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