Monday, December 31, 2007

A tribute to 23 year old hunger striker Seelan Palay

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dec 31, 2007 Straits Times, the state owned and controlled newspaper in Singapore has the following heading "S'porean says on hunger strike to support M'sian Hindus". This twenty three year old Singaporean man, Mr. Seelan Palay, has embarked upon a five day hunger strike, sworn only to drink but not eat for five days beginning Dec 31, 2007. Five days is because five Malaysians have been incarcerated in Malaysia under the Internal Security Act for human rights activity at the Kebunting, Perak Malaysia interment camp. They were members of Hindraf, a Tamil organization.

I salute Mr. Seelan Palay. He has conviction. And courage to go with it. He strongly believes like other Singaporeans that imprisoning a man under the Internal Security Act is wrong in principle. Under the Act, the accused is not given a trial. This goes against normal human decency. Goes against natural justice. It is not right to do so. That is, throwing a man in jail without even a trial.

I am sure there are thousands; even millions of Singaporeans believe what this young man believes. That it is wrong to imprison someone without trial. But Mr. Seelan stands out from the rest because of this important difference. Unlike the thousands and millions of others who also believe that imprisoning someone without trial is wrong; Mr. Seelan had the courage to act according to his conviction. Whereas thousands of others just remain silent for fear. Fear of Lee Kuan Yew in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore. But Mr. Seelan is made of sterner stuff. He has one thing that the thousands of others do not have. That is courage. That is tenacity. That is steel. That is being a man. That is what is meant by being free. Whereas the others live in bondage. Like slaves. They are afraid.

I am gratified, satisfied and pleased of Mr. Seelan's actions. I am hoping that there will be others like Mr. Seelan who are ready to come forward and throw the gauntlet to all those tyrants out there, and tell them this. I too am a man. And I will not take this anymore.

With my admirations and congratulations to Mr. Seelan, may I ask him and others like minded, if there are any, to do the same thing against the Singapore dictators. Stand in front of Parliament House and decry the millions that Lee Kuan Yew and company steal. Decry the refusal to pay out CPF to older Singaporeans. Decry the cost living increases. Decry the arrogance of Comical Vivian (Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, another million dollar minister).

And a happy New Year to you all.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914 Email:

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Democratic action in Singapore

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This post is my views on how and why Singaporeans should demand a democratic Singapore. I am sure most of you already know the problems. But please allow me to list it out here. And how we could possibly move ahead.

First of all, no one should hold their breath for 2011, the date for the next general elections in Singapore. Freedom House, the international organization monitoring democracies internationally has correctly said, Singaporeans cannot expect to change their government through elections.

The government is determined to remain in power forever. Just as dictatorships around the world in history. If by chance, many opposition candidates are elected, they will stuff the ballot boxes and declare victory anyway. If not they will come with trumped of charges, after the elections, of various forms of impropriety against the opposition politicians and remove them from office, as they had done to JB Jeyaretnam after he was elected to the Anson seat in 1981. The pattern of the Lee Administration is well known. If you are not a threat to them, such as Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim of the Workers Party and Chiam See Thong of the SDA, they will leave you alone. However if you happen to be another JB Jeyaretnam or Dr. Chee Soon Juan, then you will be promptly removed.

Of course you know how Mr. Lee Kuan Yew removes his opposition. High Court Judges, Ministers, Police Commissioners, top Civil Servants are bribed with mind boggling astronomically high salaries to become nothing more than Lee Kuan Yew's servants; to willingly do his dirty work to eliminate the opposition through illegal means. For these lavish salaries, they are bought over. They will do anything Lee demands of them. They will finish off the opposition by false charges, illegal court judgements and finish them off one way or another.

Lee will ensure that Parliament remains the rubber stamp that it now is; and as it has been for the last 40 years! If men like Dr. Chee and JB Jeyaretnam enter Parliament, it will no longer be Lee's rubber stamp. And Lee does not prefer that.

This is the sad situation in Singapore whether you like it or not. Lee Kuan Yew has got you in a vice from which there is no escape. If you do nothing, you are doomed to spend the rest of your lives, waiting for the handouts that Lee will throw at you, if he pleases, while he and his friends in government will continue to steal millions of dollars of your money. Yes, your money.

This is what you can do. Keep in mind that any action you take has a cumulative effect. A positive multiplier effect. Even the distribution of one leaflet to one individual is enough. The receiver will repeat the message to others, and in degrees, at least sections of the population becomes emboldened.

There is no need to do any political activity through any political party; if that is what you prefer. On the one hand, you can do it through political parties like the Singapore Democratic Party. Political activism through political parties is of course preferred. But it is not a requirement. On the other hand, you can do it alone or among friends, if you prefer. As and when and where you like it.

One method is to print sufficient leaflets to distribute at busy places. The leaflets can encourage the people to protest. You can mention matters such as the unacceptably high salaries or theft being committed against the people by the ministers. You can mention the lack of a free press. The demand to be able to assemble. The demand for an independent judiciary. The leaflets can refer to the Singapore Democratic Party and their contact particulars. It can also request volunteers to distribute them at other places. Hopefully this way, Singapore island will be inundated with leaflets. And if you persist in this, you may well be able to move things. But regardless of whether you move things forward immediately, your actions alone would have made some dent in the illegal edifice of the Lee Administration. Also while distributing leaflets, you can wear a placard or poster over you body with the words "Down with Lee Kuan Yew" or "More Freedom Now" or any other catchy phrase you prefer and with a cry "Freedom now" etc.

And mind you, according to the Penal Code of Singapore distribution of leaflets is not illegal.

Another thing that is good is to get your friends together wearing the same T Shirts of similar color with a catchy slogan such as "Freedom now" and march long Orchard Road. While marching, you can also distribute leaflets.

Important thing to remember is to constantly inform others of what you have heard such as by sending out these messages of mine to others, Emailing others, and constantly spreading the news of your agitation.

As for distributing leaflets and holding marches and other political activity, I suggest you do not publicise it before the activity. Any publicity of it will attract undercover police to harass you and disrupt your activity. Get a cameraman there while you are involved in the activity. After the activity, post it on the Internet as a video or in pictures, preferably on Dr. Chee's web page Singapore Democrat. This way others will know what you have done; they will hopefully be emboldened and do the same just as you did. The idea is to get more and more involved in some sort of political protest. This will bring about change.

I understand that the government cannot block the Internet in Singapore. They have tried and failed. Whether they like it or not, they have to accept the overwhelming criticism against them on the Internet. With more and more Singaporeans becoming Internet savvy, they are unable to stop the hatred against them on the Internet spreading.

Remember, now it a situation of them and us. Them, being the moneyed millionaires who are Lee Kuan Yew and his chosen friends in government. They take millions of dollars. They are the only ones happy with this dictatorial regime. Then there is us. That is, the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans like you, who are not millionaires, and can never hope to be. You live at the pleasure of Lee Kuan Yew. And you will starve, if Lee Kuan Yew wishes it. Many of you are nearly in that position now. And without any rights.

Now the ground is ripe for change. The people of Singapore hate this dreaded government. If you act now, you will succeed.

Thanks for reading.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Singapore students receive a poor education

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The main purpose of an education is to teach us to think. To inculcate a desire to find the truth. And when it is found, to have the courage to enforce it. And in enforcing it, mankind benefits. Justice and decency is served. And mankind advances.

The main purpose of an education is to develop certain principles in us; certain convictions. And to have the courage to defend it.

This is the most important part of an education; besides learning medicine, learning law or engineering. What good is it, if you have all the technical education, but no soul? But you cannot be a good lawyer, a good engineer or a good scientist without first having certain convictions. Which convictions the student has developed through a desire for knowledge and the truth. Through assiduous study and research over time.

And based on this definition of a good education; if there is a grading system for college education around the world, Singapore would probably rank 146th worst education system; just as Singapore is ranked as having the 146th least free press in the world by an internationally recognized organization monitoring the newspapers in the world.

My bleak assessment of Singapore students comes from watching Riz Khan's interview with Singapore students aired on Al Jazeera Television on Dec 27, 2007. The interview was with students in their 20s from Singapore University. The questions by Riz Khan related to Singapore's rigid and controlled society. About the lack of free speech and expressions. Lack of fundamental rights.

