Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sleep Deprivation Kills

It was close to midnight when we decided to hit the sack as a full day schedule was ahead. But the chairman with us at the Shanghai Sheraton bar said he will stay on  a bit longer, as sleep at his age is more difficult to come by. Either that, or the lithesome beauties in high slit cheongsams were better company than any found in dreamland.

A recently released report by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that sleep deprivation was among the “enhanced interrogation techniques” used in CIA’s detention and interrogation program. Psychology Today is saying sleep deprivation is torture.

Although less overtly violent than slicing off someone’s anatomical part, sleep deprivation can cause problems with reading and speaking clearly, poor judgment, lower body temperature, and a considerable increase in appetite. If deprivation continues, the effects escalate to disorientation, visual misperceptions, apathy, severe lethargy, and social withdrawal. Researchers have used animals for ethical reasons to study the extreme limits of sleep deprivation, and the end result is always widespread physiological breakdown leading to death.

During sleep the immune system performs a host of vital regenerative functions, good reason why doctors always advise their patients to rest in bed. When a person is deprived of sleep, the immune system is unable to effect the healing process, necessary for recovery from sickness, injury, or trauma. Forcibly depriving a person of sleep is a direct assault on the entire biological system at the foundation of that person’s mind and body.

The instrument of choice at Whitley Road Detention was air-conditioning set at freezing temperatures, as survivors of the Marxist conspiracy trumped-up charges of 1987 will attest to. Maybe the tormentors are starting to feel guilty about contributing to the carbon footprint, and resorting to more energy conservation measures. As of 30-6-2015, Singapore is not listed among the states which have Ratified the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

According to Amnesty International, Singapore also did not sign the following international agreements relating to human rights:
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
  • Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951)
  • Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1967)
  • Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (1954)
  • Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (1961)
  • Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Fair Dinkum, My Foot!

While Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong were photographed flipping steaks at one of the '50 BBQs' hosted by Singapore's Australian High Commission, netizens were flipping their lids over the hijacking of the Australian generosity. Not that there was not enough meat to go around, about 10,000 beef and lamb steaks were provided free-of-charge at 23 sites across the island.

Recognizing something not exactly fair dinkum was going on, the Aussies tried to sound a warning on their Facebook page:
"Many locations are ticketed by the People's Association to ensure there's enough food for all. But we've been told some spare coupons are set aside for those who just show up."

The reality on the ground was uglier than anticipated.
  • "We don't even know where to get the tickets because it wasn't stated we need to get the tickets. And now, like you said, tickets are all taken."
  • "Why wasn't this announced earlier that those ticketless residents from neighbouring estates were only entitled to leftovers from 8.30pm onwards? Disappointing."
  • "The idea was good but shame it ended up as an ugly spat between the haves and the haves-not."
  • "A fantastic initiative undermined by the ruthlessly mechanical PA machine rejecting all non invitees."
All the heated accusations against the People's Association of hogging tickets to divert them to their own supporters and denying access to non-members were not published in the local media. You can read about such horrible truths only in foreign media like the Sydney Morning Herald. This is how Australians see it in print: a fiery spat between Singapore locals and the ruling party's grassroots supporter base.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Not So Easily Forgotten

Today, 30 June 2015, marks the 100th day since the horrible person finally left this world for a better place where there is no COE, ERP, GST and Medishield Life premiums. For the record, champagne glasses across the island were clinked in rejoice on 23 March 2015. Just to prove that the daft are still around, some chose to commemorate the 100th day of his passing on the 28th - these folks can't even read a calendar.

Others choose 29 March 2015 as a significant date. That was the Sunday when the skies opened up to rain on their parade, and avoid the embarrassing semblance of a North Korean style mass send off. It was also the same day that 8 plain clothes police officers converged on a housing block flat unit to arrest a 16 year old boy. Since then, the child has been cuffed and shackled, strapped to an iron bed in a medical ward, deprived of sleep and, as we type, being probed vicariously in a mental institution.

There are those who prefer to turn a blind eye to the humna rights abuse in progress, but Penang civil society groups are not among them. To remind the Singapore authorities of the obligations as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), they are assembling on 1 July 2015 (Wednesday) at their Penang Speakers' Square (Esplanade) to protest vociferously. Check the online coverage, the local media will be shunting it like a plague.

Another show of support from the international community comes from the Hong Kong University Students’ Union (HKUSU), who is organising a petition  “to demand the Singaporean government to release Amos Yee and stop any sentence due to one’s speech.” HKUSU made it clear in their statement, “Any act of trampling human rights and manipulating the freedom of thought must be condemned.” “Please, please,” begged prominent Hong Kong acitvist James Hon, referring to Singapore’s Prime Minister, “do not follow your father’s footsteps. Do not become another horrible person.”

Gad, what a horrible thought.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Shielding The Truth

The horrible person thought that by banning the private use of satellite dishes, he could maintain a sanitized version of world events. Thanks to the internet, we know there more important news than the rehash of the Phey Yew Kok blooper, whose train ride to freedom 35 years ago hardly raises an eyebrow. After all, he was the favoured trade union child of the day. A frustrated Dr Lee Siew Choh once pressed Jayakumar, then Home Affairs and Law Minister, for the amount spent on surveillance of Francis Seow in the United States when investigating officers only ventured out to Bangkok to hunt for Phey.

You'll never read about it in the 153rd ranked newspaper, but Taipei Times reported that on 26 June - International Day in Support of Victims of Torture - groups including the Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR), the Human Rights Covenants and Conventions Watch (CCW), the Taiwan Alliance for Advancement of Youth Rights and Welfare and the Judicial Reform Foundation marched on Singapore’s de facto embassy in Taiwan, and called on the government to observe the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that it has ratified and free Amos Yee immediately.

Wu Yi-cheng (吳易澄), head of Taiwan's Mackay Memorial Hospital’s department of psychiatry, said the misinformation dished out by the Singaporean government and the media about psychiatric disorders is “different from the psychiatry treatment guidelines we’re following now,” according to which patients “recover” rather than being “cured.”
“There are two sides to the [Singaporean government’s] deployment of psychiatry in this case,” Wu said. “On the one hand it seems humane to have those with mental illness receive proper treatment and maintain that they could thereby obtain lighter sentences; however, the [medical claim] could also be subjected to political machination and lose its altruistic essence.”

BTW, don't believe everything they are writing about Phey either. A "media consultant" by the name of George Joseph, is quoted saying "a riot took place at the PIEU office in 1974 when a university student and workers fought with union officers over failed union talks". Even judge T S Sinnathuray had stated in court proceedings that Tan Wah Piow was nowhere inside the room with overturned furniture ("You were standing across the road that day", AWAKENING, 1974, issue 19). It's a perversion of the "a person inside a polling station cannot be said to be within a radius of 200 metres of a polling station" illogic. No wonder the Straits Times is attempting a major rehash of their format this coming week.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Famous Last Words

Stalin was not the only one with a predilection for sending folks to the headshrinkers. It's just their horrible style of putting people down. And covering up their own foibles.
(With apologises to Morgan Chua, illustration from his book "Political Cartoons")