Update 04/06/10: I had earlier written "It may be too early to judge Mr. Jeyaretnam's intentions but if his collaborating with Dr. Chee Soon Juan is anything to go by, it is real damper on the hopes of Singaporeans. Certainly on mine".
This was a typo. It should have read, "It may be too early to judge Mr. Jeyaretnam's intentions but if his collaborating with Chiam See Tong is anything to go by, it is real damper on the hopes of Singaporeans. Certainly on mine".
A reader who wished to remain anonymous pointed that out. I have corrected it below. Thank you.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Singapore's state controlled newspaper the Straits Times online edition of April 5, 2010 has the story "Joint opposition walkabout." It tells of Kenneth Jeyaretnam, the son of the late true freedom fighter for the people's rights JB Jeyaretnam, campaigning together with Chiam See Tong of the Singapore Democratic Alliance in their meeting residents in the run up to the impending parliamentary elections.
I fear, this news is a terrible let down. If Kenneth Jeyaretnam is going to be another Chaim See Tong, the diluted version of Singapore opposition politics, we might as well discount Kenneth Jeyartanm doing anything real for the cause of democracy.
Anyone knowing Singapore politics knows that Chiam See Tong of the Singapore Democratic Alliance and Low Thia Khiang are as good as PAP members, being opposition politicians in name only.
They do no real good for the cause of democracy. They have never demanded the PAP to respect the Constitution, never demanded the PAP to respect the people's right to any of the their fundamental rights, such as freedom of speech and expression or any other basic human rights which the PAP denies it's citizens.
They have never questioned the PAP MPS salaries, never questioned the PAP government's highest execution rate in the world, the state sanctioned beatings (which are called canings) and the lack of independence of the judiciary and state interference in Singapore's legal process.
Neither have they questioned the misuse of the police force to silence and intimidate the opposition or the lack of an independent press and the silencing of the press by state compliant judges.
In fact Low Thia Khiang and Chiam See Tong have been content all these decades in office as opposition members to merely skirt the main issues that really matter, which prevent democracy from ever taking root in Singapore and instead they discuss the size of parking lots or the number of immigrants or the cost of HDB flats.
But they conveniently blind themselves to the fact that all these questions are pointless if the people themselves are not allowed to question anything for fear of being to sent to jail for public speaking without a government permit, or being bankrupted through defamation actions for legitimate criticism.
What good are these questions about the cost of HDB flats when the fundamental rights of the people are denied where they are unable to speak freely for fear of defamation actions, unable to speak in public unless they have a permit which is denied, unable to assemble freely and unable to read independent news in Singapore for lack of a free press.
If Kenneth Jeyaretnam's purpose is to be another Chiam See Tong, he is not only letting himself down, he is badly letting down his legendary father, who would be turning in his grave had he known that all that his son can do is to be another Chiam See Tong.
I am sure many of us, certainly myself, had looked toward Kenneth Jeyaretnam as a beacon of hope to fight for the people's rights as a true defender of the people just as his father was, a shining example of an honest decent man who wanted to do the best for his people.
I am afraid if Kenneth Jeyaretnam intends to be another Chiam See Tong, then we can all assume that there is going to be another opposition member in Parliament in Singapore, in the likes of Chiam See Tong and Low Thia Khiang.
In fact I would not be surprised if the PAP themselves makes sure that Kenneth Jeyaretnam wins a seat as this will be a feather in the cap for Lee Kuan Yew to tell the world that the Singapore is indeed a multi party democracy and the opposition in Parliament has grown with another entrant, Kenneth Jeyaretnam.
I can tell you that it would have made no difference to the PAP if in fact you had 25of the sort like Chima See Tong, enabling the PAP to tell the world that they have finally become a two party state, while these opposition goons such as Low Thia Khiang and Chiam See Tong will debate parking lots and HDB prices while the PAP will continue jailing anyone who spoke publicly, sued into bankruptcy anyone who criticised them and prevented anyone engaging in peaceful assembly even though the Constitution specifically allows it.
And Mr. Kenneth Jeyaretnam will have a nice long career as an opposition politician, making his speeches in Parliament that the PAP will promptly ignore while he takes his salary every month and goes home to his family every day as a good Singaporeans do.
Lee Kuan Yew has a word for opposition politicians like them, "Constructive Responsible Opposition".
I remember Kenneth Jeyaretnam having spoken some stirring words when he first announced his entry into politics like "Don't be afraid of the PAP" and such like. Perhaps all that was nothing more than hot air.
It may be too early to judge Mr. Jeyaretnam's intentions but if his collaborating with Chiam See Tong is anything to go by, it is real damper on the hopes of Singaporeans. Certainly on mine.
If my fears are true, it is a sad day for freedom. And I say what a waste; the man appears to have a good eduction.
History appears to be repeating itself. Winston Randolf Churchill never came anything near the achievements of his illustrious father Winston Spencer Churchill and the Mahatma Gandhi never had any children of any consequence.
Greatness it seems is usually not passed on to the offspring.
I hope I am not proven true, but we could have another progeny of the great JB Jeyaretnam who turns out not to be of consequence to anyone.
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