Monday, October 22, 2007

Singapore. The government's dilemna with protestors.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dr. Chee and his protesters are yet again being investigated by Tanglin Police Station for yet another protest, the Burma protests. Regardless of whether they decide to charge and prosecute them or whether they decide, when they are at a disadvantage, to merely give warning letters instead of prosecution; Dr. Chee and his friends would have won either way. The government will be put to shame, once again.

The world is already aware of the denial of fundamental rights of free speech expression and assembly in Singapore. They are also very aware of Dr. Chee. If they prosecute and convict and send to him to jail yet again; as he is ready and willing to serve yet more time in Queenstown Prison; the world will again be up in arms at the blatant violation of fundamental human rights, putting Singapore in the same league as Burma.

On the other hand, if they do nothing and merely give warning letters, Dr. Chee will say that the Government is weakening at his onslaught against them. Again Dr. Chee would have won and the government would have lost. What is worse for the government is; if they do not prosecute, other Singaporeans may become emboldened and turn into citizen protesters. Perhaps a group of low income, below poverty line citizens might finally decide, take courage and demand a a small part of the $3 million a year that Lee and his family and friends pay themselves!

What if some unhappy CPF members decides, enough is enough; we want our money now, and take to the streets in front of the Istana.

And what is worse is if Singaporeans begin to ignore DSP Deep Singh's (the selected police officer in the cat and mouse game with the protesters) repeated broken record pleas of "This is an illegal procession. It is illegal under Singapore law. We are investigating this case. Please leave this place" warnings!

The only other way to silence Dr. Chee is for the government to send him to prison for a long time. This may shut him up; but the international disapproval of Singaporean governing methods will only increase.

If Dr. Chee is able to keep up his fight; which I think he can, I can see only one winner in the end. Dr. Chee and the cause of freedom.

And with time, more will turn protesters.

And the one thing that Lee is mortally afraid of is protests, since Singapore is a crowded place and protests are doubly effective in crowded places. If only Dr. Chee can manage to cultivate the culture of protests, Lee will have a difficult time explaining repressive laws such as protest permits to his people.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538,
USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914
Email: gopalnair@us-immigrationlaw.com

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

you would love to see protests, wouldn't you?

never mind that it is very easy for protests to turn unruly [because when people are in large numbers they get emboldened easily and do not think straight], and that protests would actually threaten the stability and productivity of our, oops, I mean, Singaporeans' country?

Remmeber what happened in Indonesia in the early post-Suharto years? Protests everywhere! For a country attempting to bring itself back from the brink of economic collapse, how to do so when majority of its people stop working and are out on the streets protesting for superficial reasons, and nothing, no government formed or policies applied seems to appease them?

Singapore is small and has no natural resources. If everyone were to be out on the streets protesting at every nook and cranny of Singapore, how will the country function?

No stability, no investment, etc. No need to look so far. Without stability, there is nothing for the people: no jobs, no income, nothing. For how long can one be sustained by savings?

And you claim to be concerned for Singapore affairs.

Your disdain towards the PAP has obviously blinded you so much that you would want to wish terrible things on Singapore.

You have the same disease as Chee Soon Juan: The PAP is not Singapore, and Singapore is not the PAP. Get that fact drummed into your head please.

Although I think that the best glasses in the world cannot make you see that fact, for you have been blinded by this cataract which is your utter disdain of the PAP and subconsciously, Singapore [though you may not want to admit it].

There are ways to lawfully defeat the PAP: Chiam See Tong and the Workers' Party have all done so at one point or another. Perhaps even JBJ, to a certain extent.

I really don't know what is so good about Chee Soon Juan. All he does is seek publicity by CHOOSING to go to prison, and how does he serve the people in that manner?

Some people seem to think Chee Soon Juan is the best opposition we've got. Although the majority of the population beg to differ.

At the day's end, the results of the elections speak for themselves.

And one more thing: democracy is not a one-size-fits all thing. It needs to be carefully tailored to suit each and every country it is employed in, with careful considerations being made to the demographics and psychographics of their respective populations.

Perhaps all this time spent is the States has left you thinking very much like the government there: with blatant disregard for others' thinking, and insisting on your way as being the 'best' all the time.

Well, I put it to you this way: the majority of Singaporeans don't buy it.

Like I said before, the results of the elections speak for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Hey, let's take another look at Sylvia Lim's speech (on WP's website) at the IBA Rule of Law Symposium again: "In surveys of expatriates already quoted to you by our leaders, our legal system tends to be ranked very highly. I have no doubt that the qualifications of our judges and lawyers, and the efficiency of the courts, can meet any international benchmarks..." and, later on: "Much as I desire political reforms, I think we still need to respect the outcome of the elections and push for change within the limits of the law. At this point I should say that conferences such as these are very useful for us to benchmark ourselves against international practices, but finally we Singaporeans can decide for ourselves what kind of country we want..."

