Sunday, 23 November 2014

The one where Fabrications about the PAP continues to mislead Singaporeans.

I finally Googled the word "half-truth". Until the PAP started using it, I never knew that this is a real word. Well, it seems that it means conveying only part of the truth with the intention of misleading the audience. This word encapsulates the unwritten mission statement of "Fabrications about the PAP" to a T.

Among the pro-PAP Facebook pages, FAP is the most adversarial and least principled. They hate on opposition parties, their supporters, and just about anyone who voices out alternative views that disagree with the PAP line. They were the first ones to publish the home address, complete with a photo, of the elderly retired civil servant who spoke up during Hri Kumar's CPF forum. While claiming to be fighting against the perpetuation of half-truths, they don't see a problem with sending out half-truths of their own to mislead their readers.

The latest half-truth being told by FAP has the intention of justifying MOS Desmond Lee's viewpoint that there's a concerted "online campaign" being carried out by people associated with the Workers' Party. Of course, they had to find a way to justify it, because what he said was so ridiculous that it couldn't immediately be understood without some additional clarifications.

So, the latest revelation is that The Online Citizen, which published criticisms of Desmond Lee's criticisms of WP, does have links with the WP. That's a revelation indeed.
It's all coming together - TOC must be a proxy of the WP because of its WP links!
Unconvinced, I decided to use Google. It is true that current WP member and NCMP Gerald Giam was one of the co-founders of TOC . It is also true that Andrew Loh used to be a member of the WP. But wait a minute.... what's this?

Credit: SDP.
The half-truth is self-explanatory. While publishing TOC's WP links, FAP has conveniently left out the fact that at least half of the founding members of the socio-political website The Online Citizen had links with the PAP. The PA grassroots is the bridge between the PAP and the ground. And what can be more PAP than being a member of the Young PAP?

Here's another link to a post espousing the PAP links at TOC.

Finally, this is awkward, but when I searched "Andrew Loh PAP supporter", I got this. 

Oh dear.
But it's no wonder they called him that, because in 2012, Straits Times blog Singapolitics reported a heated online exchange between Andrew Loh and Workers' Party MP Pritam Singh. Andrew Loh had criticised the WP, causing Pritam Singh to make a pointed reference to Loh's past association with the Young PAP. Andrew Loh then joined WP but left after only two years, after which he set up another website with a suspicious funding source.

It doesn't look like Andrew Loh is a loyal supporter of any party. It is also interesting that the grassroots and Young PAP members who are reading FAP never bothered to clarify that, in fact, some co-founders of TOC were their fellow grassroots and Young PAP members. I guess revealing that truthful factoid would be "helping TOC", and why tell the truth about TOC when hiding the truth can discredit the government's critics? 

By choosing to associate its online critics with opposition parties via fictitious conspiracy theories, the PAP is taking the easy way out. It's easier to discredit its online critics and ignore them than to reflect on the elements of truth in their criticisms. Will the party similarly take the easy way out when dealing with other problems in the country?

Friday, 21 November 2014

Conclusion to the fabricated story of the "missing $3.3 million".

This shall be the concluding post to the series... until another mud-slinging attempt begins. I am glad that the MND posted clarifications yesterday and today to dispel further rumours. Of course, not everything that was said made sense. But hey, at least they tried. I have edited the blogpost to also reflect Minister of State Desmond Lee's latest response

Here are some of the loopholes. 

"Ang Mo Kio TC and Tanjong Pagar TC receive more grants than AHPETC because they have more and smaller HDB flats. Ang Mo Kio has 89,127 HDB flats, of which 39 per cent are 3-room or smaller. Tanjong Pagar has 75,050 HDB flats, of which 59 per cent are 3-room or smaller. In comparison, AHPETC has 71,760 flats, of which only 29 per cent are 3-room or smaller. Likewise, even though Chua Chu Kang has about the same number of HDB flats (71,348) as AHPETC, Chua Chu Kang receives less S&CC grant (S$4.9 million compared to AHPETC’s S$7.2 million), because only 12 per cent of its flats are 3-room or smaller." - MND 

I will take their word for it that AHPETC has fewer small flats. But their explanation does not apply when we compare Ang Mo Kio GRC, which received $17 million in grants, and Tanjong Pagar GRC, which only received $13 million. AMK GRC has fewer flats smaller than three-room compared to Tanjong Pagar GRC, but it received $4 million more. What's the reason for this anomaly? There are two legitimate possibilities that I can think of: 1) AMK GRC had received one of those once-off special grants for whatever reason, thus accounting for the higher grant; 2) AMK GRC has a lot of one-room and two-room flats that are entitled to higher grants. 

"The accumulated surplus is the amount of operating surplus cumulated over the years. Under Section 34 of the TCs Act, all TCs have to transfer the stipulated amount of their accumulated surplus to their Sinking Fund after an election. This is the TC’s own Sinking Fund. The TC can use this to pay for future major repair and repainting works. After GE 11, Aljunied transferred S$3.7 million Accumulated Surplus (80 per cent of total Accumulated Surplus) to its Sinking Fund, as required by law." - MND 

So, now that we have heard from MND about where 80 percent of the accumulated surplus went (this should include the operating surplus of $3.3 million), are we going to hear apologies from the pro-PAP groups for publishing misleading statements that alleged that Workers' Party had "Huat Ah" pocketed $3.3 million? 

Probably not. Some of them are still insisting that WP is corrupt by clutching at straws. Probably because they think that they have the backing of the dominant party, and therefore, can say whatever they like without needing to provide evidence. 
The result of being misled by pro-PAP websites. This person still believes
that the $3.3 million "disappeared into thin air".
Whose pocket?
Alleging that Low Thia Khiang used his own company to make the block signs at Hougang. These people need to be reminded that Chiam See Tong once successfully sued two PAP leaders for making claims that they could not prove.

As for the ability to use the sinking fund, this link shows an exchange between then-Potong Pasir MP Chiam See Tong and PAP man Cedric Foo where Cedric Foo tries to rationalise to Chiam See Tong why Potong Pasir SMC cannot use its own sinking fund to make lifts that stop at every floor. Therefore, the statement about the use of sinking fund should be qualified with the phrase "subject to approval from the government". Should the government not approve the use of the sinking fund, the TC that wants to continue with a programme will have to fund it using other sources of income. (In other words, the sinking fund is like the CPF for Town Councils. You can only use it if the government thinks your reason is good enough.) 

