Freedom Film Fest 2016, Singapore

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In partnership with KOMAS (Malaysia), Function 8 (Singapore) cordially invite you to their 5th Annual Freedom Film Festival at The Projector on 19 and 20 Nov 2016.

Freedom Film Festival was inaugurated in Malaysia 13 years ago. It was brought to Singapore in 2010 by Singapore filmmakers Martyn See, Seelan Palay and Ho Choon Hiong and carried on by Function 8 for the past four years.

The theme for this year’s festival is “What Lies Beneath”. The films that will be screened take a critical look at current economic, political and human rights issues confronting the world.

Please be our guest at the screenings. The Festival Schedule is subject to change depending on ratings by the Infocomm Media Development Authority.

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ISA Detentions and Restrictions, From “Communists” to “Terrorists”

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On 10 September 2016, Singapore held its first and only public forum on the Internal Security Act (ISA) at The Agora. It was organised by Function 8, a non governmental organisation deeply concerned with the misuse of the ISA from 1948 to the present day. Thousands of ordinary citizens, politicians and activists were arrested, interrogated, tortured and imprisoned without trial under this law. The number of cases have not been systematically collated. Secret files have not been opened for the scrutiny of historians. Selected people have been allowed to peruse selected documents of the Internal Security Department (ISD). They have proclaimed themselves to be historians having the privilege of reading these files and have written books. Sadly they have missed the opportunity of finding out the exact number of prisoners under the ISA and the “crimes” they were alleged to have committed.

In November 2011 (ST 22.11.2011), Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean in a written reply to NCMP Lina Chiam, disclosed that there were 2,460 arrests under the ISA from 1959 to 1990. No one has been able to verify this figure or to obtain a clarification as to what constitutes an “arrest”. Would hauling a person to the police station, interrogating him for 48 hours and releasing him constitute an “arrest”? DPM Teo did however disclose that of this 2,460, 4 in 10 were detained. Again, would releasing a person after interrogating him for 30 days, taking him out of the prison gate and arresting him again be termed as being “detained”?

If we accept the total arrested as 2,460 as at 1990, the total number of people arrested today would be 2,592. Minister Wong Kan Seng disclosed in parliament that six people were arrested in 1997 and 1998. On the Ministry of Home Affairs website, 126 Muslims have been listed as arrested since 2001.

The speakers at the forum were Teo Soh Lung, a retired lawyer, M Ravi a Constitutional lawyer and Dr James Gomes, an academic and political commentator.

Teo gave a brief history of the ISA, its use against pacifists, activists, professionals, businessmen, journalists and political opponents from 1948 to the present day and argued that we have other laws to protect our country and our government. M Ravi spoke about the law of judicial review in ISA cases. The present chief justice had allowed judicial review in one case under the Criminal Law (Temporary) Provisions Act which also permits imprisonment without trial. He was of the view that judicial review is still available under the ISA even though the law specifically rejected judicial review. James Gomes gave a detailed account of the case of Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff who was arrested and detained when he crossed the Tuas causeway on 1 July 2016. He has been served with a two year detention order.

The questions that followed from the audience were thick and fast. We have been governed by the ISA and its predecessors for nearly 70 years. We are used to this law and the majority think that they will never be arrested under this law. We do not question the effect of the use or rather the misuse of this law and the consequences it has on us, the prisoners, their families, relatives and friends. Hopefully, this forum will start a real and frank discussion on the ISA.

The following is the presentation delivered by Teo Soh Lung:

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ISA Detentions and Restrictions From “Communists” to “Terrorists”

Function 8 is pleased to invite you to the eighteenth of our series of talks and discussions on CHANGING WORLDS

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Topic: ISA Detentions and Restrictions From “Communists” to “Terrorists”

Speakers: M Ravi, Dr James Gomez, Teo Soh Lung Moderator: Jolovan Wham

Date: Saturday 10 September 2016        Time: 2.30 – 5 p.m.

Location:  The AGORA, 28 Sin Ming Lane #03-142 Midview City. Singapore 573972

This forum will consider the effectiveness and legality of the Internal Security Act (ISA) in combating extremism. The discussion will centre on three critical issues – debate on the abolition of the ISA, the constitutionality of excluding ISA detentions from judicial review and an in-depth look at recent detentions under the ISA for terrorism related activities.

