17 Sep 2006

Activists might sue Singapore

Despite being gramatically incorrect, the title of this Reuters article says it all.

Activists say might take legal action against Singapore
By Koh Gui Qing

BATAM, Indonesia (Reuters) - Activists are considering legal action against Singapore, accusing the government of violating human rights after police held members incommunicado before deporting them, an activist said on Saturday.

Lidy Nacpil said several NGOs that gathered on the Indonesian island of Batam are considering taking legal action in international courts or appealing to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Singapore, which is hosting the annual World Bank-IMF meetings, initially blacklisted more than two dozen activists who had been accredited to attend the event.

The government said late on Friday that it would allow 22 of the 27 blacklisted activists to enter, following strong criticism of its actions by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

"The point is we have to show that we are serious, that they can't get away with this," Nacpil said on the sidelines of a three-day forum in Batam, a short boat ride from Singapore.

"We are still in the exploratory stage as to what our options are," added Nacpil, international coordinator of Jubilee South, a network of non-governmental organizations.

She said NGOs including Jubilee South and the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) were discussing the "appropriate action" to take.

"The fact is that they detained all these people without giving them a chance to inform their colleagues or their family" or to make any telephone calls, she said.

Singapore police declined to comment.

Jakarta-based INFID is an umbrella group of more than 100 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Indonesia and abroad. The group lobbies governments on issues affecting Indonesia.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

All this, in the full glare of the international limelight, with every major news outlet keenly following everything going on in the light of the World Bank/IMF meeting?

Well done, Singapore.

Yawning Bread is right, it really and truly is embarrasing to be a Singaporean.


kai said...

Ah.. well done the Police.. some law-enforcing from the ISD days huh. Well, these days, I tell people I'm from Taiwan and that I want Ah Bian to step down!!

Anonymous said...

By all means go ahead, sue the pants off minilee and papalee.

Matilah_Singapura said...

It is only emabarrasing to be Singaporean, if one cannot seperate the concept of state from the people or country.

If "we the people" are prepared to take their government (and thus the state) to task for violation of rights and just in case it is forgotten — the constitution — then maybe there could be change.

However if "we the people" don't give a stuff, then there is nothing that can be done.

Personally, I am against the idea of international courts or UN interference. Law's should remain territorial, and the people are the one's truly responsible in choosing the system of governance (or no government) and how they are to be governed. Law's also evolve over time... this is in fact the way English Common Law evolved.

The United Nations — the wannabe government of the world, should be dismantled as soon as possible. As should the IMF and the World Bank.

One maybe able to protest one's own government. How do you, as a Sovereign Individual go up against the bloody UN?

Thank God the UN are a bunch of bumbling idiots. Imagine what tyranny could occur if they had any real power.

Capt_Canuck said...

true, if the UN had any real power then the tyranny of the UN would equal that of the PAP in Singapore.

Luckily, that shall never happen because, unlike Singaporeans, the majority of the world actually has a mind of their own and can think for themselves and not be sheep following the shepherd around. Pity that some countries listen to any shephard with a microphone.

"People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

American President, 1995, Directed: Rob Reiner

Though, standing back and saying "I didn't have a part in this, I didn't endorse nor oppose it" is as effective as saying "yes, I saw the man beating that other man on the street, however I didn't oppose it or endorse it therefore I am clean of all guilt". The majority of Singaporeans voted in the PAP (by 66.6% if I am not mistaken) so therefore, you are 66.6% accountable for Singapore's actions. You elected your leaders, now you are responsible for their actions. So be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a challenge a certain senior statesman threw at a common citizen who dared to challenge the statemen's grip on power. Having called the common citizen a liar, the stateman proceeded to challenge the common citizen to sue for defamation to prove that he (common citizen) was not a liar.

The response by the CSOs/NGOs is exactly what this statesman is getting now. Having detained them on suspicion of being a threat to public security, the statesman may get sued by these CSOs/NGOs to prove that they were not, as alleged, a threat to public security.

What goes around, comes around, sir

Matilah_Singapura said...

> ""People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone."

What the speaker left out was the word "some" or "many". Some or Many people want leadership.

Many others, on the other hand want to be left alone i.e. They want FREEDOM. They are quite capable of minding their own business, and using their own minds to decide what is good for their lives.

IMO, SHEEP and CATTLE need to be led (usually to slaughter). Real men and women don't.

To Anon 11:06:

To further my point above: "Leaders" often result to BULLYING as a tactic of leadership. They hit an (courageous) opponent hard — the the sheep and cattle get the shit scared out of them.

"Leaders" can and do whack their dissidents. IMO I don't expect individual humans to possess "super hero" powers. No one can be expected to withstand the iron fist of absolute power.

Anonymous said...

a..more free advertising for SG

Capt_Canuck said...

Matilah_Singapore: So, can I assume then that nearly 99% of all Singapore wants leadership and dont want to think for themselves since Lee has been pretty much telling people what to do for 40 years. After all the Singapore Gov't made the CPF fund forcing you to save money for retirement and takes away all wealth fare funding (because it breeds lazy workers, though don't the elite ministers make millions? why do they need welfare for their families since one senior minister can house and feed a whole tribe); killing off drug dealers/users without the decency of the 'innocent until proven guilty' clause because he gov't doesn't trust citizens to make your own decisions on the evils of drugs; bans public protests to stop you from actually voicing concerns as a whole; puts tracking numbers on the 'secret' ballots to see exactly who is a support of his regime and who isn't so that he knows who to give uprading of their welfare flats to. All this happens and yet only a small handful of people (like the Chees) stand up and do something public to stop him.

But, then again, I am probably wrong. Just hard to hear what you are saying with that cow bell around your neck. BTW, how much wool does Singapore produce? I mean, with all the sheep there, it must be their main export. Or is it just you that needs to be sheared?

Disgusted said...

Yes, Agreed.

We have all ourselves to blame for this fiasco. After all 66. 6 % voted 'blindly' in the 'land of the blind' mainly because of VERY shortsighted and selfish wishes for the upgrading projects in their estates. (OUR Salute to the people of Potong Pasir and Hougang, as publicly acknowledged even by PM and SM)(At least PM and SM too know WHERE the genuine voters are in Singapore and who are not easily bought by cheap baits and govt promises.
Conversely, shame on the rest of us who have not much principles IF they had voted mainly because of the promise of upgrading and/or for other selfish reasons. We must not forget this is a country with a system of patronage).

Now we do not have any alternative viewpoints in Parliament or even in the papers (esp after the Mr. Brown saga) to give valuable, balanced and timely feedback, as it should in any civilised society as no one has the sole privy to being always right and omni-potent.

We ought to be ashamed of ourselves as the recent events (WorldBank/IMF) have put us against the standards of the civilised and free (and responsible) world.

The temerity of detaining peaceful CSOs, without access to their embassies, or families. They can do this to our locals and hope not to attract the world's attention.

This time, it backfired on all OUR faces.



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


> nearly 99% of all Singapore wants leadership and dont want to think for themselves since Lee has been pretty much telling people what to do for 40 years.

Well I don't know about "99%", but there are many people who do want to be led — at least part of the way. One must remember the amount of "political leverage" Lee and the PAP got when Malaysia "sacked" S'pore form the Federation. People were fearful of their futures.

My personal feelings aside, Lee was (is?) a charismatic and energetic personality and was popular politically. The people trusted him to deliver. Heck, they didn't even mind when he got rid of his opposition. The people handed him the power. Being a smart political animal, he maneuvered his way — essentially with the consent of the people, at least the greater majority of them. In other words The People Gave Their Consent and Approval. IMO, that consent and approval still prevails today.

Through the years, "Knuckle dusters" Lee has legally whacked Chia Teck Poh, The Barisan, Tan Wah Piau, Francis Seow, among others; and in recent times JBJ, CSJ; and lately James Gomez. The ISA law has been used many times. Incidents of detention without trial is realtively frequent in modern Singapore history. The ISD have been busy. Some of their activities include weeding out communist sympathizers in the 60's and 70's (the 1950's PAP was pro-communist), arrested people over a "Marxist Conspiracy" in the 80's.

And you know what? No one really put up a fuss.

Every state has "emergency powers". But it is how those emergency powers are used which determines whether the reasons for state intervention and coercion on the liberty of individuals are objective or arbitrary. As a fredom-loving infidel, I am no fan of Marx nor communism. But personally, I wouldn't go on witch-hunts for people who's politics I don't agree with.

I am against state controlled education, because state controlled education strips the individuality out of individuals, and was never about developing "critical thinking" in the very important period of a person's life: childhood and youth. Young people are indoctrinated with "values" chosen by the state. (ala Otto von Bismarck).

Even I believed alot of the bullshit when I was younger, until I learnt later about the political economy. In those pre-internet/pre-cable TV days, when most of us got our daily information from the state-controlled media, and alot of literature censorsed — what does a young person do, when the state education system he is in (8 hrs a day for 12 years) does not teach nor encourage him to disagree or to question what he is taught?

"Teaching kids to read? Hell, the idea is to teach kids to QUESTION what they read!"

Also consider that everyone alive has the same 24 hours in the day to get things done. The state uses sexy political language like "equality" and "social contract" to "look after the people". Therefore for the rationally igonorant average Joe and Jane, it seems "intelligent" to just let the statists engineer society. Personal responsibility not required — just let the government find ways of providing for all.

And so the people send signals to the government to take care of all matters of "welfare". Help for those who need it—whether it is an individual in need of financial assistance or a business sector which needs "infrastructure" or "investment" or "specialised workers". The government is everywhere.

The government is even in-charge of determining what you can read, consume and do. Singapore has a history of "silly laws", some repealed — like laws against: sodomy (a fun and exciting pastime to its "enthusiasts"), chewing gum (a healthy habit for oral hygiene), erotica (helpful in enhancing feelings of physical love, or pure carnality)...etc. The state cares for you so much that it unilaterally decides what you put into your mind and body.

But there is hope. Freedom is never free. Anything of value has a commensurate cost or price. And all choice is an individual thing. Humans act according to what they believe, and how they feel and think about what they believe.

Is Freedom Important? That is a question which every individual has to ask himself, and only he alone can answer. But, he has to have an (objective) idea and a feeling (subjective) of what freedom is, before he can even ask himself the question.

Keep up the activism!

Anonymous said...

Actually, this makes me very pround to be a Singaporean. We're telling the world, this is what you want, like it or go the @#$% away

Anonymous said...

quite so; chauvinism is always very useful to governments

but the more sensible attitude is the advertising value:

imf says these people are authorized to demo

SG says some of them are not

imf says this is wrong

SG says some of them are allowed after all

these people say they dont want to come, and prefer batam

reporters go to batam and say thse people could not go to SG...

keep the advertising going; it tells investors: law and order is strict in SG, and your money is safe...

Anonymous said...

Good, let the PAP have a taste back of their own medicine. In a way, this IMF-WB meeting is good for all of us for it highlights the political depression in this nanny state.
However if the suit is filed in Sin courts, we know what the outcome is going to be.

Anti Ho said...

Did anyone read Andy Ho's column "Activists Shooting Themselves in The Foot" today?

Man,, that guy probably got more pay with his pro-govt articles these few days.

And he keeps saying about terrorists plans, JI and Al-Qaeda.

If he bothered to research more, most of the violence during protests were caused by the authorities themselves.

Somebody should really tell off that Andy Ho character.

Anonymous said...

Andy Ho writes to please the PAP.He really writes shits.

Pro Reunification said...

He's just staying true to his name(Andy wHOre). Prostituting himself to the PAP. And oh, he swallows.

Anonymous said...

I am so embarassed being born a Singaporean.I told my clients not to spend so much in Singapore.I do urged them to go to Kuala Lumpur.I encouraged them not to associate with the government here.Anyway they already knew about Singapore propagandas and corruptions.Yes!i am so ashamed when a Europeans bitching about Singapore behind me.I hoped IMF/WorldBank sue Singapore heavily.Poor 5 activists were detained and deported.I kinda enjoy bitching about Singapore all this time.Singapore is so afraid of its neighbouring countries i called her Takut Holdings.Singapore so Mandarin language fanatics that delegates don't understand Singaporeans English pronunciations.Singapore Idols is such a disaster.Miss Singapore contestants were so ugly.Government actually swindled NKF funds.I don't have to speak Mandarin to saved my life.Government sponged on nations money.'Authoritarian'the word used to described of Singapore is clearly correct.Lee Kuan Yew must be shot dead.I even told friends around the world that Singaporeans mostly Chinese are racists.They hires mandarin speaking candidates only.I felt as though i'm in China.