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,
Except to my friends, I have not publicly mentioned this. Now I will say it. It is about my middle finger.
The trial which I attended in Singapore which got me into trouble, Lee Kuan Yew vs Dr. Chee Soon Juan before Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean took place in the Singapore High Court from May 26, 2008 to May 28, 2008. The courtroom is relatively small. The well of the court is separated from the public gallery by a full glass panel extending from the ground to the ceiling. There were about 5 rows of benches in it. On the 2nd day, May 27, 2008, I was seated on the 2nd row, slightly towards the end. The first row was reserved for newspapermen.
On May 27, 2008, about midday, Lee Kuan Yew strolled into the well of the court through the door, accompanied by about 15 men in civilian clothes each with a badge or identification hanging from his neck. The judge made no attempt to ask who the men accompanying Lee Kuan Yew were, which we later found out were bodyguards. The judge, as I had said earlier was behaving as if Lee Kuan Yew owned that courtroom and her as well. For the shameful manner in which this judge conducted the proceedings, please refer to my earlier blog Singapore. Judge Belinda Ang's Kangaroo Court of May 29, 2008.
Naturally Dr. Chee Soon Juan rose to protest at the judge's total neglect to question who all these 15 men accompanying Singapore's strongman, Lee Kuan Yew were, and what business they had in court, when only yesterday, this same judge took serious issue with Dr. Chee Soon Juan's assistants being present in court, namely Violet Netto a lawyer, Gandhi Ambalam, Chairman of SDP and John Tan, Assistant Secretary General of the SDP. Only after a prolonged questioning of Dr. Chee Soon Juan did the judge finally permit these assistants to be present for the purpose of taking notes and carrying out other errands.
Since Lee Kuan Yew's son was still being cross examined by Dr. Chee Soon Juan, Mr. Davinder Singh, his counsel asked permission for Lee Kuan Yew to remain in court while his son was testifying. This was wrong since these are separate plaintiffs; if one can listen to the testimony of the other, it is easy to tailor one's evidence to suit oneself. Common sense would tell you that the other plaintiff should not not be in court listening to the other's evidence. Dr. Chee objected of course, but you rightly guessed what this judge decided. Of course she permitted Lee Kuan Yew to remain and listen to his son's testimony, before he himself testified.
Now I come to my middle finger. When Lee Kuan Yew came in, he was directed to sit at the back, with these 15 men seated behind him. Sometime during the proceedings there was a break, when the 86 year old Lee Kuan Yew got up and turned around to look at the people in the gallery. When he looked at me, I stuck up my right middle finger at him. For a moment, he appeared unsure of my action, but I kept my middle finger up at him, clearly mocking him. I am sure he saw it, but after a fleeting moment, pretended as if he never did.
True, lawyers, or anyone else for that matter, should not be going around sticking up their middle fingers at others. But that was an occasion when I had an irresistible impulse to do exactly that. I had to show the man what I thought of him.
Was I arrested because I wrote a blog post criticizing this Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean or was was it because I stuck up my middle finger at him? We will never know would we, in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore.
You see, in Australia, if I had passed Kevin Rudd on the street and stuck my little finger at him, he probably would have done the same to me, and we would perhaps have had a drink of 4x beer together, or whatever else they drink in Australia. No big deal sticking the finger at anyone. But of course that is a democracy. In Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, you are almost expected to prostrate and crawl at his feet if he sets eyes on you, which is not very often these days.
Well, I am a human being and I have my rights, and I will stick my finger when I want.
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