The students were described and confessed that they were well travelled. More than one student confirmed they had studied in the United States. We therefore would have expected a more open view as regards fundamental human rights, like free sppech.

We all know these students are aware of the restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression in Singapore. Yet when asked directly about the restrictions on the freedoms of speech and expression, they were prevaricating. Hedging and hemming. Dodging the issue. Through fear. Fear of the government. Fear not to upset the government. Making sure they did not directly attack this government. So that their criticisms if any were calculated, diluted and moderated.

They appeared apologetic of the government, saying things like, Singapore was different from the west. That Singaporeans value judgements were different. That Singapore was not yet ready for the freedoms. That the government is working towards giving more freedoms to Singaporeans. That they expect change to come slowly. That they hope it will come. That they themselves wanted more freedom. That freedom was good for Singapore.

Yet, not even one student said that he or she was prepared to do anything about it. None of them were engaged in any real activity to bring about the desired change. They said they were hoping that the government will bring about the change. And they appeared to say that they will wait until the government sees fit, if and when they eventually decide, to give them freedoms.

The students said they were afraid to criticize the government for fear of being arrested by the government. They did not want to go to jail. So they are not prepared, they said to openly criticize the government.

This is in spite of the fact that they know, or should know by now, that the Singapore constitution gives them these fundamental rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and various other fundamental freedoms. But not one of them was prepared to exercise these rights, even though it belonged to them.

By the way, all these students also know and are aware that Dr. Chee Soon Juan and other activists are repeatedly being arrested and imprisoned for doing nothing more than merely exercising their fundamental rights. Yet none of them even mentioned the name of Dr. Chee Soon Juan during the entire interview; let alone actively participating with him in the cause of freedom!

Even though they appeared in their 20s, they were nothing more than overgrown babies, waiting for their guardian Mr. Lee Kuan Yew to give them more freedom; just as Lee Kuan Yew will give them jobs security and everything.

These are not the men and women who can govern or run Singapore. They are not leaders. No leadership qualities at all. No convictions of any sort whatsoever. No burning ideals. No aspirations. No hope. It appears to me now that in Singapore only Lee Kuan Yew has any strong ideas about anything. All the rest are waiting for him to tell them what to do next.

These Singapore college students appeared weak, acting like overgrown babies; as if they were waiting for their parents to tell them what to do next. Or for Lee Kuan Yew to tell them that.

While American students defy the police in protest against the war in Iraq, the inaction in Dafur and even tying themselves to trees to prevent their felling by loggers to save the spotted owl, these Singapore college students are waiting for Lee Kuan Yew to give them their freedoms! Now these American students are some students. They have convictions and passions. They will one day become leaders. Not like the overgrown babies of Singapore University.

The Al Jazeera u-tube video interview with these obedient Singapore college students can be watched on the blog Singabloodypore.

Thank God, I did not receive my college education in Singapore! Imagine, I would have turned out like them!

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Friday, December 28, 2007

There are only a handful of free men and women in Singapore

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Of the 3 million native Singaporeans and another 1.5 million foreigners, there are only a handful of truly free men and women in Singapore. People such as Dr. Chee Soon Juan, Ms. Chee Siok Chin, JB Jeyaretnam, Gandhi Ambalam, Yap Keng Ho better known as Uncle Yap, Miss Monika Gogilavani and John Tan. Of these people, Dr. Chee, Ms. Chee, Yap and Gogilavani are bankrupt; bankrupted by Lee Kuan Yew, the Singapore ruler for criticizing his government. If I have left out any other free men and women in Singapore, kindly advice. I would say, conservatively, not more than 10 free men and women in all. The rest of the 4.5 million people are slaves; nothing better than slaves.

These handful of men and women in Singapore happen to be the only ones who are free citizens and have the courage to live as free men and women. Only they are prepared to remind the Lee Kuan Yew Administration that they too, like Mr. Lee, are citizens of Singapore. They have reminded the government that, as citizens, they have rights. That these rights are theirs. That they are prepared to exercise them.

As free men and women, which the constitution says they are, they have asked this government to account for the moneys promised to the late Indonesian President Suharto. They have also reminded this government that the National Kidney Foundation is corrupt and have requested an accounting of the moneys that were missing. They have rightfully asked what guarantee there was that other government departments were not corrupt like the National Kidney Foundation which was a government charity.

As free men and women, they have stood outside the Central Provident Fund Building on Robinson Road and protested demanding transparency and accountability in this government. They openly stated their concern in the failure of government institutions such as the CPF, Tumasek Holdings and the GIC, in their refusal to provide an accounting of their moneys. These free and proud men and women have reminded this government that it is their money that the government was handling and therefore they have a right to know what is happening to it.

Dr. Chee as a free citizen of Singapore spoke at various train stations reminding this government that they are failing in their duties to the citizens of Singapore. He pointed out that only a cowardly government will harass and intimidate political opponents. He rightfully demanded that this government stop this illegal activity of harassing citizens and restore the rights of the people that they have denied for so long.

For speaking at the train stations, Dr. Chee is presently facing criminal prosecutions in the Subordinate Courts Singapore. At his trial, he is standing up as a free man and challenging his accusers.

And for their determination to remain free and upstanding citizens; prepared to ask questions of this government on matters that affect their public interest; they have all been prosecuted, charged and convicted, for nothing more than exercising their solemn rights as citizens of Singapore. Ironically in Singapore, being charged convicted and bankrupted by Lee Kuan Yew, stands as a badge of courage and honor; and they wear this badge proudly, because unlike other Singaporeans, it is they who have had the courage to question this government for answers that any other citizen should have also asked.

Then there are the other 4.5 million Singaporeans. They have not been charged convicted and bankrupted by Lee Kuan Yew, as none of them has had the courage to ask Mr. Lee, what right he has to pay himself $3.7 million per year in salary, what right does he have not to honor CPF payouts when members reach 55, what right has he to distort the costs of HDB flats and fleece citizens of their hard earned money to purchase these over priced flats, in fact what right has he to rule as a dictator!

These are questions that any proud citizen of any country will ask. They will ask it because the constitution of Singapore gives them these rights. The constitution states that the government is there to serve the people, the government is a servant of the people, and the government cannot disregard the people, that the government is accountable to the people.

Regrettably the only ones in Singapore who have dared to ask these questions have been these handful aforementioned people who have been harassed, charged, convicted, bankrupted and defamed by Lee Kuan Yew. Therefore it is only these people among the entire 4.5 million in Singapore who are free.

When these free citizens wake up in the morning and look at their visage in the mirror, I am sure it gives them pride. They may have been sued and bankrupted; but one thing they have not lost is their humanity, their pride and their self respect as humans. They look at the mirror smile and see one upstanding proud and free human being, made in the image of God, with the inalienable rights given to them as free men and women. And that is called freedom. You may take my money, they say; but you cannot take my humanity, my rights, my self respect. Those rights belong to me and me alone. And I will exercise it, because it is my right. This is what they say.

And Lee's major problem with admirable human beings like them is this. His plan that has worked so far; is to punish political opponents in the belief that everyone will bowl over and give up because of fear. But with these proud citizens, it is not going according to plan. They are not throwing up their arms and surrendering as he expects. What is worse; as he continues to unjustly punish these people, their stature both locally and abroad only increases.

Recently both Lee Kuan Yew and his son had called Dr. Chee a cheat liar and criminal both locally and during Lee junior's state visit to New Zealand. Unfortunately for the Lees, instead of Dr. Chee's reputation being tarnished; it has had the opposite effect. More and more foreign governments are recognizing his work for democracy in Singapore, giving him numerous medals, accolades for honor and courage; and they are more and more beginning to become aware of the cruel and repressive methods used by Lee Kuan Yew and son in government.

So far being said, what about the other 4.5 million people other people? They are either ignorant or choose not to exercise their rights as citizens. They go about their jobs each day. Although taxpayers, they choose not to ask the government, as to how their money is spent. They deliberately choose to close a blind eye as to how their their country is run. They are prepared to live lives completely at the tender mercies of this government. If the tax is increased, so be it. If it is reduced so be it. If they are to get pensions, so be it. If not, so be it. If buildings are to be built, so be it. If not, so be it.

