Front-page headlining news of The Sunday Times on Oct 12, 2003: "DPM wants PM, SM in his cabinet… when he takes over." I don’t call that news. They should do a survey and find out if Singaporeans had expected otherwise for the item to be justified as headlining news. Eh… oh I see! It’s news for foreigners, like most other things in Singapore! Ai-ya, of 'cos, lah, how can I be so stupid!

In that same edition of the paper — "On that slapping story… In 1990, rumour went that Mr Dhanabalan received an angry slap from Mr Lee Hsien Loong for supposedly siding with Dr Hu in an argument." My siow friend’s response to that: So maybe it wasn’t an angry slap at all but a correctional slap or a cautionary slap, maybe even an affectionate slap. But I warned him, be careful he might get accused of re-starting an old rumour, which, come to think of it, they’re still at it in the papers! Right down to the exact year it was started!

The report elaborated: "The story circulated throughout the 1990s and found its way into a book on Singapore by Australian academic Ross Worthington last year. Did Mr Dhanabalan plan to sue the writer to clear his name?"

"If the author of the book were here and had assets, I would sue him. But he is an Australian and is out of jurisdiction" — was the reply.

Hmmm… interesting.

A 50-year-old Singapore man was arrested in Bangkok for threatening to assassinate our PM and bomb the Singapore and American embassies, the Straits Times reported on Oct 10, ’03. "This was apparently motivated by a desire to disrupt events and he may have some mental problems," the report added. Sane HDB-dwellers (read: heartlanders) in Singapore, I’m sure, would not be surprised at this 'cos they know there are plenty of loonies deep in the heart of our true heartland. And that national heartlanding "psychosis" even at its most benign can be encountered as SM* -defensive behaviour on an everyday level. Yeah, one flew over the cuckoo’s nest… like it means anything to most, or that they care.

A reader wrote to the ST saying: "The standard of English is falling. The standard of Chinese is also falling, perhaps even more drastically. The end product of the education system seems to be individuals who are apathetic and incapable of thinking independently…" (my italics) (Oct 10. ’03). Sounds like sheer success for the system as it was intended, if you ask me!

About the Andrea De Cruz vs Slim 10 court battle (see also chapter 54 of my book Attack Of The SM* Space Encroachers)… One brave, albeit unnamed, local actress said in 8 Days (issue #679): "If this case had happened in the US, the official bodies which approved Slim 10 would’ve been sued for millions of dollars." Darling, the official body here most definitely made an "honest mistake," if the mistake was at all theirs to begin with.

Semon Liu, the "acccountable" boss who imported the harmful Slim 10 slimming product, told 8 Days (#680): "People tell us to be entrepreneurs — I did that and got two tight slaps." People? I know it’s time for Liu to cover backside more than ever, but people and Gov. are not the same, you know. For a start, people are unlikely to make "honest mistakes" (a theory based on punitive measures meted by the court of justice; take Liu himself, for instance). Just as the Gov. never makes a "dishonest mistake" (based on, at least, the 540 cases of corruption reported thus far this year — ST, Oct 7, ’03). Anyway, it is interesting that Liu spoke of entrepreneurship.

"Window displays of maids (-photos) must stop, agencies told" — the ST headline went on Oct 15, ’03. An official circular from the authorities has been issued to warn that such displays are "unacceptable practices." Tough luck, entrepreneurs. Reason given: "It has created international disrepute for Singapore, as we are perceived not to have accorded the foreign domestic workers basic human dignity."

I won’t argue about the concern over "international disrepute," after all, it’s foreigners forever! But I am just that bit baffled by the nature of the "basic human dignity" referred to there. Is that the same one that not long ago insisted gay-lifestyle is unacceptable to our Asian family values but now says we have grown tolerant when the transparency for it is clearly all to do with "chasing the pink dollar" (Sunday Times, Aug 17, ’03)?

I have to ask because if I don’t understand it, how do you expect the SM*-defensive Singaporeans to? I think we should at least state it in better, clearer terms, as in "basic ECONOMIC human dignity." There, isn’t it so much clearer now? Just as we have homoNOsexuals in Singapore (see August ’03 of The X’Ho-Files — Use Your Brain To Cover Your Butt, It’s Homo Time), we should add "basic ECONOMIC human dignity" to our extraordinary national nature. Nothing’s too "radical" to flaunt in the face of Remaking Singapore, remember?

In a sense, I’d say we HAVE arrived. Just think, we now allow chewing gum to be sold here again. Only with a prescription, of course. As in — doctor’s order. As in — with written authorisation. Nothing like a gummy piece of pure poetry in chewing motion. And it was all the result of an ECONOMIC free trade pact! It’s like — you want gum? You got it (but with authorisation, lor)! Yes siree, there ain’t nothin’ we can’t get around.

Like I said — arrived! - X’Ho

* SM — sng muay (sour grapes)

Visit X'Ho's official site at

For more... email with the message, "Put me on your mailing list."