21 Jan 2006

On Devan Nair, American poverty, the death penalty, evolution, Deutsche Bank, gay marriage

This is a letter to the Economist on Devan Nair.

Devan Nair

SIR – In your obituary you wrote “by Mr Nair's account, Mr Lee promised to crush him [J.B. Jeyaretnam], crying ‘I will make him crawl on his bended knees and beg for mercy.’ That image had haunted Mr Nair before, as the worst expression of arrogant colonialism” (“Devan Nair”, December 24th).

This and many other statements Mr Nair made after his bout of alcoholism in 1985 were unfounded. One statement he made in 1991 forced Mr Lee Kuan Yew to sue him and the Canadian Globe & Mail in Toronto. The matter was settled when Mr Nair's two sons issued this statement, reported in the Globe & Mail on July 1st 2004:

“Mr C.V. Devan Nair, aged 80, has been diagnosed as suffering from the beginning stages of dementia, an ailment which affects his memory. He is no longer able to give evidence in court proceedings.

“On March 29th 1999, the Globe & Mail published an article by Mr Marcus Gee. The article quoted Mr Nair as saying that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had Singapore government doctors slip hallucination drugs to Mr Nair to make him appear befuddled.

“Having reviewed the records, and on the basis of the family's knowledge of the circumstances leading to Mr Nair's resignation as president of Singapore in March 1985, we can declare that there is no basis for this allegation.”

Yeong Yoon Ying
Press secretary to Minister Mentor

Apology: We recognise that the statements attributed to Mr Lee in the obituary on Devan Nair and which are referred to in Mdm Yeong Yoon Ying’s letter above, are false. We apologise to Mr Lee for having published them, and we unreservedly withdraw them. We have agreed to pay Mr Lee damages and to indemnify him for all costs incurred by him in connection with this matter.

And the government scores the defamation goal again!


Anonymous said...

What bullshit. I'd sued too if the following act was attributed to me:

"The article quoted Mr Nair as saying that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had Singapore government doctors slip hallucination drugs to Mr Nair to make him appear befuddled"

This isn't freedom of speech or what. This is just nonsense, and frankly, I was disappointed with The Economist for publishing the obituary in that manner.

Anonymous said...

the PAP machinery is efficient; if you want to go against it, you'd better be good

Wowbagger said...

How is it nonsense to claim that another newspaper quoted Mr Nair as saying something? Mr Nair might have been full of nonsense, but I doubt the Economist made up the fact that such a quote did exist in the Globe and Mail article.

Anonymous said...

How is LKY defamed? Has he suffered in any way, economically or reputation wise, that requires compensation from the Economist? LKY's own deeds and actions of the past 20 or 30 yrs has sewn his reputation as a despot, tyrant and now senile old bucket.

Anonymous said...

Why would MM kick up a fuss over a statement that has been circulating in the web for years?

Type "I will make him crawl on his bended knees and beg for mercy." on google search and see the results.

xyz said...

The Economist's publicity stunt #2.

Anonymous said...

Strange...how come a dementia patient can be so SMART and LOGICAL in his DEFENSE againts LKY?

read below.

(probably someone chickens out....coz he never going to win in a FOREIGN COURTROOM.)


to download the case:


bostongradstudent said...

It's a bit low, I think, to attack a man's credibility when he's dead, and unable to defend himself.

There's also no need to be litigious about fighting these allegations - they can easily be cleared up through a reply to the press, rather than through intimidatory - and financially costly - law suits. Then let people decide.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Is the wikipedia thing true? Any newslink?