Friday, December 26, 2014

Singapore's brave young David William Grasskov and the movie The Scent of a Woman

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Yesterday I posted on this blog the story of the 18 year old boy David William Graaskov who did something extraordinary in Lee Kuan Yew's son's Singapore island.

He did the unthinkable, in the Singaporean context, a one party state devoid of free speech, expression, assembly, the rule of law or a free press.

Please see State Controlled newspaper Straits Times article of Dec 24, 2014 here

18 year old Graaskov, with some friends of his climbed atop a HDB (Housing and Development Board) government housing apartment block and wrote the words "Democracy" and "Freedom" and words in similar vein critical of the repressive one party state which denies its citizens any fundamental right.

Obviously he felt strongly, the denial of his rights in his country and wanted to change things. An honorable sentiment, undoubtedly.

What he did was not a crime of moral turpitude, there was no personal gain for him; only that as a person of strong principles and convictions, he felt he had to do something about it. And having courage, he did what he felt he should do. Hardly any young men in that orchestrated one party state island, has even an iota of the courage and character of this young man; I can say that without any hesitation.

Instead of being a criminal as the Singapore government is treating this young man, he is a hero, a young man of character and an abundance of spine.

Had he done the same in London, Paris or Rome or any other city in any other respectable country, people would not even have batted an eyelid. But he is not in London, Paris or Rome. He is in an island run by Lee Kuan Yew's son, where any criticism is immediately answered with arrest, imprisonment, a defamation lawsuit, bankruptcy, shaming in the state controlled press and other cowardly acts. 

For his trouble, he has been repeatedly portrayed in headlines on their state controlled press with his picture as if he was a dangerous criminal of the worst kind imaginable.

He has been shown in headlines over many days in shackles and chains under police escort, a plan deliberately to depict him as a criminal of the worst kind all because he wrote some anti government slogans.

The purpose of course is not so much to punish him but more importantly to relieve the fear of this dictatorship that others would dare to do the same and they would be toppled the next minute.

This is not so much an exercise of law enforcement but and exercise of inflicting fear in others who may even consider such a course. Imagine what would happen to these dictators of their one party state if there were thousands of David William Graaskovs holding up signs critical of the Lee government!

So the problem has to be nipped in the bud, and a harmless young man who is merely seeking freedom has to labelled a hard core criminal as if he had only yesterday murdered 100 Singaporeans in broad daylight and boasted about it.

Please see my blog post of yesterday here: A brave young Singapore boy with courage character principles and leadership, David William Graaskov

And it here that I am reminded of the Al Pacino movie The Scent of a Woman and a striking similarity of the boy in the movie with young Graaskov. In it, some boys in a school had thrown some paint over a teacher in a caper. This boy knew who they were. When questioned by his teachers, he refused to name them feeling a sense of moral responsibility not to betray his friends, even though he was faced with expulsion from the school. The scene is a school auditorium with Al Pacino sitting with  the boy at the inquisition. An excellent piece of acting by Al Pacino.

You can see it here.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California, USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Even little boys are not spared. Recently, some idiotic and heartless law enforcers handcuffed those boys for some petty crimes.