Tuesday, September 30, 2008

JBJ - Portrait of courage and sacrifice...


When I was in secondary school, I took up a suggestion from my English teacher to visit the parliament to see our politicians in action. All you needed to go in and watch the proceedings was to show your IC. In those days there was no "Today in Parliament" on TV and there was so little interest in politics among Singaporeans, the only people in the viewing gallery were reporters. I remember that day very well because it was the first time I saw JBJ "in action". He moved a motion to seek fairer compensation for Singaporeans under the Land Acquisition Act. He argued that it was unfair for the govt to take land from ordinary Singaporeans and pay a pittance when it can afford to pay the current market price for land. A minister stood up to say that all this is for the greater good of Singaporeans, by paying 1970s prices for acquired land, the govt is able to save millions in development costs. Of course, even as a secondary school kid, I found it strange that the govt is talking about the "greater good" when it sells land for the building of HDB flats at market price - something has to be wrong with the logic of taking land from Singaporeans at a deep discount for public development and selling land to Singaporeans for HDB flats close to the market price. JBJ was there to point all that out - he was fighting for justice and fighting for ordinary Singaporeans and he was fearless and unrelenting.

The last time I saw JBJ in person was about 2 decades later when he was selling his book "The hatchet man of Singapore" on the street. He had been made a bankrupt, jailed and lost everything but not his spirit and dignity he was still fighting for Singaporeans - fearless as ever. In June 2008, JBJ at the age of 82 formed the Reform Party. Even in his eighties, he never gave up the fight.

JBJ fought for everything our society needs today - human rights, justice, freedom, equality and democracy and the men who did not want to give us all that fought back. They used everything in their power to fix him but it was they who were afraid not him. They feared the loss of power, change and they feared the empowerment of people they controlled. JBJ was fearless because he was right as defended he ideals of our society - what our flag symbolised and the values in our pledge - from men who did not believe them. He fought with the integrity and passion throughout his life motivated by what is right and his dream of making our society better for all. When he broke the PAP's monopoly on power in 1981, he brought hope to many for a more democratic society. However, the response of those in power was to use politically motivated charges to bring him down and disbar him from future elections. They brought him down and along with that the hopes of many Singaporeans for a better society. JBJ may not have been able to take us where we were suppose to go, but his heroic efforts won the hearts and minds of many - he never gave up and we should never give up.

At a time when our nation is made to pay million dollar salaries for our ministers who claimed they have made a "painful sacrifice", JBJ gave everything he had to serve the people of Singapore. His fight for human rights, justice, democracy and freedom of speech is as relevant today as it was in 1981. JBJ may not be with us today but his spirit will continue to live on and inspire those who continue the fight.
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"Come, walk with me, let us walk together, hand in hand...for peace, justice, truth ... fearing no one except God", JBJ, Jul 2008
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45 comments:

Anonymous said...

"fearing no one but God"
But sadly, in Singapore, LKY is God.
RIP, JBJ.

Anonymous said...

Let us remember to tell our children and our children's children, so that when singapore is free, he will still be remembered.

Anonymous said...

I too mourn and feel the loss of somone who our society (politics) is in dire need of now.

hAnZahAr said...

I must find ways to get out of this ....

Anonymous said...

Sad day for singapore!

not sure if i will feel the same if any of the pap politician when they pass away; on contrary, i might rejoice.

Anonymous said...

A very sad day. One of the very few policitians alive today that I truly respect. Rest in Peace JBJ. God Bless.

An excerpt from the song 'Holding Out For A Hero' dedicated to you.

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where's the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and turn and dream of what I need

I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight

Up where the mountains meet the heavens above
Out where the lightning splits the sea
I would swear that there's someone somewhere Watching me

Anonymous said...

JBJ will always be remembered as a hero, a true son of Singapore. Those who had sought to demolish JBJ will forever remain in infamy in the history books.

Anonymous said...

LKY outlive another rival.

With Chiam suffering from a stroke, Dr Chee rendered unelectable, Low Thia Kiang painted as an appeasing opposition and those who dared challenge the PAP establishment expunge or exile...

None of this affluent generation willing to stand in the face of dollar and cents, ponder what would become of this nation...

angmoh said...

