Apr 26, 2011

Vivian Balakrishnan Casts Doubt on His Own Good Character

Oh, Vivian. SM Goh Chok Tong would be so disappointed in you.

Just a few days ago, Goh expressed his desire that the elections would be “a clean fight” with “no personal attacks”. Now here you go, with your cunningly crafted press statement on Opposition candidate Dr Vincent Wijeysingha.

"Cunning? But what was the cunning part?" you innocently ask.

Please, Vivian, we're not that stupid. All over the Internet, bloggers have already seen through it and are writing about it. For example, here is what ex-Nominated Member of Parliament Siew Kum Hong has got to say about it:

Today, it was this personal attack by the PAP.

The PAP can try all it wants, but the objective here is transparently clear to everyone: to tell the world that Vincent Wijeysingha is gay, and thereby win the votes of that part of the population that will vote based on just this single wedge issue, regardless of any other issue.

The rest of the statement -- in particular the allusion to an alleged discussion about "sex with boys and whether the age of consent for boys should be 14 years of age" -- is just outright unjustified mudslinging insinuation that seems designed to imply a linkage between Vincent Wijeysingha and that discussion. If you watch the video in question, you will find that ... Vincent Wijeysingha does not talk about sex with boys or lowering the age of consent for boys.
Vivian, I want you to know that as a Singaporean citizen, it matters a lot to me that the leaders are of good character and possess honour and integrity. Your conduct in this matter (and the conduct of your fellow team members) does not leave a good impression on me at all.

I don't think I'm the only one either. As I surf the Internet, this is what I find people saying about you:
".... building on misinformation and irrational and ill-informed fears, to perpetuate continual social and institutional discrimination of sexual minorities in Singapore. To associate this despicable insinuation with a man and a political party says a lot about the human being that is Dr Vivian." Sam Ho.

"Dr Vivian may be a shrewd tactician, but he’s certainly not winning the moral war." Terence Lee.

"Balakrishnan is as good as shooting himself in both feet, if he decides to play the religion card and the homophobic card at one go." Tatler.

"Basically Vivian must be damn worried about the serious competition he is facing that he has decided to personal attack. This is really demeaningful, it only shows our SUPER SCALE MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR MINISTER is a low esteem scumbag." Ben.

"Even the most apathetic layman can see that Dr Balakrishnan's accusation is an unwarranted personal attack WAY below the belt. If he thought this would divert attention away from his dismal handling of the YOG, or the neglect of our needy citizens, he is sadly mistaken. I only have this to say to him: Have you no decency?" SG Dino.

" .... I am saddened by the appearance of such gutter politics from one of our Ministers and his PAP teammates, Mr Christopher De Souza, Mr Liang Eng Hwa and Ms Sim Ann, who signed off on this misleading statement." Lisa Li.

".... a process of character desecration in what comes across as an attempt to appeal to particular religious lobbies. This is an unfortunate attack on the secular nature of our country. It is reflective of a colonialist dark age to divide and rule. It will hurt our society in the long run." Dharmendra Yadav.

"There are no words that can adequately describe the amount of contempt I have for this brand of gutter politics, from a man who heads a ministry that aims to foster community building." Ng E-Jay.

"Mr.Vivian has shown that he will sink to any depth, to win an election." Mr Owl.

"Vivian slithers in the gutter." Helluo Librorum.

Vivian, Vivian.

I want to let you know that I also searched and googled to hear the other side of the story, to find out if anyone had anything valid to say in your defence, or if anyone had anything good to say about you concerning this matter.

I found nothing.


UPDATE. Read the Online Citizen to see how Singaporeans expressing their criticism of Vivian Balakrishnan's conduct on his Facebook page are getting their comments deleted. Furthermore, the comments feature on Vivian's Facebook is now disabled.


Wang said...

As a concerned parent, well, lets just say,disagreed with AWARE.

Will not definitely agree with SDP Agenda and definitely sauce for the goose, likewise sauce for the gander.


Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

As a concerned citizen, well, let's just say that before I care about a candidate's sexual orientation, and even before I care about his political agenda, I must care about the candidate's good character.

Or the lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

So, what do we have in our extremely well-paid Ministers that are so highly regarded by the PAP?

A Communications Minister that forgot how to communicate, and a Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister that is accused of trying to build on misinformation, irrational and ill-informed fears in his press ststement on an Opposition candidate.

From what I see, more Ministers will shoot their own feet in the days to come. It smells of desperation setting in.

Sgcynic said...

Integrity, without which you are NOTHING...

Anonymous said...

Don't PAP candidates have something positive to say about themselves? Why can't they focus on their strengths? Why must they use this sort of tactics (in every election) to smear the opposition?

Who does it say about the party? Are they so desperate that they must resort to such tactics?

Don't they always say the opposition can't attract good people? But when the opposition does have credible candidates, they choose to discredit these candidates.

I'm sick of the PAP!

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang

If Vivian is a Christian then Richard Dawkins is next in line to be Pope.

But the truth is Vivian is playing the homo card for the simple reason that the masses are still not entirely comfortable with the gay agenda. And the reaction of the gays (and pro-LGBT lobby) will convince the masses that there could indeed be one (whether or not it exists.)

Whether or not the gay agenda is right or not is not relevant at this point.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Wang

As a concerned citizen, well, let's just say that before I care about a candidate's sexual orientation, and even before I care about his political agenda, I must care about the candidate's good character.

Or the lack thereof.

Well said. Which is why you are exceptional and not part of the masses. But sadly, you have but one vote just like ordinary Tan Ah Kow.

Anonymous said...

Sad to see Moral High Ground being abandoned for gutter politics, under pressure...

Amused said...

It appears that someone has been busying suppressing debates and dissenting voices on the Internet lately. TR appears to be under constant DDOS attack. Now the student newspaper website KentRidgeCommon appears to be shutdown.

Will the trend continue in the coming days? They appear to be using all means to hold on to power. You must vote them out in this election!

kelongkia said...

"We live in a diverse society, there will always be some issue we cannot agree on — we need to be able to learn to live and let live, to agree to disagree and to do so agreeably."

He also warned that no one should allow single issues to polarise and divide: "If you allow these single issues to dominate and hijack your agenda, I think you are not going succeed and it's going to be counter productive."
Vivian Balakrishnan 2009 on Aware saga, ChannelNewsAsia

Ghost said...

Now all’s fair in love and war. People can talk about integrity all they want but I have no problem with Dr. Balakrishnan outing Mr. Wijeysingha as gay. It's a low blow but this is politics and frankly you can argue that its in the public interest for Singaporeans to know that they are voting for a gay MP. But now that the People Action Party (PAP) has taken this road, then they better not field any gay/lesbian/bisexual candidates tomorrow or the shoe will be on the other foot.

Peter Mak said...

Mr. Wang, I just want to point out that "Vivian slithers in the gutter." is actually from Yawning Bread, and this has been attributed in the blog post you referred to. Please feel free to delete this comment after reading it.

Choong said...

Whatever...the fact is: Ah Bengs and the older generation are going to think twice before they vote for the SDP "A" team. MSM is part of the problem, they will be the attack dogs onced the campaigning heats up.

It will be interesting to see how this plays in the final vote count on 7th of May.

Anonymous said...

Vivian Balakrishnan should stop right now and apologized for his action. He has raised the spectre of targetting minority interests and groups as a way of getting votes. This is very dangerous. In the 1930s rhe Jews were similarly singled out as scapegoats by the Nazis and nearer home we have all experienced the horrors of racial strife when one racial group was picked upon and blamed for all manner of ills. I am very very disturbed that given our history of being booted out of Malaysia and of racial strife that Vivian Balakrishnan has so unthinkingly resorted to the bogey of extremist rhetoric. Is he aware that he could destroy our country and people,

Anonymous said...

I don't know, but I have this feeling that majority voters may even be wondering what is this "gay" thing, hah? Because they may only know about man, woman or ah qua(tranvestites) from the looks.

Or how does it relate to cost of living issues which is also the biggest issue facing them. Or how the MP can help them, etc etc.

So despite the big hooha by netizens, it may even be a non issue among most voters who are not even interested or familiar with politics(except with the branded lightning logo), let alone surf the net to find out more about it.

Anonymous said...

About religion.

Something that looks like a cat, calls itself a cat, but does not behave like a cat, cannot be called a cat.

Look at the behavior / rethoric of these people and ask yourself if they are what they say they are. e.g. one of the principal tenets of the Christian faith is "Do unto others what you'd want others to do to you".

Anonymous said...

I think Singaporeans should know what kind of MP they will be voting for. Sexual orientation is very important because it is a motivating factor in one's life. Thus will also be a factor when drawing out policies. Lets just say he was pursuing a Gay agenda, when he is in parliament, his focus will be on this group and thus the general population will be de-prioritized.I am not saying that the gays do not deserve political representation but I feel that what is most pressing at hand is indeed the nation at a whole. Futhermore, if Mr.Vincent's sexual orientation does not matter, why the huge uproar over Mr. Vivian's exposure?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at April 26, 2011 10:54 PM:

So by the same logic, we can't have a minister who's male or female because the person will lobby for policies favouring his or her own sex?

And is it because most of all MPs have families that the singles group is neglected? Because these MPs craft policies that favour only those with families? So that means we can't have these MPs with families because they are going to be biased?

Anonymous said...

To the last poster, kindly explain what is gay agenda? To convert everyone to homo? Or just try to give gay people the right they deceive which is to live with dignity since being gay is their personal choice and I see no reason why this should be criminalized as long as they keep it to themselves. I watched VW's TV appearance and found him to intelligent and discussed matters that concerned me the most, cost of living. To hint that once he is elected, he will only focus on gay issues is plainly laughable.

Unknown said...

I live in Ghim Moh. My family and I were gonna vote for Vivian Balakrisnan, but after he stooped so low and resorted to gutter politics, my family of 5 are going to vote for SDP.

Anonymous said...

When one of the lady MPs requested for an increase of S$30/m for the needy, the request was rejected by our Minister-in-charge.
In addition, it was a shame that Youth Olympics did suffer a big loss yet nobody was held responsible for the naive mistake committed.
Comparing S$30/m with the millions of dollars, it is pretty obvious that he is not our servant as proclaimed by our PM.

Anonymous said...

Two questions: does anyone seriously think that this would not have blown up in Wijeysingha's face had he been elected first and then later found to have hidden his policy intentions from the people who voted him in?

Second,we are all guilty of a hypocrisy. If Vivian can't question a gay candidate on his policy stance on gay issues, what's the use of having him as an elected politician. If there's nothing wrong with being gay, why are we acting as though it's an assault with pointing out something that many many people knew prior to the GRC's statement.

The only thing that's really in doubt is where on earth did that money go to in YOG. and second why is the SDP now retracting its claims to repeal 377A when it had earlier supported it. Now that they actually have a gay candidate, that policy is a liability?

Aaron Sim said...

Dear Gilbert, I disagree with your assessment that VB is a shrewed tactician. A more cunning politician would have an anonymous 'member of the public' leak the video to the press and have them uncover the 'shocking' revelation.

Anonymous said...

Dear Aaron Sim, that method didn't work because the video was already out there in Youtube but despite many hints from VB in the media, no one picked up on it. So he had to do it himself.

This is where the problem was (and is, I believe at the core of Mr Wang's article). This is not an issue of VW's sexuality (which I understand was no big secret anyway). VW is not required to announce his sexual orientation when deciding to run for election. The problem was the way VB did it, by inferring some insidious agenda which did not exist, and try to link VW with further pedophiliac tendency (which, for those who watched the video, there is absolutely no proof or relevance).

If VB wanted to bring out that VW was gay, why not simply ask VB: "Are you gay? If you were to be MP, will the gay agenda be one of your priorities?" (of course with that question there are further issues relating to what the gay agenda actually is). That would be the gentlemanly way, instead of all these coded messages and instigation.

To which, SDP and VW may simply say: "Yes I am gay (if indeed he is), and we do not intend to pursue a gay agenda (which CSJ has already said publicly).

Anonymous said...

How about adulterers? Should politicians now come out and hint, in VB style, if certain Opposition or PAP, have had extra-marital affairs, and if so whether this lack of moral fibre makes them unfit to be MPs?

Rich said...

If being gay is ok, then it is not a smear to call someone gay. It is only a smear if you think that being gay is not ok....so which is it?

if it is smear, then perhaps Vivian has abandoned the moral high ground. but it is smear, it means tt a gd proportion of Singaporeans (rightly or wrongly) think tt gays shdn't be MPs, then it also means tt it is impt for Singaporeans to know.

if being gay doesn't matter to Singaporeans, then can this still be considered smear? or merely noise (which, perhaps, is also not acceptable, but not as serious as smear)?

Anonymous said...

To Rich:

Turning it around, is it then ok for a politician to say to another politician "You go to ABC church, are you are fundamentalist christian? Please state clearly what is your fundamentalist christian agenda". Nothing wrong in being one as it is your own business, but is it right to politicise it?

Is this smear then?

More so, the smear in the case also includes implying that someone is a paedo.

Anonymous said...

hmm... i wonder whether our society is matured enough to accept an MP who is sexually promiscuous. if we are not, then would it be wrong if someone, whether a political party or a member of the public, points out and can prove that a candidate is sexually promiscuous?

by the same account, is our society matured enough to accept an MP regardless of his/her different sexual orientation? if not, then shd the society not be informed, however this is done, of the candidates sexual orientation? of course, this information must be true and backed with evidence, otherwise it wld be slander/libel. then will kena sued!

Rich said...

i don't know whether going to ABC fundamentalist church is smear. does it matter to the general public? if it does, then it is not smear. if it does not, then it is smear, but because it does not matter, then why bother whether who says it?

i mean... if a person is part of a religious organisation tt says tt anyone who is not of their faith is inferior, advocates aggressive conversion to their faith and worse, if the religious organisation has suspected links to extremist (or terrorists) groups, shdn't the general public know before we even start to consider whether this person is suitable as a candidate for Parliament?

but i do agree tt it is wrong for the PAP team to wrongly imply tt VW is pedo.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, you are a lawyer, can Vincent sue Vivian for defamation?

Neutral Observer said...

I wonder if Vincent were to pull out from Holland-BT GRC, would this backfire on Vivian big time? I mean, Vivian's scare tactics will no longer work on the constituents since no more gay MP threat, but his methods have been laid bare. And the AWARE supporter vote would have been lost to the PAP throughout the country, plus sympathy vote for Vincent.

Come on, Vincent, take one for the team!

Anonymous said...

You guys have fallen into PAP`s
trap. Although this whole sordid episode is despicable and has been well addressed by Mr.Wang`s article,
I think the PAP is trying to divert the cyberspace chatter to another
channel, and hopefully the
netizens will stop badgering the
incumbents of their short-falls.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1105am:

Good point! Let's get back to the previous post about fundamentals!

Anonymous said...

/// Rich said...

If being gay is ok, then it is not a smear to call someone gay. It is only a smear if you think that being gay is not ok....so which is it? ///

Not just hinting that VW is gay. VB insinuated that VW lobbied for the age of consent to be lowered to 14 or 15.

Recruit Ong said...

Gay agenda? What gay agenda? this sounds like 'Euro-Marxists' or 'foreign jihadists' and such imaginary monsters coined by those who wish to monger fear.

recruit ong

Anonymous said...

Who cares about one's personal preference source of friction - the question is who will be able to deliver the quality of life we all desire.

The ability to maintain fiscal prudence and stick to a budget is a crucial skill in modern economics.

Vote for the guys that will deliver the society we want either as government or as opposition that will hold the government accountable.

Vote wisely or we will all pay a very high price 0f destitute aged, disenfranchised youth and a gutless slave class.

Majullah Singapura!!

GammaRay said...

Must be something about Holland Area causing a rise in medical condition called Social Anxiety Disorder or previously known as Social Phobia.

Definition: Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, involves intense fear of certain social situations — especially situations that are unfamiliar or in which you’ll be watched or evaluated by others. These social situations may be so frightening that you get anxious just thinking about them or go to great lengths to avoid them.

It seems to have infected our dear Minister and prior to this it recently infected a young girl called Samantha which frequents a village in Holland.

But I found some cures so maybe there's hope: Three types of medication are used in the treatment of social anxiety disorder (social phobia):

Beta blockers – Beta blockers are used for relieving performance anxiety. They work by blocking the flow of adrenaline that occurs when you’re anxious. While beta blockers don’t affect the emotional symptoms of anxiety, they can control physical symptoms such as shaking hands or voice, sweating, and rapid heartbeat.
Antidepressants – Antidepressants can be helpful when social anxiety disorder is severe and debilitating. Three specific antidepressants—Paxil, Effexor, and Zoloft—have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of social phobia.
Benzodiazepines – Benzodiazepines are fast-acting anti-anxiety medications. However, they are sedating and addictive, so they are typically prescribed only when other medications for social phobia have not worked.

Or therapy seems more apt in this case. Read closely what needs to be done and actually seems to be being done: Of all the treatments available, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to work the best for treating social anxiety disorder, or social phobia. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the premise that what you think affects how you feel, and your feelings affect your behavior. So if you change the way you think about social situations that give you anxiety, you’ll feel and function better.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for social phobia typically involves:

Learning how to control the physical symptoms of anxiety through relaxation techniques and breathing exercises.
Challenging negative, unhelpful thoughts that trigger and fuel social anxiety, replacing them with more balanced views.
Facing the social situations you fear in a gradual, systematic way, rather than avoiding them.
Other cognitive-behavioral techniques for social anxiety disorder include role-playing and social skills training, often as part of a therapy group.

Group therapy for social anxiety disorder uses acting, videotaping and observing, mock interviews, and other exercises to work on situations that make you anxious in the real world. As you practice and prepare for situations you’re afraid of, you will become more and more comfortable and confident in your social abilities, and your anxiety will lessen.