In other words, these 4.5 million people, have chosen to live entirely as per the dictates of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. They go about their jobs. Then they go home. On weekends the go to Sentosa Island for amusement rides. On Saturdays they walk along Orchard Road and window shop; they laugh aloud, spend time with friends. In other words they live lives. But as to to their destiny, they have left that to Lee Kuan Yew and his son.

They are afraid. They don't wish to be charged sued and bankrupted like Dr. Chee and the others. In the morning, when they look in the mirror, they do not see the image of a free human being. Instead, what they see is a slave.

These men and women are willing to live as slaves. Lee Kuan Yew's slaves.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lee Kuan Yew's rules Singapore through fear.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the last 40 years of the Lee government of Singapore, his most effective tool for successfully governing has been fear. Today fear lies like a blanket over the entire island republic. In fact it is fear that keeps Lee Kuan Yew comfortably in power and which keeps the country plodding along.

But the one thing that everyone within the island understands is this; Lee will run the country the way he wants. The peoples' duty is to accept what he decides without question. You have to live your life, the way he has decided for you.

And Lee has been highly efficient in ensuring Singaporeans fear and obey his every command. This is how it is done. First, he unashamedly publicizes the fact that Singapore judiciary will break any law or regulation in order to punish any opponent.

In other words, he deliberately wants everyone in Singapore to know that he will use the law as his tool to punish his opponents. That there is no longer the rule of law. Only his wishes matter. And when Singaporeans realize that they are helpless and without recourse to justice if Lee is angered; they realize it is impossible to criticize him, because criticism can only mean utter ruination.

And to prove that he means what he says, he makes examples of his political opponents. He successfully sues, and bankrupts JB Jeyaretnam in the courts in circumstances where the entire population knows that Jeyaretnam did no wrong.

All Jeyaretnam did was nothing more than any other politician in any other country would have done. That is, criticize the opponent. Nothing improper at all. But yet the Singapore courts punish him and bankrupt him.

And the trials and the full details of the case, with photographs of Jeyaretnam, are published in the Singapore media which Lee controls. The signal is very successfully sent to the entire population. And that signal is this. Forget about the rule of law. It does not exist. Lee Kuan Yew is the boss. He orders. You obey.

Another of Lee Kuan Yew's bitter lessons to the Singapore population. Dr. Chee Soon Juan. Dr. Chee had the audacity and temerity, in Lee's eyes, to criticize him. Dr. Chee should now be made an example. He is sued, million dollar damages are awarded in Lee Kuan Yew's courts and he is bankrupted. All this is reported in detail with pictures and verbatim reporting.

It is reported that Dr. Chee is to be sacked from his job as a professor at the National University. His picture is prominently displayed in the press. He is condemned and abused by Lee. He is called a lair a cheat and a criminal. All this is prominently reported in the newspaper.

Even the president of Singapore can be destroyed at will. President Devan Nair was called various names such as a drunk, a womanizer and a flirt; his picture published, spread all over the front pages, defamed and destroyed. The message here from Lee is that even the President of Singapore is not safe from destruction, if Lee so chooses.

Michael Khoo was a former district judge in the Subordinate Courts. His crime was finding JB Jeyaretnam not guilty in one charge. Even though he had done what Lee wanted by convicting him in 2 other charges, Lee was still displeased. What temerity on the judge’s part to acquit on even one charge!

Lee's punishment for the judge was demotion to the post of prosecutor. I understand that Khoo accepted this demotion, meant to be a punishment with great shame. I understand he has since left Singapore government service entirely. Lee's message in this case was this. It does not matter who you are. You may be a judge, but still, if you cross his line, he will punish you.

The moral to remember in Lee's Singapore is this. Lee does not care what the people of Singapore or others may think of the integrity or the credibility of public institutions such as the administration of justice. He does not care if the people think the judges are corrupt as they are clearly shown to be. What is more important to him is that the people should be kept in check. And the best way to do it, as seen by his actions, is through fear. When the people are afraid of you, it is easy to rule them.

And when they are afraid to criticize or question, it is no longer necessary to govern according to their wishes. Their views no longer matter. This way Lee can decide whatever he wants to do, and implement them the next day.
The people are of course permitted to offer their praises, appreciation for government’s policies. That is always welcome. But it is really not important; since one way or another, the government will do whatever they want. And if they wanted praises, since all the media belongs to them, they will make them up if necessary!

You can see the effect of Lee's total disregard for the opinions Singaporeans, by speaking to them. Even by reading the news. For instance, the government may have decided to tear down 20 blocks of HDB flats in Toa Payoh because they are being upgraded. The residents of Toa Payoh by the way were never consulted on their views. Whether or not the residents of Toa Payoh objected or approved the demolition of their flats was totally irrelevant!

The government built a new building near the padang, downtown Singapore which looked like the tropical fruit durian. It is a place where symphony orchestras were to play music. Grandiose plan. Several millions or billions of dollars to build. Singaporeans were not consulted on whether they wanted the durian building, or approved of such expenditure.

Someone in Lee Kuan Yew's government or even Lee Kuan Yew himself must have decided that it was all right to go ahead and spend the money and have this building. Mind you all this is tax payers money. Today we have no idea on what happens in that building or even whether ordinary Singaporeans step within a mile of the place.

Singapore is going to have casinos. The government decided that since their previous ideas of disk drives manufacturing and airports and biotech hubs are all failing, the only way to make money now is to welcome gamblers to Singapore. Singaporeans were never consulted. There was no referendum. In keeping with the PAP philosophy that Singaporeans did not matter, they decided on it and they are being built. At the cost of billions. Singapore taxpayer’s money. But the views of taxpayers are irrelevant.

Recently Mr. Kee Kuan Yew decided he, his son and his collaborators and friends will receive $3 to $4 million each year. The taxpayers consent to this incredible salaries were irrelevant. They would, after all pay themselves this or any other amount. The people's approval did not matter at all.

One can read in the local state controlled press daily that the government has decided on something new. Formula 1 racing is going to be held. New schools dedicated to sports like badminton will be held. Wrestling and rugby were for reasons unknown left out! Why, because the Singaporeans are not strong enough? We will never know the reasons.

Should not the money be spent in a better way? Instead of sports schools, more general education schools and colleges since only 10 to 13 per cent of students in Singapore get tertiary education. Would not the money be much better spent in providing more students with tertiary education than in setting up sports colleges! Such a debate on this issue has not been held and will not be held. It is Singapore we are talking about. The views of the people do not matter. The ones with the brains are all, supposedly, Lee Kuan Yew and his friends. They will do the thinking. They will come up with the ideas. All you have to do is to obey comply and conform like an obedient child.

This sad picture is Singapore. A country run by fear. A carrot for obedience. A stick for opposition. This is Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore. Until today. But things appear changing.

If I know this, so do the others in Singapore. They are aware they are living in fear. The young today are more educated, even if a large portion of them do not have tertiary education. Many of them have the Internet. Unlike in the past, when opposition to him in print surely meant utter ruination; today Lee finds it impossible to stop the criticism on the Internet.

Many in Singapore are beginning to hear contrary views to that of Lee Kuan Yew. And as time goes on; many people are finally beginning to say they refuse to live in fear.

This willingness to criticize Lee's repressive policies among the young and better educated is picking momentum and strength. During my visit to Singapore last month, I was pleasantly surprised to see more and more young people coming forward and becoming human rights activists for a better and more democratic Singapore. They are beginning to realize that Lee's threats to ruin people is slowly losing it's punch. People are being emboldened. Many have said, do or die, they will fight this system. Many are aware that only bullies use such fear tactics. And when you stand up to bullies, they turn into cowards.

Slowly but surely Lee's threats are beginning to have less and less effect. The people are finally slowly but surely taken back their power from Lee who had stolen it.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Singapore. A hub for white collar crime.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Only some months ago, we read of David Rasif, a Singapore attorney who stole $12 million of his clients money and absconded. He remains missing till today. He may be is some tax haven in some corner of the world enjoying the stolen money; with no qualms whatever. I mention his case only because it is a record. The highest amount embezzled by any lawyer in Singapore's history.

