Friday, April 10, 2015

The Other Side Of Lee Kuan Yew

This page is about an article by Teo Soh Lung and the response from my friend, Poh Seng. The other side of Lee Kuan Yew By Teo Soh Lung MARCH 30, 2015 • 4 COMMENTS I watched the television for several hours today. The TV was off for nearly a week and I thought I really should not miss this historic occasion. As I watched the two sons of Lee Kuan Yew gave their eulogies in praise of their father, I cannot help thinking of the following people who were arrested and imprisoned for decades without trial by their father: 1. Dr Lim Hock Siew was arrested and imprisoned for 20 years. His son was only 5 months old. He left his wife to look after their son for two decades. His medical career was completely ruined. 2. Pak Said Zahari had a young family and his wife was pregnant with their youngest child when he was arrested and imprisoned for 17 years. His youngest daughter was born while he was still in prison and he did not hold her till 17 years later. His promising career as editor of Utusan Melayu and writer ended. His wife became a hawker in order to keep the family alive. 3. Lee Tee Tong, Legislative Assemblyman was imprisoned for 18 years leaving his parents to fend for themselves. 4. Dr Poh Soo Kai was imprisoned for 17 years. His marriage was ruined and he was deprived of having a happy family. His career as a brilliant gynaecologist also ended. 5. Ho Toon Chin @ Ho Piao was imprisoned for 18 years. His parents were deprived of his support and his career as a trade unionist ended. 6. Chia Thye Poh, a legislative assemblyman and Physics lecturer was imprisoned for 32 years. As the eldest son and one who consistently did well in school and university, his parents had hoped that he would support them financially. Instead, they had to visit him in prison. 7. Loh Miaw Gong, a legislative assembly woman and trade unionist was imprisoned for 7 years. Her family was deprived of her support. 8. Chng Min Oh @ Chuang Men Hu, Trade unionist was imprisoned for 13 years leaving his wife to look after 2 young children and a third who was born while he was in prison. His wife had to work as a hawker and construction worker, holding other odd jobs to keep the family afloat. She was struck with cancer shortly after his release and committed suicide three years later, unable to accept her illness. Thousands were thrown into jail and tortured just because Lee Kuan Yew was afraid of their presence in parliament. Their families left to fend for themselves. Many more lived or died in political exile, separated from their loved ones for 30 years and more. While Singaporeans sing praises of Lee Kuan Yew, let us remember that there is another side to the man. My Response I have read Teo Soh Lung's "The Other Side of Lee Kuan Yew". I am familiar with 5 of the 8 persons mentioned. First and foremost, I believe that we should be responsible for our action. The 8 persons mentioned, I presume, must have done their calculation as to what the responsibilities were when they pursued a particular line of action. I say this because I did mine in the course of my growing up. When I was working, I believed my alternative was better than my superior's direction. I told him but he disagreed. I did not push harder as the consequence of such action could lead to my dismissal, and I knew I could not be out of income for a few months as I had a young family (with 2 young kids) and an aged father. Later in my working career, as I became financially independent, my tolerance for inept superior's direction was substantially reduced; I pushed very hard on my superior that his direction was not in the best interest of the Company, and, as a result, I was summarily dismissed. So, in short, we are responsible for our action and be prepared to face the consequences of such action. I am sure these 8 persons must have done so, and if not, then they were reckless/irresponsible and not worthy of further consideration. Secondly, these people had a choice when the going was tough. Some of their colleagues changed the way they were going to live their life. They were never detained. One who was detained in Operation Coldstore, later became Press Secretary to the then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Thirdly, I often wondered as to why some people who were detained for a long time, as in the case with these 8 persons, were not given the same option as what Lim Chin Siong got.... to be released early to lead a normal life. Could it be that these 8 persons did not request for such an option, and if they did, then why did the Government not oblige them as it did with Lim Chin Siong? Finally, I do admire these people especially the late Dr. Lim Hock Siew and Dr. Poh Soo Kai for their stand on principle. Like them, I would fight strongly for the cause I believed. However, I would never do what they did because, unlike Dr. Poh, I did not have any family wealth to support my young family and aged father; and unlike Dr. Lim, I did not have a wife who was self-sufficient economically. And my father was a chauffeur who worked long hours to help me financially in my university education. Poh Seng

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Jean said...
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