Understanding Misunderstood China



By: B Goode

A lot have been written about China’s behaviour towards her neighbours lately. Mostly bad stuff. So bad that the best Halloween costume for this year would be dressing up as Mao Zedong.

But to understand China, we need to delve deep into her history.

Nooooo! Don’t go! This will not be like your dreaded history lessons in school where you learned about dates that you couldn’t remember, and dead people whose names you couldn’t pronounce let alone spell. I’ll make it snappy.

For thousands of years, China has been ruled by a system of patronage where lesser kingdoms and provinces paid homage and tribute to the Emperor or whoever wielded the greatest power. It was sort of like the triad system. If you didn’t want to be attacked and molested, you jolly well kowtow to me and pay protection money.

Something that perhaps Philippines President Dueterte is aware of.

A system honed through thousands of years of evolution should not be expected to change overnight. And yet some political analysts are scratching their heads to find the answers to China’s perplexing attitude. The thing is that, China’s political system is not unique to her alone. In fact, this system was practiced by most nations in the past, and is still practiced by some.

So what’s new?

To understand this, we need to know the two important schools of political thoughts. The first one is realism or if you want to sound more intelligent, you can call it realpolitik.

Realpolitik is basically `might is right’. The stronger you are, the more formidable you become and therefore the more chances of you surviving. It is the Darwinism of politics. Survival of the fittest. But in order to be strong, you not only need to have a strong military, but also need to secure the resources needed; food, energy, minerals etc. Thus, China’s excursion into the depths of Africa and Latin America and of course the South China Sea should be seen in this context.

Realpolitik is actually being practiced to some extent by other countries too. That’s the reason why for example, countries spend billions of dollars on their military. But unlike China, these countries such as the Western democracies tampered their political realism with political idealism or what is now known as liberalism.

Liberalism, the second school of political thought, is the notion that if countries share the same philosophy, there will be less of a chance of them being at each other’s throats. Thus we have the EU, ASEAN and other political/economic treaties between countries.

The problem arises when there is a differing view on what this common philosophy should be. For the western democracies with the US leading the charge, this philosophy should be based on the concept of democracy and all the liberal appendixes that come with it; human rights, free trade, globalisation etc. However, lest we forget, China is still a communist country with no universal suffrage and is ruled by an exclusive club with the ancient historical instinct to demand homage and tribute still intact.

In short, there is a serious disconnect between how China views the world, with the rest of the world.

So what should Singapore position be?

As a small country, the best option is to try to manoeuvre between the two political thoughts as best as we could. We should share the liberalism of the west but at the same time give some face to China.

In the context of the South China Sea, to put it bluntly, we should just shut the fuck up because we don’t have any claim to that sea and we should just allow the various claimants to duke it out, whether via show of force or diplomacy.

If the Philippines, the most vociferous of the lot could change tack and kowtow to China, who are we to make noise?

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US Presidential Elections: Between A Docile Cow And A Raging Bull


By: B Goode aka Captain Obvious

It is all over isn’t it? Unless Hillary Clinton screws up big time, or her husband Bill screws another woman, she will become the first woman POTUS in history.

It is not because she is popular. It is just that she is less despicable than her opponent Donald Trump. In fact this election will go down in history as a battle between the devil and the deep blue sea. You might be afraid of the unknown dangers in the depth of the sea, but you definitely know that the devil is bad. Continue reading

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Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby!


By: B Goode

Josephine Teo talking about sex is like two slugs mating.

Messy. Continue reading

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Dr Adrian Tan Should Just Give Up With His Reputation Still Intact


By: B Goode aka Brad Pitt

Now that the amendments to the Elected Presidency aka `the bill to stop somebody (lol!) from becoming the president’ has been tabled in parliament, Dr Tan Cheng Bock aka Dr Adrian Tan should just end his ambition aka obsession with becoming the President.

According to the new amendments which will surely be passed into law, Dr Tan is deemed unsuitable aka unfit to hold the key to the highest office in the land. Period. Continue reading

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Betting On Singaporeans Being Morons


By: B Goode

At times it is hard to like the government especially when they are being deceitful less than open when trying to sugarcoat bad policies thinking that Singaporeans are morons.

