Monday, August 8, 2011

The Things People Say

If you don't say what you mean, how can you mean what you say. We're not talking about what Eliza Doolittle learned from Professor Henry Higgins here, but the integrity of a trained lawyer who's profession depends on the accurate usage of words. In court or out of court. Law minister Shanmugam told reporters, "I wasn't suggesting that only Government-endorsed candidates can be influential . I want to be absolutely clear that any such suggestion would be wrong." Some of the guys taking down notes must have soiled themselves with trepidation, whilst speculating who will be charged for quoting him out of context.

So what did he actually say? At a Institute of Policy Studies forum. Shanmugam on Friday, the Law Minister spelled out how the advice of a "highly influential" wise and knowledgeable elected president can be rubbished: "If he is someone who commands little or no respect of the Prime Minister, then of course, the influence is limited." Earlier, he alluded to another qualification that the elected president, even if he had substantial experience, must be "trusted and respected by the Prime Minister." No wonder many Singaporeans are confused as to what the Elected Presidency is all about. If all the guy wants is a pet poodle - think George Bush and Tony Blair in the Iraq war WMD charade - why not cut to the chase and say so?

Asked whether it was correct of the Government to endorse candidates, for instance, by painting pretty pictures about one candidate as if he was silver haired Gandalf coming to the rescue of Helm's Deep, and ignoring the hidden skeleton of his son's shady evasion of his National Service obligation, Shamugam replied, "I'm not quite sure that amounts to active endorsement. The Prime Minister can say what he likes about any particular candidate, or for that matter, ministers." Okay, it is getting clear that he is no authority on etymology, not bothered about modern understanding of linguistic evolution and the relationships of languages, but he should at least be cognizant of the political IED equivalent of kicking in own goals. Like how Goh Chok Tong torpedoed the ministerial careers of Wong Kan Seng, Mah Bow Tan and Raymond Lim (not that we miss this lot of over paid incompetents anyway) by singing the praises of saint George.

The irony of of the wordplay in session is that Shanmugam actually proffered this advice to the candidates, "Just make sure that what you say to the people is consistent ... Don't say things you can't do." To which we may add the Clintonesque repartee, "Define consistent".


  1. What can EP actually do to protect the reserve if the EP has to listen to the PM (presumably the PAP's one if EP is endorsed by PAP and not otherwise) and does not know what or how much he is protecting? Uniquely, Singapore first?

    The government is treating Singaporeans like fool. Daft Singaporeans on other hand are willing to be played by these politicians to perpetuate their power and drawing of millions from the public money. Wiser man could straightaway points out the fraud of the EP system. Given that the people has no say on the constitutional amendments and there is practically no accountability and transparency in this government, everything they do is just a wayang to their own interests. In fact, there is NO hope on this declining government. Change of government is imperatively needed. Daft Singaporeans have just missed the GE2011.

  2. Straits Times always name the Presidential candidates in the following order:

    Tony Tan, Tan Cheng Bock, Tan Kin Lian, Tan Jee Say, Andrew Kuan.

    Straits Times also did their news coverage and prominence in that order.

    Discounting Mr Andrew Kuan who would most likely lose his deposit if approved to run, Tan Jee Say presented the most threat. However, he was given little coverage, if any. Surprisingly, all the negative coverage is directed at Mr Tan Kin Lian.

    My guess is that PEC is not going to give Mr Tan Jee Say the COE, that's why they don't even bother attacking him. On the contrary, Mr Tan Kin Lian is most likely to get his COE, that's why they attack him instead.

    If there is any chance for Mr Tan Kin Lian to win, it is imperative that Mr Tan Jee Say give his support to him.

    The PAP wouldn't mind if Dr Tan Cheng Bock win as he is on their side. In case anyone don't know, Dr Tan Cheng Bock is their backup President in case Dr Tony Tan decides to withdraw. The fact that Dr Tan Cheng Bock receives both positive and neutral coverage from Straits Times is a hidden sign that Dr Tan Cheng Bock is their backup plan.

    On voters' strategy for non-PAP supporters. They have to vote in a strict sequence to secure a non-PAP president and prevent vote splitting. Since Tan Jee Say is currently the most popular non-PAP choice, they have to vote him in the event that he get the COE. If that didn't materialize, they have to vote for Tan Kin Lian..

  3. People of Singapore wake up and take note of these words spoken by the King of Bhutan to his people, I quote "IT IS ONE THING TO LOVE YOUR COUNTRY, IT IS ANOTHER TO LOVE YOUR COUNTRY INTELLIGENTLY". So are the PAP people the only intelligent people in Singapore ???

  4. Frankly, is our Law Minister even above the President's authority that he can tell us what the President supposedly can or cannot do ? Shouldn't the council that issues the COE instead be the authority on such matters ?

    To put it simply, they seem to be slapping their own faces in the appointment of our elected President. On one hand they set the criteria so high but at the end of the day they just tell us they wanted a dumb President.

    WTF are they doing ?

  5. People behave in such a manner often because they have an incomplete script for their wayang. The puppet master - in this case the father of the PM - is not someone even a cabinet minister may approach without trepidation! So they have to ad lib constantly on the spot and as we have seen so many times, esp. with a newbie like Sham, the fix themselves up with their verbal contortion and invariable ANOTHER occasion to 'clarify' (actually, cover up) their earlier booboo.

    Any of you recall Sham's first boo boo?
    You can find someting on it here:

    Foot in mouth situations are hard to avoid when you are asked to commit yourself publicly in situation where you cannot interface/interact with others freely and honestly AND has to be constantly on the lookout not to expose a previous lie made by someone from your side. Ensuring that you sing the same tune as the rest when they are not present is damn hard and constantly fraught with pitfalls.

  6. I now give permission for LKY to now come out and endorse TT forcefully, back up with his PE intention that he crafted eons ago. FTW!

  7. Whoever you vote is no different because this is just a wayang to show that this country is democratic and people have made their choice. EP should be abolished as it is a waste of public money. The reason is that no one knows what this EP can do or cannot do. According to the law minister, it seems EP is just a puppet so why waste public fund to go through this wayang and election? When will the people understand and be willing to take back the political power? When will the people wake up and stop such wayang? When will Singaporeans see light of better future? Really sad.

  8. According to law minister, EP can only act on advice of PM. If PM leads the government to mis-use reserve, EP cannot therefore act to stop PM because PM advises EP not to act to stop him. WTF is this logic? Only daft Singaporeans buy this logic. How could EP protect the reserve? People should ask this unaccountable and opaque government what logic is it? Foreign countries are laughing at daft Singaporeans. Shame to be a Singaporean today.

  9. He thinks he is a high profile lawyer and can never be wrong.

  10. shanmugam's political arguments are very often not logical. very frequently, they also do not make sense.

    eg, the PM will only listen to the views of people he respects.

    BUT the PM is supposed to respect the views of citizens. the president is a citizen. shouldn't the PM therefore respect the views of the president?

  11. Word play seems to be a favourite game with politicians. They try to stretch reason to limits with this word game.

    Trustworthiness is however the value of least importance in this game.

  12. Only DAFT Singaporeans will either believe the Government or the President OF Sin and NOT BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES!

  13. Look, this man is just a political animal with no scruples. He's in it for the power and money and will say anything to please his paymaster. You find people like that everywhere you go. The sad thing is most these scums get away with it.

  14. They get away because you let them. Many ways to get back or get even. Up to you. Many ways to skin cats like these.