Ladies and Gentlemen,
Singapore state controlled newspaper the Straits Times of Feb 23, 2012 has the story "Lee Hsien Yang sends lawyer's letter to TR Emeritus". This is the latest in a series of recent threats to government critics to sue them if they didn't stop, as reported in my blogs of yesterday and the day before.
Now, the brother of the Singapore Prime Minister and son of the Singapore strongman Lee Kuan Yew, Lee Hsien Yang has threatened the same blogger with the excuse that he "is determined to protect his reputation", the usual lame excuse in the island to stop all criticism.
But this case is not appearing to go as smoothly as the others. Recall about a week ago, the Singapore despot's Tamil Minister for Law K Shanmugam had threatened to sue the same blogger for revealing his womanizing adultery with another Singaporean Chinese, the ethnicity of his choice when it comes to his escapades or rather more correctly described as "sexapades". The helpless blogger, at least so far, immediately complied and apologized.
2 days after that the prime Minister had threatened the same gentleman with a lawsuit because he had suggested that appointing the Prime Minister's wife as the head of the national wealth fund Temasek, smacks of nepotism. He apologized again.
And now, just a day later, this new threat from the other son.
This time surprisingly for Singapore when at the slightest threat of a defamation lawsuit by these people, even the most courageous of persons would roll over immediately and do the hop skip and jump if demanded, things are appearing a bit different.
Frankly being timid in the face of these bullies is quite understandable. With all the judges in the island beholden to the Lee Kuan Yew family to say and do anything as they want, resistance would be suicidal as the living examples of such punishment grimly reveal. Chee Soon Juan has been repeatedly sued, bankrupted and jailed just for criticism. If he was guilty, his only guilt was his refusal to submit to the Allmighty Lee Kuan Yew family when demanded.
When in the entire history of Singapore, the Lee family have never lost a case; when this family hold the world record for the largest number of defamation cases ever filed and won; and when respected international organizations have repeatedly condemned the Singapore judiciary as nothing but Lee Kuan Yew lackeys rather than judges, no one in his right mind would dare to resist a threat of a lawsuit from them in their island.
Well, up till now.
Now we have a David proudly standing up to a Goliath, or so it seems. For the first time in history after Chee Soon Juan, Mr. Richard Wan appears to have finally said no. According to the newspaper report he says he is “going to resist”.
If he is indeed going to do it, I say to Mr. Wan that I, and I am sure millions of other people in Singapore and worldwide are with you.
I fear the Lee family has made a mistake this time, if indeed, Mr. Richard Wan will resist.
There is a unprecedentedly large groundswell of Singapore simply hating this regime, which pays themselves millions, hands out financial contracts to friends and family, uses nepotism, cronyism and corruption to enrich themselves while squeezing the ordinary man of every penny he has. And what is worse of all, silencing all criticism through the law courts using corrupt and compliant judges for the dirty work.
I am not sure who said this, but at some point, if sufficiently pushed to a corner, even the mouse will roar like a lion. If what I read is indeed true, and if Richard Wan, this humble blogger is indeed our Singapore mouse, this mouse has finally roared like the lion.
This recent surge in threats of defamation actions by the Lee Kuan Yew family, in my opinion, is because they have finally begun to fear the increasing threat of the Internet.
It would not be wrong to say that throughout the island, almost to the man, the Lee Kuan Yew family is dreaded.
The only reason why there is no rebellion is because they are threatened with lawsuits, arrest and impoverishment. The Lee family probably fears that if the Internet is not silenced, this hatred will begin to grow and eventually get out of hand.
But I think there is here the biggest mistake. If indeed Wan decides to stand his course, the Lees would have to take it to court. And undoubtedly these compliant judges will give the award to the Lees and Wan will be bankrupted and impoverished.
Whether or not the ordinary Singaporean would once again just stand idly by this time as they have always done in the past or will there be even more dissatisfaction beyond the tipping point of a rebellion, only time will tell.
So far if you asked me the score for now, I would say Richard Wan 10, the Lee family 0.
Attorney at Law
Disbarred from practicing law in Lee's Singapore, imprisoned and refused entry to the island for criticizing Singapore's judiciary in this blog (see blogpost May 29, 2008 Singapore. Judge Belinda Ang's Kangaroo Court)
Actively practicing law in California and in good standing at the California Bar.
Member in good standing as a lawyer in England and Wales (Barrister).
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