Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Culture of protests is finally taking root in the island.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If there was a day of victory for the cause of freedom over Lee Kuan Yew's authoritarianism in Singapore, it was October 1, 2007, outside the gates of the Burmese Embassy, 15 St Martin Drive, Singapore 257996, where peaceful protesters stood bravely in defiance of police orders that they should disperse, proclaiming their right to freedom of peaceful assembly, even if Singapore law makes it illegal.

On that day, according to the Singapore Democrat, the newspaper of the Singapore Democratic Party, Dr. Chee and other political activists organized a protest and a petition campaign outside the Burmese Embassy in Singapore, against the Burmese government's action in brutally suppressing peaceful demonstrations by Burmese demanding freedom in their country.

The number of people who had assembled outside the embassy in Singapore clearly exceeded 5, which therefore required a permit under Singapore law. Needless to say, such a law is clearly illegal among the free nations of the world. Dr. Chee and his protesters did not have that permit. DSP Deep Singh of the Tanglin Police station had come around with his police subordinates which included several plain clothes policemen armed with video cameras, who began filming the protesters, who were clearly in violation of the law which required a permit.

DSP Deep Singh went around the crowd of people, repeatedly, perhaps no less than 50 times, saying the same thing again and again; that they were in violation of Singapore law in not having a permit; that the police will and are investigating their conduct; that they should therefore leave the area immediately.

This was a clear and unequivocal order from the police, who were the representatives of the Singapore government. There was no doubt at all that the protesters were breaking the law. The protesters there appeared to show exceptional courage and defiance to the direct order of a senior ranking police officer, DSP Deep Singh. In total defiance to the authority of the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore government, not a single person complied with his order. Dr. Chee and everyone there stayed put at their spot and eventually DSP Deep Singh and his policemen were left with no choice but to leave the place while the protesters jeered, mockingly thanking him for his advice.

The Singapore Police Force had lost all it's authority and dignity on that momentous day, October 1, 2007, outside the Burmese Embassy in Singapore, at 15, St Martins Drive, Singapore 257996.

A video of the entire spectacle can be seen on the Singapore Democrat Website http://singaporedemocrat.org/ in the article "Steady Stream of petitioners despite harassment by Singapore Police" Oct 1, 2007. In that video, you will see the pathetic helplessness of DSP Deep Singh, who had to walk away with his tail between his legs, his side kick subordinate police officers at his tail, and indeed the total helplessness of the Lee Kuan Yew regime.

The protesters, by their actions were telling the Singapore police that such a law requiring a permit for 5 or more peaceful people to gather is a violation of the Singapore Constitution; that it is an unjust law; and unjust laws need not be obeyed; even if DSP Deep Singh were to tell them a million times that such a gathering is a breach of the law!

There is no doubt that on that day, in the battle between those who seek freedom and the Lee Kuan Yew administration which wants to suppress it, it was a resounding victory for the Dr. Chee and his human rights activists for the cause of the right to free speech and assembly.

Perhaps the authoritarian Singapore regime has finally realized that it is becoming increasingly difficult to silence the democracy activists and it is best to leave them alone; since afterall justice in this case is with the activists.

And this surely must be the de facto end, if not de jure, of the unjust law that requires a gathering of 5 or more peaceful people to require a permit.

I can clearly see in the Singapore horizon, more and more protests, by Burmese, by Filipinos, by mainland Indians, by mainland Chinese, by Indonesians and of course by Singaporeans. Dr. Chee by his dogged determination has managed to bring about the culture of protest, which Singapore badly needs. We have to salute him for this.

Not unlike Mahatma Gandhi defying British Law which forbid Indians from making salt which was a British Government monopoly, at Porbundur, Gujarat, India where he marched to the Indian Ocean coast and in full view of the British Colonial masters, collected salt.

What Gandhi was saying to the British was that unjust laws need not be obeyed just as Dr. Chee and his activists were saying to Singapore Police Officer Deep Singh that a law requiring 5 or more people to gather is inherently illegal and in violation of the fundamental human rights of citizens all over the world. Therefore he will not obey.

Copy of this letter is sent Emailed to:

1)Deputy Superintendat of Police, Deep Singh son of Piara Singh

2) Minister of Home Affiars, Wong Kan Seng

I urge all readers of this blog to Email both these people to stop harassing citizens from exercising their human rights and reminding Mr. Singh one more time that a law requiring a permit to peacefully assembly is without any legal basis, even if the Lee Kuan Yew Administration says so and that you will break it as many times as you wish.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914
Email: gopalnair@us-immigrationlaw.com


Anonymous said...

In a way, these policemen in Singapore are not different from those soldiers shooting at monks and civilians.

"I am just taking orders." or "This is the law." are not good enough rationale for a job without honour or conscience.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, Mr Nair! Such laws are undoubtedly meant to repress citizens into silence and submission, devoid of all sensibilities and human intellect. Such laws are affront to the human senses, they must be rejected.

We must always remember how valuable our sentient rights to be human and without it we are no better than sheep marching to vicious oligarchic abattoir.

Anonymous said...

i don't think it's fair to take potshots at the policemen. you have to understand that their job is to enforce the law. they don't set it. our parliament does. it wouldn't be fair to taint the policemen and the people in parliament who set the laws with the same brush.

the police keep our people safe. i'm sure you understand that. =)

Gopalan Nair said...

I refer to the "anonymous" who states I should not take "pot shots" at policemen, because they enforce, the law, they dont set it, and parliment does.

This is the very argument that Hitler's SS had used at the Nuremberg Trials for crime against humanity. They said the same thing. That they were enforcing Hitler's law, that these laws were passed in the Reichstag, that they were taking orders, that the orders were to kill jews, these orders were lawful orders of the Reichstag, therefore they are not to blame for shooting Jews.

Their argument did not work then and the argument of Singapore police officers who carry out orders knowing that they are unjust should not work now in Singapore either.

The principal is straightforward. ASP or DSP or whatever rank in the Singapore Police Force, Mr. Deep Singh held; he knew or should have known that the Constitution is the Supreme Law. It protects the freedom of assembly. A law such as this requiring a permit, which even if applied for would be denied, for 5 or more peaceful people to assemble is ridiculous; and especially so, cannot overcome the constitutional provision.

He knew that this law is politically motivated. No basis under the need to secure law and order, since there is no disorder.

He was deliberately denying his fellow Singaporeans the freedoms they were entitled to under the Constitution.

He has to be exposed as a liar, which he is. That is what I did.

I have spent more time than I need with you. You do not appear to understand the laws of a civil society, or what they should be.

I cannot help you more. If you wish to be ignorant, it is your privilege.

For the umpteenth time, a police officer is a bad one if he merely carrys out his orders blindly. If he knows them to be unconscionable, as in this case, he should disobey it, even if it costs him his commission.

As for you, I think you still do not understand a word I said.

Gopalan Nair

Anonymous said...

Just to state that this is my first time posting here, lest you think I've posted before.

Wow. It would appear that you lost your temper to an innocent posting. Just one question though: you have quite a number of 'anonymous' people posting here. How do you if they are one and the same, or different people altogether?

Anonymous said...

How do you know if the law is politically motivated?

And if you were put into the shoes of a kiasu Singaporean policymaker, after the occurences of various riots [even if they took place eons ago], I don't think you would want to take that chance, simply because that very trait is one of the hallmarks of being a Singaporean.

Anonymous said...

you conveniently forget one very important fact: unlike Hitler's SS, the Singapore Police Force does not hunt down and kill people.