Monday, October 27, 2008

Pictures of a Fast at Speakers' Corner

I went down to Hong Lim Park today morning to see the fast by Mr Thamilmarain. He was fasting to call attention to the innocent & helpless children, women & men who are dying in Tamil Eelam Sri Lanka, for peace in Sri Lanka and for peace talks to take place.

These are some photos i took while i was there. Click on the photos to view larger versions. See also Seelan's blogpost.

Mr Thamilmarain speaking to TOC. Click here for TOC's video.
Police drop-in. The man standing next to them is Mr Thamil's friend, Mr Raja, who was there to support him.

These next 5 photos show the police checking Mr Thamil's registration with NParks and his particulars. At one stage, out of curiosity I clarified with the police why they had to do this when they could get the details themselves from NParks and whether this was normal procedure. I told the police i was asking because there have been other events at Speakers Corner where the police didn't come up to the speaker(s) and/or demonstrator(s) and do such things. One of the police chaps replied it was just normal for them to check.

In this next photo, the police approach three foreign workers who were also there to see and support the fast. I took the photos showing the police questioning these foreign workers. But i'm not publishing them here, save for this photo, because even though the workers were just there to see & support the fast and talk to Mr Thamil, I do not want my photos of them to be the cause of any trouble for these foreign workers and their livelihood. Getting back to this photo, the police asked the three workers for their particulars, especially their work permits, and their reasons for being there. The three workers left after that.
After the police were done, they left and met NParks officials who arrived in a green NParks van.
These NParks officials hung around observing the fast from a distance.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A silent fast at Speakers' Corner tomorrow 27 Oct

I received an sms earlier about an event tomorrow at Speakers' Corner,
A silent fast on Mon 27 Oct 2008 from 9am - 7pm at Speakers Corner for those innocent & helpless children, women & men who are dying in Tamil Eelam Sri Lanka. Please support this cause for peace and justice by going down and visiting the protestor Mr Thamilmaraian tomorrow.
See also Seelan's blogpost.

By sheer coincidence i uploaded a post, about a 2007 documentary called A World of Conflict, on my other blog a couple of minutes before i received the message. The conflict in Sri Lanka was one of the conflicts covered,

As conflicts go, there are many sides to the story. Visit the International Crisis Group's page on Sri Lanka for more detailed information about the conflict there.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tak Boleh Tahan trial - First day of State persecution of activists

The TBT 18 trial began yesterday.

I wanted to go down and show my support but was unable to do so. Among other things, I've been having excruciating pain emanating from my backbone. Possibly an inflammation. Damn pain's a killer!! I'll probably be away from my PC for the next two days or so after this blogpost.

Here's a report from the Singapore Democrats' website of the first day's proceedings. The trial's scheduled to last till 7 Nov 2008.
AGC cannot decide whether to use video or not

The courtroom was packed with the accused persons as well as members of the public who had turned up to watch the trial of 18 persons charged for taking part in a protest on 15 Mar 08.

The morning started off with Mr Ng E-jay pleading guilty to the charge of taking part in an assembly outside Parliament House. The second charge of participating in a procession was taken into consideration. Mr Ng was subsequently fined $600.

The defendants then insisted that they be given copies of the video footage that the prosecution had said that it was going to introduce as part of the evidence.

Mr Chia Ti Lik informed the court that he had written to the AG's Chambers (AGC) that the defendants be allowed to view the police DVD. This was back in 8 Sep 08.

Dr Chee Soon Juan added that on 7 Oct 08, he had reminded the prosecution at a pre-trial conference (PTC) about the video. The PTC judge had asked the AGC to expedite matters and release the video to the defendants.

Just three days before the trial, the prosecution called a few of the defendants that they could view the tapes at the Police Cantonment Complex. Why the dragging of feet? And why were not all the defendants informed?

When pressed today in court Deputy Public Prosecutor Mr Isaac Tan told the court that the prosecution had not made up its mind whether it would use the video as evidence!

The hearing was then stood down for the AGC to make up its mind about the video and to process Mr Ng E-jay's fine.

Lunch break at Hong Lim park

When the hearing resumed at 3:30 pm, the court clerk spent the next 1 hour and 45 minutes reading out the charges to each of the defendants.

When it came to Mr Jufrie Mahmood, the officer asked him what language Mr Jufrie wanted the charge to be read in.

