World Cup Public Holiday hoax reported to Police

From ‘President Tony Tan did not declare July 14 a public holiday: Istana’, 14 July 2014, article in Today

The authorities have clarified that the President’s Office did not issue any letter declaring today (July 14) a public holiday. According to a statement issued by the President’s Office, a “letter circulating on mobile and online platforms in the name of President Tony Tan Keng Yam” had declared July 14 a public holiday.

The President’s Office reiterated that it had issued no such letter, adding that public holidays are announced by the Ministry of Manpower. According to the hoax letter, the holiday was meant to allow all Singaporeans to have a chance to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina, and had the approval of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Government offices would be closed today, the letter claimed.

A police report has been lodged and  investigations are ongoing, police said.

Last year, MP Irene Ng was impersonated by someone posting a fake haze article on The Real Singapore website using a bogus email account. A police report was lodged but I’m not sure if the culprit was ever caught. In the President’s case, not only do you have a potential impersonation charge, but another on ‘false transmission of information’.

The letter is unlikely to cause a premature rapture followed by mass absenteeism in offices since we would typically trust the mainstream media to feed us such vital info. Also if this were genuine, the President wouldn’t have announced the good news only during the FINALS. I doubt the prankster had any malicious intentions, and no one would be dumb enough to take the letter seriously. After all, this ‘Tony Tan’ isn’t declaring war on a neighbouring country, or freaking us out by saying there is a giant asteroid on a collision-course with the planet like what more illustrious presidents do in cosmic disaster movies, so the Police shouldn’t worry about widespread panic or looting on the streets.

There was never a time when a World Cup holiday, or even half-day, was granted in Singapore, not least because we were never in the tournament and therefore have no reason to celebrate as a nation. But that didn’t stop people from urging the government to declare public holidays for other less spectacular occasions, to no avail of course.

1. Former President S R Nathan’s Inauguration Day

2. Hindu and Sikh New Year’s Day (April 13)

3. Lao Zi’s Birthday (Taoist Day)

4. Raffles/Founder’s Day, Lim Bo Seng’s Day, Multi-Racial Day

5. An additional day off for our 25th National Day. We can try asking for this again next year for our 50th.

6. Confucius’ birthday

And here are some facts you never knew about our public holidays.

1. Thaipusam used to be a public holiday.

2. We used to have BANK holidays. THREE in 1960 alone. These were subsequently abolished in 1966.

3. Vesak Day used to be called WESAK Day.

4. Dr Sun Yat-Sen’s birthday, Nov 12,  used to be a public holiday.

5. Before 1968 we had 16 PHs. Today we have 10.

If there’s one thing this hoax taught us though, it’s that there’s actually one LESS thing that our president can do. Now, MOM, how about bringing back a bank holiday or two, then?

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Singaporean making Police report over spicy Nasi Goreng

From ‘Singaporean files police report over spicy fried rice in Johor Bahru’, 7 May 2014, article in ST

A Singaporean has filed a police report because the nasi goreng kampung, or local fried rice, he ate in Johor Baru was too spicy, local media reported. The matter took social media by storm on Monday night after a copy of the police report found its way to the Internet, news website The Rakyat Post reported.

According to The Rakyat Post, the man, who is from Taman Jurong, had eaten the fried rice at a shop along Jalan Bukit Timbalan.

“Around 9pm on 30 April, I went to eat at a shop which I can’t recall the name. After I ordered the nasi goreng kampung and warm water, I had my meal, I found that it was extremely hot and too spicy. “Until today (May 1) I can still taste the spiciness from the rice I ate yesterday. I suspect that they cooked the rice with too much chilli.

“The reason why I am making this report is because I am very unhappy with the rice I ate and wish to go to a hospital for a checkup,” the man stated in the police report.

Johor Baru (South) deputy police chief Supt Abdul Samad Salleh, when contacted by The Rakyat Post confirmed receiving the report. However, he declined to elaborate further on whether or not they will pursue the matter.

Some weeks back, a Singaporean man lit himself on fire at a JB petrol station and died soon after. Today, one appears to have his mouth and tongue burned to bloody crisp by Nasi Goreng Kampung. This is surprising considering Singaporeans are renown for their love for spicy food, and most of us would stop eating, at WORST ask for a refund, if we couldn’t take the heat. Now that hawkers in JB know how weak some of us really are, you probably can’t order chilli there anymore without first signing a disclaimer that says should you suffer from bloody diarrhoea or lose your sense of taste for several days, it’s not their fault. Or they could lace it with something far deadlier to shut you up for good.

