Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lest we forget....

The other day a BBC reporter went to China and spoke to a few young people, aged below 20, at a shopping centre. He asked them if they knew what happened at Tiananmen more than 2 decades ago and they replied with blank stares. See the Chinese govt with its propaganda machine and its economic success has managed to fade away memories of its dark past. But the fight for justice never really dies completely - from the Chinese peasants whose land has been taken by violent 'land grabs' to the parents of children who died in the collapse of 'tou-fu' school buildings during the Sichuan earthquake[Link], the Chinese people yearn for justice and freedom. As the Chinese economic engine hums along, there are 600 riots a year (based on official figures, unofficial figures put it a lot higher) and for thousands of Chinese the search for justice is elusive[Link].
If you go to a shopping centre in Singapore and ask the young shoppers there if they have heard of Operation Spectrum [Link]and the 'Marxist Conspiracy', will you get the same blank stares as the BBC reporter? On 21 May 1987 in the wee hours of the morning, a group of 16 Singaporeans were arrested from their homes and detained. They were accused of trying to overthrow the govt by force and replacing it with a Marxist govt. They were found with no weapons,....11 of the 16 people arrested were women...they were supposed to have plotted to 'overthrow the govt by force' defeating the SAF and the Singapore Police Force. The detainees were interrogated under harsh conditions, forced to confess on TV and sign various documents. Over the next few weeks, Singaporeans were fed with a colorful plot centered around this person called Tan Wah Piow, a former student activist in the 70s who fled to England when the govt came after him for helping to fight for a group of workers seeking justice.

This supposed evil mastermind Tan Wah Piow is now a human rights lawyer in England. He now spends large part of his time helping immigrants seeking justice. His career choice probably says a lot about how credible the mastermind accusation is. After the detainees were released, a number repudiated their confessions and wanted to sue the govt, they were rearrested and detained.

.Why should we not forget what happened to this group of Singaporeans 22 years ago? Because nothing has changed - the same law (ISA), the same govt (PAP) and the same media(ST) that helped to perpetuate this unjust act exist today as they did 22 years ago. Forget the fairtale Marxist Conspiracy theory...what this whole thing is about a group of men who wanted to preserve their single-party hegemonistic rule through repression.

"Do we want a Singapore where only because of a slight dissent against the Government, people are arrested? Do you want a country that has a widespread fear, apathy?”

- Chiam See Tong in parliament, 1987

There is no reason for the PAP govt to keep the ISA as it is except to be able to use it again to preserve its own power. The Malaysians have taken steps to review the ISA [Link] and it is likely they will replace with an anti-terrorism act. It is useless to talk about wanting an open inclusive society when such a draconian law exists to permeate a climate of fear among the people.


Anonymous said...

Not only Tan Wah Piow is evil, the Oxford University to which Tan acquired a law degree in Oxford, after 10 years in exile, must be evil then.

Francis Siew is evil and so is Harvard University.

So if these people are so evil then these prestigious foreign universities are so evil to accept evil people, then our government must be even more evil working with these evil university. said...

Hi All,

I was very young when the Operation Spectrum occured.

Having read of the incident only recently from some blogs, it was quite a news to me!

Anonymous said...


i read your entire blog post and still cannot figure out what happened on 21st May. Only a 21st March for the capture.

Anonymous said...

You may want to read "that we may dream again" by some of these ex-detainees. The book will make you cry and even though less than a hundred pages, you will need many days to read. It is available at Kino.

Anonymous said...

All this ISA lah, lose billions lah, million dollar salary lah, flood red dot with foreign "talent" lah etc, etc.

All this happened because of 50% walkovers, 66% mandate and 98% seats for PAP at every election. And it will continue to happen.

People can continue to curse and swear at PAP, at each other on internet, in kopitiam, or at Hong Lim Park, etc, etc.

Or people can be anything.

Except challenge PAP 100% at elections or protest in huge numbers!

This is amazing!

Onlooker said...

This "Marxist conspiracy" happen 2 year before the TianAnMen incident.

And after Tian An Men, our MM say "If I have to shoot 200000 students to save China from another 100 years of disorder, so be it."

This is the best evidence of power addiction.
Tough word or acting tough?

And the point is after 1987,China begin to adopt policies that propelled their economy forward.

And We see the beginning of the cannibalization of Local business by GLC that should had been conducted by Citizens.

Is it any surprise than that the membership for a fake union increased due to the increasing underlings who need to be pacified.

Fievel said...

I only hear about this Tan Wah Piow guy from my parents' recounting of stories in their younger days, apparently my uncle was arrested but cos he was malaysian he got sent back and was not allowed to come back again. Tan Wah Piow apparently still contact my uncle from UK every year just to say hello.

Personally i think its tiring to keep fighting against the system unless my own immediate family members are at harm's way in a sudden way, esp when you have no idea when ur number will be up. My idea is, just steer clear of all these politics, and concentrate on living a full life, giving my family the best that they deserve.

Im gonna migrate in a few months, but not too worried lah, singapore very easy to come back to one, as long as one has economic value in the work place - can get work permit then PR then before u know it u r back in the system again. haha

Anonymous said...

ISA will come in handy should PAP lose 2/3 majority next GE. Lock up every single one of the PAP kleptocrats and their cronies for a taste of their own medicine.

Anonymous said...

this is untenable - locking up some pple under isa when they are trying to advance the society, while letting free those responsible for losing billions of our real money...

vote wisely, you'll get your just desserts. for me, i'm dreaming of rolling grass, faraway hills and golden autumn leaves...

Anonymous said...

See Lucky.
Non of your rabble have the balls to even turn up.
And you want to save Singapore from PAP?

min said...

hi lucky,
I first learnt of the marxist conspiracy news thru ure blog a year ago. One year has passed and this has faded completely from my memory if not for your reminder again... I guess u are one of the few who would remember such things.. while I'm just a typical s'porean.

Anonymous said...

Lucky Tan,

Well, 20 years later people will remember Lucky Tan and not LKY, and I'm not even pulling your balls.

Anonymous said...

"See Lucky.
Non of your rabble have the balls to even turn up.
And you want to save Singapore from PAP?"

So have you anonymous turn up ? So did you save Singapore from PAP by turning up or do you think you already save Singapore by turning up ?

Lucky Smurf said...

I am only 25, but I know of Operation Spectrum and Operation Cold Store.

Not all Singaporeans are ignorant to PAP and its policies.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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