Sunday, September 20, 2015

Singaporeans living under a one party dictatorship have lost their ability to think rationally and common sense

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Unless the Singaporean is able to think rationally and exercise common sense as normal human beings, which they appear incapable of, they will forever live under a one party police state as they do now.

At the recent elections, the ruling Lee Kuan Yew's Peoples Action Party which has been running the island for the last 50 years uninterrupted, won again, this time, not surprisingly, with an increased majority. The reasons must appear obvious. Singaporeans have no constitutional rights whatsoever. No right to free speech, free assembly, peaceful protest, no means of challenging the ruling government whatsoever. Additionally there is no free press and no rule of law. The citizens are literally living as slaves and totally obedient to the ruling PAP.

They voted overwhelmingly for this one party state government under which they live with no rights at all! After all in reality, despite the elections, they have no real chance of voting for anyone else.

In Singapore where there is a total denial of human rights, the citizens have no opportunity to engage the government. Public speeches are disallowed. Anyone with a contrary opinion has no way either to make it known to the public, to engage the government or to have their views published in the media which is entirely state controlled. The opposition cannot engage the government on their views. Except for blogs and the social media, where even here, you can be sued for defamation, jailed and bankrupted, the citizens are simply prevented from expressing or promoting their views. The only time they are allowed to make speeches in public is a span of a mere 9 days in every 5 years during the elections, although even here, the speeches have to be muted and carefully moderated lest you are sued for defamation or worse arrested.

Surely anyone with common sense would know that such a system is either fascism or a dictatorship. And any right thinking person who wants to live a free man, like we all do would oppose this.

But the strange thing about the Singaporean is that he doesn't think this way, as a normal person anywhere else would. Through years of subjugation, his thought process is no longer normal. He is prepared to willingly accept these laws without question.

He simply obeys the law which prevents him from speaking publicly, although such a law is totally nonsensical.

Any other person in any other country would have looked at it this way. It is simply outrageous for any law to make it illegal for me to stand at a street corner and complain against the government. I am not hurting anyone by doing so and therefore a law which punishes me from doing something totally harmless is clearly wrong and no one needs obey. Therefore any ordinary rational foreigner would have no hesitation in breaking such a law but the Singaporean simply is incapable of acting in that fashion. He has undergone behavior training for so long and subjected to years of living under fear that his thought process has permanently shifted from the normal.

What harm am I doing anyone if I stood with a placard peacefully at Raffles Place at lunchtime with the words "Down Down PAP". No one is harmed by that and a law which makes it illegal is clearly an ass.

In Singapore it is illegal to assemble in a group in public even though you are entirely peaceful. What harm are you doing anyone else if 5 of you got together in a public place and held up anti- government posters, absolutely none. Yet Lee Kuan Yew's Son's government makes it illegal too and the people of Singapore on their part simply obey.

In Singapore even though the Constitution guarantees a free press, the entire press in  the island is state controlled, yet the average Singaporean makes no complaint of this transgression.

What then happens as a result of these phenomena is the Singaporean during their entire lives are totally incapable and unable to exercise their right of self determination and are totally kept out of any participation in government. They allow the government to do entirely what they want by their complete inability to challenge the government even remotely their entire lives.

Singaporeans through years of living under such total control have lost their ability to think. 

The recent elections in the island where the ruling party not only won as they have done for the past 50 years but had even increased their majority to 70% should have come as no surprise in an behavior trained island such as this.

Opposition political parties such as Chee Soon Juan's Singapore Democratic Party had worked very hard at the recent elections but had lost very badly. They got just 30%. I would have told them they had no chance at all and were simply wasting their time. What surprises me is this. Why does Chee Soon Juan, undoubtedly a man of immense wisdom is incapable of understanding this simple truth.

Chee Soon Juan would be not only wasting his time but that of his party if he continued in his merry way of waiting for 2020 to try his luck once more. In order to persuade the electorate, he should speak in public, make speeches, organize protests against government laws and policies and organize peaceful demonstrations  if the state does not respond to his legitimate demands. These actions are necessary to put out his message to the public. And these actions, although perfectly legal under normally understood laws or morality, it so happens, are also crimes under Lee Kuan Yew's laws.

So until and unless Chee Soon Juan is prepared to break these laws, which are plainly illegal as they are, he would never be able to persuade his voters because he cannot get the message across effectively and will not be able to engage the government as he should.

What he has done so far is going from house to house asking for support. But why should they when he has not shown throughout his time as a citizen of Singapore any willingness to challenge the unjust policies by whatever lawful means necessary, which includes peaceful protests, public speeches and civil disobedience (disobedience to unjust laws). He should know that under the Constitution of Singapore, freedom of expression, assembly and protest are guaranteed Constitutional rights and the restrictions placed on them by this government are illegal.

Chee Soon Juan of the Singapore Democratic Party which is a party most representative of democracy in the island, should engage the government throughout the 5 years up till the next elections. Not just writing blogs and asking people to support him which is not enough; because no one need support him since he can do nothing for them.

There are several burning issues for which he has a huge support base, as was seen in his recent huge election rallies.

One such issue is immigration which is totally destroying the local population. Another is the lack of minimum wage and the plight of the poor.

Form the huge support he had at rallies, he knows he can garner huge numbers for protests for redress. These protests will also force the government to respond to these issues resulting in the government being held responsible for their actions, visibly in the public eye, throughout the 5 years, not just at election time. The trick lies in engaging the government throughout, not just during 9 days every 5 years.

Unless the people of Singapore and their leaders such as Chee Soon Juan are prepared to exercise their minds to rational thinking and do what is peaceful and just to challenge this government, not once in 5 years but throughout their lives in the island; unless the people of Singapore are able to use their common sense and thinking as rational normal human beings, Lee Kuan Yew's PAP will continue to rule over their lives in 2020 and beyond and they will continue to live as slaves as they do now.

And my advice to Chee Soon Juan is this. If you are going to do the same as you have done for the past 20 years, please leave politics and do something else to help yourself. And as for his supporters including the Dr. Paul Anand Thambiyah, I will say this. You are backing the wrong horse. You are wasting your time with Chee Soon Juan and his Singapore Democratic Party because he is leading you nowhere. You could spend your time better doing something useful, not something you know is going to fail again, 5 years time in 2020 and thereafter too. I strongly urge Chee Soon Juan to think rationally and logically, for once.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean by Birth
Now American citizen
San Francisco, California
Tel: 510 491 8525

A satire on Singapore's one party nanny state

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore picture's as a nanny state where nannies (Lee Kuan Yew's son and his selected friends known as the PAP) are the rulers and the citizens, 5 year old children who live in a nursery (the island of Singapore).

The nannies have complete control over the children who are not allowed freedom of speech or openly criticize their nannies.  One such child, Roy Ngerng who criticized the chief nanny, Lee Kuan Yew's son, was recently sued and will soon be made a bankrupt. No child in the Chief Nanny's nursery is allowed to openly criticize any nanny.

The children are never allowed to protest publicly, organize speeches or write anything critical in newspapers of general circulation. All newspapers and Media are owned and controlled by the nannies.

In effect the children throughout their lives are totally controlled by their nannies. They have no say in how the nannies run their lives. However the nannies allow the children one privilege. They are allowed once in 5 years to form political parties, provided the nannies give permission and stand for elections against the nannies.

But the children have no chance of ever of beating the nannies as every child lives in apartments owned by the nannies, they work in companies owned by them and if they show any attempt of a challenge, would immediately be arrested and thrown in jail. For fear of losing their jobs and livelihood, the children always vote for the nannies. In any case, since the children have no experience whatsoever in government their entire lives, since the nannies never give them a chance, the children would rather vote for the nannies rather than the inexperienced children.

A week ago, the nannies held their elections where the nannies obtained an overwhelming 70% of the votes. As the children have no means of realistically challenging the nannies under these circumstances it is certain the nannies will always win. What the nannies want is for the children to do their jobs without complaining and allow the nannies to provide for them. The nannies have promised to provide jobs, housing and all necessities of life for the children provided they are obedient and quietly do their jobs and live their lives. The nannies get upset if you complain too much as this, they say, affects their ability to serve the children in the best way possible.

After the latest elections, many children have written their views on why the nannies have got a large percentage. Some children attribute this to the nannies being more attentive to the children needs. Some children have accused the nannies of not taking care of the public transport system due to repeated breakdowns. The nannies have promised that next time they would take better care of the transport. The children have also complained to the nannies that they are allowing too many foreigners into the island and the nannies have promised to take care of that too. In fact the Chief nanny has promised that he will take good care of the children with better housing better jobs and more money and expects even more children to vote for the nannies and whoever the nannies place in positions of authority.

Many children feel their lives have got better because of their nannies. When the Chief nanny's father Lee Kuan Yew died recently, there was outpouring of grief for him being the greatest and kindest nanny of all. How sad they were to have lost a nanny like him.

The children in the nursery are overwhelming happy to live under the compassionate loving care of such nannies. In fact the children voted a whopping 70% for the nannies at the recent elections. They look forward to many years of good life under such kind and loving nannies who will build roads for them, build the schools and provide jobs. There are some children in the nursery who are disobedient and had to punished. One such wayward child was Chee Soon Juan of the Singapore Democratic Party. This child made all sorts of accusations against the nannies and challenged the nannies at the recent elections. The overwhelming majority of  children who are all grateful to the nannies trounced this wayward recalcitrant Chee Soon Juan at the elections by giving him even less than a quarter of the votes. The evidence shows the majority of the children detest this child Chee Soon Juan and would hope he would go away.