"English," the veteran oppositionist replied.

After the charges were read out, the clerk asked him: "Do you understand the charge?"

"I understand what was read out to me," Mr Jufrie replied, "what I don't understand is why are we being charged. You see groups of tourists and other people everyday in front of Parliament. Why are they all not charged?"

All the defendants then asked that Mr Yap Keng Ho be tried separately as he was not part of the Tak Boleh Tahan campaign. Mr Yap made the same application and wanted to be tried separately.

The judge dismissed the application and insisted that the trial include Mr Yap.

Towards the end of the day, Mr Jeffrey George asked for his trial to be adjourned so that he could return to his contract work. Mr George is a oil-rig engineer.

The judge rejected his application.

"Can I then be excused from the hearing? I give my undertaking that I will abide by all the decisions made by the court."

The judge, too, rejected this application.

In the end, Mr George pleaded guilty as this was the only way for him to get back to his work. He was fined $1,200.

The hearing continues tomorrow at 9:30 am in Subordinate Court 5 before Distrct Judge Chia Wee Kiat.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The TBT 18 trial is a rape of the Constitution of Singapore

18 individuals will face trial for a peaceful protest in March of this year outside Parliament House. The trial of the TBT (tak boleh tahan) 18 is scheduled to begin on 23 Oct 2008 at 9.30am in Court no.5 at the Subordinate Courts, till 7 Nov 2008.

This is the sub-section on Freedom of speech, assembly and association, under the fundamental liberties section, in the Constitution of Singapore,
Freedom of speech, assembly and association

14. —(1) Subject to clauses (2) and (3) —

(a) every citizen of Singapore has the right to freedom of speech and expression;

(b) all citizens of Singapore have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms; and

(c) all citizens of Singapore have the right to form associations.

(2) Parliament may by law impose —

(a) on the rights conferred by clause (1) (a), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or to provide against contempt of court, defamation or incitement to any offence;

(b) on the right conferred by clause (1) (b), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof or public order; and

(c) on the right conferred by clause (1) (c), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, public order or morality.

(3) Restrictions on the right to form associations conferred by clause (1) (c) may also be imposed by any law relating to labour or education.
These 18 individuals were only exercising their constitutional rights. And they were doing it peacefully. But that doesn't matter one bit when Parliament is dominated by the ruling party; the above section starts with subject to clauses; and the beginning of the end starts with Parliament may by law impose. Its not hard to see the rape of the constitution when it comes to situations like the one the TBT 18 are facing.

Sadly, its instances like these over the years that give credence to the saying that the Constitution is not worth the paper its written on.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A dedicated TV channel after 45 years

Vasantham Central is a mostly Tamil-language, free-to-air, Indian TV channel in Singapore. I've mostly watched the channel for the Tamil movies.

Vasantham, which means Spring in Tamil, is celebrating because from today it'll have its own channel. Its billed by the station as a historic milestone in local broadcasting. It is indeed historic.

On the other hand, a friend of mine asked yesterday why did it take so long and do we have to wait another half-century for a second Indian channel. The channel is part of the government-controlled Mediacorp TV which has a monopoly of free-to-air TV in Singapore. It has taken 45 years since TV debuted nationwide on 2 April 1963 and through the many changes in the local broadcasting scene.

Its good that there's a dedicated channel now but it also says alot when it has taken 45 years to have one.

Stupid f@3$!%s spoiling for a fight

I read this report about an incident outside Plaza Singapura yesterday night. It was one of those why you look at me? things that led to a bloody fight.

To brand all teenagers, who gather with their friends, as troublemakers would be unfair.

But there are those idiotic assholes who are just spoiling for a fight over minor things. So to these idiots, if you really feel things can only be settled with violence, go get yourselves a one-way ticket to some war-torn or conflict ridden place in the world. You'll only need a one-way ticket because with that kind of an attitude, you won't need a ticket back.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Singapore’s leaders should end the practice of using defamation suits to stifle political opposition - Human Rights Watch

Singapore: End Efforts to Silence Opposition

Defamation Suits Put Party at Risk of Bankruptcy

(New York, October 17, 2008) – Singapore’s leaders should end the practice of using defamation suits to stifle political opposition, Human Rights Watch said today.

