Sunday, April 30, 2006
I remember on the day I flew off for my overseas trip, I was on a very heavy schedule, yet made sure all my personal adminstration, that included 8 different payments for SCV, OCBC, SingTel, SingPower, DBS, UOB...etc was all done before I rushed off for my overseas trip. My schedule was heavy as I had to prepare for my presentation, finish my report and make out 8 checks for payment. I was certain that I wrote the check for paying the bank.
I want to apologise because today I found the envelope containing the payment on my study desk. Apparently, in my hurry, I only grabbed 7 envelopes to mail out. I'm sorry for the distress caused to the bank's call center staff who was under tremendous pressure to verify that I had not mailed my payment. Given Singapore is trying to improve service I thionk it would have been better service to alert me if payment is not received 2 days before the deadline OR if there is flexibility in granting a short grace period OR waive the late fees....I'm sure an excellent bank like our local banks will consider it.
I would like to also thank the bank for not exposing the whole episode to all my friends, colleagues, relatives and to everyone who knows Lucky Tan. That would have unfairly ruined my reputation over an innocent mistake that can happen to any ordinary person. I'm also glad the incident is not reported in the media, otherwise people will mistake me for a person with no integrity, I'm sure our 1st world media with its high standard of integrity will not deliberately create false impressions of Singaporeans.
Singapore is lucky to have such great service from our local banks and public depts. They exercise great flexibility and respect the privacy of individuals. Just the other day, my friend went to register his newborn at the registrar of births, he filled out the Chinese name wrongly and had to ask for another form, but they did not disqualify his baby from being a Singaporean. They even handed him a form without verifying with the CCTV that it is an honest mistake.... not that he wanted to register his child with Chinese name that composed of characters not found in the Chinese dictionary. Now how is that for good service....kudos for the public servants for good service.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
The PAP has already declared the WP manifesto full of time bombs and poison. If you go to a WP rally, they will try to poison your mind with harmful thoughts and unapproved ideas. After that you have to watch many hours of MediaCorp news and read alot of Straits Times to have your thinking corrected.
One of my friends who attended the rally has already been poisoned. He now believes all the wrong things:
1. There is a need for better governance.Why like that? Last 40 years we just relax and everything is alright. Why do we want check and balance now when we can just assume that everything will be okay. See the PAP is always successful, Suzhou is a success, Shin Corp investment is commercial and for long term, any losses or problems is due to honest mistakes. So there is no need for more governance.
2. The PAP works for interest of the rich. Lee Hsien Loong was the one who cut the income tax of the rich to increase GST for the rest of us. Ooi how can someone say that after receiving $500 in progress package, what an ungrateful person. The PAP is so kind to give everyone money and even go into budget deficit to do so. This is a vast improvement from 1998 & 2003 when they were asked to help the jobless and refused to saying that the govt cannot help them without budget surplus. Now the govt gives money to everyone like Santa Claus. See how kind the PAP has become. Some cynic will say shortly after the elections the PAP will increase price of everything to take back the money. Plse lets all complain after that happens and not guess what will happen now.
3. The Opposition can raise serious issues. Hey hello. Please read today's Straits Times 29 April the Opposition the headlines is "Stop EVADING SERIOUS ISSUES - PM tells Opposition". Unlike the PAP, the opposition avoid serious issues such as what color fountain you want for upgrading, etc. The type of issues that the Opposition brings up unemployment, governance, transparency, helping the poor and needy etc...are simply not serious, because if you read the Straits Times alot, you can believe there are not many unemployed or needy in Singapore and everyone is so happy.
4. The WP is credible and promise to do a good job. Come on. The CNA, MediaCorp and Straits Times all portray the Opposition as clowns. How can they be credible? As for promises, can they promise us great things like Swiss standard of living. Can they promise us something great as casinos? The PAP is the one able to make great promises so stick with them.
Attending these WP's rallies is dangerous and poisons your mind with timebombs. The PAP is the only govt you need. Through their rigourous selection process, they have picked many new MPs who find time when they can to serve you part-time. They won't poison your mind with ideas that are not consistent with their PAP party stand. This together with the MediaCorp, CNA and Straits Times will provide you with consistent information and make you a happier person. Don't worry, be happy the future is bright...just sit back and leave the job to the PAP to take care of you.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Tan Soo Khoon on public transport fare hikes in the midst of Singapore worst recession since independence (9th July, 2002):
Let me put it squarely to the Government by relating an encounter that I had with a perfect stranger just a few days ago. He expressed his anger and frustration at all the price increases to me in a very cool way. He was not saying it very loudly, but in a very calm way. He told me that he observed that every time after an election, the PAP increased prices and by the time the next election came, people would have forgotten and they would just vote for the PAP again. He then smiled at me and said, "Mr Tan, just tell your leaders, next time round, we would not forget."
