Rick Todd (2nd L) and his wife Mary (L) walk out of court in Singapore on May 21, 2013. (AFP/Roslan Rahman)
SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Foreign Affairs and Law Minister, K Shanmugam, says it is unfortunate and regrettable that the Todd family have decided to walk out on the coroner’s inquiry into Shane Todd’s death.
American researcher Shane Todd was found hanged in his Chinatown apartment last June.
His parents believed he was murdered because of his work at the Singapore Institute of Microelectonics. Dr Todd’s family claimed that his death was related to a project between the institute and Chinese telecoms giant, Huawei Technologies.
The inquiry started on May 13, but on Wednesday Dr Todd’s family said they will not be participating in the rest of the inquiry, a day after their key witness – US medical examiner Dr Edward Adelstein – gave his testimony.
Speaking at a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday evening, Mr Shanmugam noted that the family had said last week that they were happy with the way the court inquiry was proceeding and that they liked the judge and liked how he was proceeding.
They had also said they had faith in the Singapore court system.
During the news conference, the minister noted that Dr Adelstein had changed his original testimony and confirmed that Dr Todd was not killed by garrotting.
The medical examiner had also gone on to speculate how Dr Todd could have been murdered, noted Mr Shanmugam.
Minister Shanmugam stressed that the objective of the inquiry is to establish the full facts surrounding the death of Dr Todd and the State is committed to presenting all evidence, including all relevant evidence which the Todd family wish to present.
Mr Shanmugam said: “It would have been useful if the family had continued (to participate in the inquiry). I will mention two facts which the family’s evidence would have been particularly useful.
- “A key point, which had been made previously, was that the family had said that they found the external hard drive themselves in the apartment and they asserted that this hard drive had been processed by a third party after Dr Todd’s death and that hard drive contained important information which had been overlooked by the Singapore Police.
- “Evidence has come out that that hard drive was something which the police had looked at and something the police handed over to the family in the presence of US Embassy officials.
- “It would have been useful to hear the family’s side as to how they came to a different view of the facts. It’s unfortunate that they don’t take part. This particular assertion, which formed the key part of the conspiracy theory, cannot be tested.
- “Second, by reference to Mr Luis, the family had said that neither they nor Dr Todd’s girlfriend knew Mr Montes. But Montes confirmed in his testimony today that he had actually met his parents in their hotel room along with some other close friends days after Dr Todd was found dead.
- “Again this direct conflict of evidence could have been better looked at if the family had chosen to come to court to give their testimony.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Dr Todd’s family walked out of the hearing.
- They were unhappy with what they claimed was a surprise appearance of a witness – Mr Luis Alejandro Andro Montes – who is said to have seen Dr Todd the day before he was found hanged.
The family added that they only received Mr Montes’ recorded statement on Tuesday morning, and had not been given sufficient time to prepare.
Senior State Counsel Tai Wei Shyong had told the court that he had – in his opening statement last Monday – said that the State intended to call Mr Montes as a witness and had been trying to make arrangements for him to attend the inquiry as he was not in Singapore.
Comments from the net :
- We all face our trials and tribulations. Grief does not give one the Carte Blanche to make wild accusations against public officials doing their jobs. Mr Shanmuggam was diplomatic probably in his capacity as Foreign Affairs Minister.
- Sad to say that the TRUTH is unbearable for them to accept. I m PROUD of our police investigators and judicial System.
- Feel sorry for the Todd families as they are unable to accept the evidence they witnessed this week;…….. But Singaporeans cannot accept the politicking from the Todd families, including defaming our judicial system. Having follow the inquiries, we are indeed proud that our judicial system is top of the class. In any case, hope the Todd families will find closure moving forward.
- We should sympathise with their loss. But at the same time, we should present all the evidence & not let baseless allegations go unchallenged. Indeed let the international court of public opinion run its course.
- The Todd family showed utter disrespect and contempt for our judicial system. The govt has been too accommodating to them in my view. Also, the media is giving them undue publicity. This is one instance which I wish the govt could be firmer in tone rather than sounding sorry. Come on, their case collapsed as soon as it begun.
- It is regrettable as the Todds’s view of events that transpired is different from the view presented by the Singapore Police Force. The only way to know the difference in views is for the Todds to present their views in court during the inquiry.
- Hoping that the Todds will be able to get professional help in grief counselling who will enable them to process their thoughts and work through their emotions when they return home.
- This is their son’s inquiry, and they choose to walk out of it.
Singaporean says :
The morning train crowds are getting a little out of hand – as compared to 5 years ago- I get that.
Standing at the platform this morning, I only managed to squeeze into the 3rd train. But instead of getting grumpy, I felt thankful.
I give thanks to the minimal waiting time (1-1.5 mins intervals between trains, that adds up to no more than 5mins between 3 trains). I mean seriously, how much faster are Singaporeans expecting? This is a public transport – meaning it does not wait for you outside your door. So yes you have to wait.
I appreciate the hard work of the staff in red uniforms, ensuring that passangers already packed in the train will not be pushed further by eager passengers from the platform.
I thank fellow Singaporeans (most of them), for queuing and moving in an orderly manner. I’m happy to share that we, Singaporeans, are not as barbaric and out-of-control during peak hours as the social media has portrayed.
This turned out to be longer than intended. But I think it is necessary to share some positivity, to point out the good and changes that SMRT has been doing. There are enough people spamming the social media with their complaints and unfulfill-able expectations.
Life can be a lot better, if you start highlighting the good instead of the not-so-good.
Have a good day people
Singa the lion, who has been Singapore’s courtesy mascot for over 30 years. Read his resignation letter below:
Feedback from Mr Tan Chuan-Jin
Oh dear. Do read Singa’s farewell letter.
I’d ask Calibre Link, WDA and E2i to help you in your job search. There may be useful WSQ courses suitable for you if you are looking at switching sectors. Job market is tight so we hope there will be a good match out there. All the best!
Singa the Lion, may not be quitting after all.
A resignation letter “written” by the famous mascot turned out to be a media campaign “to generate conversations and reactions online”.
Source link : Singa the mascot may stage a comeback after ‘quitting’
I think, the immediacy of the issue is that the government of the day must REACT to the situation and arrest the spread of this “wild fire”. But an official RESPOND should come thereafter.
The government may fault on technicality of “freedom of speech” but one cannot imagine or leave to imagination what can actually perspire in our streets. Can you, do you?
I rather the government err on being paternal than to stay “faithful” to celestial ideals of “Freedom of Speech” whereby, no one can guarantees no innocent lives would be harmed.
An irresponsible vitriol video that seeks to destroy peacecan only be halted through immediate determined deterrent actions which is exactly what the Singapore Government did.“Freedom of Speech” do not entitle anyone for that matter to place a dager at anyone’s throat and get away with it. It’s not “freedom of speech”, it’s CRIMINAL.
By the way, I can say with much authority and factually – “Feelings” of the Muslim community is just as important as “Facts”. Just look at most if not all the reactions or responses of Muslim intellectuals or leaders, words like “Feel”, “hurt”, and other emotive verbs were used.
Therefore we cannot allow an intellectual meaningful discourse to take precedent over the FEELINGS of our muslim comrades. Only by respecting the “feelings” can we bridge the intellectual differences with our muslim comrades, not the other way round.
With due respect, I think, the government was right that the action protected the “Feelings” of our muslim comrades. But I think the intellectual community needs an intelligent respond from the officials which is currently not forthcoming. Hence the conflict of agreement on the action taken.
I am not saying our Singaporean Muslims would take to the streets exactly BUT I am saying their FEELINGS are a very important component in keeping the social fabric of Singapore.
- The need to continue to maintain the “orang Asli” rights in our constitution or the Special Rights of Malays etc.
- The need to keep our National Language as “Malay” etc.
These are not JUST FOR SHOW. I think there is an intense NEED to understand the context of our situation being situated in the centre of Malay Countries in this region. The need to sent an equally strong message not just to Singaporean Malays but Malays in our region that SINGAPORE is not CHAUVINISTIC in any ways or hide behind intellectual notion of “we respect or honor Freedom of Speech”.What is “freedom of speech” may I ask you if the countries around us burn our national flags because we allow the hateful film to circulate in Singapore?
BEYOND celestial ideals of FREEDOM of SPEECH, context and background of which it is practice should be observed. Freedom of Speech is not a singular language we all share by the way. Tell it to the Bruneians, tell it to the tribal people living in the jungles, tell it to the Sultans in Malaysia.
What is FREEDOM of SPEECH may I ask if it causes my fellow brothers to fall into mistrust with me?
