Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Singapore. Demanding blind obedience and expecting creative thinking is impossible

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore's Lee ruling family's idea of a good citizen must be crystal clear to everyone. A good citizen in Lee Kuan Yew's book has always been someone who studied hard and passed exams.

Someone who accepted the Lee ruling family as their rightful rulers in perpetuity. Someone who publicly repeated the government mantra that Singapore is incapable or unsuitable for democracy.

Someone who blended with the others and just went along the government line. In other words someone who doesn't think about how life is or should be alternative to the ideas of Lee ruling family.

But in this day and age, for any nation to succeed you need a thinking society. This is the age of information and knowledge. An age of ideas. Countries, especially small tiny ones like Singapore need men like Steve Jobs. Not a bunch of yes men. A people who can think outside the box. Not in unison but independent of each other. People with independent heads with independent brains in them.

Especially for a small tiny island with a small tiny population like Singapore, it's people are it's main asset, an island without any natural resources. Unfortunately for Singapore, precisely because the Lee ruling family were more interested in preserving their own power rather than the interests of the island, they deliberately went about destroying and punishing anyone who did not think the way they wanted.

Take myself Gopalan Nair as an example. I was born in Singapore and received an excellent education in England. I am a lawyer by training. I wanted to do my bit for Singapore. I admired men such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Junior. In Singapore I admired JB Jeyaretnam. My education came in handy. I felt Singapore is a dictatorship, not a democracy. I felt a free and independent people are essential for progress.

To change things, I joined the opposition Workers Party in 1984. I openly proclaimed the evil of dictatorships. I protested the censoring of the the newspapers. I agitated for free speech and expression. I was known particularly as someone opposing the Lee Kuan Yew dictatorship and his denial of people's freedoms.

If the Lee ruling family had the interests of Singapore, they would have appreciated my active participation in matters affecting the society and should have encouraged me. I am not a criminal. I am not a person of bad morality. I was an educated person who could have contributed to Singapore's well being as well as to my profession as a Singaporean lawyer.

Instead I was hounded from the first day they found out my intentions. I was repeatedly charged and prosecuted under both criminal and lawyer disciplinary proceedings. I was found in contempt of court and suspended from practicing law for 2years in 1991. Lee's intention was to silence men such as myself so that I will submit quietly to his rule without complaint never mind what I thought; like everyone else.

But sadly for the Lee ruling family, they cannot achieve their intention of making me a criminal. In spite of all these criminal and Singapore Law Society ethics punishments imposed, not a single Singaporean or any foreigner thinks any worse of me. It is quite clear both in Singapore and abroad that their kangaroo courts are a tool to silence critics and these punishments are just simply nonsense.

Many others in my position have quietly submitted and kept quiet. Their independent minds and spirits destroyed, they became like the others, submissive and intimidated souls who went about their work and stopped thinking of these things anymore. Their spirits were dampened and then completely destroyed. They became like their fellow Singaporeans, just another robot.

Many like me who felt a distaste living such cowardly submissive lives, like sheep simply left the country. By and large they have simply disappeared in their new lives and forgotten Singapore altogether. There are a few like me who despite having left continue to openly criticize this government from abroad to weaken their grip over their people.

Today Singapore is by and large populated with a people either ignorant of their rights, through a lack of education or understanding or those who do not hold much respect for themselves and are willing to live lives pleasing the Lee Kuan Yew government.

Either way you look at it, the Lee ruling family has destroyed independent thinking among Singaporeans. Unfortunately in this day and age, it is precisely this quality that the island needs to achieve any success, which Lee has completely and permanently destroyed, a state which cannot be rehabilitated any longer. The damage to their minds is permanent.

The Lees have simply got their knickers in a twist. Today they realize that for the island to grow and remain successful you have to have independent and self respecting individuals.

If indeed they wanted to undo the harm they had done, they have now to openly admit that their actions against me were wrong. That their actions against the late JB Jeyaretnam were wrong. They have to admit that Chee Soon Juan did no wrong. And to admit that Singapore Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean was indeed corrupt and misused the law to punish Chee in order to please her master Lee.

They have to free the press, allow peaceful demonstrations as mandated by the Constitution and admit that Alan Shadrake was indeed right in his book Once a Jolly Hangman because the law is indeed misused to hang ordinary drug mules but to allow well connected elites to escape. They have to admit there is no rule of law.

But unfortunately for them this is simply too much to ask. If Lee were to do all this he would be overthrown the next minute. On the other hand if he were not to do this, Singapore will continue on it's decline with talented people continuing to leave it's shores because this island is simply nonsense.

This is like a Catch 22 situation, a Hobson's choice. Either Singapore is damned or the Lee family is damned. They have managed to drive the country to this hopelessness.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Disbarred from practicing law in Lee's Singapore, imprisoned and refused entry to the island for criticizing Singapore's judiciary in this blog (see blogpost May 29, 2008 Singapore. Judge Belinda Ang's Kangaroo Court)
Actively practicing law in California and in good standing at the California Bar.
Member in good standing as a lawyer in England and Wales (Barrister).
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

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