It will consider a number of questions including

● What are the reasons for and against the continued use of the ISA?
● Should it be abolished?
● Is excluding ISA cases from judicial review constitutional?
● What is the link between Freedom of Religion and Belief, and Freedom of Expression?
● How has the use of the ISA evolved over time?
● Is the ISA an effective tool for combating terrorism? What do the recent detentions tell us?

About the speakers
M Ravi has been involved in some of the most high profile and politically sensitive legal cases in Singapore over the last decade. He has taken a courageous stand against the mandatory death penalty; argued for the right to free assembly, freedom of expression, the right to by-election; and the equal rights for members of the LGBT community. Because of his advocacy for these issues, he has come to be seen as one of Singapore’s leading human rights lawyers, one of the few willing to battle away on these important issues.

Dr James Gomez, an academic and a political commentator, has been actively involved in advocating for civil and political liberties in Singapore. He pioneered the founding of political NGOs such as Think Centre and Singaporeans for Democracy as well as participated in Singapore’s electoral politics. He nominated Dr Chia Thye Poh, Singapore’s longest serving ISA detainee for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Dr Gomez is presently Executive Director, Asia Centre, a regional think-tank based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Teo Soh Lung is one of the founding members of Function 8, a social enterprise which believes in the need to facilitate the sharing of social, political and economic experiences. She blogs occasionally.

Kirsten Han, a journalist and a social activist, will moderate the forum

Register at Eventbrite… https://www.eventbrite.com/e/isa-detentions-and-restrictions-from-communists-to-terrorists-tickets-27208055025

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Oppressive Law

By Teo Soh Lung

It is not uncommon for Singapore’s parliament to enact laws that target individuals. In 1986, the Legal Profession Act was amended to remove the popularly elected Mr Francis Seow as President of the Law Society of Singapore. He was compelled by law to step down as its president. A few months earlier, the Law Society had issued a press release on the Newspaper and Printing Presses Amendment Bill which allowed the government to gazette foreign publications without the right to be heard.

Administration of Justice Bill

In 1985, the amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore revoked the citizenship of Tan Wah Piow on the grounds that he had not returned to Singapore for 10 years. In 1989, the amendment to the Internal Security Act abolished judicial review in national security cases. It was aimed at ISA detainees who were then in prison. At about the same time, an amendment to the Constitution abolished appeals to the Privy Council.

So who is the target of the Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill which is likely to become law in three days’ time, on Monday, 15 August 2016? Is this law meant to protect those who administer justice?

I suspect the law is targeted at activists and organisations both local and international which occasionally speak up against unjust prosecutions, the death penalty, defamation, caning, the lack of protection of foreign workers and various other issues. Fines of $100,000 and/or three years’ jail allowed by the new law will certainly discourage free speech and expression. The immediate target of the law is probably Amos Yee who is set to defend himself against the full force of the state on 17 August 2016. He is only 17 years of age, a child by definition, if we comply with international standards.

Will this Bill become law before the commencement of Amos Yee’s trial? It can be done as only the signature of the president is required after the bill sails through the second and third reading in parliament on Monday. Will the unexpected happen – a long drawn debate and violent objections from the opposition as well as the PAP backbenchers? Or will the minister voluntarily refer it to a parliamentary select committee for further consideration? What are the chances of such events taking place?

IMG20160730145158Imagine how Amos Yee’s trial will be reported if the Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill does not become law. How will the prosecutor with his team of legally trained assistants be viewed by the public and the world when their combined strength is pitched against a child who has no legal training. This trial is every lawyer’s nightmare because he knows that an unrepresented accused person does not go by the rules and is capable of upsetting the orderliness of the trial. True Amos Yee has tasted the ugly side of our justice and penal system from State Court to the High Court. He has donned the prison garb with the word “INMATE” and “PRISONER” boldly printed on its back. He has been shackled from hands to feet. He has walked into court with clanging metal chains. And he has tasted Changi Prison as well as Woodbridge Mental Institution.

I suspect the Administration of Justice (Protection) Act is intended to stop online discussions of trials such as that of Amos Yee. It is easy to be caught in the wide definition of what constitutes contempt by scandalising the court. Just try and figure out section 3(1) which reads: “Any person who –

(a) scandalises the court by intentionally publishing any matter or doing any act that –

(i) Imputes improper motives to or impugns the integrity, propriety or impartiality of any court: and

(ii) Poses a risk that public confidence in the administration of justice would be undermined;

commits a contempt of court.”

What does it all mean? If I report on my facebook that the prosecutor asks too many irrelevant questions and the judge did not object, will I be in contempt of court? Will I shake public confidence in the administration of justice? I don’t know.