"Despite an increase in income (AHPETC’s income in FY12 was S$29.8 million, compared to $26.8 million in FY10, a 11 per cent increase), its expenditure increased more significantly (its expenditure in FY12 was S$35.4 million, compared to $27.3 million in FY10, a 30 per cent increase). Its operating deficit before grants was $5.6 million in FY12 compared to $500,000 in FY10 (1,120 per cent increase). After grants and less transfers, it ran an operating deficit of S$734,000 in FY12 compared to a surplus of S$3.3 million in FY10." - MND

"AHPETC received the same S&CC grants in FY12 that it got before the 2011 General Election. Yet, in FY10 the TC ran an operating surplus of S$3.3m, but in FY12 it ran a deficit of S$734,000. Why did this happen? Is the S&CC from Aljunied GRC residents being used to cover the deficit in Hougang TC?" - Desmond Lee 

A rephrasing of these paragraphs are in order, because the entity AHPETC did not exist until FY13. The PE by-election was in January 2013, so any reference to AHPETC before 2013 is a mistake. What MND should have written was: "After Aljunied GRC merged with Hougang SMC in 2011, there was an increase in income for Aljunied-Hougang TC to $29.8 million. This was 11 percent higher than the income of $27.3 million accrued by Aljunied TC in FY10." Since the TC after 2011 comprised two constituencies instead of one, it makes sense that the expenditure would have been higher rather than lower. So I don't know what MND's point was in highlighting the increased expenditure across time.

Desmond Lee is more careful in his use of words this time. In his previous statement, he actually said, "The operating surplus of $3.3 millon Aljunied had in FY10 had turned into an operating deficit of $734,000 in FY12." (Italics are mine.) The use of the phrase "turned into" implied that WP had the money, and squandered or pocketed it, thus causing the account deficit. It is misleading to readers who are not aware of the Town Council Act, which requires the TC to transfer the majority, if not all, of the accumulated surplus to the sinking fund after an election. Unless Desmond Lee was in fact saying that the $3.3 million operating surplus that George Yeo's TC had was not transferred to the fund in 2011, but was handed to WP? But I doubt he was saying that because he subsequently altered his words.

This reply obfuscates the issue by confusing the accounts of Aljunied TC with
Aljunied-Hougang TC, which is a different entity. 
Of course, there's no mistake in their criticisms that the finances of the areas managed by WP seem to have been in a perpetual bad state after Hougang merged with Aljunied. And since PE merged with the two constituencies in 2013, there has been no news about the state of finances. It is also true that WP's expenditure has consistently been higher than its income. There are many possible reasons for that, such as poor spending control or an ineffective system of collecting services and conservancy charges. We need to hear from WP to get both sides of the story. In my opinion, it was unwise of WP to merge the constituencies. It's always better to deal with complicated matters in small parts, rather than have them lumped together into one big mess. 

However, I expect public officials to be more measured in their public communication. I think any statement by anyone, especially from the PAP, that misleads the public into thinking that financial misappropriation was the cause of the deficit should be condemned. As MPs or former MPs, PAP leaders are supposed to know that the operating surpluses of a TC get rolled into what is called the accumulated surplus, which is then transferred to the sinking fund after an election. Therefore, any person in the government trying to create the impression that the accumulated surplus could've been misused or had somehow "disappeared" will come across - at least to members of the public who are aware of the law - as either woefully ignorant of something that he should know about, or not completely trustworthy and truthful in his communication.

Hopefully, after this debacle, everyone will realise that when communicating with the public, being honest is often the better option than being vague in order to create an impression of unlawful activity. For example, had the PAP simply laid out the facts of the TCMR assessment, leaving Singaporeans to judge for themselves, I think they would have gotten the result that they hoped for - which is, people concluding that WP is no good at managing its finances and will have a problem managing the country's finances. Unfortunately, PAP opted to condemn WP repeatedly on national media with misleading statements. Pro-PAP Facebook pages simultaneously alleged that WP was corrupt without any evidence.

I think that suggests a willingness to stoop to a low level just to gain the upper hand. I don't think the PAP ever believed that Singaporeans are capable of thinking. Well, they should change their opinion, because it could darn well affect their votes.

“AHPETC has yet to explain its serious financial mismanagement, and the S&CC arrears. Instead, we have seen a coordinated online campaign to distract the public, using falsehoods, half-truths and speculations, by friends, sympathisers and proxies of the Workers’ Party (WP). The aim is to confuse the public and distract them from the real issues. MND has addressed these untruths. This is what the WP often does when caught under the spotlight – raise a flurry of red herrings in the hope that people forget that they have not come clean." - Desmond Lee 

This paragraph, in my opinion, shows how out of sync the PAP is with reality. Calling the online speculations a "coordinated online campaign" by "friends, sympathisers and proxies of the Workers' Party" is just so.... off.... I don't even know what other word to use to describe it. Does Desmond Lee, scion of former PAP Minister Lee Yock Suan, really think that the government critics online are being controlled by the opposition parties? If so, it is further evidence of what I have pointed out above: the PAP does not believe that well-educated Singaporeans have the capacity for individual thought. What an insult.

The labeling of random bloggers who do not know one another as "sympathisers and proxies of the Workers' Party" would be amusing, if he wasn't already made a Minister of State. The phrase is more commonly used to describe supporters of illegitimate and illegal political parties, such as "Nazi sympathisers" or "Communist sympathisers and proxies". Such parties are usually banned in democratic countries because they are associated with totalitarianism and extremism with scant regard for the basic rights of humans. I have never heard of politicians in democratic countries calling supporters of other lawful political parties "sympathisers" and "proxies". 

So the question is, does Desmond Lee think that the Workers' Party, established in 1957 by our former Chief Minister and Singapore Ambassador - a man who remains respected by the Jewish community in Singapore - the late David Marshall, is an illegitimate political party and should be made illegal? Does his view reflect the view of the PAP? 

If there were "red herrings" in this entire debacle, the first fish was thrown by the pro-PAP camp with the fabrication, intentional or otherwise, that the Workers' Party had caused the surplus of $3.3 million to disappear. If the PAP's intention was to criticise the WP for financial mismanagement and arrears (a justified criticism), it should have focused on those aspects instead of misleading the public into thinking that WP had pocketed money. Financial misappropriation is a totally different, and much more serious charge. A deficit is by no means proof of financial misappropriation.

