Home > General > Why so mean? Here’s why

Why so mean? Here’s why

The New Paper’s front page on 31 March 2011 asks: “Why so mean?”. The question relates to the attacks on new PAP candidate, 27-year old Tin Pei Ling.

The answer to the question is manifold. But I will stick to one which I thinks is relevant.

The PAP Government, over the 53 years it has been in power, is not known for its magnanimity or grace. Lee Kuan Yew, of course, can be held responsible for this, being as he was the one who sat on the throne, and still is the man behind the one who sits on the throne.

Lee Kuan Yew’s influence, make no mistake, runs deep and wide in the PAP and the government. It is thus without a doubt that his ways influence and are practised by the lower-rungs in the government. Anyone who thinks otherwise must be completely naive.

Lee Kuan Yew’s influence too spreads far and wide in Singapore society. Indeed, many hold him up as some sort of demi-god, and fall to their feet at his very presence.

With this in context, lets take a look at some of the things Lee Kuan Yew has said about some people whom he dislikes or has – evidently – utter contempt for.

It is a lesson in meanness.

Lee Kuan Yew has :

– Called the late Mr JB Jeyaretnam a “mangy dog”.

– Called former president Devan Nair an “alcoholic”

– Called James Gomez a “liar and a cheat”

– Called Chee Soon Juan a “psychopath”

– Called Chee Soon Juan a “dud”

– Called Tang Liang Hong a “anti-Christian Chinese chauvinist”

– Called former solicitor-general Francis Seow a “womaniser”

– Called Singaporeans “dogs” – “We had to train adult dogs who even today deliberately urinate in the lifts.”

– Called Singaporeans “daft”

– Compared Singaporeans to animals – “the spurs are not stuck on your hinds. They are part of the herd”

– Called Singaporeans “ignorant”

– Vowed that he will “make him [JB Jeyaretnam] crawl on his bended knees, and beg for mercy.”

– Called Low Thia Khiang “dishonest”

– Called Sylvia Lim “dishonest”

– Said this of author Catherine Lim: “If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try.”

– Displayed gangster like behaviour towards JB Jeyaretnam: “Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet, we meet in the cul-de-sac.”

– Called Australia “the white trash of Asia”

– He locked up Said Zahari for 22 years.

– He locked up Lim Hock Siew for 16 years.

– He locked up Vincent Cheng for 3 years.

– He locked up Teo Soh Lung for 2 years.

– He locked up Chia Thye Poh for 32 years, totally incapacitated him.

You get the idea.

Of course, citing all these quotes and behaviour of Lee Kuan Yew does not mean what is being done to Tin Pei Ling is justified. And I am not justifying the attacks on the poor girl.

I am, however, trying to offer a reason why those who are attacking her, are doing so.

In the past, when Lee Kuan Yew said and did all these things, Singaporeans had to just swallow it – especially when the mainstream media, a complicit tool in the merciless demolition of those Lee Kuan Yew hated, was in his full control.

But the Internet age is quite different now. And Lee Kuan Yew has no way of reining it in as he did with the newspapers when he first came to power. In fact, if I recall, Lee Kuan Yew once said he does not really understand the Internet either.

His destruction of his opponents was utter, complete and total. No mercy was shown. It was like a bulldozer running over toufu.

His opponents never had a chance.

Yet, he could have been magnanimous. He could have shown mercy. He could have been more transparent in his dealings. He could have been fairer. He could have stayed his hand.

In short, he could have set a more humane tone for society.

But he did not.

And so, we learn from him.

We must.

Cos that’s what he keeps telling and preaching and boasting and justifying to us.

So, what Tin Pei Ling is going through is nothing compared to what the PAP itself – read: Lee Kuan Yew – did to those he hated.

The point here is this: The PAP needs to take a long hard look at itself and ask if it has become a party full of arrogance, complacency, and high-handedness.

A people subjugated and ridiculed by its own leaders must give vent in some ways.

And the Internet provides this now.

So, you may not condone the attacks on Tin Pei Ling, but you can understand why these happen – if you take a long hard look in the mirror.

Why so mean?

The answer can be found if the question is directed at Lee Kuan Yew.


