"You can express any view that you want, you can form a political party, you can contest the elections, you can have rallies, make speeches, no trouble whatsoever."
- PM Lee Hsien Loong, CNN TalkAsia, Dec 2006
Robert HO is Singapore's leading cyber dissident.
In late 2001, marking the first-ever case of its kind, HO was arrested in his home for allegedly posting "inflammatory" articles online during the General Elections. In 2002, following an as-yet-unspecified article(s) posted on soc.culture.singapore, police entered his home to serve him a summons to attend an investigation. Again, his computer was seized. Three weeks later, according to HO, he was forcibly taken to the police station by officers who entered his home without a warrant or a charge. In 2005, upon returning from a shopping mall where he had been distributing flyers alleging election fraud, he was again apprehended. His computer, purchased after the police failed to return the one seized in 2002, was confiscated. In all, he has been arrested another three times since 2001, and thrice the authorities had remanded him at a mental institution. Oddly enough, he has yet to be prosecuted for these alleged offences, although the criminal defamation case from 2002 may still be pending.
While critics, including international publications, have yielded to defamation threats issued by Singapore's leaders, Robert HO has instead emerged from his arrests and detention an even more recalcitrant heretic of the establishment. In Singapore's political cyberspace where fear of surveillance and libel suits have compelled dissenting netizens and bloggers to post articles under pseudonyms, HO sticks his neck out by brazenly disclosing his real identity online. He is now a regular contributor to the Singapore Review news group and is also a blogger.
Martyn See interviews Robert HO via email and phone in December 2006.
Have you always been a critic of the PAP Government?
Ha, ha. Nobody is born a PAP critic so I must have become one along the way. It would be true to say that LEE Kuan Yew creates his own enemies, through arrogance and unbridled power. I have written that LEE Kuan Yew is the 'most powerful man in the world or even in history' because he has so much total control over his entire population. You know as much, having been hauled up by his police, for essentially nothing. Doesn't that make you even more determined? Or changed you from pro-PAP to anti-PAP? Every time LEE Kuan Yew wrongs one person, he creates 100 critics or even oppositionists. If Dr CHEE Soon Juan had not been unfairly sacked from his university job, he would be there today, still teaching; and not a dedicated oppositionist. Power and abuse of power always create its own resistance which may one day succeed in toppling that power. Newton's Third Law: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."
When did I turn anti-PAP? Let me see. I lost my last job in advertising as a copywriter on 10 Jul 92. I was still pro-PAP then and still thought LEE Kuan Yew a 'great man' and all that, thanks to the Straits Times' unending propaganda. Shortly after that, I discovered that LEE Kuan Yew had been keeping me under audio-visual surveillance since I was a teen or even earlier and was releasing all this information to his entire crony system from Straits Times journalists and editors to even foreign journalists and politicos in order to embarrass me and as a publicity stunt [a kind of reality show before there were reality shows] purely to make himself famous, to self-aggrandise and to put on a command performance for the edification of his international audience, especially the Americans. Then I got angry, rightly so, and started to hit back. The whole story is more convoluted than this but this is the essence in summary.
In fact, before 1992, I had sent a few suggestions through snail mail [no pc then and the Internet was new] to then Prime Minister LEE Kuan Yew, suggestions ranging from redoing the National Anthem [which was slightly reworked subsequently] to a proposal for Block Managers to manage every HDB block much like a condo manager manages a condo; to developing Dirty Bombs [I coined this term and came up with the concept of radioactive bombs for Singapore's defence -- now it is a worldwide concern and probably only a matter of time before one goes off somewhere]. I also suggested to him that voting age be reduced to 18 like in some countries but that those below 18 also be given a vote, such that their vote be exercised by the mother, first, and for the second child, exercised by the father, and so on in the world's first truly universal suffrage. This idea was bastardised by LEE Kuan Yew years later [he never acknowledged any of my letters] as giving some privileged class of Singaporeans TWO votes instead of one, that is, the class most likely to vote PAP!