Leaving out the state-controlled media for a moment, with the rules of elections in Singapore constantly changed at PAP's pleasure, you are saying that the results of the elections speak for themselves, and should be respected?

WP as the opposition in Parliament, my foot!

Gopalan Nair said...

To anonymous no 2,

If you wish to believe what the government says, it is entirely up to you.

I notice you wish to remain anonymous.

Gopalan Nair,
Fremont, CA USA

Anonymous said...

It's obvious that the 1st anonymous blogger is one of those "well-conditioned" (aka brain-washed) type of spineless, unthinking sickos forming 66.6% of the sheep population in the country.Predictably, he started to parrot whatever misinformation and crap-talk the pappies had force-fed him with from a young impressionable age. Doesn't he know that Anson Chan went on a peaceful march through the streets of HK with half a million fellow Hong Kong citizens for a jolly good cause just a few months back. Even the righteous movie stars joined in. Does that make Anson Chan an instigator or a traitor? Not a single shred of violence erupted during the march. Are the citizens of Singapore more unruly, unkempt or less cultured, less refined or less educated than the people of HK - so much so for forty odd years of nation building sing-song gimmicks and national education ethos. The racial harmony propaganda has obviously failed big-time if the pappies have to worry so much about protests and violence breaking out among the races if they so much sanction a peaceful demonstration march. So to the 1st blogger - if you're on pension scheme say so, becos the majority of the folks are forced to subscribe to the crappy CPF scam - with no guarantee of a respectful retirement living after toiling thirty, even forty years despite that falsey "retirement nest egg" bit when the CPF scam was first preached to the serfs. OTC will be rolling over in his grave if he had known what the CPF had degenerated into - unable to feed nor provide for a dignified retirement life.

Sheep people like the 1st blogger - fearing racial riots and voting becos of ricebowl first mentality and your hand on the wallet always. Speak for yourself - don't say you represent the "majority of the population". Selective democracy standards and all that crap abt not one-size fit all and carefully tailored to suit one's country crap-talk is a common pappies mind-control refrain. It's the same refrain abt paternalistic Confusian Asian values touted by the same set of people. What do the common folks on the ground level gain from all those Asian values crap-talk - zilch, nothing!

Alan said...

You might not want to agree with him, my anonymous fellow, but you must remember that the majority of the people do agree with him, as reflected in the elections. It's unfortunate for us all, but it really is true.

But one point I would like to bring up: there are generally more peaceful protests than unruly ones [the one you mentioned is just one example out of many], but one protest gone bad is really one too many. It's just that the Singapore government is not willing to take that chance.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous:

I am the first anonymous. I am not on the pension scheme; I give to CPF too. I don't agree with government policies, but that doesn't mean that I don't love my country.

Obviously you have a problem differentiating the nation from the government. They're two different entities altogether, no?

I think it's safe for me to say that I represent the 'majority of the population' because the results of the elections speak for themselves really.

And at least I put my money where my mouth is. Unlike most people, who bitch and moan about all and sundry in life in Singapore, and yet, when offered the chance to effect real change, i.e. vote, they end up voting for the pappies instead. Why? God alone knows.

I do the direct opposite. I don't really have to disclose all this to you, but I am anyway, because I just want you to know that I love my country, and more than anything else, I want it to be safe. I'm sure you want Singapore to be safe too. Perhaps we have different 'requirements' or 'pre-requisites', but that's another issue altogether.

The point I'm driving at is, just because you love the nation doesn't mean you love the ruling party. You made that judgement on me, and I have to tell you that you are way, way, off the mark.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous:

I am the first anonymous. I am not on the pension scheme; I give to CPF too. I don't agree with government policies, but that doesn't mean that I don't love my country.

Obviously you have a problem differentiating the nation from the government. They're two different entities altogether, no?

I think it's safe for me to say that I represent the 'majority of the population' because the results of the elections speak for themselves really.

And at least I put my money where my mouth is. Unlike most people, who bitch and moan about all and sundry in life in Singapore, and yet, when offered the chance to effect real change, i.e. vote, they end up voting for the pappies instead. Why? God alone knows.

I do the direct opposite. I don't really have to disclose all this to you, but I am anyway, because I just want you to know that I love my country, and more than anything else, I want it to be safe. I'm sure you want Singapore to be safe too. Perhaps we have different 'requirements' or 'pre-requisites', but that's another issue altogether.

