Dear Mr Plainclothes Police,
I must confess that I was stalking you and I sincerely apologise for perhaps… frightening you with my aggressiveness. Oh wait, let me explain.
You see I have a soft spot for a cute guy like you, especially when you are employed under the police force partially funded by the tax I am obligated to pay. This is what made me stalk you throughout the event. Being so shy the way I am, I did not know how to broach the topic… I really wanted to ask you out for tea. Unfortunately you were intimidated and ran away from me. Well, at first you dodged and tried to move into the crowd but I had my stalker-eyes affixed on you. It was not entirely difficult you see… you aren’t very much taller than I am. Perhaps that was why I became so obsessed with you in the first place.
Really, this is embarrassing but yes, I was stalking you. I wished to tell you many things… I wished to thank you for your presence because it made me feel safer as a participant of the event (Singaporeans in Solidarity with Malaysians). Erm… I also wished to apologise to you that because of this event, you probably missed having dinner with your mother. It was Mother’s Day afterall, honey.
Well anyway all of that was before you put your camera in my face and took a picture of me with the powerful flashlight on. What an anti-climax. I wish you had been more polite. By the way, I hope that you’ve taken a good photo of me because I am really not a very photogenic person.
Hmm… I hope you’ve enjoyed the event and hope to see you soon at the next event. Maybe the time round you will be friendlier and we can talk about catching up over a glass of Milo-Dinosaur?
Oh before I forget… do thank the whole team who was there with you too – all 15 to 20 of them – thank you for being there to maintain peace. We really appreciate your presence and hope that perhaps the next time, you can mobilise 50 more officers to keep us company and to make up the numbers. Thank you for coming in solidarity with the Malaysians. I love you, all of you, my dear plainclothes police woman (there was one) and men.
With so much gratitude and love,
Rachel the activist-police stalker
By Neo Chai Chin - 01 May 2013
SINGAPORE — Two men on death row for murder had their cases sent back to the High Court for resentencing yesterday — the first since the law was amended to give judges sentencing discretion in some murder cases.
Both men are foreign nationals whose appeals had been dismissed by the Court of Appeal before Parliament passed amendments to the Penal Code last November.
Working closely with Ravi for the past few years on our campaign against the death penalty (among others), reading about Ravi’s experiences and lessons learnt in life was important for me – both as a friend as well as a fellow human rights campaigner.
In his book, Ravi takes us through a journey of his life til now. The vivid descriptions of his personal experiences – from growing up in a multi-racial kampong (village) to his legal battles for various causes – gives the reader a better understanding of how he became who he is today.
Personally, I feel that Kampong Boy is not just a story about Ravi but about human experiences and development, the lessons that one can learn in life as well as about Singapore from the past to present. I believe that some parts of the book have been difficult to write about and as Ravi had mentioned during his book launch, the part about his mother was especially difficult. Indeed as a reader, it was one of the most difficult part to read with a straight face too. In fact, the reading experience was emotional for me as I interacted with various parts of the story with laughter, knowing chuckles and tears in my eyes.
I would like to thank Ravi for sharing his story with us. It is a beautiful book with a touching story and through his journey, I was able to reflect on my own.
For those who are interested, Kampong Boy is available at the following book stores:
1. Grassroots Bookroom @ 420 North Bridge Road, #03-06, North Bridge Centre
2. Kinokuniya Bookstore Mainstore @ Ngee Ann City mall, Bugis Junction, Liang Court.
3. Select Books @ 51 Armenian Street
4. Times Bookstores @ the following malls: Centrepoint, Paragon, Tampines One, Jelita, Marina Square, Plaza Singapura, JCube)
I received the news with a very heavy heart that one of my favourite local bloggers, Mr Fish who blogs at Feed Me To The Fish, passed on today (20 March 2013). He had always been very encouraging towards me and my work and he is also quite a regular reader of my blog, the same way I often visit his. It is a very sad day for me even though we have never met in real life… or we might have met once or twice or even spoke but because of his desire to remain an anonymous blogger, I never knew. My deepest condolence to everyone in his family… and may Fish rest in peace…
Thank you for sharing all your thoughts as well as the kind words of support that you have always given me.
Filed under: News Articles, Singapore, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign
By K.C. Vijayan
The Straits Times
Monday, Mar 11, 2013
SINGAPORE - DEATH row inmate Mervin Singh was spared the gallows on Friday when the Court of Appeal quashed his conviction for drug trafficking.
The 37-year-old had been sentenced to hang after being caught with a pink box containing nine packets of heroin.
He denied knowing that the drugs were inside, saying he thought he was transporting a consignment of contraband cigarettes.
Filed under: News Articles, Singapore, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign
By K.c. Vijayan
The Straits Times
Tuesday, Jan 01, 2013
SINGAPORE - They were facing certain death by hanging, but may now get a lifeline as changes to the mandatory death penalty kick in from Jan 1.
A key plank in the amendments to the Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code as well as the Misuse of Drugs Act will give these prisoners an opportunity to introduce new evidence to prove that they satisfy the new conditions for a life sentence instead of death.
“National Defence Duty” is a such a thoughtless idea.
“In short, we do duty, they pay a duty,” he wrote, according to this report on Asiaone.
Well dearest Hri Kumar, time spent serving National Service and its subsequent cycles of reservist can never be equated to any amount of money so I do have an issue with the justification that “we do duty, they pay duty”. Or perhaps I am still clueless about the “fact” that human time and effort is really no different from money. Should that be the case, can someone kindly enlighten me here?
And since we are on the topic of National Service, I would like to put it down on record that I am for the abolition of conscription, replacing it with a professional home defence team that anyone who would like to, can be part of. Yes, regardless of gender, race and religion. That will scrap the concept that $400 or so a month is acceptable “allowance”, just because one is doing National Service.