Let's be clear. The key issue is what the following pro-PAP supporter has said below - the arrears, and what caused the "red areas" in the TCMR assessment of AHPETC. Anything else that goes beyond the facts to jump to conclusions will be construed by discerning Singaporeans as attempts to tarnish the reputation of the PAP's strongest political rival.
The real issue lost in a basket of herrings.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


最后一次动笔用中文写作应该是十多年前的事了吧。这次心血来潮,可以说是因为我对现任政府为了《星国恋》(To Singapore with Love)所做出的反应感到失望。政府官员与当年逃离新加坡的政治犯的口舌之战,相信大家都听得多了。在那“动荡的年代”里所发生的事情不是三言两语就可以轻描淡写地带过。但无可否定的是:行动党彻底地赢了。


相反的,如果行动党员无法以宽容的心来接受这些曾为了政治理想而踏上了“政治犯”这条不归路的人,对年轻一代的选民来说,这将意味着行动党并没有想改变的心态。他们仍然认为用铁腕政策(iron fist)掌权是最好的做法。年轻的选民们在投票时就会考量这一点。

在此,我也想回应陈振泉部长(Sam Tan)所说的一些话。不久前,陈部长指何元泰(Ho Juan Thai)当年会离开新加坡是为罪潜逃。何先生曾因为当年说行动党政府抹杀了华文教育,结果被列入“黑名单”。陈部长的这番话让我感到纳闷。何先生所用的词汇是重了点,但试问,如果你从小到大都是在用华语学科学,数学,历史,地理学,当政府突然进行教育改革,限定你短时间内一定要把英语学好,并且除了母语(Mother Tongue)以外,在学校里的每一堂课都要以英语来进行,难道你就不会感到愤怒吗?


这些年来,政府都一直在推广双语教育。这并不容易。他们成功了吗?新加坡现在有多少人能够双语兼通?在今年的国庆日演讲上,李显龙总理很大声地说了一句“每个新加坡人都可以做梦!” 让我啼笑皆非。就连李总理和他的词作家都搞不清楚“做梦”和“有梦想”,也没发现“你们可以做梦”的贬义,你说,新加坡人民的华文程度优不优?

所以,如果说政治犯是因为做了伤天害理的事而逃亡,这我可以理解。但如果他们是为了责备行动党的教育改革而被新加坡内部安全局(Internal Security Department)调查,对我而言,那真的是有点夸张。本文对行动党并没有恶意。我只是想把自己的想法说出来,也恳请政府官员们能试着改变他们对某些事情的态度。当年的情况就是这样。大家为了生存都过得不容易。刚好,就有些人懵懵懂懂地踏上了政治那条路。但他们当时并不知道,那很有可能是一条不归路。可惜时光不能倒流,一切不能重来。现任政府是否能在未来的日子里对这些老伯伯们多宽容一点呢?

Responses by the pro-PAP pages (Updated).

This is a separate post for my views on the responses of the pro-PAP pages - FAP, FLOP and Calvin Cheng's Facebook - to queries on the allocation of government grants to Town Councils.

First, I think FAP's response to the queries about government grants is a deliberate untruth. It claims that it's justified for AHPETC to receive fewer grants than Tanjong Pagar GRC because the "Serangoon and Paya Lebar" areas under AHPETC have a majority of landed property whereas "Tanjong Pagar, Kreta Ayer has the smaller units dwelled by the elderly".

This statement conveniently leaves out the fact that besides the low-income areas, Tanjong Pagar GRC also consists of the most atas and expensive residential areas in Singapore: Orchard Road, Tanglin and Holland Road. It also comprises the private residential areas of Havelock Road and River Valley areas where many condominiums are located. Tiong Bahru has also become a gentrified neighbourhood with condos and highly sought after four-storey SIT apartments that cost millions of dollars. None of these falls into FAP's classification of "smaller flats".

FAP's effort strikes me as another attempt to explain away a controversial method of governance that Low Thia Khiang has been complaining about for years. See this article from 2010. I guess he must've gotten tired of complaining, because he's been very silent these days.

Also see this statement from 2013 by Lina Chiam. Note the line: "When it was under the Opposition, Potong Pasir did not obtain a single cent from the CIPC fund or any HDB-related funding." It is rather alarming that Potong Pasir was deprived of funding. Whatever reasons the government had, it was not justifiable to leave out an entire ward in its funds allocation. And surely Potong Pasir was not "mostly private residential"?
Jin eh boh? "Mostly private residential"? U never go AHPETC before, right?
Calvin Cheng's post here provides more insights on the system. Calvin says that grants are disbursed according to the number of flats which are four-room and smaller in the area. Admittedly, I had no idea that "grants [for the Town Councils] are given out according to the overall wealth of the people in a constituency". I thought they were for the regular maintenance of the area. Nothing to do with wealth. 

Does this mean that if I live in a landed house, I gotta hire my own sweepers to sweep the road outside, because the TC doesn't have funds for that? And if the wheelchair-bound elderly in the private estates want ramps to be built, they gotta hire their own construction workers to build the ramps, because the TC is not in charge of improvement works in private residential estates? 

That cannot be right.

But if it is indeed so, I think it's a bizarre way to determine the allocation of grants. In fact, I think disbursing grants by population served is better. :P Disbursing grants by housing type makes one blind to the needs of the real people in the households.

Unfortunately, not many agree with me. Much has been said in the pro-PAP pages about my erroneous methodology of using electorate size to pass judgement on government grants allocation. The commenters seem really confident that government grants are, and ought to be, disbursed based on housing type. Well, in that case, I would like to invite Calvin Cheng or any of the pro-PAP commenters on his page to share how many one- to four-room flats there are in AHPETC as well as in the other PAP constituencies.

Calvin Cheng, for example, has furnished the statistics pictured below. But there's something not quite right. How come he knows the respective income levels of people living in Jurong GRC and AHPETC? I would highly recommend that he reveal or credit his sources. Perhaps his Oxford credentials are good enough to convince others to believe him without asking him where he got the information from. My view is, there's no shame in being wrong, but it's shameful to concede defeat in a debate without rigorously questioning the person who disagrees with you. To me, for now, Calvin Cheng's Facebook post looks like what it is, filled with insightful opinions, but lacking in source credits, and with statistics plucked out of thin air. (And on this note, I would urge those who disagree with him to stand their ground. He sounds confident because he has strong views. But he doesn't know for sure either. Remember, this is the guy who insisted that his price-fixing in the modelling industry was "noble" even after being fined for the unethical practice.)

