Archive for January, 2013|Monthly archive page

Being productive – at work and in bed

In News Reports on January 31, 2013 at 1:09 am

Go buy BT. The newspaper highlighted a particular number while the rest of us were moaning and groaning about the 7m population projection for 2030. And that number relates to that oft-heard word – productivity. Of the business kind, not the baby kind.

The question asked: What if Singapore cannot make the “ambitious stretch target of 2 to 3 per cent productivity growth?

The White Paper says this: “As our economy matures, we will have to sustain a pace of growth compatible with our changing demographics. Up to 2020, if we can achieve 2% to 3% productivity growth per year (which is an ambitious stretch target), and maintain overall workforce growth at 1% to 2%, then we can get 3% to 5% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per year  from 2020 to 2030.

So the more realistic – and expected – situation is this: “With workforce growth slowing to about 1% per year, and productivity growth moderating to 1% to 2% as our economy matures and undergoes major demographic shifts, we may see GDP growth of between 2% and 3% per year from 2020 to 2030.’’

Businesses agree with that the lower growth rate is more realistic. A whole ton of incentives are being hurled at SMEs to upgrade and re-skill its workers, and it’s time to see how well they are taking to it. If not, then the question is why: Too many rules and regulations to comply with? Not enough awareness?

Businesses say they need more foreign workers or they will be forced to re-locate. In fact, ST spent a whole lot of space on them moaning and groaning about the lack of manpower. Hmm. I thought they were already primed for this. But one economist said that further tightening is on the cards since the projections in the White Paper mean that growth in the labour force will be about 70,000 a year, down from 100,000 or so last year.  

What can we expect to see then? Lower level industries forced to move out (maybe that’s the point), fewer foreign workers in the beginning while Singaporeans get retrenched and retrained for higher-level jobs? Then the foreigners come back in to take on jobs Singaporeans won’t want to do by then since most of them are PMETs?

Here’s what an earlier National Population Talent Report says: We project that by 2030, 250,000 to 300,000 Work Permit holders will be needed in construction (250,000 in 2011), 28,000 foreigners in healthcare (13,000 in 2011), and 300,000 as foreign domestic workers (198,000 in 2011).

As for new industries being set up or expanded, the Paper highlighted legal services and accounting services are probable boom areas.

Okay, lecture over.

What I really want to know is this. What is the impact on me if economic growth is 2 to 3 per cent a year, instead of 3 to 5 per cent? How will this affect our living conditions, cost of living, standard of living? Maybe if we can paint the different scenarios at the end, everybody will be more inclined to buck up and produce better-quality work – or more babies.   


The people and the Population White Paper

In News Reports, Politics, Society on January 30, 2013 at 1:24 am

GETTING the people behind the Population white paper is going to be one tough job. I know the Prime Minister has said that we should look beyond the headline numbers and think deeper about the country’s future.

But as Lydia Lim said in ST, it’s the everyday journey that counts. The instinctive reaction of Singaporeans reading the newspapers today would be to recoil. Yes, recoil. It’s too hard to visualise how even more people can be squeezed into this little red dot. More transport links, more homes, more green spaces – they simply can’t figure out how this will mean you won’t have to be squashed in a train, never mind that a station is a 10 minute walk away.

And while the Paper says that the density is much better than Hong Kong’s – 13,000 people per sq km versus 22,000 people per sq km, all people can think about is the return of shoebox apartments.

Today had analysts all making the point that steps had to be taken to convince Singaporeans. More engagement and more transparency about the numbers, such as exactly where the foreigners would fit in on the jobs-front.

You see, tangled in the emotions is not just that Singapore will be crowded, but also unfamiliar. It breeds insecurity.
The Paper has a chapter on integrating foreigners who want to become PRs or new citizens. It’s the same-old, same-old in my view.

By the way, we should also look at the marriage figures. Those four in 10 Singaporeans who marry foreigners, do they settle down here to have Singapore-born children? Or do they move with their foreign spouses? If their foreign spouses, especially husbands, find it hard to sink roots here, then it’s likely the Singapore wife would move with her husband. But there are no plans now to ease the policy of making them citizens, according to Grace Fu as reported in ST. Seems to me we should be looking deeper into this “leakage’’.

Then those 200,000 Singaporeans living abroad. I don’t suppose they will return to our sunny isle even as steps are made to engage them, especially with news that it might get even more crowded.

