Singapore’s loss is the Vatican’s gain. Former Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo has been appointed to a special Vatican commission set up by Pope Francis.

SINGAPORE: Former Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo has been appointed to a special Vatican commission set up by Pope Francis.

The move is part of efforts by Pope Francis to reform the Holy See and help it move on from a series of scandals and allegations of corruption that made the news under his predecessor Benedict XVI’s reign.

When contacted by 938LIVE, Mr Yeo said it “is too early to comment” on the appointment but he acknowledged it is “a heavy responsibility”.

Mr Yeo was in politics for 23 years and has held numerous portfolios in Cabinet.

“Being a person who has so much experience in the government – especially since he was holding quite a number of portfolios, like finance, trade and industry, communications, as a foreign affairs minister – he’d be qualified to help the Church to update its areas of governance,” said Singapore’s Archbishop William Goh.

Not only is he professionally qualified to help the Church, but he’s also, as a person, well-respected by world leaders, including Church members as well, and even people in Singapore.”

On a Facebook post, Environment and Water Resources Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan also said the Vatican couldn’t have found a better man for this “sensitive and difficult task”.

The commission comprises seven international lay experts and one cleric.

Other than Mr Yeo, the other lay experts in the commission are from Spain, Germany, Italy, Malta and France.

In a move which reflects on the extensiveness and depth of the commission’s task, Pope Francis has ordered all Vatican departments to collaborate with the commission and bypass usual rules that oblige officials to respect the secrecy of their office.

The commission will report directly to the Pope.

The setting up of the commission was announced in a Vatican news release on Friday.

Archbishop William Goh said the entire reform process could take years to complete, adding that the Catholic Church in Singapore is ready to offer its service and help to Mr Yeo during his appointment, if required.

– CNA/xq/jc/ir
Source : Former Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo has been appointed to a special Vatican commission set up by Pope Francis.


  Vivian Balakrishnan

  • They couldn’t have found a better man for this sensitive and difficult task. We are all proud of George Yeo

George YeoGeorge Yeo

  •  Vivian, thanks, it is a heavy responsibility.



The Holy Father, by a chirograph dated 18 July, has established a Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organisation of the economic-administrative structure of the Holy See.

The Commission will

  • gather information,
  • report to the Holy Father and
  • co-operate with the Council of Cardinals for the study of the organisational and economic problems of the Holy See,
  • in order to draft reforms of the institutions of the Holy See,
  • with the aim of a “simplification and rationalisation of the existing bodies and more careful planning of the economic activities of all the Vatican Administrations”.

As explained in the Chirograph, the Committee will”offer

  • the technical support of specialist advice and
  • develop strategic solutions for improvement,
  • so as to avoid the misuse of economic resources,
  • to improve transparency in the processes of purchasing goods and services;
  • to refine the administration of goods and real estate;
  • to work with ever greater prudence in the financial sphere;
  • to ensure correct application of accounting principles;
  • and to guarantee healthcare and social security benefits to all those eligible”.

The Commission will be able to collaborate, on request, with the working Group of eight Cardinals in drafting a plan for the reform of the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor Bonus” on the Roman Curia.

The aims and the appointments of the Commission are described in detail in the Chirograph itself.

The members of the Commission are laypeople, experts in “legal, economic, financial and organisational matters”, currently eminent consultants or reviewers for Vatican or ecclesiastical economic institutions. The only member of the clergy is the Secretary.

The eight members are:

Dr. Joseph FX Zahra (Malta), President

Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda (Secretary of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs), Secretary

Mr Jean-Baptiste de Franssu (France)

Dr. Enrique Llano (Spain)

Dr. Jochen Messemer (Germany)

Ms. Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui (Italy)

Mr. Jean Videlain-Sevestre (France)

Mr. George Yeo (Singapore)

Dr. Zahra and Dr. Messemer are International reviewers of the Prefecture of Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

The Commission will begin its work as soon as possible. A first meeting is scheduled for shortly after the Holy Father’s return from Brazil.

The Holy Father hopes for a happy and productive collaboration between the Commission and the Vatican Administrations associated with its work.

