Today is my birthday, but it is also a sad day for Singapore

The Singapore PAP government just passed a new fake news law which gives their ministers the power to decide what fake news is and ask for immediate take downs.

They also said the laws they pass cannot be used on them, and in fact, they have also given themselves the power to exempt individuals they want under the law.

But Singaporeans will now be made criminals, and can be fined to S$500,000 or jailed up to 10 years.

Last year, on my birthday, Malaysia changed their government and embarked on their path towards democracy.

But this year, it is news of the fake news law being passed in Singapore, and the final nail in the coffin for Singapore’s democracy.

Last year, the Malaysians finally had a chance to see justice done to their Prime Minister who had been stealing money from their sovereign wealth funds.

On the other hand, Singapore’s parliament said yesterday that they would not divulge the salaries of the top management in Singapore’s sovereign wealth funds.

Singapore’s prime minister is the chairperson of one of the sovereign wealth fund GIC and his wife is the CEO of the other, Temasek Holdings.

Of course, Singapore cannot be as corrupt as Malaysia, because Singapore is the least corrupt place in the world, and in fact, the whole universe.

They are even cleaner and whiter than God.

5 years ago, 10 days after my birthday, I received a belated birthday present from the prime minister in the form of a legal letter.

I was sued for writing an article in relation to the GIC and Temasek Holdings, which use Singaporeans’ CPF retirement funds to invest.

Why is the Singapore government not telling Singaporeans that they are doing this, I asked?

About another 10 days after I received the love letter, the government finally disclosed for the first time in many years that this has been what they have been doing.

Then after another 10 days or so, I was fired from my job.

Before that, in 2001 and 2006, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew denied both times that GIC does not use CPF funds (in 2001) and that there is “no connection between GIC’s rate of return and the interest paid on CPF accounts” (in 2006).

When asked if GIC uses money derived from GIC to invest, then-manpower minister Ng Eng Hen said: The answer is no.

In 2016, I was asked to pay the prime minister S$150,000 in damages and S$30,000 in costs, in addition to the S$6,000 and S$29,000 in costs I had paid to him previously (total of S$215,000).

When the fake news law was first announced with penalties to S$1 million, I knew immediately it will be used like the defamation law, against Singaporeans who speak up.

But someone reminded me that it’s even worse: the fake news law also allows people to be jailed to 10 years.

When the news that the fake news law has passed in parliament yesterday, I was devastated.

Then, my friend wished me happy birthday.

And I felt so sad. He asked me what birthday wish I had. But I looked down, for Singapore had just lost its democracy.

And all I wanted at that point was for Singapore to finally be free again.

When I started writing on my blog 7 years ago, also around this time, it was because I was at a stage in life where I felt happy.

I had travelled to Europe and Australia to attend conferences as part of my work, and I saw how people there were happy at that time.

And I thought to myself, Singapore is a rich country too, why are Singaporeans not as happy?

And I embarked on my personal journey to write on my blog to try to put out my perspective, to say that we Singaporeans can be happy too, with the wealth we have.

My first article compared Singapore with the Nordic countries, after the prime minister claimed that Singapore was doing as well as them based on GDP per capita.

But I found that on more important metrics, it is not true. Singaporeans were earning wages one-fifth that of the Norwegians and Danes, and Singaporeans also paid for one of the most expensive healthcare in the world. It is free in the Nordic countries.

That was what started my awakening in Singapore.

If people are not rich in a country that is so rich and has become so expensive, then how can Singaporeans be happy?

Indeed, a Gallup survey at that time showed that Singaporeans were one of the most unhappy people in the world.

People were also talking about how they cannot retire because their CPF was invested in the GIC and Temasek Holdings.

I could find no evidence of it on any one government website at that time. But eventually I managed to piece together this information from different websites, and wrote about this in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Wheh I was sued, I was asked to take all these articles down.

I eventually joined in the election in 2015, hoping to change things, hoping that I could be part of an effort to make Singapore a more equal place.

How naive I was.

Yesterday, when I said I was devastated that the fake news law has passed, an activist asked me if I expected any different.

Of course, should I have? I knew it was going to pass but when it did and it finally sank it, it sucked anyway.

