Now I don’t mean to be mean. I don’t mean to be nasty either.
National Day is an event that all citizens should be proud of. They rightly should be.
I just happened to be working in office clearing my work on a saturday evening only to find the peace being broken by F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Black Knights, Republic of Singapore Air Force doing their aerobatic rehearsals for national day.
Now we all know that the PAP hijacks to a certain extent such National events and programmes to glorify itself. National day rally is one. National Day celebrations is another. National Day Parades always have a subtle twist to glorify by repetition ad nauseam the progress made from the past.
But such acts do not detract from the fact that the National Day celebrations do provide some entertainment to the masses, some spectacle to our weary people.
As our nation takes a step closer to its 49th Birthday, citizens of this nation should take a step back to take stock of what this nation has become and where this nation is heading.
This is best done as you come closer to consuming what’s coming up on the platter for National Day: mass formation displays, perfected through months of rehearsals and trainings, Impressive aerial displays and flybys involving air force Apache helicopters and the Black Knights, time painstakingly through rehearsing for weeks before the actual event.
Such practising to perfection is all well and fine, because a mass display and flyby of military aircraft should be conducted with precision and accuracy. Let there be no mishap. There must be no flaw. It has to go like clockwork. Faultless, flawless and blameless, just like the spotlessly white PAP uniform.
But amidst all these, let us also remember that National Day exists only for that just one day in each year.
And national pride should be perennially present throughout the year and not just on National Day.
What do Singaporeans truly feel?
Does national pride in fact exist in present day Singapore?
Do Singaporeans take pride in what is this which is supposed to be their home?
Do we take pride that Singapore as it is now is something which we are proud to call our country?
Do we relish the thought of being able to stay here throughout our working lives and into our last days after retirement?
Do we tell our children and family to put our country first before everything else and that the country is what and all that matters to us?
Or do we dread, after the euphoria of the celebrations have died down, the drudgery and stress that flows from life lived in Singapore and the burden and oppression that comes with Singapore Citizenship?
When the parents see their sons in the SAF contingents which are involved in the display, do they view them with pride and honour?
Do our servicemen relish their units being singled out for national day duties or do they curse and swear under their breath at the task that has befallen them?
As we begin to search for all these questions ourselves in our own minds and hearts, i need only bring to your attention my sharing of my understanding of what such mass displays and spectacles created in the name of celebration of our nation’s glorious path.
AND my understanding is:
The more communist, fascist and totalitarian regimes are, the greater the emphasis will there be on creating grand spectacles, creating grand monuments, creating grand public infrastructure and a correspondingly great diminishing of the people’s voice, the people’s wealth and the people’s ownership of things in their country.
To put it simply if you want to see which other country celebrates national day similar to Singapore’s, try looking at North Korea.
Therefore we should all ask ourselves:
As we eagerly rush home in our cars to sit before the TV to watch the National Day Celebrations’ live telecast on this 9th August 2008. We have to ask ourselves, how much of your car do you actually own?
As we park our vehicles and run towards our lift, looking at anticipation at the flat that “belongs” to you and which you call home, you have to ask yourself, how long will you take to “own” that? Do you actually “own” your flat at the end of the day?
As you watch the afterburner trail out of each of the F-16s streaking skywards for their exhilarating climb, you have to ask yourselves, how much fuel is being burnt, how much does that operation and its rehearsals cost in taxpayers’ money?
As you watch the floating platform which they constructed a couple of years ago into another world’s first, you have to ask yourself was the cost of creating a floating platform actually necessary? It that not taxpayers’ money as well?
As you watch the millions of dollars going up as fireworks, which is funded by the money coming from people like you, you should ask yourself, what is your present state of net worth and the health of your bank account?
You should also ask yourself, if you were to fall ill and be unproductive, will you have the confidence that life will carry on for your family without too much disruption and the years will pass beautifully like each National Day coming and going without fail. Will your life be just as fulfilling and fruitful?
You should ask yourself to take stock of what is it that makes Singapore a country? What is that which makes us want to be citizens? Is it the planes streaking the skies? Is it that display of the national flag?
Is Singapore all that great a country that the celebrations make it out to be? Or are you thinking that you might have a better life elsewhere?
What is a mere show and pretence of a nation? And what is it that truly makes a nation?
What is perceived? What is real?
In any struggle for freedom and democracy, there is bound to be blood, sweat and tears.
Throughout history, freedom and democracy are not won by comfortable inaction or muted negotiation.
Freedom and democracy are won through sacrifice.
The PAP secured its position by detaining political opponents, sueing political opponents, jailing political opponents.
Detentions were in Operation Coldstore 1 and Operation Coldstore 2 in the early years. That all but wiped out the Barisan Socialis.
In 1987-1988, the Marxist Conspiracy arrests were used to against 22 young professionals working closely with the Workers’ Party of Singapore.
Defamation suits were used throughout the years against opposition politicians who were less than careful with their criticisms.
I received my first two charges from Central Police Division for unlawful assembly and illegal procession relating to the World Consumers’ Day Protest on March 15th 2008. We were peaceful and harmless protesters but the administration is adamant on silencing Singaporeans in their own country.
