Friday, April 22, 2011

Welcome home,prodigal son, unless you are Chen Show Mao

Dear Friends,
For the Easter weekend, I have penned the following letter to the Forum page...
Have great long weekend,
Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

Letter to Traditional Media:
(addendum: printed in Today click here)

Dear Editor,

Re: We welcome the prodigal son unless he is Chen Show Mao?

Singaporeans accept this maxim: Achieve success in a developed country overseas and recognition by Singapore society will be “automatic” and almost a given.

On this Easter weekend, many may know that the Bible mentions that “A Prophet Hath No Honour in His Own Country”.

That is why we are so proud of the few internationally recognised stars we have such as fashion designer Ashley Isham and pop stars Kit Chan (Chen Jieyi) , Stephanie Sun (Sun Yanzi) and JJ Lin (Lin Junjie).

Ashley left Singapore as a normal person in 1996, but when he made it in London after a stint in the prestigious Central St. Martin’s College, the whole of Singapore embraces him as our own, even if many of us may not dare to wear his esoteric creations.

So many of us loved Kit and her Heartache (Xintong) album and tracked her path to success in Taiwan with pride and it was only after she and Singaporeans like Stephanie and JJ became household names in Taiwan that we their countrymen knew how good they were.

In social circles, we call this the “Prodigal son” syndrome. Most of us have heard of the biblical parable where the father seemingly welcomed and loved the prodigal son more than the other children who toiled diligently at home.

This is true in most aspects of Singapore except for the strange case of a certain Mr. Chen Show Mao. I hereby state that I am not associating Show Mao with the wining and dining which the original prodigal son was accused of. I need not extol Show Mao’s credentials anymore as almost everyone has Harvard, Stanford and Oxford at the tip of their tongues and the more well -read would also know of the Agricultural Bank of China’s US$22b IPO (which is really a big deal!).

Yet the PAP chooses to treat him like a leper ( sorry- Easter reminds me of Bible again).


Is it because, Show Mao, and those that he may attract, poses a real threat to PAP’s hegemony and supremacy?

Food for thought for this long weekend.

Anyway, Show Mao, the rest of Singapore welcomes you home. Home is where your heart is.

You have nothing more to prove.


Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dr.T's view of Singapore General Elections

Dear Friends,
My good friend Dr. T has written to the traditional media's forum page and is awaiting publication ( or not). He has asked me to post it here too.
I am more than happy to do so as I mentioned in my blog profile that even doctors have opinions and views about various aspects of Singapore and these do count.
Dr. T is a prominent doctor that many will recognise from his medical work as well as his non-medical work. He (maybe more than others) has done much to enhance the image of Singapore Medicine.

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

Dr. T's Letter (unabridged):

Dear Editor,

I am a medical doctor by profession.

Very often, the job of a doctor is very much that of an interpreter; I interpret the “language” ( symptoms ) of the body to the person. True healing and intervention can only take place effectively when the patient listens to the interpretation and agrees to the treatment.

How good an interpreter would determine how good a doctor he is.

Just like a patient complaining of dizziness but is walking around with a blood pressure of 200/120 mmHg.

He brushed off the warning when I alerted him. “It must be my late night drinking last night. I’ll be fine.” He quipped.

No sooner did the time bomb explore and he was down with a massive stroke.

When we approach the GE, it is very similar to that of a patient S, who is definitely having symptoms.

S is having a fever – rising cost of housing and living, etc.. but “bear with it, we’ll fix it, the whole world is having it!” says the attending doctor.

S is also having persistent diarrhea – loss of jobs to excessive foreign workers, effects of casino, etc.. but “ a little diarrhea is good for you; it cleanses you. NO REAL ISSUE.” replied the doctor.

S is having rashes all over – the immune system is screaming havoc because medicine given is giving an adverse reaction. We need to review the medications; we need to consider a second opinion, may be.

“Of course NOT!”

“We are the best, the A team!” The Doctor screamed.

“Together, we will have to say we gave the best and right medicine. Even if some of you disagree. You can whip out your handkerchief later, I don’t care. Say YES!! “

As S gets sicker, different groups of doctors and even Sinsehs come around, all volunteers, to offer help. Not to take over the job of the main doctor team, but to offer what they have and the little they know.

