Sunday, November 29, 2015

On land reclaimation

Penang is not Singapore. The limitation of land size of the Penang Island is true, but that is a weak argument. The main factor for the land reclaimation on the part of the contentious area on the Island is driven by greed of the housing developers.Penang Island does have more land on the other side of the island (Balik Pulau) but the development in that area in recent years cannot pick up because of weak demand. So, naturally developers do not consider investing in that part of land.

However, The North-East coast Islander centric view of what should constitute as a proud Penangite does more harm than good, fuel the demand for housing units in this already densed and congested area.

It is not the issue that the mainland Seberang Perai does not have land for development, why Penangites should allow the controversial land reclaimation projects to go on and alter the environment and the biodiversity altogether? If you said the government should think about the long term benefits, sure the government must also think about the long term cost.

Singapore did it out of their necessity, so the question is, does Penang really come to that point already while Penang still has the Mainland Seberang Perai and west coast in the island? Why so proud about the Singapore model, while Penang still has something that Singapore has long lost: the biodiversity and the prestine nature in the hills and seas (despite declining rapidly these days because of so-called 'development')? Singapore is willing to compromise their heritage buildings for development, does Penang willing to do so on George Town too?

Some Penangites tend to forget to treasure what they already possess. It is not that I do not want Development, but the development must be balanced and sustainable. That is why the state government's role is crucial in the urban planning. Do you see people protesting too much over the development in Batu Kawan? No, I think that is a good move for the state government to shift the focus on the mainland and create more job opportunities. What some Penangites need to do is, to change the 'North-east coast Islander superiority' complex.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Dear Mr Jeyaratnam...

This personal open letter to Mr JBJ from Dr Chee Soon Juan made me tearly when first read it. Then again it made me, when I was watching the rally speech video Dr Chee dedicated especially to his late comrade JBJ.
Both Mr JBJ and Dr Chee are patriots. They are real democracy and freedom fighters. Dr Chee reminds me very much of our own Anwar Ibrahim, whom he is already 200+ days languished in jail as a result of a political motivated sentence. Anwar has been fighting too since 1997, and still keep fighting from jail at the age of 68.
Dr Chee's grit, determination and persistent advocating for democracy, makes him a truly outstanding person in Singapore. He could have, like Anwar was once offered, a chance to live in exile and live a good life at overseas with his family.
He chose not to, but came back to Singapore and keep fighting for the people with the values he believes which are good for the society. Nowadays virtues , beliefs and principles hardly worth anything in a capitalist society which always seek to maximise profits and trade benefits. Therefore, these qualities are hard to come by. You will only see how determined one holds on to his/her beliefs and principles when the person is challenged and tested over time.
Dr Chee never gives up, despite numerous arrests made to his name. In the past 25 years, he was seen in and out of police stations, courts and jail. MSM tarnished his reputation and image , the authorities intended to destroy him personally. Even at his bleakest moment when he was sued and found guilty for the defamation suit until declared a bankrupcy, that did not take away his struggle and his will to speak up. He is a consistent proponent for democracy. He challenged unjust laws, and compassionately care for his people and the society.
(*Please watch the once-banned-documentary film about his struggles, entitled 'Singapore Rebel'. It was filmed a decade ago by Martyn See. Those quotes he said before, are still used by him until today. He is that consistent. That is why how sad I watched Mr. JBJ , together with many other previous opposition figures had to suffer from the ill and harsh-treatment by the state, and especially by the one 'great' man.)
People probably do not appreciate the values and the meaning of democracy and liberty until they get to fully enjoy that. After that, trust me, they will never want to go back to the one-party authoritarian state.
You can go ask any Indonesian, South Korean , Taiwanese and East German, no matter how prosperous were once their good old time under some of their past 'great' leaders, do they want to go back to the old system and give up their freedom and democratic spaces? I can assure, you will find a emphatic resounding 'No' as the reply.
Even the political parties in these countries inherited from the past, already transformed themselves into a democratic one. Still the pro-Suharto candidate for the last presidential election in Indonesia, Probowo Subianto, did not win. Jokowi is the real popular choice, a symbol of new politics.
I have reasons to believe that Dr Chee will support any democratic social movements in the world, including the Bersih movement. He will not paint Bersih 4.0 the same brush like Mr Lee Hsien Loong did this afternoon (Mr. Lee likened Bersih as a racial "non-Malay" rally to the upcoming 916 red-shirt rally). I also hope that Dr. Chee could speak up for Anwar and ask for his immediate release after the GE.
I wish him and his party all the best, and I hope to see them in the parliament of Singapore.

