Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Christians beware: Offend the Gay Lobby at your own peril

The Gay Lobby will not hesitate to abuse humans, in the name of human rights. Free speech is permitted, only when we say what the Gays want to hear.

Nuance, a so-called memo and threats ...
05:55 AM Jul 27, 2009
Letter from Professor Thio Li-ann

I WRITE to clarify a few points in "Former NMP calls off professorship at NYU"(July 24).

First, the online petition asserting I was an "opponent of human rights" over-simplistically assumes "gay rights are human rights".

Certain countries legally recognise the controversial idea of "gay rights", but this is not a universally accepted human right. Further, the idea of "gay rights" may cover anything from prohibiting workplace discrimination (which I support) to same-sex marriage (which I oppose).

Nuance is needed; simplification is sensationalistic.

Can a capitalist teach Marxism? Could someone who supports the death penalty (which many at New York University disagree with) teach human rights?

There is no settled theory of the source of human rights; many competing interpretations exist. There are core (prohibiting torture) and contested (same-sex marriage, euthanasia) rights.

Second, no 18-page rebuttal was sent to the NYU law faculty. I do not know who posted the so-called "18-point memo" circulating online. This was an internal email I wrote in response to a non-law NYU staffer's email copied to the Dean (who made no response) and others, strongly criticising my appointment.

This was just one of the hostile, often vulgar messages I received, some insulting my intellect, gender, ethnicity and country.

I sought to clarify misrepresentations and rebut potentially defamatory allegations made to personnel involved in the Global Faculty programme which invited my visit.

It is disappointing the NYU law dean would label my response "offensive" and "hurtful", while ignoring the offensive, hurtful and even threatening messages directed against me.

To say I was "disappointed by the hostility" minimises the virulence of the attacks I received. A cursory glance at the invective online explains why many friends worried for my safety.

An American NYU alumnus wrote to the NYU law dean (copied to me), saying he had the impression the dean was "not troubled by the kind of atmosphere" that I was "expected to endure" had I decided to teach at NYU.

Some NYU faculty, staff and students also sent supportive emails; a gay New Yorker apologised for the bullying tactics of certain activists who did not represent him.

Academic freedom dissipates in a hostile environment - by this I do not mean mere viewpoint disputation. Why prejudicially assume I would create "an unwelcoming atmosphere" in class, as opposed to politicking students or frosty faculty members?

Why assume I would not permit free discussion when it is "political correctness" which chills free debate? An email from a Harvard law graduate noted of this affair: "Things just got a little bit darker down at NYU."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

MDA encourages Starhub to screw preschoolers

Many years ago, I used to be a happy cable TV subscriber with Starhub. I loved the soccer coverage. Then the soccer subscription charges became ridiculous, so I thought, I opt out. But I still subscribe to cable TV because my son loved Disney Playhouse. Then one fine day, scrolling words on the TV told me that I will no longer get Disney Playhouse on my analogue set top box, and I must pay two bucks RANSOM a month just to watch that same channel. It was right at this time Singtel mioTV jumped into my lap, and although it took some getting used to I think CBeebies is better than Disney Playhouse.

With nothing left to interest me on Starhub, I returned the set top box and bid them saynonara. 18 months into mioTV, I thought, everything's working out fine. It's time for some commitment to take advantage of the discounts, so here I signed up a two year contract with Singtel for mioTV.

Three months into the contract, another set of scrolling words says CBeebies will no longer be offered on mioTV. I subscribe to mioTV for CBeebies and CBeebies alone. What I am going to do with the remaining 21 months of contract? If I want to pay up the RANSOM, it is going to cost me at least 25 bucks a month MORE to get that ONE CHANNEL on Starhub.
EDIT: I'm so behind times. Minimum ransom to get CBeebies on StarHub is THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS. I'm sure some of it will go into MDA CEO's bonus.

Yes, this is clearly an abuse of monopolistic power by Starhub. I'm pissed with Singtel for letting this happen. Whatever happened to the clout of this powerful regional company? If it was BBC that screwed them, why dont they show some fangs? Singtel built the reputation of CBeebies from zero to a reasonable popularity. In fact, one could even say it was subzero, since the only programme I have heard of prior to signing up was Teletubbies, and that alone nearly convinced me not to touch CBeebies with a hundred foot long pole. But feeling blackmailed by Starhub prodded me forward.

Oh, I see how they are going to screw BBC, by offering TWO NEW BBC Channels that Starhub is not interested to carry. That will teach BBC a lesson. I'm sure there is no possibility that a few months into these new channels, they too will get popular and move to Starhub and leave mioTV subscribers high and dry.

But the people I am most bloody pissed with are the idiots from the Media Destruction Authority. You guys are supposed to set the rules of the game. The players are having drunken orgies on the pitch. What do you do? Hire external consultants to make decisions so no blame can be directed at you?

It's one thing to blackmail football fans. It's quite another to screw preschoolers, and their parents. MDA is so profoundly stupid and incompetent, it is no wonder they produced crap like this:

I dont know what is MDA's KPI, but it seems to have nothing to do with the needs of Singaporean pay TV subscribers.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

MDA, brainless and spineless?

My father and I are soccer fans, but we had not been subscribing to any cable football channel for many years now, because I refuse to pay the exorbitant and endlessly increasing subscription fees. But I do not blame StarHub. I blame MDA.

Why? I dont have the exact figures, but going by the quoted fees for the exclusive rights to the Barclays Premier League (BPL), divided by the subscription fees, by my guesstimate, is a very large proportion of StarHub's total subscribers. In other words, to secure the exclusive rights, StarHub is bidding near breakeven level. In other other words, dear football subscribers, even though it is costly, StarHub is really not making much money from you. In all likelihood, non-BPL football viewers are probably subsidising the BPL football viewers.

Anybody who knows some introductory economics would know that in a state of perfect free competition, the profit goes to zero. The stakes of cable tv in Singapore is higher. Most StarHub cableTV subscribers are in it for BPL and BPL alone. If Singtel beats StarHub to the BPL exclusive rights, StarHub CableTV will cease to be a viable entity with collateral damage to StarHub's commoditized businesses in mobile, IDD and broadband business. Therefore, Singtel will always try to force StarHub to bid at their threshold of pain, but let StarHub win it. That way, StarHub will continue to operate a profitless business that will continue to drain StarHub's ability to expand aggressively in other businesses. Notice you still cannot buy the iPhone from StarHub, despite suggestions that it would be available, late LAST year. And soccer fans will direct all their hate at StarHub. Wonderful win, win situation for Singtel.

It was not too long ago when soccer fans can watch free, live matches on free-to-air channel, SportsCity. But now that the football clubs are demanding more TV money, we know that this advertising supported will not work any more. But a large part of the subscription costs now is due to the bidding war between Singtel and StarHub, and it has been going on for years. What has MDA done all these years, other than sitting on their hands? Nothing much, except endless talk about how MDA is observing the situation. Oh, and finally, they "commissioned" some consultants to study the "competition issues". What kind of regulator needs third party "consultants" to tell them what they should do? They ought to be the experts and they should take the lead, instead of passing the buck to the consultants to whom blame can be shifted if things go wrong. If they want to act like taichi bureaucrats, then they should be paid like taichi bureaucrats, instead of acting and benefiting like they are some private sector employees with nice titles like CEO and matching perks.

So enough panning, here's my constructive suggestions:

1) Ban Singtel from bidding for football rights. Singtel wants to build their mioTV business, and is able to use their sheer size to directly and indirectly subsidize their BPL bid. Barring them will take the heat off StarHub and give them room to negotiate.

2) Stop pretending StarHub and Singtel are not Singapore state owned enterprises. Pretending to compete when it comes to overseas contracts only hurts the Singapore market. MDA as the regulator should knock their bloody heads together if they cannot learn to work together for the interests of Singapore. The very least MDA could do, is to make the telcos pledge not to bid for exclusive rights. Better yet, let ESPN win the rights and run the shows, and work out some deal beneficial for mutual survival, eg Manchester United exclusivity for StarHub and Liverpool exclusivity for Singtel, except when the two teams play against each other.

3) Give up trying to nurture the S-League. mioTV dropped in my lap and I had access to Italian Serie A for free. The match I skimmed through, was the one that featured David Beckham. Forcing people to watch S League, which is not even close to being second best by entertainment values, by intentionally making BPL watching expensive will not work.

MDA studying competition issues

I THANK Mr Tan Chak Lim for his letter on Monday, ''Managed' football telecast rights benefit consumers, content providers', and Mr Lim Phei Kiat for his letter on Wednesday, 'Subscribers paying too much for pay TV football'.

We note football viewers' concerns on higher subscription costs and having to subscribe to both SingTel and StarHub for different sports content.

Thus, late last year, we commissioned a study on competition issues in convergent media and telecoms markets. Both SingTel and StarHub were among the industry players interviewed by the appointed consultants in the course of the study.

The issues are multifaceted and include commercial agreements for broadcast of sports events, foreign content owners' rights, and Singapore's obligations to abide by international conventions that protect such rights.

We are pleased to update that this study is ongoing and various options are being explored. The Media Development Authority seeks the patience and understanding of TV viewers, and will update the public on the results of the review at an appropriate juncture.

Eileen Ang (Ms)
Head (Competition & Market Access)
Development Policy
Media Development Authority

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Good riddance, Siew Kum Hong

This morning brings the good news of Siew Kum Hong and his gay faction rejected from the parliament, and partially restores my confidence with the government.

As a Catholic in Singapore, I cannot say I have much love for the government. The Marxist Conspiracy/Operation Spectrum was a malicious and dishonest smear, and as far as I am concerned, directed at Catholics in Singapore. As the government never found the courage to set the record straight, there is not much reconciliation to speak of. For a Christian to speak up politically, one has to hide his/her Christian identity, or will risk having all sorts of accusations of thought crimes hurled at he or she.

As much as I disagree with Thio Li Ann, I feel she has a right to speak up without being accused of the crime of being a Christian. Somehow, the self-styled liberals in Singapore do not have any concept of this.

In stark contrast, the gays in Singapore, often comparing themselves with Jews under Hitler, suffer far less constrains. When was the last time anybody got in trouble with the law for peacefully advocating gay rights?

With this AWARE scandal, I have learnt that the liberals in Singapore, unfortunately, had been tainted by PAP rule. They may talk about human rights and freedom of speech, but are not the least interested in defending the rights of people who disagree with them. They have chosen to fight the devil by being a bigger devil.

While the AWARE takeover was orchestrated by just a few non-representative Christians, the entire of Christianity was attacked. While some of these are due to atheists taking advantage of the situation, the "liberals" seem to revel in the attention, and sent the lynching mob to organize boycotts of the employers of Josie, charging their opponents with frivolous thought crimes and intruding on their privacy, and acting like hooligans at the AWARE EGM.

If these "liberals" are put in government, I have little doubt that they will be even more ruthless in persecuting dissenters than the current government.

From what I have seen of Singaporebloodypore, TheOnlineCitizen, TheWayangParty and Singapore Democrats, I find it hard to feel safe to vote for the Worker's Party or SDP. Unless these parties clearly show that they are not hijacked by anti-christian liberals, I fear I may find myself forced into crossing the PAP box in the next election.