But attorney Mr. Rasif is not alone among attorneys in crime in that island. Despite the fact that the entire population population of lawyers in that island of about 4 million people, and there are only 3,000 lawyers, anyone reading the Singapore press regularly will notice there is at least one attorney a month stealing their client's money and making off with it. The size of the amounts, stolen is alarming. Usually it runs into several millions but as of late even petty amounts like $30,000.00 are being stolen. It is as if Singapore lawyers no longer consider embezzlement of client's funds a crime!

It is not only embezzlement. There are a series of cases, almost on a daily basis, of lawyers bribing clients for cases, bribing policemen and other forms of professional misconduct.

At the rate lawyers in Singapore continue to steal, it is slowly getting the name of the most dishonest set of lawyers in the world, relative to the size of the profession, numbering only 3,000.

But lawyers are not the only ones running off with moneys entrusted to them. Everyone has heard of the corruption in the National Kidney Foundation where TT Durai, a PAP supporter had stolen large amounts of money and has been convicted for it. Yet it is well known in Singapore that he is unlikely to go to jail, as he is within the inner circles and a collaborator of the ruling PAP and Lee Kuan Yew. It is expected that the judges who are themselves beholden to the ruling party will in all probability give him a slap in the wrist, let him off, and the government will continue employing him in one position or another with high pay.

Then we have both the Chairman and the wife of the same organization who were caught laundering the money in Hong Kong. At the same time, while the lawyers continue to embezzle with astounding success, the others too are in the stealing game. A series of managers of charitable organizations have run off with the money in the charities' accounts. This has been a regular occurrence for some time.

The latest case of the ex-condo manager who ran off with $200,000 was reported in the Singapore press of Dec 26, 2007 headed "Ex-condo managing agent believed to have made off with $200,000". It refers to a woman Amutha Perumal who managed 4 condos in the Selegie Road area and Hougang who had left Singapore about a year ago with the money. Both herself and the money remains unrecoverable.

I have only referred to these embezzlement cases. There are also numerous cases of theft corruption tax evasion and all sorts of other white collar crime almost on a daily basis. This runs entirely contrary to the repeated mantra in the Singapore state controlled press that Singapore is a safe and law abiding country. Far from it. In fact it is the white collar crime hub in South East Asia; getting top spot especially for having the highest number of dishonest lawyers.

This bad name that the legal profession has acquired must have serious deleterious effect on the ability of lawyers to attract and retain business clients to whom financial fidelity in lawyers is important. This bad name goes a long way in dissuading anyone from dealing with Singapore lawyers when money is involved. At the rapid rate at which lawyers scoot off with their client's money, what guarantee is there that they will not do it them.

One can safely say to a large extent, the Singapore legal profession has been discredited as far as financial integrity is concerned.

There may be many reasons for this trait of dishonesty which has begun to run among Singaporeans but one major reason is Lee Kuan Yew himself. If he is the man at the head of the country, then he is setting a very bad example. And people are saying that if it is all right for Lee Kuan Yew, then it should be all right for them. Which reminds me, there was a Chinese cooking show on television here in Northern California, hosted by the Master Chinese Chef Mr. Yan, which was called "If Yan Can Cook, So Can I". Singaporeans in Singapore could possibly be saying "If Lee Can Steal, So Can I".

Lee Kuan Yew himself is seen as a thief. I am of course talking of his paying himself $3 million a year in salary and the several other millions he takes without telling anyone. This is theft. And he is a thief. And so is his son who he has appointed Prime Minister who pays himself the same or even more. We never know how much. His son, by doing this, is also a thief. And so are all the other friends and minions of his to who he distributes his largess generously. They are all thieves. There is no other better word to describe them.

Now if indeed, if such crooks actually govern the country, what do you expect the ordinary people to think? Well, they naturally say, that if theft is good enough for Lee Kuan Yew the Minister Mentor, then it is good enough for me.

So larceny, embezzlement and fraud becomes a way of life. This becomes part of the Singapore psyche, part of Singapore mindset, part of Singapore philosophy. And it is only going to get worse. In fact, although some are getting caught, they appear not too concerned. As I write; a lawyer, one among the 3,000 is serving a long sentence in Changi prison. Several years. His name is Colin Cains. I knew him when in Singapore. He seemed to me then a regular human being. I never knew the other side of him. I know of another Malay lawyer whose name slips my mind. I knew him too. He too will spend a long time in that prison. It is almost impossible to fathom, why ordinary normal attorneys in Singapore have suddenly become thieves and crooks.

We have had a number of spokesmen from government departments trying to brush off any criticism by saying there are thieves in every country. That may be true, but not at such great numbers as happens in Singapore. Mind you, Singapore has only about 4 million people. Only 3,000 lawyers. Yet despite such small numbers, there is almost one lawyer a week stealing money, involved in corruption or other forms of misconduct. So it is not a normal phenomenon of normal human frailty. It is almost as if, stealing money is the right thing to do, if you have a chance! It has become a uniquely Singapore phenomenon.

As I said, the country is run by a bunch of crooks. Crooks who take your money when they want, sue you for defamation if your protest and imprison you if persisted in criticism. It is a country run by an unprincipled lot, Lee Kuan Yew and company, who do whatever they want, anytime they want. These people turn out to be bad examples of what humanity is supposed to be. And regrettably many Singaporeans are learning their bad ways.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Singapore's reluctant lawyers

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dr. Chee Soon Juan, of the Singapore Democratic Party, the most outspoken critic of Lee Kuan Yew Administration's dictatorial policies; has repeatedly complained that he has not been able to find any Singapore lawyer, not even one, to represent him in the various criminal and defamation cases brought against him by Lee in the Singapore courts. Dr. Chee Soon Juan is not a lawyer and has no training in the law.

As a result, Dr. Chee Soon Juan has had to represent himself in almost all these politically motivated cases. Even the one going on now; the speaking without a permit charge, which has already begun and due to continue next month, in the Subordinate Courts before Judge Jusvinder Kaur who will undoubtedly find him guilty as charged and send him to prison yet again.

It appears that lawyers in Singapore are afraid to represent him. The possible consequence, they say, in such representation is the fear Lee Kuan Yew will, through his agents, make like difficult for them. For instance, if they were getting government clients, this source will possibly terminate. Judges would be ordered to find against their clients when are are in court. Their clients will be threatened to stay away from them. False accusations would be made against them, such as professional misconduct and their licences revoked. This fear runs throughout the legal profession in Singapore. Therefore, Singapore lawyers refuse opposition politician's cases. It is not good, they say, for their livelihood. But what about their conscience?

Not too long ago, a prominent Singapore lawyer, who is now the head of the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, unashamedly stated in an interview with a foreign correspondent that "he was prepared to represent any murderer, thief or serial killer that you throw at him. But please, no political dissidents". Imagine that.

In any other self respecting country with a self respecting bar, any lawyer would have been ashamed to say such a thing; that he is not prepared to represent political dissidents! But not in Singapore. In Singapore it is no longer shameful, even for lawyers trained in the law, to say that they live in fear of Lee Kuan Yew. That their legal representation will only extend this far. That despite their training and their knowledge in the law, they fear to use it, when it is something that Lee Kuan Yew may disapprove!

Singapore lawyers, should be ashamed of themselves. All of them. They allow themselves to be used in a charade, a make believe, because it suits this man, Lee Kuan Yew.

I was a lawyer myself in Singapore. Lawyers when they are admitted to the Bar, have to take an oath. This oath requires them to uphold the Singapore Constitution. The oath is taken before a High Court Judge in a courtroom. Yet, having made this solemn oath, every Singapore lawyer unashamedly, the very next minute professionally behaves as if they have never heard of the free speech clause or the freedom of assembly clause; provisions that they only a minute ago had solemnly promised to uphold!

They have also completely forgotten the law of defamation or its procedure; if they were asked to represent Dr. Chee Soon Juan!

These lawyers are seen shamelessly with the outward trappings of lawyers; black robes, black suitcase, black suit and necktie and so on, speaking or trying to speak in high sounding English, as if they were in fact lawyers. But in fact, they lack the very basic underlying quality a lawyer is supposed to have; the courage to represent your client when your client needs you. This question we should ask the lawyers in Singapore. Where were you when your fellow citizen Dr. Chee Soon Juan needed you?

It is not a case that Dr. Chee See Juan's cases are without merit. If there was a single case, worthy of merit, surely it has to be Dr. Chee's. All his cases were either for defamation of character, i.e. Lee Kuan Yew's character; for illegal protest or speaking in public without permits. Every lawyer in Singapore knows that there are a thousand defenses, meritorious defenses, that can be mounted in every one of these cases, starting with the valid argument that laws contrary to the constitution are ultra vires and unenforceable, except on a showing that there is an overriding public interest.

Any first year law student knows it and can do it. But yet there is not one; not a single lawyer in the entire profession of 3,000 who will come forward and do his duty to the law and to Singapore.

If there is one profession, among all the professions in that island, who should be particularly ashamed themselves, it is sadly the legal profession.

In such a case, we begin to ask the motivation that made these lawyers read law in the first place. Was it not a desire to seek justice? Was it not a desire to seek the truth? Was it not to represent your client in his time of need? If not, what was it?

I say this to the entire legal profession in Singapore, starting with the President of the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme. It is about time you searched your conscience and ask yourself if you are truly upholding the oath you took when you were first admitted the Bar, perhaps decades ago. And if not, perhaps, it is time that you did what is right.

Just across the Causeway, a mere 2 hour drive on the Malaysian highway, or an hour by air as the crow flies, is Kuala Lumpur and the Malaysian Bar Association. There however the lawyers are a different breed entirely. The President of the Malaysian Bar spoke up fearlessly against the erosion of the rule of law in Malaysia and swore to fight till the bitter end to uphold it. These brave words were said at the International Bar Association annual meeting held in Singapore last year. Ironically these words were said by a woman; the President of the Malaysian Bar happens to be a woman. One courageous woman and one courageous group of lawyers.

If only Singapore lawyers had half the courage of this woman president of the Malaysian Bar!

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Monday, December 24, 2007

The unintended negative consequences for Singaporeans under dictatorial rule.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is always best in any society to allow the people a say in the governing of their country. This way, ideas clash, new ideas are thrown up, and society advances, because everyone is thinking, and everyone contributes. Each citizen feels important. That his views matter. He is interested in his country. He wants the best for it. This way the country advances. Everyone benefits.

Sadly, not so in Singapore. Since in Singapore, we have a superman. At least that is what he thinks. I am of course referring to Lee Kuan Yew. As far as he is concerned, only he has a brain. And with it he will govern. He will employ or co-opt other successful people into his government with inducement of high salaries. These men, who are after money, join him, and primarily they will carry out his ideas and policies. Everyone else in the country is required just to comply with his orders. After all they are "digits" as he has referred to them. It is not necessary for them to think. All they have to do is to obey.

But you see, this sort of top down government will always face unintended obstacles. Reason being, they do not have the benefit of the thinking of everyone in the country.

These are some of the multitude of difficulties faced in this dictatorial form of government.

First, many years ago, Lee felt that there were too many people. Singaporeans, he said should have only 2 children. They complied. The government succeeded beyond their expectations. Result, too few children. Now, the government wants more people. The population is shrinking. So they are asking people to procreate more. But they are not taking the bait, despite all sorts of inducements. The government set up a matchmaking department. It resulted in a total failure. With all the stresses that Singaporeans face, having babies is not a luxury they can afford! So, they import immigrants from India and China.

The Malays on the other hand have had no problem having babies. They have at the least maintained the replacement level of reproduction. Since Lee Kuan Yew wants Singapore to remain a Chinese country, he is left with no choice but to bring in increased numbers of Chinese from China to keep up with the Malay numbers. Sadly for Lee, it appears that even the Chinese immigrants have no desire to remain permanently in Singapore, or to have children.

So it appears that Lee's plan of Singapore being Chinese permanently will not work. It is going to revert to being a Malay country as it originally was. I say to the Malays, congratulations and go for it. Have as many babies as possible, and show this old Lee that he is not superman after all.

Then the double whammy hurting Lee Kuan Yew. Singaporeans are emigrating. This is despite the daily propaganda being put out by the state controlled press, that Singapore is in fact the best spot in the world. All the coaxing and persuasion does not appear to work. The educated are leaving.

Singapore has about 3,000 lawyers. This small number has remained constant and is even declining. For a commercial city of 4 million, you need 4 times this number. But no use, the lawyers are leaving the profession and new ones are not joining. Why, because Singaporeans realize that there is no rule of law, that Lee abuses the law for his private ends, the law has become into disrepute and no one wants to be a part of it.

To encourage more to stay in the profession, Khattar Wong and Partners, a government connected law firm has offered both money and incentives for new applicants into the profession. Alas, again, no one is interested. It is true, after all, that once a legal system loses it's respect and credibility, as in Singapore's case, it is difficult to recover.

The Chief Justice and Mr. Jayakumar, the Minister for law both hoped that Singapore would become an international legal hub for the settlement of disputes, something like London. Unfortunately, Singapore is not London. London has the rule of law. England knows it. The world knows it. At the same time, the world also knows that the Singapore judiciary is routinely used by Lee Kuan Yew to sue and bankrupt political opponents. No; foreigners are not coming to Singapore to use their legal services.

And the pathetic state of the law, or the lack of it, in Singapore, was clearly made known to the world when the International Bar Association held it's annual meeting is Singapore. If ever there was any one left thinking that Singapore had the rule of law, that person has found out the truth, thanks to Dr. Chee Soon Juan. He succinctly made it very clear that the rule of law does not exist in Singapore; that the law courts are there for the pleasure of the Lee Administration. And those international lawyers have taken back to their countries, this knowledge that Singapore lacks the rule of law.

Lee told the world that Singapore is going to be a biotech hub, among the various other hubs that it was or was aspiring to be. A transport hub. An education hub. An arts hub. Etc Etc.

Alas none of it is happening.

Biotech has failed in Singapore. Not one but several international world renowned scientists who were lured to Singapore with grandiose promises have all left, the last being the creator of Dolly the cloned sheep. I suppose, they felt it uncomfortable to be doing scientific research in a country that denies its citizens their human rights.

As for the education hub, Warwick University, a British university decided it wanted nothing to do with Singapore. Reason, no fundamental human rights or freedoms. You cannot be educated, they said, unless you have freedom.

The transport hub was also another failure. Kuala Lumpur is much cheaper and better. Moreover the whole idea of transport hubs is dead. No reason to fly from Taipei to Singapore and then on to Chennai. Now you can fly direct to Chennai. The Boeing 777 has seen to it.

Arts hub? You must be joking. How does one have art, without freedom? Are you going to perform and keep looking over your shoulder to see if Lee Kuan Yew is upset! Arts hub died even before it was born.

Lee Kuan Yew recently attended some college in Singapore to meet the students. As expected there he gave his, I am sure he was thinking, his earth shattering speech. The students of course quietly listened. At the end, he asked them if there were any questions. None. They as Singaporean students are terrified of him. How could they ever have such courage even to ask a question! What happens if Lee did not like the question? The end of his career! So danger lurks. Best not to ask any question. Safety lies in not being heard, and if possible not being seen! Mind you, this is Singapore.

I understand the electronic industry in Singapore has died a natural death. Costs too high. They are manufacturing now in China.

I also understand that Singapore has got its 10th millionth visitor. So perhaps this is where Singapore’s future lies. A great big amusement park and shopping center. So perhaps Lee Kuan Yew should now open more colleges to train people in the hospitality industry.

At the same time, I understand Singapore is investing it's money, or rather the people's money in various investments abroad through Tumasek and the GIC. In order to do so, they need a constant infusion of money. Problem is, the money is running out. CPF is now refusing to pay as promised. The government is constantly increasing the prices of its HDB 100 year leasehold premises to exorbitant levels; I suppose to squeeze more money from their citizens.

But in the end, this will not work either. There will come a time when the people will just not be able to afford servicing their exorbitant rents they pay for the leasehold premises.