Monday, September 07, 2015


我覺得自己已是個Bersih老鳥。過去我在海外的三個不同的地點和國家見證了Bersih運動的成長。沒錯,我曾協助參與策劃倫敦Bersih 1.0 以及 柏林Bersih 3.0的集會遊行, 同時也以遊客身份參與了巴黎Bersih 2.0。今時不同往日,八年就這樣飛逝,現在來到了Bersih 4.0。我也已從海外歸來,即將首次踩在自己的國土上,與十萬人以上一起在首都吉隆坡遊行要求制度改革(和納吉首相下台)
幾天前,杜乾煥博士向我求助關於Powerpoint上的技術問題。眼尖的我發現一張歷史性照片出現在他的其中一張幻燈片里…那就是倫敦Bersih 1.0集會的大合照。我興奮地向他指出我在那相片的位置。他似乎沒察覺到我的存在。轉眼間就8年了。如果你問我,凈選盟運動對這國家社會到底有沒有帶來什麼改變,我會回答:有,顯著且深遠的改變。
你們或許不諳當年的政治氣候如何,即使我在自由國度如英國依然可感受到強權政府賦予人民的緊箍咒。當時我在Malaysian Hall和我大學《大馬之夜》會場外派發Bersih宣傳單的情景還歷歷在目。不多人敢接觸我們,甭說接受黃色傳單。有些人看到我們好像看到鬼這樣,盡量避開躲遠遠。一些還反復地念著咒語般:’no politics, no politics…’, 期望這樣就可以‘避邪’打發我們。還有一些領了傳單,掃描了沒幾秒鐘內容後,就直接把它送往最靠近的垃圾桶。《大馬之夜》的負責人甚至親自下來警告我們,說如果我們不走他會叫保安。我告訴他,去吧,這裡大學是公共的地方,我有權和自由派發傳單。再況且我們沒有阻止人出席他的節目。
很明顯的在那個時候,當我公開談起政治,我可以感受到海外大馬同胞的恐懼和冷感。那些還留在國內的更不用說了。當時Global Bersih還沒成立與註冊,環球沒有多少城市參與集會。所以,當年倫敦那場的出席率不超過30人,對我們來說已經非常鼓舞人心,難能可貴了。這說明仍有人在強權的淫威籠罩下,依然主動關心國內時事局勢,膽敢站出來表達立場。
如果說Bersih 1.0 沒有突破,那麼我們就無法見證2008年十二屆全國大選後的政治海嘯。眾多的民間運動鼓舞了公眾,同時加強了他們對民主自由和公正的信念。公民力量一直都是我國社會進步的基礎。在野黨陣線在大選中大有斬獲,因為他們趕上了國民醒覺和改革浪潮。如果不是Bersih,我們大概也沒機會看到大批能幹、專業和有理想人士加入和壯大在野黨陣線。他們確實相信他們能對國家有所貢獻,有機會改變這個國家。那五個在大選中政權替換的州屬,已成為了這些有志之士的培訓之地,作為未來執政中央的準備。
通過Bersih 2.0,我們見證了一個新的馬來西亞誕生。人民已跨越了族群宗教年齡性別的界限,不分彼此地聚集在吉隆坡和世界各地,向政府施壓喊話要求改革。愛取代了恐懼和偏見。‘人民主權’就這麼定調,人民不再害怕當權者。無數次的恐嚇對人民已失去了作用;警方使用的暴力譬如催淚彈、水炮車,和棒棍人身攻擊等,都無法擊敗人民要求改變的意志。那些過去的鎮壓動作,已不管用了。我們人民之間的弟兄姐妹情結已建成一道堅固的牆,那時我們也共同找到了一個新的國家。
Bersih 3.0 更推到了一個新高,出席率是迄今公民運動遊行之最,也是人民強大力量的展現。這賦予人民希望,政府不改就決心要換政府。認為執政者已失去信用不得民心的大有人在。參與民運的人,都想要Ubah,那是不爭的事實。
上一場Bersih 3.0,我還在德國。雖然我所居住的城市距離300公里以外,我自薦負責統籌柏林的那場集會。那時出席者大約30位左右,包括幾位來自他國的友善支持。現在已回國的我,看到德國再次出現在Global Bersih 4.0版圖上有三座城市響應支持。各別代表德國北中南部,它們是:漢堡、科隆和慕尼黑。讓我覺得他們很厲害的地方是他們竟然已印上了他們城市名字的戰衣。他們甚至已有人安排交通從斯圖加特載人到科隆。

