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Singapore Activists Face Police Harrassment & Intimidation

Message of defiance from Singapore activists

Resolute in the face of police intimidation
30 May 07

Several activists have been called up for questioning by the police for standing up for their rights of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly last year.

Fifteen local democracy advocates attended police investigations in the past several weeks to answer questions on their participation in two events: the World Bank-IMF meeting in September and on International Human Rights Day in December.

Despite the harassment, however, these human rights defenders remain defiant. In a signed statement as well as video-taped messages, the advocates reiterated their commitment to establishing their political and civil rights of Singaporeans.

The police have made outrageous allegations that the advocates have committed offences such as “counseling disobedience to the law”, “holding an assembly and procession without a permit”, and even “incitement to violence”.

In Sep 06, seven activists took part in a protest at Hong Lim Park during the World Bank-IMF meeting, calling for freedom of speech in Singapore. They were stopped by the police which turned the event into a 72-hour standoff.

On 10 Dec 06, several advocates conducted a Freedom Walk down Orchard Road to mark International Human Rights Day.

This is the first time that a group of Singaporeans have courageously stood up for their rights and they remain resolute in the face of police intimidation. They responded with dignity by going to the police stations to face the investigators.

They even called on fellow Singaporeans to step forward and join them in their fight against the despotic PAP Government (see video). They also made appeals to the international community to pay attention to the continued repression in Singapore.

The group’s action will shine the spotlight on the PAP which is running out of ideas on how to improve Singapore and resorting to desperate measures to silence a population which is becoming more assertive.

The latest police action signals a regime increasingly at odds with the people it rules and it is a clear indication of a Government that is insecure and lacking in confidence.

One of the activists, Mr Jeffrey George, who is a staunch advocate of democratic values and practices, said: “Singaporeans must not be cowed by this bullying. We must show that our right to democracy and freedom is inalienable, it cannot be taken away from us.”

Mr John Tan, another democracy advocate, added: “I challenge the Government to live up to the pledge our children recite in school everyday, that is, to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality.”

Mr Tan questioned how could Singaporeans feel proud when citizens “are hauled up for being patriotic?”

“How can we feel at home when we do not have basic human rights such as the freedom of speech and expression?” he asked. “The freedom of speech and the freedom to assemble are fundamental to the very definition of democracy. They are the elements that either make us a free people or a nation of slaves.”

Express your support for these courageous citizens who have found their voice and are standing up to the PAP. Write them a message of solidarity and encouragement (

It is our duty to speak up, 30 May 07

We, the undersigned, are being questioned by the police for taking part in political activities on 16 September 2006 and 10 December 2006.

We are Singaporeans exercising our sacred rights and speaking up for the rights of our fellow citizens.

We object to being harassed by the Singapore Government and reiterated our stand that as citizens its is our duty and responsibility to speak up and hold our Government accountable. These rights are enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We oppose the repressive measures of the ruling Peoples’ Action Party which continues to use laws to prosecute citizens for exercising our freedoms of speech and assembly.

We call on democracy defenders to denounce the anti-democratic stance of the Singapore Government and to support the cause of democracy in Singapore.


Gandhi Ambalam
Chee Siok Chin (Ms)
Chee Soon Juan
Chong Kaixiong
Jeffrey George
Johnny Hoe
Kirat Kaur (Ms)
Monica Kumar (Ms)
Priveen Suraj
Gerald Sng
John Tan
Charles Tan
Tan Cheng Poh
Teoh Tian Jing
Yap Keng Ho
Francis Yong

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Singapore – Legal Letter from Grand Seasons International

It appears that has received a Legal Letter from Grand Seasons International Lawyers(referring to this entry?).

October 23, 2006
timeshare scam
Gecko said:

I have removed the original content at the request of Gecko.


Submitted by gecko on October 23//10:46am and published by cowboycaleb, shianux :: add new comment | 3833 reads | trackback

Threats of legal action should never be used to quash legitimate and valid criticism on the internet and as well as that they simply draw attention to an issue that would have drifted off into the ether to have been forgotten about. The first point of contact should not be to threaten legal action.


