Monday, October 1, 2012

Singapore will not change without peaceful protests

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If you are content living in an island where you have no freedom of the press (all newspapers are state controlled); where there is no rule of law and any open criticism of the government invites arrest and bankruptcy through the courts; where in order to be left alone, you should be a government supporter; then you should have no problem living in Lee's Singapore where the Lee Ruling Family rules as dictators.

Otherwise you either have to leave the country for a life elsewhere or you have to attempt somehow to restore democracy, which unfortunately entails the risk of punishment.

But one thing has to be remembered, the Lee Ruling Family of the father (Lee Kuan Yew) and his son team are not going to allow freedom anytime soon, not in Singapore and not in any other dictatorship in the world including Syria.

And another thing that has to be remembered is this. Dictatorships never allowed democracy to take root through elections, not in Bashar al Assad's Syria, not in the former Egypt of Mubarak nor in the late Sadam Hussein's Iraq. And neither will Lee's Singapore dictatorship ever become a democracy with his blessing.

This one thing has to be remembered. The Lee family will hold on to power for as long as they can and by hook or by crook. It is so in all dictatorships. It really does not matter for whom or how you vote every 5 years. The Lees are fully aware that public opinion is moving steadily against them, and to counter this, they are slowly infiltrating the opposition and turning it into their partners.

At the last election, about 40% of the electorate voted for the opposition. But in reality, they didn't get a single real opposition politician into Parliament. What they did was to turn the Workers Party into the PAP. So what the public got is 2 PAPs instead of one. The actual PAP comprised of the Lee Ruling Family and the other PAP with Low Thia Khiang and his friends. All they do is to ask innocuous questions, which the Lees will simply ignore and they all happily go home to make even more silly arguments the next day.

Why does Low Thia Khaing behave in this disgraceful way? Because the Lees have made an offer to him which he simply cannot refuse. It must be so. Either play ball with me or else, detention without trial, trumped up criminal charges, defamation actions and bankruptcy. So he does what any other man without principles would have done. He agrees to play Lee's game.

Low Thia Khaing has been in Parliament for 2 decades. During this time he has made countless speeches in Parliament and I am sure he would make countless more. But your life has not become one bit freer; in fact your freedoms have become even less.

You are sadly mistaken if you think anything will change with one Low Thia Khiang or a hundred Low Thia Khiangs. And by that time, it will take so long that you would all be dead by then. What good is that?

Egypt did not change through elections, Tunisia did not change through elections, Libya did not change through elections, and Singapore will not change through elections either. It really does not matter that Lee Kuan Yew is not Bashar al Assad Lee Kuan Yew, he is no different. Like any other tyrant, Bashar al Assad Lee Kuan Yew or just Lee Kuan Yew are all the same. He will cling to power. Because if he let slip, there is too much to lose. For one he would lose the ability to steal $2.7 million a year for himself and every one of his family members by calling it a salary. All his friends and cronies in high places with cushy jobs would suddenly have to vacate their palaces and themselves, and we do not know what more he will have to put up with.

If you do not protest now, 2016 elections will come and go, you may vote in even larger numbers for the opposition but what you get is nothing but Low Thia Khiang clones.

If you need change, you will have to take to the streets; there is no other way. You must demand that Lee stops stealing your money. You must demand a free press. You must demand the rule of law and you must demand transparency.

True, you will be arrested. But in today's world it is difficult to lock you up and throw the key away. Far too many people are watching. He would have to release you. You must do it again. This fact of his arresting you for no crime whatsoever will be public knowledge. The injustice of the government would be plain for all to see. A few more will join and with the government's harsh response, which we can expect with time, more and more will join.

This sort of thing is perfect in a crowded built up city like Singapore where every action of the government is subject to wide and minute public scrutiny, both within and outside Singapore. Very quickly the government will have to decide either to give in to your just demands or be condemned as another brutal dictatorship which puts down its own citizens.

The Lee family are a bunch of cowards. They only dare to bully you as long as you allow them to do it. If you stand up to it, they usually back off as bullies always do. Chee Soon Juan is a perfect example. Since they know that Chee would not budge, it appears they have decided to go soft on him.

It is my duty to do what I can from wherever I am. If I can convince public opinion on the efficacy of this approach, then I should do it.

I am convinced that this is the right approach if you want to see change in a dictatorship like Singapore anytime soon.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Fremont, CA USA
Tel: 510 491 4375

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