Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Singapore. The torture chamber. Have you been caned lately? Good to see that you have not been hanged!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's Minister Mentor; for those unfamiliar with this designation, it means his job is going around mentoring the elected government politicians; has repeatedly said, and claimed in a book that he wrote; that he had brought Singapore from being nothing more than a mangrove marshland to that of a first world country.

Personally, I don’t think it is first world at all. At best a very bad case of third world, is my judgment.

I base my judgment on the extreme brutality inflicted by the Singapore government on its citizens, in the name of the law, which should be unacceptable for any civilized country in this day and age.

First you have the hangings. Even though I am against hanging absolutely; there are quarters who claim that for certain egregious crimes such as serial killers, death penalty should be justified. The argument is that the victims have to be gratified by the death of these monstrous killers. Even though I am against death penalty as I said, perhaps some support can be made for this case.

Singapore on the other hand executes not only serial killers. They also execute petty drug moles even in cases where the amount is minimal in comparison. No justification can be made in modern jurisprudence that such executions have either rehabilitative effect; for obvious reasons since the man is dead and dead men cannot be rehabilitated; and neither is there any evidence that such executions amount to a deterrent, since most will agree that a long prison sentence is a much more effective deterrent than an execution; especially since we have been told that the Singapore executioner Mr. Darshan Singh has had so much experience in his gory work; that using the drop method, his prisoner will feel no more pain than a pin prick in death!

Lee Kuan Yew and his ruling People’s Action Party should stop claiming to be a first world country and admit that his country's proper position is somewhere between the ranking of Iran and Saudi Arabia; who by the way have the decency for not claiming to be first world countries; where they torture, maim and execute their citizens.

A recent case of execution for trafficking in drugs was the Australian Ngyuen Tong Van last year, just as hundreds of others like him. Ngyuen was a 23 year old Australian flying via Singapore airport en route from Phnom Penh to Melbourne. His body, when searched was found to be strapped with some heroine. There is not a single first world country that executes people for trafficking in drugs, the reasoning being that the death penalty is reserved only for murder, and not for property or regulatory offenses such as drug trafficking; since no one has been killed.

It is impossible to name a single first world country that resorts to this kind of punishment. The punishment clearly does not fit the crime. Nyugen did not kill anybody. Abstract arguments put out by the Singapore government to justify this legitimized barbarity; such as, drugs destroy the population and so on is nebulous and remote. Since there is no direct nexus between the severity of the punishment and the wrong doing, there is no legal or moral justification in killing in such a case. In any case, it offends the ordinary citizen's sense of decency. It certainly offends mine.

The late 23 year Ngyun has been put to death. He will never be rehabilitated. Had he been given a prison sentence and let off; perhaps one day he might have become the Mayor of Melbourne, if there is such a title there. That we will never know.

Had he been given a chance, Ngyun, the young man would be 24 today. What a pity.

Singapore, this so called first world country has the highest rate of executions in the world. They hang you for murder, for drug trafficking, for using a firearm and hurting someone even if they were not dead, and a series of offenses. At the rate that they hang people in Singapore; it is no wonder that the Singapore hangman has perfected the art of killing people without inflicting much pain on the victim. He obviously has had a lot of experience!

There are other forms of state sanctioned brutality too. In this self proclaimed first world country, they whip, or in Singapore parlance, “cane” offenders too. You will be caned by a professional caner at the Singapore Changi Prison for a series of offenses including such minor one's as overstaying in Singapore as a visitor and trying to illegally enter Singapore without permission.

Another minor offense, minor in the eyes of civilized people the world over, is vandalism, that is, writing graffiti on walls and other properties. In California, a boy who does this will get a fine and will have to undergo some correctional classes and promise not to do it again. But in Lee Kuan Yew's warped illogical thinking, it is not enough to merely give him a fine or even send him to prison. He has to be brutalized. He has to be caned. Extreme pain has to be inflicted. And it does not matter even if the boy was a mere teenager; as was the case with the poor boy Michael Fay who was whipped for this, vandalism!

Other more serious offenses where you will be caned are rape or molestation of women, robbery and other violent offenses.

For those who think caning is a mere spanking of the buttock to shame the offender; you cannot be more wrong. The intention is to inflict excruciating pain on the victim. The “caner”, if we could call the person administering the punishment by this term, is a professional who has undergone extensive training and specially selected for this purpose. On the day when the pain has to inflicted, the prisoner who is incarcerated, is brought from his cell, handcuffed, told to fully undress and naked, told to wear a towel to cover his genitals alone, then handcuffed again, and brought to a prison officer, who is seated next to a wooden contraption or a trestle, where the subject is to be caned.

This officer then announces to the prisoner that it is the court order that he be caned, perhaps 24 times. By the way, Michael Fay was caned 4 times. The number of strokes cannot exceed 24. The prisoner is then asked by the officer whether he understands this. After the prisoner responds in the affirmative, a number of prison officers then walk him to the wooden trestle where his towel is removed, and he is now completely naked. His wrists are tied above him to the wooden trestle, his feet slightly separated and tied to the trestle.

Some cloth padding is put over his thighs, hips and waist leaving only his buttocks exposed. Now the professional caner, with a rattan cane, that has been immersed in water the previous night, to keep it supple, the cane being about 6 feet long stands next to the prisoner.

Now the unimaginable brutality and cruelty begins. The idea is to inflict the maximum pain on the prisoner. An officer shouts out loudly "one" at which time, the professional caner raises his cane high over his head and strikes it hard, with maximum force across the bare buttocks of the prisoner. A single stroke has the effect of breaking the skin which causes immediate laceration and severe bruising and thereby drawing blood. After that the officer shouts out "two". The caner strikes again with full force, not caring whether his strike lands in the same line as the earlier stroke. The skin begins to tear even further and blood begins to flow. The prisoner cries out in pain and struggles to be free but there is nothing he can do. He is securely strapped. Then the officer shouts out "three". By this time, the prisoner's buttocks are thoroughly bloodied. Blood begins to flow freely down his legs. Need I go on to stroke number four, let alone stroke number twenty four?

And this punishment, mind you, in this so called first world country, is inflicted even for such offenses as overstaying your visitor visa in Singapore! You may be surprised, but it is true!

And by the way, the scars of those who have been brutalized at their buttocks so, remain for life, with some improvement only with surgery. I suppose Michael Fay, the hapless American boy, unlucky to have been at the wrong place at the wrong time; Singapore that is, has these scars on his buttocks, even today.

And all this for what? Has anyone got any better by all this brutality? I doubt it. It has only made those who have been subjected to such cruelty even more bitter and who eventually begin to hate this so called first world country, even more.

My advice to those who are intending to come to Singapore is to think twice. Singapore has more to it than meets the eye. If you really wanted to go to a first world country, go to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, because you never know what may befall you or your children.

Singapore does all this brutality within closed doors within the prison, hoping that people outside will continue with a false sense of security. Well sorry to Lee Kuan Yew because I and others like me are determined to let not only Singaporeans but the world know, what sort of unimaginable state sanctioned cruelty goes on behind your closed doors, behind the dreaded Changi Prison.

And lastly, don't forget. Singapore does not have a jury system in criminal trials. And furthermore, the impartiality of judges there is very much suspect!

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

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Singapore. The real version. Not the Straits Times version.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If a Singaporean were just to read the Straits Times, and nothing else; which would show a lack of common sense on his part anyway; he will no doubt believe that Singapore is the best place to live in the world, not only that, very soon, it would be nothing less than Heaven! That is what the Russians thought under Stalin reading Pravda news.

If Singapore's one major asset is it's workforce, since it does not have any natural resources, then it does look like Singapore is in trouble because the workforce is progressively weakening in skills and ability; an absolute necessity for any nation trying to move from a third world status to that of first world. This weakening of the work force is because the people have lost respect for their government, lost respect for their politicians, lost respect for their public institutions, lost respect for their judiciary and the administration of justice.

This general distrust in their government and its politicians is the major reason why the well known efficiency of Singapore will slowly begin to disappear and Singapore will slowly find itself relegated to the league of less advanced countries like the Philippines.

If any parent in Singapore will for a moment consider and contemplate their children's future, they will begin to worry about what sort of adults they will turn out to be; honest parents, that is.

We all know that real success in Singapore is that of Lee Kuan Yew PAP politicians, whom we are told are paid $3 million per year, just as all the other top level Civil Servants and Judges. So any parent who continues to live and educate their young children in Singapore, being naturally ambitious, would also want their children to achieve success, to be paid $3 million like Lee Kuan Yew and his selected lieutenants. I am here of course, talking of the few parents, thank God, who do not have a sense of integrity about them.

Therefore in the Singapore philosophy of success, it should be greed and not public service; or the need to excel in one’s chosen profession; that should be the eventual goal for any Singapore parent or child; whereas true success, according to the thinking in first world countries, is to be able to serve one’s community, one's country, and the wider world though hard work and dedication, and if a professional, through excellence achieved from a lifetime of hard work. Of course, highly successful politicians, public employees and professionals in advanced countries in the world are also paid well, but unlike Singapore, they do not get into politics and government principally to enrich themselves; like they do in Singapore.

This depressing realization among Singapore parents and their children; that to achieve success, they have to compromise their conscience and pursue money at all costs; is the major reason for the educated and able in Singapore to pack up and leave for countries such as Australia. They prefer their children to be educated in Australia or New Zealand over Singapore, knowing that education is not merely learning a set of rules but it is also an education in morality, good principles and the desire to become honorable men and women; which the Singapore system does not encourage or even permit.

And for Singapore to become a first world country and to succeed in industry, finance and trade, it has to have really educated men and women; not what Lee Kuan Yew has produced so far, among the ruling class, or will be able to produce in the future. This will eventually become an impediment to continued growth and will eventually bring Singapore down to the third world status of it's neighbors.

Emigration of the highly educated professionals is the one greatest problem that Singapore faces. These highly educated Singaporeans; which is not such a large number to start with; given Singapore’s small population of 4 million, are leaving almost en masse. Anther important reason for these educated to leave in ever increasing numbers recently is because of the government's new policies of retaining their CPF earnings until they reach 65, and even then, further retain about $100,000.00 as minimum deposits. This policy effectively denies them access to their money in their lifetime if they remain Singaporeans; so what else to do but to leave Singapore, renounce their Singapore citizenship and take their money which is rightfully theirs to enjoy.

Among Singaporeans, those who remain are the uneducated or partially educated; those who work at the malls, as security guards and as clerks at the Ministry of Environment. They are just employees who take and carry out instructions for a living. All they are concerned is to be able to survive, and they can do that in Singapore. Not much ambition because not much education. Although essential for any country, these workers are not the one's necessary to manage and administer Singapore.

The vacuum of the highly educated and able Singaporeans who have left; due to lack of foresight and understanding of the highly paid Singapore ministers, has to be filled somehow. So recruitment of skilled and educated professionals is conducted in countries such as Philippines, India, China and so on. These people who are selected for work in Singapore to replace those highly talented Singaporeans are never the best even in their own countries, and in no way comparable to the Singaporeans who left, either in their education, their way of thinking or their work ethic.

As you can see, most of these immigrants to Singapore come from poorer countries like Philippines, China and India. And they come with a baggage, literally and metaphorically. All these countries have a culture of corruption among their people. This is how they lived in their countries and this is how they think; the vast majority of them.

A Filipino, a mainlander Chinese or Indian may think while in Singapore that if he did not get a government license for this or that, perhaps he could get one with a bribe? Second, they will never work as hard as a Singaporeans would in Singapore, since after all it is not their country. They come for a few years, make some money and go home. No need to be over enthusiastic in a foreign country, surely.

Eventually with the continued loss of educated and professional Singaporeans, more and more foreigners take their places. And as the number of foreigners increase in proportion to Singaporeans, the entire psyche and mindset of the Singaporean population begin to shift, to that of the mindset of the Filipino in Quezon City; thus eventually bringing Singapore to where Philippines is at present.

It is quite obvious that the Singapore government has lost it's reliability, credibility and dependability which is a major reason why the able and educated leave. Although the Lee Kuan yew government has always abused the law and denied it's citizens their rights, in the recent past, they have brazenly flouted the fact that they care nothing about the laws and they will do whatever they want. Examples of this high handedness are too numerous to mention; but the recent excesses are the upping of ministerial salaries to $3 million a year and the clear refusal of the government to pay their citizens, their CPF monies on retirement. By these actions, repeated over the years, has resulted in the people losing all hope that anything will be certain, reliable or dependable in Singapore and that it is nothing more than a government run by Lee Kuan Yew's dictates. This has created an uncertainly to the level that it is no longer safe to live in Singapore permanently, since what you see today may not be what you see tomorrow, if Lee Kuan Yew so decided.

The other reason is the terminal age of Lee Kuan Yew at 84. He will die very soon. If it is already this bad under his iron grip, how much worse will it become under that of his son, whom he has appointed Prime Minister, who is generally seen to have neither ability nor experience and who appears to require the constant mentoring by his father the Minister Mentor.

All these factors tend to drive Singaporeans away in ever larger numbers and it is being replaced by the foreign Filipino, Chinese and Indian mentality.

And not only that, these foreigners from third world countries are lowering the wages in Singapore to become at par with wages in their countries; since Lee Kuan Yew refuses to enact a minimum wage law.

And the truth is that every Filipino, every Chinese from China or Indian from India, coming to Singapore, is also not the best qualified available, since we all know that they had tried to immigrate to the popular destinations of USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand but had failed and therefore have to make do with Singapore; since they reckon, half a loaf is better than none.