That was how I celebrated my birthday, with the loss of Singapore’s democracy.

Some have started to ask how the PAP government will use the law. We know the answer to that. Anyhow.

But I think the larger question to that is – how will Singaporeans respond to the law? In fact, how are Singaporeans responding?

Over the last few months, I have understood that Singaporeans are a people who believe in justice and fairness.

After the 2015 election and after I gave up hope in Singapore, I lost faith and walked away.

But the last few months have made me realise that there is a kindred spirit that Singaporeans have suppressed, a sense of justice in wrongdoings.

It gave me hope that there is that spark in Singaporeans who do not want wrongdoings to be swept under the carpet.

I ask of you to hold on to this spirit. Do not let it be swept under the carpet too.

Hold on to it until the next election. At least give yourself that chance to make one more change, to give ourselves that hope that we can change things in Singapore.

After the 2015 election, I fell into depression, I started to feel fearful. I began to understand the fear that Singaporeans had, I did not dare to speak up for fear of retaliation.

And I had to learn to overcome it.

I was weak. But it was also in realising and embracing this weakness that made me strong.

It was in being willing to be aware and to be honest with myself that I was fearful, that made me strong.

This awareness made me realise that I want to pick myself up, that I want to face up to myself, and to stand up for my beliefs, that made me keep going.

That gave me a courage and belief to go on.

But I keep battling it. Courage is not something you hold in constant. You keep going into fear, but pushing yourself out of it, telling yourself you need to take a stand for what you believe in, and not compromise on your values, because then, you will lose yourself.

I am reminded of what Star Trek: Discovery’s Commander Michael Burnham said. She said: “The only way to defeat fear is to tell it: No.”

And this is the way you keep moving, when you sense fear, you may allow it to happen, but at the same time, be very aware of it, and keep pushing yourself out of it. To say “No”.

I am also reminded of what the Worker’s Party’s Png Eng Huat said yesterday: A white wall has descended on Singapore today. We voted “NO” to the bill but there are only 9 of us. Please cast your “NO” votes in the coming election.

“No.”

You have to fight.

We cannot give in. The Worker’s Party stood their ground for Singapore’s democracy.

It is time we take that stand too.

The last few months, I have seen many Singaporeans said, “No”.

No to bullying.

No to unnecessary deaths to our sons.

And no to our daughters being harassed, without justice sought for them.

You spoke up, you fought, and you made some change.

Because you realised that it matters that you fight for what is fair, what is just.

What is right.

These past few months gave me the confidence to know that Singaporeans believe in justice, fairness and equality.

Singaporeans want truth.

This is what gives me hope.

Hold on to it. Keep believing in that passion, in that power you have to make change.

Hold on to your voice. And use it for change.

Hold on to your vote. Make it matter.

Yesterday’s loss to Singapore’s democracy can make you stronger.

We saw injustice done to our country. We saw a government that has given itself so much power that no matter how many academics, professors, lawyers, journalists and Singaporeans like you and I spoke up against the bill, and no matter how much we did, the government passed the fake news law anyway. And also said that laws they pass will not be used on them.

This is unfair. It is not right. And you have the power to change that.

At the next election, please say “No”.

Hold on to your passion. Hold on to your courage. Hold on to this memory, that what was done yesterday is wrong. And you have the power to undo it. You have the power to make that change.

This is the only birthday wish I have for Singapore.

For change to come because you believe.

 

Roy Ngerng

 

 

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22 Responses to “Today is my birthday, but it is also a sad day for Singapore”

  • Onwards Noblesse Oblige!:

    For Chivalry:
    https://youtu.be/cRPpct1bdn0

    The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say ‘this is mine’ and found people simple enough to believe he was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared, had some one pulled up the stakes or filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: “Do not listen to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one!” … It is too difficult to think nobly when one thinks only of earning a living … Why should we build our happiness on the opinions of others, when we can find it in our own hearts?

    - Jean Jacques Rousseau

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  • 鲁巫康勃:

    2015年大选后就情绪低落?

    不止一次看到类似的描述。性格真的是很脆弱。试想想,如果他是国防部部长,敌人来了,压力很大,结果陷入情绪低谷。。。。哎呀,我的妈呀,鄞先生是从政的料吗?