A true patriot, a true singaporean, a real man like seldom I have seen around the world.
he will be missed. May he rest in peace.
And shame on Lee Kwan Yew who even in death could not bother to say a few words. Shame shame shame on you sir!

Anonymous said...

1 or 2 yrs ago, i saw this old man holding a book, standing outside Centrepoint, trying to sell his book i guess. I dare not approach him, and so are all the people passing by. No one dare to even look into his eyes. There were undercovers and cops all around. It was a sad scene.

If the patient himself does not want to be healed, what can a doctor do? In the patient's eyes, the doctor is a nuisance, a busybody.

一个愿打,一个愿挨。There is nothing can be done.

To many ppl who think they are "fighting for sg", my advice is: Dont spend your precious time doing things that no one appreciate. I feel sad to see ppl going in n out of jail, court, n bankruptcy. Spend your time in somewhere on this beautiful planet where u are appreciated. The world is very big.

Sg is good. Sg ppl are happy. Only "u" are not happy. Everybody is entitled to the right of "the pursuit of happiness". Hope everyone can find his own happiness.

Anonymous said...

The more I listen to his speech in the video, the more I feel he is speaking to an audience who do not deserve his sacrifice.

Listen to the distracting and deafening noise and laughter in the background - they don't even have the courtesy to shut up and pay attention or get lost if they aren't interested. Aren't they representatives and supporters of opposition parties? I won't want such characters in our parliament. That is why PAP is still there.

Mr J B Jeyaratnam, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have braved many storms and there will probably be none who can claim to care and walk the talk as much as you do, for a long time to come.

Rest in peace and God bless you.

tks said...

I respect and admire JBJ for what he has done for us. I bought his book and introduce my son to him when we saw him selling book outside Centrepoint. We were not afraid and my son was enjoying talking with him. Why should we afraid of talking to someone that you know he is great.
We missed you, JBJ.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lucky, for putting this up.

All blogger do him honour, unlike our maint stream which is so vague about it.

Yes, helping the common man - your article about HDB and land acquisition stikes a chord in all of us.

Mean while, SMRT has the money to invest in China, but we are all still stuck with poor service, while SMRT makes more money for temasek holdings. This is SICK!

KH said...

Great man indeed, stood for what he believe in even till the day he pass away. Men who stood bravely in face of suppressive & centralized power are very rare...& they go down in history as heroes.

Power of the people? Reformation? How often do we hear that in history? Most of the time they fail because the suppressive power is too strong. Even if they succeed, the society won't last long before power centralizes again. It has happened over and over in history and is happening all around the world.

Anonymous said...

Many investors lost money in the HN5 minibonds.

People who are literally paid peanuts, like the HK govt, are very proactive in protecting the rights of the citizens. JBJ, even when bankrupted, was very proactive in speaking up for the people.

I want to know what the most highly paid government in the world is doing to protect citizens from losing their life savings.

Anonymous said...

If they had roll out the tanks along St Andrew Road, I have no doubt that "JBJ WILL NOT HESITATE TO WALK UP TO CONFRONT TO STOP AND CONFRONT THE COLUMN OF TANKS"...

Anonymous said...

Everyone will have their day of reckoning, when darkness overcomes the eyes and cold climbs up the limbs.

JBJ will be remembered for his spirit and life's work (struggle), finally finding rest in his God. One of the notable figures that Singapore has produced.

For those who had stood true to their spirit, will have their fill, and those who have their fill at the expense of their spirit will be held to account.

Rest in peace JBJ.
Your legacy remains.

In memory of JBJ said...

We will remember him fondly in our heart.

He got more courage than most mudland politicians as he stand up and speak up for the people(Anson) he represented in parliament(in a monopoly political state which he broke through via a SMC by election).

Even if the defamation suit is made through a proxy charge(through some forgettable media no doubt), We ,the citizens of Singapore, know who had always wanted to "Fix" the alternative parties (SDP,NSP,RP,WP).

We will always remember him as a champion of the people who speak up for us the common people.

He have left a great legacy for us. We ,the people of Singapore, must never give up in the face of adversity .
Even when those who have the real interest of the people at heart are threaten with an unjust lawsuit for stating an obvious truth/fact.

