Saturday, May 28, 2011

Singapore shoots themselves in the foot by jailing British author Alan Shadrake

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore's state controlled newspaper of May 27, 2011 carried the story "British author loses appeal". In 2010, in an internationally widely condemned action, the Lee Kuan Yew government of Singapore arrested and charged well known British author Alan Shadrake for writing a book, Once a Jolly Hangman, which had passages not entirely flattering of the Singapore judicial system.

A well researched book, it gives details of several cases where well connected personages, who were of either economic or political advantage to the Singapore government were either let off Scot free or treated leniently even though guilty of serious crimes while other common Singaporeans were routinely executed.

Any Singaporean living in Singapore already knows this as Singapore deliberately makes their actions in abusing the law especially to punish political dissidents very clear. For example, JB Jeyaretnam, the well known political opponent of the Lee Kuan Yew administration, in well publicised news reports in the state controlled press, was repeatedly sued for defamation of character, jailed and bankrupted in circumstances where it was obvious he did nothing wrong. His only fault was in being a serious political threat to Lee.

The other prominent victim of Lee Kuan Yew's legal abuse was and is Chee Soon Juan, the leader of his Singapore Democratic Party. He has been repeatedly jailed, sued and bankrupted for his political challenge. He is not allowed to contest elections due to his bankruptcy.

A few weeks ago Lee Kuan Yew's PAP had suffered their greatest loss in voter support since decades. Even though they won, they only managed to secure 60% of the votes, the lowest percentage ever, and lost a GRC (5 seats) and another single seat to the opposition.

One would have thought that these numbers would have rung alarm bells in the PAP heads, and they would realise that they are showing their dissatisfaction to the Lee Kuan Yew style, dictatorial form of government. Apparently this is not the case as the dismissal of the appeal of the British author and sending him to jail shows us.

Please remember the facts here. Shadrake wrote a book in 2010, almost exactly a year ago when he said that the Singapore courts were misusing their authority to please their political masters. Once Shadrake was arrested, the sales of his book shot through the ceiling, both in Singapore, Malaysia and around the world. Yesterday, after the news of jailing was confirmed, the sales of his book has shot up even further and turned into a bestseller. And now, almost exactly after a year from the books first publication, and after thousands upon thousands having read it, they send him to jail.

I am sorry but I am unable to understand the reasoning of Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore government in doing this. If the purpose was to punish Shadrake, it is surely not going to bother him after he leaves Lee Kuan Yew's jail. If it is to frighten every other Singaporean not to ever criticize Lee Kuan Yew or his government, I think the point has been made long ago; but I am not sure how effective such a government is going to be that relies on fear to rule. If it is to prove that Singapore's judicial system is fair, this objective has failed miserably as the jailing only confirms what Shadrake has written, precisely that their judicial system is in fact thoroughly corrupt.

Singapore's major problems today are mounting emigration of it's citizens to Western countries due to the lack of freedom and democracy. Second, the birth rate is so low that Singaporeans are almost dying off and unless foreigners are brought in large numbers as replacement, which itself poses great problems on it's own. Again the reason is Lee's authoritarian government. This massive brain drain and a declining population are problems which unless rectified, will destroy Singapore itself.

I have no doubt that Shadrake's jailing has added to these problems multi fold. The educated and skilled Singaporeans who are already leaving the country in droves will only do so sooner and in larger numbers. The fast declining population will decline even faster while the free world has been given yet another example of Singapore's intolerance of dissent and proven as a place where no self respecting human being should want to live.

With the jailing of Shadrake, Lee Kuan Yew's grip over it's people has tightened even further.

So my call to Singapore's educated, skilled and thinking citizens is this. You don't want to hang around in an island which is run as if it is Lee's personal possession, where you are permitted to stay only if you don't criticize and if you do, he sends you to jail. If you have a chance, get out and take your family, your money and your possessions with you.

And when you do, keep giving a piece of your mind to these bullies. Lee Kuan Yew and his family can do nothing in an island such as that without good people to manage it.

Better still, stay and fight them. They may send you to jail, sue you and bankrupt you and that is unfortunately the price to pay. If you can withstand that, I am sure the Lee family will have something to really worry about.

One thing I am sure is this. Very soon there are going to be protests in the island. It may be this week or the next but I am sure it is going to happen. There simply cannot be a country such as this with as many as 5 million people who are all prepared to live as slaves. So when that happens, we will no doubt see change. I am waiting for that day.

In the meantime, my call to Lee Kuan Yew and his judges is this, keep sending political opponents and your critics to jail. You are only shooting yourself in the foot.

I will shortly be disbarred from practicing law in Singapore because I had criticized Lee's judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean in this blog. But that is not going to stop me from continuing the criticism.

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

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Gopalan,

In appreciation of your blogging that has kept me informed, I have sent you a book gift.

Unfortunately, there is no gift-wrapping option and the book will take a while to reach you from the UK.

1 item will be shipped to Gopalan Nair from AMAZON. Estimated delivery June 24, 2011 - July 8, 2011

Items Ordered:
Once a Jolly Hangman [Paperback]
By: Alan Shadrake
Condition: New
Sold by: The Book Depository (UK)