#8: Let's get back to regular programming...

Also: A lovely story of connection during Ramadan, and a discussion on healthcare in Singapore

A lot of this past week was taken up with wall-to-wall inescapable coverage of the Trump-Kim Summit. The Straits Times even went to the trouble of printing their front page on 13 June on nicer, whiter paper than the usual newsprint.

Let’s just get to it. If you’ve received this newsletter from a friend, just click the button below to subscribe and get it in your inbox every Saturday morning.


When Trump Met Kim

Singapore turned into an absolute media circus this past week as it played host to a historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. I’ll leave you to look up the analysis and hot-takes since they’re not about Singapore—there are tons out there. The police arrested five South Korean protesters; according to witnesses, the women were surrounded by 50 officers. They were later given stern warnings and repatriated.

That same night, Kim went on his mini-tour of Singapore and took wefies with Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, as if he was some cool guy to hang out with, as opposed to the supreme leader of one of the most brutal regimes in the world. The rolling out of the red carpet might have paid off, though, as analysts say we might have got S$700 million worth of exposure out of the event we spent S$20 million on.

In the middle of all this, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was interviewed by CNN’s Christiana Amanpour, during which he said that Singapore was not repressive, and that this is what Singaporeans voted for. If I get started we’ll be here forever, so I’m just going to link to this Twitter thread. Human Rights Watch has also released a statement in response.

Breaking fast in a Sikh temple

I love this account of a langar at a Sikh temple that hosted 100 Muslim migrant workers. Volunteers prepped the food, and the organiser brought speakers into the temple to ensure that the Muslim prayer call would be heard so the workers could break fast on time. The Sikhs stood in silence as a gesture of respect until the Muslims were done with their prayers.

Talking about healthcare in Singapore

I hosted a group discussion about healthcare in Singapore on Wednesday evening, co-facilitating with Dr Cheng Shin Chuen, a surgeon in private practice. We heard from practising doctors about their experiences, and talked about how healthcare is funded in Singapore. Dr Cheng drew our attention to the fact that, according to the Ministry of Health, our collective Medisave balance in 2016 was a whopping $82.1 billion — if that’s the case, can we not afford to do more? The new CareShield is generally a positive step forward, but it’s difficult to qualify for, and a lot more needs to be done to meet Singaporeans’ healthcare needs. It was broadly agreed by everyone in the session that Singapore is a country in which no one should be falling into debt or poverty because of their healthcare needs.

Contempt of court

The contempt of court proceedings against Jolovan Wham are going ahead. The hearing will be on 17 July.

Jolovan Wham@jolovanwham

My defence affidavit has just been submitted. I'm accused of scandalising the judiciary for saying that Malaysian judges are more independent than Singapore's for cases with political implications. The open court hearing is on July 17. pic.twitter.com/5YuUOS3xFg

June 14, 2018

Arrested in Vietnam

This isn’t a Singapore story, but I’m including it to spread the word. Will Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American currently doing his Masters at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, was arrested during protests in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday. A video online shows him bleeding from his head and being dragged by a group of men. His whereabouts are currently unknown and his family haven’t been able to reach him. His family and friends ask that people spread the word and raise awareness of the case. Will has also contributed to New Naratif, so we’ve put out a statement in support.


And now for a visual break…

Okay, I’ll link one analysis of the Trump-Kim Summit.


Coming up…

Still thinking about the Malaysian elections?
There’s an event 2pm–5pm today about the issues, implications and challenges following regime change in Malaysia, and what this means for Singapore.

The LGBTQ community and staying drug-free

There’s a live Q&A with Leow Yangfa, executive director of Oogachaga, on 17 June about their recent “Our Story is Drug Free” campaign. You can ask questions here and tune in via Prout.

Talking about CareShield
If you missed the democracy classroom session on healthcare in Singapore (see above), don’t worry; Function 8 is organising a forum on CareShield on 23 June. Email f8info18@gmail.com by 21 June to RSVP.