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I think I am Perverted! :) or am I ?

Was at the Queenstown Remand Prison today morning. To visit a client to prepare him for the guilty plea and mitigation to be taken before the Court tomorrow morning.

I walked past the guardhouse through the various gated passageways and to the inner guardhouse. I recalled many a time, upon appointment as Defence Counsel, i would have to make a trip to the Prison to take instructions.

I must have passed through those passageways umpteenth times – as a lawyer.

I also recall seeing the Queenstown Remand Prison in a different light when I participated in a candlelight vigil for the jailed Dr. Chee Soon Juan in September 2007 or thereabouts.

It was then dark and late night. Cold breeze and wet grounds due to the earlier shower. Melted and dripping candles lining the kerb facing the prison.

The Prison then looked to me to be an instrument of oppression.

Not entirely perhaps. For many that belonged in there deserved to be in there for the crimes that they committed. However, some people who are inside are not deserving to be imprisoned. Or should i say imprisoned for acts which are far less nefarious than felonies. Why should then the State choose to persecute the offenders with incarceration?

I fully understand that Dr. Chee chose to be jailed many a time: For protesting, under protest, for civil disobedience. I also understand that choosing to go to prison was in many ways an act of protest which manifested as not wanting to enrich an organ or an institution when it is persecuting political opponents in unfair ways.

Within the walls of the prison. Each time i entered it. I was addressed as “Sir”. Being an officer of the Court, a member of the bar, there was always a little more decorum and modicum of respect that Police Officers, Court Staff and members of the public will accord me with. However, how much of it is real?

By and large, being according some respect and addressed as “Sir” is all fine with me. But what am I without these? and What will i be without all these?

If i were to then walk through the passageways as a prisoner, what sort of decorum / respect will i get?

I was at the locker room emptying my pockets. A detail of prisoners with cleaning utensils and buckets and detergent were assembled in front of the inner Guardroom. Through the glass door, I noticed the prison officer order the cleaning detail to move faster and clean the areas directed. Two prisoners entered the locker room, they bowed their heads at me and smiled in acknowledgement.

I thought to myself. Was i accorded that because of what i am? A visiting Defence Counsel? The Officer -in-charge of the prisoners ordered them to clean the corners. The two prisoners tried as they were ordered but they were clearly inconvenienced by my presence in the room.

I was right smack in the locker room, at the lockers, emptying my pockets. They could not ask me to leave, it was not in their position to do so. They were trying to mop the areas which were away from me. It was clear that i was getting into their way. I quickly emptied my pockets and grabbed my file. Not forgetting my pass and pen, i grabbed them and lept out of the locker room.

The Officer smiled at me. So did the prisoners. They then began their vigorous cleaning of the tiled floor.  A nice scent wafted through the air. The smell of Jif.

I was led through the passageways. The prison officer who followed me to unlock the door before me and lock the door after me nodded in acknowledgement. “Good Morning Sir”.

I wondered. Was it my position then that elicited the politeness as well?

I saw my client in a cubicle. My client was a drug offender. He had one hand handcuffed to the wall. A board-like table separated us.

His face lit up when he saw me. He broke into a wide grin.

After i explained the steps i have taken for his case and also the fact that AG-C was not going to accede to representations, I told him of the minimum sentence he would expect. 5 years, 5 strokes minimum. 20 years 20 years 15 strokes maximum.

Given the lighthearted communication that existed all along between the 2 of us over the past few meetings. I shook my head at him and smiled. We both broke into a laughter. I lectured him a little after that. Scolding him for wasting a minimum of 5 years at the age of 27. By the time he would be out, he would be 31 years old. I told him “You better run your life properly after you come out. Don’t get involved with such things ever again. Its not worth it.” He promised me with a smile that he would not do drugs again. I told him “Good.”

Rising to take my leave, i told him i would see him tomorrow. He raised his hand to shake mine and I took it. I waved goodbye to him and left the cubicle.