So from pro-PAP, I reacted to LEE Kuan Yew's shameless, self-serving puiblicity stunt telecasting me and my family live 24 hours a day, to anti-PAP. Then, I cast about for ways to react to LEE Kuan Yew's 24 hour a day live telecast of me and my family. I soon found a way. Mr LING How Doong of the opposition SDP had won the Bukit Gombak Consituency in 1991 and Dr CHEE, SDP Secretary-General, was serving as a manager in the Gombak Town Council. I started faxing suggestions to him. One suggestion was to do a political (actually, more a corporate) video, which he subsequently did but which drew a blanket ban on political videos from the kiasu PAP government.
I not only faxed suggestions to Dr CHEE but also to Mr J B JEYARETNAM who was NCMP from 1997 to 2001. Those were years of faxed suggestions. These suggestions could not and did not hurt LEE Kuan Yew nor diminish his power in the least but he and his ISD henchmen took the exaggerationism or kiasuism to the extreme and hit back at me.
Around 2001, I also started writing articles published on the Internet. I had bought a pc by then. The website is Singaporeans For Democracy, still accessible. I wrote some 61 articles published in SFD. ("RH: Robert's Almost-Complete Archive of Works") There were no blogs then, although there were Home Pages. One of those essays was to lead to the police arriving at my door.
In 2001, you became the first person in Singapore to be arrested for posting an article on the internet. What happened?
On 16 Nov 01, about 1115am, 8 serious, stern men rang my doorbell and came into my flat. They were ASP SOH Kien Peng, SI Jeffrey KUEK, SSS Simon LEE, SSS SEOW Chong Teck, SS TAN Soon Teck, SGT Eddie TOH, SS Leslie LEONG and SGT IRWAN. They quickly searched my entire flat, asked for my computer and took it as well as every single computer-related device from printer, floppy disks, CD-Rs, modem to cables. They then took me away to the CID Police Cantonment Complex. Being arrested and having all my entire computer system confiscated was quite unnerving and disconcerting. The handcuffs were locked on so tight I suffered a pinched nerve in my left wrist for weeks after.
At the CID, I was questioned for hours during which I dictated my statement/s to ASP SOH Kien Peng. In my statement/s, I described the years of radiation attacks from the flat above mine, from the time I lived in a 5-room HDB flat in Block 203 Bukit Batok, to my current Guilin View flat. I finished the statement/s around 1405pm, pleading Not Guilty in summation to the charge of posting in soc.culture.singapore my article entitled "Break the Law and get away with it, like PAP", posted 19 Oct 01.
Link to article
This article is also posted in Singaporeans For Democracy.
After my statement/s were recorded, edited and signed, I was taken to a cell where I was to spend the night on the bare floor. The next morning, I was driven to the Subordinate Courts where I awaited my turn for the judge to deal with me. The long queue was made up of many foreigners. Obviously, many foreigners run afoul of the law in Singapore and this could be one reason why the judicial system is so harsh -- they are mostly foreigners anyway and most could not even speak English. We accused were processed like an assembly line, with each one getting very limited time or attention. Singapore efficiency, if you like.
When my turn came to plead, I tried to tell the judge that I wanted to claim trial and ask for release on bail, since my offence is probably bailable, being merely a posting in a newsgroup. She was impatient, there being about 100 accused to process that morning before her lunch. I spoke into the microphone that she should not treat me on the basis of "once a madman always a madman" but was sent to IMH for observation anyway.
In IMH, the doctors see us about once a week, so it took about 3 weeks before the doctor assigned to me could finalise his report, which is "Fit for Trial", which is another way of saying that I was not mentally ill, that I could stand trial.
The charge against me was "incitement to violence" for asking voters to enter the polling stations without authorisation, just like PM GOH Chok Tong, Deputy PMs LEE Hsien Loong and Tony TAN and MP VASOO had done in the 1997 General Election and which the Attorney General CHAN Sek Keong [now Chief Justice] had refused to prosecute and who had written an unbelievable explanation that these 4 PAP men were not committing an offence, in his opinion, see
Unauthorised persons inside polling stations: Attorney General's letter
That this was a trumped-up charge, with very serious jail terms, is evident to all: if the AG deems unauthorised entry into polling stations by the 4 men legal, then my asking people to also do the same should also be legal, so where's my crime?