How U calculate one?
As a blogger, I make use of whatever information I can find on the Internet. I did not find any information about the number of HDB households, the income levels of the households or the housing types within each GRC. If anyone can provide convincing statistics to prove that there has been no discrimination in the way the PAP has disbursed government grants, he or she should come right out and say it! This will be to the benefit of the people in this country and it will improve the PAP's credibility among its critics.

I can't speak for others, but I am not what some might call a "hardcore Oppie supporter" who's blind to evidence. Sure, I don't like the PAP's method of governance but I do have some favourite Ministers and MPs - they're talented and should not be deprived of opportunities by the older generation of leaders. My ideal political system is a two-party system, including the PAP! And my husband... he votes for the PAP every time. Hopefully, the defensive PAP supporters won't take things the wrong way. Not everyone is out to get your favourite party. I think many people in the younger generation just want more accountability and less discrimination from the government.

So, what's stopping you from providing the evidence to show that the PAP did not discriminate against the Opposition wards in its allocation of grants?

Interestingly, Calvin has now made a remark saying that the "formula" the government uses for grants allocation is not on the Town Councils' pages. I guess he thinks that he has the "accurate insider's info"? If his information is correct, this is another fail for government transparency. Without providing such vital information to the populace, it is inevitable that concerned members of the public will resort to coming up with their/our own "formulae" to explain issues, possibly leading to the perpetuation of inaccurate information. It is hoped that more facts will come to light over the next few months. I am naturally concerned because I now live in an Opposition ward. I do not like being discriminated against in government grant allocations, and I will vote against the political party that is guilty of using taxpayers' money to play politics.

Singapore system very secretive hor?

The latest clarifications from the pro-PAP pages are that:

1) The reason for using wealth to determine allocation of grants is because the TCs have a limited role. They only maintain HDB estates and commercial properties, so the areas with a higher percentage of private residential estates will receive lower grants compared to areas with more HDB flats.

2) The graphic below from FAP shows that AHPETC has a lower percentage of HDB flats that are three-room or smaller compared to the other constituencies. Therefore, it seems justified that AHPETC receive a lower amount of government grant. 

In short, higher grants are given when the area has more small flats. Simple?

Spot the contradiction.
Look at the graphic again. When you multiply the percentages, it shows that Ang Mo Kio has 34,759 flats that are three-room or smaller, whereas Tanjong Pagar GRC has 43,529 flats that are three-room or smaller. Going by FAP's logic, these numbers suggest that Ang Mo Kio, by right, should be receiving a lower government grant than Tanjong Pagar GRC.

But look at the grants allocation on the right. The numbers are correct and correspond with the TCs' Annual Reports published in 2013. Tanjong Pagar received $13.45 million and Ang Mo Kio GRC received $17.48 million. If it were true that areas with bigger flats should justifiably receive a lower government grant, why then did Ang Mo Kio receive $4 million more in grants than Tanjong Pagar?

So, apart from housing type, are there other hidden criteria for allocation of grants? In any case, the statistics about the different housing types in each GRC appear to be plucked out of thin air again. I wish FAP had included the source credit and the year in which these household numbers were calculated. The statistics on government grants on the right are from the year 2013. It wouldn't be accurate to match household numbers from 2010 with grants from 2013, for instance, because there could be changes in the number of households over time.

On a side note, the statistics appearing out of nowhere makes me wonder if the people behind FAP are government employees paid to refute bloggers, and not ordinary PAP supporters. Otherwise, how come they know all these numbers that are not available to us?

3) The good news is, finally one pro-PAP blogger has admitted that AHPETC's increased expenditure and resulting deficit, whatever it was caused by, has "nothing to do" with the surpluses accumulated by George Yeo's Aljunied GRC. 

Credit: sggeneralelections2016
Thank you for finally acknowledging that the surpluses were transferred and not used to "fill the gap in Hougang" as your counterparts at FAP have alleged.

The blogger makes a good point that the increase in S&CC charges at AHPETC does not seem to have led to an improvement in services. However, I thought the comparison between AHPETC's expenditure in FY12 and FY10 was a false comparison, since AHPETC did not exist in FY10. It was only after the Workers' Party won Aljunied GRC in 2011 that it merged Aljunied GRC with Hougang SMC. Therefore, I don't think we can make any valid comparison of the numbers before and after the WP took over Aljunied, unless we know the real changes in the number of households.

There's also this table being circulated around. I just want to point out that the person who came up with this rounded off all the household numbers to the nearest thousand while doing the calculations. Maybe he or she doesn't have a calculator.

And where are these numbers from, by the way?

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Town Council debacle: That sinking feeling.

Just a quick answer to Bertha Henson's question about whether the 70% of residents in AHPETC mind paying for the rest of the 30% of residents? No.

I am not an expert where mathematical sums are concerned, but I do know that the assessment of the strength of an entity encompasses more than just looking at its surpluses and deficits. For example, some entities hoard a lot of surpluses, but this could be because they are underspending in key areas.

I think Singaporeans may want to ponder this: where Town Councils are concerned, does a high surplus indicate a well-run Town Council with satisfied residents? And what could be the causes of a Town Council falling into deficit?

Well, as the group Fabrications About the PAP has helpfully informed us, Aljunied GRC had a surplus of $3.3 million in 2011. So, if surpluses are indeed indicative of good Town Council management as the group claims, why then did the majority of its residents vote for the Workers' Party? (PAP apologists: That's because they're dumb! They don't know better! They are repenting now!) Whatever.

Similar mocking posts are available at FLOP and on Calvin Cheng's Facebook page. The blog Five Stars and a Moon, which tends to publish one-sided blog posts, has also called for the WP to be more accountable in its accounting practices.

But I must say, this is one instance where I agree with Five Stars and a Moon. Although it doesn't bother me that the WP-run Town Council has failed to collect arrears (a common problem for government agencies), when I looked through its Annual Report of 2012/2013 (cos the 2014 one isn't available), I was concerned to note the various areas where the explanations were dodgy.

I have no answer for why the report was so iffy, and since WP is characteristically keeping mum on the issue, I can only offer some ideas based on what I have read from various local sources. My tone will probably sound apologetic to some, but at least the information here is based on facts with links provided for your reference, rather than fabrications and baseless insinuations.

