Monday, October 8, 2007

Congratulations SDP on the Burma Protests. Now the next step.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It was excellent job by the Singapore Democrat Party, Dr. Chee Soon Juan and every other protestor in the recent Singapore Burma protests. I believe their intention was very clear from the start. It was to goad the Lee Administration into reacting to their protests, by arresting them. And this, as expected of the Lee Kuan Yew Administration, they did, to their shame. By their arrests, the government has lost a great deal of respect; exposing Singapore’s repressive actions to the world community; telling the world that the difference between them and Burma was only in degree; including reminding us of the fact that they are one of the largest trading partners or enablers of the brutal Burmese junta.

A brilliant coup. Well done SDP.

Since the protest movement through the sacrifice and struggle of Dr. Chee and his colleagues is now well under way in Singapore, it has now to be put to good use in furthering the democratic cause of Singaporeans.

I believe that for a protest movement to succeed and gain in strength and numbers, it has to be a cause that will have support within a large section of the community, such as issues relating to bread and butter. Abstract ideological issues such as the fundamental freedoms of the press and assembly may not, in a society such as Singapore at present, attract large massive support.

Therefore, in my view, the activists for democratic change should look to the present main problems of the people; such as the inability of Singaporeans to draw on their CPF in old age; the failure of the government to sufficiently provide for the old and sick who are given as little as $300.00 per month in welfare payments when the Ministers are paid, in addition to the various other hidden sources of income, a pay of a thumping $3 million a year; the displacement of local Singaporeans workers by the massive immigration of foreigners who take the jobs from the Singaporeans locals.

Such issues which hit at the heart of a wide section of Singaporeans are good protest cases which Dr. Chee and his admirable colleagues should look into.

The difficulty with international opinion is this. The world community has to see Singaporeans themselves demanding their rights from the government through protests strikes and other civil disobedience; which unfortunately at present the world does not see, except occasionally such as this Burma protest. Otherwise the world sees Singapore as a very peaceful place with the population entirely content. In this situation, it is difficult for Singaporeans to expect the world to put any pressure on Singapore when they see that the Singaporeans themselves do not appear to want any change.

It is my humble opinion, now that Dr. Chee has managed to make great headway in the protest movement tin Singapore, to now push ahead with more protests on issues which are hurting the poorer and older sections of the Singapore population most, such as their inability to withdraw the CPF and the neglect of the old, sick and infirm.

Another is the race issue. I am sure Dr. Chee speaks for the Malays and the Indians as well as everyone in Singapore and therefore there is no shame in mentioning it. The Malays and Indians are hurting because of the Singapore government policy of importing disproportionately large numbers of Chinese from mainland China when in fact; the Malays who have more children that anyone else continue to be kept as a small minority of 15 % and the Indians at 8%. I think local born Singaporean Chinese stand in support of the plight of the Malays and Indians in this case, when the government deliberately keeps the Malay population at a small minority. Malays should protest for a halt in this unfair unjust massive importation of Chinese.

I hope that Dr. Chee now will begin working the HDB flats to target and identify in sufficient numbers those who are hurting in such seminal causes; because of the unfair policies such as the CPF retention of savings by the government and work towards even massive protest movements for these grievances.

Any protest movement requires money. The government has an unjust law; just as many of their laws are unjust in favor of the government; that disallows local organizations from being funded by foreign sources. If you really think of it, this law makes no sense. I concede it is wrong to use foreign money to further foreign interests. But it is not wrong to use foreign money for the good of Singapore and to bring about democracy.

I think Singapore opposition politicians should ignore and defy Singapore law which forbids foreign funding of democratic causes in the country and they should seek the help of foreign organizations, of which there are many, to lend support to the cause of freedom in Singapore.

And lastly, one point about the Singapore governments repeated accusation that Dr. Chee was in violation of Singapore law that makes protests of more than 5 people illegal. Let me remind the Singapore government that it is not Dr. Chee' protest that is illegal; it is the law itself which is illegal.

First remember, just because the law is passed by Parliament does not make it good law. Second, the supreme law of the land is the constitution which gives the right of assembly to the people. Third, constitutional law states that no law can be validly enacted which contravenes the constitution unless there are compelling reasons for such a law. Therefore since there are no compelling reasons why a peaceful assembly of 5 or more people should need a permit, this law is clearly without any legal basis. Such a law is illegal and Dr. Chee and everyone else in Singapore should violate that law whenever they see fit. And what I say is the law. Ask any lawyer.

And the most important reason why the 5 man assembly law is illegal is simply because; the government will refuse a permit even if you applied!

I hope Dr. Chee and his brave friends who have so bravely protested make the government realize that if other Singaporeans want to accept even unjust laws, it is up to them; but as far as they are concerned, this permit law is rubbish and should be trampled on like rubbish.

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw the video of dr. chee geting arrested...singapore is a sad sad state.

anyways, i think dr.chee needs a new strategy. i think one thing he can do is to let forums in singapore such as one called "clubsnap" know what he is up to. in this photography forum, members are starved to photo and video something interesting.

Now, combine with this foreiner's wives, expats from the U.S. and so on i am pretty certain the government is not going to throw expat wives in prison...if they do, like i said you have your photogs right there to tell the rest of the world. Plus, play the game of Lee Kuan Yew and hit him where it hurts, in the pocketbook. Could you imagine the pressure that will be put if corporations sit on the government because they are putting their employees wives in jail?

I could be wrong, but expat wives combined with photogs eager for action might be an avenue to explore more than you are doing. Expat wives have started to get involved so the will of these women is, you must learn how to use it.

And like I say, when multi-national corporations come down on the Singapore government as well as the rest of the world seeing expat wives standing up for justice, the government will crack and begin to crumble. You have approximately half a million expats in Singapore, explain to them how Singapore has given to them, and if they could give back by helping the people get the same freedoms they enjoy.