Author Archives: Jess C Scott

About Jess C Scott

Author/Artist/Non-Conformist @ www.jessINK.com

Blog Hop: The Writing Process

joe_perrone

Joe Perrone Jr.

Thanks so much to Joe Perrone Jr. for inviting me to this Blog Hop on the Writing Process.

Joe Perrone Jr. was the first author to be interviewed on this blog!

Joe’s Bio: Joe Perrone Jr. worked as a sportswriter for the Passaic-Clifton, NJ, Herald News, as well as a freelance advertising copywriter. Joe was also a professional fly-fishing guide for ten years in the Catskill Mountains of New York, and has had several fly-fishing short stories published in the Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide. The author is perhaps best known for his Matt Davis Mystery Series. Roscoe — “Trout Town USA” — serves as the setting for Joe’s books in the Matt Davis Mysteries series.

Joe’s Links: Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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The idea of this blog tour is to introduce readers to new authors. I have been asked to answer 4 questions about my writing process and then tag 3-4 more authors.

Here are my answers to the questions:

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Selfie: BCBG shoes

JESS’S WRITING PROCESS

1. What am I working on?

I am currently blogging about Singapore’s political history.

On the creative writing side, I most recently completed The Wilde Twins (a psych thriller series featuring serial killer evil twins).

I have several other projects to get to…

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

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The Wilde Twins (Trilogy) | Jess C Scott

I will let readers decide on that. I like to study the work of people whom I admire and learn from them (whether it’s to do with writing, or something else).

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because I enjoy original stories and seeking the truth.

4. How does my writing process work?

I usually have some kind of plan or (quite comprehensive) outline. If not I tend to waste a lot of time trying to fix details along the way.

Hot chamomile tea helps me stay nice and relaxed while writing/editing.

My Links: jessINK | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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Authors I have Tagged:

I’ve tagged fellow authors Maria Savva, Edward Giles Brown, Matt Posner, and Katherine Mayfield.

I’m very happy to introduce you to these authors, so hop on over to their sites and see what they are up to.

On Twitter, you can follow the various blogs in this tour via the hashtag #MyWritingProcess

maria_savva_hs(1) Maria Savva

Maria Savva lives and works in London. She studied Law at Middlesex University and The College of Law. She is a lawyer, although not currently practising law. She has published five novels, the most recent of which is Haunted, a crime fiction/psychological thriller. Far Away In Time is her sixth collection of short stories.

Maria’s Links: Website | Maria’s Writing Process | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

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(2) Edward Giles Brown

Edward Giles Brown is the author of 365 Days of Verse, a sonnet collection containing a sonnet written every day for a year, and The Sacrifice, a five act play.

He’s currently revising 365 Days of verse and will eventually release a single-volume second edition. He is currently seeking work in Hong Kong.

Edward’s Links: WebsiteTwitter | Amazon | YouTube | Writing Process

matt_posner(3) Matt Posner

Matt Posner is my highly motivated and industrious co-author on the book, Teen Guide!

This is Matt’s bio from the Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships page:

Matt is an NYC teacher who’s willing to make controversial statements that he thinks are in your best interest. In his own words, Teen Guide “explains what mature, adult sexuality is and provides a useful guide to entering that sexual world at the right time.”

Matt is also the author of the School of the Ages series (an urban fantasy for ages 12 and up).

Matt’s Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Katherine Mayfield(4) Katherine Mayfield

A former actress who appeared Off-Broadway and on the daytime drama Guiding Light, Katherine Mayfield is the author of the award-winning memoir, The Box of Daughter: Healing the Authentic Self; Bullied (a guide to recovery for teens and adults who have been bullied); and Dysfunctional Families: The Truth Behind the Happy Family Facade.

She has written for numerous local and national publications, and appears regularly with the Portsmouth Athenæum’s Wednesday Writers’ Series in Portsmouth, NH. She teaches writing workshops and classes in Maine, provides coaching and editing for other writers, and enjoys using her acting skills and love of words to record audiobooks.

Katherine’s Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Writing Process


Excerpts from What Singapore Means to Me, by Devan Nair

Transcribed by Jess C Scott from Not By Wages Alone (Selected Speeches and Writings of Devan Nair, 1959-1981).

Full article at Singapore Repository.

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Excerpts from “What Singapore Means to Me” (1981)
by Devan Nair

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Devan Nair:
Istana File Photo

(1) Presidents and Heads of State are expected to be nice and gracious to everybody. My doctors tell me that this will be good for my health. I have no doubt that it will also be good for my soul.

