Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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"

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame

Having read "The Fajar Generation", "Beyond the Blue Gate" and "Escape from The Lion's Paws" and "Democratically Speaking", the above verse from Les Miserables' "I Dreamed A Dream" does strike a chord! Of how political detainees were accosted and arrested in the early mornings . . .

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.



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At January 9, 2013 at 8:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

And of couse, at the barricades, only 40% turned up.... The rest did not....

At January 9, 2013 at 2:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is so ironic that the movie with title that sound "LESs MISERABLE" can make us MORE MISERABLE after watching it and apply to our own predicament.

At January 9, 2013 at 2:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And of couse, at the barricades, only 40% turned up.... The rest did not...."

40% want to watch LesS Misérables,

60% want to watch More Misérables.

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At January 10, 2013 at 9:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


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Punggol East SMC = Free colo-rectal examinations?

At January 10, 2013 at 11:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What do People Mean When They Say Someone Can't See the Forest for the Trees?"

Workers Party can and will win the Punggol East seat against the PAP if the other Political Parties do not join in the fray. With about 45% of the votes at last showing, this achievement is quite obvious. I will definitely give my support to the Workers Party. SDP may want to but should not contest Punggol East this time round, SDP will not stand a chance, any other party that joins the fray may not only loss their deposit but also goodwill, don't believe, haha, at the next GE, there is going to be alot of bad blood, one or two will go the way of the dodo.
Whether the Workers Party wins or loss this contest it will not dent it's moral, the PAP will still continue to ride roughshod with or without any help.
If there's a mole, I'll say it's the Reform Party.

(Vote splitting: Do not let history repeat itself! « Opinion ... - TR Emeritus)


(Identity Politics As Outgrowths of Narcissistic ... - Robert Lindsay)

(Cry Freedom Where's The Defamation Part)

Joshua Chiang

At January 11, 2013 at 5:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the opp parties cannot think and rather have multi-corner fights, testing our patience and intelligence, and endup PAP winning the by-election and eventually let the PAP absorb Pungol SMC to GRC, I will give up and join and support the PAP, no matter what nonsense and selfish they are. I will vote for PAP in next election , while making plan to migrate.

Why ? Because why the f8@#$k you want to support opp party and make your own life miserable if the opp parties is unrepent and stupid ?

We don't have forever, and the best thing that opp parties should not be stupid. Supporting stupid opp parties only make you look stupid, tire you out, and make you waste effort, time and money.

Sorry to say that but multi-fight will dilute vote and PAP will win. You have PAP win at 54% in last election, and are you so naive to think that the PAP affair scandal will result in 10% drop ? Go to dreamland .

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