Until these Singapore politicians realize that the most important thing to be done is to instill faith in the Administration among the people, despite the daily dose of good news put out by the state controlled Straits Times, Singapore will continue on it's decline, which is gaining momentum at an alarming rate.

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

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Two Things that must be done now.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are two things that have to be done now. First since Dr. Chee is now in jail, he should not be forgotten. His sacrifice must not be seen to be in vain.

Vigils, demonstrations, protests; whether singly or in mass, does not matter; but it must be done. Honest Singaporeans must show that they protest Dr. Chee's illegal incarceration and they will tell the government that this must stop. It does not matter whether or not your protest produces immediate results. What matters is that the signal must be unmistakably sent to this overbearing government now, that what it is doing is wrong; wrong morally; wrong legally; wrong in every way possible. And you have to tell this government that you will not take this lying down anymore. For the sake of Dr. Chee who is now in prison for no fault of his own you have a duty to protest. Do it now.

Second Sept 8, 2007 Centerpoint protest. What I am about to say to you now is from personal experience. I have been harassed by the Singapore police in the past, and I can tell you this much. The Lee Kuan Yew government and his police are a whole lot of hot air; but no more than that. They are even more afraid of you than you are of them. Now in 2007 all the more so.

All the display of Gurkha police and their elaborate gear is only intended to instill fear. But true infliction of hurt, they cannot do. Lee Kuan Yew is being faced with difficulties from all sides. First, he has already had bad publicity from the nations of the world. Anymore of that will mean Singapore being permanently and squarely equated with the military junta of Burma. For the moment, it is one notch better than Burma; and Lee Kuan Yew wants to keep it that way. If he ever shot a single Singaporean, that will be the end of Singapore's reputation, or what little is left of it, it will be the end of foreign offshore banking; the few remaining Singapore born citizens would pack up and leave for Australia, adding to the thousands who have already left; leaving Singapore entirely peopled by foreigners.

Lee Kuan Yew recently told the International Herald Tribune that Singapore exists entirely on wits alone. He is right. Only thing now is that he is at wit's end.

My personal example. Some time in 1988, JB Jeyaretnam was sued for defamation, as he was sued many other times, by Lee Kuan Yew. The Singapore corrupt political courts as usual ordered damages of something like $200,000.00. JB could not pay. He asked for public donations. Since he was already a bankrupt, he did not have a bank account. He asked me a favor. He asked me to set up a JB Jeyaretnam trust bank account to receive public donations. After about $15,000.00 was received by me in my account, the police contacted me and all the Workers Party Committee members. They charged us with an offence under the House to House Street Collections Act of receiving public money without a permit.

This is what happened. At that time I lived in Jalan Kayu. Police sent me a letter to come to Central Police Station to be interviewed. I looked up the Singapore Criminal Procedure Code. There was a provision that a person can only be ordered to attend a police station for interrogation provided the station was within 5 miles of his residence. Jalan Kayu was more than 5 miles from Central Police Station. Therefore I rang Central Police Station and directed them to the provision stating that I will not go.

Next week I got a letter to attend Yeo Chu Kang Neighborhood Police Post. Since it was within 5 miles of Jalan Kayu, I went. There was a Eurasian police officer; a thorough government stooge. He wrote down himself almost a confession and asked me to sign saying that that was what happened anyway; and that was how these things were done. I reminded him that I was not born yesterday, and I am not prepared to sign a confession

I refused. I told him that I was going to write whatever I wanted to write and sign it. If he is not agreeable, then so be it. He will not get any statement. He tried to persuade me to accept what he wanted but he could see that I wasn’t prepared to budge. Finally he had no choice but to agree.

I do not know if you have read Nelson Mandela’s speech at the Rivona Trial; the speech being commonly known as the "I am prepared to die" speech. Well mine was not as long as that but it was very comprehensive. I took the opportunity to tell the police officer exactly what I thought of him and the Lee Kuan Yew government. I started off by stating that the Singapore judiciary was corrupt and beholden to Lee Kuan Yew, that there was no freedom of speech and it was not a democracy by a mile. I wrote about 3 or 4 long pages of this while the poor Eurasian police officer helplessly looked on. Finally, on finishing, I signed it and handed it to him.

I could see that he was quite upset, poor fellow. But there was nothing he could do. I asked if there was anything else and being told nothing more, I left. When I was leaving he said that the police and Attorney General will decide whether to proceed with charging me in court.