I reckon the argument in the White Paper can be encapsulated like this: We are not having enough babies, and we’re hoping for more. Even if this works, we don’t have enough manpower to sustain our economy (which is going to slow down) and standard of living. That’s why we have to educate ourselves to as high a level as possible, so that we can still afford some foreigners to do the jobs we don’t want to do and keep the best jobs for ourselves. This is also so we can support that cohort of baby boomers, who are going to be depending on even fewer young people’s taxes. But don’t worry, we’ll make sure you will live well, in homes that aren’t too small, travel on trains that are not too crowded, and enjoy cycling on green paths.

You think the argument will work on those who won’t be trawling through the White Paper (a very dense paper methinks) I think the on-going Singapore Conversation is going to be hijacked by these issues. I can’t see Singaporeans talking about anything else when they have population headline figures stuck in their heads. Maybe that’s why we are having a Singapore Conversation now? That White Paper is a discussion paper right? Not cast in stone? (See earlier post)

You know, I am wondering if Singapore will become a place where Singaporeans, here and elsewhere, will hold a strong emotional attachment to but, preferably, from a distance.

The connection with the conversation

In News Reports, Politics on January 29, 2013 at 11:59 am

I hope someone will clarify the difference between the objectives of the White Paper on Population and the on-going National Conversation.

I know the White Paper has been in the works with the specific objective of solving a population problem – fewer babies, not enough manpower etc. But it strikes me that to do something like this involves going into realms that I thought Singaporeans would have a say in. Such as what sort of economy we want. In the White Paper case, it’s moderate growth going down to 1 to 2 per cent in the future. So I suppose we’ve settled the issue of whether “growth at all cost’’ or not.

Then there is the masterplan for Transport to lay down the infrastructure for the future. But aren’t we still discussing whether our current public transport model is good enough – you know, SMRT and SBS as the only players?
Also, seems like we ditched the idea of productivity – hence, higher pay – at the lower levels? Most of us are going to be PMETs, so it means jobs such as cleaners will still be for foreigners and still at rock bottom rates?

And we have already settled on so many universities to churn out so many graduates with an economy that will hopefully provide the jobs for them? I thought there was some concern that we might not be able to cope with so many grads?

Is the Singapore Conversation going to be a “soft’’ one then? How to be a nicer, more gracious place? Values-oriented? Surely, values must come before the hard stuff like the Population paper gets formulated.

Anyway, I am thoroughly confused. Some clarification is in order before some people start thinking that the Singapore Conversation is a non-starter – since some stuff’s already been decided.

Then again, maybe I’m just stupid.

Eye-popping population numbers

In News Reports, Politics on January 29, 2013 at 11:14 am

I am going to be a bit sour here about the White Paper on Population….

Anyone who has worked in the media or with the media will know that the right way to introduce stuff is to give the big picture, paint several scenarios, outline the problems and then propose solutions. Instead, the G went ahead to announce the Transport Masterplan and the Marriage and Parenthood package. Okay, it’s the prerogative of the G to announce whatever it wants whenever it wants. And if it decides that announcing them during a BE campaign will help its cause, well…it didn’t.

But I wish I had read the full works on population before having to read about what parents will get for having an extra baby. That’s because I happen to one of those who won’t get a single baby perk and will have to contribute my tax dollars to the pro-family policies. Painting the bigger picture, with future PR and future new citizen numbers thrown in, would have given the population a better idea of why we need to spend $2 billion a year on the package to achieve a fertility rate of 1.6. You see the full picture, not just the perks. But I guess during an election, the perks count. Or didn’t.

Frankly, now that the cart has been put before the horse, I wonder how the media will go about reporting the White Paper. I suppose the focus will be on the numbers. I actually had some difficulty pulling them together because there was a mix of citizens, new citizens, PRs, resident population, non-resident population in both absolute numbers and proportions.

These are the key pars:

Singapore’s total population of residents and non-residents in 2020 is projected to be between 5.8 and 6 million, depending on our fertility trends, life expectancy, as well as our social and economic needs. The resident population (comprising citizens and PRs) is projected to be 4 to 4.1 million, of which citizens alone will make up 3.5 to 3.6 million.
By 2030, Singapore’s total population could range between 6.5 and 6.9 million. There is a wider band of uncertainty, and the actual population will again depend on factors such as our fertility trends and life expectancy, the global and regional environment, our economic structure and social needs. The resident population (comprising citizens and PRs) is projected to be 4.2 to 4.4 million, of which citizens alone will make up 3.6 to 3.8 million.