We must never bow down to those who usurp the authority to do good and used that authority against it own citizens.

Rest In Peace our Champion, Mr Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam. Your Fight against the complacent peoples who did not care about our concerns will be carried on.

We will complete your legacy of the fight for a REAL Democracy. Where the citizens voices will be heard and no choice will be made "for our own good".

Onlooker

Anonymous said...

I feel sad that I do not have the chance to meet JBJ personally, perhaps catch him during book selling runs around Singapore. I will definitely have bought the book from him.

A very sad day for Singapore.

Rest in peace JBJ.

kojakbt said...

The opposition has lost a determined fighter. My condolence and sympathy…. However, I’m sure JBJ in heaven would not want us to stop fighting the PAP. Let’s continue JBJ’s fight to stop the dominance of 1-party politics in Singapore. Let’s strive to bring true democracy to Singapore by encouraging Singaporeans to vote for pluralism in our politics. Feel free to join me to continue the fight at http://forums.delphiforums.com/3in1kopitiam/messages

Anonymous said...

Sad reality is that NONE of our current leaders will dare to live their lives they way JBJ did. Making more money and hiding under the skirts of the ruling party is all they do. Standing up for your beliefs and fighting till you're broke is so passe
We need a hero, but all we got is a god and his lackys.

young-pap said...

Will you bloggers reproduce on your blog the half-mast flag and 21-gun salute that he rightly deserved, like I did, at the urging of the flag/gun picture/video maker?

The Sun Chair Critic said...

"Perhaps its a lesson for all of us. That we will never be what we are without these opposition parties. They indirectly made Singapore into what we are today. Rest in peace, JBJ, Singapore is indebted to you."

Anonymous said...

remember his unwavering spirit, speaking for the common people, despite the barriers against him.

someone who became bankrupt for politics, blacklisted, lone fighter, hurled by tons of humiliation, but still stand up, true to his belief of what politics should be, no matter what.

Will singapore forget? Will history books erase these fighters?

RIP JBJ

Anonymous said...

Hey moneyhelp1234, come over to http://forums.delphiforums.com/3in1kopitiam/messages and talk cock with us lah.....

ex-SBF member (kojakbt)

Anonymous said...

ah hell.... why did the heavens have to take this 82 year old when there's another guy in his eighties that deserve to die ten times more...
..

heaven is blind indeed... the good people die young

Anonymous said...

he was part of the rebel alliance and a traitor....take him away!

Anonymous said...

I bought the Hatchet Man of SG from him at City Hall a few years ago too. I remember his firm handshake and he kept thanking me telling me to open my eyes to the injustice and what the press will not write about. I feel so sad now. I salute you Mr JBJ.

recruit ong

nofearSingapore said...

Hi Lucky,
Thank you.
A very nice and poignant post.
I think I prefer this straight-talking style as compared to your tongue-in-cheek style.
Best wishes

Dr.Huang

Eat money said...

JBJ was without a doubt what courage and sacrifice means.

Words of condolences and praises from many of us would mean nothing if we do not continue to speak up and do the best we can to take back our rights as citizens.
The manner in which we respond will eventually show whether Singaporeans deserve a person like JBJ.

R.I.P. JBJ, as a true Patriot.

Anonymous said...

The one and only father who fought all the way for human rights has left this sinful earth. He has lost everything for the people and still wanted to fight for justice at this age. I've never seen such a man in all these years. HATS OFF SIR. May God Bless Your Kind Soul. We Singaporeans must be proud to have a Father like him who didn't give up till his last days. I hope the government will do something for the young generation and the upcoming generation to know who was JBJ. He was defeated but he is always Singapore's number one HERO. And the best thing about him is, being nailed down so many times, he didn't migrate or went low profile. He was still standing strong. Dear Sir, I'll company you till the last rites.

Anonymous said...

Towards the end of the video clip, he said "I'm not being dramatic but I haven't got many more years. That's a statement of fact" while exhorting his listeners to walk with him and the Reform Party. I take my hat off to him for putting up with all the bullying and unfair tactics used to shut him up. God bless you JBJ! I'm glad to have had the chance to shake your hand , talk to you and get your copy of The Hatchet Man when I was at City Hall in 2006. May your legacy live on!

