Is regulation of the press desirable? (N17 A-levels)

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By Steven Ooi, retired GP tutor

In the last two decades or so, the growing reach of the Internet and exponential growth in related mobile communications technology have brought seismic changes to the way in which information is disseminated and views exchanged. News generation has become decentralised – once newspapers, TV and radio stations fed the news to their consumers, but now anyone can be a journalist by writing or posting videos on his blog or social media account. Thus in the current context, it is my view that the only meaningful definition of “the press” would be all forms of media old and new seen as a collective whole. Today social media often has greater influence over the public than traditional media, and so any discussion of the regulation of information cannot exclude social media. For this essay, desirability shall be defined in terms of both positive practical outcomes and ethical considerations. I hold the position that the control of the press by means of rules or restrictions is desirable only insofar as it provides a reasonable balance between conflicting human rights and aspects of the public interest, and only if regulation is carried out by truly independent entities.

Mandela on the press

At times journalists and media outlets, in their zeal to obtain information and gain an edge over their competitors, carry out actions that are illegal, unethical or both. This can lead to the violation of the rights of individuals and lower the moral character of a society. A prominent example is the phone-hacking scandal that brought down British tabloid The News of the World in 2011. Reporters from the paper were found to have hacked the phones of celebrities, politicians and members of the British royal family. What shocked the country and world even more was the revelation that the newspaper had even intruded into the phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and victims of the 7 July 2005 terror attacks on the London Underground train network. The freedom of the press cannot be allowed to extend so far that it eviscerates the fundamental right of individuals to privacy, which is also integral to a person’s dignity. For a society to enjoy dignity and happiness, a reasonable balance needs to be struck between rights and freedoms that conflict with one another. Furthermore, the total lack of respect shown by the journalists for the deceased was also appalling and, if left unchecked, would cause the moral degradation of society. Thus regulations to bar the press from carrying out such aggressive and unethical information-gathering activities are not only necessary but desirable as well.

Another human right that can be encroached upon by excessive press freedom would be the right to safety. Media outlets that choose to incite violence can bring about large-scale violence and harm to life and limb. For this reason, many countries have restrictions on such content. For instance, the United States prohibits speech that is designed to incite immediate violence or unlawful activity. In a court decision, an American judge likened such speech to shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre, creating a clear and present danger. In another case, the Court ruled that such speech has no social value and can thus be curtailed. I concur with the reasoning of the American courts and argue that the right of the press to express itself cannot override the right of the individual to safety, and therefore regulation of the media in this regard is to be welcomed. Having said that, one should note that just as no right is absolute, the circumscription of any right may also not hold water under some circumstances. For instance, if a newspaper incites violence to overthrow an egregiously unjust, tyrannical and murderous regime, it may be justifiable for the greater good of the country and of humanity. In prosecuting such a case, it is hoped that an impartial court would take the context and unique moral and legal calculus into due consideration.

Gandhi on the press

Constraints on press freedom can also be warranted by national security considerations, an important facet of the public interest. It is reasonable to sacrifice a limited amount of press freedom in order to ensure national security, which is vital to the very survival of the state – without which no human rights or happiness is even possible. While the First Amendment of the US Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”, the Supreme Court has also recognised that in certain situations, the government is allowed to limit the liberty of the press. One of these is when a confidential source violates a federal law in leaking information to the press. In such a case, the reporter can be subpoenaed and be required to name her source. In 2005, New York Times reporter Judith Miller served 85 days in jail for contempt of court when she refused to disclose the source who leaked the identity of undercover Central Intelligence Agency agent Valerie Plame. Except in the most extraordinary of circumstances, for instance if it was crucial to violate federal secrecy laws to protect the survival of the state or to correct a gross injustice against the people, journalists cannot be allowed to undermine national security in the name of press freedom. In recent times, a particularly notable example of the media undermining (or being used to undermine) national security is the alleged Russian manipulation of the US presidential election in 2016 by spreading fake news on Facebook using highly sophisticated programs such as “bots” or autonomous programs designed to behave like humans online. Such disinformation campaigns, if not regulated, can undermine not only national security but even the sovereignty of a state itself.