Take online gambling for example. Two years ago when online gambling was banned, the government said that it was because gambling was bad and that online gambling provided easy access to people that might cause them to be addicted. Continue reading

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A Challenge For Dr Tan `Salty’ Cheng Bock


By: B Goode

So finally, the `cool cucumber’ mask that Dr Tan Cheng Bock slathered on his own face dried-up and cracked to reveal what lie underneath; the face of a bitter man. A salty man.

Throughout the debate on the changes to the Elected Presidency (EP), Dr Tan has tried to put on a veneer of respectability and surrounded himself with an aura of propriety and uprightness by staying above the fray even to the extent of giving a compliment (albeit a back-handed one) to the men of virtue. Continue reading

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SMRT’s Disciplinary Actions : Fair Or Scapegoating?


By: B Goode


Finally the NTUC has decided to assist the two SMRT train drivers to appeal against their sacking for the fatal train accident. An afterthought? Maybe but at least the NTUC has come to its senses after the uproar that the sackings have caused and perhaps agree with the popular opinion that the dismissals are harsh. Continue reading

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Elected Presidency : Say Buh-Bye To The Unqualified Doctor


By: B Goode

When (not if) the proposed changes to the elected presidency are made into Law, the one casualty will be Dr Tan Cheng Bock. But he had no one to blame but himself because he decided to cross the road when the traffic light was red. Continue reading

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Zika Epidemic : A Symptom Of Incompetency


By: B Goode

As expected, the Zika epidemic has spread to other parts of Singapore with more than 100 people affected including an expectant mother. More terrible news await in the coming days and weeks.

Almost overnight, a tiny insect has managed to expose the gross incompetency and lackadaisical attitude of the government in tackling this issue. The people are terrified and are on the brink of a collective panic attack. No amount of government propaganda and information massaging can change this fact. Continue reading

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Zika Outbreak : Why Are Migrant Workers Getting Free Screening But Not Residents?


By: B Goode

What have we as a nation done wrong to the migrant workers so much so that they are compensated with benefits that even certain segment of our society don’t get to enjoy? Have we committed a sin so great to the migrant workers that if we don’t indulge them, we will be cursed with new-age biblical plagues such as TB, Dengue and Zika. Oh wait….

No seriously. Let me give you a rundown of what I am talking about. Continue reading

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Zika Outbreak : Time To Panic And Get Out Of The Country?


By: B Goode

41 new cases of Zika have just been confirmed in Singapore. All locally transmitted. With more tests to be conducted on more people from other parts of Singapore, we can expect more cases in the coming days.

That’s a lot of mosquitoes…. Continue reading

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Why Am I Not Feeling The Feels For S R Nathan?


By: B Goode


A former President dies and as a Singaporean I am supposed to feel something. Right?

I tried to feel sad. I tried to be bereaved. I tried to grief. I tried to experience a sense of loss. But I am finding it hard to do all of that. I simply don’t have the feels.

I only have apathy. Continue reading

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To Kill Or Not To Cull? That Is The Bacon


By: B Goode


So wild boars are running amok in some parts of Singapore; dashing across roads causing danger to motorists and there was even news of attacks on passers-by.

And what are the authorities doing about this menace? They are still thinking….

In the words of Clint Eastwood:

It’s a very confusing era that we’re in.

I must be one of the few people in Singapore who still thinks that if an animal poses a threat to human lives, kill it! And if it is edible, might as well eat it.

Mother nature demands balance. The reason why wild boars are coming out of the nature reserves is because of over-population. Whatever little patches of forest that we have are no longer enough to support the burgeoning numbers.

In the past, there were tigers and leopards to control the wild boars population. Then came the human hunters. Now, hunting is prohibited in the nature reserves and so the wild boars threw a party, had an orgy and they were even confident enough to form conga lines across our roads and expressways.

I got all that from the Discovery Channel so it must be true.

Before someone gets killed, it is time that the wild boars are culled. Culling does not mean extermination but simply us humans acting as the predators to keep their numbers in check.

And culling is an accepted act in many other countries because in those countries their animal lovers truly understand what it means to love animals. They understand that culling is good for the health and well-being of the animals because a disrupted and devastated environment due to over-population will pose greater risk to the animals themselves and humans.

But here in Singapore, the animal lovers’ concept of animal-loving is to just leave them alone. This is not only irresponsible but downright implausible.

My suggestion is to bring back culling in the form of licensed hunting. Licenses are issued for the hunting of a pre-determined numbers of animals. It is a win win situation.

The government gets some money which they like, the hunters get some thrill and bushmeat, and most importantly the environment gets the balance that they are in desperate need of.

And I can safely walk along the roads without having to worry that an angry boar will come charging at me out of nowhere.

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Amos Yee : The Forgotten Footnote

amos yee

By: B Goode

Is anyone interested to know about Amos Yee?


Guessed as much. Continue reading

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Racism, Racialism And A Preference For Chicken


By: B Goode

Let’s start off with a joke (thanks Jenny!) that is so bad it is actually good. And it ties in nicely with this article.

During the NDR, PM Lee had actually wanted to announce Tharman as his successor. But just before he did that, he saw an image flashing in front of him.

This: Continue reading

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Debate On The Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill : The Workers’ Party Getai Show


By: B Goode

This month is the month when hungry ghosts roam the earth looking for food and some entertainment. Yesterday in Parliament, they had some from the Workers’ party (WP). I don’t know about the food, but there was certainly a lot of drama dished out by the WP’s wayang troupe. Continue reading

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Hero Worshipping And National Service



By: B Goode

All superheroes have their own humanly backstories. Batman and his murdered parents, Superman and his destroyed planet, Spiderman and his puppy love, Wonderwoman and her lack of manlove.

Joseph Schooling and his hormones: Continue reading

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Joseph Isaac Schooling The Olympic Champion!


By: B Goode

I ran out of goosebumps that I might need to run to Tekka market to look for some geese.

Joseph Isaac Schooling has just won Singapore’s first ever Olympic Gold Medal!!!!

Dafuq!!!! Continue reading

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$7.2B Bus Contracting Model : Why Wasn’t Parliament Approval Sought?


By: B Goode

The government has just announced a $7.2B deal for the two bus operators to…..run buses.

The agreement involves 11 bus packages with estimated total contract fees of S$5.322 billion for SBS Transit and S$1.865 billion for SMRT Buses.

First of all, let’s get the amount into perspective.

Yahoo, a company with a huge global brand recognition was sold for less than that amount. And the operating infrastructure for SMRT’s NSEW MRT lines was bought by the government for $1B.

So $7.2B is a freaking huge sum of money. And it was approved off-budget, meaning the expenditure was not tabled in Parliament as part of this year’s budget.

For that kind of money and for something as seemingly complicated and absurd as paying existing bus operators to operate buses, the government should have tabled a motion in Parliament for debate.

Of course we can argue that getting Parliamentary approval will be a meaningless exercise since the PAP government is in the majority but that is beside the point.

The point being; the government could then explain more in-depth and provide more clarity about the plan, rather than just issuing of a short statement which left people scratching their heads.

I for one would like to see the following questions being answered by the government:

  • How did the magic number $7.2B derived?
  • What is the money for? Since the government has already stated that there will not be any transfer of assets, what is the money for?
  • If the money is to ensure better performance by the bus operators, it is akin to saying that we should pay the Ministers more to get them to perform better. Oh wait!
  • If it is the cost of buying back existing contracts that were signed by the government many years ago with the two bus operators, could we then say that the $7.2B is the price that the government pay for its mistake?
  • Can the government assure us that this new bust contracting model will not be another mistake?
  • And finally, how will this money be disbursed?

Parliament is there for a purpose. It doesn’t matter if the elected members thought of themselves as mere estate managers. One of its purposes is to get the executive branch to explain things like this.

It is therefore incumbent for the government to show good faith in tabling a motion in parliament to get its approval for extra-budgetary spending.

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Peak Singapore


By: B Goode

It was Singapore’s 51st birthday but what should have been a day of celebration, like many of us, I had nothing to do.

So as with tradition, I had wanted to write something nice about my country but I stumbled upon the dreaded writer’s block. It wasn’t because of the lack of nice things to write about. Platitudes were aplenty. But I found myself repeating what others had written and ended up being Captain Obvious. Continue reading

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