We are not the ‘silent majority’

I consider myself a veteran Bersih kaki. It is not that I had involved myself organising all those events in the past. Not too bad, I helped organise the Bersih London 1.0 and Bersih Berlin 3.0, participated the Bersih Paris 2.0. This time it is surely different. 8 years have passed, now comes Bersih 4.0, and I will be there joining the Bersih rally for the first time in my homeland, stepping on my home soil demanding for CHANGE together with hundred thousands of people.
Few days ago, Dr Toh asked me for technical help on the powerpoint, and I saw a historic picture he put in his slides… the Bersih London 1.0 rally. I was so excited and pointed to him that I was in the picture. Dr Toh also did not realise. 8 years ago, if you ask me if Bersih movement has changed the nation, I would say, very significantly.
You probably do not know what was the political climate back then. Even I was in the free land such as United Kingdom, I can still feel the spells casted by our mighty government to our own citizens abroad. I remember so vividly distributing flyers in front of the Malaysian Hall and at the entrance of Malaysian Night event venue in Imperial College London. Back in those days, very few people would dare to accept the yellow flyers from us. They tried to avoid us at best that they could when we approached them, like they saw ghost or any awful thing you could imagine. Some of them kept murmuring the spell: 'No politics, no politics...' hoping that would repel (the ghost of) us. Some took the flyers, scanned through just few seconds then chucked it away in the nearest bin. Even the organiser of that Malaysian Night event came down and threatened me that he would call the security guys, but I told him to go ahead because I have the freedom and right of giving flyers in public places such as (my own) university.
Clearly, I could see the fear and apathy when fellow Malaysians at overseas talking about politics, let alone those still living in the homeland. Back in those days Global Bersih was not yet established, not many cities around the world involved in the rally. The turnout for the rally in London was moderate (not more than 30) but I felt encouraged. This is because it shows that there were still people who care and bold enough to make a stand and express their thoughts.
If Bersih 1.0 was not a breakthrough, then we would not see the political tsunami in 2008 after GE12. The empowerment of the public by the civil movements is the foundation for better Malaysia. It always is. Opposition political parties were doing well because they rode on the waves of enlightenment and uprising sparked by many social movements back then. If not for Bersih, we would not see more capable, professional and/or idealistic members of society joined the opposition political parties, because they see fit to contribute, aspire to get their hands dirty to make a change to our nation. The 5 states which fell to the opposition coalition (now the defunct Pakatan Rakyat), were the training ground for these new politicians into governance.
In Bersih 2.0, we witnessed a new nation born, where people crossed the boundaries of ethnicity, religion, age and gender, gathered for the rally in KL and around the world. Love replaced fear and discrimination. 'Ketuanan Rakyat' was cemented; we people fear no government and authorities. the countless threats hurled by the authorities against us Malaysians gone in vain; physical assaults by the police such as tear gas, water cannon, batton beating and arrests, did not break people's determination for change; the lines that used to divide and segregate us according to skin colours and creeds, worked no more. The brother-sisterhood bonding was formed, that was when a new nation was found.
Bersih 3.0 was pushed to a new height, when the number of turnout was historic. That was the biggest street rally ever, the people's power was once again showcased. This cultivated the hope that people could see a change of government, because they think the current administration was losing the credibility to govern, simultaneously also losing the people's confidence and support. Many ordinary people from all walks of life took part in various civil movements and activities, bidding the hope to 'Ubah'.
It is true that the authorities did not seem to heed the calls for 8 demands and obviously turned their deaf ear to the collective voices of Bersih supporters and reform-minded citizens. They carried on their pretence and hollow promises to 'tranform' the country, into the GE13. Despite effort in massive vote-buying, they lost the share of popular votes, and conceded more parliament seats. They hung on to the power by sheer majority number of seats they won. Of course, the 51% rakyat were deeply disappointed and that depressed the civil movements for quite some period of time. But now no more.
This is clear by now that the UMNO president and Prime Minister Najib Razak embezzled fund amounting to RM2.6billion to his own personal account, and used that to fund the political survival campaign for his party. Thanks to WSJ, Sarawak Report and other whistleblowers, now we know what they did. That amount of the illegal funding perhaps had made all the difference to the final outcome in the last GE. That was the 'stolen General Election'.
All to the frustration of our people, none of the 8 demands were met. That is why we have to march once more, and take our new demands to the streets. Not many we demand this time, just five. We want: 1) clean elections, 2) clean governance, 3) saving the economy, 4) right to dissent, and 5) strengthening the parliamentary democracy system. We want this rally to be massive so that stronger message can be delivered directly to Mr Najib. We want real institutional reforms and not your wishy-washy promises on reform! …and can you please step down, because we know that you are one of the biggest obstacles for reform. Your Transformasi is not only useless, but makes the country worse!
The last Bersih 3.0 in Berlin, I helped organise the rally. It was attended by some 30-40 participants, including several members from international support for the Bersih cause.
Now I am no more in Germany, still impressed by the fact that there are 3 german cities appeared on the Global Bersih 4.0 map. What is more awesome, is that they have even printed their own rally t-shirts, and arranged transportation for people coming from Stuttgart to Köln.
Now back to my homeland, there is no reason that I do not make myself present on the KL streets this Saturday. This has become my civil duty and obligation. Just like what Joshua Wong, the prominent student activist from Hong Kong, famously said: “It is not because of the hope we persist, but we persist to find hope”. Please do not despair. The time is now, we have to make a stand. Only when we all go out to streets this weekend, the government can no longer say ‘the silent majority’ are still with them. That is exactly why we should NOT stay silent, and be counted. We people are the majority, and we want this country Bersih!

Friday, September 04, 2015








Democracy does not solve the problems, but the people do

It is not that Democracy solves the problems, but the people who solve the problems. Who are the people? the citizens. We should take the collective responsibility for the decision we have made, and we want to make sure that, even if it is a mistake, there will always be a avenue or mechanism to correct that in future. In that sense, Democracy is not the solution but the best auto-correct tool.

Democracy is not only about the voting rights. Participatory democracy is what really gives meaning to democracy. The institutions should empower the people to actively participate in the decision making for many important aspects of life in the society, but not discourage or limit people’s ability to do so.

We shall not just vote and then leave it all to the government to do whatever they please with the so-called mandate (that is just a form of ‘representative democracy’). In a mature democratic society, the government should be the government of the people, by the people and for the people. So, by right, People = Government, and people are not there just to serve the government's agenda. People should decide the fate of the country, so the government’s policies should match with majority wishes and responsive to the people’s voices and concerns.

A healthy democracy should include a strong and vocal civil society, especially with thriving and fearless NGOs. Repressive laws which restrict people’s freedom and rights to watch over government’s doing, should be repelled. Otherwise, who dare to give honest and constructive criticisms without getting the backlash from the authorities? The government should be transparent enough for the people to assess their performance, analyse and criticise their policies. Look at Roy Ngerng’s case, then you could understand why it is unhealthy for the state resorted to legal action rather than to engage him in the open debate/discussion about the issue of CPF, a practice which is done in many mature democratic societies.

