Sunday, March 24, 2013

On the Parliament Vote to Endorse the Population White Paper - Redux: Who didn't vote?

As promised in a previous post, I kept a close watch on the release of the votes and proceedings of the parliamentary vote held on 8 February to endorse the controversial population white paper.

You may find the proceedings here. Naturally, I saved a copy to my hard drive. Even with legislation that compels the government to release this information, I have zero trust in the PAP in such matters.

And given the compromised nature of the mainstream media in reporting political news, you will never hear the specifics of the proceedings in the Straits Times, so if you find this blog post enlightening, please disseminate this as far as possible. Our citizenry need to be informed citizenry if we are to have influence in charting the course of this nation of ours.

Given the short attention spans of most people, I would not be surprised if many Singaporeans have forgotten about the specifics of who voted for what. And this was probably something that the PAP was counting on.

This post will serve as a reminder of the voting record on that fateful day.

From the parliamentary proceedings, in the matter of endorsing the population white paper, there were 77 ayes, 13 noes, and 1 abstention. There were 5 absentees on that day.

All opposition party MPs voted no.

All non-constituency MPs voted no.

Of the nominated MPs, Eugene Tan abstained, as is well known. Janice Koh, Faizah Jamal and Laurence Lien all voted against the motion, as is also known.

What was not stated in the mainstream media was that of the remaining five nominated MPs, Tan Su Shan was absent, while the remaining four voted aye.

These four, whose names were not mentioned in the media, are Nicholas Fang, Mary Liew, Ramy Dhinakaran and Teo Siong Seng.

Remember these nominated MP names. When the time comes to re-appoint the nominated MPs, it will be interesting to see who gets the nod for re-appointment, and who doesn't, and see how the re-appointment reconciles with this voting record.

Now, the most interesting part of this post.

There are 99 MPs in parliament. With 77 ayes, 13 noes, 1 abstention and 5 absentees, that still leaves 3 MPs unaccounted for.

It was known that Inderjit Singh absented himself during the vote, and well he did, given the misgivings he voiced out prior to the taking of the vote.

But who were the other two?

The answer is: Indranee Rajah and Ng Eng Hen. 

Read into that what you will. Myself? I would note that Ng Eng Hen is a Cabinet Minister, while Indranee Rajah is a Senior Minister of State, unlike Inderjit Singh who is just a regular MP. It's bad form for people that high up in the PAP hierarchy to absent themselves from a vote as widely watched as this one.

I do not have information on how or why they absented themselves. And our mainstream media doesn't seem to either, or doesn't want to tell us, or just plain doesn't want to know.

*Remember, if you found this post noteworthy, please disseminate.  As citizens, all of us need more information.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Google Reader is shutting down

Like many users of Google Reader, it is the number 2 Google service I spend the most time on, after Gmail, so it's a terrible shame that I now need to find a new RSS solution.

And as Hitler so eloquently put it, some "social shit sandwich" isn't going to cut it in replacing my reading experience. I am *so* anti-social network. Don't even get me started on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book List Refreshed 13/03/2013

I have removed:

The Honest Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely
The Vanishing Face of Gaia by James Lovelock
The Wisdom of Whores by Elizabeth Pisani
The Porning of America by Kevin M. Scott and Carmine Sarracino

I have added:

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brian Sanderson
Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb
OB Markers by Cheong Yip Seng
The Race for What's Left by Michael T. Klare

Friday, March 8, 2013

Straits Times 8 March 2013 - Taking Flight

Long time readers of my blog will know that I am a paragliding pilot.

Last Saturday, a Straits Times journalist who had found our club's Facebook page requested for a photo shoot and an interview. Fortunately, the wind at the field next to Marina Bay Cruise Center was accommodating. =)

The article was published in today's Life!, along with some pretty pictures.

To all my earthbound friends who have not seen me strapped into my wing, well, I'm the one with the silver and azure glider, circled in yellow above. It's a Gin Bolero III model.

The secretary of our club told me that he expects a flood of enquiries after the publication of this article, given the large number of adventure sports enthusiasts in Singapore.

Me? I'm not so sure. The sport has traditionally been small and mostly limited to those comfortable with the risks inherent in an air sport. It's very much a self-selected sport, especially given the constraints faced by paragliding pilots in Singapore. Most Singaporeans in the community had to find ways to learn and practice the sport on their own. I, for example, traveled to Nepal by myself in Winter 2009 to learn.

Incidentally, that's one of the things I love best about the sport. The pilots that I've met have tended to be the independent and free-spirited types that I identify most strongly with. Many of the people I've met through the sport are true kindred spirits.

Still, it would be interesting to see the response to wider publicity of our community in the coming weeks ahead.