Political Links: What's buzzing online in political news (July 7)

Mr Brian Chee, 41, and his family turned down a $600,000 offer for their Punggol flat which they bought for $170,000.
Mr Brian Chee, 41, and his family turned down a $600,000 offer for their Punggol flat which they bought for $170,000. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

The ST Political Desk's round-up of what's buzzing online in political news.

Resale prices for flats in new estates draw discussions

In a sign that public housing remains a hot topic of interest among Singaporeans, many netizens were drawn to discuss the July 7 Straits Times article on how a couple turned down a $600,000 offer from a property agent for a four-room flat they bought for $170,000. There was discussion over whether HDB flats should be considered a home or an investment, and some expressed disbelief that flats in Punggol and Sengkang could fetch such amounts - even as a related story in the newspaper showed that capital gains were particularly significant, but only for those who bought the flats early.

Natural Aristocracy talking point

The discussion generated online when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong  used the phrase "natural aristocracy" in a response to a question at a conference organised by the Institute of Policy Studies and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy last week continued this week. The dialogue with PM Lee on the opening night of the conference was chaired by Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria.

Here's the link to the transcript of the dialogue with PM Lee from the Prime Minister's Office.

The term "natural aristocracy" was used in a letter on governance that former US president Thomas Jefferson sent in 1813 to another former US president, John Adams, where he said, in part: “I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men.  The grounds of this are virtue and talent.  There is also an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents... The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and government of society." 

One blogger pointed out, among other things, that PM Lee was in fact talking about Singapore's system of meritocracy.

Another said that there is no reason why a public servant or the country's leaders, should accept "calumny and poisonous insult"

Chen Show Mao too low profile?

Workers' Party member Daniel Goh recalls a recent outing to distribute the party newsletter, the Hammer, when a resident asked about Aljunied GRC MP Chen Show Mao "seemingly disappearing after the big bang of an entrance in 2011". With talk of the next general election gathering pace, has Mr Chen's profile been that low? Mr Goh thinks not.

SDP teases with picture for new GE video

In another indication that Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) secretary general Chee Soon Juan expects the next general election to be around the corner, the opposition party has put up a photograph as a teaser for a new general election-related video in the making.

NSP volunteer Kevryn Lim on the Opposition label

And the next election is clearly also on the mind of the National Solidarity Party (NSP) volunteer Kevryn Lim, a communications specialist and former model who netizens have dubbed the new Nicole Seah. She has a post complaining about how elections are sprung on the opposition and that no one has the right to call the Opposition ... the Opposition! An edited excerpt:

Why does Government always play this game in favour of themselves? If this is about democracy, we should be in a fair game, both oppositions and ruling party should have equal sufficient time to prepare themselves and not when the ruling party is all geared up and leaving all other opposition to fry. Oppositions are not here to remove YOU from parliament, we are just here to offer another opinion and voice for the unheard ... Why is it that if people are not seen on the same line as the Government they are opposition? Who is the one with the right to categorise us? NOBODY!

Amos Yee saga continues to be active online

Teen blogger Amos Yee, who was sentenced to four weeks’ jail but, with his sentence backdated, walked free from the State Courts on July 6, remains a topic of active discussion online. And while there continues to be comments critical of the decision to charge him, some varied views have emerged:

Blogger and socio-political observer Andrew Loh's article says there are questions the government has to answer. 

But political scientist Derek da Cunha says there should be an investigation into whether Amos Yee was instigated into posting the offending video.

Opposition veteran Goh Meng Seng, in the meantime, tries to explain why he thinks that PAP and Opposition MPs did not weigh in on the Amos saga.