What is Freedom of Speech if my brothers are offended in quiet and I do not speak up for him?
Freedom of Speech though good, but bear in mind, it is as sneaky as a serpent, and in its name, many were harmed, killed or accused.
I am not sure. I am not ready to espouse the notion and purity of “Freedom of Speech” more than the need to love above all else.
In response to “SINGAPORE’S BANNING OF THAT ANTI-ISLAM VIDEO: WHY IT WAS A MISTAKE” – by by CHERIAN GEORGE
- The sensitivity and feelings of Muslims here must be the top priority and considerations. Others are just ‘chaff’. I rather the government errs on the safe side than waiting to see incident happens before reacting.
- This sort of issues action-counter action should be standardized. Harmony should be placed above the so-called free speech or expression…any controversial publications that denigrate other religious belief or culture should be curtailed….it takes one matchstick to burn down a forest…how free are our people mind to tolerate all this… Not everyone I’m sure.
- “In my previous post, I argued that the way the move was defended sent the wrong signal to the world and to ourselves – that our public cannot be trusted to behave rationally in the face of religious provocation, and that the government lacks the capacity and moral authority to preserve order.”
This is a complete bullshit. it is exactly that the government has “the capacity and moral authority to preserve order.” that it acted pre-emptively.
And it is because the “public CAN be trusted to behave rationally in the face of religious provocation” that we support the pre-emptive censoring of the video.
- All that anyone who harbor the thought of propagating their version of “speech freedom” need to do is to take an opened-wide eye view of all that transpired in USA n France. If their Govt had the resolve to bring the perpetrator to task for inciting unrest, no violence would have erupted. Cherian George must be not thinking too clearly, having wishful thoughts and not being pragmatic.
- The fact that so many were killed and thousands injured aren’t enough to prove what this anti- Islam film might cause? We do not need chaos and or bloodshed to prove that banning the film is the correct move.
- I’m really beginning to believe “freedom if speech” is a dirty word… In its name many atrocities were committed.
- Like many have said, freedom of speech comes with responsibility and not shooting off from the arse. It stinks.
- And these professors think that The world is their laboratories where test results can be manipulated or corrected by mere changing of chemicals.
- George Cherian deleting EVERYTHING with regards to disagreement with him?!
He expects government not to practise censorship but reserve the rights for himself.
He expects the government to approve the downloading of provocative video but delete comments he deemed provocative!
This professor is a hypocrite!
Freedom of Speech then in this case is just his academic pursue in line with his field and job. In life and actions, George Cherian do not believe in freedom of speech especially those that spoke unkind about him.
What’s the government doing paying stipends of such hypocrites? Where I graduate, my lecturers all Phd from either the Ivy League or Cambridge university, expect us to always put up robust arguments even when we disagree with them. We are equalled in tutorials, no lecturers or students. Guess George Cherian is not much of a professor in substance and essence.
image source from the net
SINGAPORE: Singapore has called on Google to block an anti-Islam film on YouTube.
The Home Affairs Ministry said the film “Innocence of Muslims” contains material that incites religious hatred or intolerance, and is in breach of Singapore laws.
Protests by Muslims over the obscure amateur anti-Islam film are intensifying around the world.
More than a dozen people have been killed in a span of two weeks, including the US Ambassador in Libya.
Google has blocked access to the video in several countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia and India, after calls from their governments to take the film offline.
Singapore is making a similar move. Although there have been no protests in the country, authorities said it is a pre-emptive measure to prevent any violent incidents from taking place.
The Home Affairs Ministry said the continued circulation of the film may cause disharmony or feelings of ill will between different groups in Singapore.
It added that any act that does this is an offence under the Penal Code.
The Inter-Religious Organisation of Singapore supports the move to block the video.
“Our religious followers in Singapore are rational and will not resort to violence. We also hope that Singaporeans who watch the film will not repost or make unnecessary comments on it,” said Honorary Secretary Master Wei Yi from the Inter-Religious Organisation of Singapore.
The Media Development Authority has directed Google to restrict access to the video in Singapore.
Google, which owns YouTube, is currently considering Singapore’s request.
The video was first posted online on July 1. Its maker is believed to be in hiding.