“Using defamation laws to silence peaceful political speech makes a mockery of Singapore’s claim to be a model democracy,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Opposition criticism of the government is an essential ingredient of a democratic political system.”

Human Rights Watch urged the Singaporean government to lift legal restrictions on freedom of expression to bring the country in line with international law.

On October 13, 2008, in Singapore’s latest defamation ruling, the High Court ordered the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), its secretary general, Dr. Chee Soon Juan, and his sister, Chee Siok Chin, to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his father, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, a total of SD$610,000 (US$416,000). The suit stemmed from an article in the party’s newsletter comparing the way Singapore is governed to a scandal at a well-known charity. Six other defendants, all SDP central executive committee members, had previously issued an apology and paid a total of SD$340,000 (US$233,000) to the plaintiffs.

The ruling threatens to compel the SDP to declare bankruptcy and shut down.

The People’s Action Party has been in power since self-governance began in Singapore in 1959. In the last election in May 2006, it won 82 out of 84 parliamentary seats. The SDP has not won any seats in Parliament since 1991, when it captured three seats in its biggest election win.

Dr. Chee and Ms. Chee are not the first opposition leaders to be driven into bankruptcy by defamation suits. In 2001, J.B. Jeyaretnam, the first opposition member of Parliament, who died on September 30, 2008, was made bankrupt through damages awarded to the two Lees and former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. Bankrupt Singaporean citizens are prohibited from running for office and may not travel abroad without permission from the government’s Insolvency and Public Trustee’s Office.

In July 2008, the government refused to permit Ms. Chee to take part in a democracy leadership program at Stanford University in the United States. Dr. Chee’s travel applications have been repeatedly rejected.

The assault on free speech by Singapore’s leaders extends to critical foreign publications circulating in Singapore – whether newspapers, magazines or websites. In September 2008, the Lees won a defamation suit against the Far Eastern Economic Review and its editor, Hugo Restall, for comments on the SDP case. Damages are yet to be assessed. In a further action, the government is seeking contempt proceedings against the publisher and two editors of the Asian Wall Street Journal for editorial comments related to the same case.

In October 2007, the Financial Times publicly admitted it erred in its allegations that “nepotistic motives” were involved in the appointment of Lee Hsien Loong as prime minister in 2004 and the appointment of his wife, Ho Ching, as chief executive officer of Temasek Holdings, the state investment vehicle, in 2002. The Financial Times agreed to pay costs and damages. It is unclear whether the newspaper settled because the article was in error or because it wished to avoid being banned from distribution in Singapore.

In 2002, Bloomberg News settled out of court a defamation suit brought by the Lees and Prime Minister Goh. Bloomberg paid SD$595,000 ($US338,000) over “nepotism” charges similar to those for which the Financial Times apologized. In 1995, Lee Kuan Yew and two others collected US$675,000 in damages from the International Herald Tribune over the nepotism story. Then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew also collected US$210,000 from the International Herald Tribune for an October 1994 article stating that “some East Asia governments relied on a ‘compliant’ judiciary to bankrupt opposition politicians.”

“The history of defamation in Singapore shows a pattern of making people pay dearly for exercising the basic right of peaceful expression,” said Pearson. “Singapore has nothing to fear from a vocal opposition and its people have everything to gain.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Singapore's AG's Chambers go after "kangaroo court" activists

The Attorney-General's Chambers "has applied to court for contempt proceedings to be instituted against Tan Liang Joo John, Isrizal Bin Mohamed Isa and Muhammad Shafi’ie Syahmi Bin Sariman" according to a media release by the AG's Chambers. Because of this,

This is a Reuters photo. At the time in May 2008, the trio were outside the court, which was having a hearing for the assessment of damages with regards to a defamation lawsuit brought by the Prime Minister and his father, the Minister Mentor, against the Singapore Democratic Party. It was only yesterday that the courts had awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to the PM and MM. On a related note, the AG's Chambers is also going after Wall Street Journal Asia for contempt of court.
Activists to be charged for contempt of court

Singapore Democrats, 14 Oct 2008

Three activists, including SDP's assistant secretary-general Mr John L Tan, will be charged for contempt of court.

Attorney-General Walter Woon will commence contempt proceedings against Mr Tan, Mr Isrizal Bin Mohamed Isa and Mr Muhammad Shafi'ie for wearing T-shirts with a picture of a kangaroo wearing a judge's robe.

