Goh Keng Swee: “He made the greatest difference to the outcome of Singapore”(MM Lee Kuan Yew)

May 24, 2010


The Family of the late Dr Goh Keng Swee

Mr President

Ladies and Gentlemen

It was my good fortune to have strong men around me. Of all my Cabinet colleagues, it was Goh Keng Swee who made the greatest difference to the outcome for Singapore. He had a capacious mind and a strong character. When he held a contrary view, he would challenge my decisions and make me re-examine the premises on which they were made. As a result, we reached better decisions for Singapore. In the middle of a crisis, his analysis was always sharp, with an academic detachment and objectivity that reassured me. His robust approach to problems encouraged me to press on against seemingly impossible odds.

If ever there was a slow developer, it was Goh Keng Swee. He did not shine until he got to Raffles College where he was the best student of his year in economics. I first met him there when he was my economics tutor in 1940/41. He had a large Adam’s apple and a gruff voice as he mumbled his comments on the essays of the five students who appeared before him for tutorials. I did not then realise how sharp and clear a mind he had. We met again during the war when he was an impoverished government servant, paid in Japanese “banana notes”.

Our friendship developed when we met in London in 1949-1950 when he was studying at the London School of Economics on a scholarship. I was in London preparing for my Bar finals. We shared a common view that we could run Singapore and Malaya better than the British colonial officials. We became close friends. Together with Kenny Byrne, Toh Chin Chye and S Rajaratnam, we planned to build up a mass movement, to form a political party, win elections and take over from the colonialists. We were blissfully ignorant of the wide tentacles of the communist underground that gripped the Chinese educated world.

By the time we discovered how ubiquitous the communists were in the Chinese schools and universities, clan associations, chambers of commerce, and old boys’ associations, they had their tentacles around us. Together we planned and got rid of the communists from the PAP, then beat them in the referendum in 1962 to join Malaysia and in the general elections in September 1963.

He was hopeless as a campaign orator, but a formidable analytical mind. His writings were crisp, elegant and forceful. After we had joined Malaysia, he stood up for our rights and fought to protect Singapore’s interests against the Federal Finance Ministry. After two years of constant friction and two race riots, in July 1965, he met with then Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak and Minister for External Affairs Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman. I had asked him to negotiate a looser re-arrangement for Singapore but keep Singapore within the Federation. He decided that the best alternative was a clean break.

After Tun Razak and Dr Ismail agreed, Eddie Barker and I worked furiously to settle the terms of the separation. To avoid tipping off the British, the constitutional amendments had to be done with utmost secrecy and executed in three readings of the legislation in one session of the Malaysian Parliament. Hence on 9 August 1965, the Republic of Singapore became independent.

He was my trouble-shooter. I settled the political conditions so that his tough policies we together formulated could be executed. I gave him the toughest jobs in government: the Ministry of Finance from 1959 to 1965 when economic survival was crucial; Ministry of Defence in 1965 when all we had were two battalions of the Singapore Infantry Regiment, that then had more Malaysians than Singaporeans.

When the British announced withdrawal of their forces in 1967, I sent him back to the Ministry of Finance to deal with the loss of 20 percent of our GDP with the withdrawal of the British military spending. When that problem was resolved, he was back in 1970 as Minister for Defence. He mastered defence matters, read up the classics on strategy, Sun Tze, Clausewitz and Liddell Hart. He subscribed to military journals to know the latest in military weaponry. He sent me books and articles, sidelined and flagged, insisting that I must know enough to decide what I had to approve. I read them to have serious discussions with him on our options on arms purchases. He was, de facto, the armed forces chief of staff. He built up the SAF that we now have, an effective fighting force. He set up the Defence Science Organisation for R & D, and created several defence industries from scratch. The Singapore Technologies group now manufacture arms and ammunition and are into aerospace, electronics and computer systems.

After I merged Nanyang University with the University of Singapore in a joint campus, I appointed him Minister for Education. The dropout rate was high and many students left school illiterate. He had come across them as the “Hokkien soldiers” and instructed them in Hokkien. He re-organised schools into one national type. We decided English was to be the language of instruction and of government; the mother tongue the second language.

In 1981, I asked him to take charge of the Monetary Authority of Singapore where our CPF and other reserves were managed. He set up the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, and built up the organisation to invest and manage our growing reserves worldwide. I became the Chairman. Many enduring organisations, a sturdy SAF, an education ministry that keeps abreast with the times; the MAS and GIC; EDB and JTC were built by Hon Sui Sen and Keng Swee.

