was narrowed has not been confirmed except for what George has said. My view is that LKY has not changed his view on India and it was left to Hsien Loong and his cabinet to decide as by then he was taking a back seat.
 

History will prove if this CECA is a good and wise decision or a daft one. Would CECA benefit Singapore in the long run or lead to more problems for govt and people to handle? It was a very big and serious decision and the consequences would impact every Singaporean for good or for bad.