Friday, 27 December 2013

The Unseen Singapore #17 Whistle Blower Series: Mohamed Jufrie Bin Mahmood aka Singapore's Edward Snowden

On Christmas day, Edward Snowden the now infamous ex-NSA contractor came out of the shadows and declared "mission accomplish"!

Snowden claims to have leaked top NSA secrets so that the American people can have a say in how they are governed and is satisfied that the mission was already accomplished. His unprecedented leaks caused a diplomatic furor worldwide and led to numerous internal reforms within the NSA.

In his own words, "I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA."

It got us at The Unseen Singapore curious since civil servants and national servicemen alike are bounded by the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and are required to guard our nations' secrets stridently. Do we have a Singaporean version of Edward Snowden in our short but yet colourful history?

After much research, the most prominent and apt case study was that of Mohamed Jufrie Bin Mahmood the current Chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

SDP as Singaporeans know is the bastion of liberal democracy in Singapore and it was a startling revelation that its current Chairman was formerly from the infamous Internal Security Department (ISD).

However in 1979, Mohamed Jufrie Bin Mahmood was charged under the the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for divulging ISD operational secrets. For his act, Mohamed Jufrie served 9 months jail and till today, nobody knows the contents supposedly divulged by Mohamed Jufrie Bin Mahmood.

Whether it was a trumped up charge to discredit Jufrie who was openly critical of the Singapore Government or a genuine mis-step by Mohamed Jufrie, it is refreshing to know that brave whistle blowers in the mould of Edward Snowden exists in Singapore.

Mohamed Jufrie may not have gained the public's adoration for his brave resistance against Singapore's Secret Police but he has definitely proven his mettle and is most definitely a man ahead of his time, in fact 34 years ahead of Edward Snowden.

Friday, 13 December 2013

The Unseen Singapore #16 PAP MP Series: Lee Kuan Yew - Internal Security Act

Singaporeans are familiar with the Internal Security Act, it is the law which gives the Government of the day broad powers to detain any individual without open trial. Essentially, if someone is deemed a security threat to the country, the government has the right to throw him in jail and lock him away indefinitely. These powers if left unchecked can lead to abuses and many are concerned with it being immorally used against the government's political opponents. 

These allegations of abuse were most evident in 1963 Operation Coldstore and 1987 Operation Spectrum when the ISA was invoked to arrest numerous individuals on grounds of Communism and Marxism. Ever since those controversial and highly debatable events, the ISA has been used in recent years against the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network in Singapore. 

Despite the perceived "legitimate" usage of the Internal Security Act against these terrorist elements, The  Unseen Singapore would like to re-emphasize the dangers of investing such unregulated powers into any authority. What better way to demonstrate this than to take point from Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. 

Going back to 1959, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's own words epitomized the very dangers of such abuse. In order to push for Singapore's merger into the Federation, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew brazenly threatened any journalists who wrote anything that could "sour up or strain relations between the Federation and Singapore". 

He proclaimed that any such journalist would "go in for subversion ... and will be taken in under the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance (Internal Security Act)" and that he would "put him in and keep him in"! In order to further his own political agenda, Lee Kuan Yew was willing to abuse the ISA and clamp down on the concept of the Free Press. 

Such is the dangers of the Internal Security Act and Singaporeans must understand its dangers and stand up for their own civil liberties. 


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Unseen Singapore #15 CSI Series: SPH Reporter Meredith Woo

On 26 November 2013, Asia One published a defamatory article alleging that NSP politician Nicole Seah uploaded a photo of herself with a man believed to be married.

This turned out to be untruths spread by MSM reporter Meredith Woo whose email is stated as

Up till now, Meredith Woo has not apologised personally but chose to hide behind the safe walls of SPH. Instead, it was Asia One Editor Adrian Tay who apologised on her behalf.

As a journalist, one is expected to uphold journalistic integrity and accountability. Hence, it is a shame that Meredith has chosen to keep mum till this day.

We at The Unseen Singapore did some research and came across some interesting artifacts which may interest the public. 

Hopefully these put a face to the faceless reporter who slandered Ms Nicole Seah.

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Monday, 2 December 2013

The Unseen Singapore #14 PAP MP Series: Highest Paid Politicians In The World

Singapore politicians are the highest paid in the world! Sounds familiar doesn't it? Is this yet another rant about the PAP government justifying their million dollar salaries?

In the minds of Singaporeans, there is one common perception about the PAP old guard. The founders of the PAP were portrayed as men of conviction who cared for the common folk. They were thrifty and survived on a modest salary. They slogged their guts out for the sake of this little red dot. But based on our research findings, there may have been an anomaly to this long held truth.

Do you know that Mr Ong Eng Guan, one of the pioneer members of the People's Action Party received a $7,000 monthly salary for his position as Mayor of the Singapore City Council from 1957- 1958? This salary made him the highest paid mayor in the world!

After factoring the total annual inflation, $7,000 in 1958 is a whopping $56,591 in present terms. This amounts to an annual salary of $680,000! However, this still dwarfs in comparison to PM Lee Hsien Loong's current $2.2 million salary!

As we can see, the act of paying politicians an exorbitant salary did not start from contemporary PAP but started since the genesis of the PAP.

The justifications for such obscene salaries may be different but the fact remains, PAP politicians still hold the record for having the highest paid politicians in the world both in the past and at present!

What are your thoughts on this? Share it with us!

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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Unseen Singapore #13 Political Series: PM Lee Milking Political Mileage Out of "The Messiah"

On 11 November 2013, prominent alternative news website The Online Citizen broke the news that one James Raj Arokiasamy has been charged under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act for carrying out suspected hack attacks from a unit in Dorchester Apartment at Jalan Sri Hartamas in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  

After the arrest was let out of the bag by lawyer M Ravi, sceptical online netizens went into overdrive with many claiming that James Raj was simply a scapegoat for the PAP government. Furthermore, with the inaccessibility of the Straits Times website on the morning of 12 November 2013, it further fed the conspiracy theory that the real "Messiah" was still out there. On the other side of the spectrum, government supporters were quick to wax lyrical on the decisive action taken by the government against such cyber threats.  

However sexy this conspiracy theory sounds, there is unfortunately no credible proof to prove its validity. If this conspiracy was true, it would require the buy in of the Malaysian authorities and that in itself is a bit of a stretch given the at times acrimonious bilateral relationship. Instead, The Unseen Singapore would like to draw your attention to something more interesting. An insight into the psyche of the current political leadership and how they manipulate such events to their advantage.

According to newspaper reports, Mr James Raj Arokiasamy was arrested in KL on 4 November 2013 with the help of the Malaysian police. At that point, the Singapore public was unaware of the identity and the arrest of "The Messiah". After keeping mum throughout the spate of hacking incidents, PM Lee finally broke silence on 6 November 2013 proclaiming that "it's not just anything goes, and you're anonymous, therefore there's no responsibility. You may think you are anonymous. We will make that extra effort to find out who you are".

Publically, this 6 November statement was a taunt to Anonymous but on hindsight, it was PM Lee's calculated move at milking maximum political mileage out of this hacking incident. Knowing full well that the suspect had already been arrested on the 4th, the Prime Minister put out the taunt to play up the gravity of the situation so as to emerge the hero when the "crisis" was resolved down the road.

Little did PM Lee know that his taunt would be replied in force with the subsequent hacks into the PMO and Istana website, resulting in a major slap in the face for himself and the government. This incident clearly demonstrates the current government's wanton lush for short term gains  (milking political mileage out of the hacking incident) than to consider the broader security implications for Singapore and Singaporeans.

In spite of this orchestrated PR exercise that backfired spectacularly, we would like to salute the men and women in the civil service who worked tirelessly to bring the ones responsible for the spate of hacking incidents to justice.  Bear in mind that with or without the PAP, the civil service will continue running like a well oiled machine. 

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Monday, 4 November 2013

The Unseen Singapore #12 Conspiracy Series: November 5th Anonymous DDOS Action?

According to Digital Attack Map, Singapore was electronically attacked for 10 puny minutes this afternoon. 

Anonymous can you please get your act together? Or is my conspiracy theory of this entire show being a governmental plot true?

*Grabs Popcorn* Stay tuned for more updates! 

The Unseen Singapore #11 Conspiracy Series: What If The Government Was Part Of Anonymous?

When news broke that Anonymous was going to take on the Singapore Government, I did a victory dance around the house! Finally someone had the gumption and the balls to get in the ring with the big bag dog and engage in smack down with them. 

Judging from my instinctive response and the responses from almost every single netter online with exception of a few party poopers, we all know whose side we are on in this David vs. Goliath match up. Anonymous is like an insurgency, engaged in hit and run tactics, doing damage at will. It is time for the government to have a taste of their own oppressive medicine just like how the Vietcong dished it to the technologically superior American forces. 

Feeling elated with Anonymous, I went to do some reading on them and to put things simply, they are a collective of individuals who will band together over specific issues, engage in massive hacking action and disappear into the night. This sounds like a recipe for success doesn't it? Being able to harness the strength of the collective but yet being able to remain elusive and outside the long arms of the law. 

Then this silly thought suddenly struck me, being this loosely formed group, wouldn't that also make Anonymous susceptible to infiltration by government forces? Why do I say this? We all know that government worldwide recruit hackers into their rungs and the Singapore government is no different! So what is stopping these "white" or government dog hackers from joining up with Anonymous to advance the government's agenda? Given the unprecedented anonymity of Anonymous, there is no name list, there are no leaders and so anything goes. How do we know the Anonymous hackers are real vigilantes that we support and not the lap dog hackers from the government? Anonymous' greatest strength is also its weakness!

With this inkling in mind, I began to question who stands to gain out of this entire debacle. On the surface, the government stands to lose the most when their pristine reputation is tarnished. Imagine a crazy scenario where an international hacker group hacks into CPF and siphons out the money and redistributes it to Singaporeans, the Singapore government would lose all credibility and be overthrow in an overnight rebellion. But that has not happened yet has it? 

Let's take stock of what Anonymous has done up till now. They made verbal threats about taking down the Singapore government but honestly with nothing concrete or significant to show for it. They have done hacking some may say but if you look closely they are some lousy sites that belong to the incumbent which is inconsequential to the running of the government. If Anonymous truly wanted to hack, why not hack CPF or the SPF? That would throw a brickbat at the government's face and shatter people's confidence in this undemocratic government.  Sad to say, the hackings till now have been low level and does not do any tangible damage to the government except for a pinch in the arm.  

This is where my wild imagination comes in. What if, all these attacks were orchestrated by the government themselves under the guise of being Anonymous. It is possible isn't it? Till now, attacks have been mild and more bark than bite. Who stands to gain from this? If the government manages to repel this Anonymous attack, the MSM would have a field day praising the government's preparedness to the high heavens. And even if Anonymous manages to take down a couple of other low level sites, the government can use this to merit the pumping in of more money into cyber security, on top of the already huge defence budget. If we recall, the government just announced a $130 million dollar cyber security package to boost our cyber defences. What coincidental timing don't you think? The beauty of this is nobody knows who these members of Anonymous are and there is no way to ascertain if these are government lackeys masquerading as Anonymous freedom fighters. And the Singapore government is well positioned to make the most out of it. 

But then again, all these are just my speculation but my senses tell me that something is fishy indeed. The low level attacks and the anonymity of the attackers makes for a good bogey man for the government to attack no?

Call this a conspiracy theory but for the sake of Singapore, I hope these Anons are for real. If they are here to do a mega wayang to push through another government agenda of increasing the defence budget down Singaporean's throats, I will be pissed as hell. In a weird way, I hope that the government will catch Messiah so that it can dispel my conspiracy theory of being a government plot. Otherwise, it smells smelly, fishy and convenient. Alternatively, to prove that Anonymous is the real deal, do some serious damage and if Anonymous is capable, take down the secret police ISD. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Unseen Singapore #10 SG Movers & Shakers Series: Foreign Talents

The videos of an ANG MOH expat riding his bicycle recklessness on Singapore's already cramped roads caused a firestorm on the internet of late. This motivated us to dig up some of Singapore's past and present FTs who made a lasting and POSITIVE contribution to our society. It is a reminder to all netizens that all is not lost and not all foreigners are as trashy as the one in the tight fitting cycling gear. Some have come here in good faith, contributing to Singapore immensely.

Since Singapore is infatuated with its economic success and its military defence, let us commemorate the two man who made it all happen.

First, there is Albert Winsemius who wrote the economic blueprint for Singapore and once they got started, there was simply no looking back. Now, we are the economic miracle of Asia with ridiculous year on year GDP numbers, all thanks to this man and the men who approved his blueprint.

The other is General Rehavam Ze'evi otherwise known as the MEXICAN who arrived in Singapore shortly after Singapore's call for help to set up a military force was ignored by Egypt and Pakistan. He and his team wrote the Singapore Armed Forces military doctrine and gave us the capability to defend ourselves on our own terms.

The last example is someone whom Singaporeans are probably unfamiliar with. In the recent constitutional challenge against the Death Penalty in Singapore, only with the help of Queens Counsel Edward Fitzgerald was human rights lawyer M Ravi able to successfully get the Singapore courts to give inmates on death row
a second chance. Prior to this, lawyer M Ravi had a dismay record of losses against the Singapore Government. However, with a Queens Counsel on his side, the tables were turned and Singapore is one step closer to becoming a true democracy.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Unseen Singapore #9 What Actually Happened Series: CapitaLand CEO Liew Mun Leong

This entry is probably not the biggest news by any measure but still this Singaporean Son may have paid the price for going up against his pay masters. Bear in mind that Liew Mun Leong was responsible for delivering consistent profits for CapitaLand and for him to voluntarily "retire" just a month after he denounced the development of shoebox units as "almost inhuman" and promised that CapitaLand would not build residential units for sale that are less than 500 sq ft, it appears to be too much of a coincidence.

To further fuel the hypothesis that Liew may have been forced out of CapitaLand due to his refusal to make
mindless profits at the expense of Singaporeans, CapitaLand made an abrupt U-turn in September 2013 and started selling shoebox units in their latest property development SkyVue.

Did Mr Liew Mun Leong retire on his own accord or was there another reason behind his untimely departure? If you have any information on this, please feel free to contact us and share. You can reach us on Facebook or email us at theunseensingapore at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Unseen Singapore #8 Did You Know Series: Dedicate MPs in Singapore

Much has been made about our Parliamentary MPs who pocketed the $15,000 MP allowance while still keeping their full time high paying jobs with a long string of directorships in private companies.

Fortunately, it is not all doom and gloom for Singaporeans as there are some MPs who have made the conscientious effort to dedicate the bulk of time to their MP duties. This benefits not only their constituents but also helps raise the profiles of the respective MPs, allowing them to build rapport with Singaporeans and develop an accurate sensing of the ground.

Kudos to Ms Lee Li Lian and Mr Zainal Sapari who made the "sacrifice" and we hope more will follow suit and show us the true meaning of public service. If you know of others who have trodden down a similar path, feel free to email or Facebook us.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Unseen Singapore #7 Did You Know Series: Sylvia Lim The Lawyer Strategist

Since GE2011, Singaporeans have seen a number of Members of Parliament publicly quit their jobs in order to focus more on their parliamentary and constituency responsibilities.

Most prominently of whom was victorious MP Sylvia Lim who resigned from her job as a Temasek Polytechnic lecturer due to commitment issues. This was met with resounding praise from normal Singaporeans who saw this as her sacrifice to the nation and her drive to make more inroads politically.

Little do people know that in the months after her public resignation as a lecturer, she got herself a high powered Senior Associate position at the famous Peter Low LLC Law Firm!  Strangely though, neither the mainstream nor alternative media publicized on this fact rigorously. So much for commitment issues eh.

What do you think? Let us know on Facebook or simply email us.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Unseen Singapore #6 Did You Know Series: The Diploma MP!

Elite ministers and Elite civil servants within the government establishment is well documented but do you know that we still have a single diploma hero in Parliament? He is none other than Joo Chiat MP Charles Chong!

How does he thrive in this elitist environment? Does MP Charles Chong truly reflects the wishes of the common man on the street? We sure hope so considering he managed to win in his constituency by a hairs breath!

What do you think? Let us know, we love to hear from you.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Unseen Singapore #5 Did You Know Series: NMP Laurence Lien

We all know the sacred rule that there should be no Moonlighting while working in the Civil Service or anywhere else altogether.

Imagine our surprise when we found out that NMP Laurence Lien concurrently held a directorship at a private investment firm (owned by his family) during his time with the civil service from 2000 - 2008.

Yes we know that exceptions are given sometimes but the question here is, why is Mr Lien so special to be granted this exception? Know the answer, let us know! We love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Unseen Singapore #4 Prominent Ibrahim Siblings

While the trio of Ng brothers dominate the military sphere in Singapore, the Ibrahim family has a huge influence within the information industry.

The most prominent of the lot is Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, a highly respected representative of the Malay Muslim community who is currently Singapore's Minister for Communication and Information.

Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim tried to persuade Singaporeans to accept his proposed internet code of conduct but met with lukewarm response. Interestingly, his sister Zuraidah Ibrahim is the Deputy Editor of The Straits Times' Political desk, churning out her objective analysis of the political situation in Singapore. Given Zuraidah's professionalism as a journalist, there is obviously no discussions about work at the Ibrahim's dinner table.

Low and behold, Yaacob and Zuraidah may be successes in their own right but they definitely cannot hold a candle to elder brother Ismail Ibrahim, Singapore's first Malay president scholar! Sad thing is, nobody knows his whereabouts now. If you do, let us and the rest of Singapore know.

The Unseen Singapore #3 Influential Ng Brothers-in-Arms

The man on the street will know all about the Lee family and its influence in Singapore. But do you know about the Ng family who is the true king maker in Singapore?

The 3 Ng brothers are respectively the Singapore Chief of Defence Force (Ng Chee Meng), Director of the Security Intelligence Division (Ng Chee Khern) and the Chief of Navy (Ng Chee Peng) at present.

This monopoly on military might and information intelligence is truly unrivalled. The Ng genetics must be awfully potent to produce 3 top generals within a household in a single generation.  

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Unseen Singapore #2 Foreign Talent Brides: The Hungarian Connection

The foreign immigration issue has been harped upon these many years and many Singaporeans have highlighted their antagonism towards our immigration policies. Everyone knows the terrible tales about China brides, Vietnamese brides and even Pinoy brides .

But do we know that our 1st Foreign Minister, the respected S. Rajaratnam had a Foreign Talent bride? The same applies to former CEO of HDB Mr. Liu Thai Ker who personally supported the communion between himself and an FT.

Both men married Foreign Talent brides and coincidentally, both spouses came from the exotic Eastern European country of Hungary! As you can see, our Singaporean men have been *hungary* for foreign spouses since the 1950s and its definitely not a recent phenomenon.

The Unseen Singapore #1 Influential Chan Siblings

Most Singaporeans know about the legendary female Ambassador to the United States Chan Heng Chee who held her own in Washington for 16 years. Chan is also famous for being a fervent critic of the Singapore government before being offered the ambassadorship in 1996.

Little do Singaporeans know that her brother Chan Heng Wing is Singapore's Ambassador to Bangladesh. What's more, Chan Heng Chee's elder brother is in fact Ala
n Chan Heng Loon, the CEO of Singapore Press Holdings! What an influential and prominent trio from the Chan family, the Chan ancestors must be smiling with glee.