17 October 2016

Copyfight! What happens when copyright meets official secrets?

In his judgement, the honorable Tay Yong Kwan appears to have made a Solomonic decision: the Attorney-General gets his Official Secrets Act to apply to the interview and transcripts, and the Estate of the late Mr Lee gets its full copyright to the same interview and transcripts. That is to say, the Estate has "full copyright and literary rights", only to the extent of checking that the Government complies with the Interview Agreement.

Rafael's Judgment of Solomon


13 October 2016

Memories, Official Secrets, and the National Archives: A matter of governmental judgment or archival discretion?

In the case of Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang vs Attorney-General, the honorable Tay Yong Kwan has ruled that the transcripts of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's interviews with the National Archives are:
1. covered by the Official Secrets Act;
2. copyrighted by Mr Lee's estate, but only to the extent of "ensuring the Government's compliance with the Interview Agreement"; and
3. in custody of the Cabinet Secretary [our note: till 2020, when the Government may exercise the discretion to hand them over to the National Archives then, at a later date, or never, or indefinitely delay that decision].

Both the Estate and the Attorney-General appear to have disregarded the consideration and interests of the Archives itself when they argued their cases. Neither the National Archives of Singapore, any of its fellow SARBICA member associations, or even the International Council of Archives were called by either side to submit an affidavit for the case. It thus falls on us at Illusio to illustrate how an archival institution or a community of archival experts may possibly view the case. Or at least, weigh in on whether and when archival interviews should be official secrets, and who typically has copyright, and explain why.

23 September 2016

Balled Over by the Empire

In our "Rise of the anti-intellectual, illiberal left" category, the question is:
Which of the following did not happen this week?

A. Social Justice Warriors waging war on pie. Empire Pie. I miss fafblog and its pie jokes.
B. Social Justice Warriors waging war on a museum. It put on a fundraising dinner called the Empire Ball to kick of its curated exhibition of the Tate's edgy, critical, anti-colonial take on Empire and Artists (co-branding yay or nay?). They object to the word empire, of course.
C. Social Justice Warriors waging war on Fox's Empire. The word empire is imperialist (duh) and triggering.

18 July 2016

"Prosecution or persecution?" The continuing Judge Dredd tendencies of the Elections Department


As we argued last month, the principles of the exercise and distribution of power by the state and its agencies, in the event of an investigation, have been contravened in the investigation of alleged breaches of the cooling off amendments of the Parliamentary Elections Act. The police have usurped the role of the public prosecutor and attorney general in their questioning of Roy Ngerng, and more importantly, both the ELD and police have usurped the role of the courts in their joint press statement.

One month later, the separation of investigative, prosecutorial, and judicial roles of state agencies continue to be blurred. This is cause for major concern.

07 June 2016

"Prosecution or persecution?" Public law issues in the investigation of Teo Soh Lung and Roy Ngerng for Cooling Off Day violations


In the distant future of the 2000 AD comic books, Mega-City One is patrolled by a police corps empowered to arrest, convict, sentence, and execute criminals. Judge Dredd pushes the popularity of authoritarian anti-crime rhetoric in society in the 1980s to its most logical conclusion: a world where due process and separation of powers mean nothing. The gimmick is fashioning a hero for a world where these authoritarian fantasies have come true, while the twist is showing that what passes for justice in this world is hardly something we'd recognise or desire.

03 June 2016

Quo vadis? Workers Party leadership renewal crisis

Take a bow, Chen Show Mao!
photography: Shawn Danker
Singapore's Workers Party had an election last weekend. That got them into the news because apparently in Singapore, even for an opposition party, the party leadership is a position for life and any open challenge for the post is unheard of, because this is how the cadre system works and is universally adopted by all credible parties in Singapore.

So why did Low Thia Khiang remind voters of its "leadership renewal process" in the GE2015 rallies when he presented WP's new dream team for winning the East Coast?

13 May 2016

Bukit Batok by the numbers


In our previous post, we applied the Dominant Party System model to the Bukit Batok by-elections and made some predictions of the vote, as well as initial critiques of the early campaigning by the People's Action Party and the Singapore Democratic Party. It's time we looked at the numbers, and measure the model against the competing narratives from the mainstream media's pundits as well as popular folk wisdom.


05 May 2016

Modelling the Bukit Batok 2016 by-election

How much of a swing in the electorate does Dr Chee Soon Juan and the SDP need
to win the Bukit Batok by-election?


25 April 2016

New Elected Presidency for Singapore: Is an update or rethink really needed?


Faster than a speeding bullet, or Minilee's premature constitutional contractions!

As public hearings for the constitutional commission on the changes to Singapore's Elected Presidency continue, so do our analysis to shed light and push back on what may be described as yet another hasty, ill-conceived exercise at constitutional amendment by the long-ruling People's Action Party.

Our previous post establishes the fact that despite the effort of the mainstream press, the proposed changes to the Elected Presidency are not mere updates but radical rethinks of the presidency. For the prime minister to moot the changes in parliament, convene the constitutional commission, call for feedback, let it hold public hearings, compile a report, study it, then craft the bill and allow his cabinet colleagues to sell it in parliament, have three readings of the bill all within the year, Minilee and the national press need to sell the changes as minor, perfunctory, and incremental. Otherwise, the prime minister's constitutional exercise will lose its credibility and it will be difficult to wash off the stench of unholy haste in the proceedings.

21 April 2016

New Elected Presidency for Singapore: Update, Rethink, or Clown Show?


In the matter of the changes to the elected presidency, it has taken less than 4 months from Lee Hsien Loong's proposals in his speech at the opening of the 13th parliament of Singapore for us to arrive at the constitutional commission's public hearings at the Supreme Court. And if Minilee has his way, the commission will present its findings by 2016Q3, following which the Prime Minister's Office will likely draft the changes it accepts from the commission, the bill read twice in parliament and passed "within the year", and the presidential election take place with the new rules in 2017, less than 18 months away from now.


12 January 2016

Blind men and the elephant: Chua Mui Hoong describes crony capitalism in Singapore

You've probably heard about the blind men and the elephant. In the dominant narrative, the moral of the story one should learn is the limitations to knowledge, how imperfect and incomplete information on the Truth may lead equally wise people to disagree on things. For my readers, I offer a counter narrative. The blind men and the elephant is an allegory for how things look to people who refuse to see what they're looking at.