(2) I do not know what you feel when Majulah Singapura is sung on National Day. . .I struggle against tears of pride as I mentally scan the last 40 years. I know it is difficult for the younger generation of Singaporeans to appreciate the reasons.

(3) The difference between my generation and theirs is simply this: We were not merely ready to die for our beliefs. Many of us expected to die, whether in communal riots, or from the bullets and knives of communist assassins.

(4) Reading about hell, war, unemployment, imprisonment and riots in cold print is one thing. Living through hell, war, unemployment, riots and imprisonment is quite another.

(5) I remember how, during the bloody Hock Lee Bus riots in 1954, a student, hit by a stray police bullet, could have been saved. . .but communist united front cadres took the bleeding student on their shoulders and paraded him around the city. . .four hours later, [when] he was taken to hospital, he was already dead.

(6) It would be wrong to assume that there is nothing at all you can obtain from the founding generation of Singaporeans. There are certain constants in our collective social life, the preservation of which will ensure that the core of our society will not be corrupted by dry rot.

(7) These constants are the standards and values we rigorously subscribe to in our private and public lives, [which] include intelligence, [honesty] and integrity, social justice and fair play.

(8) More enduring and much harder to gain than popularity, is public respect.

(9) Moments of truth are devastating, for both individuals and nations, because they often come too late. The only way to avoid them, for leaders and citizens alike, is to try and be sincerely truthful all the time.

(10) I hope and pray [these standards] will remain some of the constants in our public life. You will jettison them only at grave social peril. You may exceed these standards and values. But it will be a betrayal of our people and their future if you settle for anything lower.

(11) If the future is to be secured, young persons of dedication, intelligence and ability should not shirk the responsibilities of leadership in the institutions of public life.

(12) In other countries, selfish clinging to power and office on the part of the ageing have been impediments in the path of able and intelligent members of the younger generation.

(13) The most obstinate stupidity in the world is that of old men who forget that they are mortal.

(14) The right to lead is not transferable. Leadership must be justified, deserved and won.

(15) In a democratic society, the instruments of leadership cannot be acquired through inheritance. . .the right to lead has to be fought for and won at the bar of public opinion.

(16) Our people are neither obtuse, naive nor gullible. They are a sophisticated lot. They have shown in the past that they can distinguish the genuine from the spurious, the sincere from the hypocritical. Their children will not be less discerning when they mature with experience.

(17) It is the sacred responsibility of able, intelligent, honest and dedicated members of the younger generation not to leave the leadership of the future to the vagaries of chance. If the best young people in our midst do not aspire to leadership roles, the field will be occupied by lesser persons. This would be a tragedy, for Singapore requires and deserves our best young persons to come forward.

(18) The lessons of history. . .remind us that where self-renewal is left to haphazard chance, the decision-making process in society [passes] into the province of fickle and irresponsible gamblers with destiny, [wastefully extravagant] with the nation’s wealth. They then proceed to mortgage the future, and generations to come will continue to pay for their follies of omission and commission.

(19) The greatest contribution you can make to the nation is to so constitute yourselves as to become a potent force for the national good. No individual can prosper if the society in which he lives and works goes down the drain. . .it is the quality and motivation of the individual which determines the quality of achievement of society as a whole.

C.V. Devan Nair, in What Singapore Means to Me (1981)


Excerpts from Not by Wages Alone, by Devan Nair

Transcribed by Jess C Scott from Not By Wages Alone (Selected Speeches and Writings of Devan Nair, 1959-1981).

Full article at Singapore Repository.

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Excerpts from “Not by Wages Alone — Reflections on the Elimination of Strife in Industry” (1972)
by Devan Nair

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Mr. Devan Nair bidding farewell to NTUC staff members in 1981, the year he became President. — ST FILE PHOTO

(1) But there is a bit too much of artificial euphoria in our Republic, what with the seeming economic boom. . .and so on and so forth.

(2) The survival of a small nation state like Singapore depends on the degree to which we achieve integration at all levels — national integration of different ethnic, linguistic and religious groups; educational and social integration so that each individual feels part of the national larger community; integration of development efforts involving the tripartite association of Government, entrepreneurs and labour.

(3) Now, if you regard the wage motive as the sole motivation that a worker is capable of, then it stands to reason that he will try and conform to your expectation. There will be no place in his thinking for solidarity of interests with the enterprise he works in, for pride of achievement, for job satisfaction and other satisfactions.

(4) If the commercialism of the labour market treats the worker as a mercenary, then a mercenary he inevitably becomes.

(5) One may expect wages and salaries, however, to be increasingly determined in future years on the basis of general guidelines laid down by the National Wages Council, having regard to the performance and the growth rate of the national economy as a whole. This should help to remove fears that incomes of workers in the Republic do not keep pace with economic growth and capacity.