The Officer brought me back through the gates again. This time round he was a little bolder to strike up a chat. He asked me “Sir, you are the lawyer right?”

I realised that i was dressed in a polo t-shirt, Jeans and track shoes. Not the usual dressing for a lawyer visiting the prison. I wondered what he would be guessing i was if I was not the lawyer. Plain-clothes Police Officer? Probably since police officers also routinely enter the prison to interview inmates for ongoing cases.

As i was changing my pass. The cleaning detail were ordered to sit down in a group on the floor. They did so. I did not see any unhappiness. I did not see any resentment. They seemed contented and happy as they were.

As I walked out of the prison gates and towards my vehicle. I realised the morning’s events were pointing me in a certain direction. What would it be like for me to walk those steps as a prisoner? How different will it be if i am not what i am now? What sort of treatment will i get? What sort of inner-realisation would i achieve? Who am i? Is it all worth it?

What was perceived? and what was real? Status and Respect. Does going to prison make a man? Is avoiding jail that important? Do we lose our freedom if we are jailed? Likewise will we lose respect if we are jailed? Or will we gain freedom by going to jail? 🙂

These questions and this article are going to rile many people. Critics and family and friends. 🙂

Relax. Not talking about such thoughts does not mean that they are not there in my head. 🙂

I reached office and after a while. Word has come from the police. It seems that after 3 letters to the police and others to the Court and my opponents plus a week of chasing, i finally managed to get the police to bring forward my 2nd attendance at the Central Police Division, Police Cantonment complex till tomorrow the 27th March 2008.

The attendance was originally slotted for 28th March 2008, but having a scheduled Court hearing for the entire day of 28th March 2008, there was really no way i could be at two places at one time. Hence i sought to reschedule.

I will be the first of the remaining 11 activists which have yet to be charged to be attending at the police again.

Will i be charged? And will i go to jail? 🙂

I think i am perverted. Or am I? 🙂

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March 26, 2008 Posted by | Life, Politics | 3 Comments

Confessions of a Protestor, World Consumer Rights’ Day – Protest in front of Parliament House Part 5

[News has it that Uncle Yap has been charged for 2 charges unlawful assembly and illegal procession. This is a sad day for Singapore. Something must be wrong with this nation when the administration punishes civil activists for speaking up for the Singapore people.

As it is, we are a nation under seige and a terrorist is on the loose, yet there is enough police determination to deploy surveillance policemen to be waiting for the civil and political activists outside parliament house on 15th March 2008. There was also enough resolve to get ready scores of female policewomen to soften the image of the regime. There was also enough determination to make sure the dirty deeds are done outside a police uniform.

All these point towards one thing that though what the police may be doing is backed up by law, what that is done is nevertheless clearly and morally wrong.

Things being done wrong in public would be done without the police uniform, but things done wrongly in police uniform would be done in private.]

Siok Chin was heard raising her voice in an exchange with the police whilst in custody. It must have been very loud for us to hear it when we are in the smaller lock up. We believed that Siok Chin was resisting the police’s demands. We did not wish that Siok Chin compromise her well-being and safety. Therefore, after a while we made a request to see Siok Chin. The request was rejected. At this time it was probably about 5 pm plus. We asked for water.

We were then transferred back to the 1st holding cell and we were given some water. We were then told that there would be dinner provided. Dinner came in the form of packed rice in styrofoam boxes. We took the food. Plain but edible and not much to complain about.

After we had our dinner. Most of the meal boxes were collected. Except Kaixiong’s, Kaixiong suffered from some gastric problem which prevented him from eating too fast. He had to take his time to eat mouthful by mouthful.

Time passed and we still did not see Siok Chin. At around 8pm plus, Station Inspector Tan Kok Ann informed us that we would be granted bail. All would be granted bail except Siok Chin. Siok Chin would be kept behind because the IO was not finished with Siok Chin. We requested to see Siok Chin thinking that she had issues which needed special addressing we were thinking of asking Siok Chin to accede to the police demands as we have all done so. Furthermore, if we were to leave we would clearly prefer to leave together since we were arrested together in the first place. Station Inspector Tan Kok Ann rejected the the request.