The Administration of Justice (Protection) Act forbids the publication of anything that prejudges an issue in a pending court proceeding or “otherwise prejudices, interferes with, or poses a real risk of prejudice to or interference with, the course of any court proceeding that is pending.” (Section 3(1)(b)(ii)). It is quite a mouthful and I don’t understand what all these words mean. There is however one important point that any commentator should take note of. In the past, we are free to comment as soon as the judgement or sentence is passed unless we are aware that an appeal has been lodged. The new law forbids such comments unless and until the period allowing such appeals has lapsed. So it may be 14 days or a month depending on which court the matter is tried. International human rights organisations may issue statements immediately after a sentence is passed and lobby for change. These statements may be in contempt of court by virtue of Section 11(2). If anyone in Singapore access or republishes such statements, he may be caught and prosecuted under the new law.

It is obvious that the purpose of the law is to ensure that Singaporeans live in blissful ignorance.

The Administration of Justice (Protection) Act is a bias piece of legislation. It favours the government. While government officials from ministers to clerks are permitted to comment while court proceedings are in progress, the public is not allowed to do so. I was once wisely advised by an ISD officer that the Chinese character for government depicts two mouths. This aptly describes the new law.

Contempt of court is an “ARRESTABLE OFFENCE”. By now, all activists are aware of the power of the police in such cases. Homes can be raided, photographed and videoed. Computers, hard disks and mobile phones can be seized. All these are done without the sanction of our courts, that is to say, without a warrant to seize. The police are free to do anything they want. Their advice to the person who objects to his properties being seized will be “We seize first and you can complain after we are gone”.

The police will know the contacts of activists and everything they do after forensically going through these devices. Such seizures will send shivers down the spines of activists and the public. The idea is to instil fear in everyone. We know that each time electronic devices are seized by the police, the owners lose thousands of dollars. New devices become outdated and useless by the time the police deem it fit to return to the owners. Meanwhile, the police and government officials gloat over successful raids and enjoy the inconvenience and sufferings they inflict on activists. They are accountable to no one because the law does not set a time limit for them to return the seized properties. The law protects them while we citizens are helpless.

I suspect most investigations on contempt of court offences will end with police raids and confiscation of computers, hard disks and mobile phones and not in our courts. That is the intent of the new law. Nip a weak civil society in the bud. Instil fear and curb free speech and expression.

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State Reprisal

By Teo Soh Lung

The first time I heard of the term “State Reprisal” was about three weeks ago. I was informed that a Swiss lawyer had used the term during a discussion on Singapore’s human rights record in Geneva. The seizure of my computers and mobile phone was brought up then as it was a current topic.

On 24 June 2016, Singapore rejected more than half of the recommendations made by its peers during the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council. The government rejected the setting up of a national human rights institution, claiming rather embarrassingly, that its “Meet the People sessions” are sufficient to remedy citizens’ grievances against the state. I definitely have a grievance against our police force but I am no fool to visit the prime minister at his “Meet the People session” when it is his Elections Department that lodged the complaint against me.

I am angry that I have no recourse. If I lodge a complaint with the Commissioner of Police, will I get a fair and thorough investigation when the very people who I complain against are his subordinates? And will the result of his investigation be made public?

In 1988, a complaint was lodged against the Internal Security Department (ISD) for ill treatment I suffered in 1987. A gentle retired senior police officer investigated the complaint. He recorded two statements from me. He told me that he had found a few culprits who hit me. I never receive any official letter informing me of the outcome of his investigation. The senior police officer is dead now. Only a change of government may one day make public his report.

The seizure of my computers and mobile phone have enabled the police to mine my work and data collected over decades, including the drafts of my book, Beyond the Blue Gate, Recollections of a Political Prisoner. I am angry? The police said they will return my properties after investigation. It is now more than a month and they have not returned my properties.

Why State Reprisal?
There is no reason for the Elections Department to lodge a frivolous complaint against me and for the police to seize my properties after taking a full statement from me. The only reason for their actions is State Reprisal. The Swiss lawyer has put my case in a nutshell.

The police are acting together with the ISD. I am sure the ISD is involved. You can view this video where two officers on official duty have no name tags. https://www.facebook.com/sohlung.teo/posts/10208857776415545

Let me elaborate on why I agree with the Swiss lawyer who said that I am bearing the full brunt of State Reprisal.