Check out youtube for a recording of what actually happened and ask yourself whether our administration and the Police have gotten their priorities correct in the service and protection of citizens of this nation.
I would have to attend Court on 11th July 2008 for these charges. I will go to Court as an Accused person for the first time in my life. This are the casualties of the Tak Boleh Tahan campaign brought on behalf of the citizens of Singapore. It remains to be seen whether these are the only casualties that will ever be recorded in History.
I have to come to terms to what i believe in and what it takes for us to make this place a nation. In view of what Singapore lacks to make this place a home, there is no reason for us to recoil from what is now perceived to be the danger that comes with challenging the regime.
There will be a price to pay for things in life. And if freedom is something to be treasured. The price for freedom would undoubtedly be high.
The week before this, Dr Chee Soon Juan was involved in a trial against the two most powerful men in Singapore being the father and son team of Prime Minister and Minister Mentor. This clash had been recorded on the Court’s audio recording and available for all to hear.
The much awaited clash produced collateral damage in the form of Justice Belinda Ang’s citation of Chee Soon Juan and Chee Siok Chin for contempt of Court. It inevitably resulted in jail sentences for the pair – 12 days for Dr. Chee and 10 days for Siok Chin.
After sending off Dr. Chee and Siok Chin on the afternoon of 4th June 2008, I had thought that the saga had ended. However, on 7th June 2008 Saturday morning, I was met with three articles touching on Dr. Chee. These were from Chua Lee Hoong of the Straits Times and Nazry Bahrawi and Derrick A. Paulo of Today.
In short, the articles were as follows:
1. Chua Lee Hoong attempts to take a swipe at Dr. Chee lamenting on his supposed squandered potential.
2. Nazry Bahrawi questions Dr. Chee’s game plan.
3. Derrick A Paulo confesses to having less than independent thought in that remarks by a colleague shapes his opinion of Dr. Chee. Interestingly, his views are not shaped by what he perceives through his senses and processed by independent sentient thought.
The common thread throughout the three articles are that they sought to portray a stance of neutrality and concern but in the same breath seek to insidiously poison the readers’ minds as to who Dr. Chee is and what he stands for.
I have penned down my responses to the same on the following articles.
If it is any significance, it should be noted that these articles are published whilst Dr. Chee is being held in incarceration for 12 days for pursuing a certain line of cross-examination of MM and PM in Court.
Derrick A Paulo’s article in Weekend Today 7-8th June 2008
It is amazing how sometimes things in Singapore play themselves out.
I met Derrick A Paulo during my campaign in the last Election in GE2006. I somehow formed the opinion that Derrick was a reporter who was sympathetic to the opposition cause.
My impressions of Derrick are somewhat changed by his latest article. In that article I see Derrick performing the function of a columnist. His writing was that of a commentary. He was giving his personal opinion on the subject to be discussed.
Rightly so that his designation has changed to that of an Assistant Editor and not just a mere journalist or reporter I had known him to be. His current position allows him to comment on matters and he has chosen in a timely fashion to comment and give his opinion of Chee Soon Juan.
Firstly, I would like to state that it is strange that Derrick is writing about how his ideas are being shaped by those around him.
Naturally this topic does not stray into what was exchanged in Court between the Lees and the Chees. Interestingly though it was the persistence of the Chees in pursuing a certain line of questioning that brought them into contempt of Court.
Why does the press not choose to discuss this tumultuous exchange in open Court that resulted in the jail sentences for Chee Siok Chin and Chee Soon Juan?
Is it simply because the audio recording of the exchange is not freely available? Had the audio recording been made freely available, I would surmise that the focus would have been on the discourse between the Lees and Chees instead of it being glossed over and not given the due attention which it deserves.
Derrick digs up the past on Chee Soon Juan’s debate with George Yeo on health care costs and subsidies. If that is supposed to be of any weight, is it not true now that Singapore’s health care costs are skyrocketing through the roof? Singaporeans have to judge which the greater sin is.
A typographical error? Or the brazen collective inability of a bunch of ministers to solve a problem highlighted by a political opponent more than a decade and a half earlier?
Which is a bigger sin? A few dollars in postage costs, or millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money?
The oft quoted excuse that a politician is no longer relevant because of the lack of support he is obtaining at a certain time is often used by those in power in an attempt to dissuade those from following the footsteps of that politician.
One need no further reminder that sham elections by Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party when he was in power had returned a vote of no less than 99% to the dictator.
Derrick betrays his pro-establishment double standards mindset that foreign connections have to be abandoned in the face of a need to win local support.
May I then ask why do our leaders keep on making overseas trips to meet foreign leaders especially those of dubious legitimacy and standing, ever so often?
Singapore is a city state which cannot live in isolation. Singapore may be an island but no Singaporean should be an island.
The government has exhorted our people over the years to work overseas and build an external economy. We were asked to position ourselves as global citizens. Our Government is a “foreigner lover” through and through in that it absorbs foreigners into civil service, welcomes foreigners into Singapore with more than open arms, and it is ever willing to cheapen the Singapore Citizenship by offering it to people whom have never made an iota of contribution to the Republic.
It is strange that when the establishment attempts to take a swipe at Dr. Chee, it forgets all that it has done. Like the thief who covers his ears as he steals the bell, it does not mean that if you do not hear it (or should I say choose not to hear it), the bell did not ring.