We made the request to at least see Siok Chin before we would call our bailor. Station Inspector walked off to check with the IO. We contemplated staying behind with Siok Chin if she was not allowed bail like us and we would ask Shaffie to go out and inform our family members. About 1/2 and hour later he returned and informed that now all of us would be offered bail, including Siok Chin.

Siok Chin was then produced before us. When we saw Siok Chin we all burst into an applause. This was because she had managed to be the only person who has kept her Tak-Boleh-Tahan shirt on. This was significant, this meant that 11 men were no match for this single lady. Siok Chin was subjected through longer interrogation and persuasion / pressure by the police simply because she was the stronger one. In fact she has proven to be the strongest one.

We were elated and then we tried to decide who to call to come down to bail us. It then dawned on us that one person was suitable to come down to bail us.

We requested this mystery person to be so kind as to come bail all of us and that person agreed. The person came down and did the processing to bail all 12 of us.

The Police waited for our bailor to arrive and then proceeded to process our bail. We were released in two groups. as we were brought out to be out-processed, I counted as many as 8-12 officers in the area to process our bail.

As my name was amongst the first few who were called, I was one of the first few who stepped out of the lock up first. I was surprised that the remainder of the rest burst into song “We shall overcome”. I was so touched by their faith and conviction.

I was brought upstairs to meet my bailor and when the 2nd group came up, i realised that Uncle Yap was serious in his refusing bail stance. He indeed was adamant on staying in the lock up. By that time i was very tired. It had been a long day. Some of us made several requests to speak to Uncle Yap to ask him to accept bail and from what i understand it seemed that it was not successful.

Siok Chin made a request for our handphones to be released. This was unsuccessful as well. We then left Central Police Division, Police Cantonment Complex at about 10pm.

March 19, 2008 Posted by | Politics | 2 Comments

Confessions of a Protestor, World Consumer Rights’ Day – Protest in front of Parliament House Part 4

“I am exercising my constitutional rights.”

“I am responsible for my own actions.”

“I myself will answer for what I did.”

It came statement taking. I was amongst the first to be called. I was led to another room where I would sit down facing an officer in front of a PC.

The Officer taking my statement was polite. He revealed that he would be asking me a number of questions. He told me that I could decline to answer them.

I must say frankly that I co-operated with the police. I answered the questions the best that I could. However, any questions that turned towards pinning blame on other persons, I declined to answer.

Each time I was faced with a difficult question, I repeated my position to the Police officer. I am exercising my constitutional rights. I will take responsibility for my own actions.

There were of course attempts by the officer to allude persuasion and instigation by persons within the SDP persuading people to take part in the protest.

Honestly since I was there to support a valid course. I answered that I was there on my own accord. I will answer for my actions.

The Officer then asked why i was there. I told him that I was there to protest against price hikes. I was there to speak on behalf of Singaporeans.

I was asked whether I went to the protest because of SDP’s encouragement and instigation. I told them that i went on my own accord.

I was asked how I came to know about the protest. I named the Sammyboy forums. [Samsters can feel really proud this time!]

I was asked if I knew of SDP’s website, of course I did but I realised that I did not really did not know SDP’s website very well. Seriously, I did not have time to surf around. Therefore even sammyboy forum’s access was done through saved links and not by way of typing the address.

I was asked who I went there with. How I got there. All these I declined to answer.

After signing my statement, the officer questioned me on my personal belongings. He then told me that he would have to confiscate my phone and my camera. I told him of private photos in my camera which I would have to delete, of course in his presence and that I would only surrender them if I was allowed to delete them.The officer claimed that the IO would decide whether it could be done. We waited some time after he contacted the IO.

The answer was no.

I explained the need to have certain private matters kept confidential. I asked again the relevance of private matters for the offences being investigated.

The answer again was no.

