I managed to finish reading Alan Shadrake’s book the afternoon that it was launched in Singapore on Saturday.

The book tells of criminal offenders who have been executed and those who have been spared the death sentence. Entitled “Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock”,  Alan certainly did put our country’s justice system in the dock. His account of the unequal treatment by the courts and the Attorney General of these offenders is deserving of scrutiny.

He writes about the heart-wrenching stories of Amara Tochi, Vignes Mourthi, Shanmugam Murugesu and several others who were victims of the poverty cycle and ruse. Whereas those who have rich and powerful backing get away with a slap on the wrists. He also reveals how this cold, callous and calculating PAP government has such little regard for life.

I’m not surprised that the authorities had arrested him the next day, investigating him for criminal defamation and contempt of court.

Now, which authoritarian regime would want to have it’s “dirty little secrets” blown opened in a book?

The same goes for Dr. Lim Hock Siew’s speech that was put up by Martyn See on Youtube. Of course Martyn had to comply with the MDA who required him to take it down. After all, Dr. Lim spoke about his unlawful 19-year detention without trial by the ISD.

Again, which oppressive regime would want to have the truth told about how it entrenches its power blown open in a video clip that can be accessed by all?

But I salute Alan, Martyn, Soh Lung, Dr. Lim and others who have come out to expose the perniciousness of Lee Kuan Yew’s government. It takes conviction and courage to stand up against gross injustice in Singapore. If only more Singaporeans can find it in our hearts to stand up to the PAP against this destruction of lives.

Also read: Author of death penalty book Alan Shadrake arrested

Thank you, Soh Lung

June 29, 2010

When I heard that Teo Soh Lung was going to launch her book, I was so very glad. So glad that one of the 1987 ISA detainees have broken the silence. So glad that the PAP Government’s lies and accusations have been challenged and made public. So glad that Singaporeans and others now have access to the actual events of the so-called 1987 Marxist Conspiracy.

Soh Lung launched her book just this weekend. Beyond The Blue Gate is her memoirs of the horrific experience she was made to go through. Detention without trial, isolation and mental and physical torture The event was attended by ex-detainees, civil society actors, political figures, the young and the old. Every seat in the room was taken. Messages of congratulations by Francis Seow Kevin de Souza, Tang Fong Har amongst others, were read out. They were all encouraging and heart-warming.

The real tragedy in these ISA arrests lies in the fact that officers, civil servants, journalists, TV presenters had sold their souls to Lee Kuan Yew and his sycophants. They had allowed themselves to be used by the PAP to further the party’s own interest and stranglehold on power.

Nothing seems to have changed today. Public servants and institutions in Singapore still exist to serve the government, not the people. Singaporeans do not seem to realise that this should not and never be the case. The PAP Government is answerable and accountable to Singaporeans, not the other way round. The government is to work for the people, not the other way round. State leaders are supposed to help the people prosper, not the other way round.

But I digress.

I hope other ISA detainees like Lim Hock Siew, Michael Fernandez, Wong Souk Yee, Vincent Cheng and the others will also go public about their experiences during those years of incarceration or join the democrats in our pursuit for justice, transparency, equality, compassion and inclusiveness. If we all rise together, even the PAP cannot put us down.

Soh Lung, congratulations on this very courageous act. Your tenacity and steadfastness has been a personal inspiration to me.

Also read: Salute to Soh Lung

Again

March 2, 2010

Chee Siok ChinI’m serving my sentence this week. This time for attempted procession during our WB-IMF peaceful protest back in 2006.

When I told my friend Jaslyn that I would serve my sentence after our 30th anniversary bash, she lamented that it would be such a dampener from the weekend’s celebrations.

I knew that. But it’s got to be done. Better sooner than later. As in the couple of other times I spent in jail, I’ll rely on my faith and belief to keep my chin up. Faith in God and belief that justice, equality and human rights will one day prevail in Singapore.

