Nation-building the Pro-Singapore Way

Last Saturday I “incidentally” turned up for a private event organised by Ms Chee Siok Chin of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) at the Excelsior Hotel.

One Nation Under Lee

Read the event coverage here>>>

The good side of the screening

The movie was a political documentary by Honest Productions titled One Nation Under Lee and it presented the unscrupulous ways Mr Lee Kuan Yew wielded his power since entering into the political scene.

It is very informative and factual with news reports and interviews of individuals that were victims of Mr Lee’s political regime and ambitions. Much of what was presented is unknown to Singaporeans, especially the 2nd and 3rd generation of Singaporeans like myself.

This is a must-see, though it is certain never to be approved or released by the authorities.

The ugly side of the screening

Though I applaud some of the individuals’ courageous and sacrificial stance in championing the cause for a democratic political system, I do not agree with their course of actions undertaken during the event.

For instance, the emcee boldly crushed a letter from MICA which warned them of the consequences and legal implications of screening the movie, and threw it on the floor with defiance in front of the audience.

When MICA officials arrived, shouting could be heard from inside the room. Though I wasn’t at that scene to witness who were the ones shouting, but sometimes I think we forget that whether we are government officials or politicians, we are still fellow Singaporeans.

Moreover we are all in the same plight, and perhaps even sharing the same common goal. But just on opposite sides.

Building our ideal future

Personally, I do empathise with the frustrations of the opposition wards in not been given a fair playing ground to pit against the ruling party. As it remains a fact that it is almost impossible to be a voice or have a say in our country.

Dr Chee in a protest in 2006However, I am not a supporter of outright rebellion and civil or uncivil disobedience against our government or towards any particular politician. Even how unfair the playing field might be, a basic respect still needs to be rendered to our authorities when we engage with them without being mired by personal grievances.

When we render respect, we can safely expect respect to be reciprocated. And that is how I believe we can earn the right and credibility to speak and to be heard.

Being pro-Singapore first

Without a doubt I am certain we do not want the younger generation to learn from us in becoming a disrespectful or unruly bunch in the course of exercising their freedom of speech or rights, for it is said that true freedom is being able to do the right thing at the right time.

In the course of achieving our democratic goals, I think it is far more important to impart the right values and virtues such as love and respect to our people especially the younger generation. This would surely build a more gracious, cohesive and inclusive society that we all hope for.

Because in the final analysis, it is not the political system that needs the reforming, but the people in the system that needs the reforming.

Therefore, if we truly want to convey the right message, I believe the reforming begins with each one of us first before we attempt to change or overthrow others.

Or else, how different are we from those we attempt to change?

9 thoughts on “Nation-building the Pro-Singapore Way

  1. Andrew, this is where you are clearly mistaken.

    The screening of the film which was intended for the invited guests is wholly a private event. It is not illegal given the premise that anyone in the same capacity in similar events like wedding dinners and birthday parties can screen their own home-made videos. The film as you are aware, it clearly home-made. It is not financed by commercial enterprises or to be shown publicly in a theater.

    The Film Act is an antiquated law that stipulates every Singaporean in possession of film, taken by your cellphones, camcorders and video cameras to be submitted to the censors for approval. Given such ludicrousness, many of us Singaporeans are violators of this law. It is preposterous and you and I know this.

    Similarly, the screening of the film is a private affair and therefore the organizers feel it is not necessary to abide by such lame regulations. Consider this analogy of you getting a permission from the authorities to simply jaywalk across the street. However this law is often bent and used to suit the government’s clampdown on views that are contrary to their dogma. Which is why the censors and police gatecrashed into the private event. The revelation that the SDP held this event made it all the more sweeter. The general public spoonfed by the daily media forever holds the faulty perception that every opposition is a gang of dishonest, rambunctious gang of political gangsters.

    It is clear as rain that not only freedom of expression is not allowed but further restrictions are imposed so that the people must remain submissive and compliant to their whims. A climate of fear has been successfully created. The older generations fear the mention of the police and their ISD cohorts. The younger generation became apathetic with no interest whatsoever to concern themselves with daily affairs.

    Democracy is but mere concept here. So is freedom of expression. Without realizing your rights you have been taken away your rights before you can even say a word. Twenty years from now, when your grandchild asks you why didn’t you do anything when they take away our freedom- You only need to look at the mirror for the answer.


  2. Aidil Omar:

    Hey I see where you are coming from 🙂

    However, I do not see how we should purposely step over boundaries and when it activates a reaction from authorities, we take advantage of the situation by saying they are being unfair and unjust (though they might be).

