Thursday, May 05, 2011

Guest story: Why I hate PAP

Singapore is heading towards what has been touted as a threshold election on 7th May 2011.

[Edited on 24th May 2011]
I had originally posted my personal friend's story as written by her, with minimal edits. However, my friend just emailed me that her father does not wish to talk about his arrest under Operation Coldstore and its impact on their lives again. As such, I shall respect his wish and remove my friend's story.


[Edited on 24th May 2011. Story deleted]


[Winking Doll's additional comment below. Edited on 6th May 2011.]

I was a teenager when the PAP government arrested the Catholic group serving the poor and made them go on national TV for a public confession. Through my youthful eyes, I thought that the accused were forced to "make a confession". That image became stuck in my mind.

When I first graduated from a local university, I eagerly wanted to be a volunteer in gratitude to "the Singapore society which has kindly given me a PSC (Public Service Commission) student loan so that my lower-middle class family could afford my university fees". However, my mother warned me not to volunteer or get involved with any volunteer group. Why? "Because the government may arrest you anytime for any reason."* I had some fear from my mother's warning, because I knew it happened. This is the climate of fear that I grew up in. Fortunately, I overcame it and learned a lot from a decade of volunteer service.

[Addendum 01-Apr-2012] I would bet that I was not the only one dissuaded by others from volunteering during the early-to-mid 1990's. Note: Operation Spectrum happened in 1987. In fact, I remember the ministry in-charge of community service put up large banners cajoling residents to be volunteers just a few years later (in the early 1990's). Whenever I saw those banners at busy street junctions (e.g. outside Cityhall MRT station, next to the church), I laughed in my heart. I would bet that amongst the many who claimed that they were too busy with life to volunteer (a politically correct answer), some were actually held back by the fear factor.

*Note: My mother did not use those exact words because she could not converse in English. Nevertheless, that is an approximate translation of her warning.

p.s. My friend's personal story reminds me of the Singaporean movie "Sandcastle" “沙城”.


[Winking Doll's addedum on 18th May 2011.]

One of the detainees under Operation Spectrum, Vincent Cheng, spoke at the SDP rally on 2nd May 2011.


[Winking Doll's addedum on 20th May 2011.]
Click below for one young Singaporean's view of the Internal Security Act, Operation Coldstore and Operation Spectrum.

Click here for The Online Citizen's review of Operation Spectrum, 24 years after the date of the original arrests.

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