For those who are in the know about Singapore, the things that this Lee Ruling Family do and the equally funny responses of their subdued citizens sometimes can be tragically funny, as in what we can call the M Ravi Hougang case which is now going on Singapore's center stage.
It is all being published daily in the island's state controlled press.
It all started off like this. Some months ago, the opposition Member of Parliament for the constituency of Hougang was suddenly dismissed from his post for his extra marital indiscretions. Therefore it would require the government holding elections there for the Parliamentary seat to be replaced. This the Lee ruling Family did not do immediately, causing a
This lawsuit was misguided from the start. First there is nothing in
From this alone, one would have thought the action was completely lost but something even worse happened for this litigant; the government decided to hold elections very soon thereafter, even before the case came to court which made the entire case of M Ravi moot, since there was nothing left to fight about. In fact if you were looking for the perfect example of a case of barking up the wrong tree, you would not have found any better.
As if these incidents up till now were not comedy enough, the theatrical performance takes an even added twist from here.
Suddenly on the day of the High Court trial of this totally unnecessary case of the Hougang by-elections, or much ado about nothing, on July 16, 2012; a phantom gentlemen by the name of Wong Siew Hong suddenly appears in the court room with what appears to be a letter in his hand. That letter we now know is from Dr. Calvin Fones, a psychiatrist, whose letter declares the lawyer for the litigant M Ravi to be presently suffering from a mental derangement making him unfit to practice law.
From this point there are several things which are puzzling and downright amazing. Firstly, the Law Society of Singapore which is the controlling body of lawyers admit that he is one of their officials. Having admitted that much, they however say that his appearance in court in an attempt to stop the lawyer from representing his client which is down right unethical and improper was something they did not know! What is worse, they say that Mr. Wong's actions are excused because, according to them, he did it with best intentions!
If indeed Mr. Wong, an official of the Law Society of Singapore went to court and interrupted proceedings to prevent M Ravi from representing his client without the knowledge and consent of his superiors, then he too deserves to have a mental check up just as M Ravi does (if indeed he has to) because only a man out of his mind would do such things without either an order or request from his superiors.
And if the Law Society of Singapore wants us to believe that they did not know of the intended actions of Wong, one of their employees, you might as well ask us to believe that they thought pigs could indeed fly as well.
And as for M Ravi, I have this to say. One has to feel sorry for him. He has done a great deal uncaring to his own interests for the good of the down trodden in his island. He has worked tirelessly for the abolition of the death penalty and other causes of the underdog, which no other Singaporean lawyer would have the courage to do even a fraction of what he did.
Having said that, I also know that M Ravi does indeed suffer from a mental infliction. I remember seeing him in Subordinate Courts in 2008 during my so-called adventure in Lee Kuan Yew’s island when I ended up in jail for criticizing the judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean. Watching M Ravi in
I understand that bipolar disorder which M Ravi suffers from is something that can be contained provided the patient regularly and punctually takes the medicine. When he does not, he can become wild and unpredictable which was what I observed on that troubling day in 2008.
The problem with being a lawyer under this affliction is this. It is all very well if you are taking your medicine with discipline. What if you did not? And what if you were acting for a client when you have missed the medication. And what if you have a relapse.
I understand that the Law Society of Singapore has allowed him to practice under the care of another lawyer, his partner, F Violet Netto who has publicly stated that there was nothing wrong with him or something to that effect. I can appreciate her trying to defend
I have no answers to a case such as this. This is a tragic situation, especially so in this case where you have a lawyer with such great promise. It would indeed be a pity to take away his license. But at the same time, what do you do when a lawyer can suddenly turn into the greatest comedian without any notice at all, as I had observed him in the Subordinate Courts in 2008.
What you have in
This is a Singaporean tragedy, one which can outdo even the best of Shakespeare’s most celebrated tragedies.
Attorney at Law
Tel: 510 657 6107 or 510 491 4375