A statement on the AG's Chambers' (AGC) website stated that the three men were photographed wearing the T-shirts outside the Supreme Court during the defamation hearing between Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Lee Hsien Loong and the SDP from 26-28 May 08.

The Singapore Democrats' website is cited by the AGC for reproducing the photograph of the three activists wearing the T-shirts. The photograph appeared in an SDP report of the police investigation. The statement said that the article and photograph were meant to give “wider publicity to the allegation that the Court was a kangaroo court.”

But the photograph and a report first appeared in the Straits Times the day after the activists appeared outside the courthouse. The SDP only reported about the police investigation on 27 Jul 08, a full two months after the Straits Times story was published. But the AGC's statement makes absolutely no mention of the newspaper and its photograph.

For its part, the Straits Times in its report today kept very quiet about the photograph it published on 27 May.

AG Woon adds that Messrs Tan, Isrizal and Shafi'ie “have engaged in a deliberate and calculated course of action to impugn the reputation of and undermine public confidence in the Singapore Judiciary, and to lower its authority in the administration of justice in Singapore.”

The statement also indicated that Mr Tan had said to Mr Lee Kuan Yew: “This is a kangaroo court.”

The AGC took pains to point out that under common (English) law, the courts have the power to punish persons for contempt and added that “unlike in many other countries (including England and Australia), the Attorney-General is not a politician.” In Singapore he is appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.

3 to face contempt charge

By Goh Chin Lian, Political Correspondent

Oct 14, Straits Times

THREE people who wore T-shirts in the Supreme Court building depicting a kangaroo dressed in a judge's robes are being taken to court.

The Attorney-General is accusing them of scandalising the Singapore judiciary, and on Tuesday the High Court gave the go-ahead to start proceedings against the trio for contempt of court.

The accused are: Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) assistant secretary-general John Tan Liang Joo, 47, full time national serviceman Muhammad Shafi'ie Syahmi Sariman and activist Isrizal Mohamed Isa.

They wore the T-shirts during a hearing from May 26 to 28 that involved the SDP, its chief Chee Soon Juan and his sister Siok Chin, a member of SDP's central executive committee.

The hearing before Justice Belinda Ang in Court 4B was to assess defamation damages the party and the Chees had to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

Tan allegedly said 'This is a kangaroo court' to MM Lee when the minister walked past him outside Court 4B, said a statement on the website of the A-G Chambers on Tuesday.

In a separate statement to the media, the A-G said the three men had 'scandalised the Singapore Judiciary by publicly wearing identical white T-shirts, imprinted with a palm-sized picture of a kangaroo dressed in a judge's gown, within and in the vicinity of the New Supreme Court Building.'

By this, they meant to imply that the Court was a kangaroo court, the AG added.

A kangaroo court is generally understood as being a court characterised by unauthorised or irregular procedures, or sham and unfair legal proceedings, said the website statement.

It also said that Tan, as the SDP's assistant secretary-general, was also responsible for the appearance of an article, 'Police question activists over kangaroo T-shirts', as well as a photograph of the three men in the T-shirts on the SDP website on July 27.

'The article and the photograph...were meant to give wider publicity to their allegation that the Court was a kangaroo court,' said the AG website statement.

The AG accused them of engaging in a 'deliberate and calculated course of action to impugn the reputation of and undermine public confidence in the Singapore Judiciary, and to lower its authority in the administration of justice in Singapore.'

The High Court's approval to start contempt proceedings is the first of a two-stage process.

In the next step, the three men will be officially notified of the lawsuit, and a hearing date will be set for both sides to present their arguments in open court.

Tan and Muhammad Shafi'ie are also facing separate charges in court, with 17 others, for their involvement in an illegal assembly and march on March 15.