1. What happened to the surplus of $3.3 million that Aljunied GRC had accumulated?

This issue could be explained by studying the amendment to the Town Council Act in 1996 that led to the creation of the sinking funds for all Town Councils. The amendment to the law was ostensibly passed to ensure that Town Councils would have to set aside a third of their surpluses every financial year, so that they could pay for future liabilities (like improvement works in the constituency). Further, it is stated in this article from the Nanyang Business School at NTU that "all accumulated surpluses be set aside in the sinking fund if a new MP from a different party were elected".

Maybe that explains why the surplus of Aljunied GRC disappeared after the General Elections of 2011? If so, then the people behind Fabrications About the PAP could be trying to mislead readers by alleging that the surplus had been misused by WP (in the post pictured: "surplus been used to fill the hole in Hougang") even though they knew that the money had to go into the sinking fund.

Or maybe the Nanyang Business School is wrong? I'll leave it to the real journalists to pore through the Constitution.

2. Why are the Opposition Town Councils always in the red?

After adding up the electorate figures for each of the constituencies, I discovered that AHPETC is the Town Council in Singapore that's serving the most number of adult Singaporeans (202,336 of its residents are Singaporeans above 21). I couldn't find the stats on the children population and the non-Singaporean population, but the electorate stats should give us a good gauge of the enormity of the task they are facing.

The GRC with the second highest number of Singaporeans above 21 is Pasir Ris-Punggol, with 196,350 citizens.

Then, I went to have a look at the section for "government grants" in their Annual Reports. To be fair, I compared the Annual Reports of 2012/2013. Even though Pasir Ris-Punggol has already made available the 2014 version, AHPETC doesn't have it yet. (Andrew Loh of TOC has pointed out in this insightful article that Punggol East SMC was not under WP in FY 2012/2013. Thus, the electorate that Hougang-Aljunied GRC was serving then was minus 34,000 people - the approximate electorate size of Punggol East.)

Anyway, I noticed that Pasir Ris-Punggol, despite having to serve the smaller population of adult Singaporeans, received $1.5 million more in government grants than AHPETC ($8.8 million minus $7.3 million = $1.5 million). Numbers are rounded off to the nearest ten thousand.

Maybe Pasir Ris-Punggol has more areas that need government grants...

Tanjong Pagar GRC has an electorate of 137,464. That's 64,872 fewer adult Singaporeans than AHPETC. However, it received $13.5 million in government grants in FY 2012/2013. That's $6.2 million more than the grants received by AHPETC.

Perhaps it's because Tanjong Pagar GRC has a greater need for repairs and infrastructural modifications than AHPETC. Indeed, the GRC, where I used to live, has a great need for handicap and elder-friendly facilities.

Well, I don't want to find excuses for WP, so I'll end the post here and leave you to judge for yourselves. I am simply placing this information here in the hope that the matter of AHPETC's deficits can be discussed in a rational manner, without the usual mud-slinging directed at the Opposition, egged on by deliberate misinformation from pro-PAP groups. While the final balance of accounts is important, we should also try to find out why it came to be that way.

Instead of lamenting the lack of transparency and allowing different partisan groups to hoodwink us, let's look at the information that's available. We can find out a great deal by examining them.

Additional note

It seems that this post has been shared on TOC and TRS. No wonder there are suddenly hundreds of people visiting this blog. Even though no permission was sought from me before the post was copied and pasted, I still want to thank you for sharing.

I have been questioned on FLOP by this person. Well, the author of this blogpost cannot answer your queries on FLOP because some sneaky person on that page has reported my Facebook account and it's been suspended.

Here's my reply: First, I have already suggested where the surplus could have gone. If you cannot be bothered to read to engage my argument, it just reflects badly on you.

Second, what I have stated are only suggestions based on the information I have gathered online, since WP has not given a complete reply. I recognise that you have a different opinion, but it's unreasonable of you to demand proof when you are also unable to prove your view that the WP is guilty of mismanaging the funds.

Third, a deficit could be caused by any number of reasons. The PAP Town Councils and even the Singapore government have had deficits before. Since your guess is as good as mine about how the money was spent, maybe we should just respect each other's opinion and wait for the facts to come to light.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Whose fault is it that the Western media thinks we are sheeple?

23 March 2015, Lee Kuan Yew passed away at the Intensive Care Unit of the Singapore General Hospital, where he had been warded since 5 February. Pneumonia is the nemesis of every fragile elderly person, and I wonder why he hadn't been hospitalised earlier, before his pneumonia became too severe to be treated effectively.
I wish he had had the chance to enjoy his life more in old age. I wish he could've spent more time with his wife. I wish he had bowed out of public life earlier, like so many other politicians around the world do, so that he could have had enough time for himself; so that he could have rested and not be constantly on the move to keep up with a punishing schedule.

It's all too late now.

To the people who ranted deliriously at me online a few months ago (see old post below) for suggesting that he retire, I hope you're happy that he was working till the day before he took that one-way trip to SGH. I hope you're happy that he hung around in Parliament against his doctors' advice to serve as a national symbol and political mascot so that your insecure souls could continue to have hope in this country.

The irony is that the people who had wanted to see him work without respite until he breathed his last are the same ones weeping uncontrollably now that he's gone. And in their grief, they have turned their wrath towards anyone who dare suggest that Lee Kuan Yew was not always right, that he had made mistakes in his time in office, and that his colleagues probably deserved more credit for the transformation of Singapore than we give them.

More than any other pioneer leader of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew was adored and admired by the majority here in his lifetime. I think it was because despite his autocratic ways (most notoriously, suing his political rivals to bankruptcy), he was sincere about serving the country. He viewed Singapore as his "baby", his burden to be carried. Like a parent, he did everything he could to ensure that it would continue to do well long after he has expired. Such was his popularity that even people who did not vote for the PAP in the General Elections of 2011 told me that they used to vote for Lee Kuan Yew and still greatly respect him. (Sorry, Fabrications about the PAP, et al. Contrary to your optimistic assessment of the silent majority actually standing up, many of the people who queued to pay their respects to Lee Kuan Yew could have been Workers' Party supporters.)

I am truly sorry that he has left us because I respect tremendously that he was a remarkable man who stood by his convictions and who was not afraid to take on the people who spoke up against him. But that respect and admiration of him will not stop me from calling a spade a spade. He was also a worrywart who was much too paranoid about losing his hold on power.

To the people who are ranting against anyone with objective views of Lee Kuan Yew: your lack of perspective about the man you claim to admire is doing his legacy a great disservice. It is your refusal to perceive both the good and bad about his leadership that has led the so-called "Western media" to think that Singaporeans are repressed sheeple who have been brainwashed by the PAP.

