Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the April 14, 2010 article of the Singapore Democrats, the blog of the Singapore opposition party, "SDP repeats call for unity", Dr. Chee Soon Juan called for opposition unity in a recently held seminar by the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) and the Liberal International in Singapore.
Such an aim is surely both laudatory and highly desirable but in the peculiar context of Singapore, alas, impossible.
The reason simply is the glaring fact that the minuscule opposition parties there have completely contrarian objectives.
For instance the 2 other established but minuscule parties, the Workers Party of Low Thia Khiang and the Singapore Democratic Alliance of Chiam See Tong do not really aspire any real political change in Singapore. They never have for an entire decade if not more.
They are quite happy with Lee Kuan Yew running the show, with no human rights at all, with no free press, with no freedom of speech or expression, in fact with no democracy at all; content over the decades to merely make a few objections here and there over some insignificant matters; indifferent whether anything really happens as a result; and happily going home and returning for another day of these useless speeches.
They are not, and never fought for any real change in Singapore and they never will. If you were to ask why, the answer simply is that if they did really challenge Lee Kuan Yew in areas where it matters, they would no longer be Members of Parliament; they would have been sued, bankrupted, imprisoned, impoverished and discarded in Lee Kuan Yew's garbage bins of history. In other words they would have gone the way of the Dinosaurs or to take a more recent example, the way of the late JB Jeyaretnam, which understandably neither Low Thia Khiang or Chiam See Tong wants.
Not needing any other examples, the very fact that these two are still opposition Members of Parliament in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, is proof enough that they are no use for the cause of freedom.
Then we have the Singapore Democratic Party and Dr. Chee Soon Juan. He on the other hand is not a Member of Parliament. In fact he can never be one in his entire lifetime as long as Lee Kuan Yew is around, having been sued, bankrupted and repeatedly jailed and called a long list of names by Lee such as thief, gangster and you name it.
Anyone can see why Dr. Chee is treated so differently from the other two, Low Thia Khiang and Chiam See Tong; the former is the genuine product, unlike the latter 2 which are very poor imitations.
Dr. Chee really wants to bring about democratic change in Singapore while Lee Kuan Yew is determined that he should not have it. Low and Chiam however are harmless from Lee's point of view, pose no real threat to him, and in fact serve a valuable purpose by showing the world that Singapore is a multi party democracy, when in actual fact, nothing can be further from the truth.
Now we have a new entrant to the rather incongruous political scene in the island, Kenneth Jeyaretnam. Alas, as it stands up till now, he appears to be another Low Thia Khiang or Chiam See Tong. Of course we haven't seen very much of him being a newcomer, but if the signs are anything to go by, he seems to be another fixture, nothing more.
The fundamental difference between these diverse characters is that on the one hand, Chee wants to bring real democratic change, while the others have no such intention at all.
And the actions necessary to bring about real change, such as civil disobedience, protests, demanding a free press, demanding the right to free speech and real political activism for a democratic Singapore are anathema to Chiam, Low and I suspect Kenneth Jeyaretnam being actions they are not prepared to adopt, but actions essential for any real change to happen.
You see, there is no point in making a speech in Parliament or elsewhere if you could be sued for several hundreds of thousands of dollars through a compliant judiciary. Surely you can see my point from this example alone.
I would recommend instead that Singaporeans, regardless of which party one belongs, should search your hearts and ask whether you really want change. If you do, then do whatever it takes to bring that about within the moral law of humanity, not the laws of the dictatorship.
And the only political party in Singapore who has the honesty to admit the need for change and the courage to physically demand it is the Singapore Democratic Party. You can join it and fight for what is just or you could do it in your groups independently.
Until and unless Low and Chiam are prepared to be honest for a change and do what is expected of them by fighting for real change, I predict not only that there would be no such unity among these opposition groups in Singapore; in fact such unity in Singapore is impossible.
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