Anonymous said...

This was a great man that his enemies could not destroy. He rose again each time he was struck down. Many Singaporeans admire and respect him, and what he was fighting for. He did it not for himself, but for Singapore. He is in a better place now, and need not have to worry about lacking anything. Im sure he didnt die in vain. He will live on in Singapores history, and in many of our hearts! Rest in peace, JBJ!

yamizi said...

hey guys,

just blog about jbj yourself la!

keep de flame going!

feedmetothefish said...

Fixed so often but was never bought.

I know he's in Heaven now because while on earth in Singapore, Kiasi and Kiasu made his life Hell!

The responses from those he touched shows he has left a legacy much greater than expected by Kiasu and Kiasi.

Dear Mr JBJ, your perseverance and your fight for truth and justice has won the hearts of many.

Sir, Rest In Peace.

feedmetothefish

Anonymous said...

Lucky, you are losing your mojo leh.. if u keep on complaining, just like every one else did, u are gg to be just one of the thousands and your blog will soon be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Even if Lucky is losing his mojo ... in the land of eunuchs the anyone who still has a dick is king.

2008 is a bad year for Singapore.
JBJ RIP.

Anonymous said...

Lucky Tan, you are losing your mojo and now complain instead of praising the government as like in the past.
Please continuing the government with your satirical remarks in order to sustain your popularity with the government.

Anonymous said...

This place is sucks.....i dun think i wanna retire here so long the ruling party remains power in this country.

poloteaa said...

I had the honour of meeting Mr JB Jeyaratnam at Centrepoint a couple of years back and bought a book from him. I recall feeling a sense of trepidation, not only because of the supposed presence of ruling party agents around him, but also due to the awe and respect I had for him. For the first time in my life, I was meeting face to face with a true hero. I respect him for safeguarding his democratic values, principles, and above all, his tenacity and grit in the face of adversity. It was not the kind of tomfoolery that the mainstream media and our political leaders would want us to believe he engaged in. It was the courage, the justice, and the moral authority that his convictions that should be an inspiration for us. He was a giant among mere mortals, yet his humility and grace towards everyone, including his political opponents, was and will always be a great moral example to everyone, Singaporeans and others alike. He would be the father of our country's democracy, if we ever are to have one in future.

I will never forget his contributions, and I believe that all Singaporeans should keep faith with the principles and values of democracy, rule of law, human rights, and freedom of speech and assembly that he fought so hard for. Whatever is said or not said about him in the controlled media, let us keep him in our memory, and honour him in any way we can. And last but not least, let us do our best to keep the democratic ideals he left us, ideals which are consistent with our constitution and principles, alive so that they can prosper when democracy finally blooms in our country. This would be our best tribute to this great man.

AlphavilleSG said...

Hello Boys and Gers!

Just in case anyone missed this...

http://uncleyap-news.blogspot.com/2008/10/good-news-jbj-book-availiable-limited.html

Apparently Tang Liang Hong and Tan Wah Piow laid wreaths, Mr Seow didn't turn up though...

fidodido said...

JBJ, RIP.
I will tell my kids to remember you and tell them to remember to tell their kids about you.
No one truly fights for Singaporean like you.
It is very sad for me and Singapore the day you left.
Hope you have found true justice and peace and happiness now...

Arnold Taenaka said...

Ode to a Valiant Fighter

I salute you, Sir Ben
although your knighthood
is not constitutional!

I salute you for your valour,
for like a knight you fought
for human rights
[even if some fools mistake
it for bra-burning and lunatics]

I salute you for your brilliance
in debating in parliament
against a very hostile party,
for taking mockery and scorn
with gentlemanliness and aplomb

I salute you, dear sir,
most of all for your compassion
for the underdog who pays and pays
bills and loses his appetite
to live in peace in a very wicked
and materialistic world.

I am not a politician
nor would i want to get involved
in ugly name callings -
but you did - Sir Ben
and if we ever meet in paradise
I will proudly stand by your side
as we watch our beloved country
transit and grow into
a more mature democracy
- and a two party state
where absolute power does not
needlessly end up in the
denudation of both material wealth
and the lack of conscience
and the slavery of all Singaporeans ...

Anonymous said...

he is true hero. fight to the end

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