This par below is only on the immigration part that contributes to stats above:

To stop our citizen population from shrinking and sustain the citizen population with a stable age distribution, we will take in between 15,000 and 25,000 new citizens each year. The citizen population could be between 3.5 and 3.6 million in 2020, and between 3.6 and 3.8 million in 2030. We will grant about 30,000 PRs each year, in order to maintain the PR population at between 0.5 and 0.6 million for a stream of good quality candidates for citizenship;

I figured that what we want to know is just how many people are we intending to squeeze onto this little red dot. And who they might be. I came up with this from the mass of statistics.

Today, we have 5.31 million people, comprising 3.29m citizens, 0.53m PRs and 1.49m foreigners who live here.
(not counting PRs, citizens are still number more than twice as many for foreigners here)
In 2020, we will have 5.8 to 6 million people, comprising 3.5 to 3.6m citizens, 0.5 to 0.6m PRs and 1.8 to 1.9m foreigners who live here
In 2030, we will have 6.5 to 6.9m people, comprising 3.6 to 3.8m citizens, 0.5 to 0.6m PRs and 2.3 to 2.5m foreigners who live here.
(This time, citizens will be about 1.5times or so more than foreigners)

How come the White Paper didn’t just chart it like this??

Of course, everything may change depending on fertility rate, economic growth etc etc. That huge figure of 2.3 to 2.5m foreigners? It’s because our workforce growth will slow. But hey, apparently by then, most Singaporeans ( a Singapore core that will get smaller over the years) will belong to the PMET category.

Funny thing is, we not reclaiming more land?
Also, if Singapore (god forbid!) gets attacked in 2030, who or what are we defending? What sort of home will we be defending with so many foreigners in our midst?

Missing in MSM

In News Reports, Politics, Society on January 29, 2013 at 12:16 am

The Prime Minister said many things at the IPS Perspective Conference but somehow the MSM didn’t pick up the stuff that would have interested the online community. Okay, I have to be fair…I am talking about the ST.

Today picked up his point about Section 377a and how he seems to be leaning towards maintaining the status quo, that is, homosexual sex remains criminalised. I wonder why this wasn’t published in ST? Because the PM might have run foul of subjudice rules that the Attorney-General’s Chambers had just reminded everyone of? A protective measure? If so, Today didn’t get the message.

The PM didn’t unilaterally raise the topic, but was answering two questions that were very finely crafted in my opinion. First, was how a secular state could reconcile itself with having an old archaic law that discriminates against a group of people. The second, by NMP Janice Koh, was whether Singapore had the space to discuss issues that were potentially polarising. Looks like Section 377a is on the PM’s mind since he didn’t side-step the issue.

But, hey, I certainly hope the Judiciary will not be influenced by what the Executive has said on the issue, the top executive, some more! Methinks the PM should have held his peace, like all of us have been told to do.

Citing the example of gay rights, Mr Lee said: “These are not issues that we can settle one way or the other, and it’s really best for us just to leave them be, and just agree to disagree. I think that’s the way Singapore will be for a long time.”
He added that the “conservative roots” in society do not want to see the social landscape change.

Another point that has the online community buzzing but which I saw no sign of in MSM were his comments on new media: “We don’t believe the community in the social space, especially online, moderates itself. It doesn’t happen anywhere in the world.

“You have views going to extremes and when people respond to their views, they may respond in an extreme way, and when people decide to disapprove of something which was inappropriate, the disapproval can also happen in an extreme way.’’

“It’s in the nature of the medium, the way the interactions work and that’s the reason why we think it cannot be completely left by itself.”

I don’t know what the context of his comments were since this is a just a quote that has been going round online – and which I hope is accurate. For context, I usually rely on MSM given that they have paid professionals who would have known that context is important. But, hey, they’ve left it out entirely! How can?

You can bet that the online community is buzzing about an upcoming clampdown… An online naming law?

Shy MPs

In News Reports, Politics on January 28, 2013 at 1:14 am

So Ms Lee Bee Wah screamed and the contractors got cracking. It got the stalled lift upgrading going and ready in two weeks in her Nee Soon ward. Her residents are surely grateful to their MP. Ms Lee isn’t worried about putting her name to her blasting. Now would she have been okay with having her name published on something about the by-election, especially if it’s not complimentary of the PAP?