The letter states….

Our Ref: JSG/1311/07
Date: 23 May 2007

Registrar: Vooju Pte Ltd
Registrant: James Seng

Dear Sir


We act for M/s Grand Seasons International Pte Ltd.

Our clients instruct that a blog has been published in your Bulletin of Singapore Bloggers at the following url address: with the heading in bold “Grand Season International-TimeShare Scam Company”.

We are instructed that the above words are defamatory of our clients and our client’s reputation and goodwill has been disparaged and seriously damage. It is common knowledge that the Internet has millions of users who have free and open access to the words complained of.

In the premises our clients instruct that unless the above offending words are removed from the above url address and from the bulletin board within the next 5 days from the date hereof our clients shall have no alternative but to proceed as they deem fit in the matter.

Our clients also seek your co-operation to disclose the name and address of “GECKO” who has posted comment on 23/10/06 regarding our clients in the captioned matter as our clients intend to pursue their legal rights against the writer.

Yours faithfully,

Jagjit Singh Gill

cc clients

And the offending article which will of course now receive far more attention than it ever would have is available below…

read more…

Voices of Freedom

The following article is posted here for my own records as it does refer to an issue that has from time-to-time been mentioned in passing in the Singapore Blogosphere – namely that it tends to be dominated by the usual suspects, middle-class, educated, males and there does seem to be a lot of ‘journalists’, lawyers, postgraduate students, undergraduate students, and IT experts dominating the sg blogosphere. So where is the marginalised Singaporean?

Blogs and podcasts enable a powerful and authentic voice for marginalised communities sidelined by mainstream media

Nathalie McDermott
Wednesday May 30, 2007
The Guardian

Prisoners cannot podcast because they do not have access to the internet, but if they could the material would be fascinating. It would be authentic, raw and compelling without being sensational. Instead of the stock answers we hear from prisoners in television soundbites, you might hear “Jamie” own up to the fact that he has never told his kids he is inside because he is so ashamed, and that they think he is at work. Or about how “Bruno” only gets a buzz from crime and feels “the butterflies when I’m on a bit of work”, and has never held down any other job. You’d hear prisoners talking to each other, intimately and frankly, from a shared position of trust and common knowledge.

I worked in a prison for three years, training offenders to run a talk radio station, and the thing that struck me most was how much better the content was than anything I have ever heard – or produced when I was a journalist – on mainstream media about prison issues.

People would come to visit the station, listen to the programmes and chat to the prisoners. Without fail, whatever their views on the criminal justice system, they would invariably leave with an entirely different perception of serving offenders and how we as a society deal with crime.

Thrilling tool

This is the power of simple conversation. Citizen journalism – real people speaking to real people through podcasts and blogs – means that we can have those conversations online, and this is what makes it such a thrilling tool for positive social change.

There is a lot of debate in the media about the term “citizen journalism”. Many conventional journalists prefer “user-generated content” or “social media” to set it apart from what they have been trained for years to do, which is fair enough I suppose, since the two are distinct. Citizen journalism is content – text, photos, audio and video – that is generated by the public and sometimes, but rarely, makes its way into a mainstream newspaper or broadcast bulletin. It is mostly found in blogs or on networking sites such as MySpace. The main difference between the two mediums is that citizen journalism cuts out the middle man, and the story is told from a position of first-hand knowledge and partiality.

The reason that this can be more engaging is that someone at the centre of an issue can get more out of their interviewees because of the trust that comes from shared experience, background or culture. So while there will always be a need for trained journalists to sift through and select information for cogent analysis, when it comes to really getting to the bottom of an issue, it makes sense to go to the source and hear the people who are directly involved – unedited and without time constraints or word limits.

So how can positive social change be achieved through an abundance of disorganised chat on the internet? I run an organisation that trains marginalised groups and voluntary and public sector organisations to podcast, allowing them inexpensively to produce audio or video from their perspective. They can do and say what they like, as