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  • CPF in HDB worth ZERO @ 99:

    Straits Times: Dialogue key to fostering trust between Government and people: DPM Heng Swee Keat

    What a joke? “Dialogue” is two-way communication Does PAP answer (tough) questions like “what is the size of Singapore reserves?”, “what is the actual cost of building HDB flats?”, how much taxpayers’ money is spent on foreign students in Singapore?”, etc.

    Trust is a two-way street. Does PAP trust Singaporeans? If it does then it would be more open and transparent. There will be no need for POFMA just like in Malaysia.

    This is the same bullshit as the “Singapore conversation”.

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  • MarBowling:

    Bro Roy, thanks for this great article. Happy Birthday to you.

    Hopefully, after READING Roy’s article, sufficient voters will WAKE UP from their slumberland to VOTE OUT the PAPIGS in the coming GE! Voters have to PUT ASIDE their SELFISHNESS(forget for a moment that should the PAPIGS lost a few GRCs, the value of their prized possession[hdb flats, EC, Condo and private property]would DROP), FEAR! Think for a moment for the FUTURE of SINGAPORE, YOUR FUTURE AND FUTURE GENERATIONS! Period! Look around you. How the citizen of our neighboring and rest of the world FIGHT & SAVE their BELOVED COUNTRIES through the BALLOT BOX! What the use of the PRESENT moment of having the World Best Airport, Best this and that? Are these MATERIAL stuffs using $billions of our heard earned taxpayers money GOING to LAST us for the NEXT 10, 20, 50 or 100 years? As Bro Roy, are you FOLKS happy and is THIS WHAT YOU WANT FOR SINGAPORE? Think in DEPTH and VOTE WISELY IN THE COMING GE!

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  • Regime change is the solution:

    POFMA is a compelling reason for regime change.

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  • Dr. Chan:

    Happy Birthday Roy. Although I don’t know you personally, I admire your courage in your fight against the PAP evil regime. I am only a keyboard warrior.
    I can only type on my Clinic PC from the USofA 15000 km away in support.
    Our only hope is for a regime this coming GE and my overseas vote count for something.

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  • Went to Japan:

    Actually you are quite good person in fighting for social justice but there were a few mistakes you made. And those few mistakes were magnified by MSM and many kiasi and kiasu over looked the good that you had done fo us.

    I think it is the fear factor that most locals want to look for an excuse not to support opposition. One mistake, they label you as useless. But for PAP, all sort of mistakes, they can over look.

    I think you should give up on Singapore and find a life in Taiwan and never look back.

    Its not worthed it, few people appreciate what you did for Singapore.

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  • CPF in HDB worth ZERO @ 99:

    Straits Times: Younger HDB buyers likely to be more prudent: Observers

    “Younger people may not be able to get as much in Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies or Housing Board loans to buy ageing flats, but they still benefit from policy changes announced yesterday, observers said.”

    The condition that the HDB flat’s remaining lease covers the youngest buyer till the age of 95 means HDB flats depreciates (to be worth zero at the end of the lease). If the flats do not depreciate there is no need to impose this condition. Why? Because the old flat can be sold for at least what was paid for it to buy a newer one.

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  • pap clan of S$m liars:

    There is a maker in heaven.

    pap clan of S$m liars can lie all they want. They are unable now to see what their clan elder the evil lky is going through now.

    If they could they would immediately leave the pap clan and repent in order to avoid going through what their clan elder the evil lky is going through now.

    So no worries. Continue to vote OPPO. pap shall be sama sama as najib BN sooner or later.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Happy Birthday Roy and Fear NOT…people like you and the many Patriots and early Nationalists had to sacrifice MUCH in order to succeed…

    but the SUCCESS was Hijacked by a Bastard and turn the story into his own and his Evil dynasty…

    Yes!!!… there is a PRICE to pay for SACRIFICE & SUCCESS…there is also a heavier PRICE to pay for EVIL too…and PRICE of Karma & RETRIBUTION is and will be played all in the public & Parliament for all to see…

    The Little SOULS a million and more to COME of the UNBORN Aborted through LEEgal Abortion will NOT REST IN PEACE until the Evils of a man and his Dynasty is DESTROYED…

    and the Hypocrites who wear the emblem of The Cross and Receive Christ on Sundays will KNOW when the Light shines upon their evil heart for their AGREEMENT towards the Slaughter of the INNOCENTS

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  • Irene Vanessa Wan Si Hung:

    History is full of revolutions, coups d’etat, overthrow of regimes. All because rulers fell out with the people.