JB has a reputation and history of violent crimes against Singaporeans, but judging by the way our countrymen are flocking there in droves to guzzle cheap petrol and show off our luxury bags and cars, it’s probably not surprising that a Nasi Goreng seller would want to incinerate us from within with unusually toxic fried rice. Instead of resorting to more, well, primitive modes of execution or attack on the Singaporean visitor, such as:

1) Getting slashed and hacked to pieces.

2) Dragged along the road by a motorcycle.

3) Smashed into a wall by a car while on a SOFA.

4) Having CURRY powder thrown in your face in a robbery attempt.

5) Kicked and whacked with poles.

So thanks to our fellow Singaporean, the JB police have been alerted to the threat of a more discreet weapon of choice by Malaysians to incapacitate Singaporeans into surrendering their money. Sir, your inflamed tongue and throat, your dogged sense of justice at the risk of public humiliation, all will not be in vain, because Singaporeans who venture to JB will now keep an eye out not just for parangs, gun-totters on bikes, or dangerous drivers, but steaming hot plates of Nasi Goreng, or should I say Mati Goreng, spiked with poison embers plucked straight out from the depths of Hell.

Gilbert Goh wants you to splash dog poo at PM Lee’s photo

From ‘Protest organiser Gilbert Goh advised against defacing poster of PM’, 30 May 2014, article in Today

The police have contacted social activist Gilbert Goh regarding his Facebook post calling on the public to deface a poster of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a planned Labour Day demonstration at Hong Lim Park tomorrow (May 1). In a statement to the media, the police said Mr Goh, who organised the protest, was advised against carrying out such activities during the demonstration, as they could be considered offences under the Penal Code and the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act.

…In a Facebook post dated April 19, Mr Goh had spoken out against Mr Lee’s comment that he was “appalled” to read about the harassment of organisers of the Philippine Independence Day celebrations in Singapore. “We want to showcase (Mr Lee) on our labour day protest by putting up a huge poster for protestors to vent their anger. You can spit, throw eggs, splash dog poo, draw graffiti and kick at the poster of our Prime Minister,” Mr Goh wrote. The post was still on his Facebook page as of this evening.

This afternoon, Mr Goh also posted: “A police inspector called me earlier asking us not to deface our Prime Minister photo tomorrow or else…but that doesn’t mean we can’t scold him for his errant pro-foreigner policies right?”

Few world leaders have been spared from public defacement. It happened to Obama.

Vladimir Putin.

And naturally..

With photoshopping skills you can mock a politician without stepping out of your house. Yet no one thus far has been taken to task for superimposing our President’s face on Colonel Sanders’. Or adding bloody fangs onto LKY.

Gilbert Goh got away with doing an impromptu Songkran on an effigy of Lui Tuck Yew previously, and now is threatening to incite violence upon an image of the PM. Resorting to juvenile voodoo aside, Gilbert’s call for egg-tossing is a shameless waste of a perfect food, and NEA should clamp down on the protest for encouraging wastage. Photoshopping Wong Kan Seng’s face onto an executed Viet soldier, however, may get you arrested, and Gilbert is tempting fate here by simulating violence against the PM himself. Interestingly, there was a time when the man was more accommodating of foreigners, leading some to accuse him of doing a U-turn or singing a different tune when he was working in Sydney.

In a 2008 letter to Today titled ‘Treat foreigners the way you want to be treated’, Gilbert revealed that he had left Singapore to work in Australia, and concluded from his experience that Singaporeans ‘must welcome such foreign talents’ and ‘at the very least not give them a hard time’. A year later he called for more integration among our migrant workers, at the same time stating that we should be more selective in who we bring in – people with ‘real talents’. In fact he thought it would be ideal if the good ones can remain long enough to convert to actual citizens.  In a Facebook post he mulled over the high cost of living in Sydney while he was there, about $10 fried rice and ‘surviving’ despite his $15 per hour wage as a ‘casual worker’. Whatever that means.

In an interview with the SgVoize blog, he explained that he was there via a 4 year work visa tied to his ex-wife’s visa, who’s now a PR there (but he’s not). He also visits his daughter (I would assume also a Aussie PR) now and then. I wonder where would he be now if he had stayed married. If not for Gilbert, Hong Lim Park would be a terrifyingly lonely place, good only for picnics, family frisbee or qigong. Singaporeans would have lost the only place where you can cosplay as Guy Fawkes without getting questioned by the Police.

In 2011, he was appointed as  candidate for opposition party NSP (after a brief, ‘sour’ stint with Reform Party), banking on his credentials as the President of Transitioning.org, a support organisation for the unemployed. Armed with a Graduate Diploma in Counselling, he went on to racially profile the various foreign workers in Singapore in an article written in 2013, from PRCs being ‘brash and rude’ to Filipinos as ‘political and manipulative’. All this leading up to his personal vendetta against Philippine Independence Day, where he complained to the Philippine ambassador that the display of their flag in Orchard Road is a ‘betrayal of the motherland’.

