Saturday, January 15, 2011

Singapore's helpless, or so it seems, opposition politicians

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the looming General Elections on the horizon in the one party dictatorship of Singapore, let's look at the state of their opposition politicians. Not promising at all, sadly. It must be clear to a 10 year old boy that if you want to win the lottery, you have to buy a ticket, and that strangely is not what they want to do.

First of all, in the one party state with every single person in Parliament singing the Lee Kuan Yew tune, it really does not mean anything even to win a seat. What good is it, to win, and immediately thereafter be bankrupted by Lee Kuan Yew's Kangaroo courts and driven either into poverty, prison or exile, which we have seen so regularly seen in the past.

What Singaporean opposition politician politicians should know is this. You can never expect anyone to vote for you if you have no power, and in your case, you have none at all. You can be imprisoned at Lee Kuan Yew's whim, bankrupted at his whim and a multitude of other misfortunes can happen to you, if Lee desires it, and that, sad to say is the miserable case.

What you have to show Singaporeans is your determination to advance their rights and if denied, you willingness to take any action, short of violence, to demand it. Merely making speeches such as Kenneth Jeyaretnam of the Reform Party is doing is not going to get him anywhere. If I was a Singaporean, which I am not, I would not be voting for him because short of making speeches, there is nothing more he can do. If I was unjustly arrested and jailed, he can do nothing. If I was denied my right to speak freely, he can do nothing. If I was unjustly treated in any way at all, there is simply nothing he can do.

And what is worse, he may even not speak on your behalf since that may result in his own imprisonment!

Let us be honest. There is nothing these so called Singaporean opposition politicians can do for you because they themselves are terrified out of their wits as to what the strongman Lee Kuan Yew will do to them.

Their failure lies, not just in Lee Kuan Yew totally ignoring them in his one party Parliament, it lies in Singaporeans themselves looking at them as men and women lacking the gall to stand up to a tyrant. If you are afraid to stand up for me all the way, why should I want you as my leader. Leaders are men willing to face fire and high water for their people, and if you do not have it, you are simply no good to anyone.

Had I been a British opposition politician and was told some nonsense by the government that I was not allowed to speak in public without their consent, I would make sure that I would create such havoc, a public outcry tomorrow and huge street protests which will make sure the government sees the light. That is what makes a leader and that is why the people want him as one.

Dr. Chee Soon Juan had in the past stood his ground on his rights out of principle in his public protests and demonstrations. I admired him. I believe he understands that the right thing to do is to face tyranny head on, which he has done and is continuing to do, and for which he continues to pay a terrible price. For that we have to give him credit.

Unfortunately now, it seems from a distance that he is no longer willing to break the laws which he knows as unjust, an action which he willingly took in the past.

When Dr. Chee Soon Juan broke these unjust laws which restrict free speech and assembly, he got great respect from Singaporeans yearning for their freedom. In doing so, he has shown himself to be a leader, who would dare to defend my rights completely without any concern for self interest. These are men that the people will follow because you can trust them to protect you. These are men that we call leaders in society.

Kenneth Jeyaretnam, Chiam See Tong or Low Thia Khiang, the other opposition politicians are not leaders, not now or ever. They will never win elections through the peoples' support because they won't have any. They may however win through the connivance of Lee Kuan Yew himself to give the impression of a multi party state.

I am hoping that Dr. Chee Soon Juan will return to how he was before, the real fighter who deliberately broke Singapore's illegal unconstitutional laws against free speech and expression and assembly, because they needed to be broken.

If there is one Singaporean opposition politician still worth his salt, it has to be Dr. Chee Soon Juan whom I hope will understand that until he makes it clear to Lee Kuan Yew's government that he will break any law which are unjust and defend his people no matter what it takes, neither Lee Kuan Yew nor his people would take him seriously.

Breaking unjust laws through peaceful civil disobedience in a country like Singapore where the people live in fear, will in the short term alienate those who themselves have no courage. But in the end, it is those who dared who eventually succeeded in the end.

In my law practice I had occasion to meet Peruvians, asking them as to what they thought of Abimael Guzman, a university professor, the leader of Marxist Sendero Luminoso, who is now serving a life term in prison for terrorist activities. They all told me they did not support him, which was quite clear, since his methods were violent resulting in injury and death of hundreds; completely understandable.

But peaceful non violent protest against injustice is different. Had Guzman adopted peaceful non violent methods instead, I think the results in Peruvian politics would have been very different.

Every man respects a martyr and a patriotic using non violence to resist the unjust laws of the state. I would hope Dr. Chee Soon Juan and his Singapore Democratic Party would do it too, because they are the only hope for Singapore. You can forget Kenneth Jeyaretnam and the others, who are there completely at Lee Kuan Yew's pleasure, anytime.

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

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Anonymous said...

chee soon juan is going to jail for 20 weeks,he will miss the elections and can only direct his party from behind the bars.

Unknown said...

Dear Gopalan,

There are instances where violence actually WORKS. Look at the people's war in Nepal (1996-2006). The maoists abolished the monarchy which lasted for a quarter of a millenium!

Gopalan Nair said...


I do not believe in violence at all, regardless of whether it suceeds. You may approve of violence but that is your problem, not mine.