To give due credit to Derrick, I can say that Derrick has been reading on Dr. Chee’s civil disobedience principles and trying to make sense out of them and Derrick tries his best to distinguish Singapore from the countries where civil disobedience has succeeded in bringing about change.
Whilst it is true that Dr Chee’s civil disobedience principles are partly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and to a certain extent Nelson Mandela and it is also true that Singapore needs Singaporeans to change things.
It is a different ball game when intelligent and educated people in a position like Derrick choose to please the establishment by discouraging an entirely peaceful but assertive manner of placing pressure on the Government and encouraging avenues where it has been proven to be ineffective in bringing about change, it is no wonder that change is itself impeded. What have Low Thia Khiang and Chiam See Tong achieved after more than 17 and 24 years respectively in parliament? A mere illusion of hope? Or a balm to soothe the wounded pride of the opposition?
In the article, I further sense a tinge of concern, persuasion and almost pleading for Chee Soon Juan to abandon his current course.
In as much as I try not to read too much into the workings of Derrick’s mind but judging from the looks of the article which I have dissected, it is not difficult to position where his loyalty lies and from where the plea for Chee Soon Juan to cease his campaign originated from.
Chua Lee Hoong – The Squandered Potential of Chee Soon Juan: Thinking Aloud (ST 7th June 2008)
Chua Lee Hoong begins her article citing the entry of Dr. Chee into politics in 1992 then goes in depth into why she thinks Chee Soon Juan has squandered his potential.
Ms Chua also attempts to play psychologists in branding the subject of discussion i.e. Dr. Chee as someone with a personality disorder.
She even does further into issues between God and Man and between God-fearing men.
My attention is drawn to the fact that Chua Lee Hoong was invited twice to attend a forum on Press Freedom wherein she would have met Dr. Chee in person to express such views. I understand that Ms Chua has declined to attend twice citing various reasons.
Ms Chua not only knows that Dr. Chee is in prison at this moment. Incidentally, it is also during this period that she chooses to think aloud on matters outside her knowledge, expertise and training.
Nazry Bahrawi – What is Chee Soon Juan’s game plan? (Weekend Today 7-8th June 2008)
Before his article was published, Nazry had emailed me near noon of 4th June 2008 and called me to draw my attention to the mail.
Thereafter, Nazry SMSed me twice, trying to get me to answer the mail. It turned out that I had no time to address the email as I was busy with Gopalan Nair’s matter myself.
I only saw the email shortly before Nazry’s article came out on 7th June 2008.
From the way Nazry’s questions were phrased, it betrays that he had already formed an idea of how he wanted to pitch his article even before he had obtained his interviews.
In any event, Nazry’s choice of quotes and interviews were obviously attempts to put Dr. Chee in bad light. Nazry cited the following:-
1. Non-graduate MP Charles Chong’s attempt to pay psychologist by assessing Dr. Chee as a “complex character” and referring to the below and his expression of magnanimity and largess to have compassion for those who fall short of their own dreams and appear to be challenged in more than one way.
2. During the assessment of damages hearing, Lee Kuan Yew had quoted expert opinion from his experts commenting in vacuo that Dr. Chee was a megalomaniac, as if that carried any probity according to rules of evidence.
3. Minister Mentor LKY agreeing with SPP’s Chiam See Tong on Dr. Chee Soon Juan being a megalomaniac.
4. An unnamed woman whom we do not even know actually exists using the words “backstreet brawler … doubt he is serious about being the opposition … “
5. Sinapan Samydorai, Think Centre, Dr. Terence Chong, Institute of SEA Studies, NMP Siew Kum Hong, Assoc Prof. Eugene Tan SMU, Dr. Gillian Koh, IPS further lend their weight to the article that Dr. Chee Soon Juan would not get anywhere politically.
Nazry’s article then cites the comments that the PAP would actually attempt to change tack towards Chee Soon Juan, by ignoring Dr. Chee and ceasing further defamation suits against him.
This is not the first time the press paves the way for PAP policy retreats.
If it is of any significance, it pays to note that such talk only emanated from the PAP camp just days after the scathing exchange between the Lees and the Chees in court.
Perhaps, the first ever of such face to face engagements between the Lees and the Chees are so much more than what the PAP and its administration could bear, such that the longstanding use of lawsuits have become an unattractive option.
In short, we have a political editor trying to play psychologist, an assistant editor without an independent opinion, and a journalist who had an opinion of how the article should read even before he started his interviews.
Faced with such glaring facts, it is no wonder the press in Singapore is being ranked 154th in the world.
People operating under anxiety focus too much on Chee Soon Juan’s political manoeuvres, which they incidentally opine will not bear fruit, and forget that Dr. Chee is a fully qualified psychologist even by the extremely stringent standards in the United States of America.
If there is anything to learn from what these characters like Lee Kuan Yew, Charles Chong, Chiam See Tong, Chua Lee Hoong attempt to play masak-masak Singapore-standard psychologist, one need only to be reminded that imitation is actually the sincerest form of flattery.
