Thursday, August 21, 2008

A By-Election in Singapore as Well?

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Malaysiakini, Malaysia Today, and The Malaysian Insider tend to be the "trifecta" of recommended reading in order to get an understanding of Malaysia's politics. But when the dust settles, the hype dies down and you're a bit tired of reading about the same old issues again and again (like Anwar and his by-election), it's time to look elsewhere.

My focus then went southward towards Singapore (it's been damn long since I wrote a SG-related blog post) and I came across this news which went under my radar for a month or so:

The unfortunate demise of Bukit Batok’s MP Dr. Ong Chit Chung has thrown up opportunities for both the PAP and the opposition parties in Singapore, especially for J.B. Jeyaretnam's newly formed Reform Party.


If a by-election is held and the PAP receives a strong majority of votes, it will be a strong testimonial of the party’s infallability even in times of economic uncertainty. This will certainly help boost the ruling party’s image as one that is strong regardless of economic conditions.

If a by-election is held, and in the unfortunate event that the seat is lost to an opposition candidate, there can be a silver lining in the cloud - the party will then understand that, perhaps, some of its policies in recent times have lost touch with the electorate

Previous post: Singapore's J.B. Jeyaretnam To Register New Political Party On Friday

From 1988 to 2001, the late Dr. Ong served in the Bukit Batok constituency for two terms. From 2001 onwards, he was a part of the 5-member Jurong GRC (Group Representation Constituency).

In Singapore's law, there are no requirements that a by-election will be called in the event of the resignation/death of a GRC member, and past examples (like in 1999) indicate that the GRC team will take over his/her duties. So far the rather autocratic PAP government in Singapore has no plans for a by-election, but in case they change their mind, here are the stats of previous Jurong GRC elections:

Total voters - 115,113
Voter turnout - 109,198 (94.9%)
Spoilt votes - 2,945 (2.7%)
Winner's vote majority - 63,231 (59.6%)

PAP - 84,472 votes (79.75%)
• Halimah Bte Yacob
• Lim Boon Heng
• Ong Chit Chung
• Tharman Shanmugaatnam
• Yu-Foo Yee Shoon
SDP - 21,511 votes (20.25%)
• Chee Soon Juan
• Chee Siok Chin
• Ghandi s/o Karuppiah Ambalam
• Mohamed Isa Bin Abdul Aziz
• Yeo Boon Keng Vincent

Total voters - 116,573
Voter turnout - N/A
Spoilt votes - N/A
Winner's vote majority - N/A

PAP - Walkover
• Grace Fu Hai Yien
• Halimah Bte Yacob
• Lim Boon Heng
• Ong Chit Chung
• Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Opposition - No team fielded
• N/A
• N/A
• N/A
• N/A
• N/A

Jurong GRC election results (2001)
Jurong GRC election results (2006)

Related articles:
• The Straits Times - Jurong GRC MP Ong Chit Chung dies
• The Straits Times - By-election: Pragmatism or Principle?

Monday, August 18, 2008

We're Still Proud of You, Lee Chong Wei

The Star: Chong Wei offers no excuse after tame loss to Lin Dan

That's the stigma of getting a silver in badminton. The backlash from the public wouldn't be that serious if Lee Chong Wei came back from Beijing with a lesser bronze medal. Why this mentality? Haven't 12 years of both success and failures proved to Malaysians that our sporting teams are an inconsistent lot?

I wrote this in a blog post dated April 14, 2008:
I'm quite hopeful that Malaysia will get at least a medal this time round, but this time not from badminton. Despite coach Rexy Mainaky's efforts, the pairing of Koo Kien Kiat and Tan Boon Heong had a glimmer of an Olympic gold at one point but inconsistency has cost them a lot. No matter how much money the government pumps into the Badminton Association of Malaysia, we are looking at nothing if there's no more fresh talent.

Keep an eye out on our underdogs in the Olympics, expect nothing from the expected, and we might end up with a modest sum of medals in Beijing.

I wrote off Malaysian's badminton chances 4 months ago and I can say I'm glad to be proven wrong.

In the short few days leading up till the final, Chong Wei's achievement gave Malaysians hope that he'll put and end to our Olympic gold medal drought. He fought tooth and nail against South Korea's Lee Hyun-Il in the semis. He was probably nervous, tired and up against a fitter, superior, well-rested and definitely more confident opponent.

Lee Chong Wei, we're proud of you for being Malaysia's first medalist in Beijing. :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

U.S. Warships Spotted off the Coast of Penang!

While taking photos for a little thing called Project Trafford on June 4th, 2008, we saw 2 U.S. Navy warships and a cruise liner off the coast of Fort Cornwallis. It wasn't until a couple of days later till we found out their names and purpose in Penang.

Related articles:
The Star - US navy ship visits
The Star - Fruitful outing for 630 navy crew members
The Star - Tourists soak up the charm of Penang

So ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the USS Cape St. George, a state-of-the-art Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser:

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This is its escort, the USS Halsey, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer:

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Now for something different, we spotted this ship right beside the navy vessels. This is the Sun Princess, an Australian luxury cruise liner carrying 2,600 passengers.

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Here we have the Sun Princess crossing the path of the USS Cape St. George.

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Pretty amazing vessels, aren't they? :)

Photo credits: Evangel Lim