I ask this because I can’t help but notice that yet another PAP has spoken to the media “on condition of anonymity’’ in ST. The first anonymous PAP MP had spoken about the innocuous subject of the choice of Speaker last month. This time, this anonymous MP indicated that the party was beguiled into thinking that it would win Punggol East, because grassroot activists reported that residents were receptive when they knocked on doors on Wednesday, the last night of the WP rally. Then he/she added: “But of course only the PAP supporters were at home, the rest were at the rally.’’

I suppose he didn’t want to be named because it wouldn’t look good on him or the party. And it’s a coup for ST to get an MP to admit to something like this. Then I think he/she should just shut up then. Has it come to this that even MPs won’t even put their name to what they say? And they are supposed to speak for me in Parliament?

AFTERNOTE: The MP concerned is Teo Ser Luck

A post-BE conversation

In News Reports, Politics, Society, Writing on January 28, 2013 at 12:01 am

A post-BE conversation among Punggol East residents, members of the sandwiched middle class, and fed-up with the lack of facilities in the ward.

Mr Lim, married, no children, in his early 30s, lives with his parents, runs a small agency
Mrs Ho, 33, working mother of two, wants to have three
Mr Ali, 40, married with one child in primary school
Mr Fernandez, 25, single

Mr Lim: So what you think will happen now? Our rubbish will still be collected, right? My parents worried.

Mr Ali: Of course lah, the PAP can’t just walk away like that. But I don’t know how the town council will work. Now we’re parked under Pasir Ris-Punggol town council. You think WP will have problems getting stuff from PAP?

Mr Fernandez: No way the PAP will give problems. WP already raised this AIM business what. The PAP can’t risk another blocking tactic. But I keep wondering about the CDC. It will still look after us right? It has ComCare to give out. And what about PCF? You think it will set up kindergartens and childcare centres?

Mr Ali: If it doesn’t, I’m sure some businessman will do. Eh, Lim, you do lah. The Government already said it will have more anchor operators. But that covered linkway that Dr Koh promised? Is this from town council money or HDB? Not so clear.

Mrs Ho: Whatever happens, that Ah Lian better fix the childcare problem. She’s a woman, I expect her to speak for mothers like me. Good to have her join that Sylvia in Parliament. Except both have no children right? I hope they don’t think like that Chua Mui Hoong and Rachel Chang in that Straits Times – these single women! Can talk about what…entitled… parents taking money from single taxpayers…! And they better tell the Government to let my family go in the front of the BTO queue. Why they only let first-time families? What about my family? Need a bigger flat!

Mr Lim: Anyway, I’m glad we have our coffeeshop back. Past week, everywhere so crowded. I bump into the Ah Lian just now and said: Huat ah! I also saw that Dr Koh. I tried to avoid him but he came to shake my hand. I told him I didn’t vote for him. Told him nothing personal, just sometimes the PAP needs to wake up its ideas. You think he will come back here next GE?

Mr Ali: Got quite a slap already, might be a bit malu… you think he want to come back here? Even the Prime Minister’s last minute speech didn’t help him. He actually seem like quite a good guy. He salah. Should have joined WP. Now I think a lot of good people will join the WP. Got chance to get into Parliament.

Mr Fernandez: And no one will want to join the PAP! Yay! I guess they will have arm twist some civil servant or army officer to join and stand next election. And make sure all civil servants and SAF guys vote for them! Haha. They should never have made Michael Palmer resign. Now Eurasians only have that De Souza lawyer. Put another Eurasian and I vote for him!

Mrs Ho: You cannot think like that lah. So racist! I never liked that Palmer. His poor wife…you think we women welcome someone like him? The PAP should have fielded a woman. Hey, you know the marriage and parenthood package? We’ll still get it right? My husband and I thinking of having another one. Not going to put us last in the queue or anything?

Mr Ali: Alamak! Two not enough ah? My one already got so many problems. I can’t even help him do his homework. So tough. And then this year Primary Six, I can’t even understand all this IP business lah, what streaming lah. Eh, I thought you complaining about how much it cost to bring up children? And how your boss never give you leave when your children sick? And how you can’t trust your maid to look after them? Better think again lah.

Mr Fernandez: Anyway, that bus service and new coffeeshop better come soon. Real fed up eating at the same place. And Rivervale Plaza. They better go bribe the contractor to get it ready by June. If not, I might move out of this place. Find a babe. Get married. Get new HDB flat. Near my parents’ place so can get the grant. And maybe one baby so can get the bonus.

