Roy Ngerng 鄞義林 Profile picture
NGO worker, activist, Spore's PM sued me but citizens crowdfunded to pay him. Written for Diplomat, News Lens, Ketagalan, Commonwealth Mag, Storm Media, TOCSG.
Apr 5 26 tweets 5 min read
I grew up in an authoritarian regime, and you have to understand, the only way people can survive is if they learn to lie to themselves, and learn to make themselves believe in the government's lies. Even after I was sued by the prime minister, that was how my relatives coped. After I was sued by Singapore's prime minister, my closest relative tried to stop me from speaking up by guilt-tripping me: you have to think about your parents, stop criticizing the government, do you want your parents to be hurt?
Apr 4 5 tweets 2 min read
I spoke to VOA about Taiwan's low wages:

"For people in their 40s today, 20 years ago, they were earning higher starting pay, and managed to continue earning higher and higher pay based on annual increments if they stayed on the same job."

Thank you to @erinhale for writing! "But then for younger workers, they started entering the workforce during a time when wages stagnated and do not have the same opportunity to see their wages grow, so there is a massive gap between those above their 40s, and those below their 40s," he said."
Mar 18 8 tweets 2 min read
Coming from an authoritarian regime, I tend not to blame Russians for Putin's war, or the Chinese for their government's atrocities. Living in authoritarian Singapore, many Singaporeans abide by the government's demands out of fear, for fear of losing your livelihood, or ... ... simply because we are not able to access other sources of information other than the government's propaganda. We learn to trust in the party, or else. So we trust blindly, out of fear, or out of a lack of information. Because what else can you do?
Mar 17 4 tweets 1 min read
"One of the features of Hitler's policy was..he transferred European colonial practices intended for “non-whites” to Europe. This helped..discredit colonial policy & Germany's defeat contributed to the collapse of other colonial empires. Something similar could happen again now." "Putin decided to repeat what US did with Iraq, but did not consider that the reaction to the aggression of an authoritarian empire against a more democratic Eastern European republic would be so different...This allows us to finally put an end to such politics around the world."
Mar 17 11 tweets 2 min read
"China is getting more leverage, and 10, 15 years, if things continue like they are—if we don’t stabilize our relationship with the West, and if we don’t make domestic structural reforms—China will be in a position to dictate the terms." "Beijing could say, “Hey, Russia, you still sell weapons to India? India is not friend of China, so you should stop.” But the response I often got..was, “In 2014, before the first Ukraine war, [Russia was] overly exposed to the West, yet were able to stand up and push back."
Mar 16 15 tweets 5 min read
If you've been following what the Chinese government and state media has been saying over the last 2 days, China isn't interested in seeing Putin's war in Ukraine subside. Instead, they are helping to fuel it.


China says Russia has its own right:
China supports Russia's propaganda and helps prop it up economically against the sanctions, then threatens countermeasures against others:

Mar 16 5 tweets 1 min read
"Mr. Wang said he can leave Odessa at any time, but has instead chosen to stay... He spends some of this time fixing Android phones hacked by Russian malware—his way, he said, of practicing “nonviolent resistance.” “I am not leaving because I refuse to accept it,” he told the Journal. “I won’t accept the killing of civilians or the distortion of truth. I refuse.”
Mar 16 4 tweets 1 min read
"Following the collapse of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, American economic advisers convinced Russia’s leaders to focus on economic reforms and put democracy on the backburner – where Putin could easily extinguish it when the time came."… "This is no trivial historical contingency. Had Russia become a democracy, there would have been no need to talk about NATO and its eastward expansion, no invasion of Ukraine, and no debates about whether the West owes Russia’s civilization greater respect."
Mar 16 6 tweets 2 min read
"CNN requested access to speak with the prisoners with the Ukrainian Interior Ministry:

"I want to tell our commander-in-chief to stop terror acts in Ukraine because when we come back we'll rise against him." "The pilots were asked what they thought about Putin's claims that Ukraine was run by neo-Nazis.

"I think it was invented as a pretext."