In 2011, Singapore underwent its first review of its human rights record at the UPR in Geneva. Function 8, the organisation of which I am a founding member, submitted a report on indefinite detention without trial. It was a brief report because we did not have much information on the issue and on the Internal Security Act (ISA) then. Seehttp://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/_layouts/…/WopiFrame.aspx…

In 2015, at the 2nd UPR session, Function 8 submitted a more detailed report on indefinite imprisonment without trial. We also attached an updated list of more than a thousand names of political prisoners, several of whom have been imprisoned for more than ten years. The report is athttp://www.upr-info.org/…/se…/function8_upr24_sgp_e_main.pdf and http://www.upr-info.org/…/session_24_-_january_2016/functio…

In January 2016, I attended the UPR session when Singapore made a statement of its human rights record and listened to more than one hundred state representatives gave their recommendations as to how Singapore’s human rights record could be improved. I made contact with several international non-governmental organisations. I was interviewed by the International Service for Human Rights and they accorded me the status of Human Rights Defender. I also gave an interview to a Swiss radio station. I spoke about the purpose of my being in Geneva for the UPR session.

I am sure the Singapore government is aware of what I did in Geneva and they are not happy. I am sure it is also aware about what Function 8 has done since its incorporation in 2010. It has published several books, including the latest publication, “Living in a Time of Deception” by Poh Soo Kai who was imprisoned for a total of 17 years without trial. His book tells the history of Singapore unknown till now. Function 8 and I have “damaged” the good name of Singapore.

I have always been an outspoken Singaporean. It is true that I regularly write about politics in Singapore as well as anywhere in the world. I express my thoughts freely on my facebook. I criticise the PAP and the opposition parties. I am not a member of any political party and I am not restricted in my views in any way. I oppose the death penalty and strongly condemned the manner in which Kho Jabing, a Sarawakian Iban was executed. I am critical of the Attorney General’s Chambers and the judiciary. I am critical of our judicial system and our laws.

For all I did, the Singapore government deemed it fit to take revenge on me, just as the late prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew took revenge on me when he failed to humiliate me at the select committee hearing on the Amendment to the Legal Profession Act in 1986. See https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/…/r…/pdf/1986/19861016_BIL_FULL.pdf. The following year, he ordered the ISD to imprison me under the ISA. I spent more than two and a half years in prison without trial.

It is clear to me that State Reprisal is the only reason why I am in “trouble” today. But if the government thinks that it can shut me up by sending 8 police officers to my house and robbing me of my computers and $800 mobile phone, let me tell them that it will not succeed.

 

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Remembering Said Zahari

The following is a tribute on Said Zahari by Muhammad Fadli Bin Mohammed Fawzi delivered on the memorial event, “Remembering Said Zahari, Patriot and Freedom Fighter” held on 4 June 2016. English text follows the Malay deliverance.

SaidPerjuangan Said Zahari bermula akibat ketidakadilan sistem penjajah. Sistem penjajahan ini merebut sumber semula jadi dari Tanah Melayu ke negeri Britain. Ini juga merupakan satu sistem yang berdiskriminasi atas dasar bangsa dan bahasa. Sebagai seorang yang amat prihatin terhadap nasib bangsanya, beliau melawan sistem penjajahan ini untuk mencapai kemerdekaan. Setelah kemerdekaan dicapai, beliau terus berjuang demi rakyat jelata, terutamanya untuk golongan yang terpinggir.

Perjuangan untuk keadilan ekonomi dan sosial inilah yang menjadi asas perjuangan politiknya. Walau bagaimanapun perjuangan ini terbukti menjadi terlalu menyusahkan bagi golongan elit baharu yang muncul setelah kemerdekaan dicapai di Malaysia dan Singapura. Apabila beliau enggan membenarkan Utusan diambil alih oleh UMNO, beliau telah dibuang dari Malaysia. Apabila beliau enggan menyertai PAP dan seterusnya mengetuai Parti Rakyat di Singapura, beliau ditahan selama 17 tahun akibat operasi Coldstore.

