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


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.


December 22, 2009

I was hardly surprised when the judge Ch’ng Lye Beng pronounced me and my Party colleagues guilty last week (read report here).

However, I must say that the maximum sentence that was generously doled out was unexpected. You see, this is the first time I have been “convicted” of any offence. In other words, I do not have a record, in legal parlance, no antecedence. Yet, the judge decided that I would have to be sentenced to the heaviest fine possible.

I guess I didn’t quite sound as contrite as the judge would have liked me to when asked if I had a mitigation plea. I 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.”

Let’s see what happens when the appeal for this matter is heard in High Court next year.

Happy 2010!

Source: Singapore Democrats

District Judge Ch’ng Lye Beng found Mr Gandhi Ambalam, Dr Chee Soon Juan and Ms Chee Siok Chin guilty of distributing pamphlets criticising the PAP Government without a permit and fined the three SDP leaders the maximum amount of $1,000 each with one week’s jail in default.

The Judge agreed with the Prosecution that distributing flyers in a group of 5 or more persons criticising the PAP Government’s policies is an offence. He gave the decision in court yesterday morning, adding that most of the evidence submitted was irrelevant. The group had distributed flyers at the Raffles City Shopping Centre on 10 Sep 06 questioning the ministers’ salaries as well as the denial of political rights to Singaporeans (see here).

Judge Ch’ng did not give reasons for his verdict. The Defendants will appeal the conviction whereupon the Judge will then have to give his grounds of decision. The sentence will be held in abeyance pending the appeal.

The SDP leaders argued that to make illegal criticism of the Government is itself unlawful under the Constitution and a breach of the principles of the rule of law.

In particular they emphasized that the Miscellaneous Offences Act under which they have ben charged has been abused by the police to target and criminalise legitimate political activity conducted by the opposition.

After the sentence was passed Ms Chee rose to tell the Judge:

“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. That is all.”

Wakey wakey Mr. Lee

November 30, 2009

https://i1.wp.com/www.lee-kuan-yew.com/leekuanyew-listening.jpgFirst he caused the catastrophic shortage of Singapore’s population by making us stop producing after two kids, then he opened his mouth to proclaim the “Golden Period” only to have global economy plunge into depths of depression, and now he says the bilingual policy that has left an indelible scar on hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans,  is a mistake.

Good grief.

For someone who has been showered with awards and accolades for his leadership, Lee Kuan Yew sure screwed up a lot of lives through his erroneous decisions and wild proclamations.

We don’t have to pay over $3,000,000 for someone to make social policies (unilaterally, probably) that destroy lives only for him to do an about face decades later and admit to his mistake.

An awakening, perhaps, when you become an octogenarian.

Here is a list of wrong decisions Mr. Lee might want to awaken to some really really time soon. Of course this list is not exhaustive:

  1. Making the death penalty mandatory for drug mules
  2. Wasting our money in paying his ministers millions of dollars each year
  3. Withholding our CPF savings even after we have retired
  4. Still insisting that the ISA was used to protect Singapore from the left-winged groups and worse, that the detainees were never tortured
  5. Criminalising homosexuality
  6. Ensuring that public institutions such as law enforcement agencies, the legal entity, media etc work for the interest of the public, not the ruling party
  7. Suppressing our wages through employing cheap foreign labour

Minister Lee should wake up soon to realise the senseless waste of lives and human potential that his government is perpetuating.