He wanted Singaporeans to appreciate the arts. He promoted the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Singapore Zoological Garden, the Jurong Bird Park, Sentosa, the Chinese Garden and the Japanese Garden. He persuaded me to subsidise them for Singaporeans to have a feel for beauty and the arts. He lived a simple and frugal life and managed Singapore’s assets in the same way, avoiding waste and maximising value for money. His prudence built up Singapore’s reserves.

Keng Swee and Rajaratnam helped me to select and ensure that we had a team of younger men who would take over the government without a drop in competence, drive or dynamism. We began the system of identifying talented people to bring them into government. In his last major speech in 1984 he reminded newcomers to the PAP to “regard the present condition of the Republic not as a pinnacle of achievement but as a base from which to scale new heights.”

He chose to retire in 1984.

43 thoughts on “Goh Keng Swee: “He made the greatest difference to the outcome of Singapore”(MM Lee Kuan Yew)

  1. Ilham, you are a disaster…I pay tribute to a great Singaporean. That is a personal decision. Tell me who I should praise in Malaysia except Tunku, Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Hussein Onn.

    It is too early to heap praises on Najib since he is new to his job. As far as I know, Najib is facing many challenges from within UMNO, from Mahathir and the PERKASA crowd. I will give him time to deal with these irritants. Once his position is truly consolidated, he will come out on all cylinders to transform Malaysia into a high income economy. Then, people with your kind of mind set will be extinct.

    His NEM is great in conception but those Malays who are used to handouts, giveaways and bailouts resist the changes he is proposing to make to the NEP/DEB. He probably has to compromise in order to survive in UMNO he must do that. People like you think they are helping him. But in truth, you are, in effect, weakening him politically.–Din Merican

  2. One more comment:

    Replace “Chinese” with “Jew” in Ilham’s posting of 1:57 pm
    and one can’t be sure if one is not reading
    the Nazis’ Volkischer Beobachter.

  3. Dr.Goh Keng Swee was the quiet genius behind the Singapore Story.
    A giant of a man whichever way one looks at his life.

  4. The commentary titled “What do the Malaysian Chinese want?” is an outpouring of a rabble-rouser who has gone ballistic.

    His prescriptions for ruthlessly clipping the wings of the Chinese with a mission to replace the Chinese capitalist class with an overwhelming Malay one are simply astounding.

    If you think the Chinese can be made un-Chinese or less Chinese only through assimilation process (like in Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines), you can always ban Chinese schools, Chinese characters on bill and shop-front boards, and make it mandatory to convert their ethnic name to a Malayanised name. After all you are in power and in comfortable majority too (and will be overwhelmingly so in about 20 years). Why don’t you?

    Ban the sale of pork throughout the country and close all the pig farms. Mandate that the Chinese can only cook and eat it at home and that too only imported canned-pork. Why don’t you?

    If you think the Malays are shut out of employment in thousands from the highly lucrative food/restaurant/beverage business, hospitality and gaming sectors because of pork and alcohol related issues and gambling as a religion sanctioned vice, simply outlaw indulgence in them. Why don’t you?

    You won’t dare do it – not because of your concern for the livelihood of millions of Chinese but because the country will EXPLODE.

    Despite all the high pitch anger of some irrational vocal Malays against the supposed Chinese dominance of the economy, the UMNO Government has just given a licence to Vincent Tan and his company to operate football betting with a reported potential to yield $500 million profit a year, for a start that is.

    The Iskandar project was conceived by Malaysia and it involved the Sultan of Johore and the State Government as well. Singapore was not keen to get in initially. She was persuaded to join in with a slew of tempting offers and concessions.

    You want a referendum to be taken to find out if the people support the leasing of a substantial part of Malaysian soil to foreigners, particularly to Singapore. Why not concurrently run another referendum to see if the people of Sabah and Sarawak wish to remain in Malaysia as without Singapore in it now, the rai-son detre for them to embrace Malaysia then, may no longer be tenable?