PM Lee was probably referring to him among others when he called such harassment a ‘disgrace to Singapore’. The May Day Protest, with the highlight being people doing nasty, scatological things to the PM’s photo in a fit of rage (or fun) appears to be Gilbert’s way of retorting ‘Up yours!’, and maybe even following up with taunts of ‘My dad is better than your dad’. I’d advise anyone to stay away from the protest, not because you may get hounded by the police, but you may be coerced into holding up a lump of dogshit in your hand instead of a pink I/C or EZLink card, an act which has become somewhat of a Gilbert signature.

Next up, dog poo

Drunk man arrested for kicking a bus in Serangoon Road

From ‘Man who kicked bus at Serangoon Road arrested’, 31 March 2014, article in CNA

Police arrested a 51-year-old man on Saturday after he tried to stop a bus and kicked it when the bus driver could not let him board. The video of the incident went viral after being uploaded online. Bus operator SBS Transit said that on March 29 at about 6pm, a Service 65 bus heading towards Tampines had pulled out of a bus stop in front of an Indian temple along Serangoon Road when a man rushed across the road from the right.

The man stood in front of the bus, obstructed its path and demanded to be allowed on board, despite the fact that the bus was no longer at the bus stop. According to SBS Transit, the bus was in fact already on the second lane of the road.

When the man’s request was refused, he proceeded to hit and kick the bus exterior and damaged the left rear mirror and the front wiper of the bus. Meanwhile, the bus captain called the Operations Control Centre, which then contacted the police for assistance.

A passer-by also came forward to assist by advising the man to get back on the pavement. The SBS Transit spokesperson added that as a result of the incident, the trip had to be disrupted for the 45 passengers on board. The man was subsequently taken away by police to assist with investigations. (According to ST, they ‘understand that the man was drunk’)

The video is pure entertainment and uniquely Singaporean from start to finish, with action, comedy and drama all rolled in one. Here are some of the best bits, with dialogue unsurpassed by anything Jack Neo’s Singlish script generator can muster.

0.25: ‘Eh brudder, brudder, don’t open lerh, I scared lerh’

0.28: ‘L*nj*ao la!’

1.25: THIS gesture

http___makeagif.com__media_3-31-2014_nLJUzB

1.39: Drunk:OPEN!

          Driver: CANNOT! (LOL)

1.45: ‘Wah, Spiderman huh’?

1.49: ‘He’s marbuk (drunk) ah? Marbuk already’.

1.55: Drunk man swings on a windscreen wiper.

http___makeagif.com__media_3-31-2014_UsjGXR

2.11: An Indian man steps in and takes a shove calmly, with a van passing close by. Thankfully, this being Little India, only 1 other man gets involved, though there were many bystanders watching the scene unfold.

http___makeagif.com__media_3-31-2014_ODSwpH

2.37: This holy man on the extreme left, presumably from the temple nearby.

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2.53: Indian hero saves the guy from being knocked down by a passing car. Even helps him up.

2.57: ‘Sibei Siao eh’

3.04: ‘His leg kena, his leg kena.’

Hilarity aside, the bus driver did the right thing not to be intimidated and allow the nuisance in, and luckily the man wasn’t strong enough to smash the glass door in, as a Chinese national did last year. Incidentally, that also happened around Little India, which has already been identified as a ‘powder keg’ ready to explode. Here’s what could happen if you’re drunk and on a bus:

If you’re drunk anywhere near a bus stop, you could fall asleep on the bus bay, get run over and killed instantly. Or you could lose your balance and fall before a bus, like what happened to trigger the Little India Riot last year. That’s not including he numerous DUI accidents and deaths as a result of intoxication.  All this despite recent curbs in alcohol licensing and tax increases, from a country that has banned adultery sites and chewing gum. It looks like alcohol and all its consequences, the laughable and fatal ones, are here to stay.

It’s a shame that this incident took place just days before the roll out of the enhanced security measures from the Public Order (Additional Temporary Measures) Act. If it had occurred on April 1st (POATA implementation date), we’d have more to chuckle about, that being April Fools’ and all.

 

‘Little Chinatown’ Geylang is a potential powder keg

From ‘Step up safety in Geylang, say MPs, grassroots leaders’, 30 March 2014, article by Amelia Tan, Sunday Times

Geylang Members of Parliament and grassroots leaders want more done to keep the area safe, and say the measures should go beyond ramping up police patrols. Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP Edwin Tong wants fewer alcohol licences issued, stricter operating hours for businesses near residential estates, and a stop to foreign worker dormitories sprouting near Housing Board flats.