    I think we need not resort to such tactics time and time again. I just think we should re-look or re-strategise the approach.

    Even we want to show or proof that our gahmen is being authoritarian or suppressing freedom of speech or disallowing us from exercising our rights, we should not be the ones instigating them to show it. Cos the public will see the opposition as the trouble-makers and deserve the consequences.

    We need to play smart, not just brave if we want to make a long-lasting impact or effect.

    Since you have seen the movie too, don’t you think we can learn from history and not repeat some of its mistakes?

    And in comparison to Myanmar or Malaysia just to cite these two as examples, Singapore is not too bad. Even if it is corrupted, at least Singaporeans are provided with the basic quality of living. Unlike our neighbours, the gahmen only take, but rarely give at all to the progress.

    But please do not mistaken that I condon how things are run in our home. If I do, I would not be interested or involved in my bit of nation-building.

    However we have to be realistic and manage our expectations with reality at times. And that is there will not be a perfect gahmen/system/leaders, unless you can tell me there is.

    I think we as Singaporeans can do more by building on where we lack, by filling up the “gaps” at this moment like helping the poor and needy in practical ways if we are able to.

    As you read the recent news, death is inevitable for all of us. And that is when I believe we younger generations can arise and truly build our Singapore.

    We just need to be patient and do the little that we can now first before we can see the big picture come to pass.

  3. Here are some corrections that I need to make in regards to my entry…

    1. Chia Ti Lik, the person who crushed and threw away the MDA letter, is not a SDP member.

    2. The event, as I was told later, was not a SDP event but one organised by Chee Siok Chin – although she is a SDP CEC member

    My sincere apologies as I was led to think it was an SDP event cos I saw mainly SDP members from the opposition wards. And there was a promotion of SDP merchandise during the opening address with a booth set up for the sale too.

  4. Hi Andrew,

    With due respect to your opinions, here’s mine. 🙂

    According to my sources (and I do trust them a little more than anyone else), this film screening was not officially organised by the SDP. It was an idea thought of and organised by Ms. Chee Siok Chin (as an individual, as an activist probably). Hence if that is the case, then why should it be stated that it was an event organised by the SDP when it is not considered so by them?

    As an observer, I agree that from the familiar faces of the party (helping out and being in the background as audiences) to the merchandise table, it may seem like it was an event held by SDP. That impression cannot be denied by first sight however if you take a second look, you will realise that only some of the members of SDP helped out (who else could Ms. Chee really get?) and the rest took their places as audiences to support the effort of Ms. Chee and the activists. Admittedly, the thought that the event was SDP organised disappeared after looking around, observing the things that were going on as well as the people running the show.

    Chia Ti Lik, to my knowledge, is not a member of the SDP but do correct me if I am wrong. His crushing of the letter seemed to me as the action of an individual, not the action of the SDP.

    Indeed shouting was heard but do watch the videos on the negotiation (there are many footages) and you will see who was/ were shouting initially, who was being rude.

    I guess that all in all they have yet again created a misleading image (to some). I don’t know, I may be wrong, but at least they are willing to do what they do despite criticisms and misunderstandings.

    Over the years, I have not always agreed with what the SDP has been doing in terms of tactics but at least one can see that they are pro-active in their efforts to generate awareness on issues that no other opposition parties dare raise and they are willing to put themselves and their families on the line despite libel suits and bankruptcy.

    I truly do not think that it was a dishonest tactic by the SDP to show the audience any proof of the suppression of free press/ thought/ media by the authorities. It has already been too widely known by those who were there. Don’t think that Seelan will put himself in such a position whereby he is involved in such ‘tactics’.

    Oh course having said that, the need for everyone of us to keep our eyes open for any sort of such tactics from any political parties/ activists is important. Cannot deny that.

    These are just my two cents however! 😀


  5. Rachel:

    No problem… I like your sweet-spirited style of writing 🙂

    Maybe not SDP-organised, but SDP-driven?

    Done this way to avoid scrutiny or hackling from the authorities with Dr Chee’s impending defamation charges?

    In any case, I have amended my entry without mentioning any direct involvement of SDP to this event in providing with the facts as accurately as I know.

  6. Andrew:


    Probably SDP driven but definitely pro-truth, don’t you think? As we clearly know, there are valuable facts in the video.

    Hehe you know, sometimes you have to take a smarter way of doing things but of course, taking a non dishonest course at the same time. 😉

    Then again, what do I know ehh? Hahaa

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