Straits Times: Teenager wins Workers’ Party’s first essay contest


A SECONDARY Three student from Raffles Girls’ School beat 10 older contestants to win the Workers’ Party (WP) Youth Wing inaugural essay competition on “What is Your Ideal Singapore?”.

In her essay, Crystal Ong Min Ning, 15, described her vision of Singapore through commentary on issues like multiracialism, education and national identity. “My ideal Singapore won’t be just a country or a city. It will be home. It doesn’t have to be the best yet. We will be humble enough to admit that we aren’t all there, yes, but we won’t rest on our laurels either,” she wrote.

On patriotism, she wrote: “Patriotism should grow by itself, watered by pride and nourished by a true sense of belonging. We can love an imperfect Singapore perfectly.”

The WP organised the essay contest to celebrate National Day and raise awareness among youths on the need to dream about Singapore’s future, said Mr Koh Choong Yong, vice-president of the party’s youth wing. A total of 77 secondary schools and tertiary institutions were invited to take part in the competition, which was also publicised via social networking site Facebook.

The winning entry was picked jointly by voters on Facebook and by WP’s panel of judges. The judges assessed the essays for their content, clarity and creativity, and unanimously picked Crystal’s essay as the best.

One of the judges, Mr Png Eng Huat, 48, a businessman who has been with the WP since 2006, said: “I was taken by the style. She did not write it as a complaint piece. We always talk about youths being apathetic, but she writes like an adult or a youth with awareness.”

Crystal told The Straits Times she decided to participate in the contest because the prizes, including a $150 book voucher for first place, were attractive.

“I want to buy Harry Potter books, but they are very expensive,” she said.

The teenager, together with two other contestants, will receive their prizes at a youth wing dialogue at IOI Plaza tomorrow.

Posted in 2009 08. Comments Off on Straits Times: Teenager wins Workers’ Party’s first essay contest

TODAY: The balance that’s struck behind bars



There appears to be some gap in the procedure. If the inmates in neighbouring cells could testify that they heard beatings and cries over quite a number of days from 6.20pm to 2am, how come prison officers did not seem to detect that?
Non-Constituency MP Sylvia Lim

He could have activated the distress intercom in his cell to seek help any time. The incident would not have remained undetected over eight days, nor would it have escalated to the extent that it did, if only the inmate had sought help earlier. Unfortunately, for reasons best known to him, he chose to remain silent.
Assoc Prof Ho Peng Kee, Senior Minister of State, Home Affairs

Posted in 2009 08. Comments Off on TODAY: The balance that’s struck behind bars

TODAY: Aspiration, not ideology



The pledge begins with: ‘We the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves.’ Not the Government of Singapore pledges itself. Therefore, each of us as citizens, if we find Government policy or some social behaviours not right for Singapore, then as citizens, we should make it right for Singapore.

Mr Low Thia Khiang, who recognised Singapore’s progress but felt Singapore has not achieved the tenets enshrined in the National Pledge.

Posted in 2009 08. Comments Off on TODAY: Aspiration, not ideology

Straits Times: Low: Don’t invoke Pledge for the sake of argument

In Parliament


MR LOW Thia Khiang (Hougang) stood in Parliament yesterday not so much to join the debate on the motion tabled by Nominated MP Viswa Sadasivan, but to dismiss it altogether.

In a terse speech, Mr Low (right) made it clear he wanted nothing to do with the debate, and stated firmly that the National Pledge should not be brought up unnecessarily.

He said: “The National Pledge represents a spiritual part of our nation and unless it is really necessary and justifiable, we should not invoke it for the sake of argument.”

A day earlier, Mr Viswa had asked Parliament to reaffirm its commitment to the principles enshrined in the National Pledge “when debating national issues, especially economic policies”.

Mr Low gave his own explanation of the Pledge, saying it basically comprised three parts:

The first part, “We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language and religion”, was simply a statement of fact.

The second part, “to build a democratic society based on justice and equality”, was the guiding principle by which Singapore as a society should forge ahead.

The third and final part, “so as achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation”, was an expression of Singapore’s ultimate goals as a nation.

The Pledge, said Mr Low, should be read as a whole, not broken down and “over-analysed”.

“My view is that we should read and understand the Pledge as a reminder of the fundamental statement of what we want to be as a people, as a society and as a nation,” said Mr Low.

“Some may want to argue over the details or even how to formulate or implement policies to conform to every word of the Pledge. But I believe we should leave the Pledge as it is and not attempt to interpret it in one’s own way, breaking it down into its component parts for application in argument.”

That said, however, he did indulge in a little interpretation of his own.

The Pledge, he noted, referred to “we, the citizens of Singapore”, rather than “the government of Singapore”.

“Therefore each of us as citizens, if we find government policies or social behaviours which are not right for Singapore, then as a citizen we should make it right for Singapore,” he declared with a flourish.

Posted in 2009 08. Comments Off on Straits Times: Low: Don’t invoke Pledge for the sake of argument

TODAY: Let’s ‘be more’, not ‘have more’: WP

THEY are the ideals represented by the stars on the Singapore flag: Democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.

Yet, in its National Day statement issued yesterday, the Workers’ Party (WP) said that “for some time now, we have been losing our way on some of these”.

The statement, signed by WP youth wing vice-president Koh Choong Yong, said that it was time to reflect “on the kind of Singapore we want to build together”.

The opposition party’s vision: “A nation where each Singaporean is counted as a valuable citizen rather than an employee of Singapore Inc. A nation that is respected the world over for not just its efficiency and material wealth, but for the kindness and generosity of its people and leaders.”

Urging Singaporeans to choose “being more” over “having more”, the WP warned that Singaporeans stood to “lose the most precious gift of all: Our humanity, our conscience, our dignity”.

Posted in 2009 08. Comments Off on TODAY: Let’s ‘be more’, not ‘have more’: WP