Rasa kagum kami terhadap Pak Said berpunca daripada kesungguhan beliau dalam perjuangannya walaupun beliau sedar akan pengorbanan besar yang terpaksa dibuat. Pengorbanan apabila beliau hilang kebebasan dan menempuhi dugaan cukup sukar. Namun ini tidak boleh menandingi kerisauan beliau terhadap kesusahan yang beliau tahu keluarganya akan alami. Pengetahuan ini akan menghantuinya selama sepanjang hidupnya. Kami mengingati pengorbanan keluarganya seperti kami mengingati pengorbanan Pak Said sendiri. Dalam ucapannya di majlis peringatan di KL, Dr Syed Husin Ali menyebut bahawa antara cara terbaik untuk menghargai pengorbanan Pak Said dan keluarganya adalah untuk mengingati dan meneruskan perjuangan mereka. Dengan tujuan ini, saya akan cuba memberi pengertian saya tentang bagaimana pelbagai aspek perjuangannya masih relevan hingga ke hari ini.

Aspek yang pertama ialah perjuangannya untuk masyarakat yang lebih adil dan demokratik. Inilah yang boleh disebutkan sebagai perjuangan yang masih belum selesai. Sebagai contoh, kebebasan akhbar yang pernah diterajui oleh Pak Said, negeri Singapura mempunyai kedudukan yang ke 154 dalam Indeks Kebebasan Akhbar Sedunia. Walaupun ada ruang baharu seperti di ruang internet di mana berita boleh disiarkan dengan cara yang lebih bebas, ruang tersebut juga dikawal dengan ketat seperti yang dibuktikan oleh peristiwa baru-baru ini yang mana kenyataan di lelaman Facebook boleh mengakibatkan siasatan yang intrusif oleh pihak polis.

Daripada segi hak untuk perbicaraan, Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri masih berkuat kuasa, dan kuasanya meningkat disebabkan oleh perubahan yang menghalang keputusan menteri daripada semakan mahkamah. Nilai material hak-hak ini sering dipersoalkan oleh mereka yang lebih pragmatik. Nescaya, tanpa kebebasan akhbar, keupayaan seorang individu untuk lebih memahami isu-isu dan dasar kerajaan, serta menyuarakan rasa tidak puas hati, tersekat. Tanpa sekatan undang-undang terhadap kuasa pemerintah, seseorang akan terkawal oleh pemerintah dengan sewenang-wenangnya. Oleh itu, walaupun hak-hak tersebut tidak mempunyai nilai ekonomi, ini penting bagi kebajikan dan kesejahteraan rakyat dalam jangka masa panjang.

Aspek kedua dalam perjuangan Pak Said yang masih relevan hingga masa kini ialah persahabatan dengan rakan-rakannya yang pelbagai kaum. Jika diimbas sepintas lalu, ikatan erat antara editor akhbar nasionalis Melayu dan ahli kesatuan sekerja yang berpendidikan Cina tidak dijangkakan. Namun fahaman lebih baik terhadap sifat nasionalisme mungkin dapat menjelaskan hubungan erat antara Pak Said dan temannya yang berbangsa lain.

Sifat nasionalisme adalah cinta dan kebanggaan terhadap budaya sendiri. Introspeksi terhadap budaya sendiri boleh menjana kefahaman yang mendalam dan hal sebeginilah yang memberi pengiktirafan kepada sifat kemanusiaan yang ada di budaya-budaya lain. Berdasarkanhal ini, maka tidak begitu menghairankanlah bagaimana dua tokoh nasionalis seperti Chin Siong dan Said boleh menjadi rakan karib. Kedua-duanya dapat memahami dan menghargai budaya masing-masing. Ini mungkin menggalakkan Said dan kawan-kawannya saling belajar bahasa masing-masing. Persahabatan mereka boleh dijadikan sebagai teladan bagi kami mencintai budaya sendiri dan pada masa yang sama bersikap terbuka untuk mengenali budaya lain.

Aspek ketiga perjuangan Said ialah pengorbanan. Satu persoalan yang jarang ditanya ialah: bagaimanakah kami tahu bahawa nilai-nilai yang kami hargai seperti kebebasan, keadilan atau kesaksamaan memang wujud? Kami tentu memahami nilai-nilai ini hanya sebagai konsep tetapi ini tidak menjadikan nilai-nilai ini lebih nyata daripada kata-kata kosong. Sebaliknya kami tahu bahawa nilai-nilai ini dianggap nyata kerana ia mendorong orang untuk bertindak seolah-olah ia benar, walaupun ia bukan bagi kepentingan mereka sendiri. Perjuangan Said untuk menegakkan nilai-nilai ini, pengorbanan keluarga dan rakan-rakannya menunjukkan kepada kami bahawa nilai-nilai ini bukan nilai-nilai Barat, Melayu, Cina atau India. Sebaliknya nilai-nilai ini terpendam mendalam di nadi kemanusiaan kami. Kami tidak akan lupa bagaimana anda berjuang untuk nilai-nilai yang kamu sanjung dan kami sanjung perjuangan kamu yang hebat dan murni.

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IMG20160604143652Said’s struggle arose against the injustices of the colonial system. The colonial system was a system of economic injustice, which extracted the resources from Malaya to Britain. It was also a system of social injustice which discriminated on the basis of race and language. As a man whose heart was with the people, he fought against this unjust system for independence. When independence was achieved, he continued to fight for the people, especially those marginalised in society such as the urban poor and the farmers.

It was this fight for economic and social justice which formed the basis of his political struggle. However this struggle proved to be far too inconvenient for the new elites on both sides of the causeway. When he refused to let Utusan be taken over by UMNO, he was banished from Malaysia. When he declined to join the PAP by heading Parti Rakyat in Singapore, he was detained for 17 long years during operation Coldstore.

Our admiration for him stems from his resoluteness despite the sacrifice he knew he would have to make. The personal sacrifice in terms of loss of freedom and hardships endured was difficult enough, but the real difficulty was the hardship that he knew his family would have to endure, something which he knew would haunt him for the rest of his life. We remember their sacrifice as we remember his. In his speech at the KL memorial, Dr Syed Husin Ali mentioned that among the best way to appreciate their sacrifice is to remember and continue their struggle. In this spirit I will try to state my understanding of how various aspects of his struggle are still relevant today.

The first is his struggle for a more just and democratic society. It is a struggle yet unfinished. In terms of press freedom Singapore ranks 154th in the World Press Freedom Index. While there are new avenues such as the internet where news can be broadcasted and opinions exchanged, such spaces are also closely policed as evidenced by recent events where a Facebook post can warrant a full scale and intrusive investigation. The Internal Security Act under which Said was detained is still in force, its power increased due to amendments which preclude it from judicial review. These rights may not have economic value in this society but are important in other ways. Without freedom of the press, the ability of individual citizens to better understand issues and policies, and articulate grievances is restricted. Without legal limits, the individual is at the mercy of the arbitrary power of the government. Thus while these rights may not have economic value, they are important to the long term well-being of citizens.

The second aspect of his struggle which is relevant today is his friendship with his comrades of different races. At first glance, the close bonds between the editor of a nationalist Malay newspaper and Chinese educated trade unionists may seem counter intuitive. However this might not be so surprising with a better understanding of nationalism. Nationalism is love and pride in your culture and people. True nationalism involves deep understanding and appreciation of the inner wisdom of your own culture, that upon introspection, you may see reflections of it in another’s. In this light it is thus not so surprising that Chin Siong and Said would become close comrades as they would see what they loved best about their culture reflected in each other. This perhaps encouraged them to learn more about each other by learning the other’s language. Their example is still instructive today for us to love our culture but to be mindful and open to other cultures.

The third aspect of his struggle is that of sacrifice. One question that is not often asked is: how do we know that values we love such as freedom or justice or equality exist? We understand these values as concepts and ideas in our heads but that does not make them any more real than empty words. Rather we know that they are real because they compel people to act as if they were real, even at great cost to their own interest. Said’s struggle to uphold these values, the sacrifices of his family and his friends and comrades show to us that these values are not Western or Malay or Chinese or Indian in nature, but values which lie deep in the heart of our humanity. We will not forget how you fought for these values loved and how we loved your great good fight.

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Function 8 condemns legal opportunism

1 June 2016

Statement from Function 8

Function 8 deplores the intimidation of Roy Ngerng and Teo Soh Lung and the unnecessary seizure of their mobile phones and computers on 31 May 2016. This follows their interviews with the Singapore police at the Police Cantonment Complex pertaining to an investigation into facebook postings on cooling off day on 6 May 2016. The police have clearly abused their power of investigation as both Roy and Soh Lung had never denied, and indeed confirmed at the interview, that they had commented on, and shared postings on Facebook which had been made by others.

Function 8 deeply regrets the actions of the police in this unnecessary seizure which is an invasion of privacy and an act of intimidation against Roy and Soh Lung. In our view, it is part of a chain of recent incidents that encroach upon the work of civil society which contribute to the legitimate exercise of good citizenship.

We, at Function 8, condemn the use of governmental powers against sincere individual citizens and civil society groups that are striving to make our nation a more inclusive, and a more caring one, accountable for the welfare of our fellow human beings. This is truly an act of legal opportunism.

Function 8 Ltd

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