Mind your language

The convoluted case over the claim that Deputy PM Heng Swee Keat was agreeable to a 10 million population for Singapore has resulted in a most unfortunate analogy as part of the attempts to counter it. Instead of simply denying the claim (which was done subsequently) the ruling party issued a statement and dabbled in an area it has dubious abilities in: logic.

In a statement they said: “A simple analogy will explain Dr Chee’s mendacity. Imagine this. Dr Chee claims you said you want to beat up your spouse. You deny it, and show proof that you neither said this nor have beaten your spouse. Instead of apologising, Dr Chee says: ‘Victory! I extracted a promise from you that you will never beat your spouse’.”

The question remains: what has a claim about a possible 10 million population size for Singapore to do with spousal abuse? Seriously.

Here’s a reliable dictionary definition of ‘analogy’:

  • A comparison between one thing and another, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification. [Note the mention of “clarification”.]
  • A correspondence or partial similarity.
  • A thing which is comparable to something else in significant respects.
  • Logic [mass noun]: A process of arguing from similarity in known respects to similarity in other respects. [Note: sometimes called ‘argument from analogy’.]

In other words, do they even understand what ‘analogy’ means? The ruling elite have a problem with understanding what is said and having a grasp of the language (see When An Illiterate Becomes An Education Minister].

What, then, is analogous between spousal abuse and a purported projected population size within an entirely political context?

Understandably, Aware has stated: “‘Domestic violence is a serious and devastating issue for many in Singapore, and millions more around the world. It is not something to be invoked lightly—especially not during the Covid-19 pandemic, when domestic violence has seen a sharp increase.’”

They went on: “‘We call upon political candidates to be mindful and responsible in their communications throughout this election.’”

And do the elites understand what using the term “mendacity” in relation to spousal abuse can suggest? Is there a link between ‘mendacity’ and spousal abuse? Is every single claim of spousal abuse genuine; or, is ‘mendacity’ used in contradistinction? If the latter, it implies that the ‘mendacity’ of a politician is different from how it is used in spousal abuse: but it is unlikely that is meant not only due to their manifest lack of subtlety but because they were so eager to take down an opponent that they arguably trivialised spousal abuse.

Sometimes in a political campaign the less said, the better. Instead of stating that an inaccuracy was promulgated in the 10 million population number, those who have shown a consistent inability to think clearly, express themselves properly, and communicate coherently have mired themselves with a disanalogy.

The campaign may probably continue with gaffes like ““For our East Coast residents, we also have a plan for the East Coast. We have a East Coast, Singapore, we have a together an East Coast plan. We care at East Coast” which has only helped Nando’s chain in its marketing. And counterfactual scenarios in which Mr Lee Hsien Yang is PM.

Perhaps, to be charitable to the elites, they were given some sage advice in using spousal abuse as it has been bandied about by some in the legal profession. Last year, the British Attorney-General (an MP) of the ruling Conservatives found himself in an uncomfortable position for linking a political issue to wife-beating.

The chap had to apologise in parliament because the UK is an actual parliamentary democracy:

‘Let me say, if I’ve given offence, I certainly didn’t mean to…If I have given offence, I apologise.’

The Speaker added:

‘This is a matter of extreme sensitivity and what I would say to the honourable lady [opposition MP] and more widely to the House, is that it is incredibly important that we are sensitive to the wider implications and interpretation of what we say.

‘The mores of society do change and sometimes one can find that things that one has quite frequently said in the past, without causing offence, can no longer be said without causing offence.’

Still, the other crucial question remains: is it safe to entrust all of Parliament to those who have shown how muddle-headed they can be on many counts? It may be in our best interests to give a clear mandate to a viable and effective opposition presence so that they can bring in alternative ideas, wipe complacency off the faces of those who have been in power too long, provide genuine diversity, and speak up for those who have had no voice for so long because of the mendacity of the mainstream media.

Sanjay Perera

*Writer, and founding editor of Philosophers for Change. The post first appeared at: Kafkaville. He is also the author of A Leap in the Dark; Trauma Inc. and Other Works: or, How to Read the World and End It; and the novels Golem & Traum, and Perfect iSland.

[Picture: slideserve.]

 

 

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18 Responses to “Mind your language”

  • Not value for money:

    Pap has descended into GUTTER POLITICS.

    Ministers are highly educated with many from world class univs.

    BUT they can behave in such demeaning, uncouth and low class manners. Not much better than ah bengs.

    DISAPPOINTING

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  • Be humble to serve:

    Talking about APOLOGIES, this word never exist in these buggers’ vocabulary and million$ skulls.

    That small space XXX woman JT doesn’t feel bad or apologetic at all about her gross incompetence and lapse of duty.

    She even had the cheeks to tell us not to be overly alarmed. As of today, more than 44,000 cases and still rising.

    HELLO, are you alright?

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  • No plan now TMR have:

    Why PAP never step out and say all this until now?No plans ? Yes no officially announced plan. But they could have contemplated it for long time and they could just let population grow and grow without saying their target.
    We cannot audit the population figures independent of pap.