In any event, the Long Statement I made to ASP SOH, describing the years of radiation attacks on me, plus the biological attacks of putting virulent flu germs into our food/drink thus causing us [myself, my son and my little niece] to be very sick to the point of pneumonia, deterred LEE Kuan Yew from proceeding with the trial. So, at trial after I was released from IMH, LEE Kuan Yew's henchmen put on an elaborate wayang show in which the prosecutor DPP HAN Ming Kuang read the psychiatrist's report on me, but only the old historical parts and not the conclusion which is that I am fit for trial, to show that I was unfit for trial! Who would you believe the truth of my mental state? A DPP and the Straits Times or the psychiatrist who saw me? [I was told beforehand by ASP SOH that the charge would be dropped and that once released from court, I was to avoid reporters and leave the courthouse]. So I left the Subordinate Courts, collected my entire computer system back from the CID and went home without giving any interviews to reporters].
DPP HAN took so long to read all the old historical parts that the judge told him testily to stop, saying, "You can take it that I have read the report." but DPP HAN continued anyway. The next day, I knew why. He was reading, not for the court, but for the Straits Times reporters present. The next day's Straits Times carried a large report of DPP HAN's readings to give the impression that I was mad and that was why the charge was dropped. At that time, HAN Fook Kwang was Editor [now Chief Editor I believe] of the Straits Times. Note the similarity in names as in the Chinese custom of naming siblings or close relations. They are probably related and LEE Kuan Yew's henchmen, out to destroy my credibility, one reading copiously in court while the other took care to publish the read parts prominently. More attempts to destroy my credibility, and their modus operandi, are captured in this soc.culture.singapore newsgroup posting.
Barely eight months later, following two other online postings, the police twice visited you in your home.
As the above post shows, I was arrested twice more after that. One was on Wed 3 Jul 02 when ASP GOH Tat Boon, SI Kamaruzaman GAFFAR, Sgt IRWAN Abdul Rahman and S/SGT LEE Lioh Ying came to my flat to seize my computer again. Sgt IRWAN was the same man who came with ASP SOH the last time, so he went straight to my pc. I persuaded ASP GOH not to take everything, since everything had been seized and examined before and still carried the police sticker labels. So he seized only the pc tower. This has still not been returned today probably because the case is still not closed, I believe. This is the case of "criminal defamation" which carries a considerable jail term.
However, LEE Kuan Yew's enthusiasm for court cases against me had considerably chilled, since he realised that once in court and sworn to tell the truth, on pains of perjury, which is a serious offence, I would tell all about his publicity stunt light-torture of me, which many, including judges, would already know about and know to be true. Of course, he can still find judges to do his will and bidding but it would mean very personal interference from him and this could open him to complications since judges may talk, migrate, give an interview or even write a book or even a blog!. You never know. So kiasuism won again and LEE Kuan Yew never took me to court nor gave me a chance to testify in court for posterity.
ASP GOH simply stopped calling me or investigating my case and ignored my phone calls and faxes to him to return my pc tower. But LEE Kuan Yew was not one to leave critics alone. He had to tit for every tat. It's all kiasuism again. So, on 26 Jul 02, 2 non-ASP policemen came to my flat just as I was sitting down to dinner and arrested me yet again. They were Sergeant SEOW Chow Chin and Corporal Wandi. The entire police procedures book was ignored and I was handcuffed, driven to Jurong Police HQ and locked in a cell. Then, without even an interview with an Investigating Officer, I was driven to IMH where the doctor, despite strenuous objections from me, admitted me. Since doctors there see patients only about once a week, it took me 8 days to get out. I append a handwritten note I faxed to Dr CHEE Soon Juan of the SDP:
To: Dr CHEE Soon Juan, Mr LING How Doong
From: Robert HO
Recap: On Wed 3 July 2002, ASP GOH Tat Boon and 3 others came to my apartment to seize my computer and to serve upon me an Order to attend an investigation. Which I duly attended at the CID, the next day 4 Jul 2002 from about 10am to about 12.30pm.
