Dr Chee with Aung San Suu Kyi in 1998
Dr Chee Soon Juan wrote a co-op piece on The Wall Street Journal on 27 November 2014 titled ‘A New Vision for Singapore‘. He repeated his call for PAP to conduct free & fair elections and release the press from government control to allow true debates by Singaporeans at this crucial juncture in Singapore’s history.
Dr Chee is the secretary-general of Singapore Democratic Party which espouses liberalism principles and he has not deviated from those principles – he did a hungry strike in 1993 to protest his unfair dismissal from NUS; in 2002, he spoke up openly in Speakers Corner on behalf of Muslims parents who wants their daughters to wear religious head wear to school; the same year, he staged a rally near the Istana to raise awareness of the plight of workers; in 2006, he organised a march at Speakers corner to protest the rising income gap of Singaporeans.
Dr Chee’s sister surrounded by Policewomen.
He got into trouble with the law each time for his act of civil disobedience. He was bankrupted in 2006 when he was unable to pay damages after he lost a defamation suit to former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.
Despite many setbacks, Dr Chee has displayed his political will to see Singapore transform into a true democratic society. Before the internet & social-media age, most Singaporeans were unable to understand the philosophy, motivations and principles behind Dr Chee’s actions because he was vilified by the mainstream media as someone who is a disruptive pariah to the society.
Dr Chee and his family. Photo: Yahoo Singapore
The widespread use of internet has given Singaporeans opportunities to understand the philosophy of opposition political parties and comprehend the actions of Dr Chee: Civil disobedience is a norm in other first world democracies.
I do not agree with the actions of other SDP members but Dr Chee’s commitment has not wavered for the past 20 years unlike others who joined SDP for selfish reasons, left for various reasons or disappeared for unknown reasons.
Dr Chee’s co-op piece has triggered a response from Consul-General to Hong Kong Jacky Foo who refuted Dr Chee point by point.
However, it is the editorial slant Mothership.sg in response to this Chee-Foo spat that annoys me. These are the 3 latest articles written by Martino Tan who tried to poke fun and discredit Dr Chee:
(1) SDP’s Chee Soon Juan uses the Wall Street Journal to poke the government
(2) Grandfather of protests Chee Soon Juan asked Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui to apologise
(3) CPF blogger raised $36,600 within two days. That’s $6,600 more than what Chee Soon Juan paid ex-PMs LKY & GCT in settlement.
From my understanding, Martino Tan is a former civil servant with Prime Ministers Office who was credited with the setup of Lee Hsien Loong’s Facebook page. Mothership.sg is backed by a social enterprise Project Fisher-Men, which is chaired by civil service veteran Philip Yeo . Former foreign minister George Yeo contributes to the site. The other members includes Jonathan Lim, a former MICA personnel and Lien We King, who is in the core group of George Yeo’s support base.
The Mothership.sg crew are (from left) executive director Lien We King, director Edwin Ramesh, editor Belmont Lay, administrative staff Tan Wei Fen, editors Martino Tan and Jonathan Lim, and intern Sally Ong. Photo: Zaobao.
Impressively, for the past 20 years, Dr Chee has stayed committed to his political philosophy and he has led by example hoping to inspire a breakthrough in our political process.
I doubt Dr Chee’s fighting spirit will be over-shadowed by PAP’s cheap shots on the internet that make Martino Tan’s slime looks like child’s play – Tan’s track record of setting up Lee Hsien Loong’s Facebook page is nothing spectacular by itself because Lee already has the support base to grow his Page and the mainstream media editors have to promote Lee’s Page because he is the number 1 man in this country.
Mothership.sg has to thank their powerful PAP backers for the financial resources to jump-start its popularity but they should not get carried away and continue tarnishing Dr Chee like what the mainstream media have been doing, unless that is the purpose of their existence.