civil society


I have been living in Geylang Serai for the last 27 years and have seen the area undergone several aesthetical changes with no substance or historical value at all. The old Geylang Serai Malay Village was 1 such example. But these days, it has become very annoying and a nuisance to see hordes of Indon maids and their Bangla boyfriends picnicking out in the last of our open fields and also the walkways on every Sunday and PH without fail. We Singaporeans are already very cramped for space and do not have much places for leisure, now we have to face this s**t as well. Moreover, these foreigners are here to work and not cuddle in each others arm or to make out.

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The reason I participate in civil society and opposition politics is because I believe that no matter how good the Goverment is, it is in the interest of the country and its citizens to have checks and balances. Nobody wants to stick their heads out only to get it chopped. (I understand! I thought twice, even thrice, about posting this note as I am still looking for a job.) But if you don’t, who will?

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No individual or group in a democracy should impinge on others in an unjust manner. Our freedom to fully express ourselves according to our conscience must come with the reciprocal responsibility to accord the same freedom to other people. This holds true even if these others hold beliefs that deeply contradict our own. No individual or group should therefore be vilified, condemned, or subjected to harassment or abuse – physical or otherwise – or suffer any other form of reprisal simply for taking a position, taking part or identifying with a range of LGBTQ issues.

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[EVENT] The Great Singapore Debate: An Advocate is as useful as an Avocado

Which does Singapore need more? Which is more useful? Is it better to have an avocado in your belly or an advocate with fire in his or her belly? Some of Singapore’s most opinionated and entertaining personalities will debate this very important topic. Come listen to the cut and thrust of their arguments, to their rapier sharp observations and thought-provoking postulations.

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Strengthening civil society in Singapore

There is sufficient circumstantial evidence to suggest that the Singapore Government is now more prepared to engage and work with civil society than it previously was. In the environment, the Government has worked with non-government organisations (NGOs) such as the Singapore Environment Council to reach out to the community. In animal welfare, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) has benefited as new committees to tackle animal welfare issues have been formed with the help of government agencies.

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Strong Civil Society in Singapore Only if Strong Civil Society Media

Issues get more complicated when business lobbies with more financial pull and influence push into the picture. The reality in almost every Western democracy because as long as it is legal, it’s fair play. That’s where petitions to change government policy can sometimes be seen as corruption if there is an exchange of favours between the legislature and lobby, and outside of the rules of the game – naturally in the eyes of competitor lobbies, patron lawmakers and their lawyers. Lobbying and engaging the government becomes even more complicated and entertaining when the media takes sides and gets into the lobbying process. In Australia, mining tycoon Gina Rinehart bought a major stake in Fairfax media to control the direction of Sydney Morning Herald and the Age’s media independence. In the US, the coal industry also using a right-leaning political news website to push the coal industry agenda according to a more left competitor news site. Interesting times.

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Singapore government controls civil society too much: activists

The Singapore government’s tight grip over civil society is stifling its growth, according to activists that took part in a panel discussion on the issue on Wednesday. Speaking on the role of civil society in Singapore, Siew Kum Hong, vice-president of human rights advocacy group MARUAH, said that the People Action Party government’s stance that civil society must be “something to be chosen or not chosen, something to be approved or disapproved, something to be controlled” lay at the core of the matter.

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Rules of engagement for a civil, civil society

Interest groups form precisely because people have common interests. But it would be a mistake to assume that all interest groups are inevitably anti-government. Politics may actuate some, but most are apolitical. This is evident in groups interested in the environment, culture, heritage, the arts, crafts, hobbies, sports and so forth. Foreigners who live and work in Singapore will also form their own formal and informal support groups. The friction will not always be between that great brooding omnipresence known as THE GOVERNMENT (as some people see it) and helpless citizens. Civil society groups will present competing interests too.

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