Ladies and Gentlemen,
The legal profession in Singapore, up till now, has been effectively muzzled. Lee has not unexpectedly found the lawyers to be his greatest fear. He knows it was the lawyers who were the troublemakers for the British colonials, just like him. Ever since then, with million dollar salaried compliant judges and Attorney Generals, with some help through Singapore's detention without trial laws and defamation lawsuits, the lawyers are effectively castrated.
You see, there is a sense of helplessness among Singapore lawyers. They realize there is nothing they can do. And since half a loaf is better than none, even if they scrape out a living, their aspirations and dreams remain at that level, not more. Their life becomes a mere mundane fight for daily survival. A few with connections do well, as long as Lee Kuan Yew and his friends look favorably to them.
There are no clubs and societies which they attend to discuss rights, discuss freedoms, discuss change, and discuss what next. If you happened to be that way inclined in Singapore, you would be looked upon as weird and funny. Singapore lawyers don't talk about such things. They just do their job and tend to their families. You may say it is a boring life, and you are right. The only ones with exciting lives are Lee Kuan Yew and his friends at the top.
They no longer desire greater things. Such as the demand for freedom. The right to question authority. To demand change.
Somehow in Singapore such things are left to the professionals, that is Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP. Thinking about changes to their lives, national policy and so on, is left has to be left to professional politicians. Unless they are in agreement with the policies, they have no right do such things as question authority. If you did, you will be in trouble.
Since nobody wants trouble life becomes very simple. Go to work, do you job well and Lee Kuan Yew and his smart friends will do the necessary for you. If you feel you want to participate in the general consensus of Lee Kuan Yew's thinking group, then join them, and if they accept you, you too can be a politician, that is politician Singapore style.
From then on what you say will be printed in the sate controlled newspapers and your day job will be thinking out what is good for Singaporeans and that includes lawyers.
Thank God that is not the case with everyone. There is a growing number, granted a small one, that are beginning to think otherwise. In other words, the brainwashing has not been entirely complete with them. These are the younger people especially students who feel that they too have rights, just like a young Australian, or Canadian.
These are the ones who can bring about change. What I hope for is is a demanding citizenry, even a small number to start with. Even though it may be small it can bring about change for certain.
Singaporeans have been with 4 decades of brainwashing turned into people with a group mentality. In the Singapore the legal profession about which I have experience, the general philosophy is to secure a living. Get as many cases as you can, argue them according to the laws that exist, regardless of whether you think they are just or no. But on the other hand, if a few were to stand out and protest in the streets about whatever issue, and if such a protest culture takes root, then the others too like sheep will follow. That is why all you need is a few to bring about real change in Singapore.
Such people do exist in Singapore and what is more they are growing. Those who have been subject to such mind control for years such as the lawyers in their 50s for instance, will take longer to change. But with a growing number of younger people with the necessary civic consciousness and pride, I think will see the country through to change.
Singapore cannot change through the ballot box. That is sure. But it will with a few who have the courage to publicly stand out and say "no" the these unjust laws and despotic rule. Then everything will come around because the others like sheep will begin to sing the same song.
That is why I have hope. That is why each of us, who do whatever we do, should not be discouraged for the moment. There is a light if you look hard enough over there.
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