It was a 'proper' seizure and Order served.
An 'improper' arrest:
However, on 26 Jul 2002, 2 policemen of low rank came to my apartment just as I was sitting down to dinner at about 8pm and arrested me.
I asked them "On what charge?" They did not say. I asked them for an arrest warrant. They did not have one. This is most 'improper'.
I had no choice but to follow them. They said they were from the Bukit Batok NPP.
I was taken to a cell in Jurong Police HQ and spent several hours there, locked up.
Then, without even a meeting with an IO [Investigation Officer], I was taken away to Woodbridge Hospital [IMH] at about 5am 27 July 2002.
There, I stayed for 8 days till my discharge on Sat 3 August 2002.
I know that under Section 32 of the Mental Disorders and Treatment Act; and under Section 43  [b] of the Prisons Act, I may be detained in a mental hospital provided I am a threat to the safety of others or myself.
This is clearly not the case in my case.
So who ordered my arrest and incarceration in IMH? And on what charge? There is no basis whatsoever. I still do not know now.
Worse still, it seems that in future, this unlawful confinement may be enacted again and again. All it takes is for some anonymous order from somebody and I will find myself locked up and incommunicado.
It is a frightening power that has no safeguards or checks.
5 Aug '02
And more recently, in a case that I believe has gone unreported, you were arrested and detained for distributing flyers at a shopping mall.
On 27 Feb 05, I went to WestMall Shopping Centre to photocopy and distribute copies of a document alleging that LEE Kuan Yew rigged the 1997 Cheng San GRC election. I was arrested, locked in a police station cell [Clementi Police Division HQ] and then driven to IMH where it took me about a dozen days to get out, again because the doctors see patients only once a week mainly. This case closed with a formal written Warning on 20 Feb 06. My entire computer system, a new one from the pc tower ASP GOH seized, which is still with him, was returned to me.
Why do I keep getting entangled with the law? To understand this, you have to know, as many Singaporeans and foreigners already know, that LEE Kuan Yew had been lightly torturing me since shortly since around 1992. This consists of mostly [still ongoing and happening even now] sleep deprivation lasting from minutes [thereby leading to unrestful sleep on being awakened up to several times a night], to hours-long sleep deprivation. This is done with the CIA TWS [Through Wall Surveillance] devices, from the flat above. Why? Because, as one ISD man said to his colleague years ago at the NUSS swimming pool where I was with my family, "It's a power play". Sleep deprivation is a dangerously serious form of aggression. Lab mice denied sleep die after just two and a half weeks. Bodily organs and the immunity systems are also weakened, increasing the likelihood of cancers and other diseases.
Were you an ex-journalist? Where?
Hardly. I was a night sub-editor from late 1975 to early 1976 in The Straits Times. I went mentally ill around that time and didn't recover until 1979, the illness most proably due to the stress of doing 2 jobs at the same time [teaching by day] and not sleeping regularly or enough so the present dozen years of sleep deprivation light torture is potentially havoc to my health. None of my ancestors or family have been mentally ill so this reinforces the possibility that irregular and insufficient sleep is the cause. Once I was discharged from IMH in 1979, I went straight back to work and a normal life and have only had to eat medicine on an outpatient basis after that. Note that all the incarceration episodes of the police arresting me and putting me in IMH didn't last more than about a dozen days or so, except for the 3-week episode of court-ordered observation around 16 Nov 01. If I were really mentally ill, I wouldn't have been released in about a dozen days each time! The doctors would be too kiasu to dare risk their reputation in releasing a patient who is not fit to be released or who is still unstable.
In the Straits Times, I occasionally witnessed the 'Upstairs' control of news and I have written this in my "Letter to Blair" article, in my Archive. We all know that the Straits Times practises what they euphemistically call "nation building" but the main quarrel many of us have with this rigid and total control of the media is not whether nation building should be done or not or whether it is right for media to do this. There is a deeper issue and this is about Truth and Falsehood. Truth and Falsehood are often separated only by a thin line and that is why we talk about Half-Truths. In one of my quotes in my Archive, I wrote that "LEE Kuan Yew is adept at turning half-truths into whole lies" and it is not just a neat aphorism, it captures the fact that sometimes, very little separate a Truth from an UnTruth or Lie. So, the Straits Times should, like a court witness, always tell the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth. As an eyewitness to history. It is not about nation building but about Truth.