…Geylang has come under fresh focus after Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee said last Tuesday that he was more worried about the area than Little India, where a riot involving foreign workers took place last December. Testifying at the Committee of Inquiry into the Little India riot, he said crime rates in Geylang were disproportionately high and hostility towards the police rife.

Mr Tong told The Sunday Times that the red-light district, with its many bars and lounges, peddlers selling contraband cigarettes and drugs, as well as shops and vendors which stay open late into the night make Geylang more of a potential trouble spot than Little India and increase the risk of violent crime.

…He also highlighted the predicament of those living in Blocks 38 and 39 Upper Boon Keng Road, off Lorong 3 Geylang. The HDB flats are beside a row of terraced houses which have been converted into dormitories for workers from South Asian countries.

Many of the workers drink alcohol at the void decks of the blocks late into the night and some urinate at the playgrounds. Mr Tong said the problems have not been solved despite his asking police to increase their patrols. He said: “I think the solution is to stop the houses from being used as dorms. They are just too near the HDB flats.”

Grassroots leader Lee Hong Ping, 45, who labelled Geylang “Little Chinatown”, said crowds of foreign workers from China can cause traffic jams when too many of them gather on the pavements and spill onto the roads. Residents have also complained about not feeling safe at night.

The Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee described Geylang as a hotspot for ‘lawlessness’ and a congregation area for ‘unsavoury characters’. The Police also cited statistics that the level of public order offences and crime were almost twice as high as that in Little India in 2012, thus the ‘powder keg’ analogy. Another ST report carried the headline ‘People in Geylang speak of an ‘undercurrent of fear’ (March 30, 2014) based on the refusal of some residents to talk to the press. The authorities should be wary, however, not to focus too much on buffing up security at these ‘enclaves’ while neglecting other public areas when random people get slain. Since the Little India incident, we’ve all but forgotten about what went on in the very beating heart of the city, gang fights at Orchard Cineleisure for instance.

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There’s no question that the Lorongs are where resentment of authority is rampant. In 2007, a crowd of 200 gathered around 4 undercover police officers on an illegal gambling raid operation and threw rubbish and beer bottles at them, forcing one officer to draw his weapon on one of the men in the crowd. It had all the makings of a full blown riot, though today we’re unlikely to see the level of violence of the secret society clashes in the 1920s, where the police don’t just get glasses and rocks tossed at them, but BOMBS as well. There’s no evidence that alcohol had anything to do with these events, though some shopkeepers admit that vice is a crowd-puller and good for business.

Geylang may be called ‘Little Chinatown’ today, but according to some sociologists in 2009, Geylang was already the NEW Chinatown when PRCs started flocking to the area to set up shop, while its older sibling with its annual gaudy CNY decorations has morphed into a tourist town, today complete with giant LCD advertising screens and a ‘food street’ that’s clearly designed to draw tourists on a hawker mecca. We’ve already lost our vintage Bugis Street, we don’t want the same fate to fall on ‘Little Chinatown’ now, do we?

The police may think that Geylang, with all its vice and sleaze, is a time bomb waiting to explode. Residents worry about their wives or daughters when they go out at night. But to anyone with a sense of history or adventure, the ‘unsavoury’ nature of Geylang is part of its gritty, trashy charm, a seedy side of Singapore that remains largely unsanitised and brimming with a thrilling sense of ghetto sprawl and chaos, like the Chinese Harlem except that the only protection you need is not a personal weapon, but personal contraception. It has even been called a mini ‘United Nations’ of street-walkers. This is a place you won’t see on our tourist brochures, but any Singaporean will try to tempt a foreigner to have a taste of it. With a nudge and a wink of course.

 

 

Woodlands checkpoint breached by 65 year old

From ‘Woodlands checkpoint breach was the first time security barrier failed to stop a car:ICA’, 9 March 2014, article by Toh Yong Chuan, ST

The man who drove his old Mercedes-Benz past the Woodlands Checkpoint on Saturday managed to do so because a security barrier meant to stop unauthorised cars from leaving the checkpoint was ineffective. It was the first time the barrier failed to stop a car, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Sunday.

On Saturday, the man, a 65-year-old Malaysian national, who is also a Singapore permanent resident, drove the Singapore-registered car through the checkpoint at 4.05pm after he was stopped for a boot check. He bolted from the checkpoint and evaded the authorities for more than five hours, before he was arrested by the police at 9.15pm.

The security barrier, installed in 2006, was about knee height and designed to puncture the tyres of vehicles that try to drive over it. It is checked daily and on Saturday punctured one of the tyres of the car, but did not stop it in its tracks. The ICA is investigating why the barrier was ineffective.

