Monday, March 3, 2008

One year has passed. A word of thanks.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This blog Singapore Dissident has been in existence for more than a year. During this time, its readership has increased exponentially. You will recall that Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, when asked what he thought about blogs had dismissed them as ineffective. I still remember his exact words. Blogs he said "had a readership of one! The author". An arrogant man and an arrogant statement. Just as his other PAP arrogance.

Well, Mr. Balakrishnan, you could not have been further from the truth. This blog has up till now, over 5,000 hits only on my profile in just one year. In other words, people who read the blog for the first time, may look at the profile. At this rate, the regular readers who do not have the need to look at the profile may be perhaps 50,000. I have no means to know the exact number since only profile views are published. This figure is indeed encouraging. Singapore Dissident is indeed widely and regularly read. Thank you.

And when I began this blog, I told myself that I cannot be incognito, under a disguise. If a man wishes to say something, he should have the courage to show his face. What sort of a man is that if he makes speeches hiding his face in a mask!

So it is as you see. I am Gopalan Nair. My face, my address and contact is fully disclosed. And I will say what is in my mind. It gives me great pleasure and satisfaction to do it this way.

There are thousands of other bloggers who share my views about Singapore. Like me, they are disgusted at this dictatorial regime of Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore. They consider him, like me, no better than a thief who steals $3.7 million each year for each person. They are angry at the lack of human rights. At the persecution of political dissenters. So like me, they write, but with one difference. Out of fear, they prefer to remain in disguise. They use names such as Robin Hood or Botakbotak for their blogs. It is sad to see this. I am sure deep in their hearts, they deeply wish if only they could identify themselves. But alas, they are in a grip of fear. Since I am not a doctor or psychiatrist, I cannot say this with certainty, but personally I think this all consuming pent up fear is not only bad for them mentally but also physically.

I think this blog, like others who try to expose the tomfoolery of Lee Kuan Yew is doing a tremendous amount of good for Singapore. For one thing, they tend to educate Singaporeans when the government tries to keep them in ignorance. I have been writing a lot about the fundamental human rights that people have, but which is denied to Singaporeans. I have been writing about the need for a free press. The right to free speech and expression. Telling people that the first thing needed for your advancement is your liberty. Without it, you have no future.

It is true that I am now an American Citizen. But that does not prevent me from writing about Singapore. I was born there. My birthright remains. No one can stop me from writing.

Secondly simply because I write from California does not mean I am entirely safe. As you know the Russian recently who had criticized Yeltzin from London had been murdered in London by poisoning. In 1979, while I was in London, the Bulgarian correspondent at the BBC English language section was murdered while crossing London Bridge by someone who stuck an umbrella into him, tipped with poison. Well Lee Kuan Yew may one day decide enough is enough and finish me off in California. Furthermore, I come to Singapore almost twice a year travelling on an American passport. They could stop me in Changi, arrest me and do whatever they want. These are dangers that I face by criticizing Lee Kuan Yew. But none of this scares me. There is a saying in Gurkhali which goes like this "A brave man dies only once. A coward dies many times over".

I believe my blog is doing a tremendous amount of good. For one thing, the educated who have been reading my blog has resulted in increased rates of emigration among them, particularly to Australia. They can see that Singapore is nothing more than a tiny island with a dictator and his son strutting around as if they own the place. This is not the first world country they want to live in, so they leave. My blog helps them in their decision to leave. My blog has been instrumental for the increase in brain drain. This is hurting the Lee Regime. There is not enough people to run the place.

My readership of my blog has increased in monumental numbers thereby spreading the message that the Lee Administration is bad for Singapore. The government is aware of the danger of such mass dissemination of critical information. As you know in the past, as soon as any person wrote anything critical, the government pounced on them with full force with defamation action, criminal charges, the works. The reason is quite obvious. Just one piece of critical writing against the government can result in serious damage to the government, as news tends to spread like wild fire. But now the tables have turned. Lee Kuan Yew has not sued me. He cannot because he knows he will lose. The truth is on my side, not his.

Blogging is indeed a very powerful tool. I am glad I have been able to use it.

So this is my message to all. If you are not yet a blogger, become one. Keep writing so that your message spreads long and wide. The more it spreads, the more Lee Kuan Yew is in trouble. And if possible, identify yourselves. Tell them who you are and where you are. This will send an even stronger message to these tyrants by showing you are not afraid.

If you are within Singapore and afraid to show your face, it is understandable. But there are thousands of Singaporeans in Australia New Zealand UK and all over the world who left Singapore for the very reasons why I left. Their positions are no different than mine. They too can show this dictatorship a piece of their mind. They are better able like myself to blog with their identities public. Yes they may be killed by a Singapore hit man but as far as I know, Francis Seow is still alive and kicking. So is Tang Liang Hong.

So if you are not yet a blogger, join the family. And tell this Lee Kuan Yew that he may be able to silence his citizens within that island, but he cannot silence everyone.

Such blogging causes massive emigration from Singapore, warns foreigners about the true political state of Singapore thus preventing good immigrants making Singapore their home, adversely affects Singapore's international trade by revealing the lack of rule of law in Singapore, makes Singaporeans willing to publicly protest and demonstrate against this regime, discourages many European companies from investing in Singapore because of the lack of human rights. Blogs such as this reveals to foreigners in Singapore the truth about Singapore which they take back with them to their countries where the reputation of Singapore is ruined at their places.

Blogging is hurting the Lee Administration. Please join me in hurting them further. Become a blogger. A public one at that.

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

10 comments:

Ameera said...

Hello there Mr Nair!

I am a second-year student in NTU doing Sociology & hoping to minor in Public Administration. I have been reading your blog for a while now & it has definitely widened my horizons (for lack of a better term) & made me even more cynical if that was possible of Singapore that I was before. I love Singapore. I am a patriot at heart & maybe it is the youthful idealism that is still oozing out of me that makes me want to make a difference. I hope this burning flame will not be snuffed out too early though.

Anyway, I am emailing firstly to congratulate you on your first blog anniversary. :)

Secondly, if its not too much to ask, I need some help for a term paper. For my PA (Public Admin) module, I am required to submit a paper evaluating a certain policy in Singapore and give recommendations to improve it etc etc. The problem is, I feel that there's too many 'flawed' policies in Singapore ranging from CPF (and the new annuity policy), our healthcare policies, our education policies... that I'm at a loss. I think it'd be great if you could just give me your ideas on which policy, or which area of Singapore society I should focus on in order for me to narrow down my choices. If you were in my position, (I mean, I can't change any of the policies, sadly this is merely a term paper) what would you have chosen?

Do hope to hear from you soon. And continue writing!

Regards;
Ameera

Gopalan Nair said...

Hello Ameera,

Thank you for the comment. Unfortunately due to pressure of work, I am unable to write anything for your paper at this time.
I do apologize.
Thanks
Gopalan Nair

Anonymous said...

Seems the expats love Singapore! What's wrong with this picture??? ...

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/03/04/business/AS-FIN-Singapore-Quality-of-Life.php

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Asian expatriates have ranked Singapore as the best place to live in the world for its safe and clean environment, while Europeans chose Copenhagen, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

Ameera, you should have taken most of the issues from opposition party site. They raise practical and social issues that expose the wayangness of the establishment.

Read their blog will give you the relevant details for your research.

Gopalan Nair said...

To Anonymous who wrote on the case of the expats in Singapore, I have not read the report. I need not.
If I were an expat in Beijing, I would love it too. Excellent place to live temporarily. I need not be concerned with lack of human rights. It does not concern me. I am only there temprorily.

Beijing has excellent women. Excellent wine and excellent everything. What more can a man want?

To me, as an expat, Beijing is the best place in the world. But a Chinaman there, suffering under the yoke of Communism may not agree with me.

Thanks for leting me say this.
Gopalan Nair

Muhamad Nur said...

To Ameera, maybe you can tackle employment law in Singapore. It is flawed beyond recognition. Have a take on fair employment practices and why many job agencies seems to condone this practice of employing people based on language and age.

Another topic is requiring elderly people who are cash poor to continue working instead of giving them a monthly pension. It is not right for people who has paid most of their money in hidden taxes and charges where the government eventually attain these money.
GST, PUB, transportation are some areas where the goverment attain their money from the public. Please enlighten them on why they have to provide pension to all elderly Singaporeans irregardless of their monetary standing.

