Monday, May 19, 2008

Video : One Nation Under Lee

Go to to watch or download all available formats of the video.

Directed by Seelan Palay under Honest Productions.


Singapore to Dissident Leader: Shut Up

The senior Lee, now the “minister mentor,” who served as Singaporean prime minister from 1969 to 1990, once won extra damages from a Singaporean judge for what the judge considered too rigorous a cross-examination by a defense lawyer.

As an example of how prickly the 84-year-old Lee and his government can be, last Saturday, officials from the Media Development Authority, which regulates the media and censors films for public broadcast, descended on a room in the Peninsula-Excelsior Hotel where about 70 opposition figures were holding a fundraising event and private screening of a 45-minute film of titled “One Nation Under Lee,” which is critical of the former premier’s rise to power and subsequent crackdown on his opponents. The officials seized the DVD.

Read full article here.

Libel case shows Singapore's limits

Another opposition party would then disappear from the scene, joining a long list of previous challengers to Lee's dominance of Singapore politics since he became its prime minister in 1959.

The list is handily presented in a new 45-minute documentary video by activist Seelan Pillay, One Nation Under Lee, which can be viewed on a number of websites and blogs, including one called Singabloodypore.

A private screening at the Peninsula-Excelsior Hotel in Singapore last Saturday was interrupted by three officials from the Media Development Authority, who seized the DVD and equipment, after warning that under the Films Act it was an offence "to have in your possession or to exhibit or distribute any film without a valid certificate".

Full article here.


Singapore authorities confiscate film on Minister Mentor at private screening

22 May 2008
Source: Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), Bangkok

Singapore authorities attempted to stop a private screening of a critical film on Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew on 17 May 2008, alleging that the screening violated the Films Act, according to news reports.

Section 21(1)(b) of the Films Act forbids the screening of a film that has not been vetted by the censors, punishing violators with a maximum fine of S$40,000 (approx. US$29,428), or jail term of up to six months, or both.

Three officers from the Media Development Authority (MDA), claiming they were acting on a "tip-off", went to the hotel where the film, "One nation under Lee", was being premiered and requested for the disc, alleging that it has not been vetted by the censors.

The night before the screening, the Board of Film Censors had warned the organisers of the offence they would be committing under the law if they had not submitted the film for approval.

The 45-minute film is produced and directed by artist/activist Seelan Palay. It documents former premier Lee's rise to power through a host of restrictive measures on civil liberties, criticises the economic and political governance of the ruling party and pays tribute to the efforts of activists and citizens who persist in claiming and exercising their democratic rights. The film is available online here.

The MDA officers claimed that the action was a matter of compliance and not an objection to the content of the film. Yet, when organiser Chee Siok Chin, a leading member of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party, argued that the broad terms of the law would also subject such censorship to every wedding dinner that showed videos of the happy couple, one of the officials said, "This is not the same as a wedding dinner", clearly showing otherwise.

The MDA officials later brought in plainclothes officers in an attempt to hold the organisers for obstruction of justice. They left, however, when Chee agreed to hand over the film as the screening had fortunately ended by then.

However, the officials returned moments later for the projector, they were faced with a spirited refusal by the organisers and the 70-strong audience, who insisted they had no right to the equipment. A recording of what transpired is available here.

The authorities are reportedly investigating the screening.

The Singapore government has long maintained a tight rein on free expression in the country, allegedly in the interest of maintaining public order and social harmony in the tiny city-state of 4.6 million people. The local media are controlled through ownership, while foreign media and the opposition leaders are given a beating in the courts through successful civil defamation suits, sending a chilling message to the citizens. Even so, pockets of civil society continue to find creative ways of claiming their right to expression, from holding demonstrations of one to four (the law imposes a permit for gatherings of five or more, which is often refused to the opposition) and expressing themselves through the arts.

Singapore probes political film on Lee Kuan Yew

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore's media regulator is investigating the screening of a political film that an opposition party said critically examines the city-state's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew.

The film, "One Nation Under Lee", was made by a group of political activists and looks at the rise of Lee and his relationship with the media, Chee Siok Chin, a senior member of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), told Reuters.

It was screened to an audience of about 70 at an opposition party fundraising event last week, before Singapore's media regulator interrupted the showing and took the film, said Chee, the event organiser.

"After investigation, the Board of Film Censors (BFC) proceeded to serve a notice to the appropriate person that it would be an offence to screen a film that has not been submitted to the BFC for classification and that is not approved for exhibition," Tan Chiu Kee of the BFC said in a statement late on Tuesday, adding that a copy had been handed to officials.

