Thursday, June 2, 2016

Why do people like Singaporeans Teo Soh Lung and Roy Ngerng take this harassment lying down

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The latest incident of harassing anyone who criticizes the Singapore government is the case of Teo Soh Lung and Roy Ngerng. Please see Singapore state controlled newspaper article here

According to the story, they were not supposed to have suggested their choice of candidate before the recent by elections this year. According to Singapore laws there is such a thing as a "cooling off period" which is the day before the polls when it is illegal for anyone to support any particular political election candidate. I am not sure to what extent they wrote in Facebook their candidate of choice but even so, this appears to be a very minor incident.

But this dictatorship government in their high handed manner, bent on silencing any and all dissent, have made a mountain out of a molehill, repeatedly detained them at police stations for questioning, ransacked their houses and confiscated computers files and videos, demanded several other persons to submit to police interrogations on the guise that they are collecting evidence, and generally behaving like gangsters for one purpose alone, that is to terrify the entire island population into submission through fear which they have already done.

One would have thought that the last people in the world who would submit willingly to Singapore island republic's authoritarianism are people such as these. Teo Soh Lung is a lawyer and a democracy activist who served time in jail for challenging the island dictatorship. Roy Ngerng was a blogger who was sued by the island's dictator Lee Hsien Loong and has been ordered to pay several hundreds of thousands of dollars in monthly instalments. Both of them have shown themselves to be intelligent, politically aware and have tertiary qualifications.

With professional skills such as they have, there is no need to accept the repression thrown at them. They are, compared to other less educated and less qualified citizens, in a best position to say No. To say, I am not going to take this anymore. Take the case of Teo Soh Lung. Although I am not privy to her personal circumstances, from what I know of her, it shouldn't be too difficult for her to stand up and resist. She was a good lawyer, but the harassment she suffered resulted in her having to give up her law practice. In her present state, of having nothing much more to lose, it is an easier choice to make for her to fight the regime instead of meekly submitting.

In the case of Roy Ngerng, he too has a college degree and used to work for a Singaporean hospital. As a result of his criticism of the regime, he was thrown out of his job and now works privately. In his case too the state has been ruthless and vindictive. Why does his blood not boil and say I refuse to submit to this nonsense any more like Peter Finch in the award winning movie "Network".

The obvious actions that comes to mind is for them to publicly protest. Deliberately break Singapore's illegal laws that criminalize peaceful protests, invite them to arrest them and embarrass them in the world stage as a repressive one party totalitarian state that denies their citizens fundamental human rights. Revenge should be honorable in a case like this and they should be prepared to face whatever this illegitimate government would throw at them. In the end, if the government goes through and does arrest and punish them, the fallout in the democratic world would hurt them even more.

Alternatively, if they are not prepared to go through the trouble, then clear out, emigrate. Pack their bags and go to the West. There is no doubt every single western nation would give them asylum.

But I notice, very strange indeed, that they just stay back and take this nonsense from the government, lying down. And what are we supposed to do, blame this government and proclaim how bad they are. To take an extreme example, it is like a North Korean tortured by Kim Jong Un willingly taking the punishment but yet refuses to leave the country even though he can!

I don't think it is necessary to sympathize with Teo Soh Lung and Roy Ngerng. It is not as if they are helpless, they are clearly not. They are intelligent capable people. They can stand and fight but they choose not to. They can emigrate but they choose not to either. Instead they wish to stay behind in Stalin's Russia or Lee Hsien Loong's Singapore and take the bullying. They are grown adults with a head on their shoulders. If this is how they wish to live, who are we to say otherwise.

The worst thing in my mind is to give Lee Hsien Loong, the present Singaporean dictator the satisfaction that he can abuse you and get away with it scot free. And what is even worse, the knowledge that you are willing to let him.

When I was in Singapore, I too was being persecuted for fighting for freedom and human rights. I could either have stayed back and fought the regime, through peaceful protests and free speech. On the other hand I could have left. I did the latter.

My advice to them is to do one or the other. Either stand up and fight or leave. Don't just willingly hang around for them to push you around. You don't have to . And it is not necessary.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

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