[If found guilty, the AHPETC is liable to a maximum $1,000 fine for the regulatory offence.]#1
The trial dispute between National Environment Agency and Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council is over a $1000 fine. If we consider legal fees, time spent and administrative costs from both sides, adding them together it certainly costs more than $1000.
In pragmatic Singapore, especially for businesses, it is cheaper to pay the fine or issue a warning letter. NEA, representing the PAP government and WP-led AHPETC must have seen the gains over costs. Both hopes to gain political points over the trial.
The dispute over the ‘unlicensed’ trade fair is after all a justice problem. $1000 cannot settle the dispute even after the Courts make its final ruling later. In paper, the trial is closed and a justice is made. However, it will remain an issue and how public see and judge it will be another level of justice. Will social media change the perception of justice? Who is more afraid of the perception gap between a justice decided by the Courts and a public justice influenced by social media?
[people would have to recognise that the big shifts are sparked by social media and information technology.]#2
The world is in transition as claimed by former Foreign Minister George Yeo. And social media plays an important role in this transition. Yeo also said Singapore was well placed to meet this new reality. Really? We don’t know. Yeo is optimistic that Singapore will meet the challenges of this transition as a ‘free city’. Perhaps, as an ex-PAP minister, he has more inside views of how the PAP see the transition and how the PAP view the new reality of justice.
Some claim even NEA wins the case, the PAP government is still a loser. Then, why is the PAP so stupid to begin the trial? Why doesn’t NEA just issue a warning letter? Perhaps, warning letter is ‘justice no enough’, like the famous ‘money no enough’. The PAP wants the money as well as wants the justice to be carried out.
Is this a good strategy for a new reality in the world of transition?
In the trial case, the PAP seems to depend on the Courts, the Institutions to make the judgment, to decide the justice. However, in a new reality, justice is done through institutional and non-institutional means, like social media and public opinions.
["You have to depend on others. And so I go around and I play the student, I ask questions, I ask for help. I ask how I can be helpful...You create an energy field where there are multiple nodes of activity and you yourself constitutes only one node, hopefully a node which will grow in importance," he said.]#2
To continue to run Singapore, the PAP has to depend on others, on social media and most importantly to be a student. This is a new reality. Can the PAP make through the transition?