Singapore

Singaporeans were officially informed of who their next president would be on September 11. Halimah Yacob, elected unopposed, will be the republic’s first female president in its 52-year history as a sovereign nation.

While the milestone of having a country’s first female president is often a lauded, the same cannot be said for Singapore. Underlying this landmark moment are a questionable series of events that left many Singaporeans feeling cheated and disillusioned about the state of Singapore’s democratic process.

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye
Presented by Sonny Liew.
Pantheon Books, New York.
322 pages, 2015.

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye is the account of the life of a Singaporean comic book artist who started drawing at the age of 16.

From that point, his work depicts his life story in parallel to that of the history of Singapore. In reality, Chan Hock Chye is a fictional creation of Malaysian born comic artist Sonny Liew who has worked on comics such as the New York Times bestseller The Shadow Hero.

A by-election in the Single Member Constituency of Bukit Batok, which has about 25,000 eligible voters, is needed following the resignation of the People's Action Party (PAP) MP David Ong on March 14.

The PAP has ruled Singapore since 1959, when it was still a British colony. Its rule has relied on a combination of independent Singapore’s affluence in comparison with its neighbours and political repression.

Ong won 72% of the vote in the September’s general elections, defeating the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) Sadasivam Veriyah (26.4%) and independent Samir Salim Neji (0.6%).

Singapore's general election on September 11 returned the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), led by Lee Hsien Loong, to office with 69.9% of the vote and 83 out of 89 elected seats. This is an increase of almost 10% on their vote in 2011.

This result, which went against the predictions, was a huge setback to the opposition parties. Only the Worker’s Party (WP) was able to hold onto one Single Member Constituency (SMC) seat, Hougang, and one five-seat General Representative Constituency (GRC), Aljnunied. Even in Aljunied the WP only just held on with 50.1% of the vote.

Dr Chee Soon Juan, secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), has been arrested and jailed several times for holding demonstrations and for making public speeches critical of Singapore's ruling People's Action Party (PAP) government.

A Singapore court has sentenced four Chinese immigrant bus drivers to up to seven weeks in prison for instigating the city-state's first strike in 26 years, MorningStarOnline.co.uk said on February 25.

Three of the men were sentenced to six weeks' jail. A fourth faced an extra charge of publicising the strike online and received a seven week sentence. Another driver was jailed for six weeks in December.

Immigrant Chinese bus drivers in Singapore began a two day strike on November 26. This is the first major strike in the tightly controlled city state since 1986.

The drivers were employed by SMRT, a state owned public transport company.

The strikers were all mainland Chinese – part of a growing number of immigrant workers in Singapore that perform low paid and menial jobs. The drivers are being paid less than local drivers for the same work. The workers are unhappy with housing provided, due to overcrowding and poor facilities.

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