Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hypocrisy Sucks!

I learned from Wikipedia that "Hypocrisy is the act of being less critical of oneself than of others."

I'm amazed that on Saturday 23 May 2009, Singapore's main press, Straits Times dedicated 6 pages in a Special Report on the anniversary of the 'TianAnMen Incident' of 4 June 1989.

I wonder why they did not put as much effort on the 22nd Anniversary of the 'Marxist Conspiracy' where Singaporeans were incarcerated and tortured.

Are local incidents less newsworthy than incidents that happened elsewhere?

Or is it the ST culture to do objective reporting elsewhere but not in Singapore?

While mainstream media finds it difficult to confront and report the truth within, I'm glad that the cyberspace is able to enlighten us with alternative news and views that some try so hard to suppress.

Below is an alternative that's worth reading.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Chee Siok Chin [link]

That We May Dream Again. That's the title of a collection of brief accounts written by ex-detainees of the Marxist arrests in 1987 by the Internal Security Department.

It is a thin book that one should be able to finish reading in a couple of hours. However, it took me three days to complete it. It wasn't that I had to plod through it and it certainly was not that the accounts were dull.

It was more because after almost each chapter, I found it difficult to move on for the experiences suffered by the detainees were heart-wrenching. It was not easy to read about how some of my fellow Singaporeans were used, bullied and persecuted by our own Government.

I have met two of the detainees who contributed to this book. Vincent Cheng and Kevin de Souza. Both men exude sincerity and humbleness. Although there is no hint of bitterness when he spoke to me about his experiences under detention, Vincent Cheng writes in his chapter,

I still feel angry at the injustice of the whole incident, and that the perpetrators have not been brought to account. 'Operation Spectrum' was political rape. I cannot forget nor forgive, the harsh treatment meted out to me in prison to extract information – the freezing room, the slapping and the beatings, including the blow to my abdomen.

He goes on to say “Victims of injustice must not give up the fight to regain their dignity. I believe that forgiveness and letting go is genuine and meaningful only when justice has been, or is seen to have been, done.”

Mr Cheng speaks on a topic close to my heart – justice. The main motivation for his involvement with helping the oppressed and the poor in Singapore then.

He articulates my very thoughts and feelings when he says, “Working for justice necessarily calls for involvement in public life, in 'politics'...Advocacy is an integral ingredient of justice, and this makes the questioning and restructuring of public policies a necessity, even if the authorities do not appreciate it.”

These words concisely sum up why some of us, the SDP and our Friends, have chosen to stand up to the PAP Government despite the charges, trials, jail terms and bankruptcies meted out against us.

When Mr Lee Hsien Loong, who was the deputy prime minister, he said this about the re-arrest of the alleged Marxist conspirators. “The Government does not ill-treat detainees. It does however apply psychological pressure to detainees to get the truth of the matter.”

This directly contradicts Mr Cheng's account of the beating he received at the hands of his captors. Who is telling the truth?

Another detainee, Ms Tang Lay Lee, provides another account of her torture:

“Are you a Marxist?”

“No. I'm a Catholic.”


“Are you a Marxist??”

“No. I'm a Catholic.”


“Are you a Marxist???”

“No. I'm a Catholic.”


“Are you instigating workers??”

“No. I'm helping workers.”


In his chapter, Kevin de Souza writes,

The period of detention turned out to be the most traumatic years of my life – the strip search, the blindfolds, the interrogations in cold rooms, the sleep deprivation, the television interviews, the slaps on the face, the tree-legged chair I was forced to balance...the solitary confinement and, most of all the fear of the long-term incarceration without trial.

Either Mr Lee Hsien Loong had no idea what the ISD was doing to its detainees or he was lying through his teeth.

These extracts may be frightening to those who are already afraid. But for those who are tired of the bullying and the lies perpetuated by this Government, this compressed book offers us hope and encouragement to stand up to injustice and oppression in our own country.

