Sunday, November 25, 2007

Without protests Singapore will not change.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In countries where there is a vibrant democracy, civil society, free press, independent judiciary and a representative parliament, protests are less important or necessary for change. The organs of civil society, it's pillars of a representative parliament can effectively bring about change. Singapore does not have such a society. Singapore is a dictatorship with Lee Kuan Yew as its dictator. It does not have any of the safeguards that a democratic society has; no independent judiciary, a rubber stamp parliament, a state owned and controlled press. In these circumstances, you cannot expect parliament to speak for you. If you want change, you have no choice but to take to the streets and protest. You have to make Lee Kuan Yew listen, whether he likes it or not.

Just as the Filipinos made Marcos listen whether he liked it or not. Just as the Poles did in Poland bringing down communism. Just as the Ukrainians did. Just as the Romanians did in Bucharesti. Just as the Serbs did in Sarajavo. Just as Mandela did in Pretoria.

At this moment, Lee Kuan Yew has neither respect nor regard for his people. Somehow he has begun to believe that he alone is God's choice to rule over you. That he will decide, the rubber stamp parliament will promptly place their seals of approval, the the law is passed. He alone will do the thinking and he alone will execute. You are living in a classic directorship with him as the dictator.

Over the years, you have seen that nothing you said mattered. He has increased his salary to $3 million over the objection of the entire population. He has decided to introduce casinos, regardless of what you thought about gamblers. As for the Malays and Indians, he has decided that they are only entitled to live in selected areas of Singapore and not necessarily their choice, re: HDB policy of racial segregation. He has decided that Singapore should have 75% Chinese regardless of how fertile the 3 races each are (overwhelming Chinese human imports to counteract the increasing number of Malays being born).

In the history of countries, the most effective way of making governments listen has been through protests. South Africa would have retained apartheid had it not for Mandela and the ANC taking to the streets. India would not have been free had it not for Gandhi adopting Satyagraha. And let us not forget Burma. Burma is going to be free. And it will be because of Burmese protests.

Other than the more abstract issues such as freedom of the press and so on, you can see there are burning issues, blatant outrages being committed by this government. First take the CPF issue. A large section of the population including many friends of mine are suffering because the government is unjustly refusing to pay their rightful retirement money, causing them pain and hardship in having to continue to work. It is not that they do not have savings because they have a lot of savings in the CPF. The problem is, the government is refusing to pay. The government is reneging on the promise they made when the CPF scheme had first started. They promised that it was our retirement money. They promised to give to us at 55. Now they betray their promise. This is not just. This alone should make your blood boil. This calls for a protest. This is so, because without a protest, this rubber stamp parliament under this dictator will never listen.

This is not the only burning grievance. The poor are crying out. They are being handed cooking oil and bags of rice and a few hundred dollars and are told to fend for themselves. They cannot possibly survive. They are suffering untold misery in their one room HDB cubicles. And while they suffer, these old folks who were the pioneers who built Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew and his ministers dance in public and pay themselves $3 million per year. This too should make your blood boil.

Furthermore there is discrimination even in this. Did you know that unlike you, Lee Kuan Yew and company will be paid pensions. You only get CPF, that is if you ever get it! Why the special treatment for Lee Kuan Yew, his son and cronies? Is this not corruption. If not what is it?

Citizens of Signapore, what are you waiting for. Have the courage. The country is yours as well as Lee Kuan Yew.

And lastly, protest is your right, not a privilege. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees you that right. It is a right that humans proudly possess. And it is honorable for you to exercise that right. There is no shame in it. If you have any doubts, you can confirm this by asking SDP's former Indian lawyer who claims to be a human rights lawyer. I understand he is returning to practice after a year's suspension. Congratulations to him.

If I sounded like Mark Anthony in Shakepear's Julius Ceaser, it wasn't intentional.

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

No comments: