Monday, October 12, 2015

Singapore General Elections 2015. A Brief on Singapore politician Chee Soon Juan

Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Singapore elections have just been over. The voters have overwhelmingly voted for Lee Kuan Yew's son's party The Peoples Action Party (PAP) which has been ruling the island uninterrupted since 1959. This island government is for all intents and purposes Fascist.

    There is no freedom of speech expression or assembly. The vast majority of Singaporeans either work for the government or in government linked companies. They fear retribution and loss of livelihood if seen to oppose the regime.

    Even those working for private companies fear open opposition to the regime will result in retribution from the government. You have a judiciary which are simply Kangaroo judges in Kangaroo courts rubber stamping the wishes of the government.

    All newspapers and media are state controlled. The elections are rigged so as to ensure the ruling party's victory. In these circumstances it must be abundantly clear especially for the mightily well read Chee Soon Juan that elections will take him nowhere.

    I write about Chee because he is worth writing about. Among all the opposition politicians who are no better than helpless mice, at least he is seen to have the courage to stand up to the regime.

    His career in opposition politics has been a life long tragedy. He has been at it for the last 25 years. During this entire time he has not managed to advance his party one inch. In fact his stewardship has in fact taken his party several steps back.

    In this election he has reduced his support to a mere 2/3 of the electorate. Almost 75% of the voters voted against him and his party, a much worse result than in previous years. In other countries, such a devastating blow would have required his resignation but not so in Singapore His people are still with him, but to what purpose?

    The fault with Chee is not the lack of knowledge. No one can dispute the fact that he is the most well read man in the entire island. Question is, with all that wisdom, why is he not able to make it happen?

    I have personally known Chee during the short time I was in Singapore when they arrested me and threw me in jail for writing a blog post criticizing the judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean. I have also been following his activity for the last 25 years. This is what I can say of him.

    What he lacks in not knowledge. He lacks the ability to understand his objectives and then the means to achieve it. Freedom House has quite rightly said that Singaporeans are incapable of changing their government through the ballot box. The Fascist regime is there to stay as long as the people simply contest elections and do no more.

    What is needed is democracy first and then elections. What is needed is the right to freedom of speech, assembly and peaceful protest first. Because without these preconditions, elections are useless.

    Chee has to ask himself the question whether he believes in democracy. Whether a democratic Singapore is ultimately for the good of the island. If that is decided, then he should do what is necessary to bring it about. Only then would elections means anything.

    I have no doubt Chee believes this, that democracy is for the ultimate good of the island. Fascism is not. Why? Because with democracy the full potential of the human being can be released without fear of reprisals. New ideas means progress. It means competition. And progress and competition are good things to yearn for.

    Chee's problem is that he is not master of his own will. He is swayed by what others tell him. For instance he has been told that the Chinese mentality, of which they are the majority in the island, are averse to confrontation and therefore not amenable to such things as civil disobedience.

   He has been told that he would not have any support if he openly confronts the government through peaceful protests and demonstrations and therefore should do no more than contesting elections. But common sense would tell him that under these circumstances, when their very livelihood depends on the government, no one would dare openly challenge the government. Which explains why Hitler and Mussolini continued to receive universal support.

   Although he initially had staged numerous protests and civil disobedience to demand justice, he gave it all up because he was told that it will not work. And he simply went along with it.

    I am not sure if I am a good judge of human character but I will say this. Whether you are Chinese, Caucasian or Mulatto, we are all human beings. And human beings will ultimately support what is right and oppose what is wrong. And the other thing that Chee should know, which I believe he does, is that the majority do not always carry the day. It is justice that carries the day ultimately. And there is ample evidence in history to show that you don't need the masses to overthrow unjust regimes, it only takes a handful.

    When Fidel Castro rose against Batista, he had only a handful of men. Over time it grew and he overthrew the mighty Batista. And why? Because he was right and Batista was wrong. You see this pattern repeated throughout the world in the millennium.

    Despite Lee Kuan Yew's son putting food on the table, his regime is inherently unjust. Anyone with eyes can see that. Denying freedom of speech and peaceful assembly is wrong anywhere. And fighting for human freedoms is right, anywhere in the world, including Singapore.

    My message to Chee is this. Use your head. You have a good head. Make up your mind what your objectives are. There is no doubt Chee's objectives are noble and honorable. Freedom is a good thing for the people of Singapore, there is no doubt about it. And since the regime is unwilling to give the freedom that people rightly deserve, you should demand it through every possible means, including civil disobedience protests strikes and every other means that you can think of.

    As was seen in the overwhelming rallies during the elections, there are many Singaporeans who would be prepared to take the route of civil disobedience, since they have no other option under the Lee's overwhelming control over the island. They simply refuse to allow the citizens their fundamental rights.

    During Mandela's trial at Rivonia, he admitted that he used violent means to overthrow the apartheid regime because had he played according to the rules then existing in South Africa, his people would never be able to gain their freedom.

    I am not suggesting violent means like Mandela. I am advocating lawful peaceful means such as protests, demonstrations and civil disobedience. What you should do is to provoke the government and their police to act against you. When they do, the injustice becomes open to view. This means more people would see the injustice and more would join your ranks.

    You should keep the clamor for freedom live on a daily basis on the streets for all to see. Provoking the issue in public on a daily basis. Forcing the government to use ever increasing repressive measures. And slowly turning the tide in your favor and against Lee's repression. Not simply going away and coming back in 2020 like all the other parties are going to do to contest elections and thereafter going away for another 5 years and reappearing.

    In Cuba Castro's forces did not defeat the Batista regime in reality. Batista himself destroyed Batista. During the protests and agitation, the Cuban police became ever more brutal and their open brutality made the support of Castro to swell to such an extent that Batista collapsed under his own weight.

    Chee should realize that he has no other option. If he waits for 2020 to try at the next elections, he would only lose once more. And he would be near 60. And he will leave politics leaving behind a wasted life, not having achieved nothing.

    On the other hand if he decides on civil disobedience for democracy, he may have only a handful at first. But as Lee Kuan Yew's son uses force and more force to suppress the just aspirations of his people, his popularity would slowly grow and swell to numbers that will eventually destroy them. And even if what I say does not necessarily happen, what choice does Chee have anyway?  Because if he simply waits to do the same thing in 2020, he knows he will fail again.

    On the other hand if he wants to enter Parliament at any cost, then he should what the Workers Party does. An  astute observer of Singapore would know that Workers Party did not win because they were good. They won because the Lee's party wanted them to win. It gives a much better impression to the world of Singapore if you had at least a few opposition members in Parliament.

    And what better opposition can you get than the Workers Party who are in politics not to further the opposition cause but to further that of the ruling party. In fact it is well known that the PAP themselves had gone around urging people to vote the opposition as they dreaded the image of being a one party state with total control of the Parliament. So although they are in fact in total control, for international consumption, they can at least say that there is an opposition in Parliament.

    So if Chee wants to be another Workers Party style politician, moderate your criticism of the rulers. Go once step further and praise them and hopefully they might admit you to the club.

Gopalan Nair
Fremont California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

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