Response to Mr Prime Minister's Demand
Dear Mr Prime Minister,
Having just written to you recently [Link], I am shocked by your latest action.
How can you as Prime Minister of Singapore demand through lawyer Davinder Singh an apology from blogger Alex Au for writing his piece on the disquiet generated by Teo Ho Pin and AIM (Action Information Management Pte Ltd) owned by PAP? It is so unbecoming of a Prime Minister.
Who the devil made you do it? Your 2013 New Year speech has already put you in a bad light, why on earth would you want to add insult to your own injury? I do not understand.
You were only 5-year-old when your dad said:
“Repression, Sir is a habit that grows. I am told it is like making love-it is always easier the second time! The first time there may be pangs of conscience, a sense of guilt. But once embarked on this course with constant repetition you get more and more brazen in the attack.
All you have to do is to dissolve organizations and societies and banish and detain the key political workers in these societies. Then miraculously everything is tranquil on the surface.
Then an intimidated press and the government-controlled radio together can regularly sing your praises, and slowly and steadily the people are made to forget the evil things that have already been done, or if these things are referred to again they’re conveniently distorted and distorted with impunity, because there will be no opposition to contradict.”
Lee Kuan Yew as an opposition PAP member speaking to David Marshall, Singapore Legislative Assembly, Debates, 4 October, 1956
It has been 57 years since. Though conditions may be right for some despot to rule like above, the times are changing. They are a-changin'!
It is a crying shame that after all the hype on "National Conversation" which you spoke so ardently of during 2012 National Day Rally, you now make a mockery of it. If you cannot accept honest feedback and criticisms from mindful Singaporeans who care, you will create much cynicism to the detriment not only to PAP but to Singapore as a whole!
On meeting my buddies this morning, one of them jokingly shouted at me, "You better take out that blog or I'll bloody sue your pants off. And you fooking well apologise to me in the same blog!" He was cheekily referring to your demand on Alex Au. His outburst lightened me up. I have realised that, unlike 1956, news travels fast. Very fast!
My friend's reaction to your demand on Alex Au, in my opinion, highlights the following:
- Many other Singaporeans may feel the way he does
- That only in Singapore, do we have a Prime Minister in PAP suing and demanding apology from a citizen. He is not even representing any political party!
- That such scary threats to silence a vocal public is not healthy for the well-being of Singapore
- That it may create unresolved tension that could lead to less favourable conditions for Singapore
Mr Prime Minister, what are we to make of the National Conversation after this?
It is sad to know that you are not magnanimous enough to take the comments of concern citizens who are disgusted with policies that have impacted them negatively.
You have spoken so often of building an inclusive society. A gracious society. That you and PAP cares and listens. By your deafening silence on Teo Ho Pin, AIMgate and the indiscretion of Seah Kian Peng on telling traffic warden how to do his/her job, you have given the impression that you are just a fair weather Prime Minister. A PM who is silent on bad news but loud on successes, hoping that bad news will simply disappear if ignored long enough - "people are made to forget the evil things that have already been done". By your demand, are you trying to scare Singaporeans especially bloggers from writing anything that may be detrimental to PAP?
The act of
“If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”
― W.C. Fields
Neither does threat! Singaporeans are not as daft as your dad thinks!
Truth be told, your 'act tough' on Alex Au is not helping you to engage Singaporeans. In fact, it may be the beginning of the death of Singapore. All the First World pride that you have spoken so often of Singapore has come to nought by your threat and demand on Alex Au.
You did a Cambridge double degree (in 1974, I think) while I am just a Cambridge School Certificate holder. Yes, only 'O' level going through life at the university of hard knocks not made easier by you - especially the way you messed me up with changes in CPF, more costly medical bills and all. Could it be that our difference in age (I'm older), level of education and status in life make us think and act differently?
You had your lymphoma, I had my massive heart attack.
According to HPB, only 3 out of 100 survived a heart attack outside a hospital. I'm one of the 3. Maybe, just maybe, the reason I did not die is because my job ain't done. I guess writing to you now could be part of my job before I'm fedtothefish.
Having been fellow travelers of dreaded diseases, I hope that you will take my writing kindly and not do an Alex Au on me.