There is also the insidious effect of Time. If a newspaper suppresses a fact or a piece of news one day, it is not too bad. But when it consistently suppresses similar facts, over time, this becomes a total manipulation of the readers' mind. So, over time, even innocuous news suppression, or a slight 'slant' to the news, or a slight 'spin' take on huge dimensions in an unforgiveable attempt at nothing less than brainwashing.
How do you rate the performance of PM Lee Hsien Loong so far?
To understand LEE Hsien Loong's performance, you have to consider the advantages he inherited from his father and GOH Chok Tong and the challenges facing him. In a way, it is unfair to expect too much from LEE Hsien Loong because the challenges he faces today are the left over unsolved problems that his father and GOH did not or more likely, could not solve. It stands to reason that if his father and GOH could solve those problems, they would have done so already. So, many of the problems that remain for LEE Hsien Loong are intractable ones. However, every new leader faces the same situation, in every country, so LEE Hsien Loong cannot excuse himself for not solving them.
He faces another obstacle. His father. LEE Kuan Yew is even more active now than say, during GOH's time. There is a sense that he wants to set everything in stone, to so cast Singapore with rigid policies that long after he has become non-sentient, Singapore will still continue as though he is still in control, shaping events. Every person in power wants to shape his state according to what he thinks fit and LEE Kuan Yew is no exception. But the only way is to shape institutions, not direct policies.
If you shape an institution, that institution can go on to evolve policies to fit any new circumstances. If you cast policies in stone, policies are quickly outdated and become irrelevant or counterproductive especially so with the modern speed of change. The faster things change, the more you need institutions and not direct policies. So it is always best to leave behind strong institutions. What are some of these? Free and fair elections for example. An independent judiciary. A critical press unafraid to investigate and spotlight governmental wrongdoings. A Parliament of independent-thinking MPs that is not today's rubberstamp Yes Men. Cabinet colleagues of diverse backgrounds who follow very different Muses. An Opposition that is free to challenge the government's ideas and policies.
On all of these, LEE Kuan Yew has failed, failed, failed. He has corrupted every single institution in the land. This is his greatest failure. He did not have the wisdom to see where corrupted institutions will lead. He has created a system that needs him at the top to continue running. Once he becomes non-sentient, LEE Hsien Loong either becomes another LEE Kuan Yew, or he will find that One Man Rule or Top Down Rule cannot function. So, either LEE Kuan Yew reverses his entire life's doings or else he better hope that LEE Hsien Loong turns out to be close enough like him. But then, remember that LEE Kuan Yew has already solved all the easy problems and only the hard ones remain. Thus, LEE Hsien Loong will not have an easy time.
LEE Kuan Yew once boasted to a foreign journalist, "If people don't fear me, then I am meaningless." This has led other sharp observers to note that LEE Kuan Yew's rule is "...only thinly disguised Rule By Decree" and that he has imposed a "Fearocracy". Make no mistake, LEE enjoys flaunting his power and abusing his power to force 'solutions' on people, like the recent publicly administered 'breaking the head' of pilot Captain Ryan GOH by LEE who pointedly revealed some highlights of GOH's private family life.
LEE Kuan Yew ruled during a time when the world was simple and straightforward. LEE Hsien Loong now faces a far different world than the one his father lived through. My prediction: LEE Hsien Loong will falter once his father is no longer around. The elder LEE left not a single viable institution intact in his haste to dismantle everything that got in his way. Simply put, if you create a system where you must have a LEE Kuan Yew in charge to function, then the moment a non-LEE Kuan Yew comes along, even if he is a son, things unravel. That is why I say, leave behind strong institutions, not a strongman.