This article was not published previously because of the fact that there might have been too much of write up over the Tak Boleh Tahan Campaign. I held back. Now that developments are underway…. here it is:
These are afterthoughts flowing from an overview of the events happening over the last two months related to the Tak Boleh Tahan Campaign starting from the World Consumer Rights’ Day protest on 15th March 2008.
Having learnt of the SDP’s World consumers’ Rights’ Day Protest to be conducted at Partliament House, i had chosen to take part in it. I was arrested with 11 others, the rest was history.
on 15th March 2008 World Consumers’ Day protest, I remember the police were there ready and waiting for us even before we started to assemble. Up to visibly 4 pairs of officers with communications equipment were monitoring the event.
This was even before they sent ASP William Goh advise us to disperse. I say 4 pairs because it seems news has it that the police had also situated police officers at certain vantage points on high ground i.e. in the surrounding buildings. If only they would go through such lengths to nab their wanted Kastari.
As an activist keen on speading the message, when the Singapore Democratic Party announced their intention to carry the TBT- Campaign to Toa Payoh, i turned up to support as well.
1st May 2008 was a very hot day, we managed to set up shop beside the library.
The press was already there – waiting. En route to the location, i also spotted at least two police vehicles in close proximity, one was a traffic policeman from the mobile squad on a bike. I did not think too much of it since the Toa Payoh Library was actually opposite the Toa Payoh Police Station, i saw little reason to query why there was a certain concentration of police vehicles in the vicinity.
I only found out much later that there was a convoy of police vehicles on standby in some secluded spot in Toa Payoh, i realised that they had to have some sort of operations communications and command that coould enable them to hide in one corner so that they could decide whether or not they needed to act to swoop down on us so as to bundle us into police vans as quickly as possible.
At the event, we did notice a number of suspicious looking ISD policemen monitoring the event. In attempt to stay undetected, the ISD could not come too close, they had to use a few methods of urban camouflage. These included newspaper reading, eating barbaqued pork, pretending to idle and not too interested in what’s happening yet still linger pretty close to the event.
I also recalled because they but of course there were other groups not related to the press who could do the job. There were a number of cameras around. I found the overreaction from the Singapore Police Force pretty amusing, indeed their behaviour resembles that of a shaky and panicky regime which did not have the courage to stand up to a Citizens’ expression of their views. All that monitoring and gathering intelligence, if properly utilised against elements which out to be monitored e.g. limping terrorists, people’s passport photos, checking validity and eligibility for a new passport, watching over accused persons in court lock up, there would really be nothing much for Wong Kan Seng to worry about.
In fact, as we go along i liked the way the game was being played
I also recalled that the subsequent newspaper reports cited that a town council staff had called to complain that the SDP was conducting illegal hawking at Toa Payoh Central. As i look back with hindsight, would you ever believe that the town council staff would be so bothered with and so immature as to call the police?
On May 1st Tak Boleh Tahan Campaign at Toa Payoh, i recalled meeting a mother and daughter pair. Who shied away when they first saw our table and paraphernalia, SDP logos and Dr. Chee Soon Juan whom everyone thought was boorish and mad.
The came back moments later and I pushed them a copy of the SDP flyer. They went off.
Next they came back and bought a copy of the Power of Courage, Dr. Chee’s little black book for S$10. They then went off again.
Next i then saw that they were back, they pushed to me a donation of S$50. I was touched. People were indeed beginning to realise what SDP and what Chee Soon Juan stood for. One by one, the people are being awakened. I then proceeded to chat with them. I wanted to hold them back but off the mother and daughter pair went again.
Finally as the day drew closer to the evening, Dr. Chee came back from doing his rounds in Toa Payoh Central. His voice had become a little hoarse. I hoped the mother and daugther pair would reappear so that i could let Dr. Chee speak to them and let them realise the amount of distortion of truth the PAP was creating about SDP and Dr. Chee.
They did come back. I introduced them to Dr. Chee and retreated from the conversation. I could see that they had moved from disapproval and disdain towards SDP to being understanding and supportive of SDP and Dr. Chee in just a matter of hours. SUCH IS THE POWER OF TRUTH.
Yesterday and before, i received hints that there would be developments flowing from the Protest at parliament house on 15th March 2008. I have since decided to publish this article. This is because the truth has to be told – Let history be the judge.
Tak Boleh Tahan is a local colloquial malay term which essentially means “its unbearable”. The SDP and its supporters from the citizens use this to describe PAP greed and abuse of the system and the country. The ramifications flowing from this beget the question – Why do citizen activists stand with the much demonised SDP in such a situation? Why are citizens not afraid of getting into trouble?
The answer is because the SDP provides the leadership and the courage for Singaporeans to do what is right. The issues of high cost of living caused by the bloody ruling party are that which affects all Singaporeans – someone must stand up to the PAP for this rubbish that they have created.
To quote Popeye, “I have stands so much, i can stands no more!”.
There are 2000 armed Gurkhas in Singapore and their number grows annually by 140.
This is a dangerous sign.
Gurkhas are not Singaporeans. They are mercenaries. AND Mercenaries work for money.
In other words, Gurkhas can be bought with money. Loyalty is a tricky issue here, for their loyalty is dependent on their having to be satisfied with material reward. AND NOW this has proven to be true with their recent rioting incident in Mount Vernon Camp over pay issues which is very worrying.
I do not know how the trouble makers will be taken to task in this incident and whether or not there will be a coverup because of the way in which the MHA has conducted itself with the lack of transparency in the way it fumbled over the Mas Selamat Kastari escape.
The latest Gurkha rioting incident raises many questions in the minds of Singapore Citizens as to: How this mercenary unit being brought in and being armed? How is this mercenary unit empowered to act in Singapore? How is this mercenary unit subject to law and discipline and control?
Will the rioters be charged and disciplined accordingly? What sort of discipline will they receive?
As seen from the Mas Selamat Kastari escape, our administration will bend over backwards for these foreign mercenaries. The Gurkhas on duty ought to have been charged under the Penal Code but instead they were let off with a slap on their wrists. I believe the negligent Singaporean ISD officers received far heavier sanction compared to the negligent Gurkhas. It is amazing how much better treatment these foreigners are being treated in comparison to their Singaporean counterparts in the Police.
[By the way when Singaporean boys have petty fight in groups, they are often charged with rioting and they go to jail for it, I wonder if our Singapore Police Force is held to any higher standards of conduct]
We can trust that the Singapore Police Force and the Ministry of Home Affairs will do their best to cover up this incident and sweep it under the carpet. As if underneath the carpet is already not dirty enough. I would caution against condoning such coverup and I would also caution against the Singaporean public to be complacent enough to overlook the need to pressure the MHA into revealing the worms in the innards of the Gurkha Contingent.
This is because it is my view that the continued presence of Gurkhas in Singapore is the greatest danger to Singapore itself. My reasons are stated below.
If the PAP administration persists on being unrepentant on their mercenary ways and insist on using mercenaries for their security or should i say “the security of Singapore”, it would not be difficult to imagine the possibility of such attitudes infecting the Gurkha Contingent [which is mercenary in the first place] and resulting in the Gurkha Contingent selling out Singapore in time to come.
Imagine, there are 2000 mercenaries armed and ready. Their allegiance unknown. It is easy for them to even try to eliminate the entire leadership and neutralize the other Singaporean units in the Singapore Police Force should they ever decide to do so. And it would be easy for them to do so because the PAP trusts the Gurkhas more than they trust Singaporean Police Officers, they get the Gurkhas to guard Ministers homes.
Furthermore, the Gurkhas are professional soldiers and mercenaries, they are put constantly under training during their service. They upon completion of their vocational training continue to serve their careers in the position they have been trained for.
Singaporean National Servicemen on the other hand are under training only whilst doing their national service and they only turn operational near to their Run-Out-Date (Operationally ready date) only to be released and returned to their civilian status.
In the Singapore Armed Forces, we all know that in each SAF camp, there are roughly only 10-12 rifles in each aggregated guard detail and maybe 200-300 rounds of ammunition in each guardhouse. Other than that, all other weapons and ammunition are stored separately and drawing of arms and ammunition in times of need will take time.
As of now, we know nothing of the Gurkha Contingent’s weapons drawing protocol and ammunition storage and drawing protocol but there is reason to believe that their ammunition and weapons are stored in the same camp unlike the weapons and ammunition which are stored separately in all SAF units. Therefore, it is my belief that our SAF units cannot react fast enough to be mobilized, armed and ready for action if their was a mobilization call to neutralize the Gurkha Contingent when the need arises.
The red tape from the rules set by our leaders surrounding SAF weapons and ammunition drawing and the inherent fact that our Singaporean National Servicemen stay in the far flung corners of Singapore [with compliments from the Central Posting Centre in Mindef] as opposed to the Gurkhas being accommodated in their camp whilst on duty and being accommodated near their camp whilst off duty will prevent our local units from reacting fast enough to tackle the mercenary unit should the mercenaries turn renegade.
[Please recall that in this incident, the SOC reacted fast enough to deploy to Mount Vernon Camp because it was merely an incident of scuffle and rioting. This situation would be vastly different from the scenario where it is the entire Gurkha Contingent co-operating to mutiny. There would be no 999 call to the Radio Division Singapore Police Force, there would also be no advance warning call to the Special Operations Command.]
The PAP had better come up with much better reasons for maintaining the need for the Gurkha Contingent.
Should the Gurkha Contingent revolt for reasons unknown, the PAP’s policy of recruiting and arming foreigners heavily on its own soil may prove to be the worst ever decision the administration has made and might in actual fact lead to the downfall of Singapore.
I repeat myself. Gurkhas are not Singaporeans, they are mercenaries and they intend to retire in their homeland when they finish their terms of services. Gurkhas are i believe more heavily armed, from what the photos reveal, with at least Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns and M-16 assault rifles as opposed to most of their Singaporean counterparts with their Smith & Wesson 0.38 revolvers. God knows whether or not they have the same heavy weapons as a SAF Infantry Battalion e.g. GPMGs.
Thank God that Singapore still has its Special Operations Command, Police Task Force unit, KINS and PINS. This however does not square the equation because do we have as many as 2000 fighting men in the Special Operations Command? I believe not.
The question is to MHA is this – What function does this unit perform which cannot be performed by true blue Singaporeans?
I hereby declare my intention to campaign for the disarming and disbanding of the Gurkha Contingent and I hope other Singaporeans will rally with me with this call.