Certainly however, legitimate concerns are raised by opponents of press regulation that it can be misused by governments to stifle criticism, dissent and even political opposition. Differing views exist as to what the role of the media should be. In western nations, the media is widely recognised as the fourth estate or fourth power, the latter term referring to an unofficial fourth branch of government in addition to the executive, legislative and judiciary. In this paradigm the media act as a public check on the official branches of government. In other countries, however, the role of the media is defined very differently. For instance in Singapore, the founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew delineated the media’s function as providing “nation-building journalism”: assisting the government in implementing policies and the general governance of the country. In this school of thought, the press should faithfully inform the masses about the work of the government. I subscribe to the former conception of the media as the fourth power, as it is crucial to have alternative sources of information, in particular by professional journalists or truth-seekers, in order for the people to make wise choices in the exercise of their political choices. For this reason I am sympathetic to the view that press regulation can be used as a tool of oppression or partisan political interests by governments. It is conceivable, for instance, that a government-controlled regulator could fabricate charges and allegations against a newspaper or blog that is critical of it, just to silence it. However, the need for press regulation as outlined earlier is so compelling that it overrides concerns of governmental abuse, the problem of which can be resolved or at least mitigated by having strongly independent regulatory bodies which are not allied to the government or any political party.

 

In conclusion, it is my conviction that it is sensible and wise to have a rules-based system to govern the press, but only to the extent that a judicious balance is struck between competing rights and conflicting aspects of the public interest, and only if the regulation is carried out by a body that is nonpartisan and independent of the government. As with most other issues of society, a delicate balance needs to be struck through a thorough engagement between all stakeholders – taking into account the constant changes in the landscape of media, technology, politics, culture and society. While a vibrant, robust press is vital to a healthy democracy and good governance, we must also hold the fourth estate to account and ensure that it remains a responsible and constructive actor in society.

Copyright 2018 Steven Ooi. All rights reserved. No part of this work is to be reproduced without the written consent of the author.

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from NUS, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as an English and GP tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to GP and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

More GP model essays here.

English or General Paper tutors keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10-15 on Google) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

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Hitting back at China’s ‘economic and information warfare’: Steve Bannon explains

Bannon 01

In recent times, the US government led by President Donald Trump has confronted China on the issue of trade with a hostility that is unprecedented in modern times. Accusing China of stealing US technology and unfair trade practices, Trump has imposed tariffs on some US$250 billion worth of Chinese imports, or almost half of all Chinese imports to the US. While it is popular to regard Trump and his former chief strategist Steven Bannon (above) as madmen, there is actually a coherence behind the rationale for the US government’s actions as well as the strategy that they are executing. The two superb articles below from the South China Morning Post (a newspaper that I am increasingly impressed with – and they don’t even have a paywall!) gave me a much better understanding of the Trump administration’s actions and attitude towards China, and even a certain degree of empathy for them. Interestingly, the firebrand Steve Bannon also now strikes me as a deeply intelligent, thoughtful man. As you read these articles, ponder on the struggle between the forces of globalisation and anti-globalisation – is the seemingly inexorable trend of an ever more tightly integrated world about to reverse course?

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Steve Bannon, two Chinese military officers and the book that made him a China hawk

Former White House chief strategist says Unrestricted Warfare opened his eyes to Beijing’s information and economic campaign against the US

South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 8:23pm

Steve Bannon, US President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, says it was a book by two Chinese military officers that helped him conclude that “China was engaging in economic warfare against us”.

Bannon, who claims to have been “one of the biggest China hawks” in the president’s circle of advisers even before the trade war Trump started this year, also called Beijing’s “totalitarian political and economic system” the root of the rivalry between the two great powers.

Unrestricted Warfare, a book on military strategy by two senior People’s Liberation Army officers impressed Bannon when he read it in 2010.

Read more here

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Trump won’t back down’: US president plans to make trade war unbearable for China and bigger than ever, Steve Bannon says

In an exclusive interview, the former White House chief strategist says Beijing was caught off guard by the magnitude of the plan he hatched with Trump

South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 September, 2018, 6:04 pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 September, 2018, 11:28 pm

Sasha Gong

1 Oct 2018

US President Donald Trump’s strategy is to make the trade war with China “unprecedentedly large” and “unbearably painful” for Beijing, and he will not back down before victory, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said in an exclusive interview.

Bannon said the aim was not just to force China to give up on its “unfair trade practices” – the ultimate goal was to “re-industrialise America” because manufacturing was the core of a nation’s power.

He also took aim at the “Made in China 2025” plan – an attempt by Beijing to catch up with the West in 10 key technology sectors, saying China was using generous government support to reduce its reliance on the West for future technology.

Bannon, who claimed to have helped Trump draw up the trade war plan, said that in the past, tariffs had been limited to imports of between roughly US$10 billion and US$30 billion but the sheer magnitude of the more than US$500 billion in question this time had “caught Beijing off guard”.

Read more here.

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from the National University of Singapore, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as a GP and English tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to General Paper and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP model essays here.

GP or English tutors (including part-timers) keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10 on Google) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

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Singapore’s National Service obligations need clarity in a global world

NS1

Singapore Armed Forces personnel perform a drill during National Day celebrations on 9 August, 2013. (Reuters file photo)

by Daniel Yap, Yahoo News Singapore

He was born and educated in Thailand, served in the Royal Thai Army and is no longer a Singapore citizen. Yet Ekawit Tangtrakarn, 24, now faces a potential jail term of nine weeks for defaulting on his national service (NS) obligations.
[Update: Ekawit Tangtrakam was fined S$6,000 by the District Court on 18 September 2018]

Ekawit, whose mother is Singaporean and father is Thai, pleaded guilty on Tuesday (28 August) to remaining outside Singapore without a valid exit permit, the typical charge for NS defaulters.

The Thai national’s case follows closely on the revelation that Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan, who left Singapore at age 11, is “wanted” here for a similar offence.

Read more here.

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from the National University of Singapore, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as a GP and English tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to General Paper and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP model essays here.

GP or English tutors (including part-timers) keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10 on Google) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

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‘Practical ability is just as important as intellectual skills.’ How far is this true in your society? (model essay: N17 A-level GP exam)

Young children in Singapore attend a tutorial class after school (picture credit: Straits Times)

[Dear readers, I have chosen not to charge for access to my essays and articles so that they are available to all. I have chosen instead to generate some revenue through advertising. As such may I kindly request that you turn off ad blockers on your browser. Many thanks.]

By Steven Ooi

Many parents in Singapore lament that children in our country today cannot enjoy their childhood. The emphasis on academic grades has risen steadily over the 50-odd years of our independence to the point that almost every waking hour of a child or teenager is spent either attending classes (and co-curricular activities) in school, attending extra tutoring classes after school or doing homework assigned by either the school teacher or private tutor. It can seem that intellectual skills, which this essay shall define as the capacity to solve abstract problems and grasp abstract concepts such as those in advanced calculus, take precedence over every other measure of a person including practical ability – which I shall define as the capacity to solve problems in day-to-day life such as fixing a leaky tap, managing a team of workers or investing in the stock market. To clarify, intellectual skills are the focus of academic studies, and thus the country’s focus on grades are a good index of the importance that it places on intellectual skills. In spite of this, it is my contention that it is to a great extent true that practical competence is just as high a priority as intellectual skills in Singapore.

Opponents to my claim would point to the obsession with grades and not only the doors that impressive academic credentials open for a person, but also the tremendous social prestige that they confer. Scoring straight A’s at the A-level exams or graduating with first class honours from a highly regarded university adds considerably to a person’s social status, and even that of his parents. Little wonder that parents are often heard comparing their children’s grades, schools and so on. Studies also consistently show that the percentage of graduates of the highly regarded state universities such as the National University of Singapore who secure a full-time job within six months after graduation is much higher than those from less well-regarded institutions – about 80 percent versus 60 percent in a recent case. The traditional model of marquee government scholarships being granted to top scorers in examinations, who then typically go on to occupy top jobs in public service and government-linked corporations (GLCs), serves to cement the position of those who hold a view counter to my own. A notable feature of Singapore is the heavy involvement of government in business even while promoting free enterprise – a curious hybrid of free-market capitalism and socialism. This gives rise to the phenomenon of “Singapore Inc”, the idea of country as corporation with the government owning some of the largest companies such as Keppel Corporation and ST Engineering. The boards of directors at these GLCs include many former government scholars such as Lee Seow Hiang of Changi Airports International.

Sharpening the perception that intellectual or academic talent outweighs practical ability is the impression held by many that some of these scholars, despite their sterling academic record, do not perform well on the job. Desmond Kuek, a scholar and former military general, oversaw the country’s rail operator SMRT Corp while it suffered a spike in breakdowns, a tunnel flooding and even a collision between two trains. Ng Yat Chung, another scholar and former general, was CEO of state-owned shipping liner Neptune Orient Lines, which racked up over a billion Singapore dollars in losses until it was sold to French firm CMA CGM, which managed to turn it around into profitability after one year. Such instances have led to questions of whether Singapore is a true meritocracy of practical skills, or just a hierarchy of grades.

An SMRT train sits stranded in a flooded tunnel, 2017

An SMRT train sits stranded in a flooded tunnel, 2017

However, we should not let such relatively isolated occurrences obscure the fact that Singapore society prizes practical results even more than academic ones. It is the nature of this microscopic, natural resource-starved island nation to be ultra-pragmatic, and Singaporeans know more than anyone else that practical outcomes matter more than any textbook treatise. The very fact that scholars such as Mr Kuek and Mr Ng faced fierce public criticism makes it clear that the country as a whole places practical competence above intellectual skills. When public housing prices soared beyond the reach of many in the first decade of the 21st century, the former minister in charge Mr Mah Bow Tan faced considerable public opprobrium – not too many were heard mentioning his impressive academic credentials or the fact that he was a President’s Scholar then.

Singapore society is also evolving to accept and even embrace a wider diversity of talents and paths to success than the traditional yellow brick road of academic excellence leading to a good job in government or a large company. Today, partly thanks to government efforts, those who do well in everything from sports to arts to cooking are well respected. Thanks to the commercialisation of sport, skills such as swimming and football can be seen as very practical today, and swimmer Joseph Schooling, who won Singapore’s first ever Olympic gold medal, is now one of the most respected figures in the country. Chan Hong Meng, a humble hawker who received a Michelin Star for his $3 chicken rice and noodles, saw his achievement celebrated by virtually the whole country, who also cheered as he took his signature dishes to Manila and London, receiving worldwide acclaim. Certainly the likes of Hawker Chan, as he is fondly known, command greater esteem from society in this day and age than a person who has tremendous intellect but little practical success.

This is all the more so as the traditional marker of intellectual skills – a college degree – becomes so common in Singapore as to become commoditized. In the 1980s, a mere 10 percent or less of the population held a bachelor’s degree or higher. Today close to half of those in their 20s and 30s have a degree, and the growth in professional, managerial and executive jobs has not kept up. As a result, graduate unemployment numbers have crept upwards and as mentioned earlier, a recent survey found that about a fifth of fresh graduates from even the highly rated state universities could not find a full-time job after six months. As Nominated Member of Parliament Kuik Shiao-yin articulated recently, what is important in today’s world is not just what degree one holds, but what one acquired from one’s degree programme – a personal network, knowledge, and yes, sharper skills. By that I assume she was referring to practical skills and not just intellectual ones. Increasingly Singapore society is coming to terms with the fact that the world is becoming more competitive, and few employers are going to give you a job merely for intellectual skills demonstrated in an exam. One must possess the aptitudes, know-how and problem-solving abilities needed to navigate an increasingly complex, volatile and interconnected world.

In sum, I stand by my stance that practical capabilities are at least as high a priority in Singapore as intellectual, academic attainments. A close examination of the issue in this country reveals that the national preoccupation on academic scores is overshadowed by its fixation on pragmatic results – which are much more correlated to practical ability. If one adds to that the inflation of grades and academic credentials, and the widening of the forms of achievement recognised by society, an inexorable trend towards increased emphasis on real-life skills becomes clear. After the euphoria or disappointment of an examination result ebbs, every Singaporean will be judged ultimately on what he or she accomplishes in the often inhospitable waters of real life. For this tiny island, practical success has always been not just a matter of glory, but of its very survival.

Copyright 2018 Steven Ooi. All rights reserved. No part of this work is to be reproduced without the written consent of the author.

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from NUS, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as an English and GP tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to GP and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

More GP model essays here.

English or General Paper tutors keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10-15 on Google) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

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Hopes from Hong Lim: Disappointment could give way to delight

Not my President Sg 01 - Nikkei Asian Review

Photo: Nikkei Asian Review

This article is a bit old (from late 2017), but I only just discovered it and think it is still very much worth sharing.

One of the points that writer Jason Tan makes would probably be met with a firm rebuttal from the former president of Singapore, Dr Tony Tan. Jason Tan writes that it is the President’s duty to “be an effective check on the elected government” and “assert herself as a distinct and independent power centre and [counterbalance] the executive branch of government”.

In 2016, then-president Tan expressed in a message to Parliament that the Elected President must act in accordance with the roles prescribed in the Constitution and not hold back the Elected Government of the day from performing its executive role. He or she cannot be a second centre of power, he asserted.

You can read the official description from the Istana about the president’s roles and responsibilities here.

I agree to a large extent with Dr Tony Tan’s sentiments, as under our political system, Parliament is the primary setting for political contestation as well as checks and balances to be manifested. If the Elected President were to actively engage in political debate and seek to be another “power centre”, Parliament would be undermined and our system would be heavily unsettled.

However, the President also holds an office steeped in symbolic meaning; he or she is the Head of State, chosen by the people, and therefore is supposed to be a wise man or woman revered by the people. Given this status and exalted position, I believe that she should be willing to speak up on the basis of conscience and social duty if she feels that something is wrong in the country. Of course she should not wade into every controversy and public debate, much less to align herself with any political party. She should think long and hard about expressing a view on any issue with a political dimension, but expressing such a view does not necessarily mean that she is engaging in politics, in the narrow sense of the word. If done the right way – with respect and empathy for differing viewpoints – she could simply be speaking up for the shared values and common conscience of the nation, to protect values that Singaporeans hold dear. Of course some would disagree with any such viewpoint, but it would be more a unifying act than a divisive one on the part of the President – and thus compatible with the President’s role as a “symbol of unity” (quoting the Istana website).

Put another way, the President can and should share his or her wisdom with the people on matters where his or her wisdom is needed. It is something that the people expect of their elected head of state and esteemed elder – his or her wise counsel. The vast majority understand that the President has very limited executive power – but she certainly has influence, and should use it sagaciously for the betterment of the country.

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September 20, 2017
By Jason Tan

Anger, rage, disappointment and a profound sense of sadness – these were emotions which coursed through the veins of many Singaporeans who were aggrieved at the non-election of the next President of Singapore. It did not come as a surprise that only one Certificate of Eligibility was issued – to the former Speaker of Parliament and current President Halimah Yacob. Aspiring hopefuls and her would-be contenders for the highest office in the land were disqualified as they were unable to meet the SGD500million qualifying threshold for private sector candidates. Hence, the Presidential Election 2017 (PE2017) was consigned to a walkover for the PAP government-endorsed candidate.

I was not angry as much as I was disappointed at the way the ruling government push through complicated changes which all but assured that the preferred choice for the next president was appointed and not elected. I felt a profound and pervasive sense of sadness – how did we end up like this?

Prima facie, it is hard to argue that no tenets of democracy and meritocracy – key pillars undergirding Singapore as a nation and society – were undermined. Many Singaporeans would have celebrated the victory of Halimah Yacob with great and genuine joy if she were given the opportunity to contest and campaign against other candidates (she would probably have won with a decent margin, given her track record and her affable demeanour). Instead, she was denied the dignity of winning the PE2017 and becoming President by dint of her merits and mettle.

Read more here.

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from NUS, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as an English and GP tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to GP and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP model essays here.

English or GP tutors keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10-15 on Google) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

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Education arms race fuelling inequality; solution to improve income alongside access

Education arms race

Picture: The Edge

By Sharanya Pillai, The Edge

4 June 2018

SINGAPORE: Part-time supermarket cashier Rozaini and her husband, who works as a driver, earn a combined income of S$2,000 a month. That money has to support them and their four children, aged between four and 19. Their oldest son is currently undergoing national service, while the second and third children are in primary school. The couple pay $500 a month to rent their two-room flat, spend $800 on groceries and need another $100 for the medical expenses of one son with a skin condition. That takes up the bulk of their income.

In spite of this tight financial situation, Rozaini hopes to send her schoolgoing children for private tuition. She and her husband are both looking for a second job. Rozaini also sells clothes online, which brings her about $100 in extra income monthly. “I just want my children to have a chance to be better than us. They need to get better jobs than what we are doing, and earn more money,” she says. Rozaini and her husband completed Secondary Two and primary school, respectively, and want their children to attain higher educational qualifications.

Households such as Rozaini’s have come under the spotlight in recent weeks as discourse heats up on the concept of upward social mobility — that one can achieve a better socio-economic status than that of one’s parents. In Singapore’s meritocratic system, it has traditionally been a point of pride that anyone with some talent and the willingness to work hard will get ahead. Increasingly, however, this concept is being challenged.

Today, education has become transformed to less of a social leveller and more of an arms race. It has become harder for those from less well-to-do backgrounds to compete on equal terms with their well-to-do counterparts,” says Eugene Tan, an associate professor of law at the Singapore Management University (SMU) and a former nominated member of parliament. “So, even as the opportunities are open to all, access to and utilisation of those opportunities are unequal.”

Read more in The Edge business newspaper here.

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from the National University of Singapore, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as a GP and English tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to General Paper and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP model essays here.

GP or English tutors (including part-timers) keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10 on Google for GP tutor/ tuition searches) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

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Malaysia Finds an Unlikely Champion of Democracy: Its Ex-Strongman

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia waved to his supporters after Friday Prayer in Kuala Lumpur, the capital. Credit: European Pressphoto Agency, via Shutterstock

By Hannah Beech and Richard C. Paddock

The New York Times

May 11, 2018

The story line is a familiar one these days: A populist strongman with a long record of racially divisive commentary prevails in the polls.

But Mahathir Mohamad, who was sworn in as prime minister of Malaysia on Thursday, was not swept to power by the kind of nationalist demagoguery that has captivated electorates in places like Hungary, India and the Philippines.

Instead, Mr. Mahathir was at the head of a multiethnic opposition that ousted a government long dependent on stoking the fears of Malaysia’s Malay Muslim majority to prolong its grip on power. That Mr. Mahathir, 92, had for decades toughened the network of race and patronage that contributed to Malaysia’s political sclerosis is just one of the many surprises of the national elections on Wednesday.

It has produced a multiracial — not Malay or Chinese — tsunami of protest against the corruption, economic mismanagement and abuse of political power,” said Lim Teck Ghee, a public policy analyst and author of the book “Challenging the Status Quo in Malaysia.” “It has avoided racial and religious rancor and acrimony, which would have left a contentious and dangerous aftermath.”

Read more here.

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from the National University of Singapore, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as a GP and English tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to General Paper and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP model essays here.

GP or English tutors (including part-timers) keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10 on Google for GP tutor/ tuition searches) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

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