  5. K Das – May 24, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    The posting by K Das is compact but potent.
    Every coin has two sides and it is clear that your side has more currency and weight ! 🙂

  6. Din,
    No need to entertain Ilham. He’s definitely nuts. Perosnally, I see Singapore as one of us. I simply could not understand why such disparities between these 2 nations. Goh Keng Swee was a Malacan born & his cousin was none other than Tan Siew Sin. If only they can work together.
    Tunku wanted Singapore to be the New York of Malaysia. However, Tunku simply can’t discard certain racist policies. You may say that LKY was ahead of time. Those ideas espoused by Malaysia Solidarity Centre is exactly the same being espoused by Pakatan Rakyat. Even Najib copied.
    In the faithful debate in Malaysia parliament, UMNO folks agreed too that we must be Malaysians first. Tun Ismail is one of them. You know both Singapore leaders were dead set against the Separation. S Rajaratnam & Toh Chin Chye. After seperation, Devan Nair left behind to complete his term in Bangsar & ultimately saw the birth of a new party……Democratic Action Party…..Guess why Tunku Abdul Aziz says that DAP is the most principled party in Malaysia. More principled than its predecesor PAP

  7. These are the sour grapes who would rather poison the water than see some other quench their thirst from it. So toxic are the thoughts cultivated by indoctrinated history that believing in their own vomit. There is no such entity as a superior race or culture. The diversity is created by God for appreciation. If some one had been an exemplary model or even a nobel laureate than that particular culture that bore him can take pride. Otherwise let the envy evil swallow you.

  8. Geez.., with such uninspired drivel and capitizations from the establishment CTs, I’m getting outta here! Long sabbatical needed before being driven insane by the inane. Their spittle is like a biblical flood followed by incomprehensible tongues. See you guys, when the weather’s better.

  9. I promise you guys that I am going to bar this character Ilham from this blog. Sometimes, he will get in without my knowledge. That said, I will delete his comments. He cannot use his reason. –Din Merican

  10. I learned something new today. I was always under the impression that Tunku Abdul Rahman had ceded Singapore with his “tak apa la” ways to overcome the friction. Looks like it was Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Dr Ismail who were actually the people involved and perhaps Tunku just went along. History can still be re-learned! Interesting. Thanks Din for posting. Btw, tak pe la, biar aje mamat Ilham tu…. just like the coroner just decided on Nazri…..”tats his opinion” Happy Birthday and doa for many happy returns.

  11. The material presented by our reader Ilham is laced with narcissistic views and rooted in fascism and, needless to say, racist to the core. It is the working of a mind that understands the influence primordial instinct has to a people long exposed to the idea of entitlement. The truth is it is nothing like that. It is in truth a class struggle and not a racial one.

    President Obama has all but had his face splattered with rotten eggs for introducing allegedly socialist ideas to the basket of American values. According to one school of thought, the notion that rich America must share its wealth through wealth redistribution so that working class America could enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor is alien to traditional American values. Never mind that it is the moral obligation of those who are more fortunate to give some of their wealth earned on the back of their fellowmen back to the government so it could be re-distributed to the poor and the less fortunate, the homeless, and the sick not so because they could have a shot at their American Dream but so they could live out their lives as human beings in dignity and human decency. To them the idea that the hardworking rich are being taxed so that the less industrious among the working class poor could live a better life, is repulsive to middle America, alien to American values based in the belief that you reap what you sow and not having to share with those who don’t. Never mind what happened in recent years which brought corporate America to its knees as a result of the excesses of an unregulated capitalist system and the taxpayer bail out that follows. The idea of re-distributing wealth in whatever form is un-American, alien to traditional American values for what is America if not the greatest capitalist nation in the world and the beacon of democracy of the free world.

    Malaysia, on the other hand, finds itself at the opposite end of the spectrum. Since the ‘70s it is all about big government and re-distribution of wealth albeit skewed to benefit more the disadvantaged from one race, big in intention but short in its delivery. In reality strong vested interests from behind the curtains are at work to ensure the continued collusion not between government and big businesses but between the rich Malay capitalist class and Chinese commercial interests. It is a class struggle clouded by issues of race.

    Strong vested interests working in concert with Malay leaders in government are working a little harder these days to keep the wool pulled over the eyes of ill informed Malays so they could make a little more hay while the sun shines. They understand that their future would have to depend on their ability to distract the attention of working class Malays from the real issues.

    A racially divided Malaysia is fertile ground for them.

  12. Mahathir? Pooh-dah. Only interest is to install his son on the throne.

    Abdullah Badawi? Always sleeping on the job and has lost Pulau Putih; given away two of Sarawak’s oil parcel of cash cows to Brunei; and bury Sime Darby into the slime of scandals.

