We know that people are trying to hide something or at least trying not to address an issue when you see replies to Alex Au’s Function 8 affair filled with accusations of being irresponsible and illogical. Even stranger still, we have Dr. Gillian Koh talking in tangent to the issue as if she could not read nor intelligently understand the point of Alex’s article. All these are meant to distract casual readers from real question around the transparency of operations with the security department and its accountability to the citizens, i.e. instead of to the ruling power. Indeed, nothing intelligent was even mentioned around the injustice suffered by the ISA detainees or at least a fair hearing, not from MHA, not from the Archibishop or any senior writers. Its almost as if they were instructed by “someone” to suspend their intelligence and logic for that one second of writing.
I had experienced a similar incident around the secretive ways that ISD works and the lack of redress one gets. It is not as important as this incident nor did it make it to the press. Also, I was not directly involved; and again, I got my information from a 3rd party. At that time, one of the more outspoken and progressive Buddhist organization was very supportive of forming a LGBT buddhist chapter. However, before that proposal was even drafted or put up for vote in an AGM, it was decidedly cancelled. I was later told by the chairperson, at that time, that one of their members was informed by someone from the security department to drop the idea and that it is dangerous for them to pursue this agenda. Now anyone who have heard of ISA or even ISD, knows that you cannot mess with them nor do you have any legal recourse to fair justice. This did not freak out the group, but it was decided that despite their good intentions, it was not wise to pursue the agenda.
My second encounter with such workings was a few years back when I attended and supported an SDP event (sorry really forgot which one) at Hong Lim park. After chatting happily with a friend who was with SDP, me and another friend went to a nearby coffee shop for a drink. As we sat down, two strangers sat besides us. I was not least surprised because I knew immediately what that was all about and promptly invited them to sit down next to us with a smile. They then begin asking question, in a somewhat threatening manner (well they tried, these were young kids then), like why were we there at Hong Lim park and what did we have to do with Dr. Chee and so on. They even asked use for our identity cards. My friend was obviously pissed off with such a threaten like we were criminals and refused to tell them anything they wanted, speaking in a loud voice like some of us activists usually do. Both of us insisted that we did not commit any crime and if they want to record our identity, we will need to have a look at their police batch and also recorded it. Strangely they agreeed but because there nothing they could do to get more information from us, they left after that. Ok, these guys are probably just plain clothes police asked to do a silly job, but what they probably did not know is that they don’t need to ask those information from us; the ISD database already have a portfolio about me and my friend and is already monitoring our conversations, sms, emails, forum postings and the likes.
Essentially, this is how the ruling power controls its citizen. One, by creating a fearful state of existence with civil and religious groups, anything that they don’t want you to say or do, they could easy threaten your group with closure. Second, by threatening citizens whose political agenda is different from what the ruling party believes in. And thirdly, by working in the shadows, the govt. can and will continue to deny any involvement in those opertions. After all, they hold the information and there are no legal means to make them tell the truth. So, it is really one person’s voice against an army of fearful creatures. So with the law such as the ISA and together with the ISD, the ruling party have become the mafia of Singapore. And it doesn’t matter if you are an actual threat to Singapore; if the ruling power perceive you to be a threat to their dominance or could cause people to reconsider about their system of governance, you are a threat. You are not privileged to any fair trial nor justice, even if there are no evidence that support their assertion; worst still they actually could manufacture evidence.
That is the sad part of our political landscape now and still, despite the well camouflage calls to revamp Singapore through one sided national conversation, nothing really changed or could change. People are still afraid of the government, some are still fearful of speaking up against or even criticizing the government openly and instead hide their whispers in coffee shop talks. Instead of a country in which there is mutual respect for its citizen and in which the citizen feels proud of being part of changes that are happening; what we still have is one in which the citizen have good reasons to fear the government and in which the ruling power continues to hold its grip on power via such fears.
But just like the NKF and CHC affairs, sooner or later the truth will be out. Once the ruling party looses its power in the government (although I honestly don’t have too much faith in WP, despite their popularity, around issues like LGBT rights), all these dirty laundry will be exposed. And when that day comes, people’s eyes will finally be opened and perhaps their will be a period of chaos. This is predicted by LKY, of course, when he mentioned that Singapore will become a dump if another government takes over. The thing is, it will become a dump because of all dirty laundries that are being aired finally and people just don’t know how to react to them. It will become a dump, maybe, but this will be a dump in which each and every citizen should no longer be fearful of the government and the likes of ISA. And it will be a dump where citizens truly feels that they are really part of the Singapore and real nation building begins.