Archive for the Current affairs Category

Kallang Leisure Park bans entry to all NDP uniformed personnel

This is the kind of thing that makes your blood boil, especially if you have served national service for 2 or 2 1/2 years and spend part of that time doing NDP.

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This sign was posted at the entrance of Kallang Leisure Park yesterday morning (4 July). It was National Day Parade Combined Rehearsal 3 day. Although the parade is held at The Padang this year, the mobile column need to form up at the carpark next to Kallang Leisure Park. Heard form some sources that it was raining in the morning and some NSF went into the mall to seek shelter. The wet uniform and muddy boots might have dirtied the mall, which caused the building management to paste the sign at their entrance.

This kinda stinks. Those guys are serving their nation service. They burnt their weekends for the nation’s birthday celebration. Instead of being nice to them and thanking them for their service, the building management ban them from entering like how some malls ban dogs.

If the soldiers dirtied the floor, get someone to clean it. Or even better, provide water at the entrance of the mall for them to clean their boots before entering. After all, NSF are their biggest group of visitors during NDP rehearsals.

It is disappointing to see the management of Kallang Leisure Park banning NDP uniformed personnel from entering. NSF deserved to be treated better.

Team Singapore records best SEA Games performance

The 28th SEA Games just ended yesterday and Team Singapore recorded a historic medal haul of 84 Gold, 73 Silver and 102 Bronze. This haul surpassed Singapore’s record of 50 Gold, 40 Silver and 74 Bronze when the Games was hosted in Singapore in 1993. This impressive performances also boosted Singapore’s standing to second position on the medal tally – our highest ranking since the 1975.

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Singapore, being the host nation, field its largest team ever of 747 athletes and 347 officials. 421 athletes made their first appearance at the SEA Games.

Of the 36 sports which Team Singapore participated in, Swimming achieved the highest medal count of 42 (23 Gold, 12 Silver and 7 Bronze medals). Swimmers Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen were among the most bemedalled athletes at the Games with nine Gold medals and 12 medals respectively, winning one in every event they competed in.

There were also many breakthrough performances to celebrate. The synchronised swimming team won their first Gold medal in their sport in the Team Free Combination event. Sprinter Shanti Pereira broke the national record and clocked her personal best timing in the Women’s 200m finals, contributing a Gold medal to Athletics’ achievement of 9 medals (3 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze medals) and at the same time, breaking a 42-year medal drought in this event.

Windsurfer Audrey Yong beat the odds and sailed a consistent regatta to win Singapore’s first gold medal in a women’s windsurfing event. The Sailing team marked their best SEA Games outing ever with 10 gold, 7 silver and 1 bronze medals.

Also on the water at Bedok Reservoir, water-skier Mark Leong set a Games Record, National Record and Personal Best in the Men’s Slalom event, adding on to the four waterski Games records. The canoeists also set a record haul of seven Gold medals. Other teams who have impressed were from Rhythmic Gymnastics, Equestrian, Wushu and Netball, among many others.

Congrats Team Singapore!

MDA orders The Real Singapore admins to shut down website

The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) has ordered The Real Singapore (TRS) admins to immediately stop posting articles and disable access to its website and social media accounts. The order was issued on 3 May 2015 afternoon and as of 7:30pm, The Real Singapore website, Facebook page and Twitter account have been closed.

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It is the first time the MDA has suspended the licence of a site’s editors. Under the Broadcasting Act, the TRS admins could face a fine of up to S$120,000, a jail term of up to 3 years, or both if they do not comply.

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Personally, I’m having mixed feeling about this. I hate The Real Singapore website. The site is known to publish fake stuff and always sensationalise issues. I should be feeling happy that a cesspool like TRS is finally gone. But something feels wrong here.

How did The Media Development Authority of Singapore have the power to shut down a website? Where are the checks and safeguards? Why isn’t the court involved? What recourse does site owners have if they disagree with MDA’s decision?

I’m not even aware that TRS has a statutory class licence. We do know that some sites were registered under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification. However, TRS wasn’t one of them. So who has this statutory class licence? And who gave MDA the power to decide who can or cannot operate a website?

I am against MDA regulating the Internet. But don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending TRS. But I feel that TRS and its admin should be dealt with by the court. The 2 admins are already charged with seven counts of publishing seditious articles. Since the court is dealing with them, why is MDA shutting down the site now?

And most importantly, what is stopping MDA from abusing its power in the future? MDA can also do this to other sites like The Online Citizen in the future. Without proper check and balance, the same power can be used to restrict our freedom of speech.

Ironically, today is World Press Freedom Day.

Facebook to match donations to Nepal relief efforts

By now you should have heard about the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal near the capital of Kathmandu on April 25th. More than 2,000 people have died across the region, including in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, and thousands more were injured.

Facebook is asking its users to donate to the International Medical Corps. User of the social media network will see a message at the top of their News Feed with an option to donate.

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Facebook will match every dollar donated up to $2 million. Facebook’s matching funds will be distributed to local relief and rescue organizations working to provide immediate and ongoing relief. Visit facebook.com/nepalearthquakesupport for more information.

Besides asking for donations, Facebook has also activated its Safety Check feature. Safety Check is a simple and easy tool to inform your Facebook friends that you are safe. Millions of people have been marked safe and tens of millions of people were notified that someone they know has been marked safe.

Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop

Saw this Ted Talk video by Monica Lewinsky on Youtube. I think it is a timely video and would be great if you could spare 22 minutes to listen to what she is sharing.

Watching this video made me think about things that happened in Singapore over the past few months. Like the US and UK, we are seeing a rise in cyberbullying and online harassment. Publishing private and confidential details about someone online and making death threats are getting more and more common these days. We are lucky that none of the victims committed suicide yet. But it is time for us to put a stop to all these negative online behaviour before it is too late.

Cruelty to others is nothing new, but online, technologically enhanced shaming is amplified, uncontained, and permanently accessible. The echo of embarrassment used to extend only as far as your family, village, school or community, but now it’s the online community too. Millions of people, often anonymously, can stab you with their words, and that’s a lot of pain, and there are no perimeters around how many people can publicly observe you and put you in a public stockade. There is a very personal price to public humiliation, and the growth of the Internet has jacked up that price.

We are often encouraging these cyberbullying and online harassment without knowing. A marketplace has emerged where public humiliation is a commodity and shame is an industry. All these while when we are clicking and sharing these content, someone is benefitting from someone else’s suffering. Either through monetary gain from advertising or just raise in fame. And the more we click, the more it encourages others to join in.

The more we saturate our culture with public shaming, the more accepted it is, the more we will see behavior like cyberbullying, trolling, some forms of hacking, and online harassment.

We don’t have organisation like Tyler Clementi Foundation or Anti-Bullying Pro here in Singapore. Personally I hope that we won’t need to have one. Let’s put a stop to all the cyberbullying and online harassment. Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop now before it is too late.