Saturday, June 21, 2008

27 days in Singapore. A prisoner in the island.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have now been 27 days in Singapore. I am an American citizen. I had come to Singapore to witness the case of assessment of damages in the High Court from May 26, 2008 to May 28, 2008, for 3 days, in the case of Lee Kuan Yew vs Dr. Chee Soon Juan. I intended to stay in Singapore no longer than June 3, 2008, which would have made my stay no more than 9 days. I had written a blog post on May 29, 2008, criticizing the conduct of the judge in this case.

For doing nothing more than writing a blog critical of a judge, I was arrested by 5 policemen at my hotel; manhandled; handcuffed; my hotel room ransacked before my very eyes, all my personal belongings seized; driven in a police car in handcuffs to Cantonment Police Station and kept 5 days in solitary confinement with the cell lights on 24 hours a day and interrogated each day; sometimes several times a day; and accused of all manner of wrong doing and treated like a common criminal, spending any time outside my cell in handcuffs.

I was released on bail, from solitary confinement on June 5, 2008; after 5 days. Not satisfied with having taken numerous statements from me while under custody; not satisfied with countless interrogation sessions; the court ordered me to continue to attend at the police station for even more interrogation sessions, which I did.

Suddenly on Monday June 16, 2008, not satisfied with the numerous statements already taken, from the never ending interrogation sessions; the court ordered me to attend the police station every day at 9 am in the morning until July 14, 2008 because, believe it nor not, the police have still not completed their investigations and according to the prosecutor, I had not been cooperating with the police in turning up for these interrogation sessions!

And while these never ending interrogation sessions continue, I, an American citizen, after having spent 5 days in solitary confinement, continue to be held against my will in Singapore now for 27 days; with my passport seized; while my law practice in California and my financial situation continues to suffer due to neglect.

And all this punishment for what? All for writing a blog post on my blog criticizing a judge in her conduct of the Lee Kuan Yew vs Dr. Chee Soon Juan case! Even by any third world country's standards, surely I have been punished enough! Surely any man with even the slightest of compassion; with the slightest of of humanity, would feel that enough is enough. Surely it is time to let me go.

The fact remains that all I did was to write a blog post. I have not killed anyone; I have not committed theft or armed robbery or high treason. All I did was to write. And for writing, will Singapore, this so called first world country, this country that claims to have the best legal system in the world, the best train system in the world, the best newspapers in the world, the best sea port in the world, the best airport in the world, the best airline in the world, the highest paid ministers in the world, the best of everything in the world; will they not be satisfied with the punishment I have suffered so far? What more do they want, my blood?

And what is the purpose of all this punishment? Is it to make sure that I am ruined financially? If so, they may have already achieved their purpose. Is it to make sure that I will never exercise my right to free speech again? Surely this is not possible. Unless they kill me, I will be able to return to the United States sometime or other. And once I am free, I will continue to exercise my right to free speech and expression; and if that is the case, what is the point of all this punishment?

And if the the point of all this punishment is to deter Singaporeans from ever criticizing Singapore judges, surely in this day and age, with an educated population, that result is highly unlikely. In fact the opposite may be true. The people might become instead, outraged, defiant and emboldened to speak their mind even more.

And while the Singapore government, intolerant of dissent, jail me in solitary confinement and hold me back in Singapore against my will and unable to return to my home in California; the free world watches the actions of this so called first world country. And they begin to see what this first world country really is. A country that rules by instilling fear among its citizens, threatening them with solitary confinement for extended periods if they ever dare to to criticize a judge.

This much must be told to this government. In order for the judiciary to function properly; in order for ministers to function properly; in order for policemen to function properly; in order for the government to function properly; what is needed is criticism. Criticism makes these government officials accountable. Without criticism, there is no check on people in authority and when there are no checks, judges, policemen, civil servants and ministers are liable to abuse it. If you want good government, you have to have criticism. Without it you have dictatorship and tyranny.

And by the way, this government has to be reminded that it is the tax payer that is paying their wages. And judges too have to be reminded that their wages too are paid by the Singaporean taxpayer. This makes them accountable for their actions and accountable to the people of Singapore.

I would say this to the Singapore administration. If you want to be taken seriously on your claim that you are a first world country, then act like one. First world countries do not go around throwing bloggers in solitary confinement and preventing them returning to their homes. These are not the actions of a first world country. More the actions of dictatorships like North Korea.

Gopalan Nair
Singapore

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me realise how shameful the PAP government is, to stoop to such trickeries to stay in power in perpetuality.

Anonymous said...

6 Oct 1997 LKY said
"Between being loved and being feared, I have always believed Machiavelli was right. If nobody is afraid of me, I am meaningless"

So by 2008, the world finally see the product of that belief, the world's worst cowardly political control freak.

Anonymous said...

As an American citizen and a former Singaporean I share your plight.

Unfortunately you have permitted the "Rights of Man" or Americanism to advance your rights too boldly.

Dont forget , Singapore like China, Japan, the Koreas all use the same ancient concepts of Confucianism to maintain order among the populace.
It is also the same concept of fear used by the Corporate world to boost productivity and maintain obedience.
In my opinion you are a threat to the Government because your actions may bring enlightenment to a population that has been kept in line till now. The people of Singapore must make a choice: Do they want a so called "democratic society" like the West ( It is on the decline anyway . with constitutional abuses happening on a daily basis e.g lack of habeus corpus, etc ). Or do they want a sanitized society of individuals living in a gilted cage who leaves the critical thinking to their Superiors , who in turn feeds and clothe them from cradle to grave.
This is the question.

Anonymous said...

To previous anonymous poster... Does Asia want Confucianist values that allowed binding women's feet which was done in China for 1000 years to 1 billion women according to research. This practice cause untold misery to huge numbers of women, their feet would bleed and ooze puss from the binding. This was not abolished until 1911 after the Europeans had come.

Lee Kuan Yew speaks of Confucianist values where what is good for the community is more important than the individual, but since he corrupted -for himself- the democratic system left in place by the British that shows that his claims of believing in Confucianist values are a lie.

Vote to prosecute Lee Kuan Yew at: http://singapore-democracy.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

[ believe it nor not, the police have still not completed their investigations and according to the prosecutor, I had not been cooperating with the police in turning up for these interrogation sessions! ]

Well, in Singapore, it is common knowledge that as long as one do not confess to everything the police accuse you of, one is deemed to be not cooperative. Doesn't matter whether the accuse is guilty or not in the 1st place.

I am a Singaporean, and I am ashamed of Singapore.

Jenny said...

I agree that some western ideas will probably not work in Singapore, but by it calling itself a "Democratic Society", the government should give its people a certain degree of freedom. MM Lee was quoted saying that Singaporeans are free to read whatever they want. Yet, it's a known fact that the Singaporean media is controlled by the government, who allows no access to any newspapers that they do not control. How are Singaporeans free under such circumstances? Am I being a good parent just by saying that my children are free to eat all the good and nutritious food they want and yet, lock them up in an empty house and throw away the key, giving them access to nothing but air?

Anonymous said...

I am an American citizen and former Singapore expat who, in that short time, became so disgusted with the totalatarian government and tyrant Lee regime that I could no longer stand it and packed up and moved back to the REAL first world. While there, I also felt sorry for the mindset of most Singaporeans who have been bred (brainwashed) over the last 40 years to either not give a shit about politics whatsoever, or scarred shitless to the point of being certain to not only never speak out against the controlling government, but even further to the point of chimming in like lemmings in support of a government who has to resort to controlling every medium of news in their reach to keep their citizens functioning more as cogs in the economic machine than actual people. While I admire your courage and sacrifice in standing up against LKY's puppet court, your more recent bitching about the hell that the police is putting you through is certain to deter and discourage the same sort of civil disobediance or at least the speaking out against such atrocities as a farce courtroom that you claim to encourage. Please stop your bitching and be sure to reinforce how everything you have done has been worth it to expose the "courts" and iron fist of the tyrant, bigot, hypocrite, power-hungry old man to the outside world and hopefully to a few blinded Singaporeans.