    Najib? Balls being tied up by many hands for him to do anything at all. A lame duck floating around with no direction.

    Let’s hear from someone who has done great things and could inspire our mediocre rent-seekers and robbers to think more of others than themselves for a change.

  13. Goh Keng Swee, if he had been in Malaysia, would his achievements be as great as has been in Singapore? All credit to him however, but lets be real,governing Singapore is like doing so in Klang, that’s in size only, what about the racial divide? In Singapore they have the the advantage of an extremely small racial element of non Chinese, not the case of the dominant party in Malaysia, even if the PKR takes control, which as time progresses seems less likely.All said & done can’t take any credit away from Dr Goh.

  14. No, Din, you did the wrong thing by deleting material which others would devour with glee if not for any other reason for the comic relief that it offers tired souls.

    My beef with some readers is that when they write their writing is at best intellectual gibberish punctuated by doses of intellectual masturbation. The problem? The problem then is that Din’s blog would be splattered with semen.

  15. Din, unless a few try to jam or otherwise clog up your blog, I do not think it is necessary to delete anyone’s input if it does not contain racial or religious insults. Much better to let readers decide what to do.

  16. Bean
    Din has a right to delete postings that are a vendetta against him, calling him names and suggesting that Din Merican is on the take. If you let these statements go soon people will think it’s the truth.

    Yes Din can deny all the allegations but it’s a waste of time dealing with such pests. If you notice the postings of pests like Ilham, the sob is always pushing the envelope with acidic remarks.

    Din has a right to move from right of center to left of center or any position in between. Din has a right to support or be critical of any particular personality. Din was once a strong supporter of Che Det but he’s critical of Che Det now. Din was also once a strong supporter of DSAI, even to the extent saying that I do not know DSAI. Now he’s shifting his views. Go Din Go. Stand up for what you believe. Let no one convince you of otherwise.

  17. semper fi aka Shrek,

    It is Din’s right as blog host to do anything he wants. He may choose to moderate them or ban the posters altogether from his blog. Ilham and his ilk make postings I choose not to read and so they don’t bother me. It bothers me however when someone writes in CAPS all the time and of course the spamming.

    The material that he cut and pasted which has now been deleted I feel should not have been deleted because it represents views not at the margin but at the center. Many Malays subscribe to this view. Some of us may disagree and dismiss it as a distortion of the facts and of history. Others may want to test it for its veracity. I prefer the latter.

    Then there is the issue of free speech. Hate speech is still free speech. How many times have we heard defenders of free speech say they believe in the constitutional right of free speech because it is at the very core of democracy; but the moment somebody says something they disagree they cry foul and ask that they be thrown out from the room or banned from the blog. We are then no better than those we criticize!

  18. I will most certainly not propose censorship.

    Freedom of speech is essential to democracy. However, freedom of speech is not about hurling personal insults, it is about expressing beliefs and contrasting views without persecution. Freedom of speech does not entitle anyone to insult another’s character, appearance, or nationality. This much is obvious.
    This is not my or your definition of true democracy – this is the definition of true democracy.

  19. Bean
    I no longer read Ilham and Leman’s postings. To me it’s a waste of time and my brain power to even comprehend their thinking. So it does not matter to me whether Din delete or let the posting stay. However as a common courtesy when someone comes to my house please don’t abuse my hospitality or graciousness. So Din’s blog is his house, he has full rights to retrict our movement and actions while visiting his house. Ilham and Leamn has abused Din’s hospitality, but like you said it’s up to Din.

    Free speech comes with responsibility. However don’t be like the spoiled record, playing the same track over and over and over. Boring and disgusting. Everyone is entitled to his/her own views and opinion but don’t berate others into accepting them.

    In these days of remote control, all it takes is just a press of the button to switch to the other channel.

  20. Din

    Your blog is YOUR house. Do what YOU like.

    To hell with the rest of the commenters and their opinions about how you should to moderate your blog. Don’t let others tell you what is right or wrong. Its YOUR house. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to come at all

    Because I don’t like some of your visitors of late , so I don’t come in to participate anymore. I come in right now to say just this one piece , ie to support WHATEVER >YOU decide how you want your blog to look like and how you want others to respect your blog.

    If they don’t agree, you can tell them to go to hell. You don’t have to take their crap/advice.

    If they want to pontificate anymore about free speech vs the delete button, they should go and start their own blog.