Since the elections, as always, things are going on as normal. The children have since stopped talking about the recent elections anymore and have gotten down to life as usual in the nursery. The trains are running, the buses are running, the people are working, the clocks are ticking and the children in the nursery have gone back to their daily lives under the kind and loving care of their nannies.

In five years time, in 2020, the children will be given another chance at the elections. In the meantime, they should not complain, openly criticize their nannies, form peaceful protests and not ask embarrassing questions and generally be quiet  and obedient. The nannies will feed house clothe and take care of them as they have always done. The nannies have promised that the lives of the children will be even better than it ever was. As for the children, they are so happy to have such kind caring and loving nannies.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean by birth
Now American citizen
Tel: 510 491 8525
Email :

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

After the recent elections Singapore is on course to self destruct

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Although Singapore started off as an intended democracy replete with Constitutional rights of free speech expression assembly and the rule of law, it has been transformed over the entire 50 years of its history to a total dictatorship run by the Lee family and their  PAP  assisted by highly paid willing collaborators. Today it has no free speech, expression or assembly or the rule of law with the rulers totally corrupt paying themselves millions which they conveniently call a salary.

As a result there is a mounting brain drain which was reported as much as 1000 per year of the most highly educated and skilled among it's population all making a bee line to the West. This report of a 1000 was some years ago. Today we can expect the number to be several times that. With the results of the recent elections which gave the ruling dictators an even greater majority of votes, those yearning to be free have given up all hope and we can expect the brain drain to multiply several fold.

It is natural that with an increasingly educated English speaking population, they would want to have more freedom and a right to self determination and freedom of thought and action. No one would want to live in a society which totally controls their lives where in order to survive, one has to totally submit to the powers above.

As a result of the ongoing brain drain, the government is left with no option but to bringing in increasing numbers from the nearby impoverished countries to take up the slack. As a result of the increasing rate of immigration the society is being transformed into entirely something else. As the largest number of these recent immigrants are from China, the society is being transformed into a society where the ethos, norms and culture of the island is that of any city in China, no longer Singaporean. And as even more foreigners come in to live among native Singaporeans, they find this uncomfortable thereby pushing even more to escape to the West.

This dissatisfaction resulting from the lack of freedom and democracy is manifest in other ways too. The island has the lowest birth rate in the world, 1.2%, which means that births do not even replace those dying. The rate of marriage is extremely low too. The state's answer to this is simply to increase immigration into the country thereby alienating even more of the educated population.

As more people leave they bring in even more and the vicious cycle continues.

And then the elections are a complete farce. With the electorate prevented from organizing, forming individual opinions and ideas and engaging in any form of political activity, the government conducts elections once ever 5 years. Naturally the government will win all the seats since the electorate has been denied any chance to engage in political activity.

On top of that the government has a wide intelligence apparatus, to rival even the Soviet KGB or the East German Stasi, watching every move of its citizens resulting a blanket of fear in the society to engage in any activity seen contrary to that of the government. As the people live in fear of their government, there is no means for them to redress any of their grievances while the government continues to win every single elections every 5 years.

Another reason for the abysmally lack of childbirth or marriages is the fact that there is absolutely no safety net provided by the government for the disadvantaged. There are no minimum wage laws, no social security and those in financial straits are simply left to fend for themselves. One can in a large agricultural country at least move to the country side and live off the land. This is not possible in a tiny island with only concrete buildings.

The result of this sort of control over the entire island would mean, even more people would leave, the birth rate would continue to decline and the government's only option would be to do the same, which is to bring even more foreigners to replace those who keep leaving.

Today even the most loyal and patriotic among Singaporeans see no other alternative but to leave. Remaining would be to continue living under the yoke of this totalitarian regime. The 70% victory at the recent polls would mean that the local Singaporeans who want to live in a democracy have simply no hope of achieving it. The Internet which was rife and awash with criticism of the government has become totally silent after the PAP's victory as they know that it is simply a waste of time to clamor for democracy, an aim which is virtually unattainable.

Today it is reported that as much as 40% of the population are made up of recent arrivals who were the main cause of this high election support for the government, since new immigrants in any society, not having any stake in the country would naturally support whichever government is in power. With even more immigrants in the society, who would vote for the PAP, it is certain that the island would be turned into another Communist China where the entire country supports one political party in power.

With the local citizens finding themselves without any recourse to redress of grievances, one could possibly imagine serious upheaval and violent protests as a means to redress their plight. In the not too distant past there have been numerous instances of young Singaporeans vandalizing government property with graffiti and property damage and the government's response has always been a harsh suppression. There may come a time when the minority demanding political space would be pushed to a mass riot or mass violence. This is the natural reaction in any society where the state does not provide any grievance procedure for those disadvantaged.

Swiftly you are going to see an entire island of foreign Chinese displacing every single local while locals are all living in Australia and the West. This would also mean the losing of the island's competitive advantage with an island populated entirely with mindless conformists who trade their freedom for survival under Lee's PAP.