Mr Lim: Lucky you! My parents want me to move out but my wife and I don’t qualify for HDB. They won’t help me with the cash downpayment for that EC. Too expensive. Jialat. Everything so expensive. Everywhere so crowded. So many cars, always traffic jam. MRT also jam-packed. My business can’t get more foreign workers. I want a new car but thinking a second hand one better. How to survive like that? Tell you, PAP better wake up its ideas! Huat ah!

Mr Ali: You been going online or not? My son asking me why everybody so against the PAP. I think whatever PAP do, sure people will have something to say. Can’t do anything right anymore. Quite kesian. Mrs Ho: Eh, eh, see who’s coming…Low Thia Khiang right?

Mr Fernandez: Rock star!

Mr Ali: Come here! Come here!

Mr Lim: Huat ah!

The effect of this by-election

In News Reports, Politics on January 26, 2013 at 4:26 pm

There are only two things that will get ordinary Singaporeans to cheer – and that’s when Singapore wins a significant soccer match and when the Opposition wins an election. And so it was… just now. And I am not even talking about those at the counting centre or those who are die-hard supporters of the hammer. I gather it was quite noisy in Hougang.

Truth to tell, I thought the PAP would win. So much had been made of local issues – and if the constituents really thought that way, they would plump for the person who had the backing of the Government. This was also not Hougang, but a PAP ward for what it seems forever and ex-MP Michael Palmer was said to have been pretty good at working the ground. But it seems the voters thought: a) The WP can do the job in the ward as well too b) The PAP deserves a “slap” c) Singapore needs a plural Government d) We remember Lee Li Lian; we don’t know Koh Poh Koon e) Those national packages will be delivered anyway however we vote.

Any one of the five or a combination?

Now I suppose much will be made of the by-election “effect”. That the people want the PAP in power, but a by-election was a good chance to put in a new voice. The WP campaigned that way although I thought that it was only at its final rally that it got its act together to push the PAP back on the defensive. I thought it should have used its First World Parliament slogan. I thought it should have taken aim at AIMgate earlier in the campaign.

In fact, I thought the “hammering” that the WP got, at least online and from certain opposition quarters, for being so “conciliatory” towards the G – telling people that the policies need to mature and that it sometimes works with the G behind close doors, would not do it good. I thought Ms Lee was a bit of a damp squib, who would counteract the strong support from the WP leadership. I wondered if if those jibes about the WP being “arrogant” would work.

On all fronts, I thought wrong. And I congratulate the WP.

The BE result showed that voters considered the WP the dominant opposition party. A multi-cornered fight diluting the opposition vote? Nah. The disarray among the opposition ranks turning voters to the PAP side. No too. Now, what if the Singapore Democratic Party contested? How would the vote go? I almost wish it did, just so to hear from the voters on how they rate the SDP. My heart, though, really goes out to Singapore Democratic Alliance’s Desmond Lim. Just half a per cent, even less than the 4 per cent the last time round.

So what now? DPM Teo Chee Hean, anchor minister in that part of Singapore, looked so drawn and haggard. Both he and the PM did the courteous thing, thanking supporters and congratulating the victors. The voters have made their choice, they said. I was expecting something more…”and they would have to live with it…”…But no. I don’t know how Dr Koh feels. He must have realised it was risky never mind the Punggol boy- made – good tag. And never mind what I think was a tight campaign by the PAP, with quick counters after WP rallies and no mis-thought retorts and mis-timed attacks. I say he is a brave man. The thing is, the PAP says he will be fielded in future elections. And people will remember if he is NOT fielded in Punggol East again but in a safe GRC.

The PM wants attention back on national issues. Yes. The BE is out of the way. We should get back to national issues. Now with a bigger presence in Parliament, WP will have to live up to its words and act as a check. Or show the “value of political competition”, as Sylvia Lim said. Even if the WP does not have its own transport masterplan or marriage and parenthood package, the hope is that it will critique thoroughly those policies that have been just announced. Also, that it will get to the bottom of AIMgate – which it had provoked. In my view, it should come up with its own proposal on the “fundamental nature” of town councils, which is being studied by the National Development ministry. This it should do, now that it has even more town councils under its charge.

Anyway, the WP seems to have planned ahead, announcing date and venue of Ms Lee’s first Meet-the-People session. It is looking way ahead too, introducing four new faces (almost PAP-like I must say) at its last rally. It looks good to stay ahead of the rest of the opposition pack, although I am sure there will be some debate on whether olive branches should be held out to the other political parties.