It is your inability to step up to the challenge of meeting disagreeable opinions with logic (instead of with overbearing emotion) that has caused the world to think that we are an indoctrinated mindless bunch who can't think for ourselves.

What else would you call people who hold one-sided opinions (that just happens to be the same as what the state propaganda wants them to think), and who refuse to see the flaws in their government?

What would you call people who scoff at objective assessments of a public figure, calling the writers of such critiques "pseudo-intellects" who ought to be hated for showing disrespect to such a great man? What would you call people who label others as "ingrates" for failing to reciprocate what he had done for Singapore by giving blind support to the PAP? (Never mind that Lee Kuan Yew himself received a privileged and prestigious British education, yet turned against the British!)

I don't believe it's a problem of intellectual capability. Rather, it's a problem of people willingly letting the heart take control of the mind. I am sure there are some studies out there who can prove that there are people who actually (perversely) enjoy partaking of emotional events, even those with a funeral-like atmosphere. Although they are crying outwardly, the complexity of human emotion is such that at the same time, I believe they also relished being given this opportunity to "let themselves go", i.e. stop all analytical thought and just soak in the almost religious fervour surrounding the demise of a Great Leader. They were united with their friends, neighbours, colleagues; they finally had a Greater Purpose that surpassed the mundaneness of day-to-day living. They secretly relished being part of this community that has been rendered breathless by the idea of a perfect leader beyond reproach.

The death of a man, paradoxically, has made these people feel more alive.

Behold Lee Kuan Yew, the deity safeguarding Singapore?
A new urban legend: Rainbow in the sky that appeared after the funeral procession on 29 March 
(the photograph has been exposed as a fake by Mothership).
At least this person, together with the 76 people who gave her the thumbs up,
is honest in admitting she liked the mourning week.

I hope that I don't offend anyone here. If it helps, I also felt inexplicably sad and shed a few tears during the one minute of silence. But in order not to betray my father who is a lifelong critic of Lee Kuan Yew, and remembering how students from low-income families like myself were disadvantaged by his government's anti-welfare policies (was it our fault that our parents were poor?), I quickly pulled myself back.

I did not enjoy many of the gushing commentaries about Lee Kuan Yew, because they did not gel with my experience of his period in government. I couldn't ignore the stigma he had created around people who were of low income and who were Chinese educated, nor the fact that he had thought that the children of people from low-income families would not succeed intellectually because they had "bad genes" and parents who couldn't nurture them. (That was the whole point behind his failed Graduate Mothers' Scheme. Yet my mother, who has never had a single day of formal education in her life, brought me to the library frequently and nurtured my voracious appetite for reading.) 

To the detriment of many children born to parents with low income and education levels, although his government espoused the ethos of meritocracy and self-reliance, it did not simultaneously espouse respect for people of different social classes or different educational backgrounds. Instead of respect and care for one another, his government cultivated a culture where materialistic pursuits were more important than compassion. Partly because of that, I had difficulty securing a tuition fee loan for my university education. Most of my relatives looked down on my family and none wanted to be my guarantor. In fact, I only managed to find a cousin who was nice enough to help me out the day before the university's closing application date. Today, looking at the comments that our current government and its supporters have made about Singaporeans "going soft" and about poor Singaporeans wanting their CPF at 55 years old because they are "lazy" and want to spend the money on "drugs and gambling", it is evident that Lee Kuan Yew's prejudiced views about the poor continue to loom over the PAP government's management of social issues.

Nevertheless, for the sake of balance, here is a blog entry from a self-professed admirer of Lee Kuan Yew that I did enjoy reading: "There's no need to bid farewell for Lee Kuan Yew". The writer might've taken the words of Lee Kuan Yew and his government superficially, though. There were motives that went unexamined because he believed everything that Lee Kuan Yew said about himself and others.

Yet even the critics have to agree that Lee Kuan Yew, through immense will power and courage, was the man who had made the most contributions to the development of Singapore. He was not always agreeable and often unilateral, but he was probably the most successful leader that post-independence Southeast Asia has ever had.

Farewell and good night, sir.


Why is Lee Kuan Yew still my MP?

I do not know, because I haven't heard a single word uttered from his mouth since... 2012? The last speech I remember hearing from him was a very nice speech in 2011. After winning the elections at Tanjong Pagar GRC via a walkover, he announced that he would step down from his position as advisor to the ministers, and he even wished Singapore well. I thought then, here's a great man who's seen and done it all, and there is nothing more that he wants than to spend time with his family.

It is understandable that he could not have stepped down as Member of Parliament immediately after the elections. But I thought that he should have stepped down from the MP position soon after that. Because every politician, after decades of service, should be able to make his last speech in a lucid state of mind. It would be a tragedy, in my opinion, if an old politician had to shuffle away silently in a state of deteriorating health, with no swansong speech for people to remember him by. Sure, we can always listen to old speeches, read old books, but nothing quite replaces the final public parting words of an old tiger in politics. I want LKY to make that speech, and I will be sorry if he is not able to leave on his own terms, in his own words. Let's hope that's not the case.

Anyway, since I have had my pseudonym Facebook account reported and suspended after giving feedback suggesting that LKY retire, I shall rebut on my blog the comments that followed my post on this page. I want the PAP groups behind those pages to know that banning a user on the pretext of helping Facebook to remove trolls does not silence public opinion on politics in Singapore.

I really have no problems with the post. However, it's about time that we look at the matter objectively, instead of emotionally. Are there no capable PAP leaders to replace LKY as MP?

Credit: Fabrications led by Opposition Parties

In fact, in my comment to the post, I agreed that any vitriolic statements about the Lee family must stop. Such statements are callous and uncouth. In my reply to another post on the topic at The Online Citizen, I also pointed out that we should be grateful that the Lee family has made numerous sacrifices for the country, not least that of their personal freedoms. Like the majority of Singaporeans, I respect Lee Kuan Yew. Yes, even those who do not like him very much still respect him for his mettle in holding the country together and getting rid of a lot of problems that Singapore had in the past.

However, being a pragmatic Singaporean, I can't help but ask myself, "Why is he still an MP when he is not able to attend Meet-the-People sessions, and it is even explicitly stated on the GRC's page that his MPS will be conducted by someone else?" That someone else is the only MP I've seen around in Tiong Bahru - Indranee Rajah. She shows up at a lot of events in the area. But she also has her own region to take care of, which is the Tanglin region.

This is has been the permanent arrangement since 2011. It is not a temporary one.

The subject of LKY's retirement is not only a contentious topic, but it also evokes strong emotions in those who are his avid supporters. Any suggestion that maybe LKY is no longer suitable to be an MP on a pro-PAP page will, of course, be met by outraged defensiveness. Here are some of the choice comments I found. 

1. The optimistic fan who thinks that LKY is a secret philanthropist

In the first place, do you know that he donated his MP salary to charity? If you don't, this is pure optimistic speculation. It is true that the family seems to lead a simple life. Does this mean that they necessarily donated all their riches to charity? I am aware that Lee Hsien Loong did donate some of his salary for a good cause. Good for him. But I don't know what's happening to LKY's salary. 

2. The emotional supporter

This type of argument is irrelevant to the question of whether LKY can still be an MP. Singaporeans will continue to remember his achievements for many years to come. They will not forget him just because he has stepped down. 

3. The opposition hater

He's just being spiteful. Tsk tsk.

4. Those who believe that he's still playing a significant role, helping the government to mastermind strategies

OK. When was the last time you heard LKY giving a public speech? I agree that physical mobility is not important. The great FDR was wheelchair-bound most of the time because of childhood polio but he is fondly remembered as one of the best American presidents. Similarly, a leader of Singapore does not need to be physically mobile or perfect. WP leader Low Thia Khiang uses a hearing aid and it does not interfere with his role as an MP. SPP leader Chiam See Tong suffered a stroke, walked with a hunch and spoke with a slur, but he was still able to make speeches during GE2011 which showed his clarity of thought and political determination. A leader doesn't need to be physically perfect. A leader does not need to walk on his own. But a leader must have a lucid state of mind. 

Perhaps I am wrong about LKY. Perhaps he's still intellectually as sharp as before. I really do not know. What I do know is what I saw on national TV. When Lee Hsien Loong was giving his Mandarin speech at PAP's 60th anniversary celebration, LKY who was seated behind the podium, yawned openly a couple of times and didn't seem embarrassed that he was caught on camera.

Anyway, assuming he is still one of the top minds in this country, like many other retired political leaders, he can still be consulted for advice. He doesn't actually need to be in the government to offer advice. The Prime Minister is his son. Surely it'll be easy for a son to approach a father for advice?


For a sense of how emotional the topic is for some, here are some more views from people who have been thoroughly brainwashed. They truly believe that we should continue paying Mr Lee Kuan Yew to be a political representative even though he's way past the point of retirement. They truly think that it is okay for the Parliament to retain someone who has not spoken to Singaporeans for the past few years.

If we could create a shrine to worship him, I believe those people would actually go there for that purpose. Such is their adulation. But the man already has books, musicals, statues, awards, degrees, titles, think tanks - you name it, you've got it - created in his honour to recognise his decades of contribution to this country. He is also receiving a pension for his years of service. Do we really need to turn the Parliament into a platform for further hero worship? Doesn't that turn the Parliament, the highest legislative body in Singapore, into a farce?

Someone mentioned that his presence in the GRC gives confidence to party supporters. I recognise that some people may feel insecure with the changing realities around us, but him being around is not going to solve all of Singapore's problems. In fact, LKY's dominance in Tanjong Pagar GRC, at least until 2011, is the reason why leaders from the younger generation like Minister Chan Chun Sing has not been able to gain experience helming his own GRC.


It is apparent from the posts that some of the PAP supporters on that page are either politically ignorant, or they do not treat governance seriously. The respect that individuals ought to have for such an institution is sorely lacking. Although they claimed that Workers' Party leader Low Thia Khiang should be brought to task for failing to account for the financial statements of his GRC, these very same supporters think that it's okay for our government to have a representative who is so frail that he cannot perform the tasks that are expected of him, and has to rely on a helper. It almost seems like they have this "Aww, he so poor thing" attitude towards LKY upon learning of his illnesses, and expect other Singaporeans to show our appreciation for him by continuing to vote him into Parliament.

If you really love him and Singapore, do everyone a favour. Give the man the break that he deserves. Stop badgering for him to be returned to government. He doesn't need sympathy votes. He has grandchildren who adore him, a lovely home with great memories to look back on, and his mind should be filled with questions like, "When will I get to hold my first great-grandchild?" and not "What time will this dreadfully boring political event end?" If I may say so, I have many elderly relatives and all they wish for is a peaceful life in old age. Being a 91-year-old founding father of Singapore doesn't make him any different from other elderly men. So, I do not know why he's still in office, or even whether it's his choice.

Here are some leaders who ended a remarkable run on their terms, and in their own words.

Transcript: Nelson Mandela retirement speech

Credit: The New York Times

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Removal of fibroids: How I finally got pregnant.

Today, instead of the usual "what's wrong with the PAP" stuff (the PAP being the political party that has run the government for 50 years), I thought I'd blog about something that might actually provide useful information to couples, which is the process of conceiving a child in Singapore. As this post is about my experience while trying to conceive (TTC), if you're not about to have a child, it will probably not be of interest to you.

Let's get straight to the point. First, I believe one of the major obstacles that slowed things down for my husband and I was the long and stressful wait for public housing - an issue that I've blogged about here.

The second major obstacle was health. If you do a search on the Internet about women's TTC experiences, you'll find many women's blogs, including blogs by Singaporean women, about the difficulties they face. Perhaps there are more negative stories online than positive ones because the women who face issues with TTC are the ones who tend to blog to vent their feelings. Apart from reading blogs, I have also heard stories about friends or the friends of friends who've had unsuccessful and, often, very expensive treatment to have a child of their own. So, for what it's worth, here's what we did to overcome our issues with TTC. I hope it will give other couples out there some information that can be of help to them.

Most obstetricians in Singapore, as in other parts of the developed world, will recommend further tests after more than a year of unsuccessful tries via the "natural method". This is because any healthy couple should be able to reproduce within a year if they have been doing "it" at the right time, i.e. during the week when the woman is the most fertile.

So, after more than one year of TTC, my friendly obstetrician recommended that my husband and I go for fertility tests. It was then we discovered that the benign growths in my womb, which were previously thought to be harmless, could in fact be obstructing the path of the fertilised egg as it tries to attach itself to my womb. Although the friendly obstetrician said that he could resolve the issue easily with a surgery, based on a family member's recommendation, we decided to go with a different doctor for the operation. This was purely a personal choice, as we have known the second doctor for a longer time. My friendly obstetrician was happy with the decision too.