[01063-02.01] [Original text: Italian – working translation]


Comments : 

  • Military, politics, economics cum religion.. what an all rounder!
  • Congrats Former Minister, George Yeo for his appointment to the special Commission by Vatican …a very heavy responsibility ….it’s an honour for the Catholic Community in Singapore!  ~ Cynthia Phua
  • Congrats! I said “The world is your playground” when you were considering the non executive role during the last PE. The impact of this appointment far out weight the other. Will keep you in prayer. Sincerely happy for you!
  • Well done Mr Yeo, you bring pride to Singapore!
  • Mr Yeo, you have a high calling. Congratulations. God bless you with wisdom and Favour.
  •  Right man for the job, right job for the man;) god bless
  •  We are all so proud of George Yeo.
  • Yep. George Yeo was well respected with PRC diplomats and Chinese high Officials and many still ask about him when we met. He is instrumental to bridge image that some officials think differently about us.

by Fabrications About The PAP

Comments :

  • The pope and the Vatican embrace a talent that voters in Aljunied have spurned.
    The Vatican ends up with the gem and we are saddled with the duds.
  • Congrats to George Yeo’s appointment.
    And we have Pritam Singh and gang instead.
  • Singapore’s loss is the Vatican’s gain. Vatican should write a thank you letter to the Workers’ Party? :p
  • One George Yeo is many times better than all the five MPs in Aljunied GRC put together.
  • I believe the point that is being made, is that George Yeo is a man of such high integrity that he is recognized even by the Vatican..
  • George Yeo is no longer a politician. He is more into doing humanitarian work.
    We cant always blame the Government for anything that went wrong.
    One day when all the current PAP leaders are retired or gone, i expect the worse for Singapore’s politics
    – if Singaporeans are divided politically or racially.
    I fear some gen Y appear to be unconcerned about the long term prospects of our country, and because they do not have a good discernment spirit.
  •  Five years to repent. Five years to regret. Well, I don’t know if they are all repenting given than some people will vote for just about anyone as long as it is not PAP and they do not care to find out what the government has done or has not done.
    They also don’t care how their estate is managed and they don’t care how town council money is spent as long as they do not have to pay any increase in S&CC.
    I do have a friend who repented right after the results of GE 2011 was announced and she lived in Aljunied GRC. During the election, she was talking about using the vote to speak to the government.
    She didn’t think her vote was that powerful.
    After the election, she was very sorry that George Yeo was no longer her MP. Well, too bad for her. She made her choice.
  • You make the wrong choice you live by it



Minister for Law and Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam says it is an honour for Singapore that former Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo has been appointed to a special Vatican commission set up by Pope Francis.

In a statement released by the Foreign Affairs Ministry today,

Mr Shanmugam said Mr Yeo’s appointment is testimony to his exceptional abilities and high international standing.

He also said the commission is going to engaged in work of historical significance.

Mr Yeo is one of seven international experts appointed to the Vatican commission.

The move is part of efforts to reform the Vatican’s administration and finances.




Taking a leaf from George Yeo’s book

A rising political star, a whisker or two short of his 40th birthday, was promoted to head a new ministry reconfiguring the place of culture in society.

On the one hand, it sounds like I am talking about the soon-to-be Acting Minister of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Lawrence Wong. But equally, I could be referring to the appointment of Mr George Yeo as head of the newly created Ministry of Information and the Arts (Mita) back in 1990.

The similarities end there. The appointment of former foreign minister Yeo to lead his first ministry, barely two years after entering politics, came as a new prime minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong, wanted to signal both continuity and change in his leadership of an increasingly cosmopolitan nation.

Change was signified by the inclusion of the sensitive, philosophical Mr Yeo, then 36, in the Cabinet, and the greater premium attached to culture – previously subsumed under community development in a different ministry.

Then PM Goh said that the Government wanted to “minimise” its heavy hand on culture. The Harvard-educated former brigadier- general seemed the perfect person for the job, having made thoughtful and wide-ranging comments on how culture could create awareness of history, a more humane society and a fun atmosphere (“We need more bubbles in the Singapore champagne”) well before his new ministry was announced.

In comparison, as one of three men fast-tracked into ministerial positions since entering politics in last year’s general election, Mr Wong is a bit of an unknown quantity where the arts, culture and heritage are concerned.

As commentators have noted, the 39-year-old former civil servant made his name handling complex health-care financing and energy market policies. Though one of his current portfolios as Senior Minister of State is in Information, Communications and the Arts, he had not made much of an impression on the arts community before last Tuesday’s announcement.

More importantly, the reintegration of culture with community development and youth affairs suggests a perceptible shift in priorities for a government dealing with the fallout from the income gap and over-influx of foreigners. Social cohesion appears to be the buzzword for Mr Wong’s new ministry.

Some in the arts and sports communities have criticised the dropping of the words “arts” and “sports” from MCCY, even as Mr Wong has sought to reassure them that the two remain important in their own right, and not just as a means to building national identity.

Never mind the name. What he and the new ministry should waste no time in doing is appreciating the diversity, passion and ideas behind the various sectors under their charge. It would be a mistake to overstate the synergies between the arts, community engagement and sports, because even as each can build bonds, they do so in very different ways.

For example, a mass line-dancing activity organised by the People’s Association and a contemporary dance performance at the Esplanade have totally different objectives. The former is about getting as many aunties and uncles as possible to get out there, shake their booty, make friends and in the process become more united as a community. The value of the latter lies in how it pushes the human body to the limits of skill, endurance and ingenuity and provokes a range of ideas and emotions that feeds back into the creativity of society as a whole.

A lot of the impact of art is intangible; one may come away from a good dance performance with a sense of pride and gratification that “I saw it in Singapore”, or simply in how far home-grown dance companies have come. But if one consistently expects that outcome, and imposes that outcome on artists, then art becomes distorted as nationalistic propaganda.

Here is where all culture ministers can take a leaf from the George Yeo book. He has been credited, in his eight years at the helm of the then Mita, with being able to speak the language of artists and intellectuals and to show them that he understood their aspirations.

He walked the liberal-conservative tightrope with reasonable success. Film ratings that allowed a greater range of movies than ever, a surge in the number of television channels and a vibrant, professional arts scene all came about during his term, even as his ministry also stepped in periodically as watchdog for public morals and the national interest.

With the prevalence of the Internet and social media, Mr Wong faces a far more vocal, fractured and fast-changing cultural landscape than his predecessors ever did. Today’s youth are simultaneously more discerning and more impressionable. As a political communicator, the economics-trained technocrat will have to show a softer side, rising to the intellectual demands of working with artists and cultural leaders, yet also able to reach out in an accessible and grounded way to the young.

In the cultural arena, one of his challenges is to ensure that even as more resources are invested in bringing the arts to the heartland, community arts do not pander only to the lowest common denominator. His ministry has to think of how to bridge the gap between mass and high-brow without penalising artists who emphasise artistic excellence, so that the result is a complete cultural ecosystem with something for everyone.

Another challenge is to stay in sync with developments in the film, media and library sectors – arguably part of culture as well – even as these come under a separate ministry, Communications and Information.

Interestingly, the burst of arts and cultural activity that Mr Yeo started at Mita – with funds and scholarships for artists, and the building of proper performance spaces and museums – is bearing fruit now, more than ever. The latest statistics show the number of arts companies and museums has nearly doubled in the last decade. One in two Singaporeans attended an arts event last year, compared to one in four a decade ago.

One hopes that the new ministry does not turn back the clock on an increasingly dynamic and diverse cultural scene.

By Clarissa Oon Senior Writer,
Published on Aug 05, 2012, StraitsTimes

Venice and Singapore: A Study in Parallels – George Yeo

George Yeo, until recently Singapore’s foreign minister, is a man given to thinking in profound historic terms. In a recent conversation, we asked him about the relevance of Venice’s maritime republic to today’s Singapore. To our surprise, he pulled out a speech from 1998, when he was Director of Joint Planning and Operation for the Singapore Armed Forces, in which he addressed that very topic. What follows is a condensed version of that speech.

ingapore is geographically very small. The Swiss think they are small, but those who come to Singapore realize how big Switzerland really is by comparison. We have very little land, we don’t have much air space, and even the seas are claimed by others. We are forced to plan and organize very carefully.

Life in Singapore is not easy. The truth is we have to work much harder than others to survive. But will hardship make us or break us? Are we strengthened or weakened in the process? Arnold J. Toynbee, in his massive Study of History, tells us that civilization is conceived not in ease, but in hardship. The greater the stimulus, the greater is the response.

Will we continue to succeed? We will fail if we are a house divided, if our leadership is weak, if we do not have a clear sense of what our essential interests are, and if we do not have the resolve to be the master of our own destiny?

Is there any example in history, then, of a small nation-state surviving any reasonable length of time? An example for us to take comfort in? A model to follow? There is such an example — and a brilliant one. It, too, had the lion as a symbol, the winged lion of the evangelist St. Mark. Venice — or the Most Serene Republic, as she called herself — lasted over a thousand years.

For much of this period, Venice flourished as the mistress of the Mediterranean. Her merchants were well-known throughout Europe and Asia for their business acumen, their industry and their sense of honor.

The exploits of Marco Polo are still familiar to us. In “Othello” and “The Merchant of Venice,” Shakespeare provides a picture of the heights Venice reached in the development of law, government, art and culture. Until Napoleon arrived in 1797, Venice was never successfully invaded. She was never occupied, never ravaged.

Refuge from the mainland

How did a collection of small islands — much smaller than present-day Singapore — in a shallow lagoon, with a population never exceeding a few hundred thousand, come to leave such a mark on history? Why did sane men from the European mainland decide in the first place to cross the water to settle on these swampy, inhospitable and unpromising islands?

Like our forefathers from China and India, the first Venetians left the mainland because conditions there were intolerable. Those were dark days in Europe, when the Western Roman Empire was disintegrating, when successive waves of barbarians swept across the mainland, raping and pillaging, wreaking death and destruction wherever they went. Better the safety of these islands separated from the mainland by at least two to three miles of water than face the wrath of Alaric the Goth or Attila the Hun.

Under the pressure of hardship, Venice built up her defenses, her economy and her institutions. The similarities to Singapore are remarkable — and we do well to draw lessons from her experience.

The defense of Venice was founded on naval power. She had a mighty complex of naval dockyards and workshops which gave the Arabic word “arsenal” to the English language. At its peak, that arsenal had a workforce of over 16,000 with the capacity to launch fully equipped warships at the rate of one every few hours.

That military power was used, first, in the defense of the republic and, second, in opening up sea lanes, trading routes and markets for her merchants. Venetian participation in the Crusades were never borne of romance, but always motivated by economic advantage.

Hers was a wise foreign policy. Its goal was never to be involved unnecessarily in the politics and strife of her neighbors on the mainland. Genoa, a keen competitor to Venice, lacked that wisdom. Genoa entangled herself in the wars of northern Italy and lost her independence as a result.

Venice instead turned her insularity to advantage. Always sensitive to the requirements of trade, which was her lifeblood, the city-state established a system of administration founded on constitutional principles, the rule of law and the collective interests of her merchants.

Slowly but steadily, with each invasion successfully repelled, with each crisis successfully overcome, she developed in her people that famous Venetian spirit that bonded Venetians everywhere together. A tradition of public service supplied the men of ability she needed for effective governance.

 But Venice never felt invulnerable. She never took her success for granted. It was this sense of insecurity that spurred her on, that kept her guard up, her citizens united and her institutions vital.

The achievement of Venice is an inspiration to us in Singapore — how a tiny republic can overcome the limitations of its size and build up an economic empire based not on territorial aggrandizement, but on defense, diplomacy and free trade.

Though our country may be small, our minds must never be. Like the merchants of Venice, we have to be both nationalistic and cosmopolitan at the same time. Our spirit, too, must be that of the lion.

Source : Venice and Singapore: A Study in Parallels

Met former FM George Yeo

  K Shanmugam Sc

Met former FM George Yeo, this morning for coffee and had an interesting discussion on many international issues. George has an exceptionally great mind.

When I first took on the position of FM, I went on record to say that a person like him comes only once in several generations. My conversation with him today strongly reaffirmed ( to me) that view! He has the ability to look into the future, and predict the trajectory of events, aided by a strong sense/knowledge of history, culture and politics. And he has the ability to think differently from the well travelled road. He also has excellent relationships with so many important people around the world – relationships which Spore needs.

A serious loss to Spore and a tremendous gain for the companies that he is working for.

Changing tides: China and India

George Yeo
The Straits Times
Publication Date : 15-03-2012

China and India are old civilisations. When the Portuguese and the Spanish braved the oceans at the end of the 15th century, it was to find alternative routes to the east – to India, the Spice Islands and China. One was often confused for the other, with native Americans called “Indians” by Columbus. For the Middle East and South-east Asia, however, China and India reside deep in the historical memory, going back to the mist of early times.

The current rise of China and India is but a re-emergence of ancient peoples on the global stage. In recent centuries, both came to be dominated by Western powers. India was fully colonised; China partially so. Each responded in a different way according to its own nature and circumstances. As they become major powers again, the Western domination of the world will recede. A multipolar reality will define this century, as was indeed the case for much of human history. Provided human beings do not go mad again, the prospects for peace and development in the coming decades are good.

China is not likely to become an imperial power in the pattern of the West. That it should become more self-confident and assertive is to be expected, even militarily. But it would go against the grain for China to seek colonisation and the conversion of others to Chineseness.