Gopalan Nair said...

Jenny,

No such thing as western ideas and Asian ideas. Ideas are ideas and humans are humans. Dont fall into the Lee Kuan Yew trap of distinguishing this because it is only conveinient for them to coninue the grip on power.

A human is a human, whether Australian or Singaporean and so is a kid.

Thanks
Gopalan Nair

Anonymous said...

Gopalan Nair, your days ahead will be difficult. But rest assure this, among the youths of Singapore, we have already begun to think for ourselves.
Lets Reflect back on the Revolution, and the teardown of the Tsar Regime. Didn't they all start with one idea?
We in Singapore, I can assure you, we have that one idea, many younger generation begin to see.

And sooner or later, something has to change.

Rest Comfort my friend.

-tribulation

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Nair! Most young singaporean who are educated are supporting you.

It is not longer 1959 where large group of non-educated people who will look up to 'lip-service' government who give you $200 but take back $200,000. Promise you the moon but demand moon from you.

The government has never look after singaporean and in fact trying to suck singaporean dry. In a few years time, all singaporean will not live to see their CPF.

Any deal that will earn money will be done only by the 'solid' family leaving singaporean no choice but to go oversea for venturing.

We will see how long more for them to talk-cock sing-song. Being patient pays in the end. Wait for a while to see the retribution. Bless them to live as long as possible but cling with sickness that will never heal.

Long live Nair!!!

joshuang said...

I just wish to highlight a case of what a first world functional democracy do.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/27/2174149.htm

My state Premier was in a security scare during taxi protest on Wed Feb 27, 2008 after police hold back a man after he lunged at him.

It happened outside the Western Australian State Parliament building in Perth during a rally by hundreds of angry taxi drivers.

Premier Alan Carpenter was booed off the steps of Parliament House as he told the drivers: "We need more taxi drivers, sorry, I got a job to do."

As he retreated, a man lunged at him but was dragged away by police officers.

But there is no no hard feelings between the 2 men.

The Premier later spoke to the man who lunged at him, while he was in police custody (police van).

The man told him he was coming to lend some support to his mates.

Mr Carpenter then shook the man's hand and told him there were no hard feelings.

And this protestor then climb back into the police van and sit there.

(This incident was captured by the press)

Michael said...

I think its justified to collect some funds for your living expenditure in Singapore because of the stupidity that reigns in the blood of some Singaporeans who need to be retaught some moral education that they would have probably been sleeping through during their primary education. This proceedings have truly tarnished the reputation of men in blue who have sacrificed themselves doing some real work instead of playing such cat and mouse games. To whoever the inspector that plays such stupid games with u in the interrogation room, I hope he looks in the mirror wearing his uniform and feel if he deserves the money that singapre is giving him to do this kind of work.

Bukit Chandan said...

Yes, we fully support the promotion of free speech and expression. We have done this more than 1400 years ago.

Best Regards.........

Anonymous said...

I hope everything will work out for you soon enough.
I'm sure it will for Singapore too.
It's just a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

Really must commend your courage.

But, I keep hearing people saying that Singapore should act like a First World nation, that they deserve the right to freedom of speech, that Singapore should uphold civil liberties, that Singapore shouldn't arbitrarily detain people like they do with the ISA. Yet a question lingers on in my mind. Why are these liberties so important? And if they are indeed that important, why doesn't anyone take any concrete action?

If our civil liberties are truly that important, if our fundamental right to freedom of speech, to lead a life free from government oppression, to be able to criticize and hope for change within our government is indeed that important, then surely we must do something about it.

While it is true that the government holds the power of violence and coercion, there is something we must ask ourselves. Does it hold the power of democracy? Is it able to withstand a democratic defeat in the elections?

Herein lies two other questions.
1) Is it possible that we may defeat this flawed government in an election, and so attain our liberty? And i know that this question will often be met by accusations of gerrymandering, of unfair incumbent advantages, of things like buying votes with lift upgrading (I'm really amazed at the PAP's creativity)

2) So i ask this second question. If Singapore isn't democratic, what are we going to do about it? Is it possible somehow, that after all these years of nation building since we were granted independence by the Colonial powers, (note the colonial times can barely be considered nation building for the pursuit of democratic ideals took backseat, while priority went to independence) we are somehow still not a truly democratic nation. Is it possible, that as in so many other nations, the incumbent party have just been entrenching themselves further and further in power.

Personally, I feel that we have reached a point where the government only listens when it benefits them. Criticism of the government now needs to be made known to the masses, where the votes count. And should the votes fail, maybe we need to start taking legal action, or pile on the international pressure.

http://simply-inconceivable.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

This evil Leegime will use all the dirty tricks to wear you down. However, they are conscious that the world is watching. As an American citizen, there are many in the USA who are also watching your case. So they are also treading very carefully. Be strong and stay focus and you will win this battle of the will.What you are doing will set the path for many Singaporean youngsters to follow. This is the only way to force open this evil Leegime.

Anonymous said...

First World Citizens even those who run away and change citizenship do not post such blatanly stupid comments against other nationalities. Waiting the PRC Chinese raid your Californian home.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you just stay in the US for good ?

Why bother to come back to fight for something that no longer concerns you ?

Anonymous said...

to the last 2 anon...

earning your pay packets from your Pappy pay master eh.... ...

for those who do not know, the singapore govt maintains an internet strike squad to pose as citizens on the grounds to post pro-govermental comments to help prop up their unpopular regime on the internet. They also monitors various network like facebook as such to stop the locals from organizing any political gatherings.

Anonymous said...

You weak minded people think GN is so great. He's the worst of all the blog sites. Yawning Bread and nofearsingapore are by far the best.

Gopalan, wait till the PRC Chinese attack you for your comments.

Concerned said...

Retribution in near! Mrs. LKY is in critical condition again! How long can this tyranny last? Nothing in this world lasts forever! Heaven has eyes and ears! Don't worry Singaporeans for the Retribution is indeed near!

Anonymous said...

I refer to the anon on "Gopalan, wait till the PRC Chinese attack you for your comments."

When I was young, I will always remember the hatred my dad had for the Communist Chinese who took everything away. The Cultural Revolution was the final straw.

My generation saw how the PRC used overseas Chinese students to crack down on their fellow chinese as well as push their govt agenda.

It is frightening to see tens of thousands of Chinese students overrun Canberra during the Australia round of torch relay.

If the same thing were to happen in Singapore, I wonder how the Chinese Singaporeans will react.

The OZ govt was shocked at the Communist Chinese blatant grab of OZ resources companies to control the country wealth.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

To that anon ... you have no idea who you are dealing with.

It will also be good for Gopalan to clarify his stand on PRC Chinese. (Your definition of these people and why they are a threat to Chinese Singaporeans)

Anonymous said...

Not being a citizen of a country doesn't mean one has no right to comment/critize on how that country is run. If everyone is as selfish as some suggested (such as "do not mess with the business of our country"), the world would be a hopeless place? I wonder what these people would say when Singapore needs assistance, such as if 9/11 happened in this island instead of USA? Will you tell people who make donations to the country to "buzz off and stay out of our business"?

ToHellWithTheLees!!! said...

God, Let all youths, daughters and sons of Singapore.. all chant:

LEE KUAN YEW DOWN, PAP DOWN!!

Anonymous said...

thank u for doing this on behalf of all singaporeans who cannot afford to do this in our own homeland. i consider u a hero. keep us updated

Anonymous said...

I love LKY and I think he's a legend. CNN, NBC and FOXnews are also controlled and biased. Those along with Disney, hollywood and american idols cultures insult my intelligence. Freedom of speech may be fun but is not particularly useful.