The recent elections should make the fact that it is impossible to introduce democracy through the ballot box. The only way to achieve it is through massive civil unrest, peaceful protests and demonstrations. The path to democracy in Singapore is through the streets, not through the ballot box. For those out there who yearn for freedom, this fact should be crystal clear by now. Waiting for 2020 for the next elections is hopeless; you would not only lose but thanks to the overwhelming majority of foreigners in the island who have no stake in their country, the vote for this totalitarian one party state would be 90%, not 70% as now.

My opinion for those who wish to live in a democracy and who wish to save their island or what is left of it, you have no choice but to take the bit between your teeth now. You have to engage in massive peaceful protests, even if it means being arrested and jailed. If you are not prepared to do that, the only other option is to pack up and leave Singapore. Either way the island is headed to self destruction.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean by birth
Now American citizen
San Francisco, California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

Monday, September 14, 2015

Singapore Democratic Party's Chee Soon Juan should lead his people

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore's Chee Soon Juan and his opposition Singapore Democratic Party has lost yet again at the polls with a further reduced margin. Under his leadership for 2 decades, they have not won a single seat. If he goes on with the way he has, he will not win the next election. Or even ever win any elections.

It is not for lack of trying. God knows he tried. But it is what he is doing that is the question.

Singapore is not a democracy. It is a Fascist dictatorship. Every aspect of life in the island is state controlled. People live in government housing. Their retirement funds are government controlled. Being the largest employer, the state controls their livelihood. There is no rule of law and judges are appointed to carry out government orders. Freedom of speech, assembly, peaceful protest are all denied. Critics are inevitably sued for defamation, bankrupted and thrown out of their jobs. Except for once in 5 years at election time, public speeches are prohibited. Under these circumstances, it is impossible to challenge government policies in a democratic way.

Chee Soon Juan knows this. Yet he complies with these unjust laws, spends his entire time as a boffin reading books, formulating ideas, giving speeches at foreign universities, and occasionally makes his rounds at public hawker centers asking people to vote for him, and every 5 years contests elections which he inevitably loses, like clockwork. 

There is a glaring flaw in what he does. When the state controls their entire lives, simply writing blogs and asking people to support you makes no sense. Why should anyone support you just because you say so, when it is the government that gives you housing, puts food on the table and decides whether you should get a taxi license or not.

What I am trying to say is this. If Chee wants to be a leader, he should behave like one. From this recent elections, he knows there are serious faults with this government. For one the government's massive inflow of foreign labor has not only thrown thousands of locals out of jobs, it has seriously suppressed wages. So now he has a ready made audience in these oppressed Singaporeans. He should organize protests for these citizens to demand that the government listens.

Another burning issue is the rising cost of living literally pushing locals below the poverty line. So what should he do? He should champion the cause of these poor people by organizing protests and demonstrations to demand that the government make sure there is a minimum wage so people can at least survive.

Like this, through first hand knowledge from the elections, he knows there are crippling issues crying out for a leader to speak for them on the streets to demand justice. And when I mean speak for them, I don't mean writing blogs and learned treatises that Chee does. Instead he should engage in real activism on the ground, through peaceful protests and demonstrations to demand his people's rights.

If I could ask Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Fidel Castro or Che Guevara as to what they would do, I am sure they would say, just that. And mind you they all fought governments that were similar to that of today's Fascist dictatorial Singapore; they did not rise in free and democratic societies.

I know that any mention of peaceful protests in Singapore would immediately attract criticism with such claims as "Singaporeans do not like to protest", or "the Chinese do not like confrontation" etc., and immediately the idea is dampened. And unfortunately despite Chee's great wisdom, he goes along with this, just because that is the going mantra in the island.

Let me tell you that the Chinese or Singaporeans are no different from anyone else. We are all human beings and we will act like human beings, whether white man, black man, Mongoloid or Mulatoo.

And then of course there is the danger of what will befall Chee if he does this. It is certain that he will be arrested and imprisoned and so would his supporters. And it is also likely that his supporters would simply leave and he would be left alone or with just a handful. It is very likely that Chee's Singapore Democratic Party which he has nurtured cultivated and grown would disintegrate.

But then so what? The principle should be that one should do what is right, not what is popular. Even if Chee is imprisoned and his party disintegrates, in the end, no one can question that his action was the right one. And I have always believed that the path of the truth will eventually always prevail even it it takes longer. And the other advantage of this course of action is the people whom he supports would consider him their champion and his popularity on the ground can only increase over time because people will know that here is a man they could turn to who will take action for their rights. Not just a person who writes blogs and meets them occasionally asking for their support.

The other advantage is the fact that the demand for democracy would be kept alive thought the 5 years instead of silence for 4 years and 20 days and then 9 days of political rallies. This is what Chee Soon Juan is doing now and this is why he is not getting anywhere.

I am not suggesting that protests and demonstrations on behalf of his people would get him anywhere soon. But it will build his base, and garner real support, support that is personal that people can relate to, not just arguments and ideas.

He can also provide social services. Volunteer time to give free tuition classes. Provide financial assistance and groceries. Defend them against unjust court actions through volunteer legal services. I can imagine a great many other things he could do. He could demonstrate outside the government housing agency HDB when poor Joe Blokes is facing eviction. He could harass and corral  the government into a corner unable to defend their unjust policies. He will come out a hero, even if a battered hero. He will become Singapore's Gandhi. And as Gandhi he will enter Parliament. But even if he does not enter Parliament, he will nevertheless be a Gandhi.

It will take time and a great deal of pain. But eventually I have no doubt that the unrelenting demand for his people's rights would begin to make a dent in Lee's Fascist dictatorial regime and they would have to concede their actions.

There is no problem in Chee getting sufficient supporters for a protest against massive immigration denying the citizen's jobs and income. There is no problem in Chee getting sufficient numbers to protest against the rising cost of living. Of course I know that such protests are illegal under Singapore's unjust laws. But then there are laws and there are laws. Chee should be ready and willing to break these unjust laws and by breaking them he will be seen as a true leader who is not afraid to stand his ground. Gandhi and Mandela would.

I have written several blogs about Chee Soon Juan. I believe that Chee is the only politician who has sufficient wisdom and experience to be a leader of his people. As for the others who have stood for elections, they are not worth even mentioning. They are just opportunists who crop up once every 5 years. As for Loh Thia Khiang, he is just another version of the ruling PAP. As for those who ran this time, you are not going to hear anymore of them until 5 years at the next elections.

I hope Chee reads this blog. I am afraid that if he complies with these rules that do not allow any political participation in the island, he will not only loose the next elections, he will go into oblivion. I do believe the axiom, when you are in a hole, stop digging.

I am keeping watch on Chee Soon Juan because only he can ensure that one day I can return to Singapore because as long as this Fascist government is in place, I am afraid for my liberty and well being if I ever step in there. But I do believe that I will one day return to Singapore, which can happen only if Chee succeds. I will tell you a story. Many years ago, when I was about 16 and living in Singapore, I was walking along Serangoon Road when I met a fortune teller on the street, seated on a sidewalk and reading your palm. Even then I always wanted to go abroad to Europe. So I asked him to read my palm. I asked him if I would ever go abroad to which he said I will travel to many countries. I then asked him where will I die thinking that I might die in Europe or America. To my astonishment he said I will die in Singapore! I think therefore, Chee Soon Juan might win after all since only through his victory can I ever possibly return!

* No anonymous comments please.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Singaporean by birth
American citizen
San Francisco, California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Singapore Democratic Party's Chee Soon Juan has lost again at the elections. Why?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For the last 25 years, almost an entire career, Chee Soon Juan, the highly educated and passionate politician wanting to bring democratic change to Singapore island has consistently failed in all elections. The question is why.

I was born and educated and was persecuted by the regime in the island for opposing their authoritarian government. I understand the system well to make this evaluation.

Singapore island today is a business center, where the educated and skilled upper and middle class do reasonably well, on condition they do not openly challenge the regime. On the whole, they have no qualms with the government.

Then there is almost a third of the population who live at or below the poverty line eking out a living. The second important fact is that people generally are not political philosophers and thinkers and they don't generally care too much about ideals such as democracy or human rights, as long as they can get by. And in Singapore although there are no human rights, the rule of law or an independent judiciary, these things do not resonate so much on the island's people as would bread and butter issues.

Chee Soon Juan has claimed all along to be a champion of the oppressed poor, of which there is a sizable population in the island.

The problem with him is that although he articulates the problems of the oppressed and makes speeches, writes learned treatises and blogs on the issue, expecting his people to read them and consequently support him, he does not really do anything tangible to alleviate their problems.

He appears to think that as long as you articulate these issues and problems and the need for change, the people would naturally gravitate towards him and make him their hero. This is where the fallacy lies.  This is where he is wrong.

The other problem is Chee Soon Juan himself. He is not a man who is capable of forming his own opinions on the issues and follow it through regardless of what his supporters say. Instead he sways with the wind, doing one thing at times and changing tack completely because his supporters had told him otherwise.

Chee Soon Juan should know by now that half of his so called supporters are in fact Lee Kuan Yew's embedded moles whose job is to see to it that he destroys himself. I have grave suspicions of such people as Jeffrey George who is one of Chee's political handymen. He runs around seemingly running errands for Chee and goading him on on a path that takes him nowhere.

To give an example, Chee espousing the ideals of Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Mandela had set about a sustained course of civil disobedience believing, and rightly so, that without democracy, there is no point in elections. He believed and righlty so, that the first thing you have to address is democracy, from which all other grievances will be redressed.

Suddelnly post 2008, Chee changed tack althother. He gave up civil disobedience in the pursuit of democracy altogether, and decided to work to get into parliament simply by persuasion, but complying with the unjust laws that prevent him any space to achieve it.