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  • WakeupSG:

    https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/two-empty-coffins-found-floating-in-kallang-river-to-residents-surprise

    On 8th May, 2 coffins found floating on kallang river which coincides with the passing of POFMA bill. This timely release of 2 coffins so aptly express the death of democracy (inclusive of the constitutional human rights to freedom of speech & expression) which was “killed” by the men in white! I guess this on-river expression does not come under POFMA bill which targets online expression?

    Happy birthday Roy! If you believe that the cause you are fighting is just & good for SG & suffer persecution, pain & even prison, let uncle tell you, you are not alone! You know who are the gamechangers who succeeded in winning the cause they fought for!

    May your birthday wish come true this coming GE!

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  • Harder Truths:

    This is why $G is doomed. A tribute to voter stupidity and selfishness.

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  • LIONS:

    Belated good wishes on your BD,Roy.
    Stay strong.
    Very few THINGS are better than PEACE OF MIND n knowing you kept the faith n fought the GOOD fight despite all the ugliness n unfairness that abound in this evil world.

    Money can buy you *THINGS* n it is surely important even to that old bended lady who just want to earn a sime keep for survival’s sake?
    But ill-gotten money is SINFUL.
    I share this with you.
    Once someone taught me this: THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE NOT THINGS…

    GOD BLESS YOU ABUNDANTLY.
    KEEP THE FAITH…

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  • Homeless Cat:

    I am sickened and disgusted with the PAP. This is a new low for them. Voting them out is no longer enough. Now, we must lay their works to ruin and force this kakistocracy to their knees.

    PAP no longer represents the people of Singapore. They are an entity irrelevant and unnecessary to its future.

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  • may all your wishes come true:

    Thank You Roy, and Many Happy Returns of The Day.
    May all your hopes turn to wishes, and may all your wishes come true.

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  • Do It For Future Generation:

    All of us have to take action for a CHANGE this coming General Election.

    If not next time when you passed away, your children and grandchildren will be cursing you left and right for not taking action top look after their future.

    We have to do it now and not later.

    Just give any Oppo the vote.

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  • .....:

    Happy birthday Bro, thank you very much for staying true to the cause. What happening is an eye opener for all. It have to be of showing their clear actions to all to see n feel. Sadly, its the younger Lee’s n legacies holders to it whom will be facing the biggest shame. It’s the law of the universe. When that’s they have planted for them n themselves. Who are we to stop it?10yrs more, We must bring ourselves out of these shame.

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  • Good Job:

    Roy. I senses your feeling.
    Current PAP administration is benefiting itself. We need Singaporeans to start thinking if not we be all doomed.

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  • Marxist Fake News:

    The law should be applied to all.There should not be exemption.
    If it’s at their discretion, it can be abused to crush political competition.

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  • Regime change takes 1day:

    Regime change is the solution:
    POFMA is a compelling reason for regime change.

    Even without the pofma, the regime desserve to be changed 10years ago.
    The problem is the people who gave them the mandate.

    Regime change can come any Day especially on GE. But it’s not so simple :

    1. Surveil the boxes. Boxes must not leave sight. Boxes must be checked to be empty before votes casted.
    2. Volunteers to witness the vote counting.
    3. Gerrymandering
    4. Fear mongering and threats.
    5. Fake news

    Politics is fundamentally simple, and as old a trade as prostitution. It’s just 10 times more filthy.

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  • FB help us please!:

    Good Job:
    Roy. I senses your feeling.
    Current PAP administration is benefiting itself. We need Singaporeans to start thinking if not we be all doomed.

    I thought Singaporeans are well educated and well travelled like kim jong ill ?

    If they are well travelled, they should know first worlds should not be ruled like dictatorship.
    They should know how pathetic it is when citizens dare not question nor speak out.

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