• George Yeo
    Minister of Foreign Affairs, Singapore. Guest Columnist of BeyondSG. He is on Facebook. Readers are welcome to join his Facebook network at
  • Harold Fock
    Entrepreneur (Chief Editor of BeyondSG). Deputy CEO/CFO of a listed technology company in Asia and CEO of Foundation Capital Pte Ltd, a hedge fund based in Singapore.
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August 15, 2007


Dear Minister,

I applaud the effort for introducing micro-credit to

I hope this benefit could be extended to people with mental illness as well. Due to existing stigma, a handful of them are facing difficulties in securing a job. With the credit available, they would be able to go for their regular appointments and continue to take their medication. As a result, we would be able to reduce the chances of relapsing due to stress.

For your kind consideration please.

Porsche Poh

Dear Sir,

This comment is not related to the Noble Prize winning Professor Yunus, a potential candidate into Bangladeshi politics but about the group of Burmese who were warned for illegally grouping near the Burmese embassy and then marching in 4 in a row to the City Hall MRT station. I am a Burmese citizen and a permanent resident of Singapore, I studied at the National University of Singapore. I would like to shield some light on the Burmese issue from the eyes of a non partisan, neutral citizen.

Most of Burmese, inside Burma and living, studying and working in overseas, generally have no repsect for those who protest infront of overseas Burmese missions in most countries: mostly US, UK, EU, Europe, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, India or Japan. We know their agendas: pursuit for some NGO money, getting a ticket to asylym, etc.. For us, they are those who show courage after the robbers left the place. To be raw, they are simply opportunists. However we do have great respect for those who show up in Singapore wearing a white shirts as Singapore is generally regarded as a pro jaunta country.

We do understand that the city state will have to keep its transquility and neutrality (apparently it is favored towards the ruling jaunta in the name of pragmatism, but idealism may serve better in some cases, especially to the win the hearts and minds of some oppressed citizens in a faraway land). A symbolic support by ignoring them might have served Singapore better. Showing restraints is alike investing in strengthening the Singapore-Burmese relationship at least between citizens to citizens level.

Still better, it could be best to have a Singapore-Burma initiative where expatriate Burmese men and women who still care for their homeland could channel their energies. An organization to monitor the situation in Burma and act within the legal framework, a place where they will learn to learn more organizational, professional skills, intellectual calibre, develop their capabilities (part time, weekends and online). If some those immigrants and guest workers/students/professionals return home they will bring the expertise and skills with them, they will be acting as real ambassadors of Singapore to other Burmese. Such initiative will be more beneficial for Burma rather than some other initiatives.


Aung Soe

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