Monday, January 17, 2011

Singapore's SDP should not take the humiliation lying down

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore Democratic Party's website Singapore Democrat, Jan 17, 2011 has the story "Verdict on Chee's free speech appeal this Thursday". It says, this Thursday, Jan 20th 2011, the High Court will decide on Dr. Chee's appeal against his conviction on 5 charges of speaking in public without a permit, an action clearly lawful under the Constitution of Singapore but unlawful because Lee Kuan Yew fears any criticism in his dictatorship. If convicted Dr. Chee will go to jail for 20 weeks, or 5 months.

The timing of the court's decision is interesting because the general elections are expected to be held any minute now. I fear Lee Kuan Yew's plan is to lock Dr. Chee away during the span of the elections so that he cannot help his party in the campaign. This will not only be an illegal law and and illegal punishment, it is also intended to humiliate and belittle him as well.

If indeed the Singapore government under Lee Kuan Yew went ahead with this plan, this would be ultimate unbearable humiliation which they should not under any circumstances take, lying down. Come on, there is a limit to one's tolerance. Jailing Dr. Chee is bad enough, but timing it in such a way as to prevent him from campaigning in the elections is just too much, it is simply evil.

Although there would understandably be a great temptation for Dr. Chee to pay the fine this time and stay out of jail, the conniving mind of Lee Kuan Yew, who has all the cards at his disposal thinks he has Dr. Chee cornered. Once again, heads Lee wins and tails Dr. Chee loses.

On the one hand if Dr. Chee pays the fine and stays out of jail, Lee would call him a fraud, as he has always claimed never to give in on the principle that a man has the right to free speech, and paying a fine is a tacit admission of guilt, a Gandhian policy which he claims to espouse. On the other hand, if he does go to jail, Dr. Chee is prevented from helping his party at the hustings, a serious disadvantage.

I would urge Dr. Chee to stand on principle once again, and not give in, even though the temptation to do otherwise this time is really great. I would also urge the members of the Singapore Democratic Party to now see that merely taking this lying down would cast the biggest blemish on their reputation, ever. No political party worth its salt should be expected to meekly accept such injustice and continue to play by Lee Kuan Yew's rules, designed to make you lose anyway.

The time has come for real action. Gandhi Ambalam, John Tan and the other office bearers should now plan for real peaceful protests and civil disobedience en masse if Dr. Chee goes to jail. Organize protests throughout the island against this misuse of the law, of imprisoning a law abiding citizen.

There is nothing to lose at all. As I see it, there is no way in Heaven that the Singapore Democratic Party will win a single seat because Singapore's Hitler, Lee Kuan Yew, has decided against it.

Singapore's reputation for human rights is already rock bottom in the free world. Any action against the protesters by Lee will only harm the fascist regime more. Think of it this way, after having taken so much of punishment from Lee, what more can he do to you anyway.

SDP, please don't take this humiliation laying down. This time, act. Winning or losing does not really matter. What matters would be the message that you send these bullies that there is always a limit to repression.

Who is it that said when the kettle boils, it begins to roar? Or that even a mouse when pushed to a corner will roar like a lion? I don't, know whether anyone said it before but if they did they were right. There is a good lesson here and I hope Dr. Chee and his SDP will take it.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

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Anonymous said...

Beyond any shadow of doubt Lee Kuan Yew is guilty of barratry.

Anonymous said...

Old Fart Lee is old record replay again and again, people are sick of him and perhaps will vote for Chee to piss off old fart.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with your advice for Dr Chee. He should do what is tactically important for him to get his message across to the people. Election is the only time when he can speak to the mess publicly. The show of "force" by means of massive number attending his rally far outweigh sitting solitarily in a jailed cell. I would speculate that his rally attendance is easily an order of magnitude, and perhaps two, over those attending PAP rallies if the past election is any indication.

Gopalan Nair said...

To Anonymous Jan 18, 0840,
Frankly I don't think the rallys or anything is going to make any difference. Lee Kuan Yew has decided, no SDP. Sadly.

Anonymous said...

