Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Reply to New Paper's 6.Dec Article

I refer to Clarence Chang's Comment on The New Paper dated 6 December 2005. Mr. Chang seems adamant about making it crystal clear to the Singapore Government that he has no qualms trading his journalistic integrity for a piece of the pie.

It is of course no surprise that the local reporters propagate the views of the ruling party since their handsome salaries depend on how loudly they promulgate the government's agenda.

Mr. Chang has called Dr. Chee Soon Juan a Singapore-basher. Unfortunately Mr. Chang is one of the numerous people who have failed to see that the People's Action Party is not equal to Singapore. The people must see that the state is separate from the ruling party and that criticizing the party's policies is for the benefit of the state. It is shameless when the media misleads the people into thinking that the ruling party and leaders are fused into one entity. It is even more dire when the people do not perceive any differences between the interests of the state, ruling party and their leaders. It is indeed pitiful how deeply entrenched the Singapore government has brain-washed the people. But it is even more pathetic when Singaporeans forget their principles in order to tow the line and sing to the tune.

It is also frightening that Singaporeans should think that criticizing the PAP's policies "hurts Singapore's image". A responsible citizen is one who questions, even challenges the any law or policy that does not enhance the quality of the social and political tapestry. If a law is unjust, then it needs to be changed. And change cannot come about when you have parliamentarians who are beholden to toe the party line. Even in communist China, errant party and state officials are censured and severely penalized in order to enhance the states image and gain international confidence.

The execution of Nguyen Van Tuong had attracted much international attention to Singapore mandatory death penalty laws. A New Paper reader had written "Does Dr. Chee realize how many people have died from drug abuse?". What this reader has not understood is that Dr. Chee and those who had protested against Nguyen's hanging are not condoning the abuse or trafficking of drugs. This point has been reiterated countless times. What we are saying is that these offenders should be severely punished. But to take their lives without heeding mitigating arguments is plain murder.

Are Singaporeans so naïve as to believe to the ruling party is infallible or are we just too afraid to speak up for fear of offending the powers that be? Mr. Chang suggests that Dr. Chee "endears" himself to Singaporeans. If Dr. Chee had spin doctors, perhaps that may work. However, I suspect that Dr. Chee and his party colleagues are not in the political fray to "endear' themselves to the public. They are in it because they see gross injustice being carried out by the PAP and they at least still have a conscience that guide them to do the right thing – whether or not they are seen as "endearing".

After 40 years of national development and now touted as a first world country, Singapore still in its infancy when it comes to understanding democracy and human rights principles. This is because the ruling party has deliberately, and unfortunately, successfully deceived the citizens into thinking that we can forego our freedoms for economic benefits. Believing that a benevolent dictatorship is a good form of governance is similar to believing Santa still leaves presents under the tree at Christmas. The local media has done a huge disservice to Singaporeans by continuing to serve only the ruling party.

Mr. Clarence Chang typifies the local media. It reports selectively and subjectively, retards intellectual development and deliberately misleads the populace.


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