    I will still read your postings, even if I feel some of the later commentrs (I have named them) who you have invited are nuisance and who come in to distract and to disrupt.

    Frank, thanks. I try to respect the dignity of difference. But I agree that some have gone overboard and they must be dealt with appropriately. –Din Merican

  21. I must confess I do not know what Ilham and his ilk wrote most of the time. I find it a nuisance. More so when the writing comes out in CAPS like he’s screaming for attention and demented souls like him usually do. I was referring to the cut and paste he just did and the material the blog host has seen it fit to delete. That is not his work. As to the issue of the blog host’s right to delete anything he sees fit to delete, that’s a no brainer.

    So far no one has chosen to comment on the material Din deleted racially inflammatory as it is, which came with the compliment of he who has splattered Din’s blog with so much semen as a result of his constant intellectual masturbation (and mind you, he is not the only one), if only to expose the writer as a bigot. So Din if you still have it please re-post for your readers who would like to test the veracity of the statement. It is one long statement that the writer is making.

    It is the kind of statement that readers like Frank would normally have a lot to say about. Now Frank has chosen to be a reader and not a contributor. It is the blog’s loss. Frank has become a magnet in this blog and I say that with all honesty.

    Here’s what I really think. Readers like Frank are always in search of sparring partners of the same intellectual standing to spar with. When you cannot find one you naturally get frustrated. That is only to be expected. It is a matter of time before you take out your frustration on readers, even constantly beating on them, who appear to echo the thoughts of others or who are not using the gray matter between their ears. I chose to do it in different ways.

    So Frank if you’re reading this, lower your expectation a few notches and become a contributor to Din’s blog and the magnet that you used to be.

  22. “Freedom of speech is essential to democracy. However, freedom of speech is not about hurling personal insults, it is about expressing beliefs and contrasting views without persecution. Freedom of speech does not entitle anyone to insult another’s character, appearance, or nationality. This much is obvious.” Danildaud

    In a blog setting, personal insults when directed against the blog host do not usually stand for obvious reasons. It usually results in the IP address getting blocked permanently. I must admit I am surprised Din has let some of it stand. He seems to be showing increased tolerance to such personal abuse. But who are we to tell him what to do?

    He has recently allowed UMNO cheer leaders in to say their piece but when they act to disrupt responsible discourse that’s where you draw the line. I suppose in a blog setting, as host you may want to treat freedom of speech as a privilege just like your passport is. It is a privilege and not a right.

    Democracy is messy and noisy but it is the best system of government we have today. We have tea party adherents over here calling the President names. Some choose to be bigots. They don’t get arrested.

  23. Being racist is not a crime. But when you act out your views and deny others their right to their liberty. equality and social justice then it becomes a different ball game altogether.

  24. Ill Harm and Leman have succeeded in destroying the comeraderie that have been established on Din’s blog. They have been successful in splitting the readers here resulting in Frank withholding his intellectual discourse and other sitting back and becoming passive readers. We shall no longer enjoy the bantering and exchange of views albeit different. Soon Din’s blog will become a has been.
    Inilah dia perangai Orang Melayu, tak boleh tengok orang lain berjaya atau senang. Pengkhianat Hasad Dengki.

  25. Top of the morning Mr Merican and all

    Most of you no longer read MSM because to you it’s the government rag, lending no voice to the opposition. In reality it is not so. They just censor and published the opposition viewpoints There was never total black-out. But it’s very surprising that some of you are calling on Din to delete postings By Leman who do not share your views. I too do not agree with Leman especially in wishing Din on his birthday and in the same breath, criticising Din. That was uncalled for. But I dont think you should be asking for Leman to be banned from this blog.

    Who is Leman? who am I or Ilham? Just small voices which all of you guys of intellect can go on a chorus to easily bash us. Be like Sakmongkol, publish and go bashing the commentators. Please don’t be like Frank who is acting out like a spoilt child who must get his way.

    This blog is interesting because it caters to all views. We dont want it to be Zorro’s site where thrash, as long as it conform to his thinking, are only welcome. Din, please continue to be judicious. You publish the posting, if it is not too racist or seditious. Then follow it with your distaste or disagreement with what had been said.

    Thanks, once again.

    P.S. Note that I too missed Frank though in every posting, he called me Melayu bodoh, idiot and UMNO pariah.

