singapore politics

Yoong Siew Wah – Former ISD Director (Quotes, Part 2)

Originally posted on 11th March 2015. Last updated on 11th December 2019.

The original quotations post was getting a bit long, so I’ve shifted some of the excerpts onto this new post, which features Mr. Yoong’s blog excerpts from 2014+.

Be sure to check out the enlightening essays in their entirety at Singapore Recalcitrant!


Excerpts from “Singapore Recalcitrant” (2014+; latest at the top)


(1) “A many-splendored thing can normally happen only in a dream or a fiction. . .the novelty of this passionate communion began quite blithely in 2014 when the heroine took up the cudgels to fight injustice on behalf of a defiant victim of the injustice.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 29 October 2019, on yours truly. P.S. My rendition is titled “A Timeless Friendship)

(2) “The PAP cannot deny that there are considerable number of Pro-China Chinese in Singapore. If a war breaks out with China would they be put in a concentration camp like what the Americans did to the Japanese Americans in the last war with Japan? This is unimaginable [but] you cannot prevent people from having such awful thoughts.

It is ironical that this delicate task falls on the shoulder of Minister K. Shanmugam to tackle. Being a member of the minority he finds himself in an invidious and precarious position where he has to exercise extreme care and skill to ensure that he is not seen to be biased against the minority. Any wrong move on his part may result disastrously in his being branded a renegade to the minority cause. The issue is an intractable problem which the PAP can only ignore at their own peril. But it would be suicidal to allow the matter to fester.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 4 August 2019)

(3) “Lee Kuan Yew was a politician without a mass base which would be a great handicap in his political ambition. LKY fully realised that Lim Chin Siong would be a formidable impediment to his political career. . .[LKY] was known to have introduced Lim to his guests as the future prime minister of Singapore. This could have been said in a moment of banter but it could unwittingly reveal a tortured mind.

Special Branch had the unedifying task of incarcerating Lim Chin Siong and his fellow activists to prevent them from fomenting pro-communist agitation in the political arena in Singapore. . .no one had been able to read [Lim Yew Hock’s] mind to unravel the puzzle as the why he had so blithely put his signature to the detention.

There is a Chinese saying: If a war is successful ten thousand bones would have rotted or decayed. (一仗功成万骨枯)”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 13 July 2019)


(1) “The fact that Dr. Thum Ping Tjin is an authentic reputed Oxford Historian can never be detracted by any amount of denigration by any party though there was no lack of such attempts as seen in his six-hour questioning in the Select Committee. The Operation Coldstore controversy will go on indefinitely because there can never be a definitive conclusion to it.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 4 May 2018)


(1) “Singaporeans are so inured to the sophistry of the PAP demagogues that they now take it in their stride for its face value. . .the Malays do not appear to be comfortable with the presidential election in 2017 reserved for them as many, especially the more discerning ones, regard it as a gesture of tokenism by the PAP Government. ”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 1 April 2017)

(2) “Cannot our thick-headed PM Lee sober up for once and think of a more civilised approach to China? By now it should be abundantly clear to PM Lee and his Cabinet that there will be no resolution of the Terrex issue without President Xi’s nod.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 9 January 2017)

(3) “Is it not an indictment of the PAP Government that it requires the tragic death of a promising 14-year-old Benjamin Lim to jolt it into making a review of the criminal investigation procedures to protect vulnerable teenagers [when] they are hauled in by the benign police for interrogations? ”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 6 January 2017)


(1) “How on earth can the 70 % electorate vote in such a mediocre PAP government is still an enigma. But they will have to face up to the unpalatable fact of voting in a self-serving government giving mediocre service to the public. . .there is an appropriate Chinese saying: “A wrong step will lead to an eternal regret” (一失足成千古恨).”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 29 November 2016)