Until the administration gets pressured enough to be accountable with how the Gurkhas’ recruitment, training, deployment and weapons access and cost of upkeep, I pray for all Singaporean police officers, especially those in the Special Operations Command, to keep a keen and watchful eye on the Gurkha Contingent for reasons which i need not say more.
No one need to look too far into history to know the dangers of having a foreign armed mercenary unit in Singapore.
From Reuters report just this morning reproduced in the Today paper.
Looks like our Ministry of Home Affairs ought to explain why we are employing so many Gurkhas who waste our rice and end up doing nothing but let Mas Selamat Kastari escape and brawl with each other in their police special pound…. er….. compound.
May i ask MHA whether those Gurkhas who are police officers who have brought the name of the Singapore Police Force into contempt and disdain and disrepute be charged accordingly for rioting within their police compound? The MHA better tread carefully on this because it does not mean that if it is a police compound of the Gurkhas that Singapore Law does not apply there.
Hello Wong Kan Seng, let me hear an intelligent reply from you now, since your Godly pets have now misbehaved.
We now know that our taxpayers’ money is used to feed 2000 Gurkhas and their families. No wonder we find life in Singapore tougher and tougher.
It seems that the cat’s out of the bag, we have as many as 2000 Gurkhas in the Gurkha Contingent. Furthermore, this figure grows at 140 per year.
I remember it was a short time ago that there were only 600 Gurkhas in Singapore.
Gurkhas are being recruited at a rate of 340 per year, and 140 goes to Singapore it seems.
Why such a massive buildup of foreign mercenaries in Singapore?
Is the purpose of this Gurkha Contingent meant to sideline and neutralise a Singaporean SAF and Police Force in time to come?
Will we hear from the Ministry of Home Affairs on this one? Or will courage of the MHA and the Gurkha Contingent be limited to the confines to their special pounds …. err sorry compounds?
Clearing a cabinet early this morning led me to chance upon a dog-eared copy of Dr. Chee’s Power of Courage. Picking it up I realised how far i have come. I also realised that i failed to read the book.
I bought the book at Dr. Chee’s book launch in June 2005, shortly after i was elected into WP’s CEC. My presence was reported in the papers by reporter Aaron Low from the Straits Times. How do i remember this? Well the memories are clear because, I perceived a near censure from the WP CEC for getting too closely involved with SDP and Dr. Chee. I never understood why then. But now i do.
I also realised that following therefrom, i did not touch the book. I did not try to understand deeper what Chee Soon Juan was getting at nevertheless i saw them play out their role over the past 3 years. I also realised that when i was arrested by the Police in March 2005, family members were reading from the book and quoting from it and criticising it. I never answered those criticisms with intellectual replies. I merely stood firm in the affirmation of faith that, re-assertion of a citizen’s rights was the RIGHT THING TO DO.
I also realised that i never read the book despite buying it.
I was then surprised by how far i have come. From PAP to Non-Partisan to WP to Non-Partisan to…. ha ha
Many people wonder whether i would be in SDP in time to come. Lets not speculate too much. From what i do know is that SDP and its Civil Disobedience campaign is now rattling people and causing sleepless nights and is making sense. It makes sense with me and also it calls out to me.
I also realised, i jumped into the civil activist fold and civil disobedience without doing the relevant reading up which intellectuals would expect to do. I guess i am not much of an intellectual then. I think many a time, i am a doer and i try to experience things for what they are. By doing it. After careful thought.
That mindset has brought me into opposition politics, out of opposition politics, into police investigations and lockup. Is it right? Or is it wrong?
I will be attending another police investigation this morning at Central Police Division – not as a lawyer but as a possible Accused in an offence – something which my mum is not very proud of and extremely flabbergasted by my nonchalance.
I guess the questioning is for conducting some vigil outside Police Cantonment Complex for Gopalan Nair where and when he was remanded.
Something which i realised, i don’t read much into the intellectual stuff, I dive into the thick of things. But to me, this is a mirror of life. Life does not give you time to read before you get thrust into the situation. 34.5 years ago, I did not get to read about what this world would be before my mum pushed me out of her womb.
I guess none of you would have gotten any better preferential treatment.
Therefore, it would be good if people can find time to read about more of the things to come. Civil Disobedience is the thing to come in this stifling and repressed Singapore. The reading is available for all who would buy the book for S$10/- a small price to pay for gaining a little knowledge.
To sum it all up, it is comparatively a small price to pay in comparison with the situation life thrust us into unprepared.
I don’t read much, I prefer to dive into the thick of things. And i am proud of it.
9am Court 26 16th June 2008 was the 4th court mention for Gopalan Nair.
I arrived at Court at 850am. The case was first mentioned at 920am after DPP Francis Ng confirmed with me that we were seeking for the trial to be conducted in the High Court. In such a situation, it would be apt that the trial of both charges be conducted in the High Court.
It then transpired that the Prosecution was already in the process of amending the 1st charge from Section 13D (1) (a) Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order & Nuisance) Act to Section 228 of the Penal Code. The Prosecution thereafter needed to submit the amended 1st charge for renumbering. The matter was stood down for the Amended Charge to be renumbered.