I told the officer that I was resisting and picked up my bag of belongings and tucked them under my arm. I stood up and made my way to the door. The officer ordered me to sit down. He told me that this was a lock up and asked me where did I intended to go? I thought of Kastari. But I was missing a limp.

I then decided to reason it out with the senior officer when he came. A total of 4 officers came to my room. Station Inspector Tan Kok Ann and the officer taking my statement gave me their gentleman’s word that my personal data would not be messed around with. After I extracted the promise and assurance from both of them, I surrendered my Tak Boleh Tahan shirt, my phone and my camera. I was then given a yellow T-shirt in exchange with compliments from the Singapore Police Force.

I was then led to a smaller lock up. There I found Ghandi and Dr. Chee. Soon thereafter the rest followed.

I thought I was tough but I soon found out that though 4 officers were needed for me to surrender my stuff, 5 were needed to forcibly pry John’s Tak Boleh Tahan shirt off.

When we were in the smaller cell. We heard Siok Chin’s raised voice arguing with the police.

To be continued in part 5

March 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Confessions of a Protestor, World Consumer Rights’ Day – Protest in front of Parliament House Part 3

The earlier process of surrendering personal items into a transparent bag took some time.

There was also some delay due to Siok Chin and Dr. Chee’s firm exchanges with the police.

At one stage, there was also so much tension that they placed 3 guards within the lock up cell with us.

Station Inspector Tan Kok Ann was uncomfortable about us grouping in a circle to talk. He entered the lock up and insisted on standing amongst us when Dr. Chee refused his suggestion to sit down on the bench.

All that took up some time such that by the time we were settled down people were then taking turns to go to the toilet. Accompanied of course.

I also went to the toilet under guard. I had to pass through a total of 4 or so gates. Each one was locked. I was accompanied all the time by a police officer.

The toilet bowl squarely faced the door. If the policeman stood at the door, there was no way I could get out of his sight. I approached the cubicles only to find that they were bathing cubicles. I did not see any urinals. There was only one cistern and flush and one washbasin. These were in a single straight line from the door. There were no windows. No side doors. No trapdoors. Nothing.

The Policeman remained there. I passed my urine under police guard. After that i was led back to the cell. This was repeated with each and everyone of us under guard.

To be continued in Part 4

March 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Confessions of a Protestor, World Consumer Rights’ Day – Protest in front of Parliament House Part 2

The trip towards Police Cantonment Complex was a very fast one.

The route was one which i often took as a lawyer, be it to bail clients / friends or to attend sessions when my clients were interviewed.

The police were ready at Police Cantonment Complex. The barrier was raised and there were extra police officers standing on guard to receive the welcoming of the vans. We drove into the basement carpark. The basement car park was also guarded.

We drove into a de-loading / de-bus bay. The vans reversed into the parking lots and a steel shutter was lowered to shut out the vans from the rest of the car park. A number of fresh police officers stood outside the van.

When it came for time to de-bus three police officers brought Selan out first. They seemed to be unsure of what to do and then in a moment of haplessness asked us to stay right there where we were. Van doors open but steel shutters down. [a thought crossed my mind – did they tell Mas Selamat Kastari this as well prior to this escape?] After a while we were asked to move one by one out of the van and into the premises.

There were steel gates everywhere. Corridors had seel gates locking down wherever we passed. My mind begins to wonder – how did Mas Selamat Kastari escape?

We were asked to empty our pockets and put them into a transparent bag. The process was a tedious process. As there were a number of us, the police took a substantial amount of time to process us.

One of the police officers had trouble securing the transparent bag which now contained my belongings. Minutes passed. He was obviously fumbling with the plastic fastener and the bag. I tried to offer some advice to shorten the agony. A staff sergeant stepped in to demonstrate the process and finally the constable succeeded in securing my plastic bag of belongings.

We were then asked to move into a lock up room. It was a brightly lit and big empty room with steel bars on the sides of one wall. As we were processed and put into the room. John Tan was finally brought in. John had been bound with his hands behind his back with extremely menacing looking plastic handcuffs. The handcuffs were clearly and deliberately tightened to the point where there was discomfort caused.