After 25 years as a doctor, I realize that what makes a great doctor is the spirit of humility and teach-ability. Very often, the day we become un-teachable, it is the start of our downfall. And second opinions, even from someone “new” or young can help.

As for S’s case, she is not so lucky.

The main team shot down every prescription and injections that was shown ( and not shown) by the alternative team.


Because they are not the A team.

“In fact, we have a hard time finding people for the A team here.” Doctor sighs.

The stringent process, tedious and tough, make sure that YES-Drs are being produced; impressive in every way. But not tested, just like the other fact, some are promised to be “consultant surgeons” ever before they get their basic MBBS.

As for the A team part, we have ample examples of MPs having to step down, running foul of the law, and many making quiet exit.

So we have to agree: it is hard for them to find the right A team.

I am an integral part of S. I am running a fever, diarrhea and rashes all over. My medication is not working. All I want is to have a second opinion, another team of doctors or sinseh to help me.

That is, before I collapse from shock due to an overwhelming infection from internally. As a patient, I may not know what is wrong with me, but I do know that SOMETHING is wrong with me.

So, please recognize it and not tell me that “ there is nothing wrong with S, don’t fix it!!”

Oh yes, at las, the bill.. it costs me more than S$200M, and I am still having my fever.


Friday, April 15, 2011

NCMP system: Suggestions for improving it

Dear Friends,

If the PAP is serious about institutionalising the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) system and not just use it as a ploy to slow down the growth of a multi-party democracy, significant improvements must be made.

If not, it will always be just a charade ( or wayang). I have written to the traditional media ( what we call MSM-mainstream media) about this and am awaiting its publication ( or not).

What do you think? Any chance in hell of getting any of it adopted? No?

Anyway- no harm trying. Rome was not built in a day.

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

The letter to the Forum Editor: (Published here in Today Newspaper)

Dear Editor,

Re: Tweaking the NCMP system

The Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) scheme has been with us since 1984.

Depending on which side of the partisan fence one is on, it is either an example of pragmatic and innovative enhancement to our political system or a ploy to prevent the emergence of a viable multi-party parliament.

To many neutrals, the fact that Ms Sylvia Lim has become a household name is proof enough that the scheme is not altogether bad. Or at least like Ms Lim said of the system, the PAP was “trying to make a bad situation better”.

I hope that the NCMP system can be further tweaked to take into consideration the following premises that

1. it is honorable to seek public office and

2. talent (not withstanding which party they arise from) should be harnessed and retained in our parliament so that constructive debate can produce the best policies for Singapore.

The NCMP should:

1. Have full voting rights including voting on constitutional amendments, Supply or Supplementary Bills, Money Bills, or motions of no confidence in the government. There should be no differentiation from other MP’s other than that the NCMP is not in charge of a geographic district ( but on the other hand looks after the whole of Singapore).

2. Have same entitlements as other MP's eg allowances/ remunerations.

3. Be selected from best runner-up's of top 9 ( or whatever figure agreed by parliament) electoral contests irrespective of parties ie even PAP candidates can be NCMP's. ( minimum condition of winning at least 15% of votes as per present criteria)

4. Be eligible for all government front-bench office. ie NCMP's from ruling party or independents can be appointed Cabinet Ministers

These changes will ensure that many more people have the opportunity to play a greater role in our system including being part of the decision-making body of the government ( ie Cabinet).

This should shed once and for all the “second-class” and “loser” labels that are often stuck onto our present NCMP’s.

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Even Straits Times journalists are speaking up for Singaporeans!

Dear Friends,

Despite the all-too familiar headline in the Straits Times today “2-party system not workable here:PM”, there is no doubt in my mind that things here are a-changing.

Like a broken down gramaphone
“Nay-sayers” try to pour cold water on our brave and idealistic youths by saying that in this nation of 5 million, it is not possible to find more than 20 good men or women. They cannot even get enough men/women to join them!