Remember, Singapore has no right to free speech, expression or assembly and the courts are mere Kangaroo courts. His reason was that his supporters told him otherwise and he has to listen to his supporters. To give effect to his purpose, that he has given up on civil disobedience altogether, he purged anyone who supported him in that aim. Gandhi Ambalam his Chairman, Seelan Palay, Kai Xiong and many others were unceremoniously shown the door. I too was sent to Coventry.

Now having moderated his stand, presumably not to antagonize the government, given up on civil disobedience and played according to the PAP's rules, he finds himself not only having lost, but his support greatly diminished.

My advice to Chee Soon Juan is this. First you identify the problem. Then you look to means to solve the problem. And most importantly forget about focusing on getting into parliament, but instead focus on trying to be a champion of the people because once he achieves that, he will undoubtedly enter parliament. By focusing on trying to get into parliament without first creating a solid support base on the ground, he is effectively placing the cart before the horse.

A lot can be learned from leaders such as Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Gandhi, Mandela and Martin Luther King. If Gandhi and Mandela had decided to work with the authorities, like Chee has decided to do, write learned treatises, blog posts and gave speeches at foreign universities like Chee does, India would still be British India and Mandela would still be under FW DeKlerk's South Africa under apartheid. These men have identified the problem and decided that they would use any means necessary to bring it about (unlawful and violent if necessary).

I am not by any means suggesting even for a moment that Chee should use violent means. But there are just laws and unjust laws. Just laws need to be followed, unjust laws need to be broken. These great leaders that I mentioned were never dissuaded from being imprisoned, tortured or even killed. They were prepared to do what is right, as long as it was right, even if it means breaking unjust laws.

Like these leaders, Chee should have a plan to help the oppressed, not just by talking to them but actually doing something to help them. He should set up an office or a base in one of the poorer sections of Singapore's state owned housing estates. He should be prepared to help anyone who was in need, by writing letters to government authorities for housing or a denial of a license or need for financial assistance. If the government does not respond, he should take it further by organizing a protest or a picket outside the housing authority demanding justice for the resident. Naturally he will be arrested under the unjust laws in the island but he should be prepared to suffer the punishment and consistently do it again for anyone who was in need.

There is also the public advantage of this course of action in public perception. He would seen as a man who really stood up for his people, relentlessly, and would come out as a champion of the oppressed. A man whom the oppressed can trust.

There is also the difficulty of the government in trying to deal with such a champion. With the entire Singapore population watching this injustice to the resident as well as to Chee, he would gain in popularity and more and more people would seek him as their champion against the oppression.

In time he would bee seen as a man who does some good for his people, not just speaking and persuading them as a snake oil salesman would do.

By actually standing up for the poor, not just in words but in action, he would soon get island wide support among the poor and slowly also the support of other sections of Singapore society.

Once he entrenches himself as a champion of the people, he should, if the government allows him to contest elections, which is unlikely, definitely win. But even if he is prevented from contesting elections by this Fascist regime, nothing is lost because he would still be the champion of his people.

Sooner or later, if he has the energy to persist in his cause for his people, this regime will be forced to concede. And at such time Chee would have such strong support on the ground, he would be the leader, with or without this government's consent.

There is no real reason for anyone to support him just because he went around talking to them and made them promises. Just as I would not care about a snake oil salesman who comes around telling me that I would be cured only if I bough his snake oil.

There is no doubt that such a course is an uphill battle, an uphill battle in any case where the government denies civil liberties and who control practically ever aspect of a citizen's life.

But it is a battle that can be won provided he has the courage and the persistence to stay the course. In Chee's case, it is not a difficult decision to make, since after all he has already spent 25 years, an entire career in his political pursuit. Another 25 years of fighting the PAP should not dissuade him. Furthermore Chee is not a stranger to arrest and imprisonment and the prospect of further punishment should not deter a man in Chee's circumstances.

I remember a quotation from a golfer who was asked what he wanted to be. He said he wanted to be a rich man and secondly the best golfer. And then he said, if he became the best golfer, he need not worry about his objective of being rich because that would automatically follow. 

In Chee's case he should work towards being a champion of his people in their daily lives. Once this objective is achieved, he will surely win all his elections.

But most importantly, he should do what is right. Not just what others tell him to do, even if this means he is temporarily alone, a one man army.

The ground is in favor of Chee Soon Juan, just as the ground was in favor of Fidel Castro under the corrupt government of Batista, of Gandhi under the unjust colonial yoke, Mandela under the unjust apartheid regime and King under the unjust racial laws of discrimination. They saw their purpose and fearlessly worked for it, never mind what anyone else thought. Similarly Chee should see his cause and work at it, never mind what Jeffrey George and other PAP moles in his party has to say. 