According to the ICA Annual Report 2005, crash barriers and cat claws were installed as ‘anti-dash-through’ measures to stop ‘determined’ vehicles from dashing through the checkpoint like how one does it countless times in the movies. The ‘heavy duty’ spike barriers, capable of RIPPING off the tyres and DESTROYING undercarriages, was put to the test in a demo against a mighty ten tonne truck, and passed with flying colours. ICA then concluded that their barriers would ensure that no vehicle, even the most ‘foolhardy and determined’ shall pass unharmed, that includes the risk of severe injury to the dasher. Unfortunately, even the spikiest of cat claws wasn’t enough to stop a 65 year old uncle from foiling the checkpoint boys in blue and eluding capture for FIVE HOURS. With a couple of punctured tyres too. I wonder how long people were waiting for cabs because they were deployed by ICA to manhunt instead of transporting people.

Just last month, there were already signs that the barriers were wonky, with one car bumper being mistakenly devastated by a spike attack for no rhyme or reason. It could have been a horrific disaster if the fuel tank were pierced by this death trap. Alas, the cat claws failed to perform on Saturday, sprung like a kitty swiping at a ball of wool instead of the fearsome killer of vermin that it’s made out to be.

No excuse for this spike in security breaches

Of course even if you had sophisticated electronic weaponry to paralyse any vehicle in its tracks without physical damage, it would still be utterly useless if the officer on duty just wasn’t paying enough attention to sound the damn alarm in the first place. Or took an astounding 2.5 minutes to trigger one after pondering on it, as what happened when Malaysian trespasser Nurul Ruhana Ishak slipped away in Jan this year. That’s half a minute longer than Blur’s entire ‘Song 2′. It’s SO much cheaper to get a troll or Gandalf to stand guard against potential trespassers.

http___makeagif.com__media_3-09-2014_ViK2NQ

The clip of the incident (now under the Official Secrets Act, meaning it’s illegal to spread it around) is almost a comedy of errors, with the Merc stalling at the barrier and the guards standing around helpless after the car drove over the spikes, probably too stunned to give chase on foot like what TV cops do. The most badass officer on the scene whipped out his baton, probably threatening to smash the window in, though what was really needed then was someone bold enough to pounce in front of the car, poised to shoot, maybe jump on the bonnet smashing his way into the driver’s compartment with his bare fists if the perpetrator ever attempted to run the officer down as well. I mean, instinctively, if I were to see an old man try to escape from me with two punctured tyres, I’d give chase on at least a bicycle or hijack the nearest scooter, rather than stand around dumbfounded by how the spike barrier cocked up big time.

Or maybe I’ve just been watching one too many action movies.

Police running out of an ambulance like cowards

From ‘Two cops, two different reactions from COI’, 28 Feb 2014, article by Lim Yan Liang, Walter Sim, ST

ONE young officer was praised, a seasoned veteran chastised. Such were the contrasting reactions from the Committee of Inquiry (COI) on day seven of the hearing into the Little India riot on Dec 8 last year.

Even as Sergeant Fadli Shaifuddin Mohamed Sani was commended by the committee for confronting the violent mob with only a baton in hand, Senior Station Inspector Muhammad Adil Lawi had to defend his actions, which were recorded on video. The clip, which showed a group of auxiliary police and Home Team officers, including SSI Adil, running out of an ambulance, was circulated widely on the Internet after the incident.

The same footage was played during the inquiry while SSI Adil was on the witness stand yesterday. “You were the law, and you were running away, how does that reflect on the police force?” former NTUC president John De Payva asked the Traffic Police officer.

…When asked by the COI if his decision to retreat was an “act of cowardice“, SSI Adil disagreed and said: “At no time was I afraid.”

See how they run

See how they run

Former Police Commissioner Tee Tua Ba also blamed the fleeing cops for ‘allowing’ the rioters to take control, despite the vehicle bursting into flames soon after. I wonder what an ex police chief would have done in that situation. There’s nothing wrong with being afraid when you’re clearly outnumbered by a homicidal mob, and you need heroes to live to fight another day when the odds of survival seem low, rather than embark on a suicide mission and put the whole team in jeopardy, especially when our officers have admitted that they weren’t trained for a ‘full scale riot’. They even needed the help of some Good Samaritan workers to dash out of the ambulance in one piece. All that’s missing from the clip is some Benny Hill music.

