More than 2,500 Singaporeans have been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) since the 1960’s. The ISA, which allows the arrest and indefinite detention of citizens without trial, is a blunt national security instrument open to abuse by governments which can use, and have used, it in the decimation of legitimate organisations and individuals opposed to their social, economic and political directions.
‘That We May Dream Again’ is a series of year-long activities organized by Function 8 and other civil society organizations to remember the 25th anniversary of Operation Spectrum.
25th anniversary of Operation Spectrum
Operation Spectrum was mounted by the Singapore government on 21 May 1987 under the ISA. Sixteen individuals were arrested in the first wave, with another six detained soon after. Two of the lawyers (including a former Solicitor-General of Singapore) who represented these individuals were subsequently detained as well. The 24 arrested were mainly professionals such as lawyers, journalists, community and church workers and entrepreneurs.
The government alleged that the detainees were “Marxist conspirators”, without giving them the right of defence in an open court. Instead, public “confessions” were elicited under the threat of indefinite detention without trial.
These “confessions” were repudiated in a press statement by nine of these individuals some months after their release. Eight of them were immediately re-arrested the next day, while the ninth signatory was in England at the time of re-arrest.
Nothing substantial or credible was ever produced to corroborate the government’s allegations. Later documents showed even greater ambiguity in the reasons behind the detentions in 1987. An injustice was perpetuated and continues to linger to this day.
Function 8 Limited remembers the 25th anniversary of Operation Spectrum in May 2012 with the view of reminding our people that detention without trial perpetuates injustice and the abuse of power. An exhibition, a forum, a video, social media activities and the publication of books are planned for this occasion. Activities will be staged regularly over a year till early 2013.
- Public exhibition themed ‘That We May Dream Again – Remembering 1987 ‘Marxist Conspiracy’ to be held at Hong Lim Green, Speakers Corner on 19 May 2012.
- Launch of new books on the 1987 “Marxist Conspiracy”
- Videos of exiles from Singaporeon their lives in exile
- Public forum/conference on the ISA
- Static Exhibition
- Social media activities
We hope these activities would:
- help in healing the mental sufferings of the country’s ISA survivors and victims who had been unjustly incarcerated by the authorities;
- raise awareness on the potential abuse of the ISA; this blunt instrument may also lead the authorities to be less than rigorous in their investigations of real security threats to the State;
- work towards the abolition of the ISA; and
- galvanise the government to allow the return of those who have been forced into exile because of the ISA, such a move being the first step towards national reconciliation and healing for all parties.
What you can do
If you wish to support this initiative in any way other than just contributing funds, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheques can be made in favour of “FUNCTION 8 LTD” and sent to:
22 Marshall Road, Singapore 424858. A receipt will be issued. If you are making a cash gift, please email email@example.com and we will make arrangements to meet up.