There should be more checks and balances, and it should not just be the job of opposition parties to perform that but the whole society. To make checks and balances more effective, press freedom should be allowed. The ranking of Singapore by the Reporters without Borders is consistently low, it tells us something about the press freedom in Singapore. Some clauses in Newspaper and Printing Presses Act of 1974, just prevented the exercise of that freedom. Read this:
(if what is written in the Wikipedia section is not true about the Act, please correct me). And noteworthy also to mention that the directive from the Media Development Authority on 1 June 2013 to ‘regulate’ internet by requiring Singapore websites to register for yearly renewable licence and post a ‘performance bond’ worths SGD50k (

If we cannot have the spirit of ‘People are the boss’ but still treat government as the boss, then we cannot control our own fate or have our say. Winston Churchill once famously said “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.” Sure there is a loss of efficiency in democracy because of the slow process of informing the citizens, getting the consents and approvals from them. My tutor Chin Huat once taught me that Democracy is the best kind of insurance: Authoritarian regime could outperform the democratic one at times, but in the long run, for example, once the ‘bright’ leader passed away or the system is no longer responsive to people’s needs and wants, then Democracy can save us from the worst form of despot, tyranny and/or corruption (remember the quote, “power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely”). At least when politics is in everyone’s collective business, we all would care and not leave to someone else to decide for us – that is the value what democracy should have taught us.

Friday, May 08, 2015


J: 哈哈,(要)看破红尘的话,(我)就不成功了。要去出家了。

Me: 哈哈,我每天都出家....只是....我有回家而已 xD



Monday, March 23, 2015

Farewell, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew

In their position, I found that SDP’s statement is the most graceful of all.
“ Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Dr Lee Wei Ling
Mr Lee Hsien Yang,
On behalf of the members of the Singapore Democratic Party, I send you and your loved ones my deepest condolences on the demise of your father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. In this time of personal grief, our thoughts are with you.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party”
Here I also would like to add a few more words:
We are all human, we should take care of Mr. Lee family’s and thousands of supporters’ feelings when mourning for the loss of the life of their loved ones.
That is also why at this junction of time, I want to be sensitive also to the feelings of Chia Thye Poh (read ‘Operations Cold Store’), Said Zahari (read ‘Dark Clouds at Dawn’), Lim Chin Siong (read ‘Comet in the Sky’) who co-founded the People’s Action Party with Mr. Lee. Also those names that appear in the documentary of “To Singapore, With Love”: Ang Swee Chai, Chan Sun Wing, He Jin, Ho Juan Thai, Tan Hee Kim, Tan Wah Piow, Shu Shihua, Wong Soon Fong, Ye Wanzhen.
They, too, have their families and comrades who have made the painful sacrifices in the past for an alternative but no less greater nation. For sure they will get far less recognition for their vision unrealised.
Only if Mr. Lee had approached and engaged them fairly, positively and freely, defeated them openly with reasons, utmost respect and freedom afforded to them, I believe all parties including me would sing praise of you highly unreservedly. Then I don’t need to take care of their feelings of their painful losses in the past (because that did not happen). By then Mr. Lee would be a great leader at such height that is truly well-loved by all, well-respected by opponents and would surely be positively accredited by majority of historians, as such accorded to Mr. Mandela Nelson and co. with glorious human values.
In the wake of the mourning of the late Mr. Lee, I sincerely want to thank him for helping me to appreciate more about the values ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’. He constantly reminds me of what I want and do not want for the future nation of mine I want to help build.
To Singapore, with Love~

Sunday, March 22, 2015


李光耀模式的勝利,是因為他在威權下、沒對手之下的勝利(unopposed victory)






很想问一声,几百万样样以WORLD CLASS为荣的新加坡人,李光耀把谢太宝先生囚禁了32年,你们当中有多少人曾经站出来为谢太宝先生讲过什么话?









没有任何人的岁月该被无理掠夺,32年不是两个阿拉伯数字,而是有血有肉的生命。如果今天在牢房里的是你、我的孩子,那种痛何止撕心裂肺?如果说谢太宝坐牢就成全了新加坡今日的繁华,那么这个人要是没坐牢,新加坡岂非要更加繁荣进步?或许李光耀看到了这点,Ai Na Wee没看到。



K.S. Lee: