Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Singapore. All big things came from small beginnings.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If there is anyone who doubts the effectiveness of peaceful protests in Singapore, think again. All big things had small beginnings and this saying is particularly true in Singapore's case.

Human nature is such that men always try to follow safe courses in life. This is only natural. In Singapore, there is a nationwide fear of the Lee Administration if they were to openly show their dissatisfaction to their policies. Loss of job, demotion in their careers, ostracized from government departments and victimization.

In the past, one used to see protests in numbers no more than 2 or 3. 3 miserable people standing in a row putting up some placard or other, in a country of 4.0 million or so! Hardly a mass movement. The government would naturally feel that these 3 isolated individuals is no threat to the mighty Lee Kuan Yew family.

But this was some years ago. Steadily we have seen, over the years the numbers of peaceful protestors increasing which culminated in the Tak Boleh Tahan of March 15, 2008 at 2 pm in front of Parliament House; a huge number of 50 protestors. Oh yes, you may say 50 is hardly a huge number. But it is in the Singapore context. In Singapore 10 years ago, you would not have been able to find a single person to even raise a whimper in protest, let alone publicly doing it!

And the numbers can only increase as time goes on. More and more people will be taking to the streets in Singapore as the government will find it increasing difficult to justify punishing them. Then, with ever larger numbers out in the streets demanding justice, the Lee Regime will find it has no choice but to listen to the people to avoid a catastrophe.

As for Singaporeans it now your chance to be a part of the historic political change that is imminent in Singapore. You will not be alone as there will be thousands of others. And when that change comes, you have the benefit of the realization that among the four million Singaporeans, it was you who was its pioneer in change. It is a great feeling to have. Don’t waste that opportunity.

If you question my optimism, there are good reasons for it. Firstly, in any contest, good always has the upper hand over evil. In this case take the government policies. The Ministers paying themselves $3.7 million a year each is unacceptable to each and every Singaporean, regardless of their social status. In this case, resistance to this theft of Singapore’s wealth by these ministers is justified and noble. The refusal to give the elderly their CPF retirement savings is entirely unacceptable. The government has no excuse in not doing their duty under law.

The government has no justification whatever in denying the people their human rights such as the right to assemble, which happens to be their right under the Constitution. Everyone in Singapore bitterly hates judges like Belinda Ang who misuses the law of defamation in order to destroy Lee Kuan Yew’s opponents like Dr. Chee Soon Juan. I can go on, but you already see my point.

In all these major areas of contention, the Lee Administration has no leg to stand on at all. All they are doing at present is to use brute force and the misuse of the law to deny the citizens their rights. And when that is the case; the people, and in this case; the protestors cause is viewed with sympathy, with kindness and with support. They become the underdog suffering under the yoke of the bully, Lee Kuan Yew.

Protests in any society is usually the last resort in political action. When you have good democratic systems in place, there is no need for protests. Political disputes are handled in gentlemanly fashion in Parliament where both the government and the opposition act in a fair minded honorable manner. Where the incumbent government steps aside where it is lawfully defeated in elections making way for the opposition. Where disputes are argued in Parliament in a temperate decorous manner as gentleman do and solutions are found in a civilized democratic fashion.

But when you see that a government like that of Lee Kuan Yew is not prepared to play by the rules; when they deliberately cheat and rig elections by defamation actions and what not, to destroy the opposition, the people cannot get redress for the woes through normal Parliamentary channels. They have no choice but to resort to peaceful protests; a right which is enshrined as a fundamental right of the people in the Constitution.

In today’s age, protest is the greatest tool that any citizen can have. With instant communication throughout the world of news images and video, the damage done to the reputation of any government is infinitely greater. No government can afford to stand idly by in the face of mounting protestors. They have to either use force to stop them or they have to give in to their demands. And using force, unfortunately for governments is a double edged sword. You may initially thwart an uprising but in the end, you will have to face a much greater uprising than the one before.

Singapore is uniquely suited for protests. A highly densely built up place with great people density. Also it is an international city depending on tourism and international commerce. It cannot be seen as a place where thousands of peaceful protestors are shot. Singapore is not Tien Anmen.

As for the 50 at the Tak Boleh Tahan on March 15, 2008, the numbers will grow. I understand when Mahatma Gandhi started off in Pietermartizburg; Natal South Africa at the turn of the last century, his movement for civil rights consisted of only one man, himself! I don’t have to tell you how many millions joined him in the peaceful protests as time went on to drive the mighty British Imperials out of India. Same with Mandela, same with Martin Luther King, same with all protest movements who have succeeded throughout the world. They all have one quality in common. They had truth on their side.

In the same way in Singapore, in Dr. Chee Soon Juan's peaceful protests, he has truth on his side. He has law on his side. He has justice on his side. He has compassion on his side. Compassion for the poor. The law, in the Constitutional right to protest. The truth, since the Lee regime illegally stays in power by unlawful means. And this quality of truth and justice being on the side of Dr. Chee and the protestors; this gives them strength. And with this strength, the numbers will grow as others will see the light and join in, and then you have a full scale movement.

Everyone has his part to play in this. I can educate and disseminate these facts through this blog. The readership of this blog is steadily rising, thank you. My call to each reader to disseminate it has had positive results. The information is being widely spread. And I shall continue writing as my contribution to the cause of democracy. If in Singapore, you can join the protests. Everyone can contribute in their own small way. And it is with this combined and determined effort on everyone's part that will even topple the mighty Lee Kuan Yew.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914
Email: nair.gopalan@yahoo.com
Blog: http://singaporedissident.blogspot.com/

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