Readers of this blog who are unfamiliar with the goings on in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, may think reading the comments that there are many who think Singapore is a democracy based on the rule of law. The reader is warned that they may be Singapore government employees whose job is to discredit those who criticize Lee Kuan Yew's authoritarian rule. Please use your discretion as to how much weight you will give these comments.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is what I, Gopalan Nair, convicted prisoner number 101232008, formerly a prisoner in Singapore's Queenstown Prison, now safely back in California, and writing this blog is asking. Was holding me in Singapore for 6 months and sending me to jail for 3 months, done Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew any good? On May 31, 2008, I was arrested for writing a blog post in this blog dated May 29, 2008, for criticizing the bias of Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean in the case of Lee Kuan Yew against Dr. Chee Soon Juan. As a result, Singapore police arrested me, confiscated my passport forcing me to remain in Singapore for 5 months and then I was sent to jail for 3 months.
Did all this do Lee Kuan Yew, the Singapore strongman any good? Frankly not. Out of this adventure, I have gained far more than Lee Kuan Yew ever got.
Before my arrest, which was a clear violation of my right of free speech, I was not much more than someone who had contested Singapore elections in 1988 and 1991 and lost. Since December 2006, I was also known by some as a blogger, blogging under the name Singapore Dissident. But my arrest on May 31, 2008 changed everything.
Overnight Gopalan Nair became internationally known. Singapore's state controlled press making my arrest headline news, it instantly became international news. Reporters Without Borders, Paris France, and major organizations worldwide began demanding that the charges be dropped. As a result of my refusing to admit guilt, and the days passing for an entire 5 months in Singapore, more and more people all over the world and in Singapore began to hear of me and my case. As I walked the streets of Singapore while on bail, waiting for my trial in September of 2008, people came up to me to on a daily basis to congratulate me on my courage to speak my mind, as Singapore's state controlled press were printing my picture in the papers each time I had to appear in court on the numerous occasions.
At the time, before my arrest, the profile views on my blog alone (not counting the number of people who actually read the blog which were far more) was perhaps about 6 thousand. After I was arrested, this number shot up to over 21,000. Suddenly overnight, this blog and the name Gopalan Nair was both national and international news.
True, my forced stay in Singapore for 6 months has caused me some financial hardship. But I am back in America and I am building my practice back again. After all my practice is not a new one, it is more than 12 years old, and re-building it shouldn't be too difficult.
So it begs the question, why did Lee Kuan Yew do it? If he hoped to intimidate me into silence, should he not have considered the fact that I am an American? After all I will be able to leave Singapore sooner or later. And when I am outside Singapore, there is nothing he could do to me for anything I write, short of murdering me. What then was the point of the prosecution, if his intention was to stop my criticism of his courts and his oligarchy?
If his intention was to vilify me on a daily basis in Singapore's state controlled press by calling me a criminal, surely by now he should have known that most Singaporeans do not believe the orchestrated prosecutions against his political opponents anyway; which is why every Singaporean I met had only support and praise for me for what I did. And if his purpose was to intimidate others in Singapore from doing what I did, by now most Singaporeans have been silenced anyway, since JB Jeyaretnam was found guilty of defaming Lee Kuan Yew in the 1970s. One more politically motivated prosecution would have made no difference, especially against a foreigner.
And as for me, I have not stopped calling Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean of the Singapore High Court a corrupt judge who had shamelessly prostituted her judicial office and abused the law for Lee Kuan Yew's interests. If the intent in prosecuting me in Singapore was to stop me from attacking the judicial integrity of this judge, am I not doing it again from California with impunity?
And what is worse for Lee Kuan Yew, the Singapore readership of this blog, those that he wishes the most to be ignorant of my writings, has and continues to increase daily! And what is more, every judge, every lawyer that I come across in the San Francisco Bay Area is now suddenly aware of what Singapore did to me, bringing Singapore several notches down closer to the military junta of Burma.
Today I am building up my law practice again and in no time, it will surpass what it was before my arrival in Singapore in May 2008. And not just that, I will have another feather on my cap which I did not have in the past, as another victim of Lee Kuan Yew's repressive regime. I have finally joined the ranks, albeit to a lesser degree, of Tan Wah Piow, JB Jeyaretnam, Francis Seow, Dr. Chee Soon Juan and Tang Liang Hong, Lee Kuan Yew's other victims. Something that will remain with me till I die, something to remember that I can tell my children and grandchildren; an adventure in an island controlled by fear and repression.
And most of all, I have been able to expose the corruption of Singapore's courts and Lee Kuan Yew's dictatorship.
If Lee Kuan Yew's minions had really thought about it, it would been best for them to have just deported me the very next day after I wrote the blog. Not having done that, they have made me an international celebrity, a proven victim of Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore.
And this blog will go on. And more Singaporeans will read it daily. And I will continue being a thorn on Lee Kuan Yew's plans for repression. He can if he wants, hack my blog, destroy it or stop it from Singapore. But all that will do no good. Every blog post since it's beginning in December 2006 is saved, not only by me but also by countless Singaporeans; which means the very next day, my writings will be published again. And what is most sweet, is the fact that I have become the voice and friend of countless Singaporeans who want to say what I say, but cannot, in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore.
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