Or maybe the reason is simpler: Like me, perhaps many are aghast that someone of Tin Pei Ling’s “calibre” can just simply waltz into Parliament – perhaps without even a contest – while others like Low Thia Khiang, Chiam See Tong, Sylvia Lim, Chen Show Mao, Vincent Wijeysingha, Tony Tan, Hazel Poa, Jeanette Aruldoss – all of whom are more mature and qualified than her – may not.

And if the reason for the attacks is this, then it is a valid anger, is it not – though the expression of that anger may not be? It is anger directed, really, not at Tin Pei Ling, but at a GRC system which truly needs to be abandoned.

After all, it’s the very survival of our country we are talking about – and none but the best and most qualified and deserving must be in Parliament – and be able to do so through a fair system of contest.

It chills me to the bone that Tin Pei Ling may get into Parliament by hanging on to the coattails of others, while Sylvia Lim might not.

Now this is what upsets me – and I believe many others as well.

Categories: General
  1. Sgcynic
    March 31, 2011 at 10:06


  2. March 31, 2011 at 10:06

    Well articulated. Totally agree. Thank you.

  3. Charles
    April 1, 2011 at 10:06

    She will lose together with SM Goh.

  4. anon
    April 1, 2011 at 10:06

    One prominent figure you forgot: Lim Chin Siong.
    And what about the family members of all those people?
    Tang Liang Hong’s wife was hounded, remember?
    Dr Chee was jailed and find multiple times, too.

  5. SM Goh
    April 1, 2011 at 10:06

    Maybe Ms Tin is just a test-water candidate, just to see how people react to younger PAP candidates. For all you know she could be unknowingly used to pave the way for a certain Mr Lee to follow in his grandpa and papa’s footsteps….

    • ME
      April 4, 2011 at 10:06

      Paving way for junior LeeSL … visionary !

  6. Richard Gomez
    April 2, 2011 at 10:06

    The writer is right– PAP members and the Cabinet have learned arrogance from MM.Many of them with limited ability and minimal intellect try to emulate him and fail miserably. Their failures are glossed over and the PAP newsletter known as the Straits Times protects them by conveniently reporting fairy tales.

  7. Soon Lee Hoong
    April 5, 2011 at 10:06

    I totally agree with all the points raised by the writer. To reinforce his point on PAP’s arrogance to the highest caliobre, the newly appointed minister of State Lui Tuck Yow advised or consoled Tin Pei Ling to shut out the noise and concentrate on the task implied that he told her to ignore the comments and people. This proves that they do not care or listen to people anymore.



    lEE Hoong

    • January 7, 2015 at 10:06

      Notnhig I could say would give you undue credit for this story.

  8. Akad
    April 5, 2011 at 10:06

    By calling us daft, he, MM , is sending a hidden message to us.He want us to be courageous enough to vote out his useless MPs and underperforming Ministers and replace them with more opposition candidates. By calling us daft, he want us to realise that the PAPs are not indispensable. By calling us daft, he want us to be not fools forever.

  9. Moles and Agent Provocateurs
    April 5, 2011 at 10:06

    Even though I have been travelling but I can’t resist getting to the bottom of the PAP strategy for this GE. Yes – I do agree with my friend Rico Gomez and others that PAP hopes to get by with draconian protection for their so called teaparty “talents”.

    Instead of Arrests and Defamation suits PAP now use very intensely demonisation of opponents by moles and agent provocateurs.Such is their power to pay they have been able to keep one James Teo Kian Chye – an NUS graduate – lurking in the opposition circles for 3 decades and yet not come anywhere near standing for elections.

    If internet posts are to be believed PAP has even found a new mole talent in fresh grad Justin Ong also formerly of the RP and now in the NSP.

  10. Roger
    April 6, 2011 at 10:06

    The Forum in yesterday (5-4-2011) ST has criticism on her entry into politic; well versed! Unfortunately, last night PM also backed her, looks like the system to get into parliament isn’t that stringent as perceived; one just need to be favoured and got it, others more suitable, capable youth wing members whom worked equally hard were denied

  11. paulpeters
    April 6, 2011 at 10:06

    When you read the old copies of Straits Times covering the 1964 Federal Elections in Malaysia (when Singapore was a part of her and when the P.A.P fought UMNO-MCA), you will be shocked at the threats, tone and contents. Check up Straits Times issues of March through June 1964.

