October seems to be the month where your loved ones are taken away from you. Your father passed away 16 years ago while your wife went to hell more than three years ago this week. Shortly after, Chee Soon Juan wrote to you an open letter in the hope that you finally realise the pain you have brought to others and that this pain of losing a loved one is finally something you get to experience on your own.
In and between then, we have seen a watershed election which gave Singapore a political awakening which has led to the beginning of the end of your party. Interestingly, this new level of liberty has seen many people disagree with your iron-fisted policies. Recently, your way of dealing with your opponents though lawsuits have been questioned at a forum. More than just a trait unique to you, this has resulted in many people whose innocent lives were otherwise ruined.
It is in my view that people like Tang Liang Hong did nothing to deserve an $8.075 million penalty for alleged defamation. This is a case where the quantum involved is one of the highest in the world and would have been decided differently elsewhere. As early as 1964, the US courts have decided in New York Times vs. Sullivan that politicians have a higher burden of proof in defamation suits since they have access to the media to rebut allegations against them.
Another issue which has been brought into the picture is your choosing of political successors. Even in the Shit Times, the media has admitted that you have chosen to deter your enemies from politics so much so that you can pave a smooth transition for the people you choose as successors. Indeed, they have gone on to say that it might not work as well today.
It bemuses me that you can actually say that you are going to get up from your grave if you sense that something is wrong when there are so many jokers in the current cabinet. Separately, you have even gone on to justify million dollar salaries, not understanding the essence of politics and accountably to the electorate. Even China’s new prime minister Li Keqiang said that “since [they] have chosen public office [they] should give up all thought of making money [and ] will accept the supervision of the whole public and the media.”
I may be some 70 years younger than you, but I would like to say that your old-school mind of thinking clearly has no place in today’s world and we have politically awakened. You have chosen to make offensive comments to both the malay community as well as to tell citizens in an otherwise democratic country to “repent” for their choice. As the political conditions change, we have seen that you are increasingly irrelevant and you are no longer great person you once stood for.
Empirically, the whole of the Asian region has seen tremendous growth since the 1960s and the success of our country cannot be solely attributed to you. What you have done is to oppress men who love their country and disagree with you. Should you choose to kick the bucket anytime soon, I promise to file a lawsuit to deny you a state funeral under the principle that it is unconscionable.
Till then, old man!
Joseph Kheng-Liang Tan