*No anonymous comments please.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean by birth
Now American citizen
San Francisco California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

Monday, September 7, 2015

Singapore Democratic Party Chee Soon Juan's volte face on democracy

update: Sept 07, 2015
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The former Chee Soon Juan that I knew, before 2008 was a different man from what he is today. Chee Soon Juan is a highly educated and knowledgeable man, no one can doubt that. In the past he argued quite rightly that Singapore parliamentary elections made no sense if people did not have democracy, which they don't. In Singapore the citizen has no rights, he cannot speak publicly without a permit. And permits by the way are never allowed.

If he does speak, he faces a defamation action, contempt of court charges and litany of other trumped up charges and dismissal from employment as was seen as recently as this year when Roy Ngerng a blogger was sued and dismissed from his job as a hospital worker.

The Singaporean is not allowed to peacefully protest in public, cannot organize demonstrations and cannot engage in any political activity against the ruling PAP party without facing consequences. Additionally the entire press is state controlled and the courts are mere Kangaroo courts and a rubber stamp for the ruling government's wishes.

In the past Chee Soon Juan rightly knew that unless these fundamental denials of democracy are first redressed, elections mean nothing. He knew and rightly so that first you have to give democracy to the people before anything else. Arguing about specific issues such as the flawed immigration policies, the high cost of living and other grievances must come together with the question of democracy which has to take center stage before anything else.

In the past I admired Chee Soon Juan because, unlike the entire population of Singapore who lived in fear, he put his actions where his mouth was. Up to 2008, over many years, he was repeatedly arrested for deliberately violating these unjust laws and was imprisoned at least 10 times for his actions. At this time Chee was my hero. Then I thought to myself, here was the man who would change Singapore for the better and bring freedom to the people. Because it is through freedom that every other transgression can be addressed, and without it, the island will continue to be the Fascist state that it is today.

I respected Chee soon Juan for his stand. Here was a man who believed, as he himself always said and continues to even now that one has to act according to one's beliefs, and not pander to popular ignorance to gain power.

This was Chee Soon Juan of before.

Since 2008 Chee did a complete volte-face from his earlier beliefs and proclamations. His civil disobedience completely stopped. Not only that he completely purged anyone in his party that held these views. You must have heard of Gandhi Ambalam, who was his party chairman for many years. Gandhi stood with him, shoulder to shoulder, on all those protests and like Chee was imprisoned many many times. Gandhi Ambalam suffered with him.  Suddenly some time after 2008, we have never heard of Gandhi Ambalam again. Knowing Gandhi, it is impossible to believe that he resigned from politics on his own.

Chee kicked him out because he was not prepared to abandon the belief and principle of civil disobedience  for democratic rights. Gandhi continued to believe like Chee of the past, that forcing the government to give democracy for the people was the right thing to do, and if protests and demonstrations have to be done, they should be done.

This however was not in line with the new Chee Soon Juan who now decided that that fighting for these fundamental rights should take second stage for the expediency of entering Parliament. Obeying populist ways, which is to accept the servile life of a peasant to enable victory at the polls was all right after all.

Gandhi was not the only one to be kicked out. I remember the young  Seelan Palay an activist who was arrested a number of times with Chee for his civil disobedience against the denials of civil liberty. He too walked shoulder to shoulder with Chee. He too suffered with Chee for his beliefs. Suddenly we see no more of Seelan Palay. Seelan like Gandhi was a man burning with a passion for democratic change in the island. Since his views are no longer in line with the new Chee Soon Juan, he too was purged. He is nowhere to be seen.

And then we have Kai Xiong. Kai Xiong too like Seelan Palay was arrested for his civil disobedience against unjust laws denying fundamental human rights and arrested on a number of occasions. After 2008, he was seen no more.

And then there was Vincent Wijayasinghe. He too was highly educated with a Masters degree from England. Although he could have easily joined the PAP and succeeded in highly paid jobs, he didn't. Instead he chose a career of non profit charity work and correctly chose Chee's SDP to serve. He too was his right hand man, prominently displayed as a leader of the party and contested the last elections. But then suddenly he made the error of his life. He publicly disclosed that he was gay. That was the end of Wijayasinghe. One more thing that Chee didn't want is for his party to be associated with anyone gay. Chee calculated being gay too was on the list of no noes when it comes to pleasing the Singaporean electorate. Wijayasinghe promptly announced that he was resigning from the party and we have never heard of him again.

I too was closely associated with Chee Soon Juan's Singapore Democratic party. I too believed that Chee was right in believing that the first job in a Fascist island such as this was to bring democracy through civil unrest. In 2008 I was in Singapore and held there for 6 months during my run in with the Lee government over a blog I wrote, for which I was imprisoned, and I spent a great deal of time with Chee and his party members. In fact the subject of my imprisonment was for criticizing the judge who bankrupted Chee!

I even volunteered to distribute leaflets on several of protests at this time. Some of my pictures distributing leaflets with Chee are still seen in the Internet. After my return to the US in November 2008, I noticed a distinct coolness in my dealings with Chee. I used to write to the Singapore Democrat, his party newspaper but after 2008, Chee refused to publish any of my letters.