(2) “It was just a matter of time for the precarious honeymoon between China and Singapore to come to a head. It was done by China with such finesse that it came as a severe jolt to the disoriented PAP leadership, especially the day-dreaming PM Lee Hsien Loong.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 28 November 2016)

(2) “It has now become a comic opera with the introduction of the Remote Gambling Act (RGA) to curb online gambling. . .the PAP Government is not comfortable in denying that it is sending “confusing and conflicting signals.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 11 October 2016)

(3) “Some bright spark in the Cabinet, probably PM Lee himself, came up with a life-saving solution of establishing a Constitutional Commission to review the EP Scheme — which would set the eligibility criteria so high that Dr. Tan Cheng Bock would automatically be precluded from standing as a candidate for the EP.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 19 September 2016)

(4) “Ex-President Ong Teng Cheong had brought immense progress to Singapore even before he became President as a PAP lawmaker and Minister. . .the question of the withholding of his State Funeral upon his death will not go away from the people’s mind and will resurface from time to time to the discomfort of the PAP wallahs, especially PM Lee Hsien Loong.
Singapore Recalcitrant, 24 August 2016)

(5) “True to their character, the PAP leaders are never slow in their haste to claim credit for the global honour to Singapore that Joseph Schooling has brought.

[It] was left entirely to the parents of Schooling to finance his training, especially his mother May Schooling. They spent more than a million dollars for his training and the Singapore Government is not known to have made any financial contribution to it.(Singapore Recalcitrant, 17 August 2016)

(6) “[My letter] must have come as a shock to Mr. Shanmugam but I am not too optimistic that the high and mighty Law Minister would have the humility to reply to a plebeian. My letter could have caused not a little ripple as it brings to the public notice a disturbing and unusual situation in the administration of justice.

The State Coroner was scheduled to give his verdict on the tragic death of Benjamin Lim on 8 June and quite inexplicably he gave a no-show without any announcement of any postponement. . .[this] could have serious repercussions on certain quarters like the police. Could there be a possibility, even if remote, for the State Coroner to have suddenly found himself to be in an unpardonable situation where he had to act against his own conscience and abstained from giving his verdict?”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 3 July 2016)

(7) “It is therefore more prudent to assuage the public mind to our counter-terrorism measures in a less pushy manner so as not to incur the animosity of the terrorists.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 1 July 2016)

(8) “It is a well-known fact that the Straits Times is a PAP propaganda organ. For it to come out now to portray itself as a purveyor of unvarnished news to the public is stretching the imagination to the limit.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 15 Jun 2016)

(9) “[This is reminiscent] of the British colonial days when you get civil servants writing in an uncultured manner chastising the disconcerted public for any minor infringement.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 8 Jun 2016)

(10) “Bilahari is not too young and one would have thought that at his age there will be some maturity in his actions towards others, especially members of the opposition.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 1 Jun 2016)

(11) “Dr. Chee Soon Juan is a picture of composure in answering deftly all the accusations levelled at him by the PAP speakers. [He] is aware that he is pitted against a party with enormous financial and manpower resources and above all a ruling party. From observations and reports, Dr. Chee is making reasonable headway in his campaign and this is what irks the PAP leaders.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 30 Apr 2016)

(12) “This is a deeply earnest appeal to the Bukit Batok voters to exercise your sacred votes in favour of a candidate who will bring improvement in welfare and municipal services to your constituency and more important to act as a potent alternative voice in Parliament in matters of public interests affecting your political life and livelihood. The loss of one seat in a by-election is not going to cause any dent in [the PAP’s] armour. If elected, Dr. Chee Soon Juan will become the most successful underdog to win a seat in Parliament. May God bless you.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 27 Apr 2016)

(13) “His intention may not be to portray Lee Kuan Yew intentionally as a villian who betrayed his comrades-in-arms in order to sustain his one-man rule but is a sincere effort in presenting history as he saw it. There is a Chinese saying: When a war is won, tens of thousands will have perished (一仗功成万骨枯)。”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 6 Apr 2016)

