Sunday, June 01, 2008

Will You Be Back Tomorrow?

Somehow, this Singapore Dissident, a former Singaporean, got himself arrested in Singapore for contempt against a public servant. Somehow, there was enough reserve of anger left in him, as he witnessed the spectacle of the Lee-Chee courtroom confrontation, to dangle himself as political bait to the Singapore Government. Regardless the fact that he was a former WP member, regardless the often muddied opposition delineations in Singapore. Regardless the fact that he has left Singapore and is living in relative comfort in the US. Regardless, this former Singaporean stood forth and issued another challenge aimed straight at that fragile weave-work known as Singapore’s defamation laws.

Sometime last night, he was arrested. He wanted arrest, he wanted a challenge and our Government, mindful of face to the last iota of political insensibility, reacted accordingly. This is the fatherly political reflex which has remained constant throughout the years of chimerical political development in Singapore. When faced with a political challenge, with a crossing of the political face of the ruling regime, the necessary reflex is a fatherly arrest, detention or lawsuit.

This is the political constant in Singapore. Despite all the rhetoric of opening up, allowing creativity, tolerating dissent. This is the cold basic stark political reality when you cross the invisible, shifting, convenient boundary defined by our political rulers.

The knocking on the door in the dead of night. The plainclothes police, the arrest, a scene replayed endlessly across the world in regimes sharing the cozy bed of tyranny.

For the dewy-eyed who continue to be able to dissect Singapore’s political system and extol or debate the virtues and merits of governance from the safe confines of political permissibility; this episode is but another transgression in an endless litany of political brutalities that will never disappear with this Government, this political party. Remember that. Talk about the relentless rising costs of living to an extent when you tap into the seething discontent of the dis-empowered and all the pretence of political paternalism, light touch, will vanish in that very instant you hear the cold hard slap of the shackles around you hands, your legs and your mouth.

This is our Singapore. When you really stand, you will be cut at your knees. When you really open your mouth, it will be sewn shut. And the hardest, most cruel reality is that no one will know. Or you will be ridiculed as deserving of this cutting, this silencing. You asked for it.

There is nothing in this political system that will protect you from this. And there are no brethren who will stand by your side. Because the system has ensured your total solitude when its existence, its rules, its rule is questioned.

Will any Singaporean stand forth and say nay, this arrest is political irresponsibility? No, because they will say that this Singapore dissident had it coming. He issued a challenge and he was answered. Snigger snigger.

Will any Singaporean stand forth and say nay, this arrest is blatantly political and an act to silence someone who is speaking up against what he perceives as gross injustice in our courts of law? No, instead they will say that this dissident is a quitter, that he has the protection of his US citizenship behind him. Snigger snigger.

We have been conditioned to think like this. Better these snide remarks, better these cynical insinuations, better these rational analyses than real full-blooded anger. Anger that makes you stand forth, makes you speak up to challenge the system to come to you.

This is our Singapore.

Quote of the Day –

Won't you come back tomorrow
Won't you come back tomorrow
Won't you come back tomorrow
Can I sleep tonight

Somebody's outside
Somebody's knocking at the door
There's a black car parked
At the side of the road

Don't go to the door
Don't go to the door
I'm going out
I'm going outside mother
I'm going out there

Won't you be back tomorrow
Won't you be back tomorrow
Will you be back tomorrow

U2 Tomorrow