Yes that pretty much sums up my perspective on conscription but I am not expecting anyone to agree with me here because many people think that the idea is too “radical” although the same people often bring up the issue of NS when women’s rights are being raised. :p
(Yes I understand, I am so in trouble.)
So, have anyone watched Ah Boys to Men yet?
Anyway, do take the following poll! It’s just for fun, and I hope it is able to control the amount of times one can vote… hahahaa…
Although the turn-out wasn’t overwhelming, probably a few hundreds, Reform Party did well at its rally. Kenneth Jeyaretnam spoke clearly and confidently, talking about setting realistic goals and not making far-fetched promises. Frankly his speech is by far, my favourite among all the candidates who have spoken.
Also, despite the rain that had made the field so muddy (no different from yesterday’s situation), the audience were able to stand on the field comfortably, thanks to the team’s thoughtfulness of getting the contractor to lay wooden boards across almost half of the field. Wooden steps were provided too for easy access up the wee slope at the side of the field.
That was a nice gesture, really appreciated it.
In this by-election for Punggol East SMC, the common topic among most of the candidates seems to be the lack of childcare centres within the SMC.
Yes, while having more childcare options in Rivervale is important, candidates should do their homework on the purpose of early childhood education, operation costs required as well as reasons causing the increment of fees in childcare centres and preschools before even thinking of bringing it up for their political agenda.
1. Reinforcing a wrong impression of the function of childcare centres
Childcare centres provide early childhood education to children between 18 months to 6 years of age. In some cases, there is also the option of infant care.
Anyone trained in the field of early childhood education will know that the early years are crucial for learning. This is because before neural shearing – the disintegration of unused neurons or brain cells – takes place between the ages of 8 to 10, neurons must make brain connections. Only brain connections that are repeated and used will remain permanent. With these brain connections, or memories, children will be able to develop new knowledge as they grow older.
To put it simply, children must frequently be exposed to concepts through concrete experiences and visual representations in the early years, which will in turn help them understand abstract examples later on in their lives. A good early childhood programme will look into providing a good environment where children can learn through their daily interactions with the materials, tools and people in that environment.
A good early childhood programme will also ensure opportunities for children to develop to their fullest potential by working hand in hand with their families. In other words, childcare centres being providers of early childhood education, exist to cater to the holistic development of young children which includes working with families. Childcare centres do not exist mainly to help lighten the parenting load of working parents. It is a two-way working relationship between parents and childcare centres, but the candidates who are calling for more childcare centres in Rivervale have missed this very important point. Instead, they are reinforcing the wrong message that childcare centres function as some sort of nanny care.
As this is an impression which I believe that the early childhood education sector has been trying to change, I suggest that the candidates stop insulting the early childhood educators working in childcare centres in this way and consider pushing for quality childcare programmes in their campaign messages. That is, if they really do have to use this as one of the selling points of their political campaigns.
There is seriously a huge difference between pushing for quality childcare programmes and pushing for more childcare centres so that parents can have the convenience of picking their children up while on their way home from work.
2. Fee increment in childcare centres and preschools
Indeed over the past few years, fees have increased.
This increment is necessary as childcare centres and preschools deal with the ever-increasing cost of utilities, food supplies and stationeries. Salaries of teachers who also have to deal with the ever-increasing cost of rent, utilities, food and other basic needs, have to increase as well because they have bills to foot too.
If childcare centres and preschools do not increase their fees, guess who will bear the brunt of the ever-increasing cost of utilities, food supplies and stationeries? TEACHERS. Yes, teachers who work up to 9 ½ hours a day, five days a week and 7 hours on Saturdays on a rotational basis.
While most other professionals are able to see their monthly salaries increase annually on at least a 10% rate, teachers see an increment (of their monthly salaries) between $10 to $100 or slightly more per year. Passion you say? Sure all of us in the field are passionate about the development of children but we have bills to pay, children to feed and families to maintain. However, should the cost of living become too high for our considerably miserable salaries to bear, will you, the candidates, pay our bills for us? Never. So quit harping on the increment of fees in the childcare centres and preschools, blaming only on the rent.
Ask yourselves instead, what can YOU do, to help childcare centres and preschools keep their fees low so that more operators will consider opening centres in the area.
3. Operating a centre is not as easy as you think
I am sure that the PAP candidate does not need to worry about this aspect because should he become an MP, he can always work with PCF or NTUC on that. That is his short-cut advantage which is of course, not fair to all the other candidates.
However before anyone considers opening a centre upon being elected, there are some requirements one has to fulfil. Click on the following link to find out more before making such a promise to the electorate. Your experiences in the financial or business sectors do not necessarily mean that you qualify to be an operator of a childcare centre.
That’s all I have to say for now. And I seriously hope that I won’t be hearing more naive talk about childcare centres in the next few days! Oh and… After-School Care programmes are not necessarily offered by childcare centres because the focus of childcare centres should ultimately be children between the ages of 18 months to 6 years of age. Try getting the primary schools to offer that instead.
Response from Kenneth Jeyaretnam, candidate from the Reform Party through Facebook (re-written in my own words):
According to Kenneth, he used to be a director of a childcare provider and his party’s plan regarding the proposal of having more childcare centres was drawn by a qualified early years professional. (Good to know, and hope to hear more about it soon!)
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Singapore, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign
Vui Kong turned 25 on 16 January 2013. I would like to wish him a happy 25th birthday and thank M Ravi for his all the dedication that he has made towards this Vui Kong’s case. With the amendments made to the Mandatory Death Penalty, I am hopeful that Vui Kong will be able to see more years ahead. Let’s hope for the best!