Friday, February 15, 2008

Dr. Lee Boon Yang's double talk in prohibiting protests in Singapore.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The state owned and controlled news media Channel News Asia of Feb 15, 2008 has an article "Foreigners should not organize, lead complaints about Singaporeans".

A short background. A few months ago, a Finnish based choir, the Complaints Choir, which goes around the world singing complaints in different countries applied to organize a function to sing in Singapore. The Singapore choir which is affiliated to the Finnish organization had many Singaporean as well as some foreigners. An application to sing in public by them was denied by Singapore government. As a result, they conducted a private singing function. The reason for refusal to grant the permit was that foreigners were in the choir; the argument being, foreigners are not permitted to criticize Singapore from within Singapore. Yet another logic defying drivel from a government which no longer cares whether it makes sense or not!

After the choir’s private performance, a Nominated Member of Parliament; which by the way is a totally illogical and unnecessary political position in this Alice in Wonderland; had asked in parliament why the Complaints Choir was refused permission to sing? The arguments of the government minister Dr. Lee Boon Yang are so warped and nonsensical; it has to be taken separately.

He says: Foreigners should not be encouraged to organize and lead Singaporeans in making complaints about the nation.

Does that then mean that the prohibition is only against encouraging foreigners? If foreigners decided themselves without any encouragement to make complaints against the nation, would that be permissible? In any case, under what provision of the law is this proscribed?

He says: Only Singaporeans can be involved in domestic politics.

If that is so, are foreign newspapers not permitted to comment on domestic politics, which they appear to do routinely, such as New Straits Times, Newsweek, Time and other foreign newspapers? Why are they permitted to do so? And sold in Singapore?

In fact, is it not true that Singaporeans are not permitted to engage in domestic politics unless they belong to the PAP? If they are permitted, why then are the opposition supporters denied permits to speak or assemble in public? Is such activity, not termed domestic politics?

He says: Letting foreigners lead Singaporeans to make complaints in public run contrary to established principles that comments for domestic affairs should be reserved for Singaporeans.

Is the prohibition only against letting foreigners leading Singaporeans in complaints? If they do not lead but follow Singaporeans in their complaints, would it be permissible? Why should comments on domestic affairs be reserved for Singaporeans only? Are not foreign academics in Singapore Universities allowed to criticize Singapore in education, or are they only permitted to praise and glorify it?

Have there not been foreign politicians invited to Singapore who have then criticized the appalling human rights record of Singapore? Is Singapore a closed society like North Korea where all criticism is illegal or are they an international city engaged in free exchange of ideas?

In any case, why has not a single permit to speak or assemble ever been granted to any Singaporean in the last 40 years to criticize his government? What is the point of reserving criticism for Singaporeans when they are never permitted to exercise it?

He says: Although Singapore had commented on Myanmar’s human rights abuses that was all right because it was in line with international sentiments.

How and when was this new rule introduced to allow criticism of other countries only provided it was in line with international sentiments?

Did not Lee Kuan Yew once call the residents of Johore Bahru, Malaysia a bunch of gangsters and muggers? Did he not on several occasions malign the ability and intellect of Malays in Malaysia? Were these insults to Malaysians because they were in line with international sentiments?

Dr. Lee Boon Yang, the Arts Minister should speak plain English for a change and not speak it in the Pickwikian sense. And what the Minster for the Arts is saying is simply that he will not permit criticism from anyone, friend or foe, Singaporeans or Hottentots, from criticizing his one party totalitarian government.

And this is what we should say to this Minister. No! No! No! We will not take this lying down. We will protest with or without your blessing. If it is a peaceful law abiding protest, assembly or speech, it is protected by the Singaporean constitution and we intend to do it.

That should be the message for Singapore’s Dr. Goebbels, Dr. Lee Boon Yang.

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


Anonymous said...

Total Defence Day in Singapore was just commemorated on the 15th yesterday.
Every time on this occasion, they call on all Singaporeans to defend the country from external threats.

Bloody stupid government. The PAP. Who do not know that with Singapore's sheer tiny dot size, even the full strength of the SAF can't defend it from even a single cruise missile attack! Let alone the people.

