Ladies and Gentlemen,
This time Dr. Chee has done it! Dr. Chee of the SDP had successfully organized a Freedom March during the IMF World Bank meeting in Singapore. A number of people had openly marched for freedom and democracy in Singapore. Now the police are questioning them with offences such as inciting violence and marching without permits. But all of them remain defiant. They not only have refused to admit any wrongdoing, since they have not done any wrong, they have gone public and posted videos of themselves reading statements defying the Singapore police and stating not only that they were proud of what they did, but they intend to do it again, as many many times as they want. Bravo.
The videos of these protesters reading out their statements of defiance and civil disobedience can be see in the Singaporedemocrat website, website of the SDP and in the blog Singabloodypore.
For the first time the wheel of freedom is now turning. These proud and courageous men and women have told the Singapore government, very clearly, that they know their rights and that includes peaceful protest. They have challenged the government to prosecute them, and send them to prison, but no matter what, they will not budge from being proud citizens of Singapore. They will not stop exercising their fundamental rights.
The government is now in a quandary, thanks to these courageous men and women. During the entire history of Singapore, whenever the government threatened to charge political opponents for lawfully exercising their fundamental rights, the mere threat itself was sufficient for them to capitulate. Now thankfully it is different. These courageous young men and women are saying "no" to the Singapore government bullies. They are saying openly that they will not take the nonsense from the government anymore.
What is even more encouraging in this case is, these defiant young men and women are not the usual professional politicians such as Dr. Chee and JB Jeyaretnam. They are just ordinary folks like anyone else. For the first time, ordinary folks are standing up for their freedom. If these men and women stand undaunted, fearlessly and face whatever harassment the government throws at them, then others will follow. A mass movement for political change would have begun.
The government misjudged the courage and fortitude of Singaporeans when they decided to investigate these courageous Singaporeans. It would have been better for the government to have just left them alone. Now the government, in their usual stupidity, have opened a Pandora's box. A can of worms. If they prosecute them, and they stand defiant and face the punishment, they will be emboldened to do more even more. They will embolden others to follow. You will have more protests in sympathy. The government will become politically castrated. They would have lost control. On the other hand, if after these investigations, they do not prosecute, the same result will follow. These young men and women would have won and Lee would have lost.
I apologize for saying this from a distance. I salute all of you. You have courage. Unlike thousands of other Singaporeans, you have shown that you are true men and women. I ask that you do not buckle under the pressure, and I am sure you won't. Fight on. Protest on. Make others join you. This is the moment. The moment has come. Seize the day.
I ask JB Jeyaretnam to join the protest. It will give tremendous credibility to the movement. If JB Jeyaretnam really believes in the cause of freedom in Singapore, then he should please join the protesters. I ask the other opposition parties and politicians to do the same. Join the movement for change. Demand your rights openly. It is honorable. Merely contesting elections is not enough. The protest movement is a necessary ingredient for change.
All those who have stood up and are fighting in Singapore for freedom have my respect. You are much greater men and women than I am. In Singapore many years ago, I too was persecuted for my beliefs. Although I fought them and stood my ground for some years, I decided to have a good life rather than continue suffering under Lee's persecution. I then took the easy way out and left for America. Dr. Chee and you people who stand and fight, are much greater men and women than I am. I salute you.
I ask that all those who are aware of what these men and women are going through, to join them, help them and support them in their fight for freedom.
Your actions remind me of MK Gandhi defiantly making salt at the beach at Gujarat, in defiance of the British Law requiring a permit to make salt which was a British Government monopoly by law. Gandhi defied that law. And the mighty British could do nothing. At that moment, India became free, at least in spirit. Similarly in your case. When you courageous proud men and women, citizens of Singapore stood your ground and protested despite police objections, at that moment Singapore became free and democratic, at least in spirit. You have already won and the dictatorship has lost.
I salute you.
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