Monday, August 29, 2005

Kiddie Rides -- The Missing Rally Speech

I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant
In housing estates, lying at the corners of old and decrepit coffee-shops or candy stores, are these ancient kiddie rides. Twenty cents for a ride. Children still clamour for them, it is the magical sensation of rocking and swaying, coupled with the blaring of invariably Chinese kiddie songs. The kid is transported into an alternate changed environment. When the machine stops, the sensation of change stops. The illusion of the ride fades and the machine is stationary again. The child will always scream for more. The parent will always say no. It is not the twenty cents. It is the discipline of the child that matter. The conditioning.
The missing in this year's NDP Rally Speech is the political. The fact that politics was silenced in the Rally is deliberate. Last year's Rally speech welcomed politics as a Logos in Singapore. The welcome spurred the production of the Political in Singapore to an extent which became highly problematic for the incumbent regime. A political film is produced which cannot be screened in a cinema but becomes screened in our homes. A gay festival for expression which cannot gain the expression and than re-invents itself as an indignation and expresses itself nonetheless. An anticipated election lapses into a tortuous re-definition of competition and selection rather than election. A protest that is not a protest but expressed as a protest. Small change, loose change but change still.
I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.
It is always problematic when oxymorons are translated into Fact. Last year's speech sought to produce a Fact of political participation in Singapore riddled with the contradictions of political conditioning. In so doing, the instruments of governing power became paralysed in response to political expression. When the forms of political expression lodged themselves in the interstitial crannies of juridico-legal power, adopting a political posture that escapes definition, a film that is not a film, a festival that is not a festival, a election that is not an election, a protest that is not a protest, the juridico-legal power of calibrated coercion (ref Cherian George) meets its match of elaborated expression.

The thermostat has not kicked into action. The degrees of expression remain. Remember that this year's speech is a silencing not a re-covering. Yet.

This year's Speech is calling for change without the Political. Change is good for the child. A calibrated and conditioned change of mindsets to alter Singapore. Embedded in this call for change is a contradiction of epic proportions. Singapore and the PAP are entwined inextricably. Hence, the change is a kiddie ride change. It is a change to train a child. The foundations of the machine remain, collecting your sense.

The Chinese epic novel, 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms', begins with the line "The empire long united must divide" and ends with the line :The empire long divided must unite". Nestled between division and unity is change. Massive political change. The Rally speech is envisioning change. Small change, loose change and still change.
Fight this.
I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.
Quote of the Day : "Saint Peter sat by the celestial gate: his keys were rusty, and the lock was dull, so little trouble had been given of late ... The angels were singing out of tune, and hoarse with having little else to do, except to wind up the sun and moon, or curb a runaway young star or two" -- Lord Byron, The Vision of Judgment