So you see, it is one problem after another. Just because this government thinks they know best, and your opinions do not matter one bit.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Singaporeans. Lee Kuan Yew's "digits".

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Lee Kuan Yew has said in Parliament that as far as he was concerned, Singaporeans are "digits". Mere items, objects, that he pushes around to best govern his island. And true to his his threat, he has done exactly that during the last 40 years of his rule over Singaporeans. He care 2 hoots what you think. Singaporeans to him are no better than sheep. He will push them around and they will obey. It is not a healthy life, either mentally or physically for a human. There is no reason why you should tolerate it.

These are the examples of Lee treating you no better than an animal. In spite of the fact you are taxpayers and citizens; and it so happens endowed with a constitution.

You know this already. He pays himself and his friends millions officially, which he calls salary. As if that was not enough, without your knowledge he takes much more. Theft. Another version of Mobutu of the Congo. Then he refuses you your CPF. He inflates HDB lease rentals to $300,000.00 a flat despite it is just a 100 year leasehold whose building costs was no more than $50,000.00.

He tells you that you purchased the HDB flat when in reality, it is a mere leasehold of 100 years, which he can terminate at any time. Not you.

On a daily basis, he distorts the news and dishes out propaganda to you through his state controlled media. You are kept in the dark as to what is really happening. He abuses the law to silence opponents. He handpicks politicians to fill his Parliament merely to approve whatever he wants. He then calls them his politicians when they are nothing more than unprincipled employees; there merely for the money. He orders judges to abuse the law, yet he claims that there is the rule of law. He pays handsomely to a Sikh lawyer to sue political opponents on trumped up charges.

He refuses to give you your retirement savings although he is required to do it by law.

In other words, he is treating each Singaporean as nothing more than irrelevance. This should be an insult to any human being. I urge you not to accept this humiliation and demand what rightfully belongs to you; your dignity. Stand up and do what is right for a human being. Join Dr. Chee Soon Juan and the opposition and protest these injustices. The island belongs as much to you as to this man, Lee Kuan Yew.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The dilemna faced by educated Singaporeans. To stay and fight, to emigrate or stay and do nothing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The dilemma faced by young educated Singaporeans in this dictatorial country where Lee Kuan Yew considers his citizens "digits" is this. To stay and fight for human rights and a freer society; to emigrate to democratic countries or to stay back and do nothing.

Staying and fighting for change is the most honorable option. But, as you know it comes at a price. We have seen the price paid by Dr. Chee Soon Juan, who lost his job, was sued and bankrupted. The same sad fate for J.B.Jeyaretnam. And the same fate for many others, many of who have gone into exile. Therefore the prospects of this cause of action appear daunting. It is the old Chinese saying, kill a chicken a frighten all the monkeys. Naturally, many young men and women who have their lives ahead of them are hesitant to take the plunge into political opposition.

Those who feel that it is not possible in conscience for them to remain in Singapore without fighting the establishment, and wish to further their careers and professions, emigrate. This way, they have the satisfaction of knowing that they have refused to permit Lee Administration to push them around by remaining in Singapore. Since they have no desire to lend support to this dictatorial and repressive administration, for the sake of their souls, their pride and their careers, they leave for Australia.

Then there are those who stay behind in Singapore; go about their business, but stay out of local affairs altogether. If you are a self respecting human being, with red blood flowing in your veins, with a cerebral capacity normal for that of a human, this is not an option.

I say this is not an option because this arrogant administration does anything that want with you or your life with total disrespect to you as a citizen. Lee has openly said this much. As far as he is concerned, you are a mere "digit". He will tell you what to do and you must do it. He is the master and you are the slave. And that is how it is.

That is why I say, no self respecting Singaporean should remain in Singapore and do nothing because by doing so, you permit him to take advantage of you. Under these circumstances, if you are a self respecting human, and remain, either stand and fight or leave for Australia.

But the good news is that more and more citizens are turning into fighters, standing up to this repressive regime and prepared to take the knocks that come with it. In fact if sufficient numbers turn against the regime openly, they would be powerless to punish everyone.

You can see that this government survives by bullying people. Don't let them. Stay behind and resist.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Singapore. The strength of the Lee Administration is an illusion. Toppling them is easier than you think.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is well known that in Communist doctrine, the first and foremost objective in battle is to win hearts and minds of the people. Once this is achieved, victory may even be got without firing a single shot. The same principle apples in government. Any government. Once a government has lost the support of the people, it is just the beginning of the slippery slope to defeat and over throw. This is actually the situation in Singapore now. You will see it if you open your eyes.

It is well known that the Lee Administration is now at it's very abyss, rock bottom, in popularity. Almost every man has only hatred for it. With the million dollar ministerial salaries. The lack of CPF retirement funds. The increasing costs of living. The suicides. Emigration. The lowering of wages simultaneous with increasing of minister's millions. The elderly having to clean food hawker tables. The murders. The thieving lawyers. The list of infamy goes on. Unabated. The people living in fear. The rich with their greed. Singapore has turned into an ungodly place.

But here is the good news. The peculiar circumstances make it peculiarly suited to the over throw of this despotic government.

First, it is a small place. This is a geat advantage for political change. Unlike India or China, where political victory in Harbin, Northern China, does not necessarily mean victory in Beijing. The place is vast. A lot more work and a lot more time is needed to change the entire country. It is not easy. But Singapore is small. You can drive, in 30 minutes from North to South or East to West of Singapore Island. Therefore concentration of efforts becomes easy. You will either move the country this instant or you would not.

Second, the ground is against this insensitive and greedy government. Overwhelmingly so. The people are angry now. It is easy to move an angry people to action.

Third we have the Internet. Even if this government denies the people the actual bad news that goes on, somehow at least some of it gets to the ground. We know for instance that the true reason for the refusal to pay CPF by the government is because the funds are running out. People are withdrawing the money through emigration and old age unemployment with insufficient babies being born to join the workforce means less money in the CPF. To overcome this, they bring in foreign workers to give a temporary boost to the funds. But this cannot last.

The major source of money that the government receives is from the Housing and Development Board "sale" of houses scam. First, you are not a buyer but merely a renter because it is no more than a 100 year lease. Remember you have not bought anything. You have merely rented the place for 100 years.

In other words a depreciating asset. Second, the government is defrauding you by charging you excessive prices by claiming these houses are modern and so on. In fact, you are being cheated. The flat costs no more than $50,000.00 or less to build. Yet they charge you $300,000.00. And what is worse, the flat will never be yours. In 10 years they will tear it down and ask you to sign a lease agreement anew for another 100 years. The government with your HDB flat has got you, it you are a man, by the scrotum. If you happen to be a woman, I do not know what. But in any case they have got you. Keep that in mind.

That is why I say to Dr. Chee of the SDP, for whom I have the greatest of admiration, that this is the time. If he is reading this, he should act now.

The moment has come.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Letter from Professor Femi Olaleye, Nigeria

I went through your article and it looks fine.

Nigeria is having the same problem about the Public Order Act which requires that any meeting or assembly in any public place should apply for a permit from the Police. The application for permit is expected to be made not later than 48 hours to the planned meeting.

The Courts have pronounced the laws of no effect because they run counter to the Nigerian Constitution.

But I think there is nothing wrong in somebody organizing a meeting or assembly in any public place to apply to the police for a permit if his intentions are peaceful. Freedom of association and assembly are not without their own responsibilities and liabilities. Besides, issues of national security and public peace, I believe, impose their own leverages on individual rights.

I believe that without any law imposing conditions on the use of public space for congregations will make policing difficult and will increase the crime rate particularly in a country without an efficient citizen identification and tracking system in place.

I am hoping to organize an event around this issue soon. What do you think?

Professor Femi Olaleye,\Nigeria.

From Gopalan Nair
Fremont, California
Dec 23, 2007.

Dear Professor Femi Olaleye,

Thank you for your letter. Yes, there is nothing wrong in any government requesting that protesters request permits for protests to ensure law and order. This is the case in governments all over the world. The only problem is that in Singapore the law is applied mala fides. There is an illegal purpose in the Singapore government having this law, because it is intended not to ensure law and order but to deny the opposition the right to hold any peaceful political protests.