To answer your question directly, I think LEE Hsien Loong won't last long either through disease relapse of cancer or some such. God loves playing games, too, and has already given him an albino and an autistic son, such odds being many millions to one unless you prefer to take the simplest explanation that God, too, loves games! Take it as divine retribution for LEE Kuan Yew's unashamedly eugenics policies!
In this year's 2006 General Election, the PAP averaged 66.6% of the votes but in LEE Hsien Loong's very own GRC, he despite his cachet and his Father's dominating presence, got only 66.14%. This despite running against 6 neophyte no-hopers nobody has ever heard of and who the PAP boasted "will lose their deposits"! LEE Hsien Loong won't last loong!
You seem to display a particular affinity in delving into the psyche of Lee Kuan Yew. What is your fascination with the Minister Mentor?
I fought him for a dozen years. In those dozen years, I have come to fear him, ridicule him, expose his failings and wrongdoings, all of which are now in written form in thousands of postings in soc.culture.singapore and elsewhere on the wonderful thing called the Internet.
When I first began writing anti-PAP articles, I was careful about defamation lawsuits, now, I couldn't care less. LEE Kuan Yew, by committing crimes against me and my family members for a dozen years, has lost the moral right to apply the law to me since he has broken the law himself every day, sometimes even dozens of times a day, for a dozen years, against me and my family.
Nowadays, I have the luxury of ranting and raving against LEE Kuan Yew, restrained only by the facts and the Truth and my credibility.
Most still have to be careful but the Internet is spawning a freedom to think, associate and opine. For example, you can read a blog and leave an anonymous comment. That comment may be a sentence or a whole essay. Can LEE Kuan Yew clamp down on commenters? I think not. Can LEE Kuan Yew even take bloggers to court? Maybe today but it gets less and less likely as the Internet Age progresses. Already, there are proxies and encrypted communications that allow anonymous postings. If the PAP tries to wipe out blogs and Internet postings, all these will simply go underground. Then, there is email. The PAP cannot look into every email account to stamp out criticisms. For persistent emailers like me, it can quickly establish my identity and charge me but it cannot do this to the occasional critic. It is so easy to write and forward an email that it is ridiculous to treat it as equivalent to an essay meant for publication. That essay may be more formal but emails are often rough and thoughtless -- can you take the same stance on both? The law courts will not be able to handle the load!
Do you think that Singapore will become a more open society with the passing of LKY?
Definitely. I cannot wait for LEE Kuan Yew to die. He has committed and still committing so many crimes against me and my family and property that I will cheer his death. LEE Kuan Yew is from a different era. That man cannot even type, which primary schoolkids today all can. He still reads only printed paper documents, not a computer monitor. That is how backward he is. Can such a man run a 21st century country? No way! Besides, there are more university graduates today than there were people in Singapore when LEE Kuan Yew became PM. He is a relic, a kind of fossil from the past, alive long past his time. The sooner he goes the better.
You have been alleging on numerous postings that the PAP had rigged the Cheng San GRC results in GE 1997. Yet, you have not been sued. How do you get away with this?
Because it is true and I can prove it. My eyewitness is Mr David DUCLOS, a Singaporean eurasian and a Catholic. He has emailed me, then confirmed in person to my wife and I what he had seen and subsequently, confirmed on the phone to Dr CHEE Soon Juan what he wrote. Note that the police arrested me several times but never for my allegations of LEE Kuan Yew criminal attacks using TWS equipment from the flat above. Neither has he arrested or sued me for my allegations of his election rigging. Instead, he chose 2 other charges, the first for 'incitement to violence' and the second for 'criminal defamation'. Never for my allegations of his criminal attacks from the flat above or my allegations of his election rigging. He is afraid the truth will out and it is slowly outing. I have said before that if a criminal stops after a few crimes, he will usually get away with it but when he keeps committing the same crimes again and again, sooner or later he will luck out. LEE Kuan Yew's luck ran out long ago, in fact, the moment Mr DUCLOS emailed me. DUCLOS is heaven's way of evening out right and wrong.
With the view that the Government is finding it increasingly difficult to stifle, or even manage, political expression on the internet, what are your thoughts on Singapore for 2007 and beyond?