The sorry state of Singapore's judiciary

These are some quotes from a book titled Beyond Suspicion? The Singapore Judiciary,
This book, however, is concerned with the other face of justice in Singapore: where these very same judges, sad to say, in politically-freighted cases have repeatedly demonstrated a singular facility at bending over backwards to render decisions favourable to the Singapore government and its leaders. Whereupon their judicial contortions have acquired an international notoriety....- Francis Seow, in the Preface to his book of the same title
There is no crueller tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice - de Montesquieu, 1689-1735

The more the courts are asked to handle political issues, the more their fragility is exposed....A judge's integrity, fairness, temperament, and knowledge of the law are all pertinent areas for public inquiry - Chief Justice Rose E. Bird

Singapore's leaders are masters at using libel suits in a compliant court system to silence or intimidate their domestic opponents and to discourage critical commentary....It saves the trouble of throwing opponents in jail, and has provided the leaders with a tidy source of outside income....- Stuart Littlemore, QC

The independence of the judiciary from the executive is the prime defence against tyranny - Winston Churchill

News reports below about the damages awarded to the PM and MM in their case against the SDP. Read SDP's article here. Read also these two reports here and here.
Singapore PM, Lee Kuan Yew win defamation damages

SINGAPORE, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Singapore's high court ordered an opposition party and its leaders to pay S$610,000 in defamation damages to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his father Lee Kuan Yew, court documents showed on Monday.

The outcome is likely to result in the shut down of the opposition party Singapore Democratic Party, said its leader Chee Soon Juan, who is due to pay the damages together with sister Chee Siok Chin and six others.

Chee Soon Juan said the deadline for payment had not been set but they will not pay because they are bankrupt, after they failed to pay libel payments and legal costs in previous lawsuits.

If the damages are not paid the SDP party will be declared bankrupt, he said.

"It's not unexpected. But it's not going to deter us from doing what we have been doing, and that is speaking up for issues that Singaporeans should know about," Chee Soon Juan said.

The damages were the latest in a series paid to Singapore's ruling politicians, who have repeatedly sued the opposition and foreign media over the years.

Critics say the lawsuits are used to crush opposition, but Singapore's leaders say they need the lawsuits to protect their reputations against defamatory remarks.

The SDP was found to have defamed the Lees, two of Singapore's most powerful leaders -- Lee Kuan Yew is the founder of modern Singapore -- in 2006 after the SDP compared the government to the country's largest charity in a party newspaper.

The charity shot to notoriety in 2005 after its chief admitted to misusing public donations for extravagancies such as gold-plated taps in his office bathroom. He was forced to quit and has since been sentenced to three months in jail.

"There were serious allegations of corruption, dishonesty, nepotism and financial impropriety which the defendants persisted in maintaining without foundation to the end," the court document showed.

The document said "the libel struck at the core" of the Lees' "life achievements and personalities", and the damages took into account "the position, standing and reputation" of the Lees.

Singapore leaders have sued or won damages in the past from foreign media groups including the Economist, International Herald Tribune and Bloomberg.

(Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Neil Chatterjee and Jerry Norton)

Singaporean opposition party ordered to pay PM

By ALEX KENNEDY,Associated Press Writer

SINGAPORE, Oct 14 - Singapore's High Court ruled that an opposition party and two of its leaders must pay 610,000 Singapore dollars (US$416,000) in defamation damages to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his father, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

The court on Monday ordered the Singapore Democratic Party and its general-secretary, Chee Soon Juan, to pay damages related to criticism published in 2006 in the party's newspaper.

The story, which questioned the government for its handling of a scandal at the National Kidney Foundation charity, was deemed libelous, according to court documents.

The ruling may bankrupt the Singapore Democratic Party and force it out of existence, the party said in a statement on its Web site.

"The Singapore Democrats stand firm in our conviction to continue to speak up for Singaporeans no matter what happens," the party said.

Chee Soon Juan was forced into bankruptcy in 2006 by a US$300,000 ruling against him for defaming Lee Kuan Yew and former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Opposition leaders contend that defamation laws are applied selectively to silence criticism while the government says restrictions on speech and assembly are necessary to preserve economic prosperity and racial stability of this multiethnic city-state of 4.8 million people.

Singapore's leaders have sued journalists and political opponents several times in past years for alleged defamation. They have won lawsuits and damages against Bloomberg, the Economist and the International Herald Tribune.

MM, PM awarded $610,000 in damages

TODAY, October 14, 2008

THE High Court has ordered the Singapore Democratic Party, Dr Chee Soon Juan and his sister, Ms Chee Siok Chin, to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew $330,000 and $280,000, respectively, for defamatory articles published in the opposition party’s newsletter in February 2006.