The surgery that I went for is similar to the laparoscopic surgery written about on the blog A Juggling Mom, except that she did the abdominal version of it while mine was a keyhole surgery - the reason for the different techniques used being the size and number of the growths. The entire surgery from preparation to eventual completion took only about a month. After doing an ultra-sound scan for me through which the doctor established the positions of the growths, the date for the surgery and the private hospital in which it was to be carried out were quickly set. The nurse in charge handed me some bowel preparation solution. This was for me to clear my bowels the morning of the surgery. The clearing of bowels was to prevent infection after the op. Infections are the scourge of post-op care. As my best friend in the medical profession once said, "It's rare for people to die at the operating table. If they don't survive, it's usually because of post-op infections."

Needless to say, in the first few weeks after the surgery date was set, I was kind of freaked out. This was my first operation, ever. But I have close family members who had gone for major surgeries and survived, so I kept reminding myself that if they could get through major surgeries, this surgery which was only of moderate risk should not be a problem. My family and friends were very supportive, so eventually, the whole emotional aspect of it was taken care of. What really helped was also knowing that the outcome of this type of surgery was very positive for pregnancy.

On the day of the surgery, my husband and I arrived at the hospital, and after all the admin stuff (registering, paying the deposit), we were brought into the ward. I had wanted to cut costs by staying in a cheaper ward, but all the more affordable wards were full, so I ended up in an A-class ward at a private hospital. Thankfully, the surgery did not require a long hospital stay or we'd surely be ****ed by the bill. My insurance plan would only cover a limited portion of the costs of the op, as it was for a condition that had existed before I upgraded my plan.

After changing into the hospital robes, I just kind of sat around and chatted with my husband. The hospital staff came to check on me a couple of times and take my vital signs (blood pressure, etc). Soon, I was transferred onto another bed and wheeled into the operating area. My husband followed my bed as it was being wheeled to the operating theatre. After I entered the OT area, he returned to wait at the A-class ward where there was a TV and a comfortable armchair. In the meantime, I lay on a bed next to a pillar in front of an operating theatre, waiting for the doctor to arrive. Thankfully, the area was not eeriely silent but rather vibrant. It was pretty interesting listening to the staff and various doctors. Some of the surgeries were minor day surgeries, so I could hear the staff checking on the patients who had just woken up from their post-op slumber and informing them that they would be able to go home soon. Unfortunately, my vision was a blur without my glasses so I couldn't see much of what was going on. The anaesthetist came by a couple of times to talk to me, and finally, I was wheeled into the room where the operation would take place.

The time that I arrived at the hospital to the time that I was finally prepped at the surgical table was about five hours. The staff were very friendly during the actual preparation where I was transferred to the table. One of them even endeavoured to offer some tips on TTC. I only started feeling more concerned nervous when I was on the operating table, and the anaesthetist scolded the nurses for bringing out the wrong equipment. But I suppose it was good that she seemed to be taking charge and I think they did eventually correct the error? Things happened very fast once the doctor arrived. A gas mask was pushed onto my face, I inhaled and was told to think happy thoughts. And that was it.

I didn't really expect to think happy thoughts or hope to have happy dreams because under proper sedation, the world is supposed to go black, and you're supposed go blank. Like your consciousness no longer exists. The times when patients have some awareness are the times when they are not being properly sedated, meaning that there's a high chance they'll be able to feel the operation taking place. :< So, anyway, I was mighty relieved when I opened my eyes to see my husband sitting on the armchair in the A-class ward playing games on his iPhone. I was back.


For the rest of the night, I replied Whatsapp messages, drank some beverages and tried to catch some sleep when the nurses were not busy taking my temperature or blood pressure. In the middle of the night, a very nice nurse who was the same age as me came by to encourage me to relieve myself. Apparently, it's a good sign if you can pass urine after an abdominal surgery. She brought me bed pans at first, but I found it impossible to do it while lying on the bed, unaided by earth's gravitational pull. I requested to be helped to the toilet, and finally, it happened.

Now, the process of getting up from the bed was tough. There was not such a lot of pain when walking, but I felt greatly weakened and the most difficult part was actually getting out of the bed and stepping onto the floor. I couldn't rely on my abdominal muscles to sit up.

The next morning, my dedicated and excellent doctor came by to check on me. He established that all was well and asked if I wanted to be discharged early. The words "cut costs" flashed across my mind, and I said, "Yes, of course." I must clarify, though, that the total fees were not high for private medical care. I felt that the fees were reasonable and extremely worth it for the care that I had received. The only reason why I was so concerned about the costs was because my husband and I had just spent a substantial sum of money renovating and purchasing furniture for our new home.

While waiting for my husband, I had a chat with a very nice and brave Indonesian lady who was a medical tourist. She was in Singapore for cancer treatment. She has two kids and she shared with me some of her experiences many years ago while TTC-ing. She also told me that her estimated bill for an op to remove her tumour as well as a one-week hospital stay would come up to about $30,000. Although more expensive than cancer treatment in a public hospital, I reassured her that considering her choice of care and ward class, she was definitely not being overcharged. As a guide, the costs of lung cancer treatment excluding surgery could already go up to $10,000 at an A-class ward at a public hospital in Singapore. The Indonesian lady's concerns about the costs of treatment puts paid to the mistaken notion some people in Singapore have about the spending habits of rich foreign patients. If I may digress a little, this was what some PAP supporters had to say about overcharging foreigners (in short: it's okay cos they are rich). Fortunately, not all doctors join the private sector to make heaps of money. Some doctors simply move to the private sector to have a better work-life balance. They're in the business of healing, and not the business of robbing their patients.

If it had been a pittance for them, Susan Lim would not
have gotten into so much trouble. Also, your brother's money 

is NOT your money.

After my husband arrived, I got changed and was wheeled to the reception area of the hospital, where we paid the remainder of the bill. We were also told that the hospital would refund us whatever amount that they have received from my Medisave and my insurers.

The first two weeks after the operation were the toughest of all. If I had to choose again, I would definitely have opted to stay for another few days at the hospital. The recovery was not as smooth as the entire operation was. As this post is getting very long, more about that at another time.

As the title of this post suggests, the arduous process has been worth it because I am now pregnant. I hope that this post provides some information for aspiring mums who are in the situation that I was in before. Do your research about the risks and outcomes of whatever treatment you have decided on, stay close to your husband, and most of all, be brave.