Next week, I received a letter in the mail from the police. In it, as expected, the police said they had decided not to charge me in court. Instead they are giving me a stern warning not to break any more Singapore’s laws. Since I did not consider the House to House Street Collections Act a legally or morally binding law, I did care two hoots. I threw that letter into the dustbin.

End of Chapter.

And now my friends, there is nothing the police can do to you. As in my case, the whole idea of the police is to try to intimidate you. But if you are not prepared to be intimidated, there is nothing they can do. The government knows that these laws are unjust. They do not have a leg to stand on. So take them on at their word. And in the end, you will see who is afraid of whom. I am sure it will not be you.

I therefore ask that you protest, and protest in groups of 5 or ten or even more. Let the police threaten to charge all ten or 20 of you, but they will not because they cannot. Their position now in the eyes of Singaporeans is very weak and there is nothing they can do.

You must protest in numbers against the CPF fraud, against the requirement of annuities and last but not least for Dr. Chee who has sacrificed everything for you by being in prison.

Whether you are a Christian, A Muslim or an ancestor worshipper, it does not matter. Being human alone is enough to require you to do this duty.

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

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Singapore government finds itself in a quandary facing stubborn protestors.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Slowly the tide is beginning to turn. Singaporeans are finally beginning to realize that these public assembly laws requiring permits for more than 5 people, is wrong in law, illegal and unenforceable. The people are beginning to openly ignore it and openly protesting without permits and the government finds themselves unable to do anything to stop them.

One can safely say that the culture of protests has been revived. I say revived because in the earlier years of the 50s and 60s people took their rights more seriously and took to the streets in open protest when the government refused to listen. Since then, the government through repressive laws and threats and intimidation, have managed to silence any dissenter through fear. But as we now are beginning to see, thorough better education, through the introduction of the Internet, through politicians such as Dr. Chee, Gandhi Ambalam and others, and bloggers like myself, Gopalan Nair of "Singapore Dissident", who has repeatedly called upon Singaporeans to ignore unjust laws and to break them, the people have finally spoken. They have finally said no. They will not anymore take no for an answer. They have taken to the streets. And all the signs are that the number of protests are going to go on the rise.

Look for yourself. There was the protest of the gays recently without permits. Then the "Mr. Brown" Brown Shirt protestors. There was only yesterday, the protests in Exeter Road against Japanese company who are refusing music downloads. There was the protests by anti war protesters. The world trade center and IMF convention protesters. The SDP organized CPF protesters outside CPF Building and more recently the 23 Burmese Protesters who marched from Orchard Road MRT to City Hall. And what is more, the Burmese have publicly stated that they intend to carry out another protest next week with out without permits and the Singapore government can go to hell.

All these protests were held without permits. In all cases, the police have come around threatening them but in the end, none of them were intimidated. The protestors gave the Singapore police the run around. In all these cases, it was the protesters who won and the police lost; they lost because they could do nothing. They were seen to be impotent and castrated. They had lost their marbles while the protesters kept theirs intact.

I can see only hope in the horizon. It is quite simple. The government knows they are wrong and such a law requiring 5 or more people protests to have permits is nonsensical. Nonsensical because even if they had applied for it, no permits would have ever been granted to anti-government protesters. So simply, there is no point in applying. And in any case the law is illegal anyway.

The government knows they don't have any leg to stand on this issue, let alone any legal basis. They are morally on weaker ground; with the protesters on high moral ground. Therefore the government is doomed to fail if ever they tried to enforce this indefensible law.

Till date, except for the government going around giving warning letters to protesters; which letters the protesters have promptly deposited in the receptacle where they belong, the rubbish bin; the government has not had the courage to even charge one protester in court. Why? If they did, this will not diminish the number of protests but will have the opposite effect of increasing them!

I am gratified by the developments in the increase in public protests. I take credit for this welcome development; among others such as Dr. Chee who has repeatably asked the public to defy unjust laws. It is these very laws that keep you Singaporeans in shackles and subservient to this repressive government.

I am sure you readers will take heart, embolden yourselves, and hold more protests in defiance of this authoritarian regime. I have only managed to give moral support and provide reasons why you should protest through my blog "Singapore Dissident". And as it appears it has had positive effect, and I am gratified.

Everyone can do his piece towards exposing what this regime really is, regardless in ways big or small. Even the slightest effort in political activity towards democracy will in sum total with others have the desired effect in bringing down tyrants and bullies.

As for me, I am glad to have done my part and will continue indomitable, unfailing and relentless. I wish you all continued courage, sustained strength and success in your noble work of protesting the unjust laws and policies of this authoritarian government.

I wish you God speed.

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