The more difficult “thinking” will have to be done within the PAP though. It cannot simply content itself that this was just a by-election, and an opposition win was to be expected. I doubt that it will be complacent. I wonder now what new strategy will be formulated, whether in Parliament or in image. Its much vaunted “new normal” after the last GE doesn’t seem to have sunk in. Will it by the next GE? Or not at all. If so, the by-election effect might well sweep the general election.

You know what? There is someone I wish we could hear from. Former PM Lee Kuan Yew. What is he thinking I wonder. That the vote of the people is a terrible thing, as he once said?

Clever tactics

In News Reports, Politics on January 23, 2013 at 12:02 am

Reading the news reports on the by-election, it seems Workers’ Party’s Low Thia Khiang is in a bit of a fix. I had wondered why he chose to “thank’’ PM Lee Hsien Loong for his comments over the weekend that the WP hadn’t been able to make much headway in Parliament with its own policy proposals.

At last night’s rally, he clarified that it was because the PM had reminded “all of us that the Workers’ Party is still not large enough to have the resources to make alternative policies’’.
“In the Westminster parliamentary system, an alternative government must be complete with a shadow cabinet and ample resources for policy research to verify and propose alternative policies. Currently, we have a small group of professionals and academics working behind the scenes to help MPs scrutinise government policies. But expecting a party with 6 elected MPs to form an alternative government is premature and unrealistic.’’

So that’s why you need one more WP member in Parliament, he reasoned. Clever twist.

The PAP seems intent on making sure everyone knows that the WP “got no ideas’’, much less the ability to form a government. But the second part about being in Parliament is about raising relevant questions. Mr Low cited his MPs who spoke up and on what issues. But in this instance, the WP will be better off giving statistics of PAP MPs who did not speak or made only minimal contributions in Parliament in the check-and-balance role. And the proportion (not number) of questions and interventions WP made in Parliament compared to the much more sizeable PAP.

If there is someone Mr Low should thank, methinks its SDA’s Desmond Lim who elevated WP to a “dominant’’ party in his self-styled online rally. He spoke about how there were only “two’’ voices in Parliament. (Gosh! I would have thought that in a shouting match, the WP would be drowned out by the PAP chorus). Of course, Mr Lim didn’t mean it to be complimentary. It was more like the WP was singing at the same pitch as the PAP (that’s my interpretation, btw) and not performing the “checking’’ function.

Seems a lot of firepower is being directed at the WP. Ex-members are speaking up online about past squabbles etc. Mr Low has had to go on the defensive and rebut charges of being “arrogant’’. Odd, I thought that was a label more commonly attached to the PAP.

You have got to admire the PAP in this regard. Unless it had all its MPs sign some binding non-disclosure contract, its ex-MPs generally stay silent – and even run PAP companies. They help out in party HQ or in other ways on the ground. They don’t deride the party. If they do, they go the whole hog – and run for President!!! (Sorry, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, couldn’t resist it)

The PAP also seems to have a “tighter’’ campaign, going with “the man with a plan’’ when it comments on the BE. It’s letting its “national’’ campaign be represented in the announcements on train expansion, property and baby boosters . Clever people.

Gag yourselves!

In News Reports, Politics on January 22, 2013 at 11:59 pm

How could I have forgotten about the all-powerful “subjudice’’ ban on speaking about stuff that’s before the court? So the Attorney-General’s Chambers have joined the 377A fray by telling everyone on all sides to shut up and sit down. My question: What took it so long?

Then again, if a court challenge on the criminalisation of homosexual sex had not been mounted, we wouldn’t know the depth and extent of some people’s feelings about calls for its repeal – on both sides of the fence.

So now all eyes will be on the two cases before the court coming up pretty soon. MSM didn’t give exact dates – they should since they will be closely-watched. I suppose the judges (MSM didn’t say who) will be delving into the dusty old books methinks to find out what is the intent of Parliament when this law was put in the books.

Law Minister K Shanmugam has met the church representatives, according to Today. I wonder if this was to deliver the “gag’’ order. How I would love to know what else was said besides his comments that they delivered their position with “considerable conviction’’ in a “frank discussion’’. I’m sure the Law Minister is savvy enough to able to give some insights without getting himself into subjudice trouble. So what about another Facebook posting Mr Shanmugam?

In any case, however the court rules, it seems to me that this isn’t a “legal’’ problem, but a political one. And the discussion will be re-started, free of any subjudice clauses. What will happen then?