It is unlikely that China and the United States will go to war despite inevitable conflict of interest. While trials of strength there will be episodically, China will not be encroaching on distant countries the way the Western powers and Japan encroached on China in the past. (China’s relationship with its neighbours on the border like Korea, Mongolia, Central Asia and Vietnam is a different matter. Depending on the cycles of Chinese dynasties, they were either a part of the empire, its enemies or in its penumbra.)

China will fight to defend its interests but it is unlikely to be aggressive like the European powers during the age of colonialism. From this perspective, the way Chinese Vice president Xi Jinping conducted his recent visit to the US was in keeping with an old pattern of behaviour.

Both China and India have been described as civilisational states. But while historical China has often been a strong state, historical India was frequently not, and certainly never over the entire sub-continent until the British arrived. India’s internal divisions facilitated its colonisation by the British.

India’s heterogeneity stands in sharp contrast to China’s homogeneity, where Han people make up over 90 per cent of the population. Since India’s independence, more states have been created to better reflect its diverse makeup. In China, provincial lines have historically been drawn to prevent sub-groups from becoming too powerful.

India’s politics therefore has a different rhythm from China’s. There is no central order to overthrow and replace. To paraphrase Amartya Sen, the Indian is endlessly argumentative. Indian history is fractured with details.

India has one critical long-term advantage over China which is its demographic profile. China’s population will reach about 1.5 or 1.6 billion, after which its population will decline like Japan’s. Although the Chinese government is relaxing population control, the declining birth rate is hard to reverse.

In terms of organic growth, China is like a magnificent Californian redwood adding height each year. India, in contrast, is more akin to a big bush, growing all over the place. What keeps the bush coherent are its roots in Indian civilisation, a deep common Hindu-Jain-Buddhist substrate with relatively recent Mughal-British overlays. In the Hindu pantheon, there are 300 million deities. That number says something about the Indian mind and its acceptance of diversity.

At one level, because of the English language and Anglo-Saxon institutions, India seems much more like the West than China. However, despite being closer to the US than China, India will not be used by the US against China unless this is in its own interest. On issues like world trade, climate change, Iran, Afghanistan and Burma, India is often prepared to take positions opposed to the US. India will cooperate with China for mutual benefit. Both are part of the Bric (Brazil, Russia, India, China) grouping which holds regular summits. In return for China supporting India as an observer in SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), India supports China as an observer in SAARC (South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation).

Apart from the 1962 War, there has been no major conflict between China and India.The high Himalayas separated them, and in Central and South-east Asia, smaller states provide a wide buffer.

The Buddhist connection is well- known. Over the centuries, through the silk routes, the two civilisations learnt from each other philosophy, mathematics and astronomy to practical subjects like meditative practices, ship design and sugar-making.

The political relationship lags behind the economic relationship. China is already India’s biggest trading partner. Bilateral trade exceeded US$70 billion last year and is expected to hit $100 billion in 2015.

Road, rail, air and electronic connections have greatly improved to the Tibetan plateau and China wants to link them to Indian networks through the mountain passes. With Burma opening up, South-east Asia will again become a major connector between China and India. Chinese cities like Chongqing and Kunming are eager for political obstacles to be removed because of their geographical positions.

Kolkata will benefit hugely too as it is less than a thousand kilometres by road from Lhasa and a little over two hours by air from Kunming. When Japan controlled the Chinese coast, it was from Bengal and Bihar through Burma and over the Hump that Kuomintang China was kept supplied.

India’s fear of Pakistan complicates the bilateral relationship between China and India. From worrying about Pakistan, India now worries for Pakistan. This is a profound change in India’s attitude. While bilateral relations between India and Pakistan are far from normal, they have improved considerably. China in turn maintains a careful balance between historical friendship with Pakistan and its growing economic and political relationship with India.

The Sino-Indian relationship may become as important as the Sino-US relationship in global affairs. Together China and India make up 40 per cent of the world’s population and will probably supply more than half its brainpower. In every field of human endeavour, how Chinese and Indians work together will matter a great deal. Their current role in Silicon Valley presages the world that is to come. 

Over the long run, it is the cultural relationship between China and India that will matter most. Today, they frequently stereotype each other. Coming from Singapore where the mandalas of China and India overlap, to use Wang Gungwu’s elegant phrase, there is clearly considerable prejudice and misunderstanding between them. At the same time, each doffs its hat to the other as an ancient civilisation. 

If China and India can maintain stable relations in the coming decades, there is great hope for the future. It is not too optimistic to envisage an Asia-Pacific region stretching across the Pacific to India with over 60 per cent of the world’s population living in relative peace and enjoying economic development for years to come. 