John looked a bit pale. He was obviously in discomfort. We were outraged and disgusted at the actions of the police. The police had attempted to protray a soft side infront of the eyes of the public and the media. But within the walls of a police van and within Police Cantonment Complex, it was all a different story.

Dr. Chee demanded that the handcuffs be removed. John was unarmed. John was not violent. The policemen outnumbered us. We were in the lock up and we were not resisting. So why was John put in plastic handcuffs? Station Inspector Tan Kok Ann was the man in charge, he was the one who was supposed to keep us under control. Station Inspector Tan and Dr. Chee exchanged some firm words about the need to release John from the handcuffs. Siok Chin was also firm in dealing with the police. When the cuffs were finally removed, it was clear that John felt unwell, we then led him to the bench to be seated.

John was asked if he needed medical attention. True as a fighter was. John brushed away the need. The police did question us before we took our statements whether we we injured and needed any medical examination. All of us dismissed the need for medical attention. There was nothing too rough for us to handle despite the deliberate manhandling. There might have been some scratches and bruises on John and scratches on Sylvester and myself but it was nothing to cry about.

The lockup had windows. Transparent windows. It faced the guardroom. Inside the guardroom were as many as 4 – 8 policemen. When they processed us there were as many as 8 policemen standing nearby at the corridor. As we were being processed, they can put as many as 3 policemen in the lockup with us. Just to stand there and watch us. They had also put as many as 3 policemen watching us through the glass windows when the locked room was secured.

[You begin to wonder – how the hell did Mas Selamat Kastari escape? we were non-violent citizen activists and they place us under the eye of so many policemen]

[You begin to wonder – whether the Singapore Police Force had grostesquely misplaced priorities]

to be continued with part 3 on visits to the toilet.

March 16, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Confessions of a Protestor, World Consumer Rights’ Day – Protest in front of Parliament House Part 1

My thoughts at this moment at 2341hrs on the events of the day.

I had started out feeling enthusiastic about the protest which i was about to take part today. Early awakening in the morning and thereafter straight for a breakfast with a couple of friends.

We found ourselves under cloudy weather when we arrived near the venue. After a while of speaking around, we proceeded towards Parliament House. There were probably about 25 to 30 of us. Excluding the children that were brought by their parents.

Straightaway, the seasoned eye of an activist spots a total of about 8 plain clothes policemen lurking around to do surveillance. The police and the administration were clearly rattled by the intention to protest in front of parliament house.
To me this was a symbolic gesture. As Parliament has failed Singapore in failing to keep the Cabinet in check, a protest by people from all walks of life in Singapore would bring them down a peg or two and for them to start listening to the people. I prided myself for being able to pluck up the courage to join in this protest.

After photos and interviews were taken by the local and foreign press on the paraphernalia and purpose of the protest, placards included. ASP William Goh, fearful of being identified as a police officer, failed to appear in his uniform. ASP William Goh made a hasty introduction of himself and asked for us to disperse from the the Parliament House. Dr. Chee Soon Juan and Gandhi Ambalam agreed and started walking across the road towards Funan Centre.

There in front of Funan Centre, we were accosted again by a sweaty and panicky ASP William Goh who now demanded that the placards to be surrendered and if the placards were not surrendered, arrests would be made.

Uncle Yap challenged the police to state which law the protestors broke and why was it that they had to hand over the placards. Uncle Yap was covering the event with a camera of his. Kaixiong and Dr. Chee tried to reason with the ASP and was getting nowhere. The ASP began uttering gibberish – about something about the Parliament being gazetted as a protected area and about the placards which must be surrendered. The police officers blocked our way for a good 10 minutes or so ironically preventing us from dispersing from the vicinity of the Parliament.