2007. A new year with all the promises of another year. Man is probably the only animal with a deep sense of time. Animals probably live out their entire lives triggered by the seasons or their hormones. Man alone have a sense of time, to plot and plan for the future, reminisce the past and recognise that the future can be moulded by his own efforts. That what we do today can shape tomorrow.
What will 2007 bring? Of this, we can be certain: 2007 will bring exciting new technologies that will entrench blogs like this and free Singaporeans even more as they start their own blogs. Many will discover that they need not even write much or anything at all. For example, aggregator blogs like Intelligent Singaporean are doing a good job of collating excellent blogs and important news articles and putting them all in one convenient click of the mouse.
I once wrote in one of my articles that 'historians of the future will probably divide human history into pre-Internet and Internet Ages, much like we currently divide history into BC and AD'; so important is the advent of the Internet, transforming human society, shaping lives and creating communities of the mind. Every morning, when I switch on my pc, I have a delicious sense of anticipation, that the day will bring forth some remarkable poetry from Xenoboy or sharp insights from Yawning Bread. Or that some news article will prove that the PAP is only human and very fallible, ha, ha, despite the unrelentingly one-sided portrayal by its controlled media [I once wrote an article entitled "The (PAP) Cult of Infallibility"]. Rarely do I swtich off disappointed.
For me, and for probably a million other Singaporeans, we are building a Singapore Community of the Mind. It is a true community by any definition. We share news, information, views, opinions; and argue, debate and dissect events of the day or issues of tomorrow. In other words, we interact, like any true community, Yet this community is still fragile and threatened by proposed new laws that tighten the already tight noose around online free thought and free speech, proposed by people who cannot understand the value of debate and discussion and who see in every criticism, an attempt to dethrone them.
One of the reasons why LKY and his PAP fear blogs is because of their very quality. The best Singaporean bloggers are astute, perceptive and highly intelligent, which is more than you can say for LEE Kuan Yew, LEE Hsien Loong and their PAP Ministers. The best of us can analyse and articulate far better than Them. That is the main reason why They want to shut us down. The best Singaporean bloggers are real Thought Leaders and Political Analysts and incisive Social Commentators. Do you have any Ministers who are as intelligent? Not a single one. George Yeo tries to write a blog but his efforts are pitiful. So are the efforts of the other PAPs.
On the Internet, it is not your position or job title that matters, it is what you write, which means what you think or can think. The Internet is a level playing field for all, PAPs and Others alike. If you can write and analyse intelligently, you will have an audience, if you can't, nobody reads you or are convinced or impressed by you. Thus, LEE Kuan Yew and LEE Hsien Loong fear blogs, not because they are rubbish or lies as alleged but because they are brilliantly argued and extremely well thought out. Some bloggers will actually make better Ministers than the present Cabinet. So LEE Kuan Yew and LEE Hsien Loong's fear of blogs is the primary fear of superior minds, a fear that has dogged power holders from ancient history. A fear that they cannot lead Thought as well as the best bloggers can. A fear of better solutions, better thinking and better ideas better expressed. LEE Kuan Yew fears blogs and the Internet, rightly because they allow free Speech and free Thoughts.
He also fears blogs because although they are fleeting and ephemeral, often only superficially written and read, often taking off from facts and articles in mainstream media, blogs can also be lasting and permanent, and therefore a record that future historians can mine for valuable clues to a society and state's preoccupations. LEE Kuan Yew would of course, prefer that historians only read his lying memoirs and his equally lying PAP media so blogs present a challenge to his always trying to have the last word in everything. Blogs present an alternative version of reality which challenges the artificial reality of PAP mainstream media. Additionally, if there is such a thing as a National IQ, blogs promise to raise that IQ, so LEE would rather that we remain stupid and therefore docile, fed lies and propaganda and swallowing it all. It is not surprising that, as one PAP MP was shocked to discover, "more than 80% of blogs are against the PAP government". That is nothing strange. It is just a natural reaction from the mainstream media's daily lies and spins and the total disservice they commit upon us. A new generation has discovered the power of the written word, the artful video and the sublime podcast. The National IQ is rising and fast. LEE would rather that we return to the old status quo in which no change is possible or tolerated. He is desperately tryng to drag us all back into the past, to an era where he always had the last word in everything and no dissent or criticism is possible, no alternative views are allowed. He always had a fear of free thinking, preferring that we instead think along lines he sets. Having said that, it is also an exaggerated fear.
Do you think this "exaggerated fear" permeates the PAP Government and its policies?
LEE Kuan Yew is the master exaggerator. All his life, he has exaggerated his achievements and the difficulties he faced. This exaggerationism is now entrenched into PAP methodology and so every online critic has to be silenced, by hook or by crook. His entire government applies this exaggerationism as its primary philosophy. When you exaggerate, you make yourself more heroic in proportion, the molehills you encounter become mountains, and your adversary or critic far more dangerous to you than they really are or were. You also overkill, which is either trying to be over successful or trying so hard that ultimately, the result may not even be worth the effort or the sacrifice -- or things and people sacrificed -- and much of the peoples' legitimate interests have been sacrificed unnecessarily due to this need to overtry, overkill and overdo.
In policying, exaggerationism means that you must always save a huge, vast sum for a rainy day that will never come. It means that you must create a fearful population forever afraid that tomorrow may never arrive and the sun may not rise. It means keeping a huge army for an invasion that will never happen. It means a perpetual prostituting to the Americans because they have the biggest army and economy. It means you must obsessively and relentlessly destroy every political opponent, no matter how insignificant. It means you must destroy this burgeoning online community because a populace is easier to control and manipulate if it is fragmented and divided [Divide and Conquer] and the online community promises to gel too many into a community not led by the PAP.
The thinking behind dictators is that communities of any kind are bad for their power and exercise of power. They would prefer their populace to be atomised into lone individuals or families because without a united front, they cannot be dethroned. Thus, all religious groups are closely watched because they are also true communities with leaders and many followers who listen to these leaders, meaning that they may not also listen to the PAP. This is one reason why the Catholic Church in Singapore was targetted in 1987-88 in the infamous so-called "Marxist Conspiracy" in which 22 totally innocent people were arrested and jailed without trial, accused of subversion to bring down the government.
Churches are communities and they are often rich, often owning multi-million dollar churches and they are pretty big communities sometimes. This exaggerated fear of groups or communities has led to the deliberate prevention and control of all societies in Singapore. The rules for registering any society of any kind, even a chess club, are strict and allow for the control of that society by the PAP. Thus, nothing is left to chance. LEE Kuan Yew prefers his entire population to be atomised into tiny individuals or families who do not communicate with one another or form a community. He would rather they simply go to work, come home to a tiny atomised family life and never interact with others. And he has succeeded in this. This is another aspect of his exaggerationism.
There is a more familiar word than exaggerationism: kiasuism. I have merely coined a new word so that you see it better when I reveal the local, very familiar, very understandable equivalent. In this, LEE Kuan Yew is once again, uninventive and uncreative as usual. He merely applied kiasuism, of which we Singaporeans are all guilty to differing degrees, to new heights and new lows.
So no true understanding of LEE Kuan Yew, his PAP or the government can be achieved without understanding kiasuism. The success and failure of LEE Kuan Yew and his PAP is kiasuism.
Kiasuism explains everything. From why the social welfare benefits are so meagre to why the state reserves are so huge to why the need for a huge army and defence spending to why the obsession with destroying even small oppositionists to shutting down Mr Brown to jailing bloggers to forever trying to increase government profits in every way imaginable to cheating in the 1997 Cheng San GRC elections to deny the tiny Workers Party a small electoral success of 5 parliamentary seats. Read my blog, "I came, I saw, I solved it".
In 2007, if LEE Kuan Yew is still sentient, this kiasuism will be even more evident as he tries to stamp-mould this kiasuism permanently into the entire Singapore state before he becomes non-sentient. He will lose because he is on the wrong side of technology, history and the progress of the the human race.
Robert HO's Almost-Complete Archive of Works