PM Lee and MM Lee would have been awarded $500,000 and $450,000, but the court took into account the $170,000 each leader had received in 2006 from six of the opposition party leaders and three other central executive committee members who had apologised for the articles in The New Democrat.

In a written judgment released yesterday, Justice Belinda Ang said that the “allegations ... were the gravest imaginable” and the libel was “as serious ... as any allegation which imputed dishonesty could be”.

The libel was exacerbated by SDP secretary-general Dr Chee Soon Juan and central executive committee member Chee Siok Chin’s “insulting behaviour and disgraceful conduct” during cross-examination, the judge said.

The questions the Chee siblings posed were irrelevant to the assessment hearing and were only “meant to discredit, insult, embarrass and humiliate” the two leaders in public, the judge added.

Dr Chee and his sister — who are both bankrupts — had already been jailed 12 and 10 days in June after being found guilty of contempt of court.

The two defamatory articles, in English and Chinese, were published before the 2006 General Election. In them, numerous comparisons were made between the National Kidney Foundation scandal and how the Government was run. TEO XUANWEI

Monday, October 13, 2008

J B Jeyaretnam: Three decades as Lee Kuan Yew's bête noir; And other books by Michael D. Barr

Michael D. Barr is the author of the book Lee Kuan Yew: The Beliefs Behind the Man published in 2000. Its quite a good book. It peels away, layer by layer, of the propaganda and myth. Interestingly, i checked online to see if the book is still available in Select Books. Its there a manner of speaking. Its now listed as print on demand and costs a whopping S$299.25!!! Good thing I got the book years ago when it was first published and sold for about S$50 to S$60.

He's also co-editor (with Carl A. Trocki) of a new book called Paths Not Taken: Political Pluralism in Post-War Singapore, in which, he has written a chapter titled Singapore's Catholic Social Activists: Alleged Marxist Conspirators.

The following article about JBJ was published in 2003 in the Journal of Contemporary Asia. One can also download the article here at my scribd or download directly here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chia Thye Poh and Lim Chin Siong

For far too long, Singapore's history has been written; told; re-told and reinforced by the victors and their minions. There's much more to our history then that.

This is a 1962 photo of Chia Thye Poh (L) and Lim Chin Siong (R) from The National Archives of Singapore's Access to Archives Online Singapore (a20). To get to the photos, click on Database followed by PICAS or Picture Archives Singapore Database. Here's the direct link to PICAS. And just do a search of whatever you're looking for.

I entered each of their names in the search box. Click here for photos of Chia Thye Poh and here for Lim Chin Siong.

Click here and here for wikepedia articles on both these personalities. See here for a 1989 interview with Chia Thye Poh by James Gomez & Susan Chua. And also SDP's articles on Lim Chin Siong: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Videos of 4 Oct 2008 (Sat)

The first video is from watchtowerv. The rest from TOC. One can also view more videos & photos at uncleyap's blog.

Photos of JBJ's funeral service at St. Andrew's Cathedral AND memorial event at Speakers' Corner

Click the image above to view my photos from the funeral service

Click this image to see my photos of the memorial event at Speakers Corner. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who came for the event. A huge thank you to those who made this event possible. You know who you are....thank you to each and every one of you.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Open Letter to PM & Cabinet and letter writing campaign to ask that the government preserve JBJ's public spiritedness and love of the law

I sent this email today. Its with regards to an Open Letter to the Prime Minister and Cabinet members. Please refer to TOC's blogpost or sign-up/join the facebook group In Memory of J B Jeyaretnam to learn more about this letter-writing campaign
from Jacob George
date 3 October 2008 20:15
subject Re: To ask the government to preserve J B Jeyaretnam's public spiritedness and love of the law

3 Oct 2008

To the Prime Minister & Cabinet Members

I write to you with regards to an Open Letter to you and the members of your Cabinet which was sent to the Straits Times Forum page by a group of individuals. (See below for the Open Letter)

I support the contents of the Open Letter which calls on the Government to preserve JBJ's public spiritedness and love of the law.

Thank you.


Jacob George


30 September 2008

Dear Prime Minister & Cabinet Members

By all accounts, we have lost a figure of uncommon strength and conviction in Mr JB Jeyaretnam.

No matter which side of the political fence we stand, it is undeniable that Mr JBJ, as he will be fondly remembered, has fought long and hard for what he believed was good for Singapore and, good for Singaporeans.

