Monday, June 15, 2009

Ops Spectrum forum to go on - with new date and venue

"Political space has opened substantially. In 2004, political activities conducted indoors also became exempt from permits."
- 2nd Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, quoted by Straits Times, Apr 14 2009
Despite the unforseen cancellation of the previous venue, I hereby announce that the Operation Spectrum open forum will proceed . It will now be held at 2pm, 28th June (Sunday) at Quality Hotel, off Balestier Road.

I state with a fair amount of confidence that there will no police intervention this time. Reason being that I've just found out that Bestway Building, the previous intended venue, is actually a Government-owned building. No an excuse for the clampdown but still, our Singapore Police Force should be commended for their constant vigilance and efficiency. By their (over)reactions, they have lend an added touch of notoriety (and publicity) to this event. Thank you.

At this point, I reiterate - all views are welcomed in this forum, including the government's. I am encouraging open, transparent discussions, not cloak-and-dagger operations, especially by men who are supposed to be public servants.

Operation Spectrum - Breaking The Ice After 22 Years

An open forum.
No designated speakers.
Admission is free.
All are welcome to speak.

Date: 28 June 2009 (Sunday)
Time: 2pm - 5.30pm
Venue: Diamond Room, Level 3, Quality Hotel, 201 Balestier Road

Organiser : Martyn See
Blog :

Members of the press (and the ISD) are welcomed.

Audio recordings are welcomed but no photography and video taking in the auditorium please.

Donations at the event to help me defray the costs of venue rental will be appreciated.


As far as I am concerned, the Government’s case is still not proven. I would not say those fellows were Red, not from the stuff they presented…I think a lot of people have this scepticism.
- Attorney General Walter Woon, Straits Times, 6 July 1991

Although I had no access to state intelligence, from what I knew of them, most were social activists but not out to subvert the system.
- Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Straits Times 2001

"When writing memoirs, you are talking to posterity. Among them will be historians who will check what you write against the accounts of others. So do not shade the past."
- Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, Straits Times, July 17 2007

Links on Operation Spectrum :

Operation Spectrum on wikipedia

'Marxist plot' revisited

"Marxist Conspiracy" arrests - 20 years on

A detainee remembers

'Marxist Conspiracy' annniversary remembered


TOC's Special Feature

May 1987 - A conspiracy un-proved

Passion for activism extinguished…but not for long…but-not-for-long/

Straits Times of May ‘87 - Four days of government statements on “Marxist Conspiracy”

The Marxist Conspiracy - Not forgetting the evil things that have already been done!

Was it a Red or White conspiracy?

29 July 1987: Chiam’s finest hour (Part 1)’s-finest-hour-part-1/

Chiam’s finest hour (part two): the government responds’s-finest-hour-part-2-the-government-responds/

Let the people judge

Remembering the 22

Teo Soh Lung – In her own words (Part One)–-in-her-own-words-part-one/

Teo Soh Lung – In her own words (Part Two)–-in-her-own-words-part-two/

That we may dream again - book review by Chee Siok Chin

“Operation Spectrum was political rape”


Additional reads:

Detention of journalists and lawyers under the ISA

Surviving long-term detention without trial

Life in Singapore's political prisons

The ISA as a political tool

Political detention in Singapore : Prisoner case histories


Anonymous said...

Ex-detainee aims to boost NTU brand
Political activism is over for him. -ST

He aims to boost NTU brand

Newly appointed officer to help university raise funds, engage alumni. -ST

Thu, Jun 18, 2009
The Straits Times

By Leow Si Wan

NANYANG Technological University (NTU) has a new point man for fund raising, engaging the university's alumni and strengthening its ties with the community.

He is Mr Chew Kheng Chuan, 51, who now assumes the title of chief university advancement officer.

The newly created post is aimed at giving oomph to NTU's fund-raising capability, developing its base of supporters and champions and building its brand, so it can become a 'great global university'.Mr Chew, a committee member of the Singapore chapter of the Association of Fund-raising Professionals, is no greenhorn in this game.

He comes to NTU after five years of leading fund-raising efforts at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

It has been reported that on his watch, NUS raised $1.5 billion - more than four times what it raised in the previous 12 years.

Before the NUS job, he and his wife, Dr Chia Kwok Ying, ran their own business producing publications, annual reports and designing identities for brands such as the Banyan Tree and Channel NewsAsia. He has his work cut out for him at NTU.

He explained that the public perceives the university as a strong science and engineering institution.

But in reality, the university has also gained competence in other areas such as business, communications, the humanities, the media and research.

He said that more than a few people he has spoken to have noted the 'gap' between NTU's brand and its reality.

The university was better than its brand, he added.

'This is an area which I have some professional interest and competence... and feel that it is another contribution I can make,' said the old boy of Anglo-Chinese School and the first Singaporean admitted to Harvard College.

'Making a contribution' is a theme he returned to more than once in his interview with The Straits Times.

He is a long way from the 29-year-old who was twice arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act between 1987 and 1989 for his involvement in the Marxist conspiracy that sought to overthrow the Government here.

Altogether, he spent 13 months in detention, but that part of his life is water under the bridge.

Political activism is over for him, he said.

It has been about eight months since he left his post at NUS - time enough for him 'to reflect, recharge and renew myself for the new challenge'.

After speaking to various institutions, he decided to take the NTU job because of his 'strong and special affinity for academia'.

He said he also identified with president Su Guaning's vision of turning NTU into the first choice for those with ideals and passion.

Mr Chew said: 'It is good to know there are other ways to do one's duty as a citizen, and work towards the greater good - like advancing NTU, for a start!'

Anonymous said...

An ex-detainee getting a new job is considered newsworthy by ST's standards.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps ST is trying to show that the ISD has successfully "rehabilitated" Mr Chew?

Anonymous said...

Hi Martyn,

Great to know that the forum will go ahead as planned.

Allow me to make some suggestions:

I was wondering whether if you would consider putting in place a broad structure for the session? Perhaps two or three "talking points" so that prospective attendees may come prepared to pick each other's brains?

Maybe even a facilitator to get things moving when necessary, or to revisit certain issues when pertinent?