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30 October 2006



1. This is not a blog or essay because I have stopped writing for some time and cannot seem to write with such facility any more. So, this is a discussion suggestion topic that I hope other, better bloggers will pick up and illuminate and elucidate for all of us.

2. The topic is, I think, a timely one. Every day, people die and their organs are harvested. Especially those who die young, especially in accidents, a large number of them, motorcycle accidents [because riding a motorcycle can be dangerous, even fatal].


4. This is not surprising because in many countries, Ethics demands that organs should not be sold and if an organ owner is allowed to decide who his organ/s should go to, this will allow organs to be SOLD, which is probably Morally bad.



7. Why do I say that? Proof? Well, Lee Kuan Yew and his entire PAP govt have never stated whether some [meaning THEY] do get priority over others in the waiting lists. AND WE ALL KNOW THE RECENT CASE WHEN LEE KUAN YEW's WIFE WAS STRICKEN WITH A STROKE IN LONDON AND LEE KUAN YEW COMMANDEERED AN SIA JUMBO JET TO BE FITTED OUT AS A MEDICAL FLYING AMBULANCE TO FLY HER BACK, WITH ATTENDANT DOCTORS, NURSES, CONSULTANTS, TECHNICIANS, ETC, BACK TO SINGAPORE FOR IMMEDIATE TREATMENT -- NO WAITING, INSTANT ATTENTION, WHICH NO ONE ELSE IN THE WAITING LISTS HAD THIS KIND OF PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT. Why didn't Lee Kuan Yew, like other billionaires, simply use the services of normal, conventional Flying Ambulance Services, that are so much cheaper? Thus, I consider my proof of statement proven. We all know the Truth, don't we? Lee Kuan Yew is Emperor and he and his famiLee never have to wait for anything. Including organs.

8. Thus, if we are not allowed to have a say to WHICH GROUP of people we would REFUSE our organs to be given to, we could end up all prolonging the lives of the very people we hate, and many in Singapore hate Lee Kuan Yew and his Ministers and even all the PAP bigwigs. We should therefore, have an option that says that we can refuse our organs to be given to A CERTAIN CATEGORY OF PEOPLE. This could include the PAP Ministers of every ministerial rank or PAP MPS [excepting of course, the two and a half Opposition MPs].

9. Otherwise, abuses will abound and these are probably already being the practice. For example, if both Lee Kuan Yew and Tan Jee Suan need a new heart or kidney, etc, and there is only one organ available, then it is obvious that Lee Kuan Yew will get the new organ immediately even if Mr Tan had waited years longer.

10. Second abuse: Mr Tan jumped in front of an MRT train to kill himself, due to there being no help from the PAP govt for his plight of being unable to feed his wife and 2 children. Do you think that Mr Tan, given the choice, will allow his organs to be harvested for Lee Kuan Yew? I think not and everyone will agree with me. Similarly, a Malay Muslim who had been marginalised all his life by the PAP system will not want to donate any organ to the very PAP Ministers who allowed, and probably decreed, this marginalisation. This is only Fair. We cannot change the Lee Kuan Yew decreed harsh laws and rules and his "get out of my elitist, uncaring face" policies, but our organs are something money cannot buy [the PAP will probably change this policy one day if we are allowed to refuse them our organs] and this is all the pitiful little leverage we have to keep those in power reasonable. If we can refuse them our organs, the PAP Ministers may at last, begin to enact better and fairer policies out of fear that if too many of us opt out, they will have no organs when they need one.

11. True, currently, we can opt out of having our organs harvested. But we may want only to prevent some miscreants from enjoying our organs, so we should be able to opt out of a certain category of persons from getting our organs.

12. For example, another Ethical example, suppose a murderer murdered a young woman but is severely wounded in the process. He is taken to the hospital and needs a heart transplant to save his life. The only organ avalable is that of his victim. Should he get her heart? We should have a clause that says that those who harmed us should NOT get our organs. And the PAP has harmed a great many people, including myself, my son and my little niece. I have detailed these in soc.culture.singapore and a search there, using the search term: RH: LKY crimes will throw up some. I certainly don't want my organs to go to Lee Kuan Yew or any of the over 10,000 PAP members. I would like to be able to opt out. Can Mr Wang, the fine lawyer who writes an excellent blog, draft such a clause for us all to discuss?

13. I have run out of points. Can other, better bloggers discuss? Thanks.

Robert HO
30 Oct 06

P.S. I have disabled all my Comments because I don't want to spend time moderating. My email address and contacts are in my "Lee Kuan Yew rigs elections' posts.

29 October 2006



Step 1 :

Tell the world that I, Robert HO, have already
published numerous statements of how Lee Kuan Yew,
then Prime Minister of Singapore, rigged the 1997
Cheng San GRC election, in the newsgroup
soc.culture.singapore. Here are about 15 pages of my
typical postings in soc.culture.singapore on this
subject [note that soc.culture.singapore is heavily
monitored by the PAP govt and police and I have been
charged and investigated TWICE for my postings in
soc.culture.singapore BUT NEVER FOR THESE LKY ELECTION
public exposure should the matter be brought to police
or court] :

Step 2 :

Tell the world how I have emailed to various
Government Ministries and Bodies such as the Supreme
Court, Ministry of Law, etc, such statements of LKY
rigging of Cheng San GRC 1997 election [about 2
pages]. [These emails of LKY election rigging have
mostly been acknowledged in receipt, which I have also
posted]. [Again, no police action on these emails.
Just a deafening silence in the face of my very, very
serious accusations made publicly] :

Step 3 :

Tell the world that I have obtained confirmation of my
Informant's eyewitness testimony. That not only have
my wife and I [see Attached testimony] been told in
confirmation of what Mr David DUCLOS and his lawyer
friend saw that night, but also Secretary-General of
the Singapore Democratic Party, Dr Chee Soon Juan, has
spoken to Mr DUCLOS and obtained Mr DUCLOS'
confirmation about his eyewitness testimony to my wife
and I [Dr Chee's email address is in my mass email
circular above or c/o Singapore Democratic Party
website at :

Singapore Democratic Party
1357A Serangoon Road
Singapore 328240
Tel/Fax: (65) 6398-1675

Step 4 :

My eyewitness Informant is

Block 670 Choa Chu Kang Crescent
Singapore 680670
Republic of Singapore
Telephone : [65] 67261028
Email :


To prove for yourself and the world, please contact Mr
DUCLOS, preferably first by email, then telephone,
then in person if you can, and ask him whether he
stands by his email testinony to me [see Attached] and
also his testimony in person face-to-face to my wife
and I, as well over the phone to Dr Chee Soon Juan.

Once Mr DUCLOS has confirmed to you what he told me in
email and then in person, YOU become another confirmed
witness to Mr DUCLOS' testimony and YOU become another
witness, just one removed, from his eyewitness











TEL: 67261028


1. In Feb of 1963, 111 people in Singapore were
arrested under the ISA in a pre-dawn swoop now known
as Operation Coldstore. The arrests were ordered after
a meeting in Malaysia between PAP leaders, the British
and Federation. Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Keng Swee and Ong
Pang Boon were in the meeting.

2. Amongst those arrested were Lim Chin Siong and
James Fu (who later became LKY's Press Secretary). Lim
was the leader of the opposition at the time. Ops
Coldstore destroyed all chances of Singapore having a
two-party democratic system.

3. In 1963, PAP won elections against major rival
Barisan Sosialist. They were able to do this beacuse
most of Barisan's leaders were in jail. Chia Thye Poh
was elected MP of Jurong.

4. Between 1965 to 1966, PAP refused to convene
Parliament for many months, leading Barisan to boycott
Parliament altogether.

5. Chia Thye Poh was arrested on Oct 1966 at the
Barisan office. S'poreans were never to see Chia again
until he was marooned to Sentosa in 1989, making him
the longest jailed [without any charge or court
appearance or sanction] political prisoner in the
world. He was eventually freed in 1998. Till today,
Chia Thye Poh's detention acts as psychological
deterrent against anyone who wishes to sign up for the
opposition. The ISA is still in use.

6. In the 1968 GE, opposition decided to boycott the
elections. This election marked the start of PAP
walkovers. Only 7 seats were contested, mostly by
Independents against the PAP. PAP won all.

7. PAP again won clean sweeps in 72, 76 and 80 until
JBJ won a seat in the Anson by-election. During this
period, the ISA continue to be used against political
opponents. Dr Poh Soo Kai, who was detained in 1963
and released in 1972, was detained again in 1976.

8. When JBJ regained his seat in 1984, Lee Kuan Yew
stepped up his attacks. JBJ served jail time for
allegedly misdeclaring party funds and was eventually
disqualified in 1986 after a libel suit. He was not to
contest again until 1997 where he won a NCMP seat. The
truth is, JBJ and his 4 other election candidates were
cheated out of an outright election victory in the
5-member Cheng San GRC ward. For proof of LKY having
rigged the 1997 Cheng San GRC election, read my
attached document. JBJ was again booted out of
Parliament in 2001 when he declared bankruptcy.

9. In 1987, 22 young professionals were arrested under
the ISA in a "marxist conspiracy." Truth is : many of
the detainees were non-member activists working with
the Workers Party. Some of them were re-arrested in
1988 after they alleged mistreatment by ISD. Vincent
Cheng and Teo Soh Lung served close to two years in
jail. Francis Seow was also detained and upon release,
stood for elections and almost won a seat. He was
subsequently charged with income tax evasion and a
arrest warrant has since been issued against him.

10. In 1997, Tang Liang Hong burst into the political
scene with fire and fury. He stood with JBJ in Cheng
San and lost narrowly, through LKY cheating in the
Cheng San GRC ward ballot counting election fraud. He
was subsequently sued by 13 PAP ministers and declared
a bankrupt. An arrest warrant has also been issued
against him.

11. After 1997, more restrictions were put in place to
castrate the opposition. Gerrymandering, Political
Donations Act, increased election deposits, clampdown
on internet campaigning etc. Every fair and foul means
were committed to make campaigning and winning by the
tiny and fragmented Opposition impossible.

Under such circumstances, even the most popular and
well-loved opposition politician would be crushed by
such a system. One need look no furher than JB
Jeyaretnam. The remaining opposition would be silly to
attempt anything that would upset Lee's hold on power.
At about $13,000 a month salary, Chiam See Tong and
Low Thia Kiang knows which side of their bread is
buttered. Anyone who goes the way of Chee Soon Juan
will be crushed.