– PHOTO: REUTERS
Queenstown visit was an exhibition
Posted on Sep 13, 2012, By Tessa Wong
Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Indranee Rajah has responded to online criticism of the staged scenes put up at the Queenstown Green playground for the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
“The pictures that people have posted do not take into account the context of the visit,” she said.
She was referring to several pictures surfacing on the Internet showing the playground before and during the visit, accompanied with sarcastic captions.
Many netizens felt that the sight of residents performing taichi and silat, and using the playground and fitness equipment in the middle of the afternoon presented an unrealistic slice of Singapore life.
She told Singapolitics that the organisers – made up of grassroots groups, the Housing Board, the People’s Association and the British High Commission – had two objectives for that visit.
One was to showcase HDB living. The other was to showcase the various cultural and community activities of Singapore.
“At the same time, the organisers were also given a very short timeframe of about 25 minutes to show all of that,” she said, adding that they felt the best way to achieve it was to “do it in little exhibition spots.”
The playground was chosen as the venue to show the type of facilities in a housing estate, such as exercise machines and playground equipment.
They had asked Tanjong Pagar GRC residents and schoolchildren to take part. Those performing taichi and silat were actual groups with the area’s community centres.
“The demonstrations were to showcase the different types of activities themselves. It was not to suggest that these activities take place at 3pm everyday… It was meant to give a snapshot, and in that sense it was no different from a demonstration of activities,” she said.
Ms Indranee said that as she toured the area with Prince William, he had asked her if Singaporeans actually practice taichi and silat in the afternoon.
“I explained that they wouldn’t do so at 3pm because it’s hot, and that these groups were just here to demonstrate… So it was explained to our visitors that we were just showcasing activities,” she said.
Delta RC chairman Mr Patrick Mah, who was among the organisers, echoed her view.
“These activities usually happen in this area in the evening. But you can’t ask the royal couple to come at 7am when people do taichi,” he said.
He reiterated that the point of the visit was to showcase Singapore living. “The Gardens by the Bay part was to showcase Singapore’s ‘hardware’. This was to show our ‘software’: real people of Singapore and our lifestyle,” he said.
The visit to the playground at Strathmore Green by Prince William and his wife, Catherine Middleton had been the talk of the Internet yesterday.
Blogger Mr Brown was among those who put up contrasting pictures, one before the visit showing an empty playground, and one during the visit showing children and elderly residents using the space. He wrote: “I think some of the uncles on the playground can win Golden Horse award for Best Acting.”
Source : SingaPolitics - Queenstown visit was an exhibition
When a guest visit your home, don’t you do some sprucing up deliberately so as to let the guest feel welcomed?
Yes, I agreed that it may be a masquerade but it’s a masquerade not to deceive but to present how the location would have been used. If we have to wait for opportune timing, it may never happen for the royal entourage who was here precisely to see such activities.
Instead of joining the state in deliberate actions to show precisely our sincere welcome, these clowns choose to use it to ridicule the state! If only everything happened by chance then we all would be the next TOTO winners!
Shame on these detractors! And please, Singapore is not the only country in the world where and when welcoming foreign dignitaries with deliberate “masquerade” to present as close as possible “realistic” POV to their guests. Singapore as far as the events shown did it not to deceive the royal couples. Not as if the streets were filled with beggars that police came to vacate them like other countries?! Singapore only enhances the royal couple experience here rather than to deceive.
Comments from netizens :
- The disappointing thing about this incident is some of us eager to put down our country with these guest around
- Has anyone ever asked how the resident felt when they were told that they can get a chance to meet the VIP ? And the first thing that came to your mind is the resident is “wayang” ?
- They come here to wayang, we wayang back, what’s wrong? Between state and state, this is the game states put up, all to showcase goodwill.
- If I had been invited to wayang, I would have been glad and proud to showcase my country’s culture,..
- This has been done for all important guests for yrs. It is only now that we started to nitpick. Why are we so cynical? We have to showcase what we have to the visitors at the shortest possible time. That makes sense right? Most people dont do taichi in the middle of the afternoon. But taichi is what a lot of the elderlies in our estates are doing everyday, at the playground, open spaces and basketball courts. This is real! They didnt make this up.
image source – from the net
Led by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, the committee that will be leading and involving citizens in a national conversation about Singapore’s future in 10 to 20 years was unveiled this morning.
Comprised of 26 members, it is a mix of ministers and other office holders, ordinary Singaporeans such as students and a taxi driver, as well as representatives of interest groups such as those for the physically disabled, and the arts.
They range in age from 19 years old to 61 years.
At a press conference held at Professor Brawn cafe at Boat Quay this morning, where Mr Heng and some other members of the committee were present, details of the process of how Singaporeans will be involved in this national conversation was given.
There will be two phases:
- Key themes that matter most to Singaporeans will be distilled in phase one,
- while in phase two, teams will be formed to delve more deeply into the selected themes.
There will be three platforms to engage them, and this exercise will take over a year, although Mr Heng said it could take longer if necessary.
- The first will be through a citizens’ dialogue to draw out views of participants. Thirty sessions involving between 50 and150 people each will be held, and each session itself will be further split into eight to 10 groups.
- The second way will be through online platforms such as social media, and
- the third will be through a national survey targeting up to 4,000 citizens.
The committee hopes to draw Singaporeans of various backgrounds and with different experiences, and they are invited to
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
if they are interested to participate.
Mr Heng said that at the end of this exercise, some broad directions will be produced, and translated into policies and plans over time. Some will be immediate, while others may take time to bear fruit, he said.
APPEALS to check anti-foreigner outbursts draw from nothing more or less than Singaporeans’ customary sense of fairness, generosity and courtesy. These are positive values that stand to be overshadowed by an emerging trait – one that harbours a critical risk. Xenophobia, the hatred or fear of foreigners, is always irrational. The more irrational it is, the more venomous the insults. Society will be diminished if more take this self-defeating path.
Singapore risks appearing xenophobic to the world if more Singaporeans join in the nastiness – often online, anonymous and smacking of double standards – and fewer speak out staunchly against it. Like the rants that emerge in states like Iran and North Korea, opinion amplified here might raise doubts in the minds of global investors and decision makers. Therein lies the real danger. The country’s prosperity depends inescapably on rational calculation – above all, in shaping economic policy including, importantly, its carefully calibrated reliance on foreign labour.
The point has repeatedly and justifiably been made that foreign workers benefit the economy – by helping to create jobs, including more and better ones for Singaporeans, and by boosting growth. Any hint that Singaporeans have turned against the policy of being open to talent from around the world would course through the economy, inevitably undermining basic policy predictability that foreign investment seeks. Ultimately, it may even affect adversely the niche that Singapore occupies in an increasingly global economy.
Labour, of course, is not merely a commodity; unlike capital, it is also a human resource, the employment of which entails more extensive and intensive social interaction. Acknowledging the impact on Singaporeans of the swift and significant foreign influx in the past decade, the Government has moved to enhance the privileges of citizenship, improve public transport, mitigate rising property prices, and so on.
Beyond adjusting public policy, the State can only do so much to foster a more gracious response to foreigners. Certainly, the capacity to integrate foreigners should always be adequate, with careful strategic planning and a holistic outlook. On citizens’ part, it is better to respond not reflexively but reflectively. Air grievances by all means but help keep public discourse rational. People will not see eye to eye on everything, but they should deal with differences with civility.
Singapore is not just an immigrant society, it is a multi-immigrant society. Forebears hailed from many lands. Their descendants have built a tolerant and cohesive nation against the odds. Current generations should not squander this legacy.
Just attended the media conference for the launch of Our Singapore Committee. Afterwards I met a friend.
Friend: Media conference huh? So what did you say?
Me: I said that I look forward to conversing with fellow Singaporeans on some things we can all do with a little more of – kindness, love, humour.
Me: Ok, such as…?
Friend: Such as slaying sacred cows.
Me: Sacred cows?
Friend: Yah. Start with slaying these two. Cow-peh and Cow-bor.
In Chengdu, we visited the Sichuan Singapore Hi Tech Innovation Park. Our businesses are heavily invested in Chengdu as well as in the Park. We visited together with local senior officials. This was important gesture for our businesses.We also had lunch with senior Chinese business men who have either invested in Singapore or are thinking of investing in Spore. Many of them are in high tech industries, and are thinking of making Spore their business hub for this region.
If they do invest it will mean more jobs ( good jobs) for Sporeans and helps Spore. One of them asked me in worried tones about xenophobia in Spore. He wanted to know if business climate in Spore was still conducive for investment.
It is clear that a fair number of business people, who could set up businesses in Spore, are beginning to think along these lines.