Mr Nair,

Again, I disagree with you about the rallies. The rallies show the enthusiasm factor. If no one shows up at the PAP rallies, it shows the world the popularity and legitimacy of the ruling regime. In Singapore, many dare not vote against PAP because their livelihoods depend on them. The current electoral system is so gerrymandered and designed to ensure complete PAP dominance. So the show of “force” in mass rallies, allowed only in the few days leading up to the election, is critically important to the people and their shared aspirations. Who knows, it may ultimately lead to changes for the good of the people.

Anonymous said...

Nobody will dare attend SDP 's rallies for fear of Lee Kuan Yew.

Anonymous said...

The PAP is already plugging up the opposition's stand on the proba
ble issues to be raises at the rallies. So what's the big fuss about rallies, it is already a non issue. Actions are being taken to cool the property market, steps taken to reduce migrant numbers etc
There is nothing the opposition can argue at the rallies.

mycroft said...

Erm, Anon Tue Jan 18, 05:09:00 PM PST:

Perhaps you have forgotten that Lee already has the means to prevent Dr. Chee from speaking at election rallies? IIRC, Chee was told during the 2006 GE that it was illegal for him to make election speeches because he was, and still is, an undischarged bankrupt. Thus was his voice silenced. If he had not been a bankrupt, the PAP would have accused him of not having the correct haircut to be granted the right to make a public speech, such is their fear of his message being heard.

The reality is that PAP need not jail Dr Chee to still his voice; all that will accomplish is to remove his hands-on running of the SDP. Fortunately I believe the SDP has become considerably cannier than before and CSJ has wisely allowed others to take the helm. Therefore, although he is easily its most recognisable and respected opposition leader, today the SDP is no longer a one-man show - unlike the PAP which will be seriously wounded when LKY kicks the plastic pail down the road to perdition.

I reckon whether CSJ is jailed or not as a result of this farcical conviction will make little difference to public perception of the SDP's worth. Noone will be fooled. Indeed, if he is incarcerated his party's reputation for standing implacably against the worst abuses of the incumbent will be enhanced while theirs diminishes in proportion. He should resolutely refuse to pay any fine, not a penny, because that would be tantamount to agreeing that the requirement to get a license to speak in public is an acceptable norm for a democratic society.

Dr Chee should - in fact, must - force the government's hand and give it no choice but to show the world that it jails people merely for speaking in public. What is then the legitimacy of a General Election carried out under the endorsement of a nasty little police state? Is it that much different from Burma's recent dog-and-pony show? That will do Singapore's already odious reputation no favours. Will the Australians for example then think it wise to sell their ASX to what is in effect a modern-day 3rd Reich or a Little Red China-by-the-Sea?

Anonymous said...

Anon of Tue Jan 18, 05:09:00 PM PST

Aiyoh. PAP rallies always will have a lot of people. I know at least of one "company" who will send its managers to attend the rallies. Add to that are the chia liao bee people from the "community" organisations who want to show support to be seen in good light by their superiors.

Attendance compulsary, of course will have audience.

Anonymous said...

I do not have a glib-tongue like that hypocrite Lee Kuan Yew, and my brain is not as sharp as his legal stooges.

But I am glad to find this article and take a stand.

"Lee Kuan Yew, Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going"

The team of writers was led/assembled by none other than Han Fook Kwang, the Straits Times editor who also wrote the book "LKY the Man and his Ideas". I guess the first book did not sell MM Lee's ideas hard enough so we need a 2nd book to get the hard truths across. ** When PM said he was going to gazette TOC as a political association, he said that it "has the potential to influence the opinions of their readership and shape political outcomes in Singapore". Now anyone with common sense is asking why isn't SPH & the Straits Times gazetted **? With MM Lee appearing in the newspapers every other day, if not every day, to express his wise thoughts why does one need to get a book to understand his ideas?

I remember a speech by Bill Clinton a few years back. He warned about people who believe they possess the 'absolute' or 'hard' truths because it can lead to actions and decisions that are extreme and detrimental to human society.

Anonymous said...

The Tunisian government of Ben Ali ended so abruptly. This is how the Lee Kuan Yew regime should come to an end. There is no way that the opposition can stop the PAP, only people power.