(6) Wages and salaries are not the sole determinants of either the quality of production or of the quality of our society.

(7) The worker has a right not only to a decent wage. He has also a right to expect, and a civilised society owes this to him, that his work will provide him with satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment. To regard the worker as nothing more than a wage slave enhances neither productivity nor the quality of our society. It merely diminishes the one and depraves the other.

(8) The successful personnel manager is one who can steer both management and workers to a shared sense of partnership in production, and is able to promote a sense of loyalty and of belonging to the enterprise on the part of the workers and of genuine concern for the progress of the undertaking as a whole.

(9) The improved industrial climate and the higher productivity. . .will be something quite beyond the reach of the old tribe of bullying drill-sergeant supervisors, whose only measurable achievements are man-hours lost, and not man-hours gained.

(10) If desirable changes for the better are to take place in our present system and concepts of industrial relations, we require to have our forerunners to scout the possibilities of improvements in the future. [Singaporeans] must be their own forerunners into the future.

C.V. Devan Nair, in Not By Wages Alone (1972)


Excerpts from The Emerging Elite, by Devan Nair

Transcribed by Jess C Scott from Not By Wages Alone (Selected Speeches and Writings of Devan Nair, 1959-1981).

Full article at Singapore Repository.

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Excerpts from “The Emerging Elite” (1973)
by Devan Nair

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Devan Nair:
Istana File Photo

(1) The shortcomings, weaknesses and foibles of the elite have their reactions on the ground. . .there should be periodic and public assessments of ground level reactions to them.

(2) What distresses me is the feeling that, at ground level, the new elite in Singapore appear to be generally regarded, not as the inspiring social leaders they ought to be, but as somewhat odious but necessary evils.

(3) There is a very vital reason why our new elite should take a hard look at themselves, the image they project to the ground, and their social values, or more correctly, what strikes the ground as their lack of social values. . .in order to rule and to lead effectively, there is a fundamental pre-requisite. And this is the acceptance by the ground of [the] aspirants to political and social leadership in Singapore.

(4) It is important to appreciate, however, that Lee Kuan Yew and Co. belong to a freak generation. In fact, as individuals, they were quite unrepresentative of the great majority of their social class. . .in more senses than one, [they] are the creators of the vibrant and bustling Republic we know today. However, freak generations are never repeated by history. Indeed, it sometimes happens that their work is undone by those who inherit their mantle of leadership.

(5) One unpleasant side-effect has been the creation of [an] elite with an enormous appreciation of their own financial value and a singular lack of any larger social consciousness or commitment. The success syndrome has engendered in many of them, not loftier and more worthy social drives, but baser and narrowly personal and selfish appetites.

(6) Excessively self-centred, [the new elite's] primary concern seems to be the constant enhancement of their own market value, and the extra perks they can get for themselves.

(7) What [people on the ground] do resent is the lack of any tangible signs of general social concern or commitment on the part of the new elite. . .flamboyant life styles, and vulgar displays of affluence and spending power, do not endear the elite to the ground. They only estrange.

(8) The fact remains that an elite in any society must be a minority. And the sole social and political justification for an elite, in the long run, is the degree to which they can lead and inspire a whole society to higher levels of achievement. If they fail to do this, and are content merely to serve themselves and feather their own nests, there can be only one end-result — social and political instability in the Singapore of the future.

(9) It would be much easier for members of the emerging elite in Singapore [if] they took their own market value a little less seriously, and concentrated much more on widening and deepening their social values and commitments.

(10) What is called for is less of the cocktail circuit and more of the community circuit. . .all this must be done sincerely. For nothing smells more rankly to ground level noses than insincerity and hypocrisy at the top.

(11) After all, it requires only a little reflection on the part of our emerging elite to help them restrain their own selfish concerns. The simple truth is that they are where they are today, with their enhanced market value and special perks, because of the discipline and wage restraint exercised by the working population.

(12) The elitist aspirants to the future leadership of Singapore must be educated to realise that to be accepted as leaders of society, they must be clearly seen to be giving of themselves, their time and their energies, in a whole-hearted way, to the community. Those who choose only to receive, but not to give, will deserve, not the crown of leadership, but the failure of the Singapore effort to create a more just and a more equal society. It will be a failure which will be placed squarely at their doors.

C.V. Devan Nair, in The Emerging Elite (1973)


Far Away In Time, Blog Tour

New Release Feature!

Maria Savva was one of the first author-friends I made online. She is a skilled writer and a great woman with a kind soul.