Way back in the 1950’s during the Maria Hertogh riots, people were also disappointed in the police’s response to unruly mobs, namely ‘running into a five-foot-way’. Others blamed it on the ethnic makeup of the force, lauding Gurkhas while describing Malay constables with kanda sticks as ‘just looking’ on.  So why hasn’t anyone offered suggestions on how the Little India situation could have been better handled then? Should the team have taken the ambulance wheel and mow down violent rioters in GTA fashion, charge out screaming armed to the teeth with defibrillators and syringes, or scatter vials of denatured alcohol like one tossing sausages to a pack of rabid dogs?

Or should we have called THIS GUY?

How to stop a riot Bollywood style

How to stop a riot Bollywood style

Instead of accusing the police of being yellow-bellied cowards, how about considering relative INEXPERIENCE perhaps? No amount of riot simulation exercises will prepare you for the events that unfolded in Little India, it’s like aceing all the drills in NS but still refraining from shooting at a human being in an actual war. No senior officer put on the spot would admit that they were panicking and didn’t know what to do, using terms like ‘evacuation’ and ‘tactical retreat’ when what they were really doing, as most would, was running for their damn lives.

It’s easy, of course, to sit on a COI high chair and praise a lone wolf for charging at the mob risking his life while criticising others for not being badass enough while trapped in a vehicle. The members of the COI look like part of the Expendables themselves. Maybe just posing this way should be enough to make the rioters cower in fear without having to raise a weapon at all.

badassCOI

Burning an effigy of Lui Tuck Yew is illegal

From ‘Burning of effigies at Speaker’s Corner may be an offence: Police’, 30 Jan 2014, article by Xue Jianyue, Today

In response to media queries, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) clarified today (30 Jan) that the burning of effigies at the Speaker’s Corner may constitute offences under legislations such as the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act. The police added that under regulations set by the National Parks Board, which manages the Speakers’ Corner, activities that involve the use of fire at the venue also require the approval of the Commissioner of Parks.

Last Saturday, protest organisers shelved plans to burn an effigy of Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew after they were spoken to by the police. The protest was against the impending 3.2 per cent public transport fake hike, which will kick in from April 6.

Under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, any person who sets fire to or burns any material to the annoyance, inconvenience or danger of the public shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000.

In its statement, the Police said it had advised Mr Gilbert Goh, who led the protest, that the burning of effigies in the Speakers’ Corner may constitute an offence. “Upon the Police’s engagement, the organiser decided against burning the effigy,” said the police.

Lui Tuck Yew: Flame-proof

Lui Tuck Yew: Flame-proof

Instead of setting fire to a shitty-looking effigy of our Transport Minister, Hong Lim protesters gathered around the figure to splash it with water(Protesters drop bid to burn effigy, 28 Jan 2014, Sunday Times). A terrible waste of a precious resource if you ask me, and not quite as fun or cathartic as ganging up on the helpless doll and beating it silly with your bare fists. I doubt the Police, nor NPARKs, would have any problem with that because no one would ever mistake Gilbert Goh’s ugly dummy for a human being getting the thrashing of his life.

But seriously, if you want to make an effigy, at least do a proper face cut-out.  A Lui Tuck Yew pinata stuffed with coins would have been a better idea. Nonetheless, some people seem to find the image of Lui Tuck Yew in a sports jacket and N’Sync pants rather amusing. I mean, just look at THIS GUY in the background. With the hat straight out of the Crucible.

Here to party, y'all

Here to party, y’all

PM Lee, in his address to NTU students in response to online behaviour, described some ‘group dynamics’ like a pack of hounds hunting. Today conveniently headlined the article as ‘PM cautions against LYNCH MOB mentality’, when Lee himself did not appear to use the loaded word ‘lynch’. He did, however, mention ‘abusive, hateful mobs’, though I doubt anyone here would go beyond desecrating a minister’s likeness through fire/water and march on to his house with a flaming torch in hand, or attempt to overturn a MRT train. The closest anyone came to symbolically embarrassing SMRT was some Swiss guy with cans of spray paint in 2010.

Yet, you don’t even need to light a match to get arrested for threatening violence against a minister. Just typing out the fantasy of burning Vivian Balakrishnan online would have the police hot on your tail. Even if it were legal and done in a contained manner with a fire-safety officer on standby, what good would effigy-burning do other than leaving a charred mess for our poor cleaners to dispose of? As much good as spitting on your EZlink card out of frustration, perhaps. Not sure if the magnetic strip can withstand the corrosive potency of human saliva.

Slapping uncle: Shame on me for taking the MRT. SHAME!

But maybe the Hong Lim pyromaniacs have a point, even if effigy-burning does seem like the stuff of 16th century witch-slaying festivals. In 2008, an article titled ‘More open field’ was published in the Today paper, where protests which involve ‘burning an effigy of a Singapore political leader’ MAY HAVE A PLACE in Singapore. Apparently, neither of the relevant agencies objected then when people asked for permission to perform this exact activity. Why the U-turn now?