They are asking the people to sacrifice themselves for a country of such a small size?

Not worth it.

As far as I know, the army here does not have any anti-missile defence system!

The Americans are developing it currently, with many failures at first, but slowly it seems to be working.

Singapore still has to purchase it.

If the true intention of the Singapore Government is to make Singapore a authoritarian state, and silence all opposition, why don't they just do it like a man instead of using propaganda all the time?

Anonymous said...

In addition to threadstarter's comment,

This is the funny thing and perhaps the answer to all.

If Singaporeans will not defend themselves against one old man armed with a hatchet, how the bloody hell do you think they are supposed to defend themselves from a country of men? Money (the need and greed for it) and fear has done more damage to Singapore than any army or external nation could ever do. Singapore's threats are not external, Singapore's threats are right in PAPliament... I mean Parliament.

Furthermore, foreign threats have are already infiltrated Singapore and can reach all Singaporeans from thousands of kilometers away. The threat that has infiltrated Singapore is foreigners and their belief that Singaporeans should be free and that there truly is nothing wrong with standing up to a government... that's what patriots do, that's what citizens do.

Only slaves, dogs and other animals are made to listen and serve their master without a say, much less a bark. If you agree with your government, great... if not and cannot speak against it and only can do what you are told and fear it as dog would a mater's shoe, then you know you are.

The external threat that can reach Singapore from anywhere in the world is the Internet. Singaporeans read and learn and become confident and convinced it is they who have the power and not the government. One day they will have courage, right now they only have fear.

Singapore's best defense, it's total defense force, is people's ability to speak. Now tell me, what nation, what government, or what person is trying to silence you or make it difficult for you and that my friends is your real threat. This says it all.

As for this minister, what's to say? Singapore can comment on other countries governments but foreigners cannot comment on his? Hehehe, yup this is why ministers deserve their pay, hehe.

Heaven forbid the thought of Singaporeans interacting in a global village and a first world country, for all Singaporeans would perhaps see this government has no place in a democratic free country... therefore, why defend it?

Seriously, would you go through a war, then turn in your rifle and turn in your ability to speak freely along with it and then go back into living in fear and living with a government that twists and turns the Constitution into whatever it wants after you laid your life down for it? And if you will defend Singapore, great, you should, but what might be more important then defending Singapore is defending you freedoms and Constitution. Otherwise what is there to defend in Singapore?

"I don't want to be afraid, I want to be free."

Russ said...

The book, 'What Makes You Not a Buddhist' by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, makes the point on pg.39:

"It's easy to see the attraction of the wisdom of Confucius, such as respecting and obeying elders and not revealing the flaws and indignities of family and nation.
His wisdom is very pragmatic and can be useful in functioning in this world. These may be wise guidelines, but in many cases these rules have resulted in extremely negative consequences, such as censorship and suppression of opposing views."

"For example, the obsession with "saving face" and obeying elders has resulted in centuries of deception and lying, to next door neighbours and to entire nations."

"Given that history, the deep-seated hypocrisy of many Asian countries, such as China and Singapore, isn't surprising."

"The leaders of many countries condemn feudalism and monarchies and boast of adoping democracy or communism. But those same leaders, whose subjects revere them and whose misdeeds are kept secret, will hold office until their last breath, or until a hand picked heir takes over."

"Little has changed from the old feudal systems. Law and justice are designed to keeep the peace and create harmonious society, but in many cases the criminal justice system works to the advantage of crooks and the wealthy, while the poor and the innocent suffer from unfair laws."

Anonymous said...

I will not be commenting about Spore since I am ex-Sg and therefore foreigner now. Why give PAP constructive ideas. Let them go extinct through groupthink.

But there are a few things I cannot help laughing about PAP politicans making clowns of themselves ... talking gabage and treating Singaporeans like kids. Maybe I am too seasoned in Australia where pollies here are more in-your-face than their US counterparts, and I don take their words at face value.

Anyway, about that Total Defence Day, Singaporeans have to be loyal. At the first sign of trouble, I will see to it that the overseas properties of the Old Man are ready to accept the Singapore govt who will set up their overseas command post in my country while my ex-countrymen stay in the country to fight.