    Also, a plan not made today can be made after GE citing any reason a lawyer can come up with. It’s too easy.

    No plan now, TMR can have

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  • RButler:

    The real analogy is this.

    Someone , person A, has publicly stated that wives should be disciplined. There is space in a marriage for this.
    Then in a public forum he quotes with approval someone else, person B, who said wifebeating can be justified. In some cultures, this is still practised. Person B is of some renown.
    I think it is quite proper to be alarmed that person A might believe in wife beating. Subsequent statements to the effect that “ I have no intention at this time of beating my wife”, is hardly comforting, especially to the wife. So it is quite right to be asked if one truly believes in wife beating and might do so given sufficient reason.

    The PAP reasoning is clumsy. They are referencing the lawyer’s old courtroom trick of asking a person “when did you stop beating your wife?”, implying that he has beaten his wife at one time though there is no evidence for that.

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  • Wah so complicated..:

    Wah so simple issue become so complicated..
    Just give a simple reply to a question..and move on.
    Got more serious issues to address for the common man…in this crisis of a lifetime when many are suffering.
    No jobs,no cash and no future…

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  • LoL:

    All serve the economy, so fundamentally no difference because money has to come from the people, which means work.

    No one can guarantee viable and “properous work” so election is nothing for the bored to fight for themselves, the impottance of their role to…ahem…serve people(yeah right)

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  • Spies:

    I don’t know whether heng passed his ‘O’ level English Language or took Literature during his Senior Cambridge years.

    We were taught to use quotations when answering Shakespeare’s plays, be it Julius Caesar, Macbeth or whatever.

    So when heng Suay talked to university students in a FORUM………and quoted Thai Ker on the 10 million people going to live in Singapore………as espoused by the former Singapore’s Chief Planner……….what was heng saying?

    That he quoted Thai Ker right? This is called quotation or Heng inferred, right!

    So now why the Denial? Why did he quoted the Chief Planner who has been planning land use for the last two decades.

    To make matters worse……..he said 10 million not so dense…….Can be denser, right?

    Come we get his former TEACHER or Cher (as the new millennium calls their teacher) to TESTIFY!

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    The “Art of DECEIT” against the “TRUTH” behind the Ambiguity & Deceit…

    Mastered by the man who Con YOU and carried out by his IDIOTS!!!

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  • Who fathered HSK?:

    Actually, PAP is foolish in this response to 10million population.

    It’s reasonable to say that most people would perceive that the white paper is indeed something being considered.
    Else that old old man Liu Thai Ker would not have been told to write about it.

    So, it’s reasonable to say old old man Liu was asked to do what is being contemplated.

    For so many years, there is no PAP making it clear by saying it categorically what are they thinking.

    If PAP has been considering that population size but have not officially announced it, it does not mean they have NO PLANS to do that.

    If we want to play with words, we can also say it’s not 10million but 9.9million. or it’s not 6.9million but 6.8million.

    Singaporeans are not daft not to see the possibilities. It’s just that people are intimidated and too timid to criticise pap or question pap.

    Only the blind cannot see what’s going on.

    This again proves the erosion of good governance. The pap has not won any debate in this case. Because the glass is also half empty. They are just saying the glass is half full. But there are naive people out there who will swallow their line hook and sinker completely. This is a given in the real world.

    Each day old people are passing on. The base continues to shrink.

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  • Vote for change:

    These muddle-headed ministers show signs of mental fatigue & mental distress.

    NO EXCUSE IN USING DISANALOGY IN THEIR EAGERNESS TO TAKE DOWN AN OPPONENT! IT’S A CASE OF LIGHTNING STRIKES BACKWARD, OWNSELF STRIKES OWNSELF!

    IT’S TIME THE VOTERS OF THE RESPECTIVE CONSTITUENCIES RETIRE THEM ON 10TH JULY!

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  • A sick mind.:

    Sanjay Perera needs to see a doctor.

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  • REGIME CHANGE is the solution:

    Straits Times: Singapore GE2020: Don’t vote for opposition if what you really want is a PAP government, says PM Lee

    LHL playing ‘fast-and-loose” with the facts.

    VOTE FOR THE OPPOSITION EVEN IF YOU WANT A PAP GOVERNMENT TO FORCE IT TO LISTEN TO SINGAPOREANS.

    A significant Opposition in Parliament (at least 40%) will force the PAP Government to be more open and transparent for REAL accountability. This will also stop PAP from changing the Constitution just to benefit the PAP.

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  • Existentialism of Taxit Heng:

    Rejoinder from Oxford’s Mr. Bean to Cambridge’s Mr. Bean (ya he got study there)

    “You’re about as useful as a one-legged man at an a$$e kicking contest.”
    (Rowan Atkinson)

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  • REGIME CHANGE is the solution:

    Singapore GE2020: Better life for S’poreans if more opposition MPs elected, says SDP chief Chee Soon Juan

    ABSOLUTELY TRUE. Also true is that there is NO DOWNSIDE to having a SIGNIFICANT number of opposition MPs in Parliament.

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  • trublu:

    In UK PARLIAMENT,MR SPEAKER IS THE Speaker.
    In $in City parLEEmen,Mr SPEAKer is THE $peaker?

    See the difference.
    Too much $$$ at $take?
    So,better be obedient.

    In UK,BOTH GOVT SIDE N OPPOSITE GENTLEMEN ARE ALWAYS ALERT,ALWAYS READY TO CHALLENGE.
    HERE,GOVT SIDE INCLUDING THE DPM REPRESENTING YOU,TAKE SNOOZES OPENLY.
    Some more clever,for fear of being caught* SLEEPING ON THE JOB*,ABSENT themselves n oresent only FOR VOTING after skipping ALL THE ORE’M-HEARINGS

    SGS,VITE WISELY
    MAKE YOYR MONEY WORTH.MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD.
    VOTE ALTERNATICE SO THAT YOUR VOICES WONT BE DROWNED BY ELITISTS’?

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  • An analogous Pappy Mendacity:

    Recall Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Chok Tong & Da Emperor promising Singaporeans without blinking eyes, that our HDB flat is “a personal asset which will never go down in value”???

    What outrageous audacity in unflinching mendacity towards cash-poor sheeples! It takes sick minds to prop up such falsehoods to doctor our CPF savings for their GLC crony capital funds huh?

    Hao Siao, Toa Poww!!!

    Cronycrats will never change their despotic self-entitled habits …. Crazy caprice to serve their perverted avarice… majulah sinchiapor inc.!!!

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  • oxygen:

    THE 10 MILLION POPULATION STATISTIC and its reference is TRUTH, not falsehood.

    It has to EXIST FIRSTLY in the mind and public utterance (and quoted in REFERENCE to the same in public forum) OF PAPpypolitics BEFORE that incubates the mind and utters in the mouth of Dr Chee/SDP (and all other highly informed minds from reputable institutions) in that angry election debate.

    Dr Chee was only asking for clarification, the incumbency got all rattled proves the sensitivity of its own cultivation of 10 million population size.

    If Dr Chee wants to misrepresent or mischaracterise PAPpynomic’s population planning assumption, it could jolly well starts with the 6.9m base line found in that throat-ramming Population White Paper (after the Punggol SMC election) and then project an EASILY ATTAINABLE PROJECTION to exceed at least 10 million y 2050.

    This linear projection is basing on an annualised compounded growth rate of just 2% over 20 years to 2050. I did exactly that here, See oxygen July 5, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    http://www.tremeritus.net/2020/07/05/sdp-pofma-from-mnd/

    MY ASSUMPTIONS above is VERY CONSERVATIVE – NOT FACTORING/INCORPORATING the growth of foreign influx via employment pass, work permit.

    Mind your (PAPpypolitics’ semantic) language aside, “flubbing East Coast” would NOT have quote and reference of the utterance of LTKer if he himself was not convinced of its truthfulness, conviction and more importantly. of RELEVANT significance at NUS forum. It was his unprompted “excited utterance” (i.e. he spoke his real mind unguarded of political calculus or any other considerations).

    When a public speaker quoted a source, he/she is traveling in the mind of that quoted source which he/she believes to he honest, correct, reliable, informing and credible for acceptance in the audience to believe.

    HOW CAN PAPpypolitics BACKFLIPPED to deny and claims the opposite is true now?

    IT IS TOO LATE. My projection appear to “prove” the opposite.

    NOTICE THAT PAPpypolitics COLLECTIVELY is ALL DEAD SILENT on its Population White Paper – an incriminating piece of evidence whose (even) conservative projection thereon is likely to expose its deception in denial AFTER THE FACT.

    Its 26 GRC-loving inductees are ALL LOUD AS MUTE AND AS DEAF AS EARTHWORM in this controversy.

    WHERE ARE THE PEASANTS GOING TO FIND AND DISCOVER the means of check and balance in this fiasco of theatrical proportion – NEVER MIND THE LANGUAGE ASIDE.

    PAPpypolitic’s conduct in this matter IS NOT CREDIBLE AND WON’T CONVINCE ME.

    10 million population and beyond is life endangerment of geotechnical cave-in of both above ground/subteareanean habitation/work as well as worst than dorm-like pandemic and fire spread.

    WHAT IS URA AND HDB LANGUAGE SPEAK IN THIS CONTROVERSY?

    lOUD AS MUTE AND DEAF AS EARTHWORM TOO??

    I am going to VOTE for the nation, not political party.

    What say you?

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  • oxygen:

    MIND YOUR LANGUAGE – exactly right on the dot. AFTER FLUBBING EAST COAST uttered in quote of LTK’s now famous 10 million population orgasmic wet dream in reputable public forum, HOW CAN PAPpypolitics/PAPpynomics now deny that subject matter EXISTED in their own mind (i.e.falsehood??)

    In mortality ending, the mind is the last organ that dies off, the mouth of the dying can shout/confess anything prior in “excited utterance”.

    And yes, MIND YOUR LANGUAGE.

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