This debate is not just about bus and MRT fares. It also has to do with the slew of increases in charges of other public services that have taken place, or are about to take place. Sir, I believe that this is the main cause of discontent on the ground. Consider this: GST up, ERP up, petrol up, car park charges up, telephone charges soon to be up, and, of course, unemployment is up, retrenchment is up. Morale is upside down, and so is our pay, it is down.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
With my vision of goumet fondue hopelessly gone, I'm so glad that that the PAP is now painting a new vision for the future in this election.
OUR vision in this manifesto is to make Singapore a land of opportunities, a dynamic economy and a vibrant city.
Yes, Singapore is indeed a land of opportunities. A dynamic economy is important...so is being vibrant. I look forward to the casino after recent developments such as Crazy Horse and bartop dancing......is really pumping Singapore up into a vibrant society.
We want an open and inclusive spirit, one which values individuals and welcomes every contribution. We want a fair and just society which judges people on merit, which encourages achievement and excellence and which takes care of our weaker members.
Wow, see how kind the PAP is? Just a few months ago, one of your neighbor might have had his utilities cut off because he couldn't afford the high utilities rate. The transport cost in terms bus fare was raised during the economic slowdown despite strong unhappiness from the poor. After the last elections the GST was raised so that the income tax for high income earners and businesses can be reduced.....thousands of low income individuals who pay no tax, now have to pay more in GST. I'm just so glad the PAP now has a vision to help the poor, it is very thoughtful of them during this elections to do something.We want a safe and harmonious community with different races staying together as one people, one nation, one Singapore. That's an ideal, that's a vision.
To ensure this safe society we have to regulate the Internet and control the media, the unions, curtail the basic rights of people such as the right to protest etc. We also ensure that the races are properly mixed up in the correct proportions by imposing public housing quotas - such quotas are not applicable to private housing such as condos and landed property. I'm so glad after 40 years of social engineering we are not complacent and even more social engineering and controls will be put in place in the near future.But to make this vision become real, you need strategies, you need plans, you need programmes. So we have two complementary strategies. First moving ahead, open up new opportunities, so that all those with the ability and drive will succeed, both for themselves and for Singapore.
Yes, we have to identify them early give them overseas scholarships, high flying jobs in the admin service, SAF and GLCs...and have these opportunities lined up for them. Just take the "minister to be", SAF Rear Admiral to CEO of HDB to Minister. We should be glad that the elites in our society are given so many opportunities to serve us. We can be sure they are the best people for the job because no-one else will be groomed but them.
This means creating opportunities for Singaporeans. It means having investments, attracting investments, creating new jobs. It means encouraging entrepreneurship, getting people to venture, take risk, start new businesses.
It means if you are good in something, then you have a chance to become really good at it and to excel and to stand out with your expertise.
It means cheering on winners, so when somebody does well, you say good for him, let us emulate him, not put him down.
There are many examples of opportunities which we have created, business to sport, academic, public sector, private sector across the board.
In business we have Singapore companies which we have done well. I would like to mention one today -- Charles & Keith. They started in Ang Mo Kio at a neighbourhood shop, my GRC. Shoes are expensive and anyway Asian feet are different from Western feet. Western shoes don't fit. Make shoes to fit Singaporeans. Succeeded, now they have 50 shops in 10 countries.
I myself strongly support Charles & Keith, I'm just so surprised they are able to overcome the high rentals and business costs that stifle small businesses in Singapore.
So the first thing we must do is to get opportunities for Singaporeans. Then we have to give our young the best start. It means you need excellent schools, you need outstanding universities, polys, ITEs. We must prepare our children for the future and we must provide better chances for people to make good and opportunities for people who don't fit the traditional route to take other routes and to come up and do well later. And it has to be across the board. Thirdly, on opportunities, we want every citizen to play a role. We want to involve Singaporeans in national issues.
The PAP has been able to create so many opportunities, so many opportunities that they have to give scholarships to foreign students. Today about 80% of the top 20% of engineering students are not Singaporeans. Singaporeans from middle income families pay full fees while foreign students enjoy scholarships. But let us not be small minded and begrudge them because these foreign students will then graduate and take up the best jobs in our economy. This will keep our economy and the corporations at their competitive peak earning the best profits possible. Singaporeans must learn to accept this and most have already done it without a whimper of dissent or debate, the globalisation arrive at our door step and we swing open the door. ...no need to debate the consequences, we all assume we will be winners at the end of the day.
We want to build up civic groups and foster self-reliance and I think there is a growing sense of shared ownership, that not everything should be done by the Government, that where there's an issue, don't ask that question No 1: 'What is the Government going to do about it?' Say: 'What are we going to do about it?'
So you see in the latest disasters, the tsunami in Aceh, the earthquake in Muzaffarabad, in Kashmir, when our groups go to help, it's not just the SAF but also Red Cross, Mercy Relief. They are NGOs, they are civic groups.
So we have more opportunities in Singapore for everyone but at the same time, we will help Singaporeans to progress not as individuals but as a nation, to care for others who need our help, to help one another to succeed so that they can progress as one people.
And we will do this too.
First, we will do more for lower income Singaporeans. We have many programmes, helping unskilled workers to upgrade themselves, helping poor families to own their homes, there's the CPF grants, helping children to make good in school, which is most important so that the next generation can do better. Another way we stay together is by helping older Singaporeans to lead full and active lives. Get them to work longer, get them to stay active, get them to move about easily.
I'm so glad that the govt has this vision of Singaporeans working longer. When I go to foreign countries, I always see the old folks wasting their time in the parks or playing around with their grandchildren...but not so in Singapore, when I go to the hawker center the old cleaner who can barely walk is still undertaking a useful task of cleaning the tables. When my friends from overseas (even China) visit Singapore, they are so amused by the large number of elderly we have working as cleaners, MacDonald's etc. I'm so glad that this part of the vision has been accomplished already, Singaporeans are so lucky to be able to make themselves useful longer than people of other countries. ....we will work even longer in the coming years thanks to PAP's new vision....
Someone told me Steve Chia is full time although he is an NMP. He has asked 512 questions in parliament and compiled these into a book. Sylvia of WP will quit her job at the poly if she wins. These people who have entered politics on their own without being persuaded with PAP tea, cannot be serious minded individuals, they are just doing so to entertain us because there is no logical necessity for such people in parliament. Steve Chia who asked so many questions is just tiring our esteemed ministers and we will need to pay more for their additional load.
So the decision is yours whether you want to vote for part-timers who had to persuaded so hard by PM Lee himself to give up a little bit of their spare time to serve you as MPs or the typical Opposition candidate who risk unknown repercussions, high chance of political defeat, give up their jobs, and volunteered their service to the nation. ...to contest in an election where the playing field is unlevel and a media that eager portray them as clown and fools who are there only to add to the entertainment value. .....The choice is yours....Singapore.
As the elections is nearing, I'll be shutting my blog soon once the date of elections is announced. I will be writing a series of taxi driver stories to fill blogs....see you guys after the elections.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
The Internet can turn dangerous if left unregulated. Falsehoods, half-truths and rumours that can potentially destroy Singapore. We must therefore regulate the Internet to ensure that only consistent truths, safe inferences and unprovocative discourse take place. If we want something controversial, it should be conducted exactly like the dialogue that MM Lee had with the group of young people, pre-recorded in case something goes wrong - if something goes right, it should be played on TV endless times so that those who needs their thoughts to be corrected can tune in and get their thinking fixed.
I think that the regulation should be extended to coffeeshops where many people sit around and discuss issues in an unregulated manner. What happen if someone through these discussions spread some falsehood (for example .say, Ho Ching's Temasek has been losing tax payers money investing in Thailand), we must put a stop to it. I suggest the govt look into installing CCTVs in every single coffeeshop to record these potentially harmful conversations. We can employ security and intelligence officers to play back and check these recordings. All this will make Singapore a safer and more stable place to live in.
Singapore needs to be ahead of the curve. We have to put our internet regulations in place before our competitors in other countries realise that it (the Internet) will destroy them. By then it will be too late, Singapore will again come out on top. So far no other nations except for N. Korea, Cuba and China has tried to regulate the internet....so we are ahead of our competitors such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and S. Korea....none of them have much Internet regulation and they risk the internet endangering their society.
Singaporeans are so lucky that the govt looks after them so well and doesn't want their thoughts to be corrupted and infected by an unregulated internet. These regulations will safeguard their happiness and sense of security.
New media, same rules
Extracted from :http://www.asiaone.com/st/st_20060415_385386.html
The Internet has its own unique characteristics which require special attention. The Internet is ubiquitous, fast and anonymous. Once a false story or rumour is started on the Internet, it is almost impossible to put it right. Despite its usefulness, the Internet is chaotic and disorganised, with many half-truths and untruths masquerading as facts.
This is not theoretical; it has already occurred. Shortly after we announced Zaqy Mohamad in the line-up of new PAP candidates, there were netters who said that he was a nephew of Speaker of Parliament Abdullah Tarmugi, and this spread quickly on the Internet.
In fact, this is completely untrue, but how do we now rebut it on the Internet, and get all the blogs, bulletin boards and chatrooms to put out corrections to set this right? In this case, it is not an important issue, but if it involves emotive issues of race, language or religion, then it can easily destabilise our society. So we must be very careful and set rules so that individuals take responsibility for their actions.
- Khaw Boon Wan, Minister of Health.
I spoke to an ordinary Singaporean the other day a few weeks ago. He told me bluntly that Medisave is a useless scheme. The sum of money is lock up looks substantial but never sufficient - you can't use it anyway unless you die or get sick. ...and when you get seriously ill, there is no guarantee it is enough. If the part of sum of money is used for insurance, it is more than enough to cover the most serious illness and the rest can be taken out...and freed up. If you have $10,000 in medisave, a simple hip-replacement or heart surgery can easily wipe it out, but if just use the part of the Medisave contribution to buy insurance instead, it can cover you up to hundreds of thousands and you probably have leftover for something else. The ordinary Singapore continued on this logic - you see most people don't get seriously ill and yet the medisave makes us all set aside money for medisave, in order for us all to have enough, the amount is substantial. It is better to be totally covered by insurance that will aid you more when you really need it.
I told this ordinary Singaporean directly, if higher insurance coverage instead of Medisave is a good idea the PAP would have implemented it already, therefore we can conclude his idea is totally worthless. It has been 20 years since Medisave, the PAP with its high flying scholars cannot have missed out on improvements that laymen can think of.....no way!!
Friday, April 14, 2006
I've been reading the foreign papers here in my hotel room everyday, there is a debate on whether a tax hike is really needed and the govt is taken to task by the opposition not just to explain the hikes but also explain why govt expemditure on other areas cannot be cut to avoid the tax hike. Looks like the govt here can't explain the tax hike well, it will lose some votes in the next elections for sure. Contrast that with the situation in Singapore where the govt was able to hike the GST easily so they could cut income tax of high income earners & big businesses.
I heard that MM Lee had a dialogue with a group of under-30s, now they know why there is okay not to have a level playing field in politics. Yes indeed, linking votes to upgrading is something common in democratic countries. I'm so glad those youngsters had their thoughts corrected by the MM. That reporter Ken who said there was fear was harshly pulverised by the MM, I guess after getting slammed he now understands there is really no fear of voting against the PAP. Of course MM Lee is still very much needed because he is a databank.....he hold all the questions and standard answers in his head.
Looks like the elections will be called soon.....I better be mentally prepared. I have to strengthen my thoughts in case those pesky Opposition fellers turn up at my hawker center to spread their viral thoughts and their dangerous timebombs.
As I eat my room service dinner, I have pondered on the compelling reasons not to vote for the opposition:
1. No need for external check and balance in our system by the opposition. We can depend on internal checks in the govt. Of course these checks are adequate, so adequate that we can be confident that whenever something that looks like a mistake appears - Suzhou, Micropolis, Shin Corp, ...etc it is probably an honest mistake that is identified by hindsight. One can always count on our media to provide the check and balance.
2. No need to have alternative views. Why let alternatives confuse you? When you have the type of admin service with highly qualified scholars everything is taken care off. Of course issues like Low Thia Kiang raised in parliament about Singaporeans not being able to get a hospital bed in public hospitals because of too many foreign workers .....would have been raised by PAP MPs if Low did not raised it.
3. Trust the PAP to take care of your interest. Although the PAP MPs are mostly full time directors, GMs and doctors, they will have time to make sure your interests are best taken care of. You may worry that they are too busy to raise important issues because they are men and women of highest calibre, they can handle a competitive career and take care of your interest at the same time. The highly connected members of elite who run our GLCs and large corporations will always put the interest of ordinary Singaporeans above everything else. Take the FT policy....the purpose of the foreign talent policy is to create jobs for Singaporeans.
4. We should maintain the status quo. Why risk it? Even as nations around us transform politically, we can rely on our old formulas and proven track records to beat them. As democracy energise the populace in Thailand and Hong Kong providing the thrust for the people to actively shape their own future, we have the luxury to sitting back and relaxing because the PAP will shape our future for us.
5. The Opposition has nothing to offer. Yes, the Worker's Party has released its manifesto but the PAP has already told us that it contains dangerous timebombs. ...so lets not allow our minds be influenced by such dangerous thoughts. The PAP can offer upgrading...the Opposition cannot.
6. There is no need for transparency in govt. In other countries they go so far as to have a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), however, this is not desirable in Singapore. Why? Our govt organisations are so smart, efficient and innovation, they are better off to keeping information secret so that competitors cannot copy us. I'm surprise that even security agencies like FBI are transparent. This shows how advanced our govt bodies are, they simply cannot afford to have others copy their brilliant ideas. It is important not to have opposition in parliament to pressure them to release information.
7. Competition cannot enhance efficiency. Because the PAP has an advanced elite selection system to pick new MPs, there is no need for competition to motivate them to improve. In Potong Pasir, the existence of opposition has resulted in $1 sharkfin soup and offers of massive upgrading, the PAP is doing all this out of kindness and not because of competition against the opposition.
Remember when you meet the Opposition members in the hawker center, they can bring up issues of high cost of living, govt over-spending on glamour buildings (Durian, Ministry of home affairs building..etc), lack of transparency in the handling of reserves....etc. You look them in the eye and tell them, you are not interested in those issues, all you want is upgrading and the PAP to rule over you forever.
Monday, April 10, 2006
1. Totally discourage all opposition & tell them we don't need them. The PAP is trying to eliminate all opposition members especially Low TK and Chiam. Without these pesky opposition members, the number of questions in parliament will fall significantly, many PAP MPs don't even turn up given they are GM of this company, director of that company etc. If our ministers are given a hard time during parliament, we may have to up their salaries even more to keep them. We really have to keep the number of opposition members down otherwise our ministers will have to be compensated more for answering so many of their questions in parliament.
2. Approve the newly picked PAP nomininees whom we don't really know. They are picked by the most rigorous selection process possible....so you can trust the quality. Of course while probably not a single one of them will stand up in parliament and question why must bloggers be presecuted, all of them are men & women of highest integrity and will serve us well taking care of our interest. I notice that most (or probably all) of them are part-time MPs with full time careers to take care of, we can expect them to give 100% to their MP role. Take the example of the GM of Microsoft whom the PAP recruited, you can expect her to give 100% attention to the people who vote for her and still run Microsoft's Asia Pacific at the same time. see the high calibre of the people selected by the PAP.
3. Give them a strong mandate to rule over us. In 2001, they got 75% of the votes, it is time to push it up to 76-80%. ....better still 90-100%. We know for a fact the everything the PAP does is for our own good, so why not just give them the highest possible support? Everything from Foreign Talents, GST, ERP, ...ultimately benefits Singaporeans....why would the PAP ever do something that will hurt us, they are such kind, considerate people who work tirelessly for the interest of Singaporeans. In other countries, policy making is a complex process of balancing the interests of businesses & workers...the political expedience vs citizen's needs....we can take it that the PAP always decides in our interest.
4. Thank the govt for the Progress Package. Although the PAP has said many times the progress package is not an election sweetener, I can anticipate the sheer joy of seeing the money in my hands just before the elections. SM Goh has said the elections will be announced only after 22 April 2006. Given that a minimum 9 days to allow for campaigning, one can see that you will get the Progress Package cash just before polling day. Of course this is all coincidence in terms of timing, I can't help but feel the compulsive need to thank someone for my windfall.