I then wrote to Chee wanting to know the reason why I am being abruptly cut-off to which he said that his party members do not want anything to do with me, as I was seen to be confrontational and not to the liking of the government. He said he had to comply with their wishes.

When I responded by saying that it is he who should decide what is good for Singapore and he should not merely comply with the wishes of his party members, to which he said it was not possible.

I concede that that I am now an American but I was nevertheless born in Singapore and much more a Singaporean, even more than the average citizen. I have a much bigger stake in the island, having been arrested several times during my life there for my political activities, repeatedly disciplined by the Singapore legal profession for my opposition to the regime and not least contesting 2 national elections in the island. Therefore I am not just an ordinary American but much more of a Singaporean than the average citizen you meet in the island.

Today Chee Soon Juan is no longer the man who said the sonorous words that one should act according to what is right, regardless of the popularity or otherwise of the cause. If the demand of democracy is fundamental, which it is, one should fight for it, regardless of whether or not the people disapproved. There can be no question that without democracy, Singapore will continue the way it is, nothing better than a Fascist state. This fact is incontrovertible.

A great man stands up for one's beliefs regardless of whether it is popular or not, even if the whole world is against him.

It is wrong to allege that Singaporeans are so daft as not to realize the need for democracy. Only the ignorant would believe that all that is needed is to correct the misguided policies of the government and then everything will be all right. It will not. The people would continue to live in fear of this government without their rights, and the chill down their spine to question the government would mean that for time eternal the government can continue to do whatever they want as they have done for the past 50 years.

I have been following Chee Soon Juan's speeches at the rallies now going on in the elections. His speeches are no different from any other opposition party. He talks of the usual complaints of massive immigration, loss of jobs, the high cost of living and the inability of citizen's to draw their retirement funds. At the very end of his speech, almost in passing, he makes short shrift of the need for democracy, where he glosses over it, saying that without it the elections makes no sense.

The pre-2008 Chee Soon Juan would have made demand for democracy the center stage, the mainstay of his speech. The post-2008 Chee Soon Juan on the other hand joins the bandwagon of other opposition parties, all subdued and suppressed by fear, carefully avoiding the main malaise of the island, which is the lack of democracy.

I would have respected Chee Soon Juan much more, even if he was alone is his endeavors, standing and protesting the lack of democracy and going to jail for it. I still believe that street demonstrations will ultimately bring about democracy, much quicker than any of these pretended fake elections would ever produce.

I still believe that even if the average citizen is unable presently to see the truth in civil disobedience and the need to force democracy, they have sufficient education and intelligence to ultimately see the truth in it and follow anyone in such a cause.

But alas, Chee Soon Juan is not the man today to put his actions where his mouth is. I have no doubt that even today, he understands correctly that without freedom and democracy, the people would continue to be the slaves that they now are. But because he is more concerned in getting into parliament at any cost, even against his own beliefs, one cannot say unreservedly say that he is a man who will stand by his beliefs at all costs. He will not.

The Singapore Democratic Party would be a much better one if it embraced everyone who wished to be part of it, even if their philosophy does not completely square with the beliefs of Chee Soon Juan. But the party today only accepts people who unconditionally accept the ways of Chee Soon Juan, which is to give up civil disobedience and not appear confrontational to the PAP, so that the PAP  will not oppose your political participation.

It is as if Chee Soon Juan like his other opposition colleagues in the other parties have accepted that the Lees were Gods and only those whom they approve are suitable for political office.

Besides the purging of those he does not like, he refuses even experienced politicians from standing for office and instead fields greenhorns whom we have never heard of.

James Gomez is a highly educated member of his party who contested the last 2 elections. There is no doubt Gomez wanted to contest. Chee has not fielded him this time. There is no doubt that if he was elected his wide knowledge and experience would benefit the electorate far more than the several newbies who have cropped up from the woodwork.

The only reason I can think of is Chee's belief that Gomez may not win because of his debacle with the authorities in the former elections about a form which he had falsely accused the election office of receiving but in fact had not. Chee should have fielded Gomez at the elections because he is the right man, not because he might not win due to the possible skullduggery of the government.

And then we have Jufrie Mahmood, the Chairman a very experienced politician who has suffered greatly for his courage in opposing the regime. He too was not fielded, possibly once again because he may not win, not because of his abilities which are unquestionable.

In the end, I can say this of Chee Soon Juan. There is no doubt that he believes in democracy and would fight for a better Singapore. There is also no doubt that he is a highly read individual. But he is not a man that I would walk with in a political cause because I do not know what would be his stand with his followers the next minute. He is a man of expediency and the expediency being to get into Parliament at any costs. And if it is necessary to betray his supporters and his colleagues in order to achieve it, he will.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean by birth
American citizen
San Francisco, California
Tel: 510 491 8525