Thursday, January 21, 2010

On seeing Dr Chee in cuffs, chains & shackles in front of his kids

Seeing Dr Chee Soon Juan cuffed, shackled and chained in front of his kids today was heartbreaking for me, but it also motivates me all the more to stand with him.

While in court I took a passage from a book I was reading and showed it to him through the bars of the prisoners' dock. The text was about finding the spiritual power to persist even when faced with the greatest of obstacles. Upon reading it, he looked up at me and replied with a small smile, "That's the essence of it, Seelan."

Thinking back of that moment now as I'm writing this, I'm moved to tears. I can't find the words to explain exactly why I cry, but I know its related to what I find in the strength of his spirit and the calmness in his resolve.

Standing together with Dr Chee is not an easy thing to do. The local media take every opportunity to slander him and destroy his reputation. The government bankrupts him so that he is financially crippled and can't stand for elections. And the worst thing is that people even within the opposition camp spread lies and misconceptions about him.

But I feel that I must stand with him because of his sincerity and sacrifice in fighting for democracy, equality and social justice in a place like Singapore.

Let the other "opportunists" rejoice in their small and simple winnings. We are in this for the long run, and even if our victory never comes at least we will know we did our best with honesty and integrity - standing by our principles.

Read: Cuffed, Shackled and chained


Jaslyn said...

Upon reading your brings me to tears too pal..

as I struggle everyday to rush from court to home to send my boy to school n back to court..afew times I sat in the bus almost in tears n asking myself is it worth it??

my legs are aching from the long walk to the bus stop and walking my boy to school and the running I had to do when court dismiss us late..

As I read this timely article of yours I realise I'm not alone..Each of us have our own difficulties but we make sacrifices to do what we doing..all because of 1 thing - our beliefs

that beliefs is what has kept Dr Chee, Siok Chin and many others going on and working tirelessly for..and that will keep us going on too..

Hang on my friend, just like I will too..

What fails to kill us will only make us stronger :)

Seelan Palay said...

Hang in there Jas. It will all work out, we can depend on each other.

Robox said...

Re: "Standing together with Dr Chee Soon Juan is not an easy thing to do."

Allow me to use an anology drawn from my work previously with adult survivors of child abuse of all sorts: emotional, mental and sexual.

I liken the Singapore population to the children in a family where the father (Lee Kuan Yew and the fascist establishment that he has engendered) is an abusive man and singles out one child in particular to make him/her an example to the other children.

This is a very common profile among survivors of childhood abuse.

In such situations, the other children - siblings of a very young age - do the instinctive thing to avoid suffering similar abuse at their father's hand and distance themselves from the child who is being singled out for abuse, leading to an incredible sense of isolation in the child; that isolation then leads to a whole range of psychological and emotional problems, as well as sociological problems and dysfunctions in later life.

The recommended solution by professionals in the field is that if any adult witnesses a child being abused, it is absolutely necessary to intervene and do the exact opposite of isolating the child as a proactive measure against the child developing problems later in life. (This is now the law in many countries and adults are compelled to do this.)

When you and other SDP members stand shoulder to shoulder with Dr Chee, Gandhi Ambalam and Chee Siok Chin in the face of these abuses, you become that intervening adult who's protecting the child from any further abuse. (Not that any of the three are children; this is just a comment about people in vulnerable situations.)

(You know my situation, so you know that the best I can do is act as the firewall around SDP.)

That's all our contribution to the change that is coming: by becoming the adults who will stand up to another adult who's abusing those in a vulnerable position.

You may wish to know that a certain percentage - around 1/3 - of people who were abused as children go on to become adults who abuse: it's the only paradigm in human relationships that they know. (The proportion can be lowered if adult survivors seek treatment for their past abuse.)

Would it surprise you then to know now that Lee Kuan Yew was abused as child by his chronic gambler father? So, incidentally, were Hitler and Stalin by their own fathers. (Lee Kuan Yew is very well aware that some Singaporean individuals know all of this and see him through this lens and describe him in exactly such terms; he knows he has a pathology.)

And despite all the money he makes, Lee Kuan Yew has never once sought treatment for his pathology but continues instead to inflict abuse on all Singaporeans using the few as proxy.

His childhood abuse is also the reason that he subscribes to the notion that humans are essentially bad, the same message that his own father signalled strongly to him about himself during the course of abuse. Only, he dresses it up in hifalutin' philosophy and calls it "Confucianism" though we know full well that it is actually that other fundamentally flawed Chinese philosophy - which even the Chinese hate - called Legalism.

Yes, standing shoulder to shoulder with a stigmatized individual in the Singapore political environment is never easy. But those who do will eventually emerge the strongest human beings anywhere on earth.

Of that, I am absolutely certain.

KAM said...

As a parent myself, I can understand and appreciate the "crazy things" which Chee does.

I have always said this about him, he could have just packed up and go to a comfy job in the US but he chose to stay. Any intelligent person will read between the lines and conclude that it must be more than just "getting back at LKY" when Chee takes on the PAP.

I salute the man although I have read little facts about him. If can I will surely vote for him.

He's got guts!

alvyn said...

Hang in there Dr. Chee, family and friends.

It is a valiant cause you're all fighting for and I respect you for having the guts to stand up for what you think is right!

Kevin See said...

Ok seelan. why not you join him? CSJ and you are good buddies mah.. haha SDP my foot!

WP WP WP WP WP WP WP! Long live WP...HELL with SDP

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