Over the past few days, I’ve had to respond to some misrepresentations of my work last Thursday in Parliament. I’ve done so through one statement here on Thursday night, and three posts on Facebook.
I am also grateful to Today and CNA for offering me the chance to respond, and for accurately covering my position. Good to know that mainstream media journalists are also eager to put out unbiased narratives. This will be my final piece on the matter. (Err. I hope.)
But first, why the fuss now? The battle over Lee Kuan Yew’s last will was published last July. There was no response from the government then; no newspaper critiqued the book, as might have been expected if somebody took issue with it. Instead, last Thursday, Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim, the PAP MP for Chua Chu Kang, who has suddenly developed a keen interest in Oxley Road, asked Teo Chee Hean (TCH), senior minister, a random question out of the blue, offering him a chance to say whatever he wants about me and my work.
Minister hantaming ordinary citizen in a protected setting—a uniquely Singaporean way of debating. Yes, most likely I’m collateral damage in some bigger fight between the Lees, with the presidential election (due this year), and possibly even to do with the general elections (due by 2025).
“When elephants fight, the grass suffers, but when they make love, the grass suffers also,” LKY apparently used to say, playing on an African proverb. As I said in the book’s conclusion, I hope that Hsien Loong, Hsien Yang, Wei Ling, Ho Ching and Suet Fern eventually kiss and make up—sorry to put that thought in your head—but for now, I’ll assume the elephants are fighting.
And all I, a blade of grass, can do is try to elak, while also nurturing our plot. On that note, it’s great that over this past weekend Jom, the weekly magazine about Singapore that I co-founded last year, has seen a spike in our paid subscriptions. Thanks for the support: we now count well over 700 people of many nationalities as subscribers (I make the point only because some worry that foreigners can’t subscribe. Of course you can. We’re like any other subscription product. Forget Netflix; get Jom.)
Jom is a proud, Singapore-incorporated independent media company. Our only source of revenue is reader funding—we believe this is the best way to guarantee our independence.
Some readers of my free e-book have asked how they can contribute. The best thing you can do is to get a paid subscription to Jom—there are different price points for people of different means. Every dollar counts. Jom publishes weekly, but we also have three big investigative projects planned for this year: one social, one political, and one corporate investigative, which I believe is the big gap in Singapore.
We’ve got a great team. Read about our values here. We are only a quarter of the way to breaking even. Before you continue reading about TCH’s Ministerial Committee, take a minute to help us get there.
So, why was the formation of the Ministerial Committee on 38 Oxley Road (MC) problematic? Readers will know that this was a tangential topic, which is why I relegated it to the book’s appendix. But since TCH is again so interested in the affair, it’s only fair that we talk about the MC that he led.
First, it’s important to note my book’s statement on this controversial point: did LHL orchestrate the formation of the MC by directing his ministers, as his siblings suggest? I found no evidence of this. The available evidence, in other words, supports Hsien Loong’s perspective on this, not Hsien Yang’s or Wei Ling’s. And the book says so (p. 22-23).
Still, there are three problems I found:
Continue reading “The problems with Teo Chee Hean’s MC on Oxley”