To say that anything other than the present one-party system is not workable, sounds like someone reading from an old script belonging to a bygone era. Don’t they know they risk being accused of sounding like a broken gramaphone that repeats itself as the needle is stuck in a “recurring” groove. (Younger readers may not appreciate this as they may not have played any “records”). To some of us, this message is akin to trying to” fit a round peg into a square hole.” It just does not “square” with reality (pardon the pun).

Even ST is a-changing?
Even our infamous Straits Times is a-changing ( or sort of).
There is more coverage of non-PAP pre-election activities and surprise… much of it sounds rather objective too.

Most-surprising (to me) is the fact that many of ST’s journalists are writing candid articles that in the pre-new media era would have been unheard of.

ST journalists standing up to be counted

1. Lydia Lim : “Why voters play hard to get with the PAP” said “It is because they believe the odds are stacked in the ruling party's favour” alluding to the perception that the playing field is too overwhelmingly skewed towards the PAP. Click here

2. Kor Kian Beng: “Getting to know the opposition” said “After all, everyone on both sides of the fence is a Singaporean trying to improve this place we call home”
Click here

3. Chua Mui Hoong: “ We must give the PAP 48%. Wake them up” said ( quoting one resident” The People’s Action Party doesn’t take care of Singaporeans any more.”
Click here

4. Cassandra Chew:” The voter’s GRC dilemma” when comparing the GRC to buying pre-packed onions in a bag” Click here
Cassandra said: "At the supermarket, I usually go for the bag without any bad onions. To me, getting average onions is better than having to deal with the rotten onion at all.”
A netizen in my facebook half-jokingly commented “ did someone just referred to Miss T as bad onion?” I am sure that thought was furthest from Cassandra’s mind.

5. Aaron Low: “Going beyong charisma politics” said “And hopefully the other opposition parties will follow (WP)Mr Low’s lead in creating parties of substance rather than to depend on individuals to draw in votes.” Click here. I say Amen to that too.

I have always believed that even ST’s journalists are human beings like you and I. When you cut them ( not that I am encouraging you to), they will bleed. Most of the time, it is crimson red like yours and mine.

They have restraints that they need to work around. Most of them have consciences too.

Let us hope that I do not need to “stand corrected”

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

Sunday, April 03, 2011

What Tharman said or my reflections on tv forum

Dear friends,
I wrote the following letter to the forum editor(s) of MSM
(Published today here)

Dear Editor,

I am glad that in tonight’s tv political forum, Minister Tharman openly stated what had long been regarded by some PAP old guards as heresy- that a strong opposition is good for Singapore and even PAP.

Strong opposition is good for Singapore
This does not surprise me as Tharman has always been progressive and intellectually honest. In fact he is of Prime Ministerial material in many Singaporeans’ minds (notwithstanding what MM had said previously about unsuitability of non-Chinese politicians for this post).

However, the growth of a responsible and strong opposition has been thwarted by an uneven playing field. Alleged gerrymandering, opaque and mysterious functionings of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) and the partisan abuse of publicly funded bodies such as the People’s Association quickly comes to mind and these unsavoury practices overwhelmingly favours the PAP.

Short-term measures eg better media ;unfettered access into private estates
For the short-term, especially during this pre-election period, it is vital that impediments be removed for the electorate to get to know all candidates. Although we see obvious improvements, the traditional media can do even more to level the field.
Private condominium management should be more enlightened and understand that Singaporean electorates living there are eager to meet prospective candidates from all parties. I will be writing to my MCST to voice my concerns.

Longterm rectifcations eg levelling field; funding of political parties
In the long term, besides tweaking or abolishing the GRC system , and restructuring the EBRC and rectifying PA’s anomalous relationships , we should seriously consider funding political parties who adhere to tenets that Singaporeans view as desirable eg multi-racial composition ; minimum membership numbers etc. When these parties do not meet these conditions, funding can be withdrawn.

Qualified Optimism
With enlightened ministers like Tharman and energetic politicians like Gerald, Vincent and Josephine, I do not see any reason for pessimism. I believe, as Josephine did, that no matter which party we support or vote for, we are all authors of our collective future.

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan