Thursday, December 11, 2008

In Pravda there is no "truth" and in Izvestia there is no "news"

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There was a joke in the former Soviet Union which goes like this. In Pravda, there is no "truth" and in Isvestia there is no "news", which by the way were the 2 main newspapers in Soviet Russia. In Russian, Pravda meant "truth" and Izvestia meant "news". Both, of course, were state owned and controlled newspapers in the former Soviet Union. But what you got was neither truth nor news, just plain propaganda. That the Soviet Union is doing well. Grain production has gone up ten fold. The country cannot be in a better shape. Everything is just perfect. Except that the Soviet Union in truth was crumbling.

Which reminds me of the state owned and controlled Singapore newspapers such as the Straits Times. And by the way, the entire Singapore press and media is both owned and controlled by Lee Kuan Yew and his government. No one is allowed to print and publish any newspaper in Singapore without a permit from Lee Kuan Yew's government under the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act. And you guessed it. If you were going to write anything critical of him, you not only would be denied that permit, but you will be sued for defamation, crippling damages will be awarded and you will be promptly bankrupted.

I have not been able to get any real news in the state controlled Straits Times. For instance today's Straits Times carried an article about a teenage boy who had sex with another teenager; a prostitute was found precariously hanging from a high rise HDB flat and Walter Woon, Singapore's Attorney General counters an argument of a lawyer who says there is one law for the rich and another for the poor. But what news is there about the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Manpower, the Foreign Ministry? Nothing.

And no one can contradict anything put out by this state controlled press one way or the other, for the simple reason that no one knows what is really happening.

Which leaves me to guess as best I can, reading what is out there in the foreign media. They tell us that Singapore has turned into a tax haven for the rich from other countries, as a money laundering center, like Vanuatu, a Pacific atoll. A place where the poor are no longer able to live due to unbearable costs. A place where one person takes his life everyday mainly by jumping off high rise HDB flats and where the government uses the law courts to punish dissenters by throwing them in jail, one of the victims being myself.

On the whole, one thing is clear. The reputation of Singapore has been irreparably tarnished. There is no doubt about it. The Washington Post is the foremost and most highly respected newspaper in the United States together with the New York Times. And if the Washington Post reports that Singapore is a country which uses its laws to suppress legitimate criticism, then this must be the end for Singapore. And this is exactly what they did in their report titled "Public enemy in Singapore" dated Dec 9, 2008 when they described the shameful use of the law courts to silence Dr. Chee Soon Juan.

Singapore is not a self sufficient agricultural country that can ignore international opinion. It is not Burma. Every aspect of Singapore's existence depends on the goodwill of the world. Trade, education, investment, banking and commerce. Once it's reputation is sullied, it can no longer pretend to be a place that one chooses to invest in, a place where one gets educated in, a place where one does honest banking.

And in the end, the truth always has a habit of surfacing. Tyrants and dictators around the world will try to put up a good face in public, but their lies and deceit must eventually begin to take a toll. As is the case with Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew.

Another report of significance is the Asian Wall Street Journal's article titled "Democracy in Singapore" of June 26 2008 and the article titled "Singapore maneuvers in response to Chee" in the Far Easter Economic Review of Dec 9, 2008. These are not papers that one can easily dismiss. They are read by people of importance all over the world. And what they say is the same thing. That Singapore's attempt to show themselves as a democracy with the rule of law is nothing but a front. That it is in fact plain and simply a dictatorship with Lee Kuan Yew the dictator since 1959, as long a Fidel Castro of Cuba.

Dr. Chee Soon Juan is undoubtedly winning in this battle between democracy and tyranny, between truth and falsity and between the rule of law and rule by dictate. And with the Godsend, the Internet, Lee Kuan Yew cannot win in his desperate attempt to continue to keep criticism under wraps.

The effect of this bad publicity will undoubtedly take a toll on the Singapore dictator's ability to continue with business as usual. The rot has already begun to spread. The edifice has to fall in due course. This is the time for everyone who cares for Singapore to weigh in with the truth and help to turn this place into a real democracy. Agitate, write, protest, go to jail, do whatever you can. It cleanses the soul. And you can look at yourself tomorrow and tell yourself, there was a man. Not a dictator's lackey.

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

Your letters are welcome. We reserve the right to publish your letters. Please Email your letters to And if you like what I write, please tell your friends. You will be helping democracy by distributing this widely. This blog not only gives information, it dispels government propaganda put out by this dictatorial regime.