You can check out her interview on this blog from 2010.

It is my pleasure to introduce her latest publication, Far Away In Time.

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Blurb/Description:

Our lives are a series of stories, and we are the characters with the starring roles. The memories, regrets, secrets, and struggles that fill these pages are at once unique and relatable. These stories belong to us all.

Eight unforgettable tales reaching out to a place Far Away In Time…

Book Trailer:

Author Bio:

Maria Savva lives and works in London. She studied Law at Middlesex University and The College of Law. She is a lawyer, although not currently practising law. Many of her books and stories are inspired by her years working as a lawyer, although she has not written a courtroom drama to date. She has published five novels, the most recent of which is Haunted, a crime fiction/psychological thriller. Far Away In Time is her sixth collection of short stories. You can find out more about her work at her official website: www.mariasavva.com

Buy Links (Far Away In Time):

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon FR | Amazon CA | Amazon JP


Thoughts On Being A Socio-Political Blogger

* Featured on The Real SG and TR Emeritus.

INTRODUCTION:
Thoughts On Being A Socio-Political Blogger

1. Background

My name is Jess and I’m 27. I was born in Singapore and spent the first two decades of my life there. I am a U.S. citizen as of 2012.

As a teenager in Singapore, I was politically indifferent and apathetic. I had a keen interest in history, but not even a passing interest in politics.

This was due to a pervasive climate of fear, caused by the PAP government’s history of undermining the independence of the press and judiciary, and silencing dissent.

I grew up with the impression that it was literally dangerous to have — let alone express in public — any critical political views.

This limitation on the freedom of expression led to a feeling of disempowerment, where I had little hope for any changes in a positive direction for the society I was part of.

2. Freedom of Expression

Expression

Milana Knezevic, a journalist working at Index on Censorship, explains the value of freedom of expression:

Why is access to freedom of expression important? Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. It also underpins most other rights and allows them to flourish. The right to speak your mind freely on important issues in society, access information and hold the powers that be to account, plays a vital role in the healthy development process of any society.

Index on Censorship adds:

Free speech creates the space for the exchange of ideas in the arts, literature, religion, academia, politics and science, and is essential for other rights such as freedom of conscience and freedom of assembly. Without this, individuals can’t make informed decisions and fully participate in society.

Freedom of expression can be abused when people take it to the extreme, to voice their opinion recklessly and irresponsibly. But this alone does not justify the opposite extreme where freedom of expression is suppressed.

It is “freedom of expression” that made me more informed about socio-political issues in a broader context.

3. Government Accountability

All government propaganda works the same way — by spreading information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, that promotes a particular political cause or point of view.

The biggest danger with biased reporting is the distortion of facts.

A Nation article published in 2014 provides an example of distortion via media misrepresentation — through a critical analysis of how mainstream press coverage has become less objective and less balanced over time.

Dr. Michael S. Rozeff adds that “a government shouldn’t cover up crimes and shouldn’t conceal [wrongful] exercises of power.”

Accountability ensures actions taken by a country’s public officials are subject to review, so that government initiatives meet their objectives and respond to the needs of the community.

4. Alternative vs. Mainstream Media

People are increasingly placing more trust in alternative media than in the scripted mainstream media.

Singaporeans are also beginning to turn more and more to the Internet for news and information, after decades of the PAP government having a dominant voice in Singapore’s mainstream media.

As former ISD director, Mr. Yoong Siew Wah, aptly summarizes:

“What the mainstream media, especially The Straits Times, dishes out to the public is what the government wants the public to read.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 2 May 2010)

5. Role of the Internet

The following paragraphs by Michael T. Snyder illustrate the role of the Internet:

“The Internet gives us an opportunity to impact the world that is unlike anything previous generations have ever had. Those in power have begun to recognize how powerful the Internet is, and so they have begun to crack down on it.

It is also important to keep in mind that the Internet allows us to watch them as well. The Internet is an incredible tool for exposing evil and corruption, and over the past decade we have seen many instances when average people on the Internet have broken major news stories that the mainstream media would not dare touch initially.

In the final analysis, the ability to wake people up and to literally change the world outweighs the risks of being watched. Don’t be afraid to stand up for the truth. It is better to do what is right and to be persecuted for it than to stand aside and do nothing.”
(10 Reasons Why)

6. Responsible Activism

Activism is defined as the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.

Tony Cartalucci writes that “the true power of the people comes [from] getting organized and getting active. . .not just [making demands of] the communities and nations we want to live in, but to cultivate the skills and institutions required to build them ourselves.”

@StopImperialism, an independent media outlet, is “anti-war, anti-imperialism, anti-oligarchy [and] pro-peace, pro-progress, pro-economic development.”

