Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The Anti-ISA Circus is in Town
It is strange that when Najib decided to repeal the ISA in Malaysia clearly for his own political survival, it stirred this hornet's nest in Singapore. Suddenly, our NGOs start clamouring for something similar and ex detainees start demanding redress for their "wrongful" detentions years past. What's worst, the liberal media starts imagining that there are hundreds of thousands of oppressed Singaporeans willing to go Bersih-like and start demonstrating down the streets.
People Care about Housing, Transport, Healthcare, Education, Not ISA
The funny thing is that most Singaporeans actually do not care; they did throng the streets but for the carnival of the F1. Despite the efforts of the esteemed TOC and even the oft-reviled Straits Times to create some kind of groundswell for this ISA issue, Singaporeans are just not talking about it. James Gomez and his Singaporeans for Democracy imported two foreign talent politicians to talk about the issue and it reached the ears of a ground-shattering 50 people in a pub. There is simply no buzz.
This is something of a lesson here for NGOs and ex-detainees alike; rather than flog a dead horse, they should focus on issues of greater currency and relevance? Ms Teo Soh Lung should know and have learnt by now surely? If Singaporeans wanted to take on her baggage and fight for her "wrongful" detention, the people of Yuhua SMC would have simply voted her into Parliament when she stood for election in May 2011. She had the entire stage in her numerous rallies to convince and persuade Singaporeans to her case but did she win? Nope. Was it even close? Nope again. But are Singaporeans blind, nope, when articulated correctly, Singaporeans disposed of a reigning PAP Foreign Minister and delivered a GRC into the hands of the Opposition. Most Singaporeans, like the constituents of Yuhua, have some sympathy for Ms Teo but that's about all.
COI and Much Ado About Nothing
Civil society in Singapore must know what are the issues that nauseate Singaporeans and not just ape vacuous liberal ideas that have no relevance in Singapore. We could be a monarchy for goodness sake and people will still be happy if their needs are met in a relevant manner. Trying to drum up some kind of Jasmine or Arab Spring in Singapore via this ISA issue is just downright silly. There is no groundswell over this ISA issue and even less over the "wrongful" detention of Ms Teo in Spectrum. And now, even the pre-Spectrum detainees have jumped on the bandwagon and are demanding their cases re-opened in front of a COI.
May I ask the question that no one seems to have thought of since most of the minority think that they are innocent ie what if the COI finds them guilty again despite all the show and tell they are allowed in the COI?? Do you think the ex-detainees will than suddenly see the light and quietly plead guilty again? Fat hope. If so, what then is the true motive of this COI but for this 16 to turn the COI into another platform for them to whine about their deeds and hopefully create a groundswell since they have failed in their numerous books, on the Internet and in the electoral hustings to awaken Singaporeans to their "grievances".
In the end, Singaporeans are not stupid. For Ms Teo and her comrades, perhaps if you can get the thousands of people who have been detained by the ISA and CLTP to sign this blood oath with you and get another hundred thousand Singaporeans to march behind you than maybe you will get the redress you crave; if not, just do the simple thing and move on, there are more pressing issues which Singaporeans need a voice for from their politicians and their civil society.