(14) “True to its slavish character as a PAP propaganda organ, The Straits Times produced voluminous columns of celebratory articles extolling the so-called virtues of Lee Kuan Yew, the distinguished father of PM Lee. Who would want to read such a huge amount of literary trash except the fanatical fans of the late Lee Kuan Yew who had nothing better to do?”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 24 Mar 2016)

(15) “[PM Lee and his ministers] try to impress the public that they owe their living today to Lee Kuan Yew. To put it cynically, nothing can be more preposterous. . .where is the sense of integrity and duty to the public for the PAP propagandists to say that it is a one-man show by Lee Kuan Yew to transform Singapore to its present stage?”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 21 Mar 2016)

(16) “Minister K. Shanmugam is known to be very loquacious at other times especially in his crusade against the cruelty of cats. Does this mean that a human life is less worthy than a cat in his lofty views? Just like the Chinese saying: To treat the people like grass.(視人民如草芥).”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 6 Feb 2016)

(17) “They should always bear in mind that minors are a vulnerable class and should be treated compassionately and decently. . .If we can henceforth see significant improvement in the police procedure in dealing with minors, the the tragic death of Benjamin Lim will not be in vain.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 2 Feb 2016)

(18) “Now both Lee Kuan Yew and Francis Seow have departed from the good earth and it is a matter of intricate diplomacy whose name is more morally accepted to the people. The netizens will have no difficulty in picking Francis Seow as their man of the moment. Renowned historians have not so far given any verdict on Lee Kuan Yew.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 22 Jan 2016)

(19) “So let’s see what possible motive ESM Goh could have on his mind in requiring such egregious action on the part of his neighbour. If it is from the ethical voyeurism point of view, people will be wondering what is there so sexually stimulating to peep from two who are over the hill in their youthful exuberance. . .Could it be that he drew his inspiration from his late political master Lee Kuan Yew who ordered that apartments in Cavenagh House be covered up to prevent snipers from taking aim at the Istana? But ESM Goh is not Lee Kuan Yew and has not reached his stature.

Is ESM Goh a law unto himself and is that how an exemplary minister should conduct himself? Above all, has he got the imprimatur of PM Lee Hsien Loong to issue his order to his neighbour? In any case, PM Lee is duty-bound in principle to come to his defence even if he had not been consulted. There is an old Chinese saying: Behead first and petition the Emperor later.(先斬後奏)”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 12 Jan 2016)


(1) “And in line with his flamboyant character Cowboy Khaw could hardly hide his ecstasy as his appointment could provide him with the golden opportunity to flaunt his so-called extraordinary prowess to deal with an extremely intractable rail problem which had caused the political demise of his two predecessors.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 4 Dec 2015)

(2) “Khaw said maintenance is not sexy which may not be comprehensible to the public. To be fair to Cowboy Khaw Boon Wan, his almost daily regalement could not but have attracted the rapt attention of the public but sometimes it may seem to be a little bit long-winded. . .maybe he should try to open up his window a little bit and consider the nationalisation of the transport system as a panacea to all the transport ills. The only drawback is that this idea originated from the Workers’ Party which is anathema to the PAP. ”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 29 Oct 2015)

(3) “The automatic reaction of immediately putting the WP on the defence without examining the merits of the suggestion may not go down well with the public, but the PAP flush with their recent GE victory may choose to ride roughshod over the WP’s suggestion with impunity. There is nothing the WP or the public can do if this is how the PAP wants to show its hubris. ”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 28 Oct 2015)

(4) “Some who had voted the PAP out of fear of WP’s dominance are now regretting their hasty decisions. . .even those who voted for the PAP were also unhappy. One friend pointedly exhibited his dissatisfaction: “I want PAP to win but do not want them to win so numerously.” There were others more agitated who angrily said:”This is the regression of democracy.” It will be interesting to find out how widespread this dissatisfaction is.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 21 Sept 2015)

(5) “ESM Goh Chok Tong is obviously over the hill and shows senility by his delirious utterance describing the WP as “nomads out to plunder.” [It] really scares the shit out of ESM Goh that the PAP is in danger of succumbing to a formidable WP team.