Informed Activism is not the same thing as Terrorism (the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims), or Anarchism (a belief that government and laws are completely unnecessary).

7. Conclusion

I started developing a keen interest in Singapore’s political history in 2014.

I continue having a big interest because it is my birth country, and because it is an ideal case study to observe socio-political forces. That these forces are contained in a concentrated manner in a geographically small country makes it easier to study, and to recognize “patterns” on a global scale.

That was how my own political interest and awareness began — with small steps.

With political apathy, the situation is vastly different, because it encourages a person to just “switch off,” not bother, and leave it to a few people to enact the changes, both locally and globally.

It’s in everyone’s interest to be educated politically and socially. After all, we’re already global citizens.

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More Information:

About Freedom of Expression (by Index on Censorship)
Becoming a Global Citizen (by Global Citizens Initiative)
Distorting Russia (by The Nation, on distortion via media misrepresentation)
“Global Citizen” Graphic (by Shushant)


Geoff Wade’s Insights

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Short Bio:

Prof. Geoff Wade is a Canberra-based author, researcher, and historian.

He worked in Singapore for a number of years, first at NUS and then at ISEAS.

Here are some excerpts of his writings on Singapore.

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(1) Excerpt from Singapore After Lee Kuan Yew

This article takes a look at the social costs incurred in the pursuit of transforming Singapore into an economic miracle.

“The party-state tightly controlled every aspect of social existence and claimed that it could represent the interests of all citizens. The resultant malleable, fearful and supine population served the needs of the People’s Action Party (PAP), and while this was useful for economic development, it was less than efficient in creating sentiments of loyalty or patriotism.

With the lower levels of society serving the interests of the elite, there was little intrinsic group loyalty, and money had to serve as a poor substitute. Indeed, the degree to which the political arrangements and structures instituted by Lee Kuan Yew have warped Singapore society remain largely unexplored in mainstream media.

Singapore Inc.’s spin-doctors’ tales solely of positive manifestations of economic development continue to hide the damaging social effects which his autocracy has had on every aspect of society.”

(2) Excerpt from The 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore
[Contributor: Geoff Wade]
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“The police operation known as ‘Operation Coldstore’ was carried out in Singapore in the early hours of 2 February 1963. Through it and the more than 113 arrests and detentions it entailed, the political left of Singapore was eviscerated. The operation and the events leading up to it remain woefully understudied and underdocumented.

This is particularly so given their palpable importance to both the process of the establishment of the Malaysia state and to the creation of virtually every aspect of modern Singapore. The sensitivity of the topic even today is obvious from the scant attention the operation is given in Singapore’s own history writing, both official and otherwise. This is also reflected in other official accounts of the period. . .

. . .We thus see why secrecy and sensitivity continue to surround the issue of Operation Coldstore even today. The arrests and detentions made under the operation were intended to ensure that the British policy of Greater Malaysia was realised, and that the PAP was able to achieve dominance in the political sphere of Singapore.

The documentary trail leading up to Operation Coldstore suggests that the Singapore prime minister [LKY] accepted conditions for merger which were grossly disadvantageous to the people of Singapore in order to secure continued support from the British, that he conducted a referendum on the issue in ways which even the British termed ‘devious’, continually misrepresented himself and his positions to the PAP members, and utilised Operation Coldstore to remove his political opponents and ensure future political dominance. The fear instilled and pretexts created during Operation Coldstore continued to be employed by the PAP in the subsequent decades of Singapore’s development.

By eliminating credible political opposition through indefinite detention without trial, Operation Coldstore essentially created the conditions where a single political force could dominate every aspect of the Singapore polity. In addition, the maintenance of policies and laws mandated and utilised during the period leading up to and during Operation Coldstore has proven effective in ensuring that no effective political alternatives have subsequently been able to emerge or grow.

It is thus to Operation Coldstore we must look today when trying to understand many aspects of modern Singapore, and particularly how Singapore has become an essentially one-party state, where a single political force controls and dominates every aspect of social existence — from the political to the economic, from defence to internal security, and from education to social policies, and has done so since 1963.”

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More Information:

1. Prof. Geoff Wade (NUS Profile | ISEAS | Facebook)
2. Operation Spectrum (Wikipedia)
3. Operation Spectrum (Singapore Rebel)
4. Buy the Book: Operation Spectrum (Select Books | Kinokuniya | MPH)
5. Editors of the book (Dr. Poh Soo Kai | Tan Kok Fang | Dr. Hong Lysa)
6. S/pores (Community of Singapore ‘Home Scholars’)


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