  26. Brian,

    When Singapore kena kicked out from Malaysia, people also say that Singapore without hinterland how to survive. Like or not, Singapore has made it great. Of course, you can find comfort on the fact that more than half of the PAP old guards were once Malaysians. In Singapore, the Big Three Lieutenants left with one fella. Toh Chin Chye, Taiping born. Yip, same as me & Zorro.

    I do wonder if Saifuddin Nasution or Azmin Ali can learn the ropes from Mr Toh’s great organisational skill. The cadre membership scheme enforced in PAP as well as in DAP too……

    Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim === Malaysia Goh Keng Swee……Hehehehe…..Read the Men in Whites……Fascinating stories

  27. Toh Chin Chye is from St George Taiping, during my trip back to Taiping recently, I heard that SGI is in poor state & very low student enrolment rate.

    So sad!

  28. berjaya atau senang. Pengkhianat Hasad Dengki.

    semper fi – May 25, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Amen to that. Time to move on. Nobody is indispensable.

  29. I am for the blog host censuring (as opposed to ‘censoring’) publicly before banning any reader seen to have infringed the rules of civility; and that includes calling other contributors to his blog, offensive names simply for having in his opinion stupid views or views that are mainstream or views diametrically opposed to his – radical, ordinary and mundane as those views may be – including contributions by bigots.

    Calling constantly for their banning despite the blog host’s tolerance, and his apparent desire, well placed or otherwise, to see more diverse views for the sake of discussion (which is why we have an opposition in Parliament because there is no one right view) and the ceaseless criticism of the blog host of his action or lack thereof, does put the blog host in unfavorable light if nothing else.

    We can rely on the blog host’s good judgment to identify who are those who seek to disrupt the national conversation started in his blog and to de-stabilise his blog.

  30. Din, unless a few try to jam or otherwise clog up your blog, I do not think it is necessary to delete anyone’s input if it does not contain racial or religious insults.

    Isa Manteqi – May 24, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    I respectfully disagree with the writer on the proviso. I say let those kinds of views be published. Bigots too have their constitutional right to free speech – minus the vile.

    If they then return to repeat their views and not engage with those who criticize them, then they are spamming. They are in the category of those who make unwanted and unsolicited appearances on political blogs for the sole purpose of advertising their wares. What do I with solicitors (not members of the legal profession) to my office? I show them the door.

  31. P.S. Note that I too missed Frank though in every posting, he called me Melayu bodoh, idiot and UMNO pariah.

    Sayang bangsa – May 25, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Frank has been consistent on the issue of free speech. He feels his freedom of speech includes preventing others from having their speech. I disagree. I am of course talking about rights. Our right to something does not include our right to deny another of the same. That is easy to conceptualize but hard for some to execute.

    He drew my attention to the journalistic training he received in the States. He says there is no such thing as free speech. If by that he meant it in the journalistic sense, I agree.

  32. I try to respect the dignity of difference. But I agree that some have gone overboard and they must be dealt with appropriately. –Din Merican

    You must always respect the dignity of difference – to borrow your own expression!

    Blocking the IP addresses (so that they could not make comments on your blog) of those who seek to disrupt the national conversation does not compromise in any manner your belief that the dignity of difference must be respected. I suppose you must first identify those who do.
    Yes, Bean.

    Ilham seems to have a way of getting his comments into this blog. I have complained to his IP host, but to no avail. So I have to keep deleting his nonsensical comments.–Din Merican

  33. Over here the ISPs would be in breach of their agreement with their clients if they breach the privacy laws to reveal the identities of those behind the IP addresses e.g. names and addresses and phone numbers. They would find themselves facing expensive law suits in quick time.

    Complaining to them?? What good will that do? Especially when there is no privity of contract between the complainant and the party which receives the complaint.

  34. Frank has been consistent on the issue of free speech. He feels his freedom of speech includes preventing others from having their speech.– Mr. Bean

    I am sorry, Mr. Bean, you read me wrong, hoplessly wrong. Your conclusion has always be too simplistic, perhaps it is your habit of reading parts of what people write or you are a selective listener, and in this case , you have shown to be a very SELECTIVE reader of what you read..

    I do not PREVENT other’s free speech. My journalistic training does not teach or allow me that, but I certainly believe in responsible free speech (and I have explained that in detail in the past).

    This is a blog (for crying out loud!!!) , not a newswebsite, in which there is theme for conversation. The host posts an article as an entry for intellectual debate. It is a forum for intellectual discourse and not a Speakers Corner where you allow anyone to come in to blabber propagandistic nonsense.