I’ll also be drawing strength from those who had spent years in Lee Kuan Yew’s unjust ISD detention.

Will talk to you again when I get out.

Article with photos from SDP’s 30th Anniversary Dinner available here.

Posted on behalf of Chee Siok Chin.

Prisoner 00001/2010

February 9, 2010

I’ve been sitting on this piece for some time. It’s been about four weeks since I was released from Changi Women’s Prison.

I had the dubious honour of being the first resident there for the year 2010. How do I know this? My prison no. was 00001/2010. My cell mate who joined me late that first night was 00046/2010.

From time to time, I do need to withdraw and get away from the maddening crowd. But spending time in CWP is not my idea of a retreat.

I spent a week in jail for “demonstrating opposition against the actions of the government” through distributing flyers. That pretty much rubbishes what Ms Chong Wan Yieng, Press Secretary to Minister for Law, says “engaging in robust criticism per se is not and has never been a crime or libellous in Singapore”.

Few people know what prison conditions are like in Singapore. Most have the impression that the door to the cell is made of bars; that you have a simple bed to sleep on; that you are allowed to go to a mass area to have your meals. Well, the reality is that each inmate is given a thin straw mat to sleep on. No pillow. Just a prickly blanket. Basic supplies such as toilet paper, soap, toothpaste and even water, are rationed.

Time passes very slowly in the small, stuffy, hard cell. You can’t help but keep waiting for nightfall so that another day in prison is behind you. But then my thoughts would turn to those who were incarcerated for months and years by the ISD. Not only were they detained without any charge or trial. They were not even told how long their detention would be. That must have been the most difficult aspect of their imprisonment. Hope is illusive and elusive when one does not how long one would spend time being locked up.

That is why people like Michael Fernandez, Chia Thy Poh, Said Zahari, Poh Soo Kai, Lim Hock Siew, Vincent Cheng, Teo So Lung, Wong Souk Yee and scores of others are heroes and heroines. Their courage, conviction, faith and resilience have triumphed the evils of the PAP Government. It is most heartening to see several of them speaking out about their imprisonment and debunking the lies of the Government and its leaders.

I have gone to prison twice and I foresee several more sentences. As much as my faith gives me the courage to endure the struggles, I draw my strength from the courage and steadfastness of the real heroes and heroines of Singapore.

Source: Singapore Democrats

http://yoursdp.org/images/stories/CSC/siokchinsrelease%20003.jpgFriends and supporters of Ms Chee outside the Changi Women’s prison

Ms Chee Siok Chin walked out from Changi Prison today after serving a one-week jail term for distributing flyers that were critical of the PAP.

Together with Mr Gandhi Ambalam and Dr Chee Soon Juan, Ms Chee was convicted for distributing flyers in a group of 5 or more persons without a permit outside the Raffles City Shopping Centre in September 2006 which was considered an illegal assembly.

District Judge Chng Lye Beng convicted the three in December last year. All three have appealed the conviction.

Ms Chee, however, chose to go to jail first. (In fact, she may be the first female inmate to enter the facility in 2010, her prison number is 00001-2010.) Judge Chng reminded her that if she served the prison term first the appeal would be academic because the authorities could not compensate her for her lost time if she won the appeal.

The Judge is wrong. Ms Chee is fighting not to avoid going to jail but to demonstrate how wrong the system is.

If opposition politicians cannot come together in groups of 5 or more to “demonstrate opposition to the actions of the Government” then what good is the opposition.

It is common knowledge that Singapore is not a democracy, but the decision of this judge has taken the matter to a whole new level.

This is because the Prosecution took pains to emphasize on the phrase “intended to demonstrate opposition to the actions of the Government” in its charge (see below). It is unfortunate that Mr Chng has seen it fit to agree with the Executive on this point.