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Maybe some people do need the burning simulation as a therapeutic outlet for their fury. Like the taxi driver who set MP Seng Han Thong aflame, for example. If viewed in that context, perhaps the Minister should encourage rather than clamp down on it. Better a recipient of an over-dramatic insult that getting third degree burns, I say.

Singaporeans can’t burn minister effigies on open ground since it’s in breach of public safety, yet we allow other countries to do it on our behalf. In 1990, Lee Kuan Yew’s effigy was burnt by angry Indonesians for his Sukarno remark. In 2007, Wong Kan Seng was the victim of a Thai protest, though it seemed he had nothing to do with what the mob was raging about. Despite all the hate directed at Anton Casey, no one thought of putting the guy’s face on a makeshift scarecrow and setting him alight. If the Police had found out that Anton was the target instead of Lui Tuck Yew, they may even join in the ceremony and fire a few rounds into his effigy for good measure. Perhaps we should all just stick to burning PSLE homework then.

Changi Airport’s Kinetic Rain damaged by woman in white

From ‘Woman arrested for intrusion into Kinetic Rain sculture at Terminal 1′, 3 Nov 2013, article by Royston Sim, ST

A woman was arrested by the police after she climbed over the railing at Changi Airport Terminal 1 onto the netting below the Kinetic Rain sculpture on Saturday morning. A police spokesman said they received a call about the incident at 8.28am, and on arrival at the airport, officers arrested a woman in her 30s under the Mental Health Act.

Investigations are ongoing, he said. A one-minute video circulating online shows the woman in a white dress perched precariously on the netting. Police officers later helped to pull her back onto safe ground.

A Changi Airport Group spokesman said the Kinetic Rain display was damaged by the intrusion, with some strings on the art sculpture entangled. “We have referred the matter to the police and our engineers are arranging for the sculpture to be repaired.”

A great place to hang out, T1

The Mental Health Act stipulates that a police officer may apprehend anyone they might believe to be ‘mentally disordered’ and is a danger to himself or other persons. In a Yahoo report of the incident, an onlooker thought the woman’s antics might have been a stunt or performance, and did not ‘respond in English’ to the airport security, while CNA mentions that she is ‘not a local’. Some people are just desperate for last minute souvenirs and maybe our terminal shops ran out of ‘It’s a Fine City’ T shirts.

A few months back, a street art installation at the Night Festival was ruined when itchy-fingered visitors stole more than 180 wooden blocks, though the thieves were never arrested. This woman in white probably suffers from the same artpiece fetish, that a hanging shiny copper-coated aluminum raindrop would be so alluring that she’d risk her life for it, like the proverbial Eve plucking a golden apple from the garden of Eden. Or the entrancing ‘dance’ of the computer-choreographed raindrops was simply calling out to be groped, lulling one into an altered state of suicidal stupidity, like the ONE RING from LOTR. The ‘I Walk the World’ blogger admits that the ‘temptation to reach out and touch them was just too high’. I would, too, be fascinated like how I would have the urge to poke a water bubble in zero gravity. Kinetic Rain, or HYPNOTIC rain?

Weirder things have happened at Changi Airport. A man with a TV for a head was spotted in June last year. Rob Zombie was chilling out in the airport lounge in 2011. In 2004, the Amazing Spiderman scaled the airport control tower to promote the Spiderman 2 movie. It’s no surprise that we wouldn’t be able to tell a publicity stunt or performance art from someone of unsound mind being a nuisance to himself and others. The Kinetic Rain installation was once the site of the iconic ‘mylar cord’ fountain which was there since Changi’s birth in 1981. For more than 30 years, it wowed passengers without having anyone jumping headlong into for a free rainshower and destroying it in the process. It was also the first thing my family took a photo with the first time we visited the airport. Then last year it simply disappeared with the multi-million renovation of T1, replaced by a bunch of synchronised metal bulbs that move up and down in concert to create a wavy illusion of flight. There’s supposed to be a dragon and kite somewhere among the 1216 moving droplets, but I guess I’m the sort who prefers the soothing drizzle of water than stand around racking my brain over a charade of metal and strings pretending to be water.

The Kinetic Rain sculpture is just over ONE YEAR old and has already been desecrated like a monkey breaking an expensive chandelier after swinging on it (The Changi group have declined to reveal the cost of this contraption). This is also the WORLD’S BIGGEST kinetic sculpture, created over a span of 20 months, weighing a total of 2.4 tonnes and broken within a day. No mean feat to single-handedly dismantle a product of German design, though I suspect the fine that is likely to be slapped (provided the intruder is certified sane) wouldn’t exceed the cost of even a fraction of the 1000 plus 180g raindrops.

