Sunday, October 24, 2010

Roger Tan:: Not a question of loyalty (Expanded Version)

Malaysians who live, work or study in Singapore should not be regarded as disloyal to their own country.

LIKE many Malaysians, I am naturally proud of ex-Muar High School boy Tan Zhongshan’s extraordinary academic feat (“Malaysian is top law student at Cambridge University”, The Star, Oct 19).

By chalking up the record as the overall best law student in the entire Cambridge University, his performance has probably even surpassed that of the university’s luminary alumni like Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and his late wife.

Tan is but one of the thousands of young and bright Chinese Malaysians who have received scholarships from the Singapore government to study at different levels from secondary one to university in the city state.

It is no secret that Singapore officials would only recruit the “cream among the crop” for this purpose and those who excel will be sent to Oxbridge colleges and the Ivy League universities. Upon graduation, they would be bonded to work for a number of years in Singapore or elsewhere in Singapore-owned corporations. By then, most will not return to Malaysia.

Needless to say, many such children from poor families who were unable to get state aid in Malaysia have benefited immensely from this financial assistance. In return, they generally feel grateful to the Singapore government.

In Tan’s case, he said he would join the Singapore legal service. This is another achievement because only the very best of law graduates would be selected to join the Singapore judicial and legal services. It is also financially rewarding considering that a Singapore High Court judge is said to draw an annual salary inclusive of perks amounting to about S$1mil (RM2.4mil).

However, one has to take up Singapore citizenship if he aspires to become a judge or hold a senior position in their legal service.

This reminds me of my own experience. Unable to get financial aid from the state, my family had to privately finance my law studies in England. At that time, the then British government had begun imposing full-cost fees on foreign students as well as prohibiting them from seeking employment while studying there.

I wrote to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher telling her that the common wealth of the Commonwealth ought to be commonly shared! I did receive a reply from the British Department of Education and Science on her behalf justifying the new policy on the grounds of national interest.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Well done, my dear sister

Today, I am pleasantly surprised to chance upon this letter written by the outgoing principal of Saint Andrew's Junior School, Singapore about my sister. All I want to say is, well done, sister. Below is the letter:

Dear Parents/Guardians

I am pleased to share with you that the new Principal for St Andrew’s Junior School, Singapore has been announced, with the appointment taking effect from 15 December 2010.

The new Principal is Mrs Wong Bin Eng, currently serving as Principal of Tampines Primary School.

Mrs Wong is a visionary principal who has taken her school to greater heights in her 7 years there. Tampines Primary School is one of the few primary schools in Singapore which have garnered the School Distinction Award, as well as the Singapore Quality Class Award. Her work in Staff Well Being and Staff Development is well recognised, and this has garnered awards like Work-Life Excellence Award.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Eulogy for Sis Elizabeth Margaret, wife of our founding pastor

Eulogy delivered by Roger Tan for Sis Elizabeth Margaret at the Sunday Worship Service of Holy Light Church (English) on 17 October 2010 

This morning, it is with much sadness that I inform you of the passing of Sister Elizabeth Margaret, wife of The Revd. Dr. George Hood, the founder of this Church. Sister Elizabeth was promoted to glory on October 7 in Northumberland, England. She was 92. Her cremation funeral service was held last Friday, October 15. A thanksgiving service in celebration of her life has also been planned on October 30.

I also regret to inform you that Rev. Hood is in hospital after he had a fall. The doctors have given him a new ‘hip’, and we pray and wish him a speedy recovery.

Members of this congregation, the late Sister Elizabeth was born in Shantou (or historically known as Swatow), East Guangdong, China on October 2, 1918. This was also an area in which her parents and grandparents had worked as missionaries from 1869 onwards.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Book Review: “Constitutional Law in Malaysia and Singapore”

First published on Loyarburok on 12 October 2010. 

A review of the third edition of popular cases and commentary book, “Constitutional Law In Malaysia and Singapore”

Tempus Fugit indeed! Twelve years have passed since the publication of the second edition of this popular cases and commentary book on Malaysian and Singapore Constitutional Law in 1997 by two distinguished constitutional law scholars, Kevin Tan and Thio Li-ann.

During this decade of intermission, Kevin Tan had been out of full-time teaching but remained an Adjunct Professor to the Faculty of Laws, National University of Singapore. To Malaysians, Kevin Tan is also remembered as the constitutional law expert who was barred on technical grounds by the Malaysian authorities in December last year to speak about the Perak constitutional crisis in a forum organised by Merdeka Review.

On the other hand, as aptly described in the preface, Thio Li-ann engaged herself during this period with the “practicalities of constitutional politics” as a Nominated Member of Singapore Parliament from January 2007 to June 2009. Hence, the two of them no longer require any further introduction.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Eulogies for Mdm Kwa Geok Choo, wife of MM Mr Lee Kuan Yew

MM Lee's eulogy to his wife
By Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew

ANCIENT peoples developed and ritualised mourning practices to express the shared grief of family and friends, and together show not fear or distaste for death, but respect for the dead one; and to give comfort to the living who will miss the deceased.

I recall the ritual mourning when my maternal grandmother died some 75 years ago. For five nights the family would gather to sing her praises and wail and mourn at her departure, led by a practised professional mourner. Such rituals are no longer observed.

My family's sorrow is to be expressed in personal tributes to the matriarch of our family.

In October 2003, when she (Mrs Lee Kuan Yew) had her first stroke, we had a strong intimation of our mortality.

My wife and I have been together since 1947 for more than three-quarters of our lives. My grief at her passing cannot be expressed in words. But today, when recounting our lives together, I would like to celebrate her life.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Netizens send condolences to Lees

The Straits Times, Singapore

WITHIN hours of the government announcement that Mrs Lee Kuan Yew, wife of Minister Mentor, has died on Saturday at 5.40 pm, ordinary Singaporean from all walks of life, including those living overseas, began sending in condolences and tributes on news blogs and online sites.

'She is one of the greatest people around. May she rest in peace. PM Lee hope you be strong,' said Facebook user Wljx Wayne on ST's Facebook page.

Another Facebook user Pearl Foong Lye Fong expressed sadness over Mrs Lee's death, and also wished 'MM Lee to be strong and recover soon'.

Netizen R.H.W.K, in comments on MSN Singapore, praised Mrs Lee as 'a great woman who did so much behind the scenes work for Singapore. Without her, we would be living in a different Singapore'.

Forummers on The Straits Times ( discussion board expressed concern for MM Lee, who said in a recent interview that he has had '61 years of happiness' with his wife, Madam Kwa Geok Choo.