人权组织“功能8”(Function 8)就陈彬彬所制记录片《星国恋》的官方禁映发表意下声明:

 

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日期:2014年9月12日

人权组织“功能8”(Function 8)就陈彬彬所制记录片《星国恋》的官方禁映发表以下声明:

一个国家的历史要兼收并蓄、博采众长,方能更全面地反映事实;近期出版的书籍,如《狮爪逃生》、《新加坡1963年的冷藏行动》、《1963年二二大逮捕事件始末》、《夙愿重燃》和《敢向英殖民统治者说不》等为新加坡建国时期具有重大意义的时段,提供了不同的回想。陈彬彬的历史纪录片《星国恋》为我国的历史编写又增添新的诠释,它讲述的是留居国外的新加坡政治流亡者,而这些流亡者有些竟已离开新加坡长达50年之久。

新加坡媒体发展局已宣布禁止这部影片在新加坡的公开上映,功能8 (Function 8)对此深表关注。禁止知识产品的作法诚然与新加坡作为第一世界国家的形象格格不入,它更像是中世纪时期一些统治者无知幼稚的计谋。新加坡不是说要大肆庆祝建国50周年,鼓励国人交流对话、畅所欲言吗?然而,这对话的精神实质哪里去了?

我们呼吁当局,让国人能更真实地评价国家历史,让新加坡发展成一个在人民心中具有智慧的国家,而非铁板一块的国家。

我们呼吁当局,让国人能更真实地评价国家历史,让新加坡发展成一个在人民心中具有智慧的国家,而非铁板一块

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Call on the authorities to allow an honest appraisal of our history

The history of a nation can aim to be accurate only if various and divergent voices are heard. In recent years, books like “Escape from the Lion’s Paw”, “The 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore”, “We Remember”, “That We May Dream Again” and “Youth on Trial” have added other perspectives to the memory of a very significant period in Singapore’s nation-building.

Tan Pin Pin’s documentary film, “To Singapore With Love”, on Singapore’s political exiles who fled the country, some as long as 50 years ago, adds another dimension to this on-going writing of our history.

Function 8 is deeply concerned that the Media Development Authority has banned this film from being screened in Singapore. Banning of intellectual products is far from being the hallmark of a first-world country; it smacks of medieval ignorance and naivety. Where is the spirit of conversation so much hailed and lauded as our country is preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her birth?

We call on the authorities to allow an honest appraisal of our history, so that we can develop as an intelligent nation, not just in hard-wire terms, but in the heart and soul of our people.

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A birthday note to Singapore

waihanBy Chan Wai Han

Singapore is a country. Singapore is not a nation. Not yet.

A country has a physical boundary, although sometimes disputed. It has a political system that governs the life of its citizens. A flag, an anthem, all these and more – trappings of a country – Singapore has.

Passion, love for the nation, with the people being ready to die for Singapore… these we do not have. Well, at least not many are ready to die for the country. Yet there are some who are passionate and care enough to try and make a difference, with or without accolades and fat pay cheques.

What brings about this scenario? My view is that the people are treated as economic digits, workers for Singapore Inc. with hard-nosed accounting taking precedence in every facet of our policy-making. When this happens, our relationship with the country is merely transactional. You try to get the most out of the country. And if it doesn’t suit you, just up and migrate if you have the ability. If you can’t, then swallow your pride and try to make a life on this little diamond.

National TheatrePeople need to share memories and pass them on for a collective identity to evolve and survive. I think of the National Library’s red-brick building at Stamford Road, the National Theatre at River Valley, my primary school at Queen Street… all gone. Soon my childhood memories at Tanglin Halt will give way to the bulldozers of SERS. So too my secondary school at Anderson Road. The unspoken truth is that some of these sites are too valuable to be left to a mere school, even one with 135 years’ history. In the surroundings of Anderson Road, more and more multi-million condominiums have sprung up. The state’s land bank probably would be silly to pass over this piece of real estate and leave it as a school.

The ever-increasing minimum sum of our CPF accounts gives the sense that we’ll never be able to use our hard-earned savings in our own lifetime. Even the Pioneer Package comes with so many strings wrapping up the gift. I’ve seen thin old folks in one-room flats who can do with better meals. Why keep the “gift” wrapped in medical benefits? Why not give outright so they can get better nutrition and hopefully won’t become so ill that they need to use the medical benefits so soon?

Politicking need not come at the end of every four or five years. When boundaries are re-drawn and new names given to electoral wards ever so often there is no opportunity for residents to develop an affinity to a place. (In 30 years, I have lived in Fengshan, Kaki Bukit, East Coast GRC… all without moving an inch from Bedok North.) Fanciful names like Rainbowville, Eunos Ville, etc crop up overnight on big structures of precincts. These do not make for community bonding.

rallyOf course, much has been done for the country by the dominant ruling party, as fair-minded people would acknowledge. But I feel great discomfort that the achievements are on the back of the injustices inflicted on many human beings, among them:

  • Political opponents of the ruling party who had been placed under detention without trial.
  • Foreign workers who do not have fair recourse to abuse by employers.
  • Home-makers who do not receive any significant economic recognition (other than the wife relief granted to taxpaying husbands).

And a very frightening divide in the us-versus-them attitude is practised in the $100 daily levy imposed on Singaporeans entering the casinos in the country. The message seems to be: it is alright for non-Singaporeans to empty their pockets… they are welcome to gamble away their fortune here. But our citizens need to be protected (the $100 levy being a futile attempt anyway in deterring the gamblers). What kind of value does this beggar-thy-neighbour policy imbue in our people?

On Singapore’s 49th birthday, an accidental political construct by the way, I wish that we be a more caring and accountable country. Both towards our citizens and towards other nations. We don’t always have to be the top dog. There is a place to progress together, not progress at the expense of others.

Too idealistic perhaps. But without ideals, is life really worth living? And without ideals, can we truly build a nation?

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60th Anniversary of May 13, 1954 Incident

Below is the speech of Dr Poh Soo Kai delivered at the lunch commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the May 13, 1954 Incident and the arrests of all the members of Editorial Board Fajar, a student publication of the University Socialist Club of Malaya. Dr. Poh Soo Kai was President of the club and Chairman of the Editorial Board. The students were charged for sedition.

Dr Poh Speech

“Comrades & friends,

Selamat petang! Zhong wu hao! Good-day! Firstly, let me take this opportunity to thank MARUAH and F8 for organizing this gathering today – 60 years after the historical event on May 13th 1954. (See photos)

May 13th 1954 marked an important watershed in reviving the people of Singapore’s struggle towards independence. We have to keep in mind that in 1954 Singapore was still a colony and the post Second World War’s cries for independence in the island as in the Malayan peninsula had been muted by the brute force unleashed by the British declaration of Emergency in 1948. The Batang Kali massacre, being litigated today, is one such grim reminder of those dark days. However, the May 13th 1954 student movement was to change all that for Singapore and lift the people’s struggle for independence from Britain. 

A month before, in April 1954, the British colonial government had introduced national service conscription for male youth of Singapore. In its commentary on it, the University Socialist Club wrote in its May 10th Fajar issue that we did not understand the meaning of the word, “national” since we were a colony; the British did not deem us fit to rule over ourselves, yet we were deemed fit to fight and die for them!

Most affected by this new regulation, since they were the majority of the youths, were the Chinese middle schools students, who logically decided to petition the British Governor in Singapore for exemption from national service. On this fateful day of May 13th 1954, eight student representatives were to hand over the petition. Many other students turned out en masse to support their representatives and lined the pavement from River Valley Road /Clemenceau Avenue to Government House. The peaceable nature of the student assembly is borne out by postings on YouTube – an alternative media. However, they were set upon by baton wielding police of colonial Britain. 

As a result, the students were beaten up and chased from Clemenceau Avenue to Stamford Road. They got a baptism in police brutality. Forty eight students were arrested on charges of obstructing police officers. Eventually, seven were found guilty and sentenced to three months’ rigorous imprisonment. 

513cThese young innocent Chinese middle schools students had been dealt a bitter lesson that politicized them. They saw clearly who the dogs were and became keenly aware of themselves as the underdogs with no rights at all; no human rights that colonial Britain needed to respect or even pretend to respect. Alas! The only way forward for the students was to unite and unite ever more firmly with all other underdogs in Singapore society to pursue justice.

513bThe momentous year of 1954 also saw on May 28th, the arrest for sedition of the Fajar editorial team for its May 10th issue. Sedition was a very serious charge to level on these youths for patriotism and editorial independence. One of the recorded reasons for the arrest was that the police had found copies of Fajar among the belongings of the Chinese middle schools students and falsely assumed that, we, the Fajar boys were behind the Chinese middle schools students’ May 13th protest. Indeed, we Fajar boys and the University Socialist Club had given full support to the Chinese middle schools students. We also turned up as members of the Pan-Malayan Students’ Federation to demonstrate our solidarity when they occupied the Chinese High School. The unity of the English and Chinese educated students was forged at these moments when the mighty force of colonial Britain rained down unreasonably upon them. 

D.N. Pritt Q.C. had defended us in the Fajar trial leading to our acquittal. This Queen’s Counsel had a reputation for strident anti-colonialism, battling imperialist Britain on behalf of her colonies. The Chinese middle schools students decided to approach Harry Lee Kuan Yew, who had been junior counsel in the Fajar case, to engage Pritt for their appeal. As expected, they lost their case. But that was how Harry Lee came to gain a foothold among the Chinese middle schools students

The Chinese middle schools students’ demand for respect of their human rights had set the example. Workers were encouraged. They too wanted their labour right to organize their own unions. This is a fundamental human right. Article 8 of the United Nations’ Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognizes the right of workers to form or join trade unions and protects the right to strike. 

On November 1, 1954, Jamit Singh had joined the Singapore Harbour Board Staff Association as a paid secretary. Jamit had hailed from the University Socialist Club. On May 1, 1955, Jamit led the Harbour Board staff association – the white collar workers – on a 67 days strike which culminated in victory. Jamit became a hero! He had stood firm in demanding just wages for union members, and brought the strike to public attention with pickets deployed at the gates of the harbour and outside key government institutions. Inspired by their white collar counterparts, the Habour Board’s blue collar workers demanded to join Jamit’s union; they did not want to be represented by unions set up and controlled by management. Jamit went on to strengthen workers’ unity by amalgamating the various small waterfront unions into a giant union of 10,000 members – the Singapore Harbour Board Workers’ Union. 

Here I want to pay tribute to this comrade: Jamit Singh fought for what was fair and what was right and paid a very heavy price for his conviction and courage. Jamit, your struggle was not in vain; your fine example will continue to inspire us.

The workers’ struggles for their human and labour rights were naturally viewed with sympathy by the Chinese middle schools students who had been through the baptism of bruised and broken bodies on May 13th. They knew what it was like to be the underdogs fighting for their human rights to be respected. Hence, the Harbour Board white and blue collar workers and Jamit Singh received expression of solidarity from the Chinese middle schools students. A good number of students turned up at the picket lines to offer sympathy and support.

Around the beginning of 1955, the majority of the workers in Hock Lee Bus Company decided to form a branch of the Singapore Bus Workers Union that was led by Fong Swee Suan, Chen Say Jame and Lim Teow Peng. They did not want to be represented by the yellow union set up by management. However, management refused to recognize the genuine workers’ union and would only deal with its own workers’ union. An industrial dispute ensured. It was momentarily settled when the two unions agreed to arbitration presided over by a neutral party who was Dr Gamba of the University of Malaya. His proposal to carve out bus routes was accepted by both unions. The ink was barely dry on the agreement, when under pressure from management the yellow union changed its mind. This obviously resulted in further industrial disputes. The management then sacked the striking workers and brought in scabs to forcibly drive the buses out. The sacked workers – with their livelihood gone – decided to prevent the buses from leaving the depot. Water hoses were turned on them.

Again this strike received the overwhelming support from the Chinese middle schools students. They brought food and drinks to the striking workers to reinforce their spirit. Other workers turned up too in support and solidarity. 

The police moved in to beat and arrest the resisting Hock Lee bus workers. Scuffles broke out. And then, there was a gunshot and an unarmed student was tragically killed. These were the real days of tears and righteous indignation where students and workers stood up for their basic and legitimate human rights, where the people of Singapore stood up against their white colonial masters.

Today, 60 years on, the Singapore authorities are denigrating these days of righteous indignation as days of rage with their version of destruction and mayhem instigated by the hidden hand of the MCP – the sinister bogeyman that they touted every so often. Nothing could be further from these cheap official propagandas. 

Devan Nair was – ironically now on looking back – a union leader of the left in the midst of all these happenings. It may be fitting at this moment for me to say to his son, Janadas: I hope your father had not said to you that Chin Siong had told him that the communists were behind May 13th 1954 or the Hock Lee bus workers’ strike. Lim Chin Siong is no longer alive and it is not fair to attribute statements to him that cannot be verified. 

Dr. P.J. Thum has confirmed that Special Branch reports for 1954-1955 reveal that the MCP did not instigate either the 13 May student protest or the Hock Lee Bus strike and riot.

In the mid 1990s, I went to London to look up the British archives. My main purpose was, of course, to look at the then recently declassified material on Operation Coldstore of which I had been a direct victim. I went through the files on the Hock Lee bus rioting and found NO mention of any communist complicity or manipulation in the strike or riot. Yet, 2 profiles in the files caught my attention.

Serial No. C5 Tang Thiam Meng S4T 03943 Bus driver (Communist) 1955. One of the principal agitators in the Hock Lee Bus strike. Responsible for spreading communist ideology among STC bus workers. Active in riots 1956. Released in 1958 and immediately reverted to his old union activities. Joined STC employees union, now in the Central Council. A strong supporter of Ong Eng Guan. Committee member of Aljunied branch, U.P.P. 

Serial No. C6 Na Ho alias Wong Ho alias Wong Or S2Y 6230 Taxi driver. Suspected communist sympathizer. Official of Hock Lee branch of Singapore Bus Workers Union. Active part in October 1956 riots. Detained October 1956, released on DIRECT ORDER 4 March 1957. Now CEC member UPP and chairman of Tiong Bahru branch. [Emphasis mine. Source: I.S.C. paper No. (S)(63)1; 24 January, 1963; telegram 57]

These are very interesting profiles indeed. Both men C5 Tang Thiam Meng and C6 Na Ho were allegedly communist or pro-communist; both were accused of being active or making trouble in the Hock Lee bus strikes and subsequent riots. Yet both were treated with kids’ gloves. C5 Tang received an amazingly short imprisonment not exceeding two years while the treatment of Na Ho, was even more incredible. He was released after a few months on DIRECT ORDER! 

All of us who have been detained – none had been released on Direct Order. You and I know that this option did not exist for us at all. I, therefore, suspect these men to be British agent provocateurs of the so-called Days of Rage. 

My suspicion that C5 and C6 were agent provocateurs was reinforced when, fast forward from 1956 to early 1963, I read of Lord Selkirk, (the British High Commissioner for Singapore) declaring to his boss, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, that:

… The U.K. government for its part is not prepared to agree to the inclusion in the list, of Numbers C4, C5 and C6 for which there is no security justification. [Lord Selkirk to Secretary of State for the Colonies, telegram No. 59; 29 January 1963]

Wow! Despite the profiles describing C5 and C6 as communist and pro-communist, Lord Selkirk did not find them to be security risk and opposed including them in the list to be arrested under Operation Coldstore. Apparently Lord Selkirk was privy to information that the small SB mata2 on the ground were not told. They were just reporting in the profiles what they saw with their eyes, unaware of the master-puppeteer behind the scene. 

C5 and C6 profiles came up again in early 1963 when Lee Kuan Yew, Tunku and the British were preparing the list of persons to be arrested in Operation Coldstore. Lee was “quite insistent” that C5 and C6, (together with another profile C4) be arrested under Operation Coldstore although he knew that:

… there were no grounds for saying that they were involved in the communist conspiracy and (that) … he (Lee) had stated publicly that Ong Eng Guan had taken great care to keep communists out of key positions in the U.P.P. [Lord Selkirk to Secretary of State for the Colonies; point 6; telegram No. 53; 28 January 1963]

Why did Lee Kuan Yew want members of Ong Eng Guan’s party to be arrested under Operation Coldstore in the face of British opposition that these men posed no security threat at all? Lee, in effect admitted to the British that the object of the U.P.P. arrests was to strengthen his own chances of political survival. Lee was afraid that Ong Eng Guan’s party, the U.P.P., would fill the void left by the impending arrests of Barisan Sosialis leaders in Operation Coldstore, i.e. the U.P.P. would be “the next best vehicle for wrestling power from Lee Kuan Yew.” [Lord Selkirk to Secretary of State for the Colonies; point 4; telegram No. 56; 29 January 1963] We must not forget that the P.A.P. had lost to Ong Eng Guan in the Hong Lim by-election of 1961.

So much for the motives behind these arrests. Nor do the cases (serials C4, C5 and C6) stand up to examination. These are the best cases within the U.P.P. that Singapore Special Branch could find and the security records (…) have been “written up” as much as possible. [Lord Selkirk to Secretary of State for the Colonies; point 3; telegram No. 56; 29 January 1963]

From the records, we learn that Lee Kuan Yew had read the profiles of C4, C5 and C6; he was also keenly aware that the British considered C4, C5 and C6 to be non-security threats. Hence we must assume that Lee knew that the Hock Lee bus riots of 1955 and the Chinese High School’s students’ riots of 1956 were instigated by these agent provocateurs as we also know today, thanks to the declassification of the British archive. Yet, Lee has not prevented Singapore’s public funds to be wasted by Channel News Asia in sending a team to Nepal to interview ex-gurkha policemen. The team certainly was on an ‘excellence’ joy trip! 

In 1956, trouble broke out again when union leaders were arrested, the women’s organization as well as the Singapore Chinese Middle Schools Student Union were banned. In protest, the students staged sit-ins and camped at Chinese High and Chung Cheng. Riot broke out on October 25 before the students could disperse. 

Among the more than 70 persons arrested on 26 October 1956 was Madam Wu Cai Tang, chairperson of the Singapore Chinese School Parents’ Association. Here I want to end my speech by paying homage to this revolutionary mother who had brought up a revolutionary family. Her son Fang Xiao Lang was also among those detained in 1956.

Indeed, May 13th 1954 was the watershed event that re-launched the people of Singapore’s struggle for independence. 

I should end my speech at this point. However, permit me to modify my already printed speech at this juncture, for I believe it is timely that I give a piece of advice to Lee Kuan Yew now before it is too late: Lee, apologize to the people of Singapore.

Lim Chin SiongThere is mounting evidence from the archives of Lee’s deception and lies to the people of Singapore. The latest exposure just a few days ago came from Dr. Thum’s article in The Online Citizen on the “Mai Pah Mata” (Do Not Beat the Police – in Hokkien) speech of Lim Chin Siong on 25 October 1956 which has been infamously misquoted as “Pah Mata” (Beat the Police). This misquote was used to justify Lim’s arrest two days later by the Lim Yew Hock government. This misquote has hovered over Lim Chin Siong for 60 years to paint him as an irresponsible rabble rouser that instigated the riots of 25 and 26 October 1956. 

Now that we have proof that Lim Chin Siong was willfully misquoted from the police archive that had made a recording of Lim’s speech at that rally which, for your information, was also attended by PAP big guns like Lee Kuan Yew and Toh Chin Chye, I would like to ask this question to Lee:

Why did you not defend your party’s assistant secretary general and Member of Parliament for Bukit Timah when, after his arrest, this misquote was raised in Parliament to justify his arrest by Lim Yew Hock’s government? Why did you not jump to your feet with alacrity and shout, “That is a lie, a most blatant lie. I was on the stage. Lim Chin Siong did not say that!”

Why did you not use the PETIR, your own PAP organ, to rectify this misquote? Why such an un-honorable deafening silence for 60 years?

This was sheer treachery to Lim Chin Siong!

Therefore, to Lee Kuan Yew, I would advise: Apologize to the people of Singapore before it is too late – apologize to the people of Singapore before it is too late.

Thank you once again to F8 and MARUAH for this lunch to honour all who had aspired for Singapore’s independence and sacrificed in the movements and struggles towards it. 

May we remember their days of tears and righteous indignation and carry on their work to achieve the independence they had aspired for – AN INDEPENDENCE WITH FULL RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DIGNITY FOR ALL SINGAPOREANS. MARUAH! DIGNITY!

Terima kasih, xie xie, thank you.”

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In memory of Tan Jing Quee (18 Jan 1939 – 14 Jun 2011) by Hong Lysa

jing queeTan Jing Quee is best known for his dedication to pioneering the writing of the history of the left in Singapore. He has been acknowledged for conceiving and editing Comet in our Sky: Lim Chin Siong in History (2001); Our Thoughts are Free: Poems and Prose on Imprisonment and Exile (2009); The Fajar Generation: The University Socialist Club and the Politics of Postwar Malaya (2010); and The May 13 Generation: The Chinese Middle Schools Student Movement and Singapore Politics in the 1950s (2011).
At the time, each was a risky enterprise, though less so with every publication.

With the success of these publications, it may be forgotten that Jing Quee’s plans for these books were not necessarily greeted with enthusiasm at the time. There was fear that he might be stirring a hornet’s nest, provoking retaliation from the state after a relatively tranquil decade of the 1990s where the former political prisoners slipped into oblivion, as they went about their daily lives, ostensibly putting the past behind them, and correspondingly the assertion that they were communists or communist sympathisers became somewhat muted.

However, the school textbooks on Singapore history had from 1984 been teaching that the ‘communists and pro-communists’ within the PAP were against merger as the Federation government would crack down on the communists in Singapore. The confidence that the state-sanctioned narrative would not be challenged grew. In 1997, the PAP government launched the National Education exhibition, a full-blown narrative of the anti-colonial movement in Singapore as being riddled with communists from the strikes and riots of the 1950s to the merger issue of the early 60s.

It seemed as if the former political prisoners were determined to ignore all this, and suppress their past. A good number did not even tell their children about what they had been through.
Indeed, Jing Quee was not unaware of the concern that he might be courting trouble, and not just for himself when he embarked on his books.

He accordingly planned his moves carefully. Comet in Our Sky was launched in Kuala Lumpur, but not in Singapore. When he accepted the invitation to speak at the Detention-Writing-Healing fringe arts festival in 2006, becoming with Michael Fernandez the first former political prisoners to narrate their experiences at a public event, they both stuck strictly to the fact of their prison days, but still earned a rebuke from the Ministry of Home Affairs about how ‘the government had allowed the detainees to put their past behind, and enabled them and their families to enjoy the prosperity of Singapore, but it would not allow them to re-write history’ and ‘take advantage of young Singaporeans who had not lived through the period.’

This statement did cause anxiety that there would be repercussions on any further attempts to push the issue. Some were concerned that he was rocking the boat. Others held the view that should there be a backlash, younger Singaporeans involved in civil society work who had no links or knowledge of Operation Coldstore and the other detentions, would become fearful and discouraged. It was better not to burden them with the past.

Jing Quee did not share this view, but he was mindful of it.
There were certainly indications that his pursuits were not to be encouraged. A regional branch of the National Library had initially agreed to provide the venue for the book launch in February 2009, but was to change its mind. In the end, the launch was held at a private gallery.

For the launch of the Fajar Generation at the end of that year, Jing Quee and Rose kept the venue secret until a day or two before the event, and only those who had registered were informed of it. There was concern that pressure would be put on the venue hosts to back out. The launch for the translation of Ju Lang and the May 13 Generation two years later on May 14, 2011 turned out to be exactly one week after the landmark 2011 GE. But even before that, he had already discerned that this time, it was fine to advertise the book launch widely.

Jing Quee had been taking calculated risks.

The above account would be familiar to those who know Jing Quee’s work. His vision, perseverance and the quality of the publications have all been acknowledged.

But it is Jing Quee’s courage manifested in his posthumous publication that I would argue may have the most profound impact. In writing about his life for the book on Operation Coldstore (2013), Tan Jing Quee laid bare the fact that he had signed a confession and made a television ‘confession’ to obtain release 2 years and 7 months after being imprisoned in October 1963. He gave a detailed account of how he made up his mind to seek release, and how he tried to negotiate on the wordings of the signed statement, and the conduct of the television appearance. ISD started with sounding open-minded, allowing him to write the first draft of the statement, but slowly wore him down to accepting humiliating terms after raising his hopes of release and then dashing them. Jing Quee also described how he had to brace himself to face his friends when he was released. Indeed, TT Rajah expressed his disappointment, and asked why he gave in. Jing Quee’s reply was that it was a matter that he had to answer to himself.

Rightly do we reserve the greatest respect for the political prisoners who did not capitulate, who spurned all offers and threats to get them to sign for their release, which as Dr Lim Hock Siew pointed out, would be used by the state to legitimize their arrests and imprisonment (for two decades, and more in the case of Chia Thye Poh). Theirs is a moral and political victory achieved at the highest cost to their personal lives.

Jing Quee’s story in contrast is the more common and mundane one. It is one that has by and large been avoided in personal narratives. He knew that the chapter for the Coldstore book would be the last chapter that he would write, given his failing health, and decided to speak plainly of his decision to sign the ‘confession’ after a relatively short period in prison. It was not a story to be proud of, and it took courage to write it. It is also about the high price that the ISA exacted from those who chose this path. At the most extreme, such individuals would be scorned for their weakness, and even accused of falsely implicating friends just to get out (the latter did not apply in Jing Quee’s case).

What Jing Quee had done is to demonstrate that the defeat and setback that he and the others met need not be a permanent one. He faced up to his deed, and thus freed himself from the ignominy that it entailed. He patiently, humbly and sincerely rallied the former political prisoners, winning back their friendship, organising social occasions for get-togethers and rebuilding solidarity among comrades.

And he wrote his history of the left, which in the end they could embrace if they chose to, and proudly reclaim their historical role.

TAN JING QUEE – 3 YEARS ON by Dr G Raman

The Mid-fifties

I first met Jing Quee in 1954, 60 years ago, when we both entered Raffles Institution. Its campus was where Raffles City now stands. Entry into RI was based on the results of the state-wide entrance examination, the predecessor of the present PSLE. The best were admitted to RI. Jing Quee had already displayed brilliance at an early age.

We are products of our age. The social and political forces at play determine our values and attitudes. 1955 was the year of the protest by Chinese middle school students against conscription for national service. The French had been defeated by the brave Vietnamese people at the Battle of Diem Phien Phu under General Vo Nguyen Giap.

Barely five years earlier, Mao Tse-tung had stood on the parapet at Tiananmen Square calling upon the Chinese people to “stand up”. One-fourth of humanity heeded his call and stood up.

Though the Korean War had ended dividing the nation into two, the Cold War was raging. Russia and China were ring-fenced by military treaties stretching from the North Atlantic (NATO) through the Middle East (METO) to East Asia (SEATO). Russia and China were experimenting with a new social order to establish a more equal and egalitarian system. Russia had succeeded to a certain extent and China was adopting the socialist model of economic and social development.

Anti-colonial and liberation movements were raging from the Caribbean to Asia through Africa. The UN had launched a de-colonisation programme and the metropolitan powers were against the wall trying frantically to retain a foothold in their former colonies through proxies.

The clamour for independence and democracy had created political groups in Singapore. One of the organisations among the English speaking activists was the Malayan Democratic Union a gathering of liberals – lawyers, doctors, journalists and teachers. The Chinese educated had their own organisations Like the Old Boys’ Association which joined other like minded groups struggling for independence with Singapore as an integral part. Singapore was a crown colony ruled autonomously by the British after the Straits Settlements comprising Malacca, Penang and Singapore was dismantled in 1948. “Merdeka” was in the air.

1954 was also the year PAP was formed. It had among its members, lawyers, doctors, teachers, journalists, workers and businessmen. It published two slim brochures containing its manifesto and policies. The policies were enunciated by authors covering different areas like education, the trade unions, multi-racial unity and multilingualism. It stood for an independent, democratic, socialist Malaya including Singapore. Singapore was treated as an integral part of Malaya by everyone.

1954 was also the year that the British government proposed a Constitution for Singapore to grant self-government and for holding of island-wide election. The Randell Constitution as it was called, paved the way for the election of 25 members to the Legislative Assembly.

This was the political milieu during Jing Quee’s RI days. I remember him attending the Legislative Assembly meetings and PAP rallies. Most students were politically conscious at that time and they formed Literary and Debating Societies in their schools. They discussed the political issues of the day. Jing Quee became the President of the RI Literary and Debating Society.

Not only did Jing Quee have brain power, he also had brawn power. He played football and was the striker for the RI 1st XI. He was known for his speed in the field which matched his oratorical speed.
Days in the Varsity

Jing Quee joined the University of Malaya in 1960 and read for an Arts degree. Political talks, forums and debates were the order of the day. There was no restriction as we have now on political matters. There was no requirement that a political club should be registered before students can embark on political activities. There was no rush to complete the courses in time to make up for lost time on national service. Jing Quee became the President of the University Socialist Club and the editor of its thought-provoking publication, Fajar (Dawn).

The University in 1960 was truly an intellectual hub. The PAP had captured 43 of the 51 seats in parliament at the 1959 election. Many of the undergraduates joined the campaign in support of the PAP as it was then the vanguard of the progressive forces in Singapore. Its Secretary General was the champion of freedom at that time but he was soon to jettison all the ideals that he and his party stood for.

Jing Quee’s articles and editorials in Fajar were known for their depth and literary flair. After graduation he did not look for a highly paid job in the private sector or in the civil service. With his mastery of the English language he could have got a teaching job in the Ministry of Education with security of tenure and the perks that go with a government appointment. He shunned these and joined the trade union for a small pay of $500 per month. To him, living up to his ideals were more paramount than amassing material wealth.

Entering Politics

The PAP has been a monolith for a long time but not in the early years after its formation. One of the senior members of the PAP, Ong Eng Guan even challenged Lee Kuan Yew for the post of prime minister. The cadres had to vote on who they wanted as the PM. The voting took a surprising turn. The result was a tie. The chairman of the party, Toh Chin Chye cam to Lee’s rescue by giving him th casting vote. Jing Quee watched all these with disdain. He knew the meaning of the words “treachery” and “aggrandizement.”

The inevitable split within the PAP between the progressive forces and the reactionary (anti-people) forces took place in 1961. The breakaway group of intellectuals and political activists formed the Barisan Sosialis with Lim Chin Siong as its secretary general. Though not organisationally linked with the Barisan at that time, Jing Quee stood as its candidate for Kampong Glam. Jing Quee lost by only around 100 votes. The votes for candidates opposing Rajaratnam weresplit with the unprincipled Harban Singh of the United PeoplesParty polling around 1000 votes which should have gone to Jing Quee if Harns had not entered the fray.

Detention in 1963

Jing Quee’s detention was part of Lee Kuan Yew’s p[lot to eliminate all those who dissented against his policies. The label that was fixed on them was that they were subversive and being members of the communist united front out to destroy Singapore! Was there any evidence to support this allegation? This was the same label that was pasted against more than 200 activists during Operation Coldstore of February 1963 when Lim Chin Siong and a host of others were detained. In February 1963 Singapore was still a crown colony whose members were Singapore, Malaya and Britain. Lee tried to distance himself from the Internal Security Council’s decision on the detentions but records show that he was actively involved in it.

The British have opened their archives after the passage of 30 years. None of the minutes, exchange of correspondence and documents show any proof of the existence of a communist united front or that Lim was a communist (see the very informative books, “Comet in our Sky” and “The 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore – Commemorating 50 Years. The detentions were to satisfy Lee’s lust for power.

Trip to London

Jing Quee came out of prison in 1966. He headed for London to read law and to escape the stifling atmosphere in Singapore. London in the mid-60s was a hothouse of political activities. One could read any book, attend any forum and meet any social activist from whichever part of the world he came.

Jing Quee was a voracious reader. His regular haunts were the bookshops and libraries. There were no computers or internet. He attended talks, seminars and workshops shoring up his intellectual arsenal.

Return to Singapore and Law Pratice

Jing Quee returned to Singapore overland. He travelled through Europe and Asia with his wife to be, Rose. The trip was to satisfy this curiosity and discover new horizons. Jing Quee’s quest for knowledge knew no bounds. One can talk to him on any topic and he will haveto say something on it. He was a polymath.

Jing Quee joined J B Jeyaretnam’s practice for a while before setting up a partnership with Lim Chin Joo. Jing Quee and Chin Joo as the firm was styled, flourished. The firm expanded and made a mark for itself. Jing Quee handled the litigation work and enjoyed practice. He once told me how he succeeded in a case involving complex questions on company law against a lawyer who was a top notch in corporate law. But Jing Quee remained humble despite such successes and the accompanying monetary rewards. He was looking forward to retirement soon after he touched 60 so that he could spend more time with his first love – books and writing.
Jing Quee wrote extensively – essays, short stories, poems and books. These contain a wealth of information and edifying prose and poetry.

The 1977 Detention

In February 1977 Jing Quee was detained together with about 16others accused once again of being subversive and promoting the cause of the communist unite front. I was the first in this group to be detained and anther label was fixed, that of being “Euro-communists”, a creature hitherto unknown. There was international outcry against these repressive actions but the PAP government paid no heed to them. After a few months, most of us were released after making the usual template “confessions” or “admissions”. Alas, truth was a major casualty in all the detentions including the arrests of 22 social workers, lawyers and professionals in the 1987 Operation Spectrum.

Jing Quee the Man of Letters

He was a man of letters in both senses of the word. He not only read widely. He also wrote extensively and edited books on history and politics. He gave expression to his ideals in poetry some of which were light-hearted but stimulating. His poem on his detention stirs the soul.

Jing Quee the Man

Jing Quee was an icon. He is an exemplar of what an intellectual should be – erudite, humble and a champion of the rights of every person. He evokes all those ideals that we yearn for and want to see realized. I shall forever cherish his contributions towards the cause of freedom.

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In Memory of Dr Lim Hock Siew by Teo Soh Lung

ImageDr Lim Hock Siew (21 February 1931 – 4 June 2012)

 

“I am not interested in saving Lee Kuan Yew’s face. This is not a question of pride but one of principle. My detention is completely unjustifiable and I will not lift a single finger to help Lee Kuan Yew to justify the unjustifiable.”

Dr Lim Hock Siew minced no words when he responded with the above to two high ranking special branch agents who had asked him to accept two conditions for his release in order to “preserve” the face of Lee Kuan Yew. His defiant and angry reply must have made the agents feel sheepish and small. He had already spent more than nine years in prison for no reason. It was an outrageous suggestion that he should help preserve Lee Kuan Yew’s face. Dr Lim not only rejected the offer outright, he issued a public statement through his lawyer, Mr T T Rajah. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=652966931448894&set=a.296578130421111.71914.296552400423684&type=1&relevant_count=1

I admire the courage of Dr Lim for issuing that statement. I admire the courage and sacrifice of his wife, Dr Beatrice Chen for allowing the statement to be issued, knowing full well that it would diminish the prospect of a release for Dr Lim. Their only son who was five months old when Dr Lim was arrested had just turned nine. It was an enormous sacrifice.

Anyone who has been imprisoned under the ISA would know that Dr Lim’s statement could only meant continued imprisonment for a very long time accompanied by harsher prison conditions and deprivations. Dr Lim would have to be psychologically prepared for those consequences because no one will be able to secure his release. No cabinet minister or president would risk losing their careers by contradicting instructions for the renewal of detention orders.

At a forum organised by Function 8 in 2011, a member of the audience asked if Dr Lim anticipated being incarcerated for 20 years. His response was “No.” He continued, “When I said goodbye to my wife, I said: “See you in eight years’ time.” The longest serving detainee then was Ahmad Boestamam who was imprisoned by the British for eight years. I did not expect my imprisonment to be so long. I thought Singapore would merge with Malaysia, and I would not be detained for so long. But at the end of ten years, I decided to make another ten-year plan. I wanted to be realistic. If you are not psychologically prepared, you would surely break down. As leaders of the movement, we could not betray our followers, we had to stay firm.”

Dr Lim Hock Siew was a man of steel. In the history of Singapore, thousands have been arrested and imprisoned without trial under the ISA. Many have been banished or went into involuntary exile. They remain political exiles even till today. Loh Miao Gong in “The 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore, Commemorating 50 Years” edited by Poh Soo Kai, Tan Kok Fang and Hong Lysa listed 1190 prisoners. The number according to the Minister for Home Affairs, Teo Chee Hean, was 2460 as at 1990. Since Ms Loh’s list was published, more names have emerged. Many of those 1190 have been imprisoned for more than a decade and several close to two decades. Singapore boasts of Dr Chia Thye Poh, an elected legislative assemblyman and a Physics lecturer who lost 32 of his best years under prime ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong. Dr Lim Hock Siew was the second longest serving prisoner of conscience in our history. It behoves us to remember the huge sacrifices they and so many others have made for us.

Why did Singaporeans allow people like Dr Lim Hock Siew to be imprisoned for such horrendous length of time? How did the PAP government succeed in imprisoning him for 20 years without any murmur of protest from Singaporeans?

In the earlier published post on Dr Lim Hock Siew https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=650514828360771&set=a.296578130421111.71914.296552400423684&type=1 one Hoh Jin Wei asked: “Was he a commie?” In another post, Hoh Jin Wei asked: “Did he mention that Lim Chin Siong was communist sympathiser?” I don’t know Hoh Jin Wei. If he is a young person who grew up with the staple of PAP history books, it explains why Lee’s government has been so successful in its brutal and unconscionable ways. Using labels on innocent people to create fear among the population is its hallmark. It is a method learnt from our British colonial master. Labels such as Communists, Reds, Pro communists, Euro communists, Marxists, Terrorists are freely used on ISA prisoners. These labels allowed the PAP to manipulate our thoughts. One recent example is the Hock Lee bus riot made into a million dollar film “Days of Rage”. The PAP propagandists, including Janadas Devan, the son of former president C V Devan Nair who wrote a very impressive and heart wrenching foreword for Francis T Seow’s “To Catch a Tartar, A Dissident in Lee Kuan Yew’s Prison”, harped on the falsehood that the communists were behind the riot. So anyone who is a communist or alleged to be a communist or communist sympathiser would be rioters by implication. The film failed to inform us that the riot was the work of agent provocateurs planted by the British and not the work of communists. It did not reveal that the bus workers’ strike came about because the trade union set up by the employer reneged on a settlement that was agreed upon in the presence of an arbitrator, an academic called Dr Charles Gamba.

Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP ministers proclaim their abhorrence for words that remotely hint of character flaws. Singaporeans and foreigners have been sued and bankrupted. Lee and his ministers have received millions as compensation. But have Lee and his colleagues ever think of the damage they have caused to the reputation of the thousands who they accused as communists, pro-communists, Euro-communists, Marxists and terrorists and being involved in “communist united front activities to violently overthrow the elected government?” They were incarcerated without trial for years under the ISA? Not a shred of evidence has ever been produced to prove such alleged subversive activities. They have never been given the opportunity to rebut the government’s false allegations in a court of law. All of them have lost their best years in prison. They have been scarred for life. Their good names sullied a million times more that Lee Kuan Yew and his ministers. Their families suffered immensely, many deprived of sole bread winners. Only a minority manage to make good their ruined lives. Should they not be compensated for such character assassinations?

In 2011 at the memorial gathering of the Late Mr Tan Jinq Quee, Dr Lim Hock Siew called for the setting up of an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate into the allegations against all ISA prisoners. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk-TH257ggI&feature=player_detailpage. It took nearly 50 years for this call to be made.

The PAP government ignored the call. In the same year, Dr Lim Hock Siew and 15 former ISA prisoners again called upon the PAP government to abolish the ISA and set up an independent commission of inquiry. The PAP government not only refused to do so, it reiterated its baseless allegations.

On 2 June 2012, Function 8 and MARUAH commemorated the 25th anniversary of Operation Spectrum at Hong Lim Park. The event was supposed to have taken place on 19 May 2012 but it was postponed because of the Hougang by election. The public event was attended by several hundred people. A letter calling for the abolition of the ISA and the return of political exiles was signed by 13 survivors of Operation Spectrum together with 17 of their relatives and 90 friends and members of the public. It was submitted to the prime minister of Singapore. The prime minister did not even acknowledge receipt of the letter.

Dr Lim Hock Siew would have attended the commemoration on 2 June 2012 had he been well. Regrettably, he was too ill. But he managed to send a message to me at 4.42 am that day: “Please don’t be Disappointed. I am still feeling very tired n giddy on getting up.” He passed away two days later, on 4 June 2012. He passed away peacefully knowing that the call for the abolition of the ISA and the return of political exiles as well as the setting up of an Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate ISA cases will continue.

On 2 February 2013, survivors of Operation Coldstore commemorated its 50th anniversary at Hong Lim Park. The crowd was even larger than that for Operation Spectrum. Again there was a call for the abolition of the ISA.

It is crucial and urgent that the ISA which legitimizes state terrorism be repealed. As Dr Lim Hock Siew reminded us repeatedly, this law is a “reserve weapon to safeguard the PAP’s interests”.

Will the Singapore government abolish the ISA? Will it welcome exiles home without conditions? It will take a very long time before this happens. Meanwhile, ISA survivors and the people of Singapore have to continue to work towards these goals. For the present, no parliamentarian (opposition and PAP backbenchers) has ever called for the repeal of this unjust law or asked about the status of the 11 Muslims who are still unjustly imprisoned under the ISA. Two of the 11 people have been imprisoned for more than twelve years. The parliamentarians appear to accept the government’s allegations as gospel truth. They have failed to discharge their duty as elected representatives of the people who should speak up against injustice, no matter how unpopular the cause may be. Their inaction may result in the 11 Muslims being imprisoned for many more decades as had happened to Dr Lim Hock Siew, Dr Chia Thye Poh and many others.

As a survivor of Operation Spectrum, I will continue to keep this issue alive. Hoh Jin Wei is wrong to tell us that “Lee Kuan Yew have moved on n built Singapore to what it is today all while [sic] these folks are still crying away. They got out if [sic] jail but never left it. I say move on”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Zk-TH257ggI
The journey has only just begun. A nation that does not know her ugly past is bound to fail for it will permit the government to repeat and inflict the harm that it has done so successfully for decades.

May the memory and spirit of Dr Lim Hock Siew inspire and unite us to fight for what is right and just and to reclaim our human rights.

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纪念1954年5月13日六十周年

Speech of Dr Poh Soo Kai delivered at the lunch commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the May 13, 1954 Student Movement

Image

Translation of speech by Mr Lim Pai

纪念1954年5月13日六十周年

傅树介

同志们,朋友们:
Selamat petang。中午好。Good-day。首先,让我借这个机会,感谢今天筹办这个聚会的两个公民团体,“尊严”(Maruah)和“第八功能”(Function 8)。1954年5月13日,这个深具历史意义的日子,今天正好满六十周年。

1954年5月13日,是一个标志性的日子。它是激发新加坡人民重新投身争取祖国独立运动的一个分水岭。我们应该记得,1954年新加坡还是个殖民地;二 战后新加坡和马来亚半岛人民争取独立的呐喊,随着英殖民当局在1948年宣布紧急状态进而采取蛮横镇压措施,被强力压抑下来。目前针对巴东卡里英军屠杀平 民恶行的控诉,是那一段黑暗岁月的一个严酷的提醒。然而,1954年5月13日的学生运动,改变了这一切,改变了新加坡。人民重新奋起,开展要求摆脱英殖 民统治,争取独立的斗争。

1954年4月,也就是这一天的一个月前,英殖民政府宣布对新加坡男性青年实行国民服役征召制(national service conscription )。马来亚大学(即后来的新加坡大学)社会主义俱乐部在当年5月10日出版的会刊《华惹》(Fajar)上发表评论文章,指出我们不明白“国民” (national)到底是什么意思,因为我们还是个殖民地;英国当局既然不认为我们有足够条件可以管理自己,为什么却认为我们可以为他们参战,为他们牺 牲性命。

新加坡华校中学生,是受这条新法规影响最大的一群,因为他们绝大多数都是相关年龄层的青年。他们作出合于情理、合乎逻辑的决定,向英国派驻新加坡的总督请 愿,要求豁免国民服役。在1954年5月13日这决定性的当天,八名学生代表到总督府去递交请愿书。众多其他学生为支持他们的代表,也集体上街。学生们沿 着里峇峇利路和克里门梭道(River Valley Road /Clemenceau Avenue)两旁列队,队伍一直排到总督府。上载到网上影像媒体YouTube的视频,可以证明学生集会的和平性质。尽管如此,他们却面对持警棍、拿盾 牌的英殖民地警察的攻击。

学生遭到警察殴打,从克里门梭道被追赶到史丹佛路(Stamford Road)。他们亲身体验了警察暴力是怎么回事。四十八名学生在妨碍警务人员执行公务罪名下被逮捕。其中七名后来被判罪名成立,判处三个月监禁。

这些年轻、无辜的华校中学生,从这个冷酷的教训中认识了政治。他们认清了谁是卑鄙小人,意识到他们自己是毫无权利可言的被迫害者;他们没有英殖民当局必须 尊重,或者至少假装尊重的人权。真叫人遗憾,学生们唯一的出路就是团结起来,并且和新加坡社会所有其他受迫害的人紧紧团结在一起,致力于追求正义。

1954年这重要的年头,还发生《华惹》编辑因5月10日出版的刊物获罪,5月28日在煽动罪名下被捕的事件。煽动是非常严重的罪行,竟被用来指控这些强 调爱国主义和坚持编辑自主立场的青年。一个记录在案的原因是,警方在搜查华校中学生的物品时,发现了好几本《华惹》,因此错误推断我们这些《华惹》同人是 华文中学学生513抗议行动的幕后黑手。我们不是幕后黑手,但我们《华惹》同人和马大社会主义俱乐部确实全力支持华校中学生的行动。当他们在华侨中学校园 集中时,我们也以泛马学联会员的身份到现场去,公开展示学生们的团结一致。英殖民当局依仗统治强势无理对付学生,恰恰促成了英校和华校学生的大团结。

在煽动罪的诉讼中,英女皇律师布里特(D.N. Pritt)为我们辩护,我们最终被判无罪释放。这位英女皇律师素以严厉批判殖民主义,代表殖民地人民在法庭上和英帝国主义者斗争而享有盛誉。华文中学学 生因此决定通过在《华惹》案中担任助理律师的哈里李光耀,接洽布里特为他们辩护。如事前预料般,官司没有打赢。然而,哈里李却因此利用这个机会和华校中学 生建立了联系。

华文中学学生要求尊重他们人权的斗争,为社会树立了良好榜样。工人从中受到鼓舞,起而要求组织工会的劳工权利。这其实是基本的人权。联合国《经济、社会与文化权利国际公约》第8条规定,签约国须承认工人有成立(或参加)工会和罢工的权利。

1954年11月1日,詹密星(Jamit Singh)参加新加坡海港局雇员联合会,成为它的受薪秘书。詹密星也是马大社会主义俱乐部的会员。1955年5月1日,詹密星领导新加坡海港局雇员联合 会的白领工人罢工,为期67天的工业行动最终取得胜利。詹密星成了英雄。他立场坚定地为工会会员要求合理工资,在海港局闸门前和重要政府机关外面部署了纠 察队,以争取社会公众的关注。海港局白领工人的行动与胜利,鼓舞了该局的蓝领工友,纷纷要求参加詹密星的工会。他们不肯再要一个由资方设立和控制的工会来 代表他们。詹密星后来把海港局相关的若干小型工会合并,组成会员达一万名之众的新加坡海港工友联合会(Singapore Harbour Board Workers’Union),进一步巩固、增强工人的团结。

在这里,我要向这位可敬的同志表达我的追思。詹密星坚持维护公平与正义的信念,不惜付出巨大代价,勇气十足地向不公平、不正义展开斗争。詹密同志,你的奋斗没有白费,你的榜样将继续鼓舞着我们,激励着我们坚持下去。

工人争取人权与劳工权利的斗争,自然赢得了在5月13日被殴打得伤痕累累、头破血流,经历惨痛教训洗礼的华校中学生们的同情。他们对被压迫者为了争取别人 尊重自己的人权而开展斗争是怎么回事是有亲身体会的。华文中学学生公开表示支持海港局的白领与蓝领工人,支持詹密星。许多学生出现在工人纠察队的现场,以 行动给予工人同情和支持。

进入1955年不久,又发生了一件事。福利巴士公司的多数工人决定加入方水双、陈世鉴、林兆明领导的新加坡巴士工友联合会,并在该公司成立支会。他们不要 资方设立的黄色工会代表他们。工人的决定引发了工业纠纷。两个工会后来同意接受由马来亚大学加穆巴博士(Dr Gamba)的第三方仲裁,纠纷因此得以暂时平息。仲裁方关于划分巴士路线的建议,也获得了两个工会同意。然而,协议书上的签名墨迹方干,黄色工会在资方 的压力下马上又反悔了,这才导致工业纠纷进一步扩大。资方接着开除罢工的工人,叫来流氓想强硬把巴士开出车厂。这可是影响工人生计的大事,工人因此决定加 以阻止。于是,警察来了,持着巨大水力的水喉朝他们喷射,企图驱散工人。

华文中学学生再一次站出来支持罢工工人。学生们带了食物和饮料到罢工现场慰劳工人,给他们打气。其他工人也到现场表示支持,展示了团结的精神与力量。

下来警察进一步介入,开队到现场殴打并拘捕福利巴士工人。这下乱套了。然后,有人开枪,一个赤手空拳的学生就这么悲惨地被打死了。在那段充满泪水和义愤的 岁月里,学生和工人就是这样义无反顾地站出来,为自己争取基本和合法人权的。新加坡人民就是这样义无反顾地站出来,和白皮肤的殖民地主人对抗的。

今天,六十年过去了。新加坡当局把这段义愤的岁月称为“狂暴岁月”(days of rage),诬蔑学生和工人的正当抗争是万恶的马来亚共产党躲在幕后挑动的破坏与残暴行为。这就是他们经常使用的伎俩。再没有什么能比这种廉价的官方宣传更加远离事实真相的了。

回顾过去,有时真是讽刺。在上述这些事件发生时,蒂凡那(Devan Nair)还是个左翼工会的领袖。在今天这样的时刻,我想该向他的长子加纳达斯(Janadas)说:真希望你的父亲没和你说,林清祥告诉他1954年5 月13日学运和福利巴士工人罢工,是共产党在背后搞的鬼。林清祥已经不在人世,这样把再也无从证实的话塞到他的嘴里,未免太不公平,太欠厚道了。

覃炳鑫博士证实,政治部介于1954年至1955年的报告,披露了马来亚共产党并未鼓动513学生抗议或者福利巴士工潮与暴动。

1990年代中,我到伦敦去看英国的档案。主要的目的,当然是去看新近解禁的关于冷藏行动的保密材料。在那个行动中,我是直接的受害人。我也浏览了福利巴 士暴动的档案,我没看到有任何一处提到罢工或暴动是由共产党合谋发动或者操纵的。在翻阅过程中,有两份文件引起了我的注意。

编号C5:邓添明(Tang Thiam Meng),S4T 03943,1955年是巴士司机(共产党)。福利巴士罢工的主要煽动者之一。负责向新加坡电车公司(STC)巴士工人宣传共产主义思想。参与1956年 暴动。1958年获释后即刻恢复过去的工会活动。加入新加坡电车公司雇员联合会,目前为中委。王永元的忠实支持者。人民统一党阿裕尼支部委员会成员。

编号C6:那河,别名黄河,又名黄爾(Na Ho alias Wong Ho alias Wong Or),S2Y 6230。出租车的司机。嫌疑是共产党同情者。新加坡巴士工友联合会福利支会职员。参与1956年10月暴动。1956年10月被拘留,1957年3月4 日在“直接指令”(DIRECT ORDER)下获释。目前是人民统一党党员,中峇鲁支部主席。[来源:情报与安全委员会报告,编号(S)(63)1;1963年;电报编号57]

这些确实是耐人寻味的材料。这两人都涉嫌是共产党或者共产党的同情者,都被指责参与福利巴士罢工及随后的暴动,或在其中闹事。然而,两人都被从轻发落。邓添明被拘留不足两年,拘禁时间短得出奇;对黄河的待遇更是难以想象。他是被囚禁几个月后在“直接指令”下获释的。

我们这些被拘留过的人,没有一个是在“直接指令”下被释放的。你我都知道,对我们来说根本就不存在这个选项。我因此怀疑,这两个人本来就是英殖民当局派来的内奸,“狂暴岁月”的肇事者。

我在伦敦查找资料,从1956年往下翻阅到1963年初的档案。我关于这两人是内奸的猜疑,在读了英国驻新加坡最高专员塞尔扣克勋爵(Lord Selkirk)向他的上司殖民地大臣所作陈述后,进一步得到印证:

……英国政府不准备同意将编号C4、C5和C6三人列入逮捕名单,拘留这三人不具备保安需要的理据。[塞尔扣克勋爵向殖民地大臣汇报,电报编号59;1963年1月29日]

哇塞。尽管上引档案资料说编号C5和C6两人是共产党和亲共分子,塞尔扣克勋爵却不认为他们对安全有威胁,反对将他们列入冷藏行动的逮捕名单。塞尔扣克勋 爵显然掌握了为政治部小探员所不知道的机密情报。这些跑腿的小探员只是将他们看见的写进报告,没有觉察到事件背后还有个操弄木偶的主人。

1963年初,当李光耀、东姑和英殖民当局在为冷藏行动准备逮捕名单时,编号C5和C6两人重新被提到。李光耀“相当坚持”编号C5和C6(外加另外一个编号C4)应在冷藏行动中加以逮捕,虽然他知道:

……没有证据说他们涉及共产党阴谋……而他(李光耀)自己也曾公开说,王永元很谨慎地将共产党人阻挡在他人民统一党重要位置的门外。[塞尔扣克勋爵向殖民地大臣汇报;第6点;电报编号53;1963年1月28日]

明知道英殖民当局认为这两人对安全没有威胁,而且反对逮捕他们。既然如此,为什么李光耀却非要将这两个王永元政党的党员列入冷藏行动逮捕名单呢?实际上, 李光耀曾向英殖民当局承认,逮捕人民统一党党员,是为了增强他在政治上胜出的机会。利用冷藏行动扫荡社会主义阵线领导人后,李光耀害怕王永元的人民统一党 乘机填补社阵留出来的政治版图,成为“和李光耀争夺权势的下一个最强的政治对手”。[塞尔扣克勋爵向殖民地大臣汇报;第4点;电报编号56;1963年1 月29日]我们不要忘记,人民行动党刚刚才在1961年芳林补选中败给了王永元。

无论从考虑此次进行逮捕的目的出发,或者经由审查有关对象(即编号C4、C5和C6)所掌握到的资料,新加坡政治部针对人民统一党在尽可能情况下也只能作上述汇报,并据此“提供”安全记录。[塞尔扣克勋爵向殖民地大臣汇报;第3点;电报编号56;1963年1月29日]

根据这些记录,我们知道李光耀调阅过编号C4、C5和C6三人的材料。他其实非常清楚,英殖民当局认为编号C4、C5和C6三人对安全没有威胁。因此,我 们可以推测,李光耀早就知道,1955年福利巴士暴动和1956年华文中学学生暴动有这些英国坐探在煽风点火。感谢英国的解密档案,我们今天也知道了。尽 管如此,李光耀最近却没有阻止亚洲新闻台(Channel News Asia)浪费公帑,派遣制作队到尼泊尔去采访当年的辜加警察。制作队想必有一个“很棒”的愉快旅程。

1956年,工会领导人被捕,妇联和中学联被封,局势再次变得动荡。学生们为了抗议,在华侨中学和中正中学进行集中。10月25日,在学生没来得及解散前,发生了暴动。

1956年10月26日,在七十名被捕的人当中,有吴彩唐女士,新加坡华校中学生家长联谊会的主席。在这里我要向这位养育了一个革命家庭的革命母亲致敬,作为我今天讲话的结束。她的儿子方小浪,也在1956年被逮捕的人当中。

1954年5月13日,的确是一个激励新加坡人民重新奋起、争取独立的一个分水岭。

———————
我本来该在这里打住。可是,请允许我在这个关键的时刻,对我已经印好的讲稿做些修改,因为我相信自己应该及时给李光耀一个劝告,趁现在还来得及:李光耀,向新加坡人民道歉吧。

李光耀如何欺瞒与诈骗新加坡人民,档案里翻出来的证据已经多如牛毛。几天前覃炳鑫博士在网络媒体《网上公民》(The Online Citizen)发表的文章,又作了最新的揭露。这是关于1956年10月25日林清祥在群众大会上说的“Mai Pah Mata”(闽南话,“别打警察”的意思),可耻地被歪曲引述为“Pah Mata”(“打警察”)。这个被歪曲的引述,成了林有福政府两天后逮捕林清祥的理据。这个被歪曲的引述,纠缠了林清祥六十年,把他抹黑成一个教唆群众在 1956年10月25日和26日暴动的不负责任的煽动者。

警察当时在群众大会上录制了林清祥的讲话。现在,从警方的档案里,我们终于找到了林清祥当天讲话被蓄意歪曲引述的证据。同时应该让大家知道的是,行动党的大头头如李光耀和杜进才,当天也出席了那个群众大会。所以,我要这样质问李光耀:

在林清祥被捕后,林有福政府在立法议会提出这个被歪曲的引述作为逮捕他的理据时,你为什么不为你自己政党的助理秘书长兼武吉知马立法议员辩护?你为什么没有马上跳起来,大声叫,“胡说,这是弥天大谎。我当时就在台上。林清祥没有这样说过!”

你为什么不在《行动报》(PETIR),你自己行动党的喉舌上面,纠正这个被歪曲的引述?你为什么如此不顾诚信,六十年来一直装聋作哑?

这是对林清祥的彻头彻尾的背信弃义!

因此,我要这样劝诫李光耀:趁还来得及,快向新加坡人民道歉—趁还来得及,快向新加坡人民道歉。
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“第八功能”和“尊严”两个公民团体,为了向这些促进了新加坡的独立,在运动和斗争中坚持下来、作出牺牲的所有人致敬,举办了这个餐会。在此,让我向他们再一次表示感谢。

让我们牢牢记住他们充满泪水和义愤的岁月,继续他们的工作,实现他们渴望、立志争取的独立——一个充分尊重所有新加坡人的人权,充分尊重所有新加坡人的尊严的独立。MARUAH!尊严万岁!

Terima kasih,谢谢大家,thank you。

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Singing their hearts out at the lunch. Photo credit: Ho Choon Hiong

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