Ladies and Gentlemen,
In Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore the long established doctrine of the dictatorship has been to destroy any government critic completely, I mean completely. This means if you are a professional, your career is destroyed; if you are an employee, you are kicked out from your job, and if you are anyone anywhere, not only you but your entire family is disadvantaged.
Although I have come to know members of the Singapore Democratic Party over the years, let me give you some examples taken only from press reports and the Singapore Democrat newspaper of the Singapore Democratic Party.
Dr. Chee, the Secretary General of the Party, a neurosurgeon by training, and formerly professor at Singapore University was dismissed from his employment, jailed and bankrupted. For several decades now he has been unable to practice his profession or his academic experience, and as a result of the various punishments which are ongoing, not only he but his entire family continues to suffer.
Gandhi Ambalam was a former Singapore journalist. Once he began to resist the dictatorship, he was dismissed from his job and unable to exercise his profession for decades. Today he lives in semi retirement and works full time for the Singapore Democratic Party.
John Tan was a professor at James Cook University. Under pressure from the dictatorship he was terminated from his job and now works full time for the Singapore Democratic Party. Of course his family suffers too from this punishment. He too is effectively retired from his profession of Sociology or Psychology, I cannot remember which.
Then you have Seelan Pallay, an activist. Although immensely capable, he appears to work free lance as a film maker. I am not sure if he has a full time job, which I doubt. And the same with Martyn See another filmmaker who is punished because of his open opposition connections.
About a decade ago, Tang Liang Hong a successful lawyer in Singapore fled for Australia with his life having been bankrupted in an sum over several millions because he opposed Lee Kuan Yew. The same with the late JB Jeyaretnam and several more other Lee Kuan Yew political opponents.
Teo Soh Lung a former lawyer who was arrested and tortured by Lee Kuan Yew appears to have retired apparently under immense and non stop harassment by the authorities.
By now the message is written clearly and indelibly on the wall. Oppose Lee and he will destroy you, not only your family and livelihood, he will destroy everything. So the question is whether in these circumstances, should political opponents with a good future continue in this fight in Singapore.
I have wrestled with this question myself over several years before leaving Singapore in 1991 and now 19 years have gone by. And the more I think about it, the more I feel that leaving was the correct thing to do.
Had I remained in Singapore, I would have been disbarred. I am going to be disbarred in Singapore anyway but that does not effect me in any way now, since I am an American lawyer. But had I remained in Singapore, the very profession that I worked so hard for would have slipped away under my feet. Not just that, my children would have been punished, one because their minds would have been brainwashed by the system and in every other way possible.
Of course those remaining behind in Singapore such as Dr. Chee and others have to be admired for their courage and selflessness. But the question is, with all the factors considered, is it worthwhile? Is it worthwhile for Dr. Chee to practically throw away the practice of his profession for which he worked so hard? Is it worthwhile for Dr. Chee to punish his family members and children for the just cause he so passionately believes in? And lastly had he left Singapore like I did with his family, could he still not fight for the Singapore cause from outside Singapore?
Remember, those who can see the injustice of Lee Kuan Yew's system I believe is more than 70% of the island's population. In this group there are the educated and discerning Singaporeans. Although they may know that things are wrong, they lack the courage to stand up to the bully. Instead of standing up and openly fighting, they merely withdraw into obscurity or emigrate to other countries if they can.
Out of this group, perhaps 1% are those like Dr. Chee who openly stand up and challenge the system, despite knowing the dangers that will invariably befall them. These are the most highly educated and professional class, the very best among Singaporeans, a group which the government needs the most as leaders. If they persist in challenging Lee Kuan Yew, they are turned into Dr. Chee Soon Juans or like myself Gopalan Nairs. Few stay behind like Dr. Chee to receive non stop punishment. The vast majority leave the island permanently.
I personally think in the present circumstances, on balance, there is no real benefit gained by staying behind and being turned into Lee Kuan Yew's punching bags. I say this because of the peculiar circumstances of present day Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore is simply going to collapse very soon, as the writing is on the wall. Humpty Dumpty has fallen and there is no putting him back. Lee Kuan Yew knows that as well as I.
Singapore's brain drain goes on unabated and very soon except for recently arrived Mandarin speaking Chinese from the remote regions of China, there would be no Singaporeans left. Such a dire hopeless condition simply cannot support an island such as Singapore. So since Singapore as we know is going to collapse anyway, what is the point of sacrificing everything, your livelihood, your family's comforts, your sense of mind, everything to fight against a regime that is in it's throes of collapse?
Singapore's fighters would be able to do the same from outside Singapore while at the same time, saving their careers and the well being of their families.
That is why looking back even today, I believe I have done the right thing. I left Singapore and am now an American citizen. But I will continue with this blog to help the cause of freedom in the island, a place that I was born and have a stake in.
Think about it.
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