Singapore, which has been ruled by the People's Action Party (PAP) for over 40 years, bans the production and screening of all political films, imposing a maximum fine of S$100,000 ($73,260) or a jail term of two years on those caught.

Lee Kuan Yew, 84, is credited with policies that have been critical to making Singapore one of the region's most prosperous countries, but has been criticised by human rights groups for his use of lawsuits against political opponents and the media.

Film seized by censors after organisers went ahead with screening despite being warned

The Straits Times, Singapore
by Sue-Ann Chia

A 45-MINUTE film portraying Singapore as lacking in press and political freedoms is under investigation by the Board of Film Censors (BFC).

Titled One Nation Under Lee, the film was being screened to an audience of about 70 at the Peninsula Excelsior Hotel last Saturday when officials from the BFC turned up to seize the film.

Organisers of the screening, led by Ms Chee Siok Chin of the Singapore Democratic Party, argued it was a private event, but BFC officials said they had been tipped off that the film had not been passed by the censors and they had the right to investigate.

The police were called in when negotiations hit a stalemate.

Ms Chee eventually let BFC officials into the room and handed over the film.

The altercation was filmed and put online on video-sharing site YouTube.

Guests paid $20 each to attend the screening-cum-lunch, said Mr Martyn See, a film-maker who was in the audience.

Produced by 23-year-old political activist Seelan Palay, the film depicts a Singapore tightly controlled by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and includes a call for civil disobedience.

It also includes interviews with former political detainee Said Zahari and opposition politician J.B. Jeyaretnam.

Ms Chee told The Straits Times: 'It seems bizarre that the authorities would come to this private event. At a wedding, they don't expect people to send in their videos being screened for classification. What's the difference here?'

Section 21(1)(b) of the Films Act makes it an offence to exhibit a film that has not been approved for exhibition. The penalty is a fine of up to $40,000, or jail of up to six months, or both.

BFC assistant licensing officer Tan Chiu Kee said yesterday it was alerted last Thursday to the forthcoming screening of One Nation Under Lee.

As no film of that title had been submitted for classification, and the BFC had not issued any certificate for a film with that title, it launched an investigation, and later issued a warning to the 'appropriate person'.

Ms Chee confirmed that a BFC official told her of the offence at 9pm last Friday.

Still, the screening proceeded the next day. So BFC officials went to the event to investigate, said Mr Tan.

'The persons connected with the event had chosen to disregard the BFC's notices...that it would be an offence to screen a film that has not been submitted to the BFC for classification and that is not approved for exhibition,' said Mr Tan, adding that investigations are continuing.


Unknown said...

it was an informative movie. thx for the link.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Martyn for our little conversation during the recent private screening event. I wish you the very best in your endeavors.

By the way, the video is also available at

Have a great week.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this movie is spreading though the internet and blogosphere like wildfire !!!!
Here's some statistics for tracking purposes:
May 20th google web search - 355 entries.
May 20th google video search - 12 entries.

You can expect the entries to double every day --- it will explode through the internet

Anonymous said...

After 1 day, the search for "One nation under Lee" on google produce:

May 21 google web search - 649 entries
May 21 google video search - 14 entries

Internet is an unstoppable force for "freedom of speech".

Anonymous said...

I'd suggest that there be organised a Civil Obedience Campaign in which all and sundry submit their videos in whatever form -- in handphones, VCD, DVD -- of baby showers, weddings, birthdays, church, temple , mosque groups singing, dancing, etc to the Board of Film Censors for their approval. Just simply flood the BFC with applications for approval. After one or 2 weeks, write to teh BFCs and enquire if approval for screening not given. Just do it! Force them to change the law again and again until the very letter of the law becomes comical..

Anonymous said...


join facebook groups:

Anonymous said...

Omg, today I search google for "One nation under Lee"

May 24th google web entries - 1300 entries.

It is really spreading like wildfire on the internet. Shows that no one can really control or suppress information on the internet!!!

Anonymous said...

I have created a blog in which I am advocating that Lee Kuan Yew and his son be charged with Treason.

I welcome any input into the site and suggestions for any information I have written. Many of the articles are mirrors of Gopalan Nairs site and also articles from the site with some further editing of what was written on the latter's site.

I am going to remain anonymous, I have no intention of becoming Lee Kuan Yew's next victim.