Singaporeans need to realise that it is the elections
system that needs reforming, not the opposition. And
this can only be achieve through extra-parliamentary
measures like civil action, public protests and
international pressure. Contacting my eyewitnesses and
encouraging them to confirm the truth is a good start.


Robert HO
28 Bukit Batok Street 52
#20-03 Guilin View
Singapore 659248
Tel: (65) 68989553



NRIC No. S0197974D.

1. My name is Robert Ho Chong. I am a Singapore
citizen by birth. I am 54 years old as of writing this
on 5 Jan 05 in the early hours of 0028. I have been
told, in email and in person, by a direct eyewitness,
that he, a male Singaporean slightly older than I, saw
with his own eyes, together with his lawyer friend,
[who has his own law firm in Singapore], the
fraudulent rigging of the election in the Cheng San
GRC, in the counting centre of Anderson Junior College
School, which the People's Action Party, whose head
was Lee Kuan Yew, won by a very narrow margin of
ballots, this margin achieved by the simple expedient
of bringing in extra fake PAP ballots enough to win.

2. I have been publicising these facts since I was
first informed of them by my informant, first by
email, then in personal testimony, since 9 May 03 when
I was still residing in the United Kingdom, my first
public posting of such facts being 9 May 03,UK time
1044 hours [Singapore time 1744 hours]. I first posted
these facts in the newsgroup, soc.culture.singapore,
as one of my numerous postings [6,690 to date] to
inform readers of the newsgroup what I had received by
email. This, I did with Copy & Paste, so as to keep my
informant's email as accurate as possible, leaving out
only his name and anything that might reveal his
identity [the consequences of incurring the wrath of
Lee Kuan Yew is almost suicidal, so every Singaporean
knows better than to tell the truths about him, let
alone lies or slander]. I have been actively writing
articles and comments in soc.culture.singapore for
many years and use the Google Groups version to
archive all my original better articles and ideas in
this URL :--

[This URL gives the page RH: ROBERT's

3. When my wife, son and I returned from our year
and a half stay in the UK around 5 Jul 04, I
immediately emailed my informant for a face to face
meeting in which I could further probe his testimony
as to what he saw that night and early morning of the
Ballot Counting Centre in Anderson Junior College
School. He agreed, with some trepidation and
reluctance, to meet me in the Cofee Garden of the
Shangri La hotel, in which we were staying pending the
arrival of our belongings and personal effects from
the UK. My wife, KOH Gek Noi, NRIC S1174495H, a senior
manager in a large MultiNational Company, an
accountant by training and drawing a five-figure
salary, and I met this our informant from about 1pm to
nearly 5pm. During this time, my informant related to
my wife and I the events that he and his lawyer friend
saw, that showed beyond doubt that the Government of
Lee Kuan Yew rigged the Cheng San GRC election by
bringing in fake ballot papers, mostly in favour of
his PAP party candidates, in 8-10 ballot boxes by 2
men dressed in army uniforms.

4. I hereby Copy & Paste the entire original
posting I made on 9 May 03 :--

RH: Was Cheng San election result rigged? 'Proof'?

Robert Ho May 9 2003, 2:56 am
Newsgroups: soc.culture.singapore
From: (Robert Ho)
Date: 9 May 2003 02:56:54 -0700
Local: Fri, May 9 2003 2:56 am

Subject: RH: Was Cheng San election result rigged?

QUOTE: " You may be interested to know the following:

On the polling night of the Cheng San elections I was
with a lawyer
friend - quite prominent- sitting at a coffee shop
directly opposite
the etrance to the Anderson School where the counring
was to take
place for Cheng San.

Our vantage point was about 20' higher than the road
which fronted the
school gates. The school building was another 50
metres away from the
gates. The gates were closed with two uniformed police
as security.
The lights in the open coumpound up to the building
were off but the
building lights were well on.

The counting should have started at about 8pm but we
took our
positions about 8.30pm.

We had one eye on the Anderson School counting centre
and another eye
ahead of us on the coffeeshop TV monitor perched a
little above our
heads. We could keep watch on the TV to see the
results as they came
in and also on the school.
At about 10.30pm we noticed a small closed van
approach the gates and
gates opened after some inquiry by the security police
and the small
van drove straight to the building. This was unusual
as the other few
vehicles that entered the building that we saw all
turned to the left
upon entering to park. But this van was allowed to
proceed to the
building entrance.

We were interested and watched closely the driver and
his assistant,
both in army uniforms, went to the rear doors of the
van and took our
some boxes and proceeded to carry them to the
building. They did a few
trips each with a box. The boxes looked like ballot

We would be about 80 metres away and noted that the
van had no
markings but was of one colour which in the darkness
could have been
grey. After carrying the boxes in and immediatly
after, the van drove
off with the same two persons.
Nothing untoward occurred further that night.

We waited at the spot until all other results were out
and announced
but not Cheng San which completed at about 1.40am or

We were known to one of the Cheng San opposition party
candidates and
we asked him what took so long as he was in there and
also with the
two other scrutineers of the opposition party. This
was after they
emerged from the counting centre.

They were surprised themselves and said that the
counting took some
time because there was recount after recount.

But they said that what was stranger was that they
were well into the
counting when the Rreturning officer on duty said
there were another
few boxes - 8-10 more to be opened as they had just
arrived. This
approximated to the time we saw the van driving up to
the school

The scrutineers and the candidate said they checked
the unopened boxes
and found that the opposition party seals were not in
informed the Returning Officer who then said that the
absence of the
opposition seal did not render them invalid as the
responsibility for
having the seal in posiiton was that of the opposition

The boxes contents (votes) were counted and they noted
that the votes
composition was very much in favour of the PAP unlike
the other boxes
where they votes more or less balanced out.

We drove the two lady scrutineers home and upon oiur
inquiries we
learned from them in all their innocence that the
extra ballot boxes
wre only opened and counted after the initial counting
had taken
place. Also that the preponderance of PAP votes in
those boxes were
not following the trend of the earlier countings. We
know somebody had
been had.

The Returnoing Officer is duty bound to ensure that
all ballot boxes
are in place before allowing counting to commence. "



Dear Dr Chee Soon Juan and Mr J B Jeyaretnam,

The above email was sent to me by a friend. It seems
to be a strong
indication that the PAP falsified the Cheng San
election, which, as
you know, was 'won' narrowly by the PAP team,
defeating Mr Tang Liang
Hong and Mr J B Jeyaretnam and 3 others ( Cheng San was
a Group
Representation Constituency of 5 Members).

I believe the above email to me to be true but Mr
Jeyaretnam can
always call on his old ties with the Workers Party to
double check.
For example, my friend wrote that, "We waited at the
spot until all
other results were out and announced but not Cheng San
which completed
at about 1.40am or so." Now, this can be verified to
check that if
indeed, Cheng San was the LAST constituency to have
its results
declared. Mr Jeyaretnam could probably confirm this.

Also, "They were surprised themselves and said that
the counting took
some time because there was recount after recount."
Again, Mr
Jeyaretnam could probably confirm if there was recount
after recount,
probably to determine how many fake ballot papers were
needed for the
PAP to win.

Then, "But they said that what was stranger was that
they were well
into the counting when the Rreturning officer on duty
said there were
another few boxes - 8-10 more to be opened as they had
just arrived"
Again, Mr Jeyaretnam or the WP election
monitors/scrutineers could
probably confirm this.

For "The scrutineers and the candidate said they
checked the unopened
boxes and found that the opposition party seals were
not in place."
Again, this can probably be confirmed by Mr Jeyaretnam
and the
monitors/scrutineers, as well as the unnamed WP

Then, "The boxes contents (votes) were counted and
they noted that the
votes composition was very much in favour of the PAP
unlike the other
boxes where they votes more or less balanced out."
This, again, can be
verified by those present, including probably Mr
Jeyaretnam, the other
4 candidates, and the monitors/scrutineers.

This is very serious: "...the extra ballot boxes wre
only opened and
counted after the initial counting had taken place."
This is a clear
breach of election procedure and election law.

Finally, "Also that the preponderance of PAP votes in
those boxes were
not following the trend of the earlier countings.We
know somebody had
been had." The second sentence is a fair conclusion.

What next?

Since the ballot papers are kept for only a few
months/years? they are
probably burnt by now. The lesson the Opposition
should learn is to
challenge in court the validity of any perceived
shenanigans AS SOON
AS POSSIBLE. For example, if a court order were to be
obtained for a
recount of the stored ballots, we could see WHETHER
paper is serially
THIS COULD BE DISCOVERED. However, this could be
manipulated by
deleting some say, precinct result and replacing it
with a false set
so there is no overall 'gain' discrepancy.

Finally, the real danger to any democracy is
electronic voting. If
electronic voting is introduced, the results could be
manipulated any
way, at will, by those with access to the machines or
if computer
voting is used, any hacker with enough skill to hack
into the system
and change the results at will. We have already seen
how hackers seem
to enjoy targetting Opposition parties, with one
party's political
mailing list deleted, wiping out months of hard work
(other mailing
lists were left untouched) and at least one Opposition
website defaced
with a porn message.

God, what a revelation!

Robert Ho
9 May 03
UK 1044 S'pore 1744

5. The reaction to my postings was muted because
all the regulars and indeed, all the adults in
Singapore, know better than to even SEEM to be
anti-Lee Kuan Yew, which is almost economic suicide,
and all the regulars in the newsgroup, of which there
are not many, numbering some dozens or so, mostly let
my postings alone without even a comment, knowing that
the secret police in this police state read every
single word posted and have traced posters to charge
them in court. Indeed, I myself have been arrested
once and charged in court once for a posting I made;
then ordered to the Criminal Investigation Department
for another posting/s which such case is still
unresolved. My computer has been seized by the CID
twice, and is still now with them.

6. However, the PAPist regulars in
soc.culture.singapore, of which there are many, whose
job is to defuse any politically dangerous postings,
tried very hard, mostly by 'shouting' and repetition,
to drown out my testimony. Their favourite ploy was to
question my sanity and indeed, when I was working 2
jobs simultaneously around 1975, as a teacher by day
and a Straits Times sub-editor by night, I did have a
mental breakdown due to lack of, and irregular, sleep.
This finally culminated in a fullblown mental illness,
successfully treated in 1979, after which I returned
to work, as an advertising copywriter, for 12 years.
After which, another series of personal events
consumed my life.