Thereafter when the Court re-mentioned the case, it turned out that the IO ASP Razak Jakaria had somehow misplaced the amended charge and the Prosecution was looking for it. There seemed to be some issue about renumbering the wrong charge by the Crime Registry. There was also the question raised by the Magistrate on the Public Prosecutor’s sanction required in for Section 228 charges to proceed. The matter was then stood down till 11am for the Public Prosecutor’s sanction to be obtained.
When the case was re-mentioned, the Magistrate fixed the matter for PTC in the high Court. It was also stated that the matter would go through the process of preliminary inquiry. The Magistrate wanted to know the frequency of the High Court’s PTC, DPP Francis Ng was not able to give a definite answer, to be fair DPP would not know the workings of the High Court Registry to give a definite answer. The Court then fixed the matter for mention in 4 weeks time – 14th July 2008 Court 26 9am.
A further request was made by the prosecution to vary the conditions of bail such that Gopalan Nair had to report to Central Police Station at 9am on a daily basis.
I explained the inability of Gopalan Nair to attend as requested during the previous week was because of the short notice, tight schedule of both parties and miscommuication and that in order not to inconvenience Gopalan Nair, some restriction of his attendance at the Police Station is required, i suggested that each session be limited to 2 hours since he would be there everyday and he be given time to arrange his personal affairs.
The Court ordered Gopalan Nair to attend at Central Police Station at 9am daily until his attendance at the station for investigation was not required. Subject to the restriction that I/O ASP Razak Jakaria would have to decide every morning when Gopalan attended whether or not he will be needed that day and release him accordingly if he was not needed.
The ramifications flowing from the Amendment of the 1st charge – in my next post.
Change seems to be the constant thing that is needed.
I always thought that i thrived on stability and predictability.
After settling down some accommodation, domestic and audiophilic issues recently i realised that my mind is turning to wards the audio department again. My eyes are currently set on a behemoth of a speaker – 2.4m tall and 200kg in weight per side. I have heard the sweetness and the immediacy in the show room. I had since been wondering what sort of sounds it would produce in my room.
That speaker will again throw things into a little disarray. Yes the amps would have to be changed. And yes the cables as well. AND of course my unused speakers would have to find some place to sit. Or they would have to be shipped out.
I have a penchant for BIG speakers. I mean really BIG speakers. I have made breakthroughs in the past. The 70kg mark, then the 100kg mark. Noiw i am at the 150kg mark. The speakers are nice but i am in need of a change.
I understand that BIG speakers are difficult to get rid of, difficult to sell. How many sane persons would have sane spouses to accommodate BIG speakers? That probably explains the difficult of marketing of BIG speakers. BUT many audiophiles miss out one thing, BIG speakers provide the soundstage, the extension and the impact that no small teeny weeny transducer boxes can. BUT then again to each his own.
There are physical and financial constraints to this. I would need to sell the 150kg Genesis APM-1 and the 80kg ESS AMT-6 and until then i will not be able to find enough space or reason to accomodate my latest fling – the big and heavy lady.
Floor pressure loading is one thing. 200kg on a 1/2 square meter would mean 400kg on 1square meter. That means 4000 Newton force, now i would need to check the floor loading specifications.
This is something that i want. And yes, it is something which i clearly do not need.
Morning 9am was the scheduled mention of Gopalan Nair’s case.
The mention commenced before Magistrate Shaiffudin Saruwan at about 925am. Due to the fact that a fresh charge was to be tendered the Court had to transfer the case to Court 26 for the mention. The matter was stood down to 11am.
The re-mention came at about 1130hrs, Magistrate Shaiffudin Saruwan ordered the matter to be transferred to Court 26 for the charge to be read. Gopalan was then taken back into custody and transferred to Court 26.
At Court 26, the case was mentioned and Gopalan was then offered bail on the same terms. by the time Gopalan was out i surmise it was probably past noon. I then parted with Gopalan and went about running my errands. So many days of running around had led me to neglecting my errands, my credit card bills unpaid etc. I had also recently very stupidly applied for online statements. Being a half-idiot in internet banking as well as a part workaholic, this was what happened.
I would never set time out for solely internet banking. I would do it in the middle of work, typing letters and answering phone calls in the midst of it. i was many a time not fast enough to key in the relevant code issued to me by sms and by the time it was done I had to restart everything all over again.
Given the goose chase that i knew i was in for on Thursday, i knew i needed help. Managing to leave the car in the trusted hands of a loved one. I made my way into the bank and got into the queue. When it came to be my turn, i said to the cashier “Help me please” i pleaded woefully. The girl smiled without recoiling from fear. I proceeded to request for a series of multiple transactions sought on the accounts.
The cashier girl was most helpful and patient. And she understood my instructions! i managed to get two credit car bills paid, an internal transfer made, and account closed and finally monthly statements printed. All within less than 8 minutes! I guess this proves that humans cannot be replaced by machines and that the girls at the Citibank Branch in town are very very much irreplaceable compared to their internet banking system.
Completing that came the task fo filing Siok Chin’s Notice of Appeal. I went to High Court Registry Level 2 and found that most of them were out for lunch. I managed to get an acknowledgment copy and then proceeded to go for my lunch.
