Dr Thio Li-Ann had written an article on the Elected Presidency, which differed sharply from Tan Sai Siong's take on the matter. Akikonomu invited Mr Wang to comment on Dr Thio's article, but Mr Wang shall decline. This is because Mr Wang generally agrees with Dr Thio's article and has little else to add.
In fact, Mr Wang would have been able to guess beforehand what Dr Thio thought about all these presidential issues. You see, years ago, as a law student, Mr Wang had to study Dr Thio's academic writings on the EP. They formed a compulsory part of the syllabus at the NUS Law Faculty. Thus Mr Wang is well-acquainted with Dr Thio's views on the EP.
(Mr Wang was also in Dr Thio's tutorial group for Public International Law. But that's another story).
Dr Thio is quite an authority on the EP subject. Back when Parliament was trying to figure out how to create the EP, the Singapore government actually consulted her (and Professor Walter Woon) for their views. Thus Dr Thio was privy to all the inner workings and deeply engaged in the thinking behind the process. The flaws exposed by the 2005 Presidential Non-Elections were all potential problems that Dr Tjio and Prof Woon noted 15 years ago. Dr Thio knows very well what the EP is all about, and where its strengths and weaknesses lie.
Between Dr Thio and Tan Sai Siong, I have no doubt at all who is better-qualified to provide an informed, intelligent view on the Elected Presidency. Of course, dear readers, feel free to judge for yourself.
"For example, I do not agree with you either on such statements as "I do not consider SR Nathan to have been a candidate.". Mr Nathan, with all due respect to him, was a candidate!"Mr Wang thinks this all boils down to your understanding of the word candidate. Mr Wang has already explained his own understanding.
It is essentially a wife-&-mother situation. You can choose your wife; therefore you can have candidates. But you cannot choose your mother; there is no choice; therefore there is no candidate. You cannot choose the President either; there is no choice; therefore there is no candidate to speak of, either.
KS goes on to write angrily:
Whatever "non-legitimacy claims" that most people have written about are the results NOT of Mr Nathan's actions for putting himself forward for re-election. There is nothing wrong with Mr Nathan wanting to be the President of Singapore again!I agree. Did anything in my post suggest otherwise? SR Nathan is not to be blamed for this sorry state of affairs.
Several anonymous commentators criticised Mr Wang's unkindness to Tan Sai Siong. Mr Wang does not think he was particularly unkind. In a country like Singapore where serious competition does not exist among the media organisations, it is extremely important to hold our journalists to high standards. Otherwise this small group of writers may infect the Singapore public with erroneous ideas and flawed thinking. Unfortunately, the Straits Times disappoints Mr Wang far more often than not. See here, here and here for examples.
Notice that Mr Wang always keeps within the boundaries of fair comment. Every time Mr Wang is displeased, he does not simply say, "This journalist is lousy" or "That article is so stupid". No, that is not Mr Wang's style at all. Mr Wang always plonks down specific, detailed reasons to explain why this particular journalist is lousy or that particular article is stupid. The industrious Mr Wang will cite specific paragraphs, pick apart the reasoning, provide counter-examples and so on.
TSS might even feel flattered that Mr Wang bothered to read her article so thoroughly. Others would just dismiss her article and move on.
Unlike ST journalists, Mr Wang has a Comments section on his blog where readers are always free to say why they disagree with Mr Wang's thoughts. Even anonymous comments are welcome. Mr Wang is not like the Singapore government and as he has said before, he welcomes critics and detractors.
Regrettably, Mr Wang's critics largely refused or were unable to explain why they (presumably) agreed with TSS's article, or why they disagreed with Mr Wang's comments on TSS's article.
In his post, Mr Wang made the point that even if SR Nathan was a thoroughly unsuitable candidate on account of extremely poor health, he would still have become President. Specifically, Mr Wang wrote:
There is completely no point talking about SR Nathan's quality as a president, if he is the only one permitted to run. For example, imagine that SR Nathan was seriously ill with AIDS, epilepsy, diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic gastric ulcers today, but still wanted to be President. Nothing would stop him. Except death. As long as he manages to stay alive, he would become President.Anonymous Nth criticised Mr Wang for mentioning the word "AIDS". He felt that it was "offensive and unnecessary". Mr Wang does not agree. The context of the post makes it clear that Mr Wang was describing a purely hypothetical situation, to illustrate a valid point.
Lest it be said that Mr Wang just does not like and does not accept criticism, please see the Comments section of one of his old posts. There a reader pointed out that one of Mr Wang's funny captions was potentially offensive; Mr Wang thanked him very much for the feedback and immediately replaced the caption with a non-offensive version. Here, Mr Wang would similarly amend his post, if he thought that the AIDS comment was offensive. He does not think so, and so it will stay.
Perhaps Anonymous Nth thinks about AIDS in a way that Mr Wang does not. I hope not. That would be sad.
In other news, Mr Wang attracted various little criticisms. The title of his blog was criticised. Since Mr Wang is always open to feedback, feel free to email suggestions for a new title. Just like "Mr Wang Said So!", the new title should be a little humorous and also reflect the idea that this blog is all about expressing views and opinions.
The commentator known only as KX also told Mr Wang to "go public" with his real name. As many of Mr Wang's old fans know, Mr Wang had tried that previously and his blog at that time was well-regarded and widely cited in blogosphere. However, during the Acidflask saga, Mr Wang regretfully concluded that circumstances in Singapore were not yet sufficiently conducive to free speech. He shut down the blog, a closure that ironically drew the attention of ST columnists in the Review/Insight sections of the Straits Times and was also noted by several international media organisations.