  12. April 7, 2011 at 10:06

    That is a great comprehensive article. Congratulations. Gave me lots of ideas for my future cartoons.

  13. K.F. Yap
    April 9, 2011 at 10:06

    One-party rule was good, now no darn good. It gave rise to cronyism, clanism, arrogance, bullying, intolerance & hate. Singaporeans are daft? But who is the most daft of them all?
    No more kowtowing! Let’s have some healthy but not SELF-SERVING opposition in the next election!

  14. Pete Chang
    April 9, 2011 at 10:06

    I support LKY and the PAP anytime. What a rubbish article. You guys are dogs of society.

  15. J.Keng
    April 16, 2011 at 10:06

    Lee Kuan Yew is a unique politician who talk tough and convince people to vote for him,his only failure is in Malaysia where he is kick out for “Malaysian,Malaysia”concept
    The 4th Generation of Singaporean who are born in the golden age of HDB and MRT forgetting that senior citizen once live in kampong attap hut have to share basic falicilties like toilet,bathplace and kitchen with high unemployment.
    The young voter must think who to trust when voting for their future.there is no such thing as free lunch otherwise EU won’t have PIGS

  16. john chia
    April 26, 2011 at 10:06

    LKY is relevant in his times, but not today! He has his limits; he has to go one day. And he cannot control what the current state of his MPs, ministers, who are already breeding snobbism, cronyism, neptism, etc. abeit in small unnoticeable size now, but not for long …so if Singaporeans dont do somthing about it, we will fall abck to 3rd world government.
    Like the point put up by one here – “One-party rule was good, now no darn good. It gave rise to cronyism, clanism, arrogance, bullying, intolerance & hate. Singaporeans are daft?”
    Singaporeans are like frogs in a slow boiling pot, accustomed to the environment till death it will face one day, if it does not realise where they are now and do something.

  17. jonquil31
    May 5, 2011 at 10:06

    just because your uncle is a jerk does not justify me calling you names. this article is totally out of line. no, I do not want Tin Pei Ling to be my MP, neither do I think she is suited for politics. but I know better to be a verbal bully. we have all received some form of education. let’s act like educated people.

    if LKY isn’t the hooligan/ah beng/jerk head that he was, we wouldn’t have what we have today.

    i stand for the fact we need opposition in the parliament to challenge the ruling party. we need GOOD people, not just tom, dick or harry. think wisely before you vote for oppo just for the sake of doing it. as for tin pei ling, don’t like her? don’t vote for her then. but nothing justifies hurling verbal abuse at her. she is young, inexperienced, etc, but still human.

  18. Mt Pleasant Road
    May 29, 2012 at 10:06

    ” Called former solicitor-general Francis Seow a “womaniser” ”

    This is true.

    I bumped into Francis Seow in Genting Highlands outside the casino once, he was with a young woman. He was stunned to see me. I simply shook his hands and left without a word.

    I was a army boy in 1967, then working for ISD boss Lim. I was a committee member in a Civil Service club at Mt Pleasant Road (opp Police Academy). Francis used to bring this constant companion, a mistress, to that clubhouse. which was reserved for senior rank personnel in army, police and government. Goh Keng Swee was seen there once.

    Forward the clock, years later I employed Francis mistress as a cook, she is now a senior citizen in her 70’s. Out of pity I even became guarantor for their son’s Poly study loan . They never paid the loan and I got sued. Apparently she is no longer receiving allowance from FS. She was still hopeful that he would return to become PM (tsk tsk). This once glamourous woman was spotted by my cook taking money from the cash register, I found out years later, she used my credit card for her beauty treatment which came to almost S$3000 (1990), on the day I discovered I lost the card. I cannot reveal her full name because she is a sister or one of our former cabinet minister.

    So you see, alot have written against LKY but none of you bothered to verify this fact if Francis was a womaniser. I confirm he was. I have seen some his flings.

    You can contact him to verify what I just said.

    I am saying all this now, not to defend LKY, but being old myself and soon wont be around, I think people should know this one truth. It is agonising to keep quiet when I know LKY is speaking the truth about Francis Seow’s womanising ways.

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