Anonymous said...

Ameera,
for your assignment, the best book that critically analyse underlying Singapore issues is
The Singapore Miracle: Myth and reality
by Rodney King

You can find it in any popular bookstore.
It is only available in National Library as reference book.

It may want to photocopy the book as it is very costly around $80

Anonymous said...

Hi Gopalan,

I really enjoyed reading your prospectives about Singapore. I would like to share with you my story as a typical Singaporean "quitter/loser".

I had a rather mediocre childhood, doing what most kids would do during the 80s and 90s. All the midmare started when I got my PSLE result. It was really bad and everyone reckoned I would be going downtrack from there. I went to a neighbour secondary school and did ok for my O'levels. At this point I didn't really know what I want in life. The pressure was really severe and from time to time, I would hear my mum or dad commenting about "someone's kid has gotten straight A's or some kind of scholarship"

Like the rest of my school friends, I went to a polytechnic to learn to be a building engineer. There was no motivation to be one, just the fact that getting a place was easy and there is really nothing else I can do since I couldn't get into a JC. Thus I had 3 mindless years in a polytechnic, passing time from skipping lectures to playing billard at the local parlour. Not surprising, I did not see passion in my poly friends as well. Their main preoccupation was often to dress up and look good for others. After that 3 years, we went to NS, once again being mindless....

Mum was concerned about my future so she suggest I further my studies in Australia. Initially, i was more interested in working and getting money so that I can lavish myself with the latest handphone etc. But my mum had other plans. So she put me on a flight to Australia after NS to do a bachelor of science..

Initially, there was nothing but complaints from me because I never did well in school. After one year of Australian tertiary education, i started to enjoy studying. By the end of studies, I graduated with a honours degree in Chemistry.

I came back to Singapore and was offered a phD position in NTU and NUS. I spend some time there and realised that the academic integrity within our universities were very appalling and people were as mindless as before. They just simply keep their mouths shut and followed instructions. Imagine I had to spend 3 months assigning quotations and quotations to the finance department just to purchase 2 chemicals for a reaction. At that junction, I had enough and decided to go somewhere else for my PhD. As such, people around me were branding me as a quitter and loser.

Dad's business had gone busted and he had to declared bankrupt. Everyone in my family reckoned I should stay to get a job and help out. But I went ahead with my studies because I wanted to pursue a passion I never thought I had. They were kind enough to support me while others were less sympathetic.

I bought an airticket back to Australia and got a PhD scholarship. I spend 4 years doing research and had published in many international journals.

During these 4 years, while I had established a fine reputation for myself in research by day, I was a kitchen helper and a waiter by night. I managed to struggle through uni by scrapping the bottom of the barrel due to my family finanicial predicament.

One striking incident had left a everlasting impression in my mind. Towards the end of my phd last year, I attended a conference and gave a presentation. It was very neatly done and after the presentation at the reception, I was immediately offered a faculty position in a top university in Korea on the top, while another Japanese group in Tokyo university wanted me to join them for a post doctoral position. A group of Singaporean phd students came up to me and asked me which JC or secondary school I was from. I was puzzled but I told them my background. Their response from it was less than kind and I was sort of humiliated on the spot.

Before I finished my PhD, I was offered an academic position in one Australian University with a world ranking within the top 100 (NUS is at 145 or so while NTU is somewhere closer to 500). Furthermore the pay is nearly double what I will ever get in Singapore and the academic integrity and freedom is what I sought for as a researcher.

Yes I am quitter but apart from learning my ABC, Singapore had provided absolutely nothing to my achievements as a Nanotechnologist todays.....

Regards

james tan said...

A forummer posted the Singapore Pledge in Sammyboymod website.

That is when I realised just how different the real Singapore is from the pledge, esp with the words democractic, justice and equality - Singapore is moving away from these aims.

RIP - Singapore Pledge.

Happy Anniversary, Singapore Dissident.

Gopalan Nair said...

To anonymous who started with "I really enjoyed your perspectives about Singapore" I say thanks, and that my experience in life was similar to yours.
Thanks
Gopalan Nair