Once a fountain which actual water. Kinetic water

ST reporting Anonymous’ Messiah to the police

From ‘The Straits Times makes police report after hacker breaks into blog’, 1 Nov 2013, ST

A HACKER who claims to be part of the Anonymous network posted a message on The Straits Times blog website on Friday morning, days after a video threatening to hit out at the Government was posted on YouTube.

The hacker said the attack was prompted by a “misleading” report the paper published on its website, and demanded an apology or the resignation of the journalist who wrote it,threatening further attacks otherwise.

A spokesman for Singapore Press Holdings, which publishes the ST and its websites, said the paper stands by its reports and reporters.

The affected blog site has been taken down for now, SPH added. “We have filed a police report on the incident, and the police are investigating the matter.”

Demanding a ST reporter to resign over an impulsive headline seems trivial for the ‘legion’ that is Anonymous, an international hacktivist community that has busted child porn syndicates, white supremacist radio shows and even plans to disarm North Korea of nuclear weapons by tampering with their government web services. For those who cheer Messiah’s dastardly deed like how one swoons over a misunderstood rock singer trashing his guitar, you should note that the group he claims to belong to has also threatened to wipe Facebook off the face of the earth. No more status updates! No more Bitstrips! No more spying on ex-lovers’ photos! We can live without ST’s news, but not without pictures and videos of our friends’ babies in action.

Our Government and major industries have experienced the wrath and mischief of random hackers before. In 1996, the Government’s very own website was trespassed and a list of 100 user IDs of staff from government agencies were exposed. In 2001, Singapore Airlines was hit by a InX of WoH, its website splashed with vulgarities. Even KFC wasn’t spared, not to mention lightweights like the PA site, or AMK Town Council. But it wasn’t just the ruling party that got smeared, Opposition party SDP got hit as well, with their site erased and replaced with the words MATURE SEX in 2003. You didn’t need to write a lengthy manifesto with each incursion in the past, a simple sign off to stamp your conquest, or hardcore porn would state your intent in most cases.

The Police have been trying to snare the Messiah since he defaced Sun Ho’s website (almost 2 months ago), but the hacker remains at large and appears to be growing in confidence and swagger, perhaps even plotting to bring down the SPF homepage as a trophy hack too. Easy pickings for Anonymous, obviously. They’ve already done it to the FBI and the CIA. Instead of scaring ST reporters like Irene Tham into checking their bank accounts every hour, here’s a list of what the Singapore-based Anon/Messiah should consider doing now for their ‘fellow Singaporeans’ and humanity in general if they want to convince us that they are the Che Guevaras of our generation, rebels with a cause and not pranksters, freedom fighters not keyboard terrorists, Robin Hoods not bandits invading a cowboy town and holding the sheriff hostage in his own home.

6. Hunting down people who get away after throwing cats off buildings.

5. Shutting down terrorist cells, human trafficking sites, email spammers and companies that force you to watch 30 seconds of their goddamn ads before your video runs on YouTube.

4. Destroying online underage sex vice rings, or at least exposing members, especially high-profile ones.

3. Uncovering ex-MPs who are having business dealings with town council projects

2. Finding out the actual cost of building a HDB flat

1. Tracking how many pineapple tarts are being purchased by government officials as official gifts.

I’m also struck by how the Messiah in the YouTube video reminds me of a veteran comic HK actor.

hDE0CE721

Meanwhile, if you’re thinking of going to that Halloween party, or a Hong Lim Park protest in a Guy Fawkes mask..VERY BAD IDEA. You may just get burned at the stake on 5 November in honour of a man who tried to bomb the British House of Parliament but failed in 1605. Remember, remember. In commemoration of upcoming Guy Fawkes’ Day , here’s a gallery of ‘anonymous’ folks  wearing masks complaining about stuff.

All Fawked Up

I see what you did there

Hoodie and the Blowfish

Postscript: On 2 Nov afternoon, several government agency websites experienced outage for several hours, including the SPF site which was brought up above. IDA announced that it was ‘planned maintenance’ which experienced technical difficulties,  leading to paranoid speculations about conspiracy theories and fears of a Singapore shutdown instigated by a Anonymous cyber-ambush. ‘Planned maintenance’ may be something that happens on a regular basis that we never notice, and we only pay attention to it now because of the Messiah’s threats of war against the Singapore Government. It’s like electronic ‘ponding’, but with malicious implications because of the momentary panic that this downtime has caused. This is essentially what cyber-terrorism aims to achieve; masterminding a few small, strategic glitches to set the tone, and then watch the fear and chaos unfold with a life of its own. Anonymous, alas, has drawn first blood before even cracking a single line of government code.

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