Les Miserables of Singapore
After watching the musical Les Miserables by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyricist Alain Boublil more than 20 years ago, I was struck by the realities and values brought forth by this musical. It's about love, tragedy, determination, loyalty, freedom, pride, prejudice and faith. Of course, the music and the lyrics do wonders to enrapture and capture my heart, damaged by a heart attack and broken by unscrupulous elites in Singapore.
Being older than 60, I paid only $4 for a cinema ticket today to watch Les Miserables The Movie. I thank Shaw Cinema for the discounted senior citizens' price. I do wonder sometime if cinema operators care and do more for senior citizens than the PAP government.
I was enthralled by the singers in the live musical years ago and I grew fonder by buying audio CDs and watching DVDs thereafter. Being up close to the movie screen today, I must say the acting and singing (though some not as powerful as those in live musical) by 'Wolverine' Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Samantha Barks (Eponine) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius) was good to enough to cause tears to flow among the cinema audience. Truth be told, I could not hold back my tears in some of those emotional songs and scenes that tugged my heartstrings. It reminded me of my time in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) when I almost left my wife a widow and my kids semi-orphans. I'm grateful for all these bonus years!
In Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, Jean Valjean was jailed for 19 years.
In Singapore, Chia Thye Poh was jailed for 26 years and lived with restriction for another 6. Dr Lim Hock Siew was jailed for 19 years. Dr Poh Soo Kai and Said Zahari were jailed for 17 years each. There were many others.
In Les Miserables, Jean Valjean was jailed and did hard labour for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's starving son. For this, he served 19 years and was hounded by Javert many years after.
In Singapore, what sins did Chia Thye Poh, Lim Hock Siew, Poh Soo Kai, Said Zahari and their comrades commit to deserve their incarcerations?
As much as my heartstrings were pulled by Hugo's great story, I was emotionally drawn to the realities of the political scene in Singapore. During the 150 minutes of movie watching, I could not help feeling that Chia Thye Poh, Lim Hock Siew, Poh Soo Kai, Said Zahari and many others (who I have not named) suffered and still suffer as much, if not more, than Jean Valjean in Les Miz. It saddens me more that Les Miserables is only a movie, a story, but Chia Thye Poh and other political detainees are/were real people who were punished for reasons that decent Singaporeans can scarcely fathom. Or was there a reason at all?
If Chia Thye Poh, Lim Hock Siew, Poh Soo Kai, Said Zahari and others of the same ilk were Jean Valjean, you can jolly well guess who Javert is.
I'm no movie reviewer but merely a blogger. I gain no reward, financial or otherwise, in recommending you to watch Les Miserables. Having said that, I do encourage you to watch the movie. You may be moved, in a nationalistic way, to do what is right for Singapore and, in so doing, enhance the lives of your children and your children's children.
The remorse Javert went through before he jumped may be a lesson for some who did deeds that were not wholesome to mankind.
With the latest facepalm of AIMgate, I do hope PAP does not kill the "dream I dream". Or the dream of many decent Singaporeans who care . . . To build a democratic society based on justice and equality regardless of race, language or religion and regardless of political affiliation, status in life or economic standing"
Or are they so so greedy for power and wealth that they'd rather create "empty chairs and empty tables" for the loved ones of those who do not agree with them.