Sunday, August 29, 2010

Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew stuck in the bog.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I get the refreshing feeling now that Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew and company, the bully boys who run the island, have finally got themselves firmly stuck in the bog. And it appears they don't know what to do.

Although the old Chinese adage of killing a chicken to frighten the monkeys, another way of saying "Punish and shame a few to silence the majority", is very much in vogue in Singapore as it has always been, lately, it simply does not seem to work.

You recall the late JB Jeyaretnam. He was repeatedly punished for his political opposition which finally killed him. Yet he never gave up and Lee's punishments, rather than silencing him, made him even more vociferous. Then of course there is Dr. Chee Soon Juan. He goes to prison almost every month a week at a time for exercising his civil rights. Lee's idea was to punish him, so he will stop. It was also to intimidate others so they will not do likewise.

Lee's plan for Dr. Chee Soon Juan appears to be a complete flop. Dr. Chee does not mind going to jail a week at a time, and neither has it frightened anyone else.

And then there was me, in 2008. I criticized Singaporean Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean for prostituting her office to please Lee Kuan Yew in a defamation trial. I was sent to jail for 3 months with great fanfare and the local state controlled press carrying headlines of it for several days. That has not stopped me from criticizing her or anyone else in Singapore. In fact my criticism has become even more robust.

The ground in Singapore instead of becoming cowed and intimidated, has become just the reverse. Today almost daily you have someone taking on the Lee Kuan Yew regime openly and fearlessly. Last week a young man wrote in his blog that Vivian Balakrishnan should be "burnt". He was arrested for that. Yesterday another young man had criticized the manner of Shafie Goh's arrest, a photographer who had taken pictures of the flooding last month. He has been taken in for questioning. But it is not stopping them. In fact the young man who wanted Balakrishnan to be "burnt" has challenged Lee Kuan Yew to "take him on"!

These protest are now becoming more regular and Singaporens are resisting the repression they are living under. The efficacy of the old Chinese saying about killing chickens and frightening monkeys is being disproved. Singaporeans are turning out to be neither chickens nor monkeys. If there are any monkeys or chickens, they are Lee Kuan Yew, his son and his sidekicks, all of them.

Here I am going to advise Lee Kuan Yew. Sending anyone to jail for a week like you do Dr. Chee Soon Juan does not interest anyone, least of all Dr. Chee Soon Juan. And when you sent me to jail for 3 months in 2008, it didn't interest me or for that matter anyone else.

If you really want Singaporeans to be afraid of you in the year 2010, you have to do what Hitler or Stalin did. Shoot them or send them to jail for 20 years, not one week. I dare say it would make a difference on the ground if you sent Dr. Chee Soon Juan to jail for 20 years. That would not only silence him, it would also silence everyone else. Better still shoot him.

But you and I know, at this day and age, you can do none of that. All you can do is to send him to jail for a week at a time, because if you did anything more to him, the international community will "burn" you and your friends to borrow the young man's phrase.

So, it appears now, you are finally stuck in the bog, up to your neck. You can neither move or do anything. You are helpless. And I ask Singaporean young men as the one who was arrested, not to fear, and continue standing up to the bully.

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

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