Saturday, August 13, 2005

A Catch-33 Situation -- Kuan and the 4 Horsemen

I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.
The past few days have seen some very interesting events brewing in Singapore. Politically speaking, the two events represent the same conundrum which can paralyse the incumbent ruling regime in Singapore. The seeds of this conundrum were sown in the maiden Rally speech by PM Lee Hsien Loong last year, a speech that re-defines contradiction in so many multi-faceted ways.
PM Lee encouraged Singaporeans to speak up, step up and come forward. Let a hundred flowers bloom. The blossoms are here already. Can the existing ruling machinery respond? No.
I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.
Andrew Kuan has studied the nooks and crannies of the well oiled political system. He has planned for SIX years for this week. His actions have so far revealed a political craft that has perhaps been unseen in Singapore since JBJ was fatally crippled by defamation and internal dissent in his Worker's Party and lost much of his political fire.
Andrew Kuan is a political animal. There is no doubt about that. The Presidency of Singapore is a political position. No doubt about that. There is no problem for a political animal aiming for a political job. However, the rumblings of an Inquisition of Andrew Kuan has begun.
But what is apparent now, to many Singaporeans, is the familiar PATTERN that Andrew Kuan's entry has provoked in the PAP. First the shocking revelation to the media of a contest. Subsequently the insinuations begin. The media galvanises into action again. The hints, the clever calls for transparency, the deliberate timing of press conferences. Deja Vu. Remember Francis Seow? Remember Tang Liang Hong? Remember Cpt Ryan Goh?
This is character assassination at work. But what is surprising is perhaps the lack of finesse that the incumbent regime is working out the assassination. An assassin never uses the same tricks twice, never employs the same modus operandi again. This is the Achilles Heel. The confidence that kills.
In a previous entry, I likened the incumbents to the Gods of Homer Illiad. More than ever, the traits become more apparent. Achilles' Heel is not his heel. It is his arrogance, his traits which exposes his weakness. His death is due to his confidence of his immortality. The pride of the immortals. The weakness of the Gods comes when they become predictable.
Andrew Kuan will fail to get his certificate. He should then put himself up as a contender in the next elections.
I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.
The staging of a four person NKF protest is another political action that shows research and application. No laws have been broken. No action will be taken. The show of force by the Police is a show of force. Nothing more. It would have worked many years ago. Now it no longer strikes fear.
The approach of the Government to this political action is again striking. Not because of its obvious sledgehammer tenor, but because of its PREDICTABILITY. It is the same tactic used when concerts are held, when vigils are held, when forums are held. It works if REAL force is used. It fails when it is repeated and repeated and the baton stays in the sheath.
This is the conundrum : the contradictions as dictated and embodied by the incumbent government have permeated into a strange fluxial effect on its instruments of power. I believe the Instruments of Singapore State Power as a symbol has undergone the Derridean differance effect.
Whereas Derrida argues that the text cannot read itself, I suggest that the State Instruments cannot read themselves now. They are at once different and deferred simply because Governance has effected its definitional violence and contradictions into reality; the National Day Rally Speech is the obvious example among the slew of textually tense statements emanating from the Singapore Government since the semi-retirement of Lee Kuan Yew.
I will call this the unique Singapore Catch-33 effect.
This is the difference between the Old Guard and the New Guard. The Old Guard, especially Zeus himself, would never have allowed contradiction to enter reality. for him, the teleos is clear. Zeus knows how the Illiad will end.
The prognosis for the future : more creativity, more research to lure the same incumbent response mechanisms into the open again and again. Synapses will start firing, connections will be made. And what can we see? The semblance of a rise in political awareness for the many Singaporeans who have been de-politicised so clinically and efficiently in the past three decades.
The Catch-33 effect will not last forever. It is a window to an alternative political teleos for Singapore.
I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.
Quote of the Day

"They don’t have to show us Catch-22, the law says they don’t have to. 'What law says they don’t have to?' ... "Catch-22" .... Catch-22 did not exist, he was positive of that, but it made no difference. What did matter was that everyone thought it existed, and that was much worse, for there was no object or text to ridicule or refute, to accuse, criticise, attack, amend, hate, revile, spit a, rip to shreds, trample upon or burn up." --- Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Friday, August 05, 2005

Dedicated to Balderdash

Tens and Tens shining
brightly in the night sky
The Sign lapses into life

Quote of the Day -- "The entire world learned before the inhabitants of Hiroshima did that an A-bomb had been dropped on the city", Georges Bataille, Trauma, Explorations in Memory

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Molly – The Goddess Blogger and the Other Unseens

I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.

I usually take exception at the Singapore media for poor reporting. I take exception again. A recent article laments (?) the lack of serious bloggers in Singapore. That is incorrect. Serious bloggers in Singapore are abound but they will never make the Straits Times because they are un-Named. I take the premier Blog Goddess, Molly Meek as an example.

In each construction of an entry, Molly slices with a precision at the contradiction that is Singapore that whitens the white to a point where the observer closes his/her eyes and sees black :

If even Molly the highly acclaimed bimbo-next-door of Singapore knew back then that diverting traffic could make other roads congested, why does the CNA report: “Alternative routes congested as evening ERP on CTE starts”? http://www.livejournal.

Besides Molly, who are the un-Named? Others I may cite are Trowa , WhiteOut, the crew at Sg Ink and more recently, Mr Wang himself.

Imagine again : A Straits Times weekly pull-out column. Features Molly’s latest seminal narrative contortion as a tribute to our 40th years of existence :

Since there is a call for greater emphasis on Literature, Molly shall start this entry proper by making her virgin attempt at a literary analysis of our very own local classics. In other words, Molly will not be examining the political tracts of Catherine Lim or the poetry of Alfian Sa’at. Molly will write a critical appreciation of the lyrics of a classic community song, “One People, One Nation, One Singapore.” If readers want it, Molly will deconstruct analyze each of these melodious songs one by one. As Molly strives to provide premier blog services to her readers, they are also allowed to dedicate the songs (complete with Molly’s analyses) to their family, friends, political leaders, MPs and so on.

This can be followed by Trowa’s observation of the mandatory Government household survey :

The main concern is that, whatever instuition, be it a government or an intelligence agency, if it intends to carry out what it deems to be "research", must proceed with a code of ethics in mind. It doesn't imply that a simple adherance to rules and guidelines is sufficient, but the participant must be also approached ethically; his/her consent must be obtained, his well-being (even for a survey questionaire) must be assured and in no way, should a participant be coerced to volunteer any information he/she is not comfortable with. (

And of course, another column by WhiteOut on the Singapore economic situation on the ground :

As a citizen, we shouldn't rely on the government, and instead work hard for our own survival in society, right? But I thought the government is supposed to help their citizens, and not add oil to fire? The northern residential part of Singapore is more developed now (think Sengkang) and naturally there are more vehicles utilizing the CTE in the evening to head home, how does extending the ERP timings at night from August 1st help ease the north-bound traffic condition? People still need to head home right? (

And end perhaps with something light hearted from Deus Ex Machina :, Singapore's most famous pink blog, got hacked on Wednesday. The result is that much of her blog's archives apparently got wiped out. The trademark pink background was replaced by a white one.

Pandemonium resembling that after the London bombings exploded on the streets when the news broke. Many of Xiaxue's fans are reportedly distraught upon knowing of the demise of their favourite blog. Some are undergoing counseling at the moment, with one in the intensive care unit after she leapt from her third storey apartment in despair.

Twenty major newspapers around the world have made this headline news and a Singaporean tabloid did a ten-page spread on the saga. A spokesperson for Xiaxue has called for a press conference involving CNN, CNA, Fox News, BBC and Islamic Radio International, which broadcasts to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, world leaders have promised swift and decisive action in the face of the hacking. The FBI, CIA, KGB, Interpol and Singapore's very own ISD have begun joint operations to identify and apprehend the hacker. (

These are the narratives as plotted by Singapore’s unseen bloggers to gently but surely probe the slumbering jello of the Singapore political consciousness. How much cost is this pull-out for the Straits Time but as another hollow gram on the paper?

So lets say the unseen historian observers in my previous entry are stretched to mean bloggers, the un-Named ones of course, which rules out the celebrity bloggers like Brown, XX, Shianux and even Agagooga. Can these unseen observers transcend from their passive recording and find the fulcrum point for the teleos that is the Singapore political drama?

I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.

Quote of the Day – “Each historical narrative renews a claim to truth … effective silencing does not require a conspiracy, not even a political consensus. Its roots are structural.” -- Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Finding the Fulcrum in Singapore Politics

I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.

Today, I return from a long hiatus and turn my gaze again to Singapore Politics. Imagine a context where there are unseen historians in Singapore, who observe the Homeric play of Singapore politics, who know the outcome of Singapore’s political Illiad but who can only observe but not intervene. The story of Singapore’s political Illiad is the perpetual dominance of the incumbent regime for the next five generations.

Imagine then, one historian, who acts out of his assigned role and intervenes in this political Illiad; who shifts the course of the outcomes. At which juncture and how does he intervene? Where is the fulcrum? What is the hinge that can turn this 40 year old story decisively?

The Opposition politicians in Singapore fight like the Aecheans and the Trojans while the white-robed Gods of Olympus intervene to play in the plains of Troy. Boosting one hero to doom another captain. Who dares turn against the Gods themselves?

I am Xenoboy. I am the Political Savant.

In the Illiad, Achilles, son of Thetis, a Killer of Armies reigns as the supreme warrior demi-god. Imagine he is shown Homer’s Illiad and shown the games the Gods play. Can Achilles not slay Zeus himself? A killer of Gods?

The fulcrum of Singapore politics exists when the rage of an “offspring” of the Gods, an Achilles, can be made to oppose his bloodlines.

The fulcrum point is the turning of this Achilles by rage to betray. Who among the Opposition in Singapore can be the Odysseus? The crafty strategist that can trigger this fulcrum.

The plan is simple for the Opposition in Singapore. For the sake of Singapore politics, divert all resources to finding this Achilles, the son of the Gods, bite down your pride and acknowledge him as the fulcrum point to slay the Gods themselves.

Perhaps then, the Illiad that is Singapore politics alters irrevocably and all Singaporeans can rejoice in the uncertainty of tomorrow and not knowing what will happen next in the political landscape.

I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.
Quote of the Day
"I had always thought that a person born blind and given sight later on in life through the miracles of modern medicine would feel reborn ... in the end, those gifted with new eyesight tend to retreat into their own worlds. Some beg to be made blind again, yet when they consider it further, they hesitate, and realize they're unable to surrender their sight. Bad visions are better than no visions ..." --- Douglas Coupland 'Eleanor Rigby'