Lunch was not spectacular. The company however saved the day. The food tasted bland and my usual drink tasted awfully dilute. I wondered, was it me? or was it the effect of rushing around that i cannot savour what was going on and happening around me.
By the time i managed to get to Gopalan’s press conference, i was a little ate. After sorting out a few last minute issues with Gopalan, we proceeded to let Gopalan have his say.
During the press conference, listening to his statement i realised that though Gopalan was a little droning as he read out his statement, Gopalan was afterall a person who had harboured deep thoughts every step of the way. I also realised i was somewhat 23 – 24 years younger. And that I had seen this man in the papers when he ran as a candidate in 1988 and 1991 under the Workers’ Party. I realised that this was a man who had afterall that he has said and done which included leaving for a life in USA was very much still a Singaporean.
I had the mistaken impression that Gopalan was someone whom had taken off and left for the US, I realised that his heart had been here all along despite his doing so. [I proceeded to take some time to read his blog today, i then realised that he gave up citizenship because he did not want to have his CPF monies kept away]
I thought that Gopalan had conveyed his thoughts pretty well and that he put his message of his convictions and and beliefs pretty well. I was quite taken aback by the horrible photo that Today Newspaper of 13th June 2008 published of Gopalan Nair and myself – we looked like ghouls from some crypt – its quite apt though being Friday the 13th today.
I had the opportunity of learning that Mr. Alex Au of Yawning Bread posted his article on the press conference as well. His photograph taken from the smallest of the cameras around were much better looking than the one which the multitude of state of the art cameras produced. I am very much convinced now of the folklore emanating in opposition circles that the mainstream press chooses the worst photographs of members of the opposition and its dissidents to convey the dread and disdain the establishment has towards us.
To put it simply, we both looked like ghouls. For me i have now found the photo for me to turn away unwanted attention. For Gopalan, i will just cut out this report and laminate it and use it to remind him of how ghastly we could look under the glaring eye of press cameras. And that he should obviously and consciously smile more.
Throughout the conference my phone kept ringing. i had to stop the calls as i could not be answering the phone in the midst of the camera rolling. I found out later the number turned out to be the Investigating Officer’s – he was calling me during the press conference – but i could not take his call for obvious reasons.
The session ended with me answering a multitude of phone calls again. Including one from the DPP Francis Ng. Imagine how fast news flows in Singapore. DPP Francis Ng called to ask if Gopalan decided on a position and i confirmed it accordingly to him. The DPP thanked me on that note and we ended again one of our many cordial conversations.
Even as i was even rushing to Queenstown Remand Prison to see Dr. Chee. The IO was asking me to get Gopalan to report to Central Police Station at 5pm. This was like less than 1.5 hours notice. And that they had parted with Gopalan in Court only less than 3.5 hours earlier. As i could not get in touch with Gopalan Nair in the midst of driving i could only promise to do my best to get in touch with him.
Dr. Chee was given a very bad haircut. At least i thought so. He did not seem to be bothered by it – not in the least. I took time to explain the procedure and the form and also what had happened in his absence. I told him of the events in Gopalan’s case and also the number of articles in the press. He did not seem to be very much bothered in his usual cool and collected fashion. Perhaps having been demonised, derided and abused, sued, bankrupted, arrested, charged and imprisoned on a frequent basis has its advantages after all. Somehow a person having experienced much begins to show the ability to take abuse and to absorb the events happening all around without having to start name calling and verbal abuse unlike some others.
Dr. Chee told me that he would be released on Saturday morning at about 9am. I told him to hold out till then and i believed that there would be a welcome entourage waiting for him.
My interview with Dr. Chee was for 1 hour. The prison guards were nice. They let us have 10 minutes after time for our session to end. I left Dr. Chee at 1656hrs. Before i left, Dr. Chee asked me for the time, i realised that Siok Chin had done the same thing.
And i realised that prisoners did not have a sense of what time it was probably they did not have sight of sunlight and the outside world. I also noticed that they were both glad when they heard that the day was ending.
Prisoners do not have an easy time in the prison. Some people go to jail for nefarious crimes. Some people get away. Some people choose to go to jail for pursuing political change. There has always been this thing about political sacrifices. How does one measure the weight of a leader?
Imagine several years back i recall in or about 2004 PM Lee Hsien Loong claiming on TV that if he had to take a pay cut he would need to reconsider how much pocket money he would have to give his children.
The famous Bargain Hen also claimed that Singaporeans were getting bargain in terms of the quality of ministers they were getting compared to what they were being paid. I recall that his claim was that he could work half as hard and earn five times as much.
Recall Dr. Chee Soon Juan and Ms Chee Siok Chin were sued and bankrupted by PAP leaders and the State respectively. They were caught in legal entanglements flowing from their engagements with the PAP and the establishment.
There are people who have so much money coming in from taxpayers’ money each month as their pay and they are unwilling to even consider a pay cut.
There are also people whom can give up everything their material wealth and possessions to speak up for their fellow brethern. Now Chee Soon Juan and Chee Siok Chin have further crossed that barrier of giving up personal liberty for standing up against the PAP.
If you think of whether who is the greater leader who has placed the interests of people at heart above self interest, i think the answer would be clear.
If you think of whom has the moral authority to govern Singapore – the answer is also clear.