5. And the STRONGEST REASON OF ALL - Upgrading. Singaporeans are so lucky to have their votes linked to upgrading so they have a 2-in-1 purpose for their votes. Not only do you get to support your favorite PAP candidates, you're also voting for those nice fountains, dolphine sculptures and lifts that stop at every floor. No other voters in the world have such a useful vote - use it wisely.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
I really miss the Straits Times, the hotel supply me with this mentally heavy analytical pink colored news papers called the Financial Times. ....it is nowhere near the standard of the Straits Times....it just doesn't explain things as clearly as Straits Times. I now have to rely on the web for news about Singapore. I came across this interesting news about our esteemed PM Lee, who had an open, frank & sincere dialogue with ordinary Singaporeans on MediaCorp's Channel 8. Interestingly, the other side of the dialogue is led by Singapore's most famous comedian - Jack Neo who is a National Day Award winner....who else but Jack Neo best represents the man on the street other than the man on the street?! Jack is an expert at turning our pain into comedy and turning comedy into money, he is not doing too badly these days.....living in a private landed property, his first question to our PM was "why money no enough?". ...to which our esteem PM Lee answered "money no enough" is due to Singaporeans spending too much on luxury goods - for example handphones!! Wow, ...see how well our PM understands the problems that plague our society, especially the cause of poverty - the cause of poverty is the result of Singaporeans' desire for luxury goods.......now I realise how incorrect my thoughts were, I used to think that poverty is caused by joblessness, debt, income gap and rising cost....after reading what our PM said, I now have a better understanding of the causes of poverty in Singapore.
Hope to be back in Singapore soon. Really can't stand the country I'm in. The other day while walking on the street, a young feller dressed up as a tree stopped me and gave me a pamplet saying the earth is in clear and present danger of global warming and green house gas emissions will eventually destroy us. I told him frankly if what he said is true, the govt would have a campaign to warn us and the govt will do something about it...... and there is no need for him to dress up as a tree and go round distributing pamplets. He replied in 'not so courteous' tone, that his govt is colluding with big powerful energy companies and not acting in the interest of the 'people'. I told him to have more trust in his govt. My guess is his govt is not as good as our Singapore govt that always acts in the eventual interest of Singaporeans.
Hope I can finish up and be back by 1 May 2006, ....go to the ATM and withdraw my progress package, go to Sim Lim to buy a digital camera. Life is so sweet for lucky Singaporeans....
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
It is therefore necessary for the govt to regulate internet discourse. Bloggers can be presecuted if the did not register their sites with the authorities.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have a govt that protects their thinking from corrupting and unreliable sources of information. The regulations ensure that our citizens only possess consistent, reliable and healthy ideas that will not upset them. I'm glad the govt has decided to prosecute bloggers who express harmful political opinions, of course blogs like xiaxue which discuss which handphones to buy, and which restaurants to eat at are considered healthy.
Singaporeans are so lucky to be protected from confusing ideas and information that is not consistent with the Straits Times. Instead of spending time trying to reconcile the inconsistencies, they can make their lives more meaningful pondering which car to buy, which handphone is best, which digital camera......etc....what to do with the prosperity package...With so many important issues to think about, they should be glad they that the govt protects them from wasting time on political issues.
Singapore Govt warns Bloggers!
Political debate on the Internet could fuel "dangerous discourse" in Singapore, the city-state's government said on Monday, warning that Singaporeans who post political commentary on Web sites could face prosecution. Speaking in parliament, Senior Minister of State Balaji Sadasivan said anyone using the Internet to "persistently propagate, promote or circulate political issues" about Singapore during election periods was breaking the law. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, whose People's Action Party has dominated politics in the city-state since its independence in 1965, is widely expected to call early elections in the coming months. "In a free-for-all Internet environment, where there are no rules, political debate could easily degenerate into an unhealthy, unreliable and dangerous discourse, flush with rumors and distortions to mislead and confuse the public," Sadasivan said. The tiny island-republic's laws require political parties and individuals to register if they want to post political content on the Net. Print media in Singapore are tightly controlled, but the Internet is rife with Web sites that discuss Singapore politics, from the critical newsgroup Sg-review to the comical Talkingcock.com and blogs such as Singabloodypore and Yawningbread. It is not clear whether any of these sites has registered with the government. While Sadasivan said the government's approach was to take "a light touch" in regulating the Internet, political activists have complained that the rules are too broadly defined, preventing an open debate. Sadasivan said a change of the law was ruled out. The rules also apply to "podcasting," an increasingly popular medium throug
h which audio files are made available for download on the Internet, allowing Web surfers to listen to them at their convenience. Last year, opposition politician Chee Soon Juan launched a podcast on the Singapore Democratic Party's Web site in an attempt to reach a wider audience and bypass the pro-government media. Story Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.