I asked the ASP to see reason as the protest was an entirely peaceful one and that there were many Singaporeans affected by price hikes which the ruling party has indirectly and directly caused and that it was totally unremorseful about. I told the ASP that given the number of reporters around, it would be a public relations debacle for the Government Administration if Mas Selamat Kastari remained on the loose and Police resources were freely used to stifle dissenting voices for the benefit of the ruling PAP. This argument won no ground.

After a couple of minutes more, when the police reinforcements arrived, they acted. ASP William Goh ignored our pleas that the protest was a peaceful one and that it was concerned with the welfare of all Singaporeans. ASP William Goh ordered the arrest of Uncle Yap. Uncle Yap passed his camera to me. The Police tried to grab it and i passed it to someone else. We locked arms. One by one using police officers, they tried to pry as apart. The regime has in fact resorted to softening its hardline approach by using non uniformed police officers and non uniformed women to do the dirty job of arresting protestors. None of them were in uniform.

From the corner of my eye, i saw that the police vans were ready to take us away. Our grip became tighter. So were the number of hands and arms on us pulling our grip apart.

I had probably 4 or 5 female officers pulling my arms apart from I think was SDP’s Ghandi. I ended up facing away from Dr. Chee but yet locked arms with him. I was on Dr. Chee’s left. John Tan was on his right. Soon we were overpowered. I was led to one van only to find Siok Chin being manhandled into the van. For some reason or the other then they then decided to put me in another van. I ended up being trussed by two policewomen into a police van with Dr. Chee, Kaixiong, Sylvester, Seelan. It was only inside the van that the officers were uniformed. There were 3 officers, all Staff Sergeants – seasoned men. Seelan was dragged all the way in, face down onto the van floor. The debacle was seen by hundreds of onlookers. This was happening in Singapore.

Inside the van, i sat opposite an officer. He forbade me from using my phone be it to call or to receive calls. The reporters were still outside the van, there were many people watching. There was also a traffic police on a motorbike who had stopped the traffic. It was a real spectacle. Amidst all these, i found tears welling in my eyes.

I was surprised, was it the humiliation? Was there any shame? For a lawyer to be trussed up into a police van watched by hundreds and with cameras rolling? I searched myself. Yes it was shame. But it was not mine.

The shame i felt was Singapore’s shame. Of a situation and plight where people can no longer speak and assemble freely in their own country. How has our island whom we are taught to live love and die for become a place where the citizens who are expected to carry the burden are treated lesser than the foreigners who come in and who are deemed to have no reason to be speaking up against their own government?

We have a place which can no longer be called a country. Singapore has been twisted into a macabre contortion by the People’s Action Party. To live life and pay up AND shut up. I held back the tears, there was no reason for the tears to fall in a regime’s police van for the word Police, its emblem and its uniforms no longer held any meaning. This was a police force which allows the PAP’s subsidiaries e.g. CASE conduct similar protests with impunity. This was a police force that showed restraint against protesting foreigners. This was the same police force that let Mas Selamat Kastari loose. This was the same police force that accosted and bundled up Singaporean activists into police vans.

My tears were too sacred for them to have contact with the defiling instruments of the regime . I held back my emotions. Dr. Chee joked abit as we backed out into coleman street before heading towards Police Cantonment Complex. Kaixiong broke into a song along the way.

I thought about the state of which this country was in and the position a citizen was in vis-a-vis a foreigner and the State. The verdict was depressing. We were mere digits. To be enslaved. To be taxed. To be bled. AND to be silenced.

The time is 0040hrs 16th March 2008. It has been a long day. I will recite the events at the Police Station in Part 2.

March 15, 2008 Posted by | Politics | 1 Comment

Greater Protection for the Mentally Ill – Email Feedback to moh-info@moh.gov.sg 14th March 2008

Feedback for the proposed bill

Firstly, the proposed Mental Health (Care & Treatment) Bill is not available on www.moh.gov.sg as claimed in the report.

Secondly, the proposed bill is not made readily available to the public as it should be if the government was genuine and sincere about soliciting feedback for the proposed changes.

