Thursday, July 19, 2012

Singapore. The need for peaceful protest and why the Internet alone will not do.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If there is one country in the world which is totally abuzz in the Internet with demands for the downfall of their government it has to be Singapore. Every which way you look, there are thousands and thousands of critics who want to see the back of the Singapore ruling family or what is also called the Lee Dynasty.

The demands for change should be obvious. You have Lee Kuan Yew and son and every other member of their family in cushy positions wallowing in corruption. Lee pays himself and each of them $3.7 million a year, 5 times that which Obama gets. The press is state controlled. The legal system is hijacked with government appointed judges who destroy government critics through the courts, the Malays and Indians are racially discriminated, and those at the top are preferentially treated in the courts.

True, with the population completely fed up with this dictatorial regime, with people across the island calling for regime change, change has not only started, it will eventually topple the regime. There is no doubt about that.

You see the unraveling of the regime even now. The brain drain is highest with almost everyone capable of leaving the island doing so. No matter how much the government tries to persuade the people to have more children, it has the lowest birth rate in the world and the highest rates of ageing.

To replace those leaving the island and dying of old age, the government is left with no choice but to bring in Chinese immigrants from mainland China who speak no English to replace them. Because of the low quality of these immigrants, the entire population is degraded and brought down to the level of these Mandarin speaking Chinese coolies.

There is no doubt that if the present trend continues, you will be left with a very inferior sort of population in the island leaving on the one hand educated opportunists who have no principles or self respect except the love of money and on the other hand ignorant dummies who have no idea that they don't have to live like slaves.

In this scenario, change takes time, but it will come. But remember also, no matter how much you sit at your computer writing bad things about the Lee ruling family, you are not going to see instant change. The Lee ruling family will linger on with their propaganda on the state controlled newspapers for some time at least.

If you want to see real change now, you are left with no choice. The message must be clear to you from across the Middle East. Egypt, Tunisia and now Syria will not have changed without the people getting up from the comfort of their computers and getting on the streets. Dictatorships like that of the Lees understand no other logic other than that of open resistance peacefully.

I concede these regimes unlike Singapore's were unimaginably brutal. You are talking about pulling out finger nails. But thank God, Lee does not resort to such brutality, not because he will not but because he understands that such reaction will lead to the island emptying out completely. He represses his people but the repression is a soft kind, such as throwing you out of your job, denying you privileges that other citizens receive and defaming your reputation through the state controlled media.

But my message to those Singaporeans who love their island home is this. If you don't want to see your island completely go to the dogs, which it is presently going, then you have to do what you think is right, protest.

If there is one thing the Lee family it terrified of, it is the lone peaceful protestor standing in Raffles Place surrounded by the high rise office blocks at noon on a working day when thousands and thousands of Singaporeans will be passing. The news of that protestor will spread across the tiny island within 5 minutes. Justice is on the side of this brave protestor, not on the side of the government. Remember the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights across the world guarantees this human right of peaceful protest.

It is true that Lee will have this man arrested. But when he does so, across the world his action would be seen to be illegal, no matter what the illegal laws of Singapore were to say.

The moment one man protests, others will follow, and in a few hours if not a few days, the Lee ruling family will be forced to talk and listen to your demands. You will have a new Singapore almost instantly.

I am not asking for violence or bloodshed. Peaceful protests is a proud and noble form of resistance across the world. You are not a criminal for engaging in peaceful protests, instead you are the best citizen, noblest among the noble, with a civic sense of duty which will be respected and admired.

Remember in 2008 when a wrote a blog post in this blog criticizing Lee’s Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean, and being arrested for it, I was acting in a noble cause and respected for what I did across the world, even if the Lee Ruling Family threw me in jail. Subsequently I was even disbarred from practicing law in Singapore but I remain today proudly on the Rolls of lawyers in California and the English Bar. Singapore might consider me a criminal but not so in the free world which looks at me instead as a noble citizen with the courage to stand up to principle. The Lee Ruling Family has not dared to demand that I be punished and disbarred in California or England for being in their opinion, in the Singaporean sense, a very bad criminal.

To those Singaporeans who wish to arrest the decline of the island to which it is heading through the denial of freedom, democracy and the rule of law by this dictatorial government, I say once again, that you must rise up in peaceful protest and do what is right for your island country.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Singaporean by Birth
Fremont, California USA
Tel 510 657 6107 or 510 491 4375


wtf said...

Again Gopalan says "protest on the streets," "the constitution supports you," "the world supports you," blah, blah, blah.

You forget, what happened to the few protestors? e.g., what happened to Tak Boleh Tahan? NOTHINHG substantial happened. The leaders got nailed (as usual) and the others were scared out of their wits. The population kept silent (as usual), Lee and Co, walk away laughing.

You Gopalan have no clue about the Singapore population mindset. How can you, sitting in confort in the US, knowing Lee cannot touch you? If you were in Singapore, earning a living, would you risk that and let yoru family starve? No, you would not, which is why you left. Now you want others to venture where you did not dare?

For the record, you too protested in Tak Boleh Tahan etc., yes, but you have the comfort of a US passport, and with it some protection, something most Singaporeans do not have.

ONE QUESTION: why do you keep asking people to destroy their lives and livelihoods, knowing the Singapore mindset? It does not affect you, so is that okay then to let others go to the dogs?

Gopalan Nair said...

To wtf,
Surely there are consequences in protesting, even peacefully in Singapore. There are consequences of doing it anywhere in the world. In Bashar Assad's Syria, if they catch you they will beat you till all your bones are broken. In Singapore they may put you in jail for a week and other forms of harassment.

I am not sure where you got you got the idea that I was suggesting that there was no price to pay for peaceful protests in Singapore.

What I am saying is this. If Singaporeans want to see a change in their system of government, from one of dictatorship and the corruption of the Lee Ruling Family to one of freedom, democracy and human rights, they have to bring this about through lawful means. And one lawful means and the most effective one, is peaceful protests.

Because I am now living in the USA, does not prevent me from trying to persuade Singaporeans in Singapore to overthrow this dictatorship of the Lee Ruling Family.

In fact it I believe that peaceful protests are going to happen in Singapore very soon, regardless of my writing. I only wish it begins as soon as possible.

I do believe that although you might be so afraid of doing anything for the good of your island, not everyone is as afraid as you are.