    I don’t think Din wants his blog to be a version of Speakers Corner where any damn fool can come in and blabber with spams and gibberish political propaganda.

    This blog is akin to a seminar/symposium/conference for others to come and talk on a GIVEN topic (in this case, the posted article by the bloghost) AND moderated by the bloghost himself (chairman).

    Each person is supposed to contribute substantively and intellectually, allowing differences in opinion if they are presented thoughtfully and well-argued. I have respected that and even gave my own counter arguments.

    BUT I do have a low tolerance of those who exploit the laissez faire attitude of the bloghost and who allowed themselves to distract and distract others. To these people I would make my views known to them in no uncertain terms. For some, the word “bodoh” I used on them , in my own personal opinion, I have been too kind in my disgust.

    But I do call the bloghost to BAN spammers or those who after more than 5 articles posted are obvious cybertroopers, who do NOT engage in the debate or discussion but obviously to distract and disrupt. I did call the banning of only ILHAM quite early, and I make no apologies for that. I have never hesitated to make abusive remarks to those I consider cybertroopers (but I did NOT call for their banning… that is for the bloghost to decide on how he wants his blog to be respected).

    I prefer to consider myself to be like all visitors to someone’s house. If after several conversations with other guests in the same lounge room, and I feel I don’t like their conversations or their attitude, I will let the host know that and the reason why I leave his house early and let the host entertain his other guests. I think I cannot be more polite than this.

    Since you, Mr Bean, with your mantra of free speech (whatever that means) have a higher tolerance for nonsensical postings and gibberish comments from these half-brained characters in the same cyberspace lounge room, you stay as long as you want. No thank you from me. I don’t have that kind of high level tolerance of the blog host for mediocrity and idiocy in a forum like THIS one.

    I am here to defend the accusatory remarks of Mr. Bean.


    I truly appreciate these comments. You have articulated what this blog is about. It is a kind of forum where we meet in cyberspace and discuss in the Popperian sense issues of the day based on articles, news or reports I cut and post. Unfortunately, I have not been able to produce each hour and day my own stuff. I do not have the resources to report the way the web-papers like Malaysiakini, the Malaysian Insider, FreeMalaysiaToday do. I hope, however, my comments and views are satisfactory enough to kick off our exchanges.

    I have allowed free expression. I try to engage all including those from UMNO and the Opposition and members of civil society. This has been abused by people like Ilham and his type, the so-called UMNO cybertroopers. They are personal and petty. Perhaps, they think they are smart and well informed. Quite the contrary, they do embarrass the very people they seek to “defend” or support.

    Very few of us are able to take an issue, dissect and analyze it to form and express an opinion. Most do not realise that what they say are read by people around the world and then their comments captured on google for all time. What they say tells us who they are, how they perceive and think.

    I regret that you have decided to withdraw from the discourse on this blog “because I don’t have that kind of high level tolerance of the blog host for mediocrity and idiocy in a forum like THIS one”.

    How do we improve the level of discourse if we do not expose those who know no better than to be lapdogs of the instruments of power and try to tell them that they must be circumspect? Maybe I am too optimistic about my ability to transform them through engagement and exchange on this blog, where you have been a major interlocutor. –Din Merican

  35. “Since you, Mr Bean, with your mantra of free speech (whatever that means) have a higher tolerance for nonsensical postings and gibberish comments from these half-brained characters in the same cyberspace lounge room, you stay as long as you want.”

    Accusatory remarks? I thought I was merely paraphrasing what you wrote. This is what you wrote earlier:

    “It is about MY right to express my free speech which is to restrict to other guy’s free speech. You get it?”

    Frank – May 4, 2010 at 1:54 am

    The blog host has thrown me under the bus so to speak a number of times. I made my private views known to him by e-mail. I would like to think I understand him and why he chose to take one position and not another. He is a friend and so I stayed. I believe in giving space when space is needed. His intention is to increase readership of his blog and my antics sometimes get in his way. That is not hard to see. I humor myself once too often to keep those long winter nights short.

    There’s nothing wrong with characterizing a writer’s input as stupid if your intention is not to insult – but calling another reader a “bitch on heat”?? That’s something else. Readers including me chose to ignore these repeated remarks made by you. Most people find that repulsive. The term “pariah Malays” too is offensive, and I wouldn’t suggest you verbalize it to another Malay. I don’t think things have changed that much since I was last in Malaysia. “Pariah” is a derogatory word to use.

    Characters suddenly emerged out of the woodwork, as they often do in my case, to condemn and to think that you led the pack in chastising me even demanding that the blog host boot me out (you didn’t others did) for my use of a vulgar word, I mean what is that all about? I did not use a vulgar word against anybody. I was using a certain word for its phonetic value drawing a reader’s attention to the difference between American and English pronunciation of certain words. Reader ‘semper fi’ understood it. You certainly understood it because I was merely taking the cue from you when you wrote:


    “Our (Mr Bean) reply shows the mentality.so you wish to constrain me? because I am a woman? you cant”

    (That was Siti Khatijah who thought mistakenly that I was making sexist remarks when I was only drawing her attention to the facts. Pure misreading of my comments).

    And here is your follow up:

    “Good response. I sincerely hope the spelling of the last word is correct.”

    Frank – May 5, 2010 at 2:01 pm


    You set me up. Why? I would like to know.

    Your constant name calling of other readers (guests of the blog host) like ‘prostitute’ and ‘bitch on heat’ etc. is something you would like to reconsider if not for anything else out of respect for the blog host.

    I think Din is very accommodating because of your contribution to his blog.

    Scroll up to read my comment about you being a magnet.



    This comment came after Din’s response to you above.

  36. Din Merican has good reason to be careful with what he writes and how he writes because he is a real person with a reputation to protect. You and I and the others? We are not. We are mere digital personalities existing only in cyber space with no reputation to protect.

  37. Mr Bean

    I have always enjoyed you as my sparring partner (to quote the word from you), and on several occasions deferred to you for your expertise and opinions (though I may not agree to all of them). In between, we let our guards down and humour ourselves.

    It is people like you around that I find myself participating in blogs like this.

    I like to call a spade a spade. The trouble for me is the English language is so poor that there are not enough words for me to use to swear and denigrate those I have little patience for on this blog.

    I take all your comments about me in very good stead and without any malice at all.

    My best wishes and take care. Too many dark corners in New York even in the day time.


  38. Frank

    Plase be frank. I don’t think you give two hoots about our opinions. You can easily thrash us. Indeed our views dont really matter, as compared to your intellectual stance..
    I think the truth is you are really dissapointed with Din’s neutral stand. Din’s so-called passivity on some issues.
    Din allowing opinins from all. Din not wanting to be vocal like you in yyour support for the PKR..
    Simply stated, you feel angry, that as a long-time blog companion to Din, that he has changed his stand.
    You have hinted on your frustration several times. Stupid as I am, I can read between the lines.
    Is that democratic Frank?

  39. No, Frank. Personally except for a few hiccups now and then, I enjoyed the banter and the intellectual discourse. We all do. We are like two old gladiators fighting it out in the arena of public opinion. We may disagree on certain issues but we enjoyed your writing and your dedication to writing and your grasp of the political situation. I think I speak for the others too.

    I am too lazy to surf the net and negotiate the many political blogs. You have been my main source of news from home. I have made Din’s blog my home away from home and I would lose a sparring partner in you, and the source of my news.

    Your absence will leave a void in Din’s blog which will be hard to fill..

  40. Mr Bean

    Precisely. I like Din’s blog because it offers differing points on national and international issues.
    If I am an Umno cybertrooper, I will be going to Zorros, Parpukari or Big Dog blogs , to cite a few, which are one-sided on their political inclinations.
    It’s right for Din to give leeway to us. But Frank is like a selfish child, who regards this blog as a precious old toy that no one but him are allowed to play with.
    Most times Frank made me ashamed of being a Malay which to him is stupid and a Pariah. It does not bother me.
    Like you said, Mr Bean, we are all invisibles here except for Din, why must we be ultra-sensitive to another’s viewpoint. We are all at the mercy of Din’s.
    He can just press the delete button. He deleted some of my remarks. No problem. He’s got his reasons for doing so. i am much aware he is the blog owner.
    No need to go on witch-hunting like tracing IP to bar so-called spammers Din is the ultimate decider.
    Frank, you can call Najib and the governmet everything under the sun including murdering Altantuya. If the governmet is like you, they will have no time to rule but to go checking with Cyberjaya on the bloggers.
    Then you will be crying foul and accused tem of being undemocratic.
    Youa dmitted you are intolerant. I think if you are at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park or Central Park, you will be bashing those who differ from your thoughts.

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