The point I'm driving at is, just because you love the nation doesn't mean you love the ruling party. You made that judgement on me, and I have to tell you that you are way, way, off the mark.

Anonymous said...

LOL, majority agreed indeed! I hope you two aren't that retarded to believe so much in published "statistics" - because they lied, they're damn lies, and that goes for all the crap data that you've ingested from the mainstream local media w/o some critical analysis on your own. It's not just Burmese generals who are "rather dumb", there are far far dumber people populating this litte red dot.

You know how the pappies "engineered" elections and "fix" opponents - one brazenly admitted it and the other let slipped from his oily mouth - thru GRC manipulation, gerrymeandering - redrawing electoral boundaries to favour themselves, throwing out NSS & ERS shares (aka vote-buying) as phoney sweeteners just prior to elections, preaching the gospel of HDB lift/estate upgrading ad nauseam (which is quicksand logic and guess which fool gets to foot the bills eventually), having the Elections Dept (ELD) reporting to the PMO, using the state & media machinaries (MyDearCorpse, Crooket Times, kiasi journalists etc) to bash their political opponents and portray them as opportunists and idiots, unflinchingly using scare-tactics and bogeyman tales to frighten the sheep population into meek submission, jumping on trivial infringes to "their" laws to bankrupt opponents (via a compliant judiciary) - done to hurt their pockets & destroy their means of livelihood, fine and jail opponents - done to smear their reputation, break their morale, forcing many to abandon the good fight. In a wretched political system like this, how many country-loving patriots, albeit tertiary-educated & well-qualified ones, are prepared to risk life, limb, family and livelihood to contest for elections to bring about much-needed good and reforms - when one could be tarred-n-feathered w/o salvation or recourse in his very own country.

The TRUTH is majority of Singaporeans don't even get the chance to cast a vote for years and years and years - myself included. No thanks to these kiasu & calculative ways and means to keep you-know-who in power, even when they've made numerous policy blunders, losing millions and millions of our reserves - and artificially suppressing the CPF OA rate at a miserly 2.5% for years on end when the inflation rate has surpassed that, and when the vast majority of fellow heartland citizens have suffered such terrible financial hardships ever since AFC, post-911, SARs et all - still wandering dazed in the woods, and conned with such pathetic CPF returns and being denied a dignified life during their retirement years.

When a vast majority of Singaporeans didn't get the chance to vote in elections, how can u definitively conclude with the statement that "majority of people do agree, as reflected in the elections". What convoluted argument is that? Besides, for the 10 out of every 30, who got to vote and have disagreed, how have their interests been taken care of? Nobody gave a shit about those 10 - is that right?

Now that Anson Chan and those bravehearts in Hong Kong marching for their civil rights have shown a thing or two to the world, the other peaceful protests we've recently read about came out of Burma where reverent monks led non-violent marches to protest against the escalating costs of living, where simple livelihood had developed into a serious problem. And what did the all-powerful Junta did to these peaceful marchers seeking redress for their plight - yes, they sent their thugs to beat them up, and their soldiers to brutally shoot them, forcibly arrested thousands of these monks, imprisoned them, dispersed and scattered them to who-know-which malaria-infested jungle torture sites. And we thought bandit-run kingdoms are long dead and buried in this modern UN era.

So you see how ill-comfitting and dangerous it's for a privileged group of people - a party (u name it - German Nazis, Italian Fascists, Burmist Junta, Taliban, Suharto, Marcos etc) to wield so much vested power - and to hold on to their absolute power w/o adequate checks and balances. In order to stay entrench and reap the benefits of power, these party-animals have no qualms or 2nd-thoughts about inflicting hardships and sufferings (even death) to the common folks they are primarily there to take care of - in sickness or good health, in good times or bad, in youth or old age.

A nation of sheep begets a governement of wolves - Edward R. Murrow

"No taxation without representation!" - Have you heard this phrase? For the 1st anonymous who said he is amongst the 10 out of 30 who has snubbed the pappies, and said he aint working at a privileged job with pension benefits, why pay taxes when there's no adequate representation?

And to the 1st anonymous, you've used the phrase "ruling party". In a full-fledged democracy this phrase is fatally flawed. You've shown your true colors. The party that won the elections form the government, or form a coalition to get the majority to form one and then formulate policies to govern the country in a manner that benefit the welfare of the people at large - create employment, keep health costs affordable, maintain racial harmony, promote happiness and let the people procreate etc etc. There is no room for a "ruling" class or party in a country calling itself democratic - do get that into your sheep head. Singapore aint a monarchy with crowned king and princes. The pappies cannot lord or rule over the citizens - and dont ever let them.