If instead China and India are locked in confrontation, the future will be troubled. We must expect some third parties to sow seeds of discord between them. Working for good long-term relations between China and India is therefore a worthwhile cause. 

China and India as connected but separate poles will make a multipolar world more stable. In such a dispensation, smaller countries will enjoy greater autonomy of action.

In a modest contribution to better long-term Sino-Indian relations, Amartya Sen, Sugata Bose, myself and others have been promoting the revival of Nalanda University.

For centuries it was a centre of learning which brought learned people, mostly Buddhist monks, from all parts of Asia together. This project has been blessed by leaders of the East Asian Summit which now includes the US. An Asia in peace and playing a bigger role in world affairs will also help untangle the knotted problems in the Middle East.

The influence of China and India in the Middle East is bound to grow. While this weakens the West’s position in the nearer term, Asia’s rise will relax tensions in the longer term, which is good for the West. Iranians, Arabs, ayatollahs, sheikhs and Muslim Brothers will all feel less trapped in what is often now seen as a Manichean conflict with the West.

The view of China and India from the Middle East is very different from that of the US and Europe. Perhaps to make the point, the first countries Saudi King Abdullah visited when he became king were China and India, with Malaysia as the third. Because of history and proximity, India’s role in shaping the future of the Middle East will be greater than that of China. China’s advantage is its veto power on the UN Security Council.

The simultaneous re-emergence of China and India on the global stage is lifting not only Asia. The contribution of growing Asian middle classes to global investment and consumption is increasing yearly. With their favourable resource-to-population ratio, Latin America and Africa are bound to benefit

For developed countries, the rise of Asia is both a threat and an opportunity. Many individuals face increased competition. They have to work harder and maybe for less pay. 

Existing government benefits cannot be sustained. In contrast, those with knowledge, capital and networks profit from cheaper access to land and labour overseas, selling to growth markets. As income distribution worsens, the politics in many developed countries sour and forging a common response to new challenges becomes harder. 

The tides are changing regardless of whom the winners and losers are. Whether as countries, corporations, congregations, tribes, families or individuals, how we reposition ourselves for the ebbs and flows will decisively affect our chances of success. 

Of course nothing is inevitable in human affairs. For example, we do not know what new eruption may occur in the Middle East. The Iranian nuclear programme is an obvious concern. There also the unknown unknowns. The biggest mistake is clinging to old positions in the hope that what is happening is transient and will blow away. It will not because what we are witnessing is a sea change.

The writer is a former foreign minister of Singapore. He is now vice-chairman, Kerry Group Limited. This is an edited excerpt from the 7th Tsai Lecture delivered at Harvard University on March 7.

China’s Parallel Universe – by Mr George Yeo and Mr Eric X. Li


The Chinese government recently issued new rules to strengthen Internet regulations.  Most notable is the real-name requirement for micro-blog (Weibo) accounts – China’s equivalent of Twitter.  Some Weibo users have attested to an increase in government monitoring and self-censorship by hosting companies.  Many are decrying this as China’s further violation of freedom of expression.  The reality is far more complicated.

More than a decade ago, when China’s Internet was in its infancy with a few million users, the government made it clear that it would exercise political oversight on the nascent cyberspace while allowing it to grow.  Many experts then predicted that such efforts were doomed to fail.  The Internet, they said, was to be a brave new world that could not be controlled.  There were only two possible outcomes:  A freely expanding Internet beyond the reach of political authority and subverting it, or an Internet stifled by government control and unable to realize its social and economic benefits.   Rupert Murdoch famously proclaimed that advances in communications technology posed an “unambiguous threat to totalitarian regimes everywhere.”

the link to read the full article :


Religious groups pray at Bedok Reservoir after deaths there
Published on Nov 6, 2011 By Royston Sim

Representatives from 8 religions attend event at Bedok Reservoir after spate of deaths 

For 40 minutes on Saturday morning, representatives from eight religions took turns to recite prayers at Bedok Reservoir.

They were blessing the area after the recent spate of deaths there.

The prayer event by religious representatives from the Inter-Religious Organisation was the idea of former foreign minister George Yeo, who used to oversee the Bedok Reservoir area as an MP for Aljunied GRC.

Mr Yeo had sent an SMS to community leaders asking them to help organise the ceremony.

He also made a Facebook post inviting people to attend.


Samaritans of Singapore  1800-221-4444

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