Anonymous said...

An AG called Walter Woon
Said , " Gopalan is a goon.
He said sorry,
And made off in a hurry,
Now he's starting to croon."

Anonymous said...

A perfect summary of all that has been happening.

When the Washington Post, a pro-conservatism newspaper unlike the say-it-as-as New York Times, starts to get into the act of truth telling, we know we are beginning to see trouble for Singapore.

And you are right: all that matters is for the 'important' few to get a wind of what Singapore truly stands for, and they would move and shake like they know how.

Anonymous said...

AG Walter Woon is the Goon, trying to do the impossible. Just show how strait-jacketed Singapore judiciary is such that all instructions have to be followed ...

The Hermit said...

You summed it up well, my friend, very well indeed.

Nature always have a way of balancing the unbalanced. What the nature can't balance, the nature will destroy.

Throughout history we had seen extinction of races and species when one side is too overwhelming. In Singapore, PAP's control and their exorbitant ways are getting to that point.

What needs to be done now is to get our people to start thinking, to unite, and to work as one for the common good of all Singaporeans, not just for the "elite" few.

Anonymous said...

I think PAP and LKY has done a very fine job. To have such great facilities as the High Court to trial the wrong doers is a testimony to the Country's success. There will be no shortage of complaints and dissatisfaction, because basically Singaporeans are well fed.
Like our parents, only when they are dead and gone then will we begin to love and cherish them.
In politics only when you travel and see the world that you will be able to appreciate that you are a Singaporean and how much the PAP has done.
Forget about those bullshit about freedom of speech and democracy. You already have them in Singapore!

Anonymous said...

To Anon of Sat Dec 13, 03:06:00 AM.

I know how you feel. The old Russians are dreaming fondly the return of the old CCCP (USSR).

The old Chinese are dreaming of the good old years under Chinaman Mao.

Freedom and Democracy - You never know what you are missing until you have them.

It is a bit like durians. People who tasted it missed it.
People who never taste it describe it as stinky vomit. Some expats in Singapore refuse to taste it and complain about it all the time.

Singaporeans travel and see the world for work, leisure or study, but they see it behind filtered eyes. They do not understand how the real world works because they kept complaining and complaining. The moment they stop complaining, perhaps it is because they finally understand or finally reached home.

Anonymous said...

In the 60's during the PAP heydays, I supported Lee Kuan Yew heart and soul when he called for a Malaysian Malaysia. Today I wonder if the dream of his Malaysian Malaysia was a pipe dream. Our sons do National Service but 22% of University places ( based on last given figures ) are given to foriegn nationals. One of the platforms for any political party to fight on should be a Singaporean Singapore. Lee Kuan cannot fault any party for this. After all this was what he fought for while we were in Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

The Lee family and their relatives won't be in power for long. With the rate of 'sucking' the people, their downfall will be here soon. When our son have to serve NS, it is 2 and a half years. When his son want to serve NS, it is change to 2 years. People from oversea are all talent while singaporean are all idiot. Nobody will live to see their CPF. When LKY can live till 80 plus, so are all singaporean? What a joke!!! LKY take over singapore with the basic foundation done. What so great of him? Anyone can do the job only because he snatch the job. F**king rich but still not happy. Stay in the government and make use of singaporean money to travel while his wife is lying on the bed 'dead'. Ha Ha Ha! Serve him right.

Anonymous said...

His 87 yrold wife is being kept alive thru tubes and expensive drugs which only the very wealthy can afford. Somemore he gets a team of the best specialists to take care of her 24/7.
Wonder why LKY wants to keep her alive but bedridden and helpless for.
I'm sure daughter LWL would prefer her to go in peace instead of lying in bed alive but zombie-like.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeas all dying- no jobs, no money only the papees with fat paying jobs!

Throw them all out- Lee Regime!

Anonymous said...

The Lee family and their relatives won't be in power for long. With the rate of 'sucking' the people, their downfall will be here soon. When our son have to serve NS, it is 2 and a half years. When his son want to serve NS, it is change to 2 years. People from oversea are all talent while singaporean are all idiot. Nobody will live to see their CPF. When LKY can live till 80 plus, so are all singaporean? What a joke!!! LKY take over singapore with the basic foundation done. What so great of him? Anyone can do the job only because he snatch the job. F**king rich but still not happy. Stay in the government and make use of singaporean money to travel while his wife is lying on the bed 'dead'. Ha Ha Ha! Serve him right.

lol well said

very true about CPF, how many of us in singapore will live till 80 with the kind of stress we have everyday?

Also, can ask the health minister aka Koh Boon Wan to inject the 'silent death' poison to LKY wife. Why prolong her life since shes a gone case anyway? Best is to put LKY to the 'silent death' too since he has caused so much grievances among singaporean

the ground is burning with hatred. normal citizen is suffering with mounting debts due to rising cost of living ... all attributed to this LKY & PAP idiots

Melissa Miller said...


I have 3 questions for you Gopalan Nair, i hope you wouldn't mind answering......

1. Gopalan, why were you even convicted if this site is an american website and all its content is deemed "american".

2. Why didn't your US embassy come to your defence? Did you ask for help? Did they not bother? Do you feel they turned their back on you?

3. I really think you should blog about your experience in jail, or write a book on it. You didn't mention anything about how it was - you obviously survived, but you also said you never want to do jail again (guess nobody does), it just makes me wonder how the whole experience was. Did they treat you civilly, and well (as can be expected)?

Just to end ------ I don't like the situation in Singapore either, but i also think that martyrs are fools in a way. Yes, i want freedom for my country and for myself, so how is being jailed bringing freedom to anyone, let alone to myself? That's why i find being a martyr knowing full well you can't fight the courts and you'll end up in jail, just foolish. This might not be a popular opinion, but i find nelson mandella foolish, and ghandi foolish as well. For that reason I am not going to protest or do anything illegal, because i don't want to do any jail time and have my freedom REMOVED from me! I hope you too Gopalan have realised what you did was also foolish, as it only resulted in your freedom being taken away for 2 months, and Singapore hasn't changed at all as a result.

The other reason i won't do any protesting or martyr type sacrifice is that i am not prepared to lose all my hard earned money. Again, how is losing all your money and going bankrupt "freedom" in any sense of the word? It sounds more like "bondage" to be a bankrupt, no matter how noble the cause is. Again, i hope you realise this Gopalan, you've been reduced to asking for donations (and i hope you get some), but this cannot possibly be "freedom" can it?

So, there you have it, two very good reasons why i won't ever strive to protest or do any anti-government activity. And i guess these 2 reasons point to one thing - i value and love myself above my country and its people. And why shouldn't I? Look around Gopalan, Singapore and its people don't care that you martyred yourself for 2 months in jail. You need to think of yourself FIRST at the end of the day!

And finally, i want to say this, i don't like the system here, and am planning to migrate. To me, nobody, not even a martyr can win against the government here, so forget about posturing around, it'll get you nowhere, except jail time and bankruptcy, both of which i refuse to let into my life. I love myself too much for that! But i am willing to leave Singapore when it gets unbearable and find greener freer pastures elsewhere. You've done that Gopalan, so good on ya, now you can posture from there all you want, just don't be foolish enough to posture HERE in Singapore, because being in jail, and being bankrupt is really NO freedom at all!

Gopalan Nair said...

To Mellisa Miller,

Sometimes a man has to stand up for what he believes in. And sometimes he has to pay a price for it. You can live your life the way you want. But others might want to live their lives differently. It may be foolish in your opinion. Others may not think so.

If I have been punished, the Singapore government has suffered tenfold. The world has seen one more time how the law is being abused for political ends. In the end it is not just my actions that bring about change. It is is the actions of everyone out there who does their part, however small, that brings change in the end. History has shown it.

Gopalan Nair

Melissa Miller said...

Thanks for your reply Gopalan. You are right, each person should live their lives how they want to. If you feel you made the right decisions for yourself, that's the only thing that matters, as long as you're honest with yourself of course.

And yes, history has shown that little actions lead to a change - in the end. However, this has never been the case in Singapore, or with the PAP. Our situation is different, you can't beat the government or the system. I've come to understand and accept that. Unfortunately, I don't have faith anything will change in Singapore. But i have to admire to some degree those who still hold out hope.

All the Best!

Gopalan Nair said...

Melissa Miller,

Singapore is the easiest place to change. That is why the government is now terrified of criticism as their recent arrests and contempt cases show. A strong government acts differently.

What Singapore is lacking is a few good men to move. And this my friend is already happening. If you wish to live in your cocoon, no one can fault you. It is your choice. But things are moving. I am sure of that.

Dr. Chee and his activists have the bit between their teeth. More willing horses are joining day by day.

You can either be part of history by joining, or you can take the safe route and say nothing and do nothing. The choice is yours. I know mine.

Gopalan Nair

James said...

Hi Gopalan,

You have not answered Melissa's questions fully. Why has the US government not helped you in anyway during the times you got into trouble in Singapore?

Gopalan Nair said...


No obligation on Gopalan Nair to answer anyone "fully"!

Gopalan Nair

Anonymous said...

I think some of the comments have the wrong idea about how much power foreign embassies have. They aren't really in the business of breaking people out of jail.

I agree that social change in Singapore is not so impossible. The country is not so large after all.

Melissa Miller said...

I have to disagree Gopalan Nair, if Singapore was the "easiest place to change", it would've changed by now. However Singapore and her government have put measures and strategies in place to ensure that they WON'T ever change.

Also i personally don't think the government cares about criticism that occurs outside its shores. They are hardly terrified, as you claim. They've never cared about what people thought of them. Business people still see Singapore as a viable place to make money and that's all that matters. The same way entrepreneurers don't care about the inner workings of China or Russia. It's not like people and businesses are refusing to do work in Singapore because we have no political freedom here! They don't care.

I think the ones who live in a cocoon are the ones who have convinced themselves there is a change coming. I'll say this Gopalan - For your sake, i hope you are right, but i just won't hold my breath!

All the best!

Gopalan Nair said...

You are comparing apples with oranges. China and Russia are in a differnet dimension altogether. In China, businessmsn use it for cheap labor to make pants and shirts and widgits. Russia is self sufficient.

Singapore is not. There is no sweat back labor anymore. It relies on high end goods and services. Banking, law and international commerce. All areas where it's reputation is crucial.

Belive me, Lee Kuan Yew is looking out for it's reputation. And if that is lost, which it has, then everything is lost; except for laundering the money for Burmese drug lords.

You are already seeing its effects. For one, Lee Kuan Yew's aspirations to make Singapore a legal hub died a natural death with the release of the Internationl Bar Association's report which effectively calls Singapore's judiciary corrupt.

Melissa Miller said...

My example of Russia and China, was to show that "reputation" doesn't seem to matter to investors or businessmen. Sure, they read about Singapore and its "reputation", but they still end up coming here to still invest and set up businesses. That doesn't seem to be changing.

And you might be mistaking "worry" for "change", because you can easily take care of "worry" by making new laws, narrowing coverage by the media, censorship etc. I am not saying these are good alternatives by any means, I am saying that "worry" can be easily taken care of when you have the upper hand to do so.

Gopalan Nair said...

You miss my point yet again. You are right to say that reputation does not matter, but only for sweat shop investors. Unskilled assembly line poverty stricken work. But Singapore has gone past that. Wages are high. It needs skilled educated labour. Which means that these investments do not come to Singapore. If they have to pay, they might as well pay their own workers in their countries.

Singapore is trying to attract education, banking (legitimate ones) law hub etc. In these areas, reputation is the only thing that matters. Which good foreign university would want to invest here when the students have no freedom of expression. Education is freedom.

Which honest investor would use Singapore banking when they know the courts are corrupt?

I hope you understand what I say.

Gopalan Nair said...

But I must admit corrupt money from Burmese drug lords will continue to come. But with the European Union and USA demanding greater disclosure from money laundering centers such as Singappore, that too will not last long. Gambling seems to be the only salvation. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

'Which good foreign university would want to invest here when the students have no freedom of expression.'

Sorry to disappoint you. But several universities have setup campuses here in Singapore.
1)James Cook University,
2)University of Nevada, Las Vegas Singapore Campus,
3)Curtin University of Technology, Singapore

Not counting postgraduate degrees courses:
1)Johns Hopkins Medicine
2)University of Chicago etc..etc..

You saying all these universities are no good, not up to par?

Gopalan Nair said...

You may be right about the colleges you mention. But whether or not they stay much longer is in question. And many more universities that may have come have not. With the exposure of the corruption and supression of human rights, any university worth its salt will not come, and if they have, will not stay.

You have to admit the idea of Singapore being an education hub has died a natural death.

And Singaporeans who are proud of their country will continue to expose the indignities to the world.

Melissa Miller said...

Gopalan, if you're saying that Singapore's bad reputation precedes it, then why are banks here, and investment firms, and Credit Suisse has even made its headquarters here in Singapore?

Daniel Kevlar said...

As of today, it seems that a fight between two men is breaking news.

*slow claps* I really want out of this country but it would seem that I am trapped until LKY releases his iron grip due to all the restrictions of NS.