"I thought it would be useful to examine extracts from the alleged seditious article in class but I immediately hit a brick wall. There were no issues of Fajar in the collection of the National Library. The National University of Singapore Library (which inherited the collection of the University of Malaya) has an incomplete set (5 issues short of the total 62; lacking the first 2 issues, numbers 20 and 24 of Volume 1 and number 5 of Volume 2). However, the publication was still under lock and key. Access to it was restricted" - Lim Cheng Tju, A Personal Journey In Search Of Fajar
Seditious? Kept under lock and key? Restricted? Here's a picture of my desk at home this evening:
I own a collection of Fajar which was published in 1954-1961 i.e 50 years ago ...long before I was born. I wonder if I have the only other remaining copies of Fajar in Singapore.
Reading the Fajar gives an alternative view of the history of Singapore especially the key events such as the merger with Malaysia and the formation of Barisan Socialis. The ideals of the Fajar generation are equality, democracy, freedom and justice within a socialist framework. Operation Coldstore (1963) and the banning of Fajar , an organ of USC (University Socialist Club) mark an end to political openness and intensified the climate of fear. Here we are today in the most economically unequal society in the developed world, ruled by an authoritarian govt that over time took away our freedom of speech and the free press, and led by ministers who earn the highest salaries in the world. The ideals of the Fajar generation are still as relevant to our generation as they were 50 years ago.
"The Big Six – Mr Lim, Mr Fong Swee Suan, Mr Woodhull, Mr Dominic Puthucheary, Mr S.T. Bani and Mr Jamit Singh – had stated that while they supported the PAP in the coming by-election, they would not compromise on issues such as detention without trial and freedoms of press, speech, assembly and organisation.
Dr Poh argues that these statements amounted to a ‘request’, not an ‘ultimatum’. But Mr Lee, he says, saw this as a challenge to the PAP leadership and decided to make the split."
- Dr. Poh Soo Kai, Straits Times Interview "Dr. Poh:Why I parted company with PAP", 27 Dec 2009.
Extract from Fajar Editorial, Vol III, Issue 6, Aug 1961:In 1961, there was still some hope for greater democracy in Singapore as seen by the writings of these university students. They could hardly imagine the events in the coming years that would turn their hopes for democracy into dispair.