For your information, during the last 40 years of this dictatorial government, even though countless protest permits have been applied by the opposition, not a single one has been approved! That itself should speak volumes on the true intent of this law in Singapore.

That is why I have been consistently calling upon the opposition to deliberately break this law. I hope now, Professor, you understand the Singapore situation.

The political situation and laws are not what meets the eye.

Gopalan Nair

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The ugly Singaporean

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The average Singaporean stands out from others elsewhere; as a people overly afraid of authority, in many cases insecure and unwilling to stand on principle, when principles are called for.

The cause for this unfortunate Singaporean trait is none other than Lee Kuan Yew himself. The founding father of Singapore as he is called, turned out to be a very bad role model, and since it is him that has been at the helm these last 40 years, Singaporeans have learnt very bad lessons. In trying to be like him, Singaporeans have turned out, by and large to be a heartless, soulless people, without compassion or principles and driven primarily by greed.

Look at Lee Kuan Yew. During these last 40 years, having made countless speeches and very long speeches at that, sometimes extending to several hours, not to be undone by President Sukarno, former President of Indonesia also well known for marathon speeches, the underlying message in each of them has always been the same. How he outsmarted and outwitted his hapless political enemies by various dirty tricks and cunning; and how proud he was of himself.

Lee Kuan Yew prides himself in how he was always one step ahead of his competition, how he managed to neutralize a critical press by dirty tricks, how he managed to imprison Lim Chin Siong and Chia Thye Poh, how he brow beat the Chinese Middle School students, how he managed to destroy the kampongs and erected HDB flats, how he had to finish off President Devan Nair, how he managed to detect the dishonesty of Francis Seow in time to pack him off to the ISD prison, how he finished off the then student Tan Wah Piow and so on and so forth.

Oh, you must not forget Lee Kuan Yew’s famous hatchet speech. About 2 decades ago, in Parliament he made his famous "hatchet" speech, which JB Jeyaretnam used as the title for his book "The Hatchet Man of Singapore". In the speech, Lee Kuan Yew said he always carried a bag, and in that bag, he always kept a hatchet. According to him, if politician crossed him, he will first challenge him to a fight. He would lure him to a back lane, which formed a cul de sac, so as not to let his victim escape, and there he will draw his hatchet and kill him. This speech clearly shows the thinking of this man; the founding father of Singapore. It sums it all.

A megalomaniac, too big for his shoes, Lee claims he did all this for the good of Singapore. But then you can also ask whether there was another reason. Was it for the good of himself?

Lee believes these are his accomplishments. If indeed they are, they appear more the accomplishments of a ruthless power hungry tyrant, more at home among gangsters, than that of a human being of conscience. There is no greatness, at least for me, in a man who uses dishonest means and dirty tricks, and in instances extreme cruelty, to destroy his opponents. These are acts of a desperate political tyrant; not the acts of a great statesman; and the last thing that any honest parent should wish is for his son to turn out as another Lee Kuan Yew.

But yet, regrettably, it is Lee Kuan Yew who turns out to be a role model for a great many Singaporeans. So many try to emulate him and encourage their children to follow. Since he is seen as a person who has become rich and wealthy by destroying the opposition, parents send their children to his PAP organizations so that they too will be able to get rich and wealthy in the same distasteful manner. These people are quite willing to do and say anything to please him; and like him, destroy innocent people just because they happen to be the opposition; because it is profitable to do so, and profit is God.

Large sections of Singaporeans have completely lost their core principles of humanity; emulating Lee Kuan Yew who has none. They appear totally lacking in compassion. Government leaders who think in the same unkind way that Lee Kuan Yew thinks, have no qualms to pay themselves millions while the less fortunate Singaporeans live in poverty; for less than $400.00 per month! Since Lee Kuan Yew has no compassion, they too have no compassion for the poor. Compassion is no longer in vogue in Singapore; since Lee Kuan Yew, their leader has none.

Since Lee Kuan Yew has no respect for the rule of law, his judges too, like him have none. They abuse the law on a daily basis, without a tinge of conscience, to find innocent defendants guilty.

They feel nothing at all in ordering Dr. Chee to pay half a million dollars merely because he asked Goh Chok Tong for an accounting of the promises of several million dollars to President Suharto by Lee Kuan Yew!

They feel no shame at all to order JB Jeyaretnam to pay another half million just because he alleged the PAP Indian MPs were not taking care of Singapore Indians. Even if you try very hard, even if you were under the influence of an opiate, you will still not be able to convince yourself that these were in fact defamations! Yet these judges are prepared to do this on a daily basis. Just like Lee Kuan Yew who would have no qualms either.

Courage is one quality that is almost universally lacking in Singapore. Men and women, human beings consider courage a quality to be acquired and cherished. Men, at least men in places other than Singapore, believe it an admirable quality to act according to your conscience and to refuse unconscionable acts; even it means loss of employment or other discomfort.

In other places, courageous righteous men are respected and are abundant. In Singapore on the other hand, only money appears to matter. Courage, honor and integrity appear to have no place at all.

In Singapore, you can see this despicable characteristic in many. There is an Indian Sikh with a turban, a lawyer who unashamedly does defamation cases whenever called upon by Lee Kuan Yew to sue his various political opponents. What is shameful about this individual is that he knows even before he steps into the courtroom that his client will win even though he knows that the law is clearly against his client since no defamation has in fact occurred.

He knows that the judge has already been ordered to favor his client and what is more, the quantum of damages, that is the million dollars, has already been decided; all this even before the parties have stepped into the courtroom! And this is how, this Sikh lawyer makes a living without any qualms, day in and day out. In trying to emulate his leader Lee Kuan Yew, he has succeeded in becoming a thoroughly unprincipled human being; a human being for whom the only thing that matters is money.

This Sikh lawyer is but one example of the hundreds and thousands of Singapore government employees and leaders; they all have lost their soul and like their master Lee Kuan Yew, integrity and honor does not factor into their daily lives.

And then there are the masses of ordinary Singaporeans. We can call them CPF Singaporeans since they are subject to CPF contributions, which means they have to make monthly contributions to the government for their retirement, but in fact, this government will not let them have any money at all! These are Lee's forgotten people. These are people that Lee takes for a ride; and a people that sadly are prepared to be taken for a ride.

These are the fearful people. People who are afraid to question, afraid to criticize, afraid to speak, afraid of their shadows. As for these people, Lee Kuan Yew will do anything he wants to them with impunity. And while Lee Kuan Yew ill treats these people, Lee Kuan Yew's cronies who are paid millions seems to be entirely at peace with their conscience.

You have the Lee Kuan Yew elite, paying themselves millions, greedy, selfish, without any integrity, honor or human compassion. You have also the down trodden, the poor who have lost all courage to stand up against these tyrants, lacking self respect or courage. This is what I mean by the ugly Singaporean.

They have all turned out to be Lee Kuan Yews or a version of it!

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Friday, December 21, 2007

Singapore. As the saying goes, strike while the iron is hot.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If you are satisfied, like I am, and like the respected international organization Freedom House, that it is impossible to change the government in Singapore through elections, then this is the time to act. With peaceful protests.

Lee Kuan Yew has unashamedly said publicly, on repeated occasions, that he has "engineered" the system in such a way that his PAP are assured of victory in elections. His son, whom he had placed as Prime Minister had also said during the last elections that if more than 2 opposition members were elected, he will have to "fix" them, meaning that he will frame them up as wrongdoers and destroy them. Also that he will bribe Singaporeans to win their votes. Although neither Lee Kuan Yew nor his son has said this, as a logical extension to their willingness to engage in dirty tricks at elections, we can safely assume that they will rig the elections as well if necessary. In fact I will go so far as to say that I will not be surprised if they have been doing just this at every election the last 40 years!

So I at least believe, there is no way democracy can come about as long as Lee Kuan Yew and his administration are in office. There has to be another way. And that way is peaceful civil protests. Protests to tell this government that their million dollar salaries are unacceptable, their refusal to pay Singaporeans CPF retirement is unacceptable, their insistence that Singaporeans live until 85 before they are paid retirement is unacceptable, their world record rate of execution of criminals is unacceptable, their failure to control immigration is unacceptable, their abusing the judiciary to destroy political opposition is unacceptable! Unacceptable! Unacceptable! Unacceptable!

Protests are a sure way of telling any authoritarian administration, that business as usual is no longer acceptable. This form of political strategy is particularly effective in a country like Singapore, since the very next moment, the world will be aware that these injustices go on in the island republic. And such publicity will hurt these despots who rule the country so much so that they, for once will have to listen.

The present is most opportune time for civil protest. You have all these glaring injustices that go on. These are staring each one us in the face. We are hurting, badly hurting as a result. And this is the time for action.

Singapore's small built up congested with people situation makes protests particularly effective. It is impossible for the entire country not to know within minutes that a protest is taking place at any part of the small island. If your cause is just, and all these causes are just, there is no doubt that the government will have to take the people seriously.

And this is exactly why the government is terrified of the word "protests".

Also as Singaporeans are very law abiding and gentle, having been under the heel of Lee Kuan Yew for the last 40 years, there is no possibility whatsoever in the people becoming violent. If ever there was violence, it will surely be the actions of Lee Kuan Yew himself so as to blame peaceful Singaporeans that it was they who were responsible. Lee Kaun Yew, as you know is a dirty politician. But Singaporeans need not fear as they already know what underhand work he is capable of.

Singaporeans have continued to suffer in silence this far. It is time for them to say, we refuse to take this nonsense anymore.

And in this regard, the one political party which realizes this truth, the impossibility to change government through elections is the Singapore Democratic Party. They have publicly said this. And they are right.

There are moments when a political party has to decide, regardless of how it received in all quarters of the country, to act according to their conscience. To act on what is right. To act on what has to be done. And this is the moment, when the Singapore Democratic Party should do what has to be done. They should organize protests. They should distribute leaflets throughout the country calling for protesters to contact them. They should stand at street corners asking support. They should ask for donations from the public in defiance of the politically motivated House to House Street Collections Act. They should seek foreign donations. They should do anything and everything possible which is right in conscience, not necessarily right under Lee Kuan Yew's politically repressive laws; to move the people to protest against these blatant injustices.

I urge Singaporeans with any "testicular fortitude" (words borrowed from a Singaporean woman in Australia who wrote to me) and by the way I include women of courage too, to contact Dr. Chee Soon Juan and volunteer as peaceful protesters.

With your courage, you can turn Singapore into a better home for yourself and your descendants. It is an honorable task. Get down to it.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It is clear the Government of Singapore has weakened.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is clear the people's overwhelming dissatisfaction of the Lee Kuan Yew government has begun to have effect. It has weakened this clearly unrepresentative government.

Today certain things are clear. First, the PAP ministers have thoroughly alienated the entire population by paying themselves unacceptably huge salaries, in fact several times the income of the US president, even though they are fully aware that all Singaporeans deplore it. The Lee Kuan Yew ministers stand discredited in the eyes of all Singaporeans.

The Singapore judiciary stands thoroughly discredited in the eyes of Singaporeans, never mind how many times the Singapore Chief Justice swears Singapore has the rule of law. It became discredited the moment it's judges willingly allowed themselves to be used as tools of Lee Kuan Yew to eliminate the opposition. As was the case with JB Jeyaretnam, Tang Liang Hong, Dr. Chee Soon Juan and countless others.

The Singapore Legal Profession stands discredited when the President of the Law Society, Philip Jeyarentnam stood idly by while the judiciary was persecuting Lee's political opponents re: Dr. Chee, JB Jeyaretnam his father and countless others. In fact Lee Kuan Yew uses the Law Society and it permits itself to be used as a political tool of the government to destroy his opponents.

Singapore newspapers stand discredited. It has been ranked 154th least credible paper, similar to the likes of North Korea, by respected international organizations. Singaporeans have no respect for their press. They look at it no more than propaganda organs and look to the Internet for real news. But since international papers do not report on local news, Singaporeans realize with disgust that they are fed propaganda on a daily basis. They are angry that they are treated so.

Singapore parliament stands discredited. 82 of the 84 government members in Parliament are seen as nothing more than hand picked executives whose job is to merely parrot what they are told to do by the government. Singaporeans know that they have neither leadership qualities nor independence. They are merely PAP highly paid employees and not representative leaders at all. These PAP members have no shame or any self respect. They know it, and the people know it. The people are angry.

In fact every government organ is discredited and has become entirely political tools to carry out Lee's commands and parliamentary democracy has been entirely destroyed. It is pure and simple fascism. The government knows it and the people know it. Therefore, it has now come to a situation where this Lee Kuan Yew Administration runs the country in this distasteful manner, in total disregard of the entire Singapore population.

This situation is one that cannot last. In fact, as their actions are entirely and absolutely against the people’s interests, Lee Kuan Yew is finding it difficult to enforce it's laws and policies.

Take defamation of character actions for which Lee Kuan Yew government has become world famous. You know that just 10 years ago, even the slightest criticism landed a person in court, having to face Lee Kuan Yew's lawyer , the turbaned Sikh, with a pro Lee Kuan Yew judge, who would have found you liable at the blink of an eye, assessed damages at a million dollars and forthwith sent you to the cleaners.

But look at the situation now. Complete opposite. Dr. Chee Soon Juan's Singapore Democrat website criticizes the Lee Administration, daily, openly and directly without any fear. In spite of this open and direct criticism, which in the past would have attracted countless defamation actions, now seem unchallenged by Lee. The Sikh turbaned lawyer is not being deployed to polish off Dr. Chee for his various defamations which Dr. Chee defiantly continues to utter, “defamations” being used within the meaning of Lee Kuan Yew lexicon, not it's universally understood meaning.

Take the bloggers, hundreds of them, who openly defy Lee Kuan Yew. And among these opponents of Lee, many are prepared to identify themselves openly. I am referring to blogs such as that of Mr. Yap Keng Ho, whose blog Uncle Yap, repeatedly calls Mr. Lee Kuan Yew a cheat and a liar; Martyn See who was himself questioned by the police once, but yet fearlessly blogs in his Singapore Rebel, calling Lee Kuan Yew names which would never have been previously uttered in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore. Yet Martyn See remains undeterred in his criticism of these million dollar ministers and Lee Kuan Yew appears unable or unwilling, never mind which, to finish him off. There are countless other bloggers who have begun to bravely identify themselves while calling Lee Kuan Yew ministers, dictators, thieves and charlatans. None of them have been arrested or sued.

Then we have the political activists who brazenly flout Lee's laws intended to silence criticism. I am referring to the 5 man protest law which calls for a permit if 5 or more protest. The Burmese protested en masse. Not 5 but 2oo. But no one was arrested. You will recall some foreign wives, much more than 5 in number, protested Burmese repression somewhere near Little India MRT station, Singapore. Their pictures of defiance was all over the blogs. They were not arrested.

I understand that persons have been distributing leaflets along Orchard Road containing anti PAP literature. They appear to be doing this openly. Brazenly. No one has been arrested.

The last I was in Singapore, last month, I personally came across scores and scores of Singaporeans who have decided to engage in various forms of anti PAP agitation. I am sure with the Singapore government's surveillance apparatus, they are aware of who these potential aspiring anti government elements are. But none of them have had any trouble so far, and yet, only 5 years ago, they would have all been arrested by now, called Marxist conspirators and promptly confined at Internal Security Department headquarters which stands not far from the horses at the Singapore Polo Club.

The more I think about it, the more the situation becomes clear. The truth is that at present, this government is running the country entirely, repeat entirely, against the wishes of the entire, repeat entire Singapore population. This sort of a situation may be possible in a country such as North Korea or Burma which really do not need the outside world. It is entirely untenable for a country such as Singapore which relies on international commerce.

Singaporeans are slowly and slowly becoming emboldened. Singaporeans are at the threshold of taking more immediate measures. I can see the anger of Singaporeans to transform from suffering in silence into active forms of opposition. The next step for Singaporeans can only mean street protests, distribution of leaflets to the public and other more urgent forms of action. And when that time comes, the time of the Lee Administration would also have come.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914