Monday, 28 January 2013

PAP strategy for the next election

The PAP is not particularly innovative, experimental, or able to think out of the box.

When Catherine Lim wrote her critique of the PAP - the Great Affective Divide - instead of recognising the truth in her words, they chose to shoot the messenger.

When they lost Anson, Potong Pasir, and Hougang, their basic strategy was to just flail away at their opponents until one was disqualified, one moved on, and... oh they still haven't won back Hougang.

Ok, I'm exaggerating. They did win back Bt Gombak, and Nee Soon Central... though that might be because the opposition candidates self-destructed.

The point is, their "strategy" was not a strategy. It was at best a theme of their campaign, a tactic of implementation or messaging.

There was no strategic thinking in terms of long-term maneouvers. No broader strategic messaging.

I hope when the PM said that their candidate for Punggol East, Dr Koh had potential to be more than just an MP that that was not their "long term strategic messaging". If it was, it failed.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Different under God

Jan 14, 2013

THE religious landscape in Singapore is a dynamic one. Buddhists, the country's largest religious group, have become proportionately smaller when we compare data between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.

Meanwhile, those who profess Christianity, Taoism, Hinduism and no religion experienced proportionate growth during the same period. This dynamism is evident not only between faith communities, but also within each faith community. The changes within the local Protestant Christian community are a case in point.

Two years ago, we embarked on a major survey of Protestant churchgoers in Singapore. Our sample consisted of approximately 2,800 Christians from some of the mainline churches, such as the Anglican, Methodist and Bible Presbyterian denominations, as well as non-denominational independent churches and megachurches.

The objectives of this study were to capture the socioeconomic profiles of Protestants and to understand their attitudes towards money and finance, politics, sex and sexuality, and perceptions of compatibility with other faith and ethnic communities.

While it is widely recognised that a large proportion of the Protestant Christian community in Singapore is middle-class, the study revealed that its middle- class character is neither unitary nor static.

Our study shows that although the level of education among those attending mainline churches and megachurches is comparable, they do have different socioeconomic backgrounds.

Broadly speaking, those who attend mainline churches have largely inherited their middle-class status, while those who attend megachurches tend to be part of the "new" or aspiring middle-class.

Our data shows that those who go to mainline churches are more likely to have lived in private property and have better-educated, English-proficient parents who are themselves Christians. In contrast, those who go to megachurches are more likely to have lived in public housing and have less-educated, non-English- speaking parents who are non-Christians.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The dirty truth about Singapore

Dec 30, 2012

Singaporeans' poor social graces a result of a weak sense of community

By Han Fook Kwang

I couldn't find any public dustbins in Taipei where I was visiting about a week ago.

The city was clean and as well kept as any I have seen elsewhere.

But nobody throws rubbish here? What happens if you've a piece of tissue paper you want to get rid of?

Leave it in the pocket?

That's what the Taiwanese do, said my guide. They dispose of it when they get home so they can separate what can be recycled from the rest.

That's really impressive, I thought, especially considering how difficult it is to get Singaporeans to recycle their waste, let alone carry it home with them.

I had to remind myself I was in Taipei, not Tokyo where you expect the Japanese to be ultra civic-minded.

It was one of several surprises about Taipei and its people, which overturned my previous preconceptions about the place.

Truth is I didn't know very much about Taiwan, not having visited for more than 20 years - I was last there on a brief news assignment.

Much of what I knew came from reading the papers and watching the news on television, and it was mostly negative - the unruly politics, fist fights in Parliament, and headline-grabbing melodramatic elections (remember the mysterious shooting of then President Chen Shui-bian a day before the 2004 presidential election?).