Mr JBJ did all he could with all he could. In staying the course, he has undoubtedly performed a public duty as a citizen of Singapore and, amply demonstrated the public spirit, the commitment to country and, the "nation before self" maxim that the government has sought to propagate.

As Singaporeans we are proud that such a man as Mr JBJ walked among us. We appreciate the sacrifices Mr JBJ has made for his beliefs in serving the people of Singapore . We are equally proud that the government, in spite of its political differences, has acknowledged the same resilience and service to nation in Mr JBJ.

Mr JBJ is an icon - an individual who stood up to serve the country and who stood tall for his beliefs and principles. As citizens of Singapore , we hope that Mr JBJ's public spiritedness and love of the law can be preserved in the following manner:

1) a professorial chair in the name of Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam be created in the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore and,

2) A scholarship fund in the name of Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam for graduate studies in political science and/or constitutional law and/or civil society studies.

We also humbly ask the government to further demonstrate its commitment to public spiritedness and active citizenry by taking the lead to provide the seed fund for the above honours for others to follow.

We look forward to your encouragement as we mourn the loss of one of Singapore's better sons.

Yours in good faith,

Dana Lam Yoke Kiew (SXXXXXXXH)
Braema Mathi (SXXXXXXXG)
Siew Kum Hong (SXXXXXXXE)
Manohar P Sabnani (SXXXXXXXA)
Teri Teo Shiwen (SXXXXXXXI)
Constance Singam (SXXXXXXXE)
Cheng U Wen, Lena (SXXXXXXXD)
Lim Siew Wai, William (SXXXXXXXD)
Benedict Jacob-Thambiah (SXXXXXXXI)
T Sasitharan (SXXXXXXXZ)
Stephanie Chok (SXXXXXXXB)
Heng Hiang Khng (SXXXXXXXE)
Jacqueline Tan (SXXXXXXXC)
Serene Yap (SXXXXXXXG)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Man from Anson - 1996 poem by Patrick Low

Click on image to enlarge. I got this picture from my friend Rachel's blogpost.

In Memoriam: JBJ event at Speakers Corner, 4 Oct, Sat, 6.30pm

I received an sms just now about an event this Saturday, 4 Oct,
In Memoriam: J B Jeyaretnam will be held at Speakers Corner from 6.30pm to 10pm. Bring flowers and candles. No speeches. Bring something to sit on too. A silent mark of gratitude and respect. Please wear black if you can.
4 Oct is the day of JBJ's funeral.

If you want to take on the PAP, it should never be on a bended knee - Gomez's tribute to JBJ

Never on a bended knee: a tribute to JBJ
by James Gomez, 1 Oct 2008

To be a genuine democrat in Singapore is to have been touched by JB Jeyaretnam. Whether as an individual, member of a civil society group or an opposition party one way or another we would all have come across or had some direct contact with JBJ. That's why his loss is so personal to us and that's why we feel his absence very directly.

My first direct contact with JBJ was in 1988 when as President, of the Philosophy Society and a first year undergraduate at NUS, I invited him to speak on Political Freedoms in Singapore on campus. You can only imagine what kind of university red tape and nay saying I had to face from fellow undergraduates in organising that talk. Nevertheless we succeeded, and he spoke to a full house at Lecture Hall 11.

In 2001, I had the opportunity to organise with others the Save JBJ Rally. More red tape again but again the organisers prevailed and we managed to pull the event off. Later in 2003, it was my pleasure and privilege to prepare and deliver the citation for JBJ when he received Think Centre's Human Rights award. Over the next years we had several more opportunities to interact.

While saddened by his demise, I prefer to look ahead. He has done good work and this is something we need to build on. More importantly the tone of the struggle needs to be borne in mind. If you want to take on the PAP, it should never be on a bended knee. That much I have learned from JBJ.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pictures from JBJ's wake

I went to JBJ's wake today. Standing next to the open coffin and looking down at him. It was a very painful moment for me. The funeral is this Sat, 4 Oct. Click here for details.

These are photos I took while i was there,

At Mount Vernon Complex, Funeral Parlour 1. The banner reads "From: Anson, Hougang, Potong Pasir Supporters"

Wreaths lined-up next to the tent at the entrance to the parlour

JBJ's photo at the entrance of the parlour which saw a steady stream of people paying their last respects