22 July 2012

Is "Singapore" Clipper Yacht Singaporean?

The local media announced that the Keppel Corporation-sponsored "Singapore" yacht completed Clipper 11-12 World Yacht Race in third position.

The organisers Clipper Ventures supplied the fleet of ten identical, 68-foot, stripped down racing yachts each sponsored by a city, a region or a country and a qualified skipper for each yacht.

The 40,000-mile race took 11 months to complete.  It was divided into eight legs comprising 15 individual races; crew members decide which legs they wish to race in.

The "Singapore" team comprised 52 crew from 11 nationalities, led by British skipper Ben Bowley.  Among them were seven Singaporeans; the rest were foreigners.

I'm puzzled.

What exactly is the achievement that the mainstream print and broadcast media are trumpeting?

With Singaporeans forming a very minuscule minority in the crew, to what extent can this be considered a Singapore effort or a Singapore yacht?

15 July 2012

Emirates Singapore Derby — The Media and Betting or Gambling

Channel News Asia broadcast live on national television today Emirates Singapore Derby, a horse racing event held at Singapore Turf Club.  There was a repeat broadcast several hours later.

MediaCorp (which owns Channel News Asia) described the broadcast in its programme listing as info / education.  Channel News Asia's website reported the results in its sports section.

Singapore Turf Club's website says "Think Entertainment, Think Racing".  Horse racing is fun, presumably even if a person is neither an owner nor a jockey.

Just over a month ago, Channel News Asia also broadcast live on national television Singapore Airlines International Cup, said to be the richest and most prestigious event in Singapore's horse racing calendar.  Singapore President Tony Tan presented the trophy.

No matter how some people or organisations try to portray it, isn't horse racing about betting or gambling?

MediaCorp's Gold 90.5 FM Radio broadcasts Toto results twice a week.  In this case, there aren't even any horses or greyhounds or any other animals racing.  It's simply a game of guessing six numbers out of 45 numbers to win.

Why are the media broadcasting or reporting betting or gambling results?

12 July 2012

Malaysia's Political Maturity: Repealing Sedition Act

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced yesterday that Malaysia would repeal its Sedition Act.

The 64-year-old law will be replaced by a National Harmony Act.

The Sedition Act criminalises seditious speech that provokes hatred between races, with punishments of up to three-year prison sentences.  Some people say that it has been used to stifle political dissent and as a means to restrict criticism of policies that protect the rights of the ethnic Malays.

The Sedition Act represents a bygone era in Malaysia, and its repeal and replacement will mark another step forward in Malaysia's development, according to Mr Najib.

The decision is being made to better balance ensuring citizens' freedom of expression and the need to handle the complex nature of Malaysia's multi-racial and multi-religious society.  It will help the country better manage its national fault lines and strengthen national cohesion by protecting national unity and nurturing religious harmony.

The Attorney-General will hold a full public consultation before the new legislation is drafted.

Mr Najib said that other changes were planned to shape a politically mature Malaysian society.

The Malaysian Government last year repealed the Internal Security Act, also a remnant from British colonial rule, which allowed indefinite detention without trial.  It was replaced by the Security Offences Bill, under which people will not be detained because of their political beliefs.

Now that Malaysia has led the way for a more mature democracy, will neighbouring Singapore with its multi-racial and multi-religious society follow suit and repeal its Internal Security Act and Sedition Act?

06 July 2012

NParks's Brompton Bicycles — A Path Less Travelled

Singapore's National Parks Board recently bought 26 Brompton foldable bicycles costing $2,200 each for its officers to use on patrols.

NParks's tender notice set out the following specifications for the bicycles —
— Be foldable.
— Can be brought onto public buses and MRT trains.
— Have 16-inch wheels.
— Weigh between 11 kg and 13 kg.
— Have at least 6 speeds.
— Be provided with one year's warranty and free basic servicing.

Only one company — apparently not the agent or an authorised dealer for Brompton bicycles — submitted a bid, listing two models, with the Brompton bicycles being the cheaper alternative.

According to NParks, it proceeded with the purchase since the proposal met its specifications and it found the price to be reasonable after comparing with market prices at that time.

Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said he accepted NParks's explanation.

This episode raises many questions, nevertheless.

02 July 2012

Budgeting for 2015 South-East Asian Games — Learning from 2010 Youth Olympic Games Budget Overrun

Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing assured the public yesterday that budget issues that affected Singapore's hosting of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games would not happen when Singapore hosted the 2015 South-East Asian Games.

The initial budget of $104 million for the Youth Olympics was exceeded threefold.

Mr Chan said that the 2015 South-East Asian Games steering committee would be keeping a very tight watch over the entire budget.

In any case, the South-East Asian Games will be quite different from the Youth Olympics.  Singapore had contractual obligations in the Youth Olympics but will have greater control on the choice of vendors and other matters in the South-East Asian Games.

Details of the 2015 South-East Asian Games are still being ironed out, including the budget, the number of sports and the Games Village.

Mr Chan's comments raises several issues.