Christina Tseng, an associate and friend of several of the detainees, writes at the end of her chapter,

The Kingdom of Heaven is not just about what will happen after we are gone from this earth. It begins with what we do on earth. I believe if more people work towards a better society, if we are motivated by love, justice, peace and compassion, and cared more about the environment, more people will certainly start to experience heaven on earth. I hope this event can help younger Singaporeans appreciate how we can all play a pert in building a better society, whether we are Christian, Muslim or of other faiths.

I have drawn encouragement from the authors of this book. What each of them had gone through gives me strength to continue with my work and struggle for freedom, transparency, dignity and rights for my fellow Singaporeans.

Thank you Vincent Cheng, Tang Lay Lee, Kevin de Souza, Lucy Tan, Christina Tseng, Joseph Ng and Theresa Yeo for sharing so that we may all dream again.

The book can be purchased here.

"I believe if more people work towards a better society, if we are motivated by love, justice, peace and compassion, and cared more about the environment, more people will certainly start to experience heaven on earth. I hope this event can help younger Singaporeans appreciate how we can all play a part in building a better society, whether we are Christian, Muslim or of other faiths."

What's written by Christina Tseng above has taught me some.

We live, we learn.



At May 25, 2009 at 11:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder whether Father and Son has any moral decency to feel shameful or not for what really happened to these unfortunate fellow Singaporeans ?

At May 25, 2009 at 11:22 PM , Anonymous no nation with cowards said...

It is truly sickening to read the bullying tactics used on citizens by thugs masquerading as state security personnel.

By now LHL cannot claim ignorance, ditto for his children.

No wonder Singapore is not close to being a nation after 50 years, not with political cowards at the helm.

At May 26, 2009 at 3:30 AM , Anonymous Cynical Skeptic said...

Surely you cannot expect ST to publish the story, do you?

I think it is only wise, or even common sense, after so many years of trash, to assume, that ST is the government's mouthpiece, and will be so until the day PAP is no longer the government.

The ST is not a free press. You cannot hold it to any standards of journalism, if it is journalism at all, just as we cannot hold our government to any standard of governance, or decency or morality for that matter.

(For example, they can make laws in a blink of an eye to make such things just said illegal, even in cyberspace. Absolute power makes you god, and what god does is moral.)

The ST is an instrument of state to achieve the purposes and ends of the state, particularly the government, namely PAP, and certainly not to serve the people.

(eg the laughable "scoop" of Mat Selamat recapture.)

When you think it this way, you wont get upset, and also it becomes most revealing, of the ends and purposes, when you see what is published and what is not, and the angle in which it is done.

And you will see the truly important things, the real things, namely the things between the lines and pages, and the unsaid things.

So the non story may say a few things:

1. that the government wants the public to forget or never know what happened, for some reasons, which you can make further conjectures; or

2. that there is no need to remind the public that it yields absolute power and monopoly on the interpretation of truth, and it is fully confident the lesson is well and truly learnt, and instill into the national psyche and unconsciousness; or

3. that we ought not to sweat the small stuff, for China is the real thing, and therein your future prosperity lies.

At May 27, 2009 at 6:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing - Malaysia is holding Mas Selamat for 2 years.

Amazing what their newspapers can tell us in their scoop - would it contradict the stories of MHA - toilet break, toilet paper break fall, lame leg jump over 2 fence?

Amazing if we end up paying for a curved bridge as well as the third bridge.

Amazing. God help us.

At May 29, 2009 at 11:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Father and Son should do the honourable act like ex S Korean Prez. To be doubly sure, use Westin Hotel top floor as the platform.

At June 23, 2009 at 4:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Fish,

It has been > 1 month since your last posting, are you alright?

At June 27, 2009 at 12:44 PM , Anonymous famiLee undertaker said...

Mr. Fish wants us to digest all his recent master pieces before writing another one lah.

Anyway it is not time for him to be fed to the fish, unofficially he has to be around to give a public eulogy when the father,son and daughter-in-law take the dive from the top floor of Westin Hotel.

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