Very wisely he volunteered the anchoring of the PAP team to an unsuspecting Tan Chuan Jin as he would not want to be shown to be the anchorman in the remote possibility of a PAP defeat. So glamour boy Tan Chuan Jin may carry the honour of becoming the fall guy.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 1 Sept 2015)

(6) “It would have been a consummation of his oratory if he had refrained from extolling ad nauseam the so-called virtues of his late father Lee Kuan Yew and turning the Rally into an electioneering stunt calling for the election of the PAP team in the general election. ”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 25 August 2015)

(7) “The rot really started with the appointment of Ms. Saw Phaik Hwa as CEO. Her only experience was in the retail business and she knew next to nothing in the running of SMRT and its maintenance. She was however successful in making hugh profits for the shareholders, especially Temasek Holdings, mainly through rentals of SMRT properties and for a time she was able to ride high in the organisation.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 16 July 2015)

(8) “It must have been a sick joke for Desmond Kuek to have the temerity to make a long speech at the Company’s annual general meeting on how much rail reliability had improved just hours before the disruptions. Could there have been a bigger clown on whom PM Lee and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew placed such a high estimation?”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 8 July 2015)

(9) “Amos Yee’s medical condition is autism and not derangement and it is insanity on the part of the authorities to put this vulnerable teenager in a block together with adult patients suffering from derangement.

What kind of compunction does PM Lee need before he could realise that he is ruining the life of an upcoming teenager because he had described his father, the late Lee Kuan Yew, as a “horrible man” in his video.

The light in his cell is kept on 24 hours everyday no doubt with the evil intention of depriving him of any sleep with the hope that this will cause him derangement.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 26 June 2015)

(10) “Compared to the Old Guards, what has PM Lee Hsien Loong done to ameliorate the cost of livingwhich continues to balloon without end in sight? The so-called affordable housing policy is a sick joke as public housing in Singapore has never been so pricey and unaffordable.

The Prime Minister and his ministers are happily enriching themselves with taxpayers’ money for ostensibly serving the people while the lower-income Singaporeans are suffering from trying to make ends meet with the oppressive high cost of living. [It] will be incumbent upon the opposition to pursue the issue of the obscene ministerial salaries in their election campaign. The ground is favourable to the opposition and they must not allow this opportunity to slip through their fingers by staying united.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 20 June 2015)

(11) “By now the name of Amos Yee is known far and wide for his supreme fighting-spirit in his confrontation with the inhuman PAP Government. . .Imagine a 16 year-old being shackled in both hands and legs and brought before the court. What kind of human being is capable of inflicting such inhuman treatment to a 16 year old boy is beyond humanity.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 7 May 2015)

(12) “If, in a moment of compassion, we think that Lee Kuan Yew had suffered enough in his illness, perhaps we could allow his tortured soul to rest in peace. We could show some magnanimity even if this was not one of his traits in his lifetime.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 23 March 2015)

(13) “The Chinese believe that in any pursuit of wealth or power, it is prudent to stop at the appropriate time (適可而止) for if you persist in being greedy, in the end you will end up a pauper. (贪而無厭,反而変为贫). ”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 11 March 2015)

(14) “So if for political expediency, it is found necessary for Desmond Kuek to continue as CEO, rail disruptions will be a perennial problem as Kuek will never have the expertise to overcome it.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 9 March 2015)

(15) “What started well for the PAP Government in the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) exposure of the so-called major lapses of the AHPETC in the financial management and governance of its town council has now gradually become counter-productive to the PAP for going overboard in their frenzied attacks of the Workers’ Party on these issues.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 22 February 2015)