7. A few days ago, on Sun 2 Jan 05, I went to a
meeting of Dr Chee Soon Juan and Mr Ghandi Ambalam and
about a dozen others. It was their meeting, quite a
regular event and I had never joined them before. I
joined this time because I had heard that there would
be a forum to study the election system in Singapore
and I wanted the meeting to know what I had learnt
from my informant, who was a former Police Inspector
or some such high ranking officer. I took the
opportunity to testify to the meeting what I had heard
from my informant and this written testimony is the
written version largely of what I had told the meeting
verbally. I also distributed 2 copies of one of my
numerous postings in soc.culture.singapore :-- Cheng+San+elections%26qt_s%3DSearch+Groups%26&_doneTitle=Back+to+Search&&d#3df0fea813e0a150

[This URL gives the page RH: WORKERS PARTY Abdul

8. If the ARDA Forum Study Group on Elections in
Singapore wants to speak with me or my wife, we can be
contacted at :--

[Contact details NOT to be published; only for use by
ARDA Committee only].

Robert HO
5 Jan 05
Singapore 0220

Robert HO
28, Bukit Batok Street 52
#20-03 Guilin View
Singapore 659248
Republic of Singapore
HP: (65) 90127417
Tel: (65) 68989553
Wife email:


From: "boon_kang" boon_kang@...
Date: Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:52 am

Subject: "Singapore's corrupt justice system" on
Canadian media


"Singapore is ruled by a small oligarchy who control
all facets of the Singapore state including the
judiciary, which is utterly
politicized," the company's court documents say. "The
judiciary bends over backwards to support the
government's and ruling elite's interests."

From: Boon Kang
19 Nov 2005

"Singapore's corrupt justice system" on Canadian media

Dear Editor,

your readers may find the following news item (which
appeared on most major Canadian newspapers)

The appeal has been approved and the date set for
April 10, 2006.

Now that the good name of Singapore's justice system
is tarnished by such accusation in Canadian court, it
would be interesting to see if PAP will initiate a
libel suit against the company EnerNorth Industries
Inc. and its lawyers who made such accusation ?

'Corrupt' ruling appealed
Ont. energy firm challenges $5.4M judgment

Richard Foot
CanWest News Service

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Canadian company wants an Ontario court to dismiss a
multimillion dollar judgment reached against it in
Singapore on the grounds Singapore's justice system is
corrupt and unlawful.

The landmark case has wide implications for Canadians
doing business overseas. Never before, say lawyers for
both sides, has a commercial case dealt with the
question of whether a foreign judgment can be enforced
in Canada because the courts that issued it may be
inherently unfair.

Lawyers for EnerNorth Industries Inc., a Toronto-based
services company, will make that argument before the
Ontario Court of Appeal in April, in a bid to avoid
paying a $5.4-million US judgment awarded to Oakwell
Engineering Ltd., a Singapore firm.

One of EnerNorth's lawyers, David Wingfield, said if
the Singapore decision is upheld in Canada, a
precedent will be set which would turn the Canadian
courts into "little more than a glorified sheriff's
department for all foreign legal systems -- no matter
how odious or compromised they are by reason of
government influence or monetary bribery."

Oakwell's lawyer, Ed Babin, said Canadian courts
enforce judgments from other countries all the time
and that refusing to do so in this case would carve
out "a dramatic change" in the law.

In 1997, EnerNorth embarked on a project with Oakwell
to finance,
build and operate two power plants in India. In 2002,
after the
project ran into problems, Oakwell sued EnerNorth in
the Singapore courts -- where each company had
previously agreed they would settle any disputes.

The trial and appeal courts in Singapore allowed
Oakwell's claim,
awarding it damages against EnerNorth. Because
EnerNorth's assets are in Canada, Oakwell asked a
Canadian court to enforce the decision.

Last August, Ontario Superior Court Justice Gerald Day
agreed with Oakwell's request, dismissing arguments by
EnerNorth that the Singapore judgment is tainted by
that country's allegedly corrupt and biased legal

"If this court were to accept the argument of general
bias in this case, it would mean that no judgments
from Singapore courts would be enforceable in
Ontario," wrote Day in his decision,

But in documents filed with the Ontario Court of
Appeal, EnerNorth's lawyers say Day failed to apply
the proper legal test required of Canadian courts when
enforcing foreign judgments.

In 2003 -- in a case involving a decision from a U.S.
court -- the Supreme Court of Canada said Canadian
courts can only recognize a foreign judgment if the
foreign legal system meets Canadian constitutional

The Singapore decision is the first foreign judgment,
issued in a
country other than Britain or the U.S., to be tested
under this
principle, said Wingfield. EnerNorth says Singapore's
justice system fails to meet Canadian standards by
almost every measure.

"Singapore is ruled by a small oligarchy who control
all facets of the Singapore state including the
judiciary, which is utterly
politicized," the company's court documents say. "The
judiciary bends over backwards to support the
government's and ruling elite's interests."

The documents also say Oakwell is a subsidiary of a
conglomerate whose owners have close ties with
Singapore's government and ruling party and that the
judges who presided over the case in Singapore also
have close ties with Singapore's leaders.

Day said he could find "no cogent evidence" that there
was specific bias toward Oakwell by the Singapore
courts. However, EnerNorth says evidence of general
bias, or systemic corruption, is enough to reject the
judgment in Canada.

"EnerNorth is faced with having its assets seized
under Canadian law to pay a judgment that was granted
by a corrupt legal system before biased judges in a
jurisdiction that operates outside the rule of law,"
the company's documents say.

© The Edmonton Journal 2005


For related discussions see:

1) Mellanie Hewlitt; Lifting The Veil On Singapore

2) Carl Kapeland: Legitimized Corruption Understood


Suffering Singapore's slings, arrows

AGE, Melbourne
April 19, 2006
By Michael Backman

DOES Singapore have a sound legal system or is Singapore just another autocracy with a leadership that subverts the law to preserve its own power?

Should its court orders relating to commercial and other matters be enforced in countries that do have excellent legal systems? These are matters over which a Canadian court has been asked to rule in a case that is hugely embarrassing to Singapore's Government, particularly in an election year.

Singapore does well in Transparency International's annual survey of perceptions of corruption, but it needs to be remembered perceptions are surveyed, not reality. Sure, it's unlikely you will ever be asked for a bribe or a kickback in Singapore, but should corruption be so narrowly defined?

Canadian oil and gas company EnerNorth Industries set up a joint venture with Singapore's Oakwell Engineering in 1997 to finance, build and operate two mobile power plants in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

The Indian Government, at various levels, was obstructionist, and by 2002 it was clear to EnerNorth that plans for the power plants would not be realised. EnerNorth did not secure the agreed financing and so Oakwell sued it in a Singapore court in 2003, obtaining a favourable US$5.4 million judgement. EnerNorth appealed unsuccessfully.

EnerNorth has few or no assets in Singapore, so Oakwell next applied to Ontario's Superior Court of Justice in Canada for the Singapore judgement to be enforced there, so it could pursue EnerNorth's Canadian assets. The Canadian court ruled that the Singapore judgement should be enforced. EnerNorth appealed, which was heard last week.

What was the basis for EnerNorth's appeal? In 2003, Canada's Supreme Court said Canadian courts can only recognise a foreign judgement if the legal system that produced the judgement meets Canada's constitutional standards. And so EnerNorth's lawyers, in their written submission, argued that Singapore's legal system is not on a par with Canada's and so the Singapore decision against their client should not be enforceable in Canada.

The submission says the Singapore judgement "was granted by a corrupt legal system before biased judges in a jurisdiction that operates outside the law".

It presents evidence that it says reveals "Singapore is ruled by a small oligarchy who controls all facets of the Singapore state, including the judiciary, which is utterly politicised. The judiciary bends over backwards to support the Government's and ruling elite's interests."

Dr Ross Worthington, an expert on governance who has written extensively about Singapore, and is employed by the World Bank, said in an affidavit on behalf of EnerNorth that "all aspects of the governance of Singapore, including the judiciary, are carefully manipulated and ultimately controlled by a core executive of individuals who use their powers to maintain their own power and further their own political, economic, social and familial interests".

EnerNorth's submission also cites the regular use of defamation actions by senior Government figures to bankrupt opposition politicians, thereby disqualifying them from sitting in Parliament. Mentioned is the case of J. B. Jeyaretnam, when as Singapore's only opposition member of Parliament, was sued for defamation by a Government minister and ultimately bankrupted. Today he can often be seen selling copies of a self-published book near the underground train station exit, close to Raffles City Shopping Centre, a broken, lonely figure past whom many Singaporeans rush for fear of being seen near him.

EnerNorth's submission also cites the Societies Act, which requires that organisations of more than 10 people must have a Government-appointed representative, and no public meeting can proceed unless the police first issue a permit that specifies the duration of the meeting, the names of the speakers, their topics and the length of time they will speak.

Also cited is the state of Singapore's media � all outlets of which are owned either directly or indirectly by Government-linked companies � as is the change to the constitution so that Singaporeans who remain outside the country for 10 or more years can be stripped of their citizenship. It is a move that takes aim at Government critics who have gone into self-imposed exile.

Judicial independence is questioned: it is pointed out, for instance, that up to half the Supreme Court judges at any time are under contract and do not have security of tenure, including the chief justice. They are appointed by the executive and beholden to it.

A further EnerNorth contention is that Oakwell is part of the Koh Brothers Group, which is heavily reliant on Singapore Government contracts. EnerNorth also says that at the time of the first judgement, directors in the group included a former member of the Government's Inland Revenue Authority, a senior parliamentary secretary, a senior minister of state and ambassador, and a former president of the Government-affiliated National Trade Unions Congress.

And then there is the matter of the first presiding judge. Before his appointment to the bench, he practised at the law firm Lee & Lee, the firm founded by former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and later run by his wife. It was this same judge, who on J. B. Jeyaretnam's appeal from a lower court, increased the fine that he was required to pay that led to his expulsion from Parliament.

So does Singapore have a fair and independent judiciary on a par with Canada's or, for that matter, Australia's? Should its decisions against Canadian or Australian companies be enforced in their home countries?

This is particularly pertinent given the huge and highly intrusive role that Singapore's Government plays in business matters in Singapore, and if judges are biased in favour of the Government as EnerNorth contends. The Canadian appeals judge has reserved his decision. But you don't have to. The full submissions of Oakwell and EnerNorth are available at . How the legal system operates in Singapore makes for extraordinary reading.




PROOF LIE KY IS A LIAR [DEFAMED TOTALLY INNOCENT CATHOLICS AS 'MARXIST' CONSPIRATORS] Doc 1 of 3 Inbox Function VBGetSwfVer(i) on error resume next Dim swControl, swVersion swVersion = 0 set swControl = CreateObject("ShockwaveFlash.ShockwaveFlash." + CStr(i)) if (IsObject(swControl)) then swVersion = swControl.GetVariable("$version") end if VBGetSwfVer = swVersion End Function function FlashRequest() {} function Player_DoFSCommand() {}

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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND THE city of Singapore, "the City of the Lion" in Sanskrit, was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles, an English adventurer in the service of the Crown. It was then peopled by some dozens of Malays living by fishing and piracy. The position of Singapore, at the bottom of the Straits of Malacca, between the Indian Ocean and the China Sea, would soon make of it a port and an important warehouse. For one hundred and fifty years it was the jewel of the British Empire in the Far East. In order to people this island and give themselves means to further their own interests, the British invited the Chinese and Indians to immigrate. Granted a statute of independence in 1959, it joined the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. It was expelled from it two years later, and on the 9th of August 1965 it became the Republic of Singapore. In the beginning, this independence seemed like an impossible challenge to meet for a small island with a surface of only 618 square kilometres and without natural resources. Nevertheless, the PAP (People's Action Party), in power since 1959, the Prime Minister: Lee Kuan Yew, surrounded by a small team of technocrats, would in 25 years, make of this tiny State an ultra-modern city whose citizens enjoy the second highest standard of living per habitant, in Asia after Japan. In just a few years, Singapore had become the second port of the world and its rate of development would not give the lie to that in spite of two years of recession in 1985-1986.

Notions about Singapore Population: Some 75 percent of the 2,600,000 inhabitants of the Republic are Chinese in origin. There are also 15 percent Malays and 8 percent Indians, the others are of different origins. Some 20 languages are spoken daily, of which only 4 are officially recognised: English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil. All the world's great religions are represented. 17 percent Muslims are counted, 5 to 6 percent Hindus and Sikhs, 12 percent Christians of which 4 to 5 percent are Catholic. The rest of the population claims to be Buddhist, Taoist and other different forms of popular Chinese religions. It is to be noted that at the census of 1980, 13 percent of the population declared that they had no religion. The Catholic Church: Existed in Singapore since 1820. At first it was almost entirely implanted within one portion of the Chinese population speaking the Teochew dialect. It was to know an important growth after World War II. Today it affects all races except the Malays who are 100 percent Muslims. It can be defined as a Church of the middle classes especially present in the English-speaking circles. Introduction: On the 21st of May 1987, the Singapore Press announced on its front page the discovery of a Marxist plot aimed at overthrowing the State, that 16 persons had been arrested, among whom 10 were directly engaged in Christian-inspired movements. The developments which were to follow would not be slow to show that this offensive was partly directed against certain sectors of the Catholic Church of Singapore. For many, this news had the effect of a thunderbolt in an otherwise serene sky. Until then, relations between the State and the little Catholic Church of Singapore (comprising 4 to 5 percent of the population) had been cloudless. All the same, for the circles concerned, it was but a half-surprise. Of course they were taken aback by the violence of the accusations and the rigour of the measures taken. But they knew already through a certain number of signs that for some years already, the government was worried about the activity of some Catholic circles in the Church, whose influence, even though they were in the minority, never stopped spreading. Among the group suspected there were the Young Christian Workers which was in full renewal and had re-discovered a certain dynamism, the Justice and Peace Commission which, after having led a stagnant life for many years, just reinforced their effectiveness and activities, the periodical Catholic News which had given itself a new orientation, the Catholic Students Association. The displeasure of the authorities bore down also on newly founded organisations such as, for example, the Catholic Centre for foreign workers begun in 1980 and which, since 1984, developed rapidly. Premonitory signs had not been lacking. From 1984, in a publication of the Minister for Culture The Mirror, there had been a lengthy attack against Liberation Theology. In 1985, pressure was exercised upon the archbishop to change the chaplain for Catholic Students, and in penitential establishments which suddenly and for no apparent reason had judged that the Catholic chaplain was "a risk for security" and confiscated his permit to visit the prisons. In 1986, the archbishop was summoned by the police who had warned him against certain Catholic movements, and against the two priests mentioned above, they also expressed "displeasure" of a column called Just Living by Justus, which was published in the Catholic News. That same year, the Prime Minister told the Pope who was on a visit to Singapore, that he was very pleased with the Catholic Church in general, except for some uncontrollable priests. The day after this visit, Fr Guillaume Arotcarena of the Paris Foreign Missions was called by the political police who read a report to him in which he was reproached for publishing a book about foreigners (The Maid Tangle) who were employed in homes in Singapore, for a declaration to the press, a sermon on conditions placed upon immigrant workers, and for his part in Church and Society a review of Christian reflection on social problems. This document will endeavour to follow the events, day by day, during the four months the affair lasted. It will also strive to sound out the intentions of the Singapore government through the different declarations it made. Then, by way of conclusion, it will propose a reflection replacing the so-called plot in the more general context of the Singapore socio-political system.

Next: A relating of the facts (May ¡V September 1987) //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
The Arrests Early in the morning of the 21th of May 1987, sixteen persons were arrested by the political police and immediaely imprisoned in the Whiteley Road Centre of detention. In the following hours, a group of agents of the same police entered the premises of the Geylang Catholic Centre for foreign workers inspecting and filming the disposition of the place. That day, the newspapers reported the news "unanimously", but briefly and without any details. They simply mentioned the discovery of a Communist plot and the solitary confinement of the persons arrested in consequence of an Internal Security Act. (1) As soon as the news of these arrests and above all the identity of the persons detained was made known, it became apparent that this government offensive had a very precise purpose. Among the 16 arrested, 10 belonged directly to militant Catholic movements for social justice and human rights. The others, as we shall see later, worked in a very closely related orientation. To the leaders of the four Catholic movements to which belonged or were linked the arrested militants, it was the confirmation of their fears and the putting into effect a threat which they had already perceived for a long time. (2) The four movements aimed at were the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Singapore archdiocese, the Young Christian Workers of the archdiocese, the Catholic Association of the students of the Polytechnic of Singapore and the Catholic Centre for foreign workers formerly called "Geylang Catholic Centre." These four organisations are linked by the same orientation and kept up frequent contacts. With a few other movements, they found themselves in C.O.R.D. (Federation of organisations for religion and development). The militants who were arrested often collaborated with several of these. (3 ) That was why from the 22nd of May a certain number of lay leaders and four priests, Fr. Joseph Ho, president of the Justice and Peace Commission, Fr. Edgar D'Souza, assistant of the editor-in-chief of the journal "Catholic News", Fr. Patrick Goh, national chaplain of the Young Christian Workers, and Fr Guillaume Arotcarena, a priest of the Paris Foreign Missions director of the Catholic Centre for foreign workers, put together a committee to coordinate, which was to write up press releases agreeable to all and to co-ordinate the reactions of the four organisations. The Persons Arrested As the press release of the four organisations implicated mentioned (4), among the 16 detainees, four worked full-time for the Catholic Church of Singapore. Vincent Cheng Kim Chuan: Considered by the press release of the Minister of Home Affairs as the leader of the group, was a former theology student, a full-time worker in the Church movements. He was the secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission where he had worked since 1983. From June 1982 to June 1983, he undertook the coordination of the volunteers and their activities in the Catholic Centre for foreign workers. (But) he no longer belonged to the group since 1984. Ng Bee Leng: This young lady of 23 was a full-time employee at the Catholic Centre for foreign workers. She was formerly a student of the Polytechnic of Singapore where she had been president of the Students Union. Tang Lay Lee, 33 years, a lawyer, was an employee of the Young Christian Workers of Singapore.

Kevin Desmond de Souza, 26 years, a graduate of the Law Faculty of the University of Singapore, was, at the time of his arrest, an employee of the Association of Catholic Students at the Polytechnic. He was a member of C.O.R.D. Six others who were accused had collaborated as volunteers for other organisations of the Church of Singapore. Mah Lee Lin, 22 years, was also a graduate of the Polytechnic of Singapore. From 1982 to 1984, she had been the secretary of the Students Union. Within the framework of the Chai Chee Catholic Centre which was an extension of the Catholic Centre for foreign students. She belonged to a group of volunteers which helped Malaysian workers. Teo Soh Lung 39 years, was a lawyer and as such, offered her services to the Catholic Centre for foreign workers, besides, she had been one of the first collaborators of the Centre at its foundation in 1980, especially in its activities regarding Malaysians and Filipinos. With Tan Tee Seng (see below), she had organised English lessons and an introduction to workers' rights. That went on until 1982. She was then engaged by the Director of the Centre as an advocate-councillor. Kenneth Tsang, a graduate of an English University, was an economist by training. In 1983, he gave English courses at the Catholic Centre for some months to foreign workers. He collaborated in the Justice and Peace Commission. Jenny Chin Lai Ching was the wife of Kenneth Tsang and the sister of Juliet Chin, a student who had been expelled from Singapore in 1974. Jenny was a journalist for the Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times and a collaborator for the Justice and Peace Commission. Tan Tee Seng 28 years, was a former student of the Polytechnic and Vice-President of the Students Union. With Teo Soh Lung, he was one of the first volunteers of the Geylang Catholic Centre, where he had been active until 1984. He, too, had taken part in the activities of the Justice and Peace Commission. Low Yit Leng, wife of the above, a graduate of the Polytechnic, she had carried out the charge of Secretary General of the Students Union. She had also been the Secretary General of the Association of Asian Students which had its headquarters in Hong Kong (81-83). She collaborated in the Justice and Peace Commission. The six others arrested, though not belonging directly to the four Catholic movements mentioned above, were not without links with them all the same. Most of them collaborated In a young group of dramatic art: The Third Stage which had been created in 1980 within the framework of the Catholic Centre for Foreign Workers. The plays acted and produced had been written by the members of the theatrical group and dealt with life situations of the poorer classes. One of the best-known plays of their group was called Esperanza, the name of the title role, a maid, native of the Philippines, who had immigrated to Singapore. Like many other persons arrested, these activists were more or less related to the Workers' Party, an opposition party with moderate tendencies which manifested a particular concern for human rights and respect for the Constitution. They collaborated with publicaitons of this party and participated in electoral campaigns. Teresa Lim Li Kok 32 years, who, as publisher, enjoyed a certain notoriety in Singapore. She took part in the activities of The Third Stage. Chung Lai Mei, 22, a graduate of the Polytechnic, just ended her term as Assistant General Secretary of the Association of Asian Students, a position she had occupied since 1985. Wong Souk Yee, 28, former member of the Students Union, she had written and produced theatrical plays for The Third Stage group. Chia Boon Tai, 36, graduate of a British University, was a Malaysian who collaborated with The Third Stage group.
William Yap Hong Ngian, 40, a graduate of a British University collaborated in a television chain. He was a member of the group "The Third Stage". Tay Hong Seng, 36, a collaborator for the government controlled television station SBC. He was a founding member of the theatrical group The Third Stage. The Report of the Minister of Home Affairs. The arrests of the activists was followed by five days of silence. It was only on the 26th of May that the voluminous communique of the Minister of Home Affairs was published, followed by four addenda. It was announced that it would be published in the local press in instalments, at the dates given in the communique itself. The Content of the Accusations It is interesting to note that the campaign of accusations which the Minister for the Interior let flow by means of this communique followed a very precise strategy. It followed three stages.
1. The first days (5), the bulk of the accusations bore on the arrested militants whose subversive activities were given in detail, their connections with persons or revolutionary movements described as "Marxist". If the accusation mentioned the Catholic organisations to which they belonged, it was hinted that these were merely a screen which the plot made use of. They were not directly implicated. In the Straits Times of May 27, 1987, on page 14, under the picture of each of the arrested persons were noted a detailed list of the accusations made against him/her. Nevertheless, all were involved in the same accusation of a Marxist plot of which the head of the band in Singapore was Vincent Cheng who himself received orders from Tan Wah Piow who was exiled in London. It was this person who, as the diagram of the plot (Straits Times, May 27 1987, page 15) showed, was the pivot of the whole affair. Tan Wah Piow was a former student leader in Singapore in the 1970s. In 1976, he was condemned to one year in prison in a case where the principal witness against Tan was the leader of the official Trade Union of Singapore, Phey Yew Kok. Later, Phey was involved in an affair concerning corruption and perhaps with the tacit consent of the authorities was forced to exile himself. In 1976, Tan Wah Piow, after having refused to fulfil his military service exiled himself to London from where he led an active opposition to the Singapore Government from within the FUEMSSO (Federation of the United Kingdom and Ireland, Malaysia and Singapore Student Organisation). In 1986 a law was passed which decreed the loss of citizenship for citizens who were absent from the country for ten years. At the beginning of 1987, Tan Wah Piow undertook formalities to recover his citizenship. It so happened that it was precisely on the 21st of May, the day of the arrests of the 16 militants, that a letter was sent to him from the Singapore authorities confirming the loss of his citizenship. 2. In a second phase, starting from the addendum 3 of the communique entitled "Vincent Cheng, a theology student turned Marxist", the attacks turned directly against a certain social current in the Church of which Vincent Cheng was the symbol. According to the communique there was a real "subversion" installed within the Church movements and propagated by a certain Catholic press. For the authorities, the harmful ideology which animated this "subversion" and which they called "Liberation Theology" was nothing other than a form of Marxism operating under cover of religion.(Straits Times, 30th May 1987) 3. The purpose of the operation conducted by the Minister of Home Affaris became clear when finally the accusations and pressure of the government upon the Church hierarchy were concentrated directly on the four priests named above and when it insisted that they be the object of religious sanctions.

Initial reactions of the Church of Singapore

( 1) This act specifies that persons who are arrested can be detained by the police without being deferred to tribunals for a period of 30 days, a period which could be extended for up to 2 years at the demand of the President and on orders from the Minister for the Interior. (See "The Straits Times", 28th May 1987, p.10)

(2) In the Introduction, on page 3, we had tried to re-situate this affair in the context of pressures already exercised by the State for some years on the local Church, for her to abandon a certain number of orientations which were a source of concern for it.

(3) In the 14th of June issue of "The Catholic News" one may find the four notes written up by those responsible for these movements, giving the history, the activities and the aims of their groups.

(4) This Communique which is common to all four associations, presented itself on the 26th of May 1987 in the form of a photocopied text. (5) The newspaper "The Straits Times" had, in its articles of the events of the first week, re-printed in is entirety the text of this communique.
Initial reactions of the Church of Singapore /////////////////////////////////////////////// From the 22nd of May, the co-ordinating committee formed by the four associations involved reacted the very day of the publication of the press release of the Minister of the Interior by publishing its own communique. It mentioned the names of the 10 persons belonging to the Church movements, and asked the government to give clear proofs of the guilt of those arrested that it pretended to have. It declared its conviction that the ten militants arrested were not Marxists and had not devised any plot against the Singapore government. On this occasion the four presentation notes of the Catholic movements implicated in the affair were also published in the Catholic News. The next day, a large crowd, worried about the fate of the prisoners, participated at the Eucharist celebrated in the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, to pray for the detainees and their families. On the 28th of May, it was the turn of the archbishop of Singapore to publish his press release after a meeting with all the priests of the archdiocese. It was unanimous with the initial reaction already noted. The archbishop expressed his support for the Catholic movements incriminated. He affirmed the right and the duty of the Church to speak and work for justice, a right and duty not linked to any particular theology and which were valid for the universal Church. On Sunday 31st of May, the text of the communique was read in all the churches as a Pastoral Letter. Pressure of the State and First Results The Pastoral Letter of the archbishop provoked the fury of the government. In the afternoon of that Sunday, the Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew informed the archbishop that he wanted a meeting be held at which the archbishop, the representatives of the Catholic Church and himself.. The next day, 1st of June, in order to reply to this "invitation", the archbishop convoked the presbyteral Senate which would select the members of the delegation which would meet with the Prime Minister. The list presented to the Prime Minister's bureau comprised of 19 names of persons who represented quite exactly the Church of Singapore. However, when it was returned to the archbishop, it had been reduced to 9 names. All the priests and lay persons engaged directly or indirectly in the incriminated movements had been struck off the list. The members of the co-ordinating group then went to see the archbishop to tell him that such a meeting with the Prime Minister should not be attempted without a serious preparation. Otherwise, it would be better not to go. The archbishop of Singapore, Msgr Gregory Yong, did not agree, and considered it his duty to comply with the invitation. On the 2nd of June, the archbishop and the delegation were received by Mr Lee Kuan Yew. The Prime Minister presented them with the report from the police regarding Vincent Cheng as well as his so-called "confession" in which he admitted his Marxist convictions and his participation in a plot to destabilise the State. The representatives of the Catholic Church learned also of the four reports drawn up by the police on the four priests of the co-ordinating committee. When the time came for the archbishop to speak he declared that faced with that presentation of facts, he realised that he did not have the possibility of proving the contrary. On leaving that meeting, the archbishop was suddenly called back by the Prime Minister's aides for an impromptu press conference. Thus on the evening of the 2nd of June, radios and television programmes gave first place to the following theme: that the Archbishop had publicly accepted the proofs presented to him and avowed that he could not prove the contrary. From then on things happened in quick succession. The last stage of the affair was begun and the attacks of the government were now aimed at the four priests who from the 22nd of May had regrouped in a Committee of co-ordination: Father Joseph Ho, the president of the Commission Justice and Peace Edgar D'Souza, assistant of the editor of the journal Catholic News, Patrick Goh, national chaplain of the Young Christian Workers and Guillaume Arotcarena, director of the Catholic Centre for foreign workers. On the 3rd of June, the four priests met the nine members of the delegation at the archbishop's residence, who told them of what took place the day before, in the office of the Prime Minister. They were "faced with their responsibilities". This phrase, though rather strange, is nonetheless understood by everyone: the archbishop and the delegation as well know that from now on, the Prime Minister's will was not so much the prolongation of the detention of the arrested activists as the elimination of the four priests. That would avoid an open conflict with the Church. How could they be mistaken as the Prime Minister had declared explicitly: "Put order into your house, otherwise the State will do it!" In the evening of that same day, a rumour went round to the effect that an order of arrest had been given for the four priests. They held a consultation, discussed the matter with their respective organisations and finally, after a meeting on the 4th of June, they decided to diffuse the situation and offer their resignations. Two principal reasons led them to take this decision. Faced with the blackmail exercised on the Church by the government, they argued that their resignations would serve the interests of the arrested activists and others. They also wanted to remain united to the Church as she was, and thought that it would be dangerous to divide it. Some of the priests and laymen who were responsible members of the delegation which had met with the Prime Minister told them that they would not support them if they resisted. That very day their resignations were presented to the archbishop, who accepted them immediately. The archbishop and Fr Guillaume Arotcarena together decided to close the Catholic Centre for foreign workers. The resignation of the director, the arrests of the full-time employees, did not permit the functioning of the Centre, against which, besides, a decision of expulsion had been taken and would be carried out on the 15th of June. The day ended with a press release of the archbishop of Singapore. He announced the resignations of the four priests and expressed his hope that the affair was now nearing its conclusion. He also said that the next issue of the Catholic News already printed was forbidden to be circulated. The journal was going to publish photos of the four employees who had been arrested, notes of the presentation of the four movements (6), and also the pastoral letter of the archbishop that was declared to be "inopportune". On the morning of the 5th of June, the press in unison announced the resignations of the four priests. The assembly of priests met once again around the archbishop who explained the situation, related the last events and expressed his gratitude for the abnegation of the priests who were resigning. The Vicar General then mentioned his last contact with the political police. It happened the day before. He was made to understand that these resignations were not enough. They wanted to know what would become of the priests in question. The four priests were then invited to "clarify the situation". Fr Guillaume Arotcarena declared that he had no intention of re-forming a group of the four, and informed those present of his intention of leaving Singapore not for his own convenience, but for reasons of the Church. The three other priests expressed themselves in like manner. These declarations appeared to satisfy the Vicar General, Fr Francis Lau, but not the political police who, that very evening, gave voice to their dissatisfaction and wanted ecclesiastical sanctions to be dealt out to the priests. On the evening of the 5th of June, a communique of two paragraphs from the archbishop's residence announced curtly that "he was suspending the four priests from preaching and from having anything to do with the organisations they were once in charge of" (Straits Times, 6 June p.11). Fr Guillaume Arotcarena was informed of this decision that concerned him from the papers of the 6th of June. In the course of the morning, a telephone call from the Vicar General explained to him that this sanction was intended to assure his protection. Father Arotcarena then decided to accelerate his departure for Europe and he left that very day. The day before, Fr Edgar D'Souza had left for Australia. Five days later, Fr Patrick Goh left for Canada. The last of the four priests incriminated in the affair, Joseph Ho, also undertook a long-lasting journey. After the arrests of the 16 activists and the dispersion of the chaplains, this affair seemed to be ended. Undoubtedly, it was a happy conclusion for the government. To be sure, none of the accusations contained in the press communique of the Minister of Home Affairs had as yet been proved, no convincing proof of the guilt of those accused had been brought forward, and already international opinions were anxious and a certain number of international organisations were preparing to begin very precise inquiries which risked exposing the legitimate reasons for these arrests (7). However for the moment it was enough for the government to have got everyone to tow the line. Did not the archbishop, Monseigneur Yong declare in his press conference of the 2nd of June that there was no conflict between the Church and the State in this affair? Thus, on the 7th of June the Sunday Times of Singapore was able to print bold headlines on the front page saying: "The archbishop intends to bring the Church into order". In fact, the archbishop had just announced his determination to control the Justice and Peace Commission more closely, to bring back the Catholic News to a more "religious" spirit. He also affirmed that his two actual priorities were to avoid a conflict with the State and to do what was necessary for the Church not to be used in future for any other purposes but those which were specifically hers (8). Government attempts to justify the plot The government soon perceived that it could not rest contented with these first results. During the whole of the period which followed, besides its declarations, the government tried to render plausible the idea of a Marxist plot. Actually, the arrests provoked a strong reaction in international opinion: protests and demands for explanations arrived in Singapore, ever more numerous, from the most diverse places. International Reactions International concern was very rapidly alerted. One of the first reactions to the affair came from Rome, even by the end of May some 120 charitable organisations who were assembled at a congress sent a telegram to Mr Lee Kuan Yew, demanding the immediate release of the detainees and the opening of a judicial procedure. In the days which followed and for several months letters and protests from everywhere would crowd the desk of the Prime Minister. Major Asian publications such as Far Eastern Economic Review,"Asiaweek, and The Star of Malaysia would follow the affair very closely and after often minute analysis, they would adopt a very critical attitude in regard to the Singapore authorities. (To facilitate the account we will give herewith a statement in chronological order so as to group together various international pressures that played such a big role in the evolution of the affair). Malaysia, which is very closely linked to Singapore (and in what concerns the Catholic Church, one single episcopal conference unites the bishops of the two countries) was particularly attentive to the whole of the affair. On the 2nd of June, a pastoral letter signed by the three Malaysian bishops, as a sign of their solidarity with the Church of Singapore, quoted from and took up for their part a passage of the first press communique of Monseigneur Gregory Yong which affirmed on the right of the Church to be involved in virtue of its faith, in both economical and social matters. Inernational organisations for human rights such as Amnesty International began their inquiry. This association sent a group to Singapore to investigate the case and they would work on it from the 14th to the 21st of June. On the 26th of June, on the return of their mission, Amnesty International adopted 12 of the detainees as prisoners of conscience. Three organisations, the International Commission of Jurists of Geneva, the International Federation of Human Rights of Paris and the Asian Commission of Human Rights in Hong Kong made up a delegation named International Mission of Jurists to Singapore came to make inquiries on the spot from the 5th to the 9th of July 1987.At the conclusion of the visit, they would publish a file on the affair. All in all, according to the Far Eastern Economic Review, they were able to register the reactions of more than 200 organisations, among which were the US Asia Watch, the Korean Human Rights Committee, the Commission of Justice and Peace in different countries, etc¡K The Singapore arrests also provoked reactions in some political instances at the highest level. The affair was brought to the attention of the European Parliament. On the 4th of July, 55 members of the American Congress, among whom were several presidents of Commissions signed a letter demanding that legal procedures be begun or else that the detainees be set free rapidly. At a meeting, the ministers of Foreign Affairs of the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia dispatched to their Singapore counterpart a demand for explanations of this affair. Fifteen deputies of the Japanese Diet signed a letter to the Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. From then on, all the allegations without proofs which were contained in the press communique of the Minister of Home Affairs which were published in the first days of the affair were no longer sufficient in the face of the precise inquiries demanded by the delegations of the international organisations and the concern that was manifested in different parts of the world. In hindsight, the authorities went searching how to give a certain coherence to the idea of a plot which evidently was not discernible. The televised interview of Vincent Cheng ¡V June 9, 1987 This was held on the 9th of June, some 19 days after his arrest, and announced by the press the day before. For two hours, the chief accused in the affair would answer the questions of four journalists, in the course of an interview to which they would try to give the appearance of a confession. The next and following days, the Singapore press would publish large extracts of the dialogue. It is not possible to pronounce a judgement on the whole affair from the declarations of Vincent Cheng who, it must not be forgotten, was imprisoned and subjected to strong pressure. One thing however was very evident, the government story was not comfortable with the answers of the so-called leader of the conspiracy. As the remarkable Report of the International Mission of Jurists to Singapore noted after a detailed study of the broadcast, at no time did Vincent Cheng admit his participation in a Marxist plot, nor an eventual recourse to violence. The image which the accused gave of himself throughout the interview was not that of a Marxist militant but of a determined opponent of the actual regime of Singapore. He admitted having been attracted by Marxism, but he also said that he did not want a State of that type for his country. He declared having been inspired in his action by Christian ideals, in particular by those that made up what was called the current of Liberation Theology. He did not deny his opposition to the government which he described as an "open, critical attitude" and if he realised that his activities could result in some public disorder, even bloody ones, he added that that was not his aim. The "undeclared" objective towards which his militant action was directed was a "classless society", a social ideal which he insisted he drew from his Christian faith, especially in an evangelical option for the poor. The only moment when this interview took on the form of a confession was when Vincent Cheng recognised that he had used Church institutions as a cover for his political activities. He also affirmed that he regretted it. Releases and New Arrests After this broadcast, there was a week's pause in the affair. Apart from some commentaries in the press, there were no developments or new elements. Then, on the 20th of June, through two steps contradictory in appearance, the government went deeper along the way to demonstrate their theory. On that day, the Minister for Home Affairs announced the release of four of the detainees and at the same time, the arrests of six new persons (3 men and 3 women) who, according to him, were involved in the same "Marxist plot". Freedom had been granted to four activists who were directly engaged in Christian movements. Two of them, Ng Bee Leng and Tang Lay Lee were full-time employees; the two others, Mah Lee Lin and Jenny Chin Lai Ching were voluntary workers. The Minister for the Interior declared that these persons were less involved in the plot than the others and that the authorities were sure that they would not go back to subversive activities. One might think that these releases were a gesture of good will on the part of the government towards the Catholic Church by way of thanks for the attitude adopted by the hierarchy, which they esteemed to be positive. However these releases were dependent on conditions which restricted the civil liberties of the persons concened. In effect, with the exception of the Malaysian journalist, Jenny Chin Lai Ching who was freed without any conditions, the others who were released were subjected to a restriction of their civil rights (under a Restriction Order). They were obliged to remain in Singapore and could not leave its territory without a written permission from the Internal Security Department. This same permission would be necessary for them to belong to any association whatsoever. Furthermore, they were forbidden to take part in any activities or be members of any groups which could be used for Marxist or communist propaganda. Besides, other measures were taken to worsen the fate of those who were still in prison. The duration of their detention was fixed to two years for Vincent Cheng and one year for the other prisoners. The six new arrests which were carried out that same day, were undoubtedly part of the will of the authorities to render their theory of a plot more credible. By thus increasing the number of persons implicated in the affair, they wished to reveal to both interior and above all exterior opinions which had already begun to react energetically, the wide scope of the plot and by this fact, to mask the weakness of their theory of a "Marxist plot". A manifestation of this will could be seen in the press communique published that day by the Minister for the Interior. He leaned heavily on the so-called "confession" of Vincent Cheng in order to expose once again the theory of a plot. The leader was in London, and he was Tan Wah Piow. Vincent Cheng was his subordinate in Singapore. Their objective was to introduce by communist methods, subversion into the social and political order of Singapore in view of establishing a Marxist State. The communique gave the confession of Vincent Cheng as proof of this. Did he not admit having tried to use several Church institutions to aid the Marxist cause? (A somewhat high-handed and untrue summary of what television spectators had heard the preceding 9th of June). The new detainees were either close or distant members of the same circles as the victims of the first series of arrests. Tang Fong Har A 31-year-old lawyer, she was also an advocate-councillor for the Geylang Centre for foreign workers. She had also taken part in the theatrical group "The Third Stage". During her student days, she was also a member of the University of Singapore Students Union. Chew Kheng Chuan A business man of 29, he was a graduate of Harvard and a former student of the London School of Economy. According to the press communique of the Minister for the Interior, he was engaged in the "plot" since 1982. Chng Suan Tse A lecturer at the Polytechnic, she had been a member in the SCM (Christian Student Movement). She was the director of the group The Third Stage. Nur Effendi Sahid, Ronnie Ng Soon Hiang, Fang Want Pen. Aged respectively 21, 22 and 18, all three had different responsibilities and were members of the Students Union at the Polytechnic of Singapore. A New Television Broadcast: A Documentary on the Plot On the 28th and 29th of June, the Singapore television broadcast a documentary in two parts: it was an assembling of the declarations of the 16 persons implicated in the plot. According to the press accounts, the emphasis was placed on two points of interest. The first was TAN WAH PIOW. Four of the detainees had stated that they had met him in London. He had asked them to prepare the way for his return and he had revealed his plans to them. The second point of interest was the meeting together of the sectors in which the influence of the London based leader worked indirectly: the group The Third Stage, the Workers' Party, Catholic circles, the Polytechnic¡KYet, many of the declarations were vague and did not make sense except within the assembling of the broadcast. First Modifications of the Theory In the two-part documentary, all the witnesses had been carefully solicited in order to underline the existence, the cohesion and all together organised character of the plot, particularly in Singapore, to endanger the security of the State. The central role played by TAN WAH PIOW seemed evident. The government developments and declarations which were to follow in the month of July would reveal that the conviction put forward by the promoters of this theory was more apparent than real, and, what was more, that it was not shared, it seemed, by all the members of the governing body in Singapore. The invisible hand. The declarations of the Minister for Home Affairs, Shunmugam. Jayakumar, on July 6. It was the Minister for Home Affairs who, during a meeting of young people of the People's Action Party, himself presented a new version of the theory of a plot. In a talk entitled "The conspiracy, the unanswered questions, the invisible hand". The very title (we do not know if the wording of the title was that of the Minister or if its author was one of the journalists who reported the speech) shows clearly in which direction the theory was from now on to be modified. The fact that there were now unanswered questions showed that the conviction exhibited in the first press communiques from this same Minister were no longer quite as certain. The mentioning of an "invisible hand" that manipulated from a distance the "puppets" acting on the Singapore scene showed that, from now on, they were going to somewhat put the events and the Singapore actors of the plot into perspective. In the course of his talk we learnt that in fact TAN WAH PIOW could no longer be considered as the chief of the plot. He and his partners living in Singapore were nothing other than "puppets" on the inside of a "play" which was much greater, dangerous and menacing. What had just taken place was but an episode in a conflict between Singapore and Communism which, now, took the form of a conflict between the Church and the State. From now on, the attention of the Minister would be directed beyond the frontiers of his country to "an invisible hand". Who is it? In that regard, one could as yet only ask "questions without answers to them". But it was possible to think of the Malaysian Communist Party, and whose chiefs lived in the Republic of China to which Tan had travelled. One could also call into question his dealings with Malcolm Cadwell, an "anarchist-Marxist" labour deputy who was sympathetic to all Asian liberation movements. One may suppose that this change of orientation was in part brought about by the strong international pressure which was being brought to bear upon the government of Singapore. Besides, in his answers to the questions asked at the end of his talk the Minister presented a plea pro domo in which he minimised as much as he could the reactions of world opinion. According to him, some were due to the incomprehension of the situation in Singapore; others rose from the same quarters that were trying to create subversion in the country. In order to reply to the protests of Human Rights organisations, he also tried to defend the preventive detention system practised in Singapore. Nevertheless, despite the declarations of the Minister for Home Affairs and the new orientation given to the theory of a plot, it seems that for a while there was some hesitation and the Minister wished to give more importance to the plot which was proper to Singapore. The televised appearance on the 19th of July of the three first victims of the second series of arrests, Chew Kheng Chuan, Tang Fong Har and Chng Suan Tse, was a proof of this. Their interview would reveal to public opinion a new sector of the society that was threatened by subversion: the Law Society. The questions and answers furnished by the detainees would reveal that, always under the impulsion of Tan Wah Piow in London, they would have tried to manipulate this institution to make of it an instrument to criticise the State. That same day the press announced two other measures taken by the authorities concerning the persons implicated in the second series of arrests: the three militants of the Union of Students of the Polytechnic were released on Saturday night, 18th of July; the preventive detention of the three first of this series was now fixed to one year. Debates in Parliament Observers had not failed to note that since the beginning of the affair, the Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and his Minister for Home Affairs, Shunmugam Jayakumar, had unfailingly occupied the front of the stage. Several important ministers, in particular the Deputy Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong, the Minister for Education, were kept in the wings and had never expressed themselves in public on the subject. The parliamentary session at the end of the month of July would allow them to make their views known. The debates would show that inside the government, there was no unanimity on the way to conduct the affair. In Parliament, the affair was strongly evoked by the member of the opposition, Chiam See Tong, who proposed a motion demanding the immediate release of the detainees. During the discussion which ensued, the Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, took the floor to expose his view of the last events. In particular, he revealed his "skepticism and astonishment when, at the beginning of June he was told of a conspiracy, of the questions he had asked himself when the unpleasant decision was taken. All the same, he added that if the decision was maintained, it meant that one could not play with the Security of the State. Let the Church remain in its own domain! A Speech of Lee Kuan Yew The whole of the second part of the speech given by the Prime Minister on the occasion of the national day dealt with the affair of the arrests. The document, which came in two parts, tried to show that the subversion to which the networks gave prominence, and of which the chief agents had been arrested in May, was not limited to Catholic circles only and it attacked many other sectors as well, the opposition Party, the Students Syndicate¡KIt was meaningful that this affair to which Lee Kuan Yew referred turned very specially to the Catholic Church. It was uncommon, he declared, for Marxists to find in the Church a "screen" to camouflage their activities. He had always regarded Catholicism as a natural ally against Communism and atheism. He then spelled out what he now expected of the Church "after this experience". She should never again allow ecclesiastical institutions or para-ecclesiastical ones to be involved in political activities. She ought to remain within her own domain! In Singapore, moral and spiritual evolution did not necessarily follow material developments. It was only in this domain that the Church should exercise her influence. This warning of the Prime Minister would be repeated in a speech on the 14th of August with, this time, a special mention for priests, advising them to put aside their ecclesiastical garb if they wanted to immerge themselves in politics.
Liberation Theology, source of all evils. The speech by S. Rajaratnam on August 14, 1987. This speech entitled Is Liberation Theology Good? was given by one of the theoreticians of the governing party, S. RAJARATNAM, at the National University of Singapore. In fact, it was a development of the advice given by Lee Kuan Yew to the Church: Remain in your own domain! "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God" commented S. Rajaratnam. Well, Liberation Theology is not religion but Leninism mixed with Maoism, or again, according to the _expression of the speaker "it is Marxism spoken in a theological language". In all likelihood, the speaker had not read a single book on Liberation Theology. He quoted from Ernesto Cardenal. The passages from Juan Segundo, Miguel Bolino and Frei Betto which he mentioned were very brief and without any reference: they could just as well have been found in second-hand in articles. Why did he not follow the advice that he so wisely gave the Church: "Remain within your own domain!" We believe him readily when at the beginning of his speech he affirmed that the things of God were not his "job". In fact, there was absolutely no theoretical refutation of the modern current of theological Christian thinking. He simply clung to showing that it was but a new off-shoot of Leninism and Maoism. One of the proofs that he offered was the adopting by Liberation theologians of some of the essential concepts of Marxism. He insisted that the idea of Leninist truth (everything that served a revolution was true for him) could be found, for example, in a phrase which he quoted out of context and repeated without any references, by Juan Segundo: "Truth is always an efficacious truth for the liberation of men." The real promoters of this Christian current were not the priests, bishops and cardinals who are usually quoted. He gave an unflattering portrait of these: he saw in them churchmen fooled by propaganda who wanted in this way to realise a political ambition which was otherwise frustrated. The real instigators of this current were the communist leaders who tried to give a new face to their efforts to destabilise the universe. He gave a very personal explanation to this curious alliance between Leninism and religion. According to him, one of the defects of Marx's thought where he differed from communism, was that it cruelly lacked mythology and irrationality which were elements which formed the attraction of the revolutionary thought for people. Marx was wrong to suppress paradise from the world beyond. Lenin, Mao and Castro had always used to their profit myths that were capable of drawing the simple-minded. Thus, Liberation Theology was for them an unexpected godsend. Did it not promise two paradises: a communist paradise here on earth and a second, Christian one in the life to come? New releases and abrupt change of policy For more than four weeks, these two speeches would be the only light on the affair. Then, suddenly, new facts and new declarations would precipitate it towards a very strange conclusion. We recall that everything had begun with the brutality of the first arrests, the vehemence of the Minister for the Interior's accusations. Then there followed the will to render the theory of a plot more coherent, to show how widespread were the damages caused by subversion in the different sectors of society in Singapore. Then, for a time, the attacks changed their objective. But halfway through September the affair instead of being concluded would in some way begin to unwind itself little by little like a balloon which was deflating. Everything in the final developments give this impression, plunging into perplexity those who sill tried to give meaning to the whole series of events, as a writer in "Far Eastern Economic Review" of the 22nd of October 1987 remarked. On the 13th of September, two of the detainees, Chew Kheng Chuan and Tang Fong Har who nevertheless had been condemned for two year in preventive detention, were released, with restrictions of their civil rights as had already applied to the others who had been released before them. Fifteen days later, the same conditions for release were applied to seven other detainees: Kevin Desmond D'Souza, Teo Soh Lung, Tan Tee Seng, Low Yit Leng, Chung Lai Mei, and Wong Sou Yee. No official commentary accompanied these releases. On the 19th of September, a strange declaration of the Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, became known which did not permit people to understand any better the signification of these new releases to which, by the way, he did not even allude. He addressed young people directly, graduates of universities, and to the middle classes of his country, he let it be known that perhaps the government had shown itself to be too intolerant and had been too aggressive in regard to opinions which differed from its own. Thus, what at the beginning had been called an international plot which menaced the security of the State of Singapore became a simple difference of opinion, and the whole mode of conduct of the authorities during the four previous months had been brought about by a "vulgar allergy to being contradicted"¡KFor the moment, the story rested there. Yet, no doubt the affair ought to be hurriedly concluded as six detainees were still in prison, which proved that the recent declarations of the Deputy Prime Minister were not yet the last word¡Kall the more so as one of the priests who had left Singapore in June for Australia was violently attacked in the Parliament. On the 30th of November 1987, the Minister for Home Affairs flung a diatribe against him in which abject remarks on the private life of the priest which still did not succeed in hiding the weakness of the arguments he used. It was not impossible to suppose that this new attack was the beginning of a new offensive.

Concluding Reflections


(6) Extracts of the Pastoral Letter had indeed been printed in the press.

(7) These international reactions will be the object of the following paragraphs.

(8) "The Sunday Times", 7th June 1987. ///////////////////////////////////////////////// What is most probable At the time of writing (late 1987), no one knows towards what new development or conclusion the affair will now be directed. We therefore have to be prudent and draw only the conclusions that exist at the present moment while remarking for each of them its degree of certitude or probability¡KThe account of the events which we have tried to present with as little prejudice as possible make some of them more than probable. We shall begin with these¡K Among the conclusions we are able to draw with the greatest assurance are, first of all, the impossibility of believing the theory of a "Marxist plot" which was given during the whole of the affair by the highest Singapore authorities. During these four months, it underwent too many variations and modifications, and during the month of September, it was even in a manner, weakened by a member of the government. Nobody wants Singapore to become a Marxist State (it is the case with us and it was also the case with the chief accused, Vincent Cheng, who declared that explicitly), we can recognise Communism as enemy number one of the regime (this was the legitimate appreciation of the authorities of Singapore) even while we refuse to follow the Singapore regime in this false and incoherent construction which they never succeeded in rendering coherent simply because it would seem, they failed to believe it really themselves. Two other conclusions could be drawn with a great deal of probability that, also derive from the first. First of all, the Singapore regime has a problem when it comes to dealing with any opposition, even if it is a minority, as was this affair as it was represented by the members of the so-called plot. If the opposition of the young people implicated in this affair was the sign of the dissatisfaction of a certain well-informed middle class, as indeed the government readily concedes, then the violent and brutal reaction of that same government manifested that perhaps the relationship between the State and the civil society which it manages with an efficacy which all observers readily admit, are no longer all that harmonious. The second conclusion concerns a certain interference between the domain of the civil society which make up the "management" of the State and activities inspired by religious ideals, and more particularly, Christian ideals. That much was evident during the whole course of the affair. The young people and the priests whose activities had been considered as subversive and dangerous for the security of the State were for the majority among them militants within the framework and under the direction of Christian groups or associations. They were told to: "Remain in your own domain!" and to "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God", or again, let "the Church attend to the ends which belonged to her". Underlying the whole affair we could see the outlines of a rivalry of competence, loudly proclaimed in the declarations coming from the government (we have only to recall the first confrontation of the Prime Minister and Archbishop Gregory Yong, the attacks on Liberation Theology, the speech of Lee Kuan Yew on the occasion of the national day), but also implicitly recognised in the changing of attitude of the archbishop and the declarations of Vincent Cheng and the others during their so-called confessions. What is probable In trying now to make some sense of the whole affair, in trying to understand it in the context of the social and political system of Singapore, we penetrate into the domain of explanations by hypothesis, and consequently of what is probable. Among the conclusions that we offered above, the last two deserve more ample reflection and they might perhaps shed more light on it for us. We mean the problems offered to the State through its opposition and what we have termed a rivalry of competence between those responsible for the management of the State and religious-inspired movements. We questioned their respective statutes after having made a detour by an analysis of what one could call the Singapore socio-political System, a term we borrow in part from John Clamer in his book Singapore, ideology and society. (9) The Singapore System A description of the Singapore society in its social and also its political organisation presents big difficulties. Indeed, none of the categories that generally serve under the classification of political regimes and their relationship with society can be adopted entirely. Thus, in prinicipal, the State of Singapore gave itself all the institutions of a parliamentary democracy. However, in reality, it does not function as a democracy without one being able in all cases, to classify it in the category of dictatorships¡Knor, among totalitarian states either. Singapore has a particular way of living its relationship between the State and society. John Clamer tried to study its society and power structure within one only system where the civil Society and the State referred to one another. One being unable to comprehend matters without the other and reciprocally. The idea of the predominance of the State is what applies to this system. It is not only the idea that the State has of itself, but also the idea which the population has made of it, and also the idea which shows itself from the way institutions, the administration, enterprises and the educational system function. This universal role of the State is justified from two points of view: the political stability of a community that is multicultural, multiracial, multireligious, and the management of an economical progress that demands a high level of centralisation and organisation. Yet another element joins all those: the Confucian culture which dictates the behaviour of a majority of the population lends itself very well to this paternalistic conception of the State; people could not but trust those who govern and were believed to be incapable of indicating anything but what was good. Undoubtedly, the events which are the object of this dossier are due to a crack in this unanimity. To all that should be added the fact that the chief reference to all the actions of the State was the economy. It enjoyed an absolute priority. The State was, par excellence, the manager of the economy, and it was as such that it exercised its administration of all the other domains of the society. One of the paradoxes of this State that was violently anti-Communist was that it had a vision which was originally Marxist, of a society in which the economical infrastructure determined all the other ideological superstructures, including the vision of man isolated in his role of homo economicus. This practical materialism brought on two consequences: first, that which was called "social engineering", the attempt to fashion man and prescribe the mode of his conduct according to the immediate needs (of the State). It is to this attitude that we can attribute the very troubling variations in the order of moral values displayed by the government. This is clearly visible in its politics for births and its preoccupation with eugenics. Abortion, which was strongly encouraged in the '70s became, a few years later, altogether discouraged. The norms in vigour varied not only with time, but also according to the social classes. Couples of the middle-classes were encouraged to have 2, 3, 4 children, whereas poor parents were offered a bonus of $10,000 if they would get themselves sterilised. The educated young were strongly encouraged to get married within their own ranks whereas immigrant workers were forbidden to marry Singaporeans. It would be an economical suicide for the "good genes" which educated people bore were dissolved by being mixed with the "bad genes" which were contained in the poor. The second consequence of this practical materialism, this preponderance of the economical order, casts a slur over the whole traditional political sphere. If everything was subject to management, and rigorous administration, then there was no room for political choices and therefore for any real opposition. Even the word "politics" took on a negative connotation, so much so that, as a Singapore intellectual affirmed, there was no longer any "political personnel, but a managing bureaucracy". The State of the Opposition Yet, the power representatives insisted that political opposition did exist in Singapore. There were several legal opposition parties of which the best known were the Workers' Party, and the Singapore Democratic Party. When a member of this last-named Party, CHIAM SEE TONG placed a motion at the July parliamentary session asking for the immediate release of the detainees, accompanied by a vigorous plea on behalf of the young people implicated in the affair, several members of the government underlined that this peaceful constitutional opposition had the right to be expressed and that it was being expressed¡KWhat was condemned, was opposition that had recourse to violence, to Communist methods, which attacked the security of the State. In fact, the reactions of the authorities during this parliamentary debate presented a typical case of what John Clamer called the illusion of a parliamentary democracy. Despite the numerous references to Anglo-Saxon parliamentary methods, this so-called legal opposition moved in an artificial field without any real effect on the decisions adopted and without any possibility of opening up eventual reforms. The true Singapore universe was the one which we have described above, the one in which the omnipresent vigilance of the State dominated. There, all real opposition collided with the divine mandate conferred upon the State, not only by its Confucian heritage, but also by the Marxist-type priority accorded to the economy. That was what had been questioned by the action of the educated young people from the middle classes who had been implicated in the so-called "plot". Their activities took exception precisely to certain forms of "social engineering" , eugenist directives and the marginalisation of immigrant workers. We are then able to understand the violent reaction of the authorities and their theory of a plot. All the more so as this group of educated young people exercised a certain influence beyond the middle classes, in some legal circles, which also threatened the interior of the Workers' Party, where they were relatively active, to transform legal opposition into a true opposition. The Religious Situation The description of the socio-political system given above will help us to understand the warning given to the Catholic Church and, no doubt, to all other religions, at the time of this affair. It might even have been the chief objective of the authorities. It was, in any case, what three Muslim associations of Singapore understood when, after the speech of Lee Kuan Yew for the National Day, they announced their intention of leaving the Central Council of Malaysian cultural organisations, for fear of finding themselves immersed in politics. This warning meant that the authorities saw in some religious activities which were new in their eyes, a threat of a serious malfunctioning for the actual system. The State was, in fact, far from indifferent to the different religions practiced in the country, despite the avowed materialism it was leading. Religion held a large place in the life of the people. For some, the Sikhs, the Malays, the Parsees, it even entered into the definition of their identities. For others, it was an element of their culture. Finally, for Christians, it occupied a large place in their motivations in their spiritual, social and cultural life. The State was not in the least interested in the system of beliefs as long as they did not oppose what was perceived as being in the interest of the nation. Thus, the liberty of religion was proclaimed in regard to the great religions with certain exceptions: Scientology was forbidden, the Mormons were scarcely tolerated and Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted. Nevertheless, the State had a very clear idea of the humanising role that religion played within the society. For the State, they were a source of social control; they also retained the moral values necessary for the preservation of a certain human equilibrium. Above all, they were an indispensable antidote to the risks of dehumanisation that excesses of technology and socialisation could bring about. That was why if they were wary of the social orientations of the great religions, they encouraged the privatisation and moral orientation of the beliefs. The pietist form of Christianity propagated by Billy Graham during a crusade in December 1979, met with a very great success and it corresponded to the exact image of religion which the State had of it. Whereas the State fixed very clearly in this way the assigned function accorded to religion in society where they assumed both control and management, some sectors of the Church in Singapore were moving in the opposite direction. Contrary to the declarations which were published during the affair, these activists drew their inspiration more from documents like the Second Vatican CouncilI's Gaudium et Spes" rather than from Liberation Theology. The Vatican Council's current of presence in the world and a greater engagement in the transformation of some social structures coincided precisely with the emergence of a new generation, issued in general from the middle classes, which an ever growing dissatisfaction in regard to the society in which they lived, were critical of it and had the will to transform it. It was therefore quite natural for some of these young to join movements inspired by Christian ideals more capable of welcoming their new ambitions. That was how a certain sector of the Church in Singapore found itself to be the bearer of the hopes for changes in a minority part ¡V it has to be admitted ¡V of the young people of the country¡KIt was also for this very reason, they would find themselves in conflict with the State as we have related in this dossier.


(9) Published by Chopmen Publishers, Singapore, 1985. Especially Chapter 15, "The State and ideology in Singapore" Other sources: Magazines, books and other documents:
-THE CATHOLIC NEWS, 14th June 1987
-THE STRAITS TIMES, May to September 1987
-THE STAR, June to August 1987, Malaysia
- ASIA WEEK, July to October 1987, Hong Kong
- FAR EASTERN REVIEW, June to October 1987, Hong Kong
- Bulletin of the "EMERGENCY COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN SINGAPORE, August to October 1987, New Zealand
- REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL MISSION OF JURISTS TO SINGAPORE, July, 87, Geneva - SINGAPORE, IDEOLOGY, SOCIETY, CULTURE, by John Clamer, Singapore, 1985 -Particular sources and private conversations