The Defendants contested vigorously that the charge itself of penalising citizens for criticising the actions and policies of the PAP Government is unconstitutional. How can it be an offence to criticise what the Government does? Isn’t the basis of a democracy one where an opposition exists to oppose the actions of the Government? Isn’t it only in a totalitarian state that forbids criticism of the powers-that-be?

More ominously, is the PAP becoming even more oppressive, if that’s possible?

This matter will be brought before the High Court when the appeal is heard in a few months time. It’s decision will be closely watched not just in Singapore but around the world.

Probably more around the world because most Singaporeans don’t know about this episode and the arguments surrounding it. Why? Because the local media has decided to completely blackout this news. It is clear that the PAP is bent on “winning” the argument by banning and keeping information from the public rather than having an open debate and allowing citizens to decide for themselves.

How is Singapore a First World country when its laws are so backward and the media is controlled? More importantly, can Singapore cope in the future when laws oppress Singaporeans to such a frightening degree?

Now can you see why going to jail is the least of Ms Chee’s concerns?

The charge

You are charged that you, on the 10th day of September 2006 at about 12:15 pm, in the vicinity of Raffles City Shopping Centre, North Bridge Road, Singapore, which is a public place, together with 5 persons did participate in an assembly intended to demonstrate opposition to the actions of the Government, which assembly you ought reasonably to have known was held without a permit under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order & Nuisance) (Assemblies & Processions) Rules, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Rule 5 of the said Rules.

Mark Chua
Senior Investigation Officer
Central Police Division
29 December 2008


Rule 5 of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order & Nuisance)(Assemblies & Processions) Rules
:
Any person who participates in any assembly or processions in any public road, public place or place of public resort shall, if he knows or ought reasonably to have known that the assembly or processions is held without a permit, or in contravention of any term or condition of a permit, be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000.

Posted by Seelan Palay on behalf of Chee Siok Chin
Source: Jaslyn Go’s Blog

Among us F4, I was the least interested in politics..not forgetting, the one with the worse political knowledge.

Kelvin’s political knowledge was the best, which even Ti Lik as a politician takes his hats off to.

E-Jay’s political knowledge came pretty close to Ti Lik’s, and he being a very keen and fast learner, he absorb very fast.

I am the most hopeless among the 4 of us..my mind always drift off when they start to discuss politics or the recent policies, too ‘cheem’ for me as what I always tell them..

Ti Lik and E-Jay were the one who always drag me to attend SGHR and SDP meeting back then..Even though I told them I am not keen, but they always managed to persuade me to join them eventually..

I remember once in a meeting at SDP office..I was day dreaming when suddenly Dr Chee ask..”how about Jaslyn”.. I got stump and didn’t know what Dr Chee was talking about as I have not been paying attention..Ti Lik and E-Jay were laughing and save me the embarrassment further by replying ..”Jas cannot…she is not ready yet”..

I remember during Dr Chee and Siok Chin’s contempt of court trial, I hurriedly walk out from high court as I know hordes of reporters were waiting outside for them and I am not ready to be seen together with them (like many Singaporeans, to be seen with these 2 are a taboo).  I stood a distance away from them as I watched in total disbelief how our reporters were behaving like paparazzi, going after Siok Chin with the video and cameras blocking her path.  That was when I walk up to Siok Chin and put my hand on her shoulder and told her, “how can I let you walk alone, come, let me walk with you”.  The video crew follow us, blocking our path while we were trying to cross the road from High Court to Funan, and we were smiling and laughing about their silly antics.

That footage appeared in the evening  in CNA news and immediately my phone was swarmed with smses from friends and family asking me what am I doing with Siok Chin.  The next day, my neighbors were telling me they saw me on TV with SDP people and asking me how come I am mixing with SDP people.

Looking back 2 years on, while my 2 ‘bodyguards’ – Ti Lik and E-Jay has pleaded guilty to the protest 3 of us were involved with, I chose to continue on the trial.  Not because I am stubborn, or that I have the the whole world of time to play with them, in contrary, I do at times feel the strain of the trial taking time away from my responsibility aa a mother, and the thought of pleading guilty and just get over and done with is rather tempting.

What keeps me going is none other than my sister in arms – Siok Chin.  She is always my source of strength whenever I am feeling the strain.  As someone who had been through a number of trials and a jail sentence, she is always reassuring and find ways to cheer me up.  On some days when the court adjourn early, she never fail to suggest that we bring my kids out for play which makes my kids so happy.

Now, this sister of mine is yet again jail and this time for 7 days for ‘distributing pamphlets criticizing the PAP Government without a permit’.

If criticizing our government is illegal, then aren’t all opposition parties illegal parties since the basis of opposition is criticizing on government policies they feel strongly about?

In my views, only a incompetent government are afraid to be criticize and will hide behind the judiciary for protection against anyone criticizing.  A competent government will stand up to criticism and refute with facts and not let others do the dirty work of ’silencing critics in the form of arrest, prosecute and jailed.

As I sit here writing this article and feeling sad because I can’t be there for my sister who never failed to be there for me, I feel even sadder for Singaporeans who failed to see the autocratic government they have given mandate to for the past 40 years.  Until Singaporeans wake up and start to see how our government has really been ruling us, Singapore will be in a sad state.

I urge my fellow Singaporeans, even a least interested in politics mother like me, who has been brain washed for the past 30+ years to be apathetic to politics has since been awaken from the slumber, please wake up and see for yourself what has our government being doing to us, our people.  Even when now they are going on damage control, citizens will now come first before PRs, blah blah blah, will it last after they be given the mandate yet again for another term?

I DOUBT SO.

Wake up my fellow Singaporeans, you have a choice, vote the PAP out when the time come for you to cast your votes.

In solidarity with all who had been unjustly and unfairly jailed, prosecuted and persecuted.

Posted on behalf of Chee Siok Chin
Source: Singapore Democrats

Ms Chee Siok Chin began serving her one-week jail sentence yesterday after District Judge Chng Lye Beng had found her guilty together with Mr Gandhi Ambalam and Dr Chee Soon Juan for distributing flyers without a permit.

A permit was required because, one, 5 or more persons were involved and, two, the police insist, the flyer was demonstrating “opposition to the actions of the Government.”
The Deputy Public Prosecutor had during the hearing emphasized that it was not the distribution of the flyers per se that was illegal but the content of the flyer which was critical of the policies of the Government was also illegal.

The police witnesses had testified during the trial that distibuting flyers was a common and normal activity. They could not say what offence the Defendants had committed. One even said that in his opinion, the SDP leaders were not committing an offence.

Furthermore, the licensing officer testified that distributing flyers for a commercial cause did not require a permit whereas one was needed if the cause was political. This, of course, is not true because the law (Miscellaneous Offences Act) does not make such a provision.

The Defendants also argued that the fact that the flyer criticised the Government was irrelevant to the charge.

Despite all these, Judge Chng sided with Prosecution and convicted Ms Chee, Mr Ambalam, and Dr Chee, sentencing them to the maximum fine of $1000, or one-week jail in default. (See here)

The three have appealed the conviction. Ms Chee has chosen to serve her sentence first but will continue with her appeal because it is important that the High Court renders its decision and grounds if it upholds the conviction.

Even as she begins serving her sentence, Ms Chee will be brought to court daily for the on-going hearing before District Judge Toh Yung Cheong for a separate charge for “attempting to take part in a procession” during the WB-IMF meeting in 2006.

Immediately after Mr Chng made his decision on 18 Dec 09, Ms Chee stood up and told him:

“I continue to say that what we did was not a crime. Criticising one’s government is a right guaranteed in a democratic society. By finding us guilty you are as good as saying that we do not have this right. By pronouncing us guilty you are also saying that Singapore is not a democratic society and that this government is an undemocratic one.”

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