(16) “WP must try its best to defend itself in the coming weeks to convince the middle-ground that its Town Council is still very much in good hands. Be transparent with the electorate and I’m sure they will be a lot more forgiving towards you. The same cannot be said of the PAP. Like one of their prominent minister said, “We are deaf to all these criticisms.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 12 February 2015)

(17) “So the often professed slogan of the Prime Minister to respect and reward the pioneer generation is but a myth. One can find no dearth of rumbles among the pioneer generation of citizens on such myth, the so-called generous distribution of the Pioneer Generation Packages notwithstanding.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 7 February 2015)


(1) “And so the battle of words continues ad nauseam seemingly without abatement. There was a brief moment when a timorous Minister for Culture, Community & Youth Lawrence Wong showed a fleeting moment of chivalry in coming to the aid of a floundering colleague with some half-baked comments.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 14 December 2014)

(2) “Genuine pundits cannot help feeling that all [of PM Lee Hsien Loong’s] vociferous utterances of fictional inspiration to his followers could be a fig-leaf to hide his fear of a backlash to his party’s chances at the next election before 2017. . .

The never-say-die spirit of PM Lee in rousing his ministers and other potential PAP candidates to greater effort in winning as many seats as possible in GE 2016 is admirable on the surface but considering the mediocre performance of many of the run-of-the-mill type of ministers, PM Lee could brace himself for a considerable percentage of casualties among these ministers, which means that more GRCs may go to the united opposition.

GE 2016 is therefore very much an epoch-making election to watch. It may be PM Lee’s swan-song.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 8 December 2014)

(3) “By a quirky stroke of luck there is no dearth of gullible and well-meaning countries ready to show some semblance of civility and diplomacy to the clownish minority President in order not to belittle the self-conscious and conceited Singapore Government.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 22 October 2014)

(4) “Would it surprise PM Lee and his acolytes (i.e. one who performs ceremonial duties such as lighting altar candles) if there are discerning Singaporeans who are utterly unimpressed and disappointed with PM Lee’s Rally speech? They feel that there is nothing new or inspiring in his speech and that it was wholly a rehash of what he and his millionaire ministers had been harping on all the time. . .”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 18 August 2014)

(5) “Singaporeans may realise that the biggest joke currently in vogue in town is MediShield Life. . .the cynical joke is that very few people, especially the elderly, understand the intricacies of the over-hyped scheme.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 27 June 2014)

(6) “PM Lee has unwittingly made the hitherto little known Roy Ngerng into something of a hero by his imprudent action of taking out his defamation suit against Roy. There is a Chinese saying: What is gained cannot indemnify the loss (得不償失).”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 13 June 2014)

(7) “PM Lee could be imagining himself to be a ravaging tiger waiting to pounce on an unwary prey which to his utter horror turned out to  be a ferocious lion. PM Lee [claimed] himself to be ‘flame-proof‘. It would be better for his public image if PM Lee curbs his impetuosity to fix the opposition, especially the so-called recalcitrant WP leaders, even if they are a threat to PAP’s ambitions in GE 2016.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 28 May 2014)

(8) “PAP is the government and commands the majority in Parliament. If it pursues a bullying political culture, there is nothing the WP or any other opposition political party can do to rectify the situation. . .The wheel of history only moves forward and for it to move backwards for the PAP will have the historians flabbergasted. The Singapore electorate are now more discerning and will know how to cast their votes.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 27 May 2014)

(9) “Out of curiosity I watched the Days of Rage programme on Channel 8 last night which was supposed to present the much-hyped Laju Saga in an objective light. . .to say that I was left in a state of shock is to put it mildly at the brazen self-glorification of their roles in the Laju Saga by some of the characters in the narrative.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 28 April 2014)

* * *

Singapore Recalcitrant (Mr. Yoong Siew Wah’s scholarly blog)
Yoong Siew Wah – Former ISD Director (Quotes, Part 1)