"We didn't see any Nazis or fascists. Russians and Ukrainians can communicate in the same language, so we see the good (in these people),"
Mar 1 17 tweets 3 min read
Semantics aside, whether Taiwan is considered an independent country by others, the threats are similar. Putin wants an Ukrainan government that is aligned to it, or even belongs to it. The Chinese government prefers a government in Taiwan aligned to it, or to belong to it. Countries surrounding Ukraine are concerned about Putin's expansion into their countries if Ukraine falls, and this is a similar concern countries around Taiwan like Japan and in Southeast Asia are concerned about, where the Chinese government has territorial disputes with them.
Mar 1 7 tweets 2 min read
This is so, so important to read, to understand how the Russians are feeling about Putin's war against Ukraine. "The reason you don’t see a revolution happening in Moscow is not that people don’t care about what’s happening in Ukraine. On the contrary, my social media feed is filled with posts from Russians opposing the war. “What happened?... How did we get to this? This is madness!”
Mar 1 5 tweets 1 min read
I've said this before, coming from an entrenched authoritarian regime in Singapore, you understand how academic concepts of governance do not apply to their leaders because of how power is concentrated around one or just a few individuals or families. The agendas of these entrench authoritarian regimes are therefore to themselves and their personal ambitions, not based on some theoretical concept of governance. You cannot deal with these authoritarian regimes on the same sane logic as you would with other democratic leaders.
Mar 1 4 tweets 2 min read
Taiwan parliamentary Deputy Speaker Tsai Chi-chang has raised NT$10 million (US$356,875) to fund humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees in Poland, which will be distributed to them through coordination between Taiwanese and Polish humanitarian groups.… Taiwan parliamentary Deputy Speaker Tsai Chi-chang said. “It is like when we donated masks to other nations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and other nations donated vaccines when we needed them most. This is a cycle of kindness. Taiwan can help these refugees. We can do this.”
Feb 27 4 tweets 1 min read
"But growing evidence suggests that the echo chamber of China’s foreign policy establishment might have misled not only the country’s internet users, but its own officials." "Recent speeches by some of China’s most influential advisers to the government on international relations suggest that the miscalculation may have been based on deep distrust of the United States."
Feb 27 4 tweets 5 min read
Just highlighting some of the Singaporean responses and support for Ukraine.

Singapore comic artist @sonnyliew has drawn a tribute to @Ukraine president @ZelenskyyUa for his courage.


Singaporean artist Toast Comic has also drawn a comic.

Singaporeans cannot protest because even a one-person protest is illegal, but many quietly show their support by liking posts.

But Toast Comic also adds a critique of some Singaporeans in his comic.

Feb 27 5 tweets 1 min read
The Chinese government is putting its own citizens at risk by supporting a war without basis. Additionally, Chinese propaganda to make use of citizens as pawns to stir patriotism to CCP's ambitions has also resulted in Chinese citizens repeating such propaganda... ... without recognizing their implications. The Chinese government's wanton ambitions and propaganda is therefore not only a threat to global order but also to its own citizens. As a Singaporean coming from my own authoritarian regime, I have seen how Singaporeans ...
Nov 23, 2021 16 tweets 4 min read
I repeat again—Singapore does not have universal healthcare the way people in democracies understand it. Out-of-pocket health expenditure in Singapore is one of the highest in the world alongside US. There is 'universal' health insurance but it only covers for less than 5% of ... ... total health expenditure. In 2012, there were more than 2,400 people who had to pay more than S$10,000 for their hospitalization bills. Covid-19 healthcare is free/subsidized in Singapore right now for economic reasons, not for health reasons—the government wants to open up..
Jul 23, 2021 7 tweets 1 min read
"Singapore is currently in the midst of its largest domestic COVID surge, with 192 cases directly linked to an outbreak centered around the country's karaoke lounges, known as KTVs."… "Most of these KTVs are not innocent family-friendly affairs: Like another outbreak in Taiwan earlier this year, they are fronts for illegal brothels run by organized crime cartels."
Jul 23, 2021 17 tweets 6 min read
Today, I learnt that CCP used to recognize Taiwan as an independent country between 1928 and 1943. This means that even before the People's Republic of China (PRC) existed and before it was created by CCP, CCP recognized Taiwan's independence.… I learned this from Wu Rwei-ren at this forum today:

Jul 23, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
"Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei said that the CTOC and most sports governing bodies in Taiwan are either controlled by KMT members, affiliated with them, or controlled by businesspeople with close KMT ties."… "KMT-affiliated officials take up the top posts, not because of their sports expertise or experience in sports business, but because of their loyalty to the KMT during the party’s authoritarian regime, he said."
Jul 21, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
"The international community and health experts have warned of the escalating threat of Covid-19... However, the junta have ignored these warnings. As it is preoccupied with maintaining its grip on power; it has lacked the capacity to ensure adequate disaster preparedness." "Yet, the junta's priority is lopsided towards political control and bringing the situation back to normal. It opened public schools in early June -- through pressure and coercion -- despite a widespread boycott by teachers and students."