Thirdly, in the light of limited information, my feedback is as follows:-

GREATER PROTECTION FOR THE MENTALLY ILL

The Straits Times report of February 21 2008 is referred to.

The proposal to empower more Government hospitals to “admit patients against their will”, detain them for “further treatment”, ensuring that “such patients may be treated without delay” so much so that they can be “given medical or surgical treatment without their consent, if needed” can only lead to more opportunities of arbitrary arrest and detention and profane abuse of establishment power.

Though the IMH may have claimed to have treated 33,000 people at its outpatient clinics, does the situation warrant empowering all other government hospitals the same and worse extended powers of which are currently available only to the IMH?

The public feedback process does little to inspire confidence when dissenting voices are not heard. Instead it is an exercise of rubber stamping, ball carrying and responsibility shifting by the people in government.

We for once do not know the track record of the IMH save for the fact that patients and accused persons can be arbitrarily detained against their will for long periods of time without much that Defence Counsel can do when the patients themselves are accused persons in the state prosecution processes.

What are the chances of a doctor detaining a patient who is not a danger to himself or to others or detains him for more than 6 months?

What are the chances of evidence of such a violation being made freely available by the hospital to the aggrieved party or person seeking redress for the aggrieved party?

It is common knowledge that our hospitals are obsessed with cost recovery, monetary gains and profit margins. Since violations would technically immediately attract civil and criminal liability which would affect the financial gains, what are the chances of a hospital deliberately covering up the mistakes of the doctors under its employment and which fall within its responsibility?

We are in an unusual age where Governmental departments seek high rewards for themselves, seek to hold more and more arbitrary power over the people and yet relinquish more and more responsibility for their actions.

In this day and age, Government hospitals no longer provide the truly affordable subsidized healthcare that should be part of a national healthcare system but yet they seek to have arbitrary powers of detention on persons whom “they think are a danger to themselves or to others”. These are extremely wide powers made available to and at the disposal of extremely subjective minds.

In this diasporic mismatch of reward, reality and responsibility and accountability as well as the growing risk of capriciousness of the establishment and people within, one wonders for whom the latest protection amendments are intended to benefit and for whom are the persons who are truly mentally ill.

I strongly object to any attempt to seek further arbitrary and unchecked powers over the people in Singapore, whether sane or insane.

March 14, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Procrastination And Paralysis – The Sins of

PARALYSIS AND PROCRASTINATION – THE SINS OF

RUNNING A LOOSE SHIP

Many days have passed AND Mr. Mas Selamat is still “on the loose”.

I use “loose” as opposed to “at large” because he is not a criminal.

Mas Selamat is not a criminal because he has not been charged.

Mas Selamat has not been charged because there was not evidence enough to indict him.

There was no evidence enough to indict him because…… er…. well….. ahem

Now let us not dig too far 🙂

Digging too far invariably uncovers worms.

As a boy, i had my fair share of playing in the dirt and digging for worms. One phenomenon I noticed was that wherever i dug, i would find worms. Earthworms, big ones and little ones. In places rich with dirt, you would find worms even on the surface. In less fertile areas, one would have to dig deeper to find them.

Therefore, I don’t propose to dig too deep into the internals of the Ministry of Home Affairs, The Singapore Police Force, the Internal Security Department as well as the Gurkha Contingent. For it would be bad for a nation to lose faith in multiple institutions at one sweep.

I will leave the ICA and the SAF aside for now. But as it is, their performance is also telling.

Therefore, let us now loosen up on the Home Team for having run a hopelessly loose ship. We should give them a little breathing space to let them recover a little of their morale.

Let us just accept that the detention of Mas Selamat is justified.

Let us also accept that according to our ministers, he is a dangerous man. (who walks… ok runs with a limp….. Question – When can a limping man even run? Oh well).

Let us also accept that at times there is a need for an answer to be given and for some measure of responsibility to be taken.

MM Lee Kuan Yew has now seen it fit to speak. AND He has spoken. AND he has spoken of complacency.

But what did he say about the other sins of incompetence, laziness and idiocy?

I was disappointed at his silence on the other sins.

Shortly after he spoke, Lee Hsien Loong now tells people to close ranks and ride this hurdle together.Hello? Anybody home? Did Lee Hsien Long / Lee Kuan Yew / Wong Kan Seng and Member of Parliament [PAP or opposition] try to close ranks with people when they sought to increase the Ministerial salaries and MP allowances on the backdrop of a 2% point GST increase?

Any talk of closing ranks now is just a façade to hide the mistake from the eye of accountability.

MM has found it serious enough for him to open his mouth. This clearly shows that he also recognises that there has been enough Paralysis And Procrastination.

For someone so distinguished like MM Lee himself to find it so serious that he must speak up. He should not be made to suffer fools.

There has been enough placating and appeasement of the wrongdoers, i.e. those in charge of the departments and the units that allowed Mas Selemat Kastari to escape.

The time has come for the strong leaders of Singapore like Lee Kuan Yew himself to relinquish Wong Kan Seng from his posts and portfolio. This will restore faith to the system and prevent the sagging of morale within the Home Team.

The prolonged search operations will tire the establishment and lower morale. Long hours and cancelled leave, difficult tasks with little intelligence information. Basically shooting in the dark. All of these will take a toll on the establishment’s machinery to lead to low morale.

In essence, the entire home team feels punished by the mistakes and incompetence of few.

We are almost a nation under seige. The ICA on is alert and checking outgoing vehicles thoroughly, leaving a complete jam and mess at the roads leading up to the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints.Police officers are getting trigger happy. We have a shooting in Outram MRT.

All this tension is inextricably linked to the failure of one man – Wong Kan Seng. How long does the entire establishment wish to bend over backwards for him? He took the ministers’ pay, he has to deliver, and he has to answer for the mistakes of his men.

Low morale is a vicious cycle. It spirals downwards to cause even more mistakes.

Can the establishment handle yet another mistake?

What if tired and low moral home team personnel get involved in an accident or incident?

What if there was a mistaken shooting?

Such a string of events would push the PAP leadership into despondency and panic and hasten the fall of the ruling party.

Fire Fighting & Damage Control

To prevent such a scenario, the entire PAP and the establishment must shed the impression of Paralysis in action And Procrastination of effective measures.

The entire PAP should now turn on Wong Kan Seng to demand the accountability respectfully required of a minister: for his willing statement of apology and assumption of responsibility and his resignation from his posts. This is a must.

[Now, I am not saying that the PAP should borrow WKS’s head for this fiasco, just like Cao Cao did to one of his Logistical Officers in a campaign where he was running out of rations and he needed a scapegoat. This is not the case here.]

For how can he who allowed a prisoner to escape be entrusted to apprehend and hold the prisoner again? The number of days that has passed without success has been telling.

Make not mistake that this has to be done properly to preserve integrity in the system.

Let us also not see the repeat of David Lim who left the cabinet only to have a ready placement for him in Neptune Orient Lines.

To ensure the principles of accountability are adhered to, the Minister has to answer for the misdeeds of his ministry.

Let us make sure that Wong Kan Seng will leave his ministerial portfolio behind for nothing. He could be made to leave his MP post as well AND efforts made to ensure that this is not a WAYANG KULIT SECONDMENT exercise and that Wong Kan Seng does not get placements in GLCs where many PAP MPs belong.

Let us CLOSE RANKS and return Wong Kan Seng to his natural state. The position he was in before he joined PAPpy politics which I believe was merely a middle management position.

If the old ties of comradeship and camaraderie allow, Wong Kan Seng could retain his PAP cadreship and his position within the PAP CEC but that itself would be stark and nagging reminder to the public of a disgraced and fallen minister from PAP ranks.

That being said, I am not seeking to prevent Wong Kan Seng from running for office again in future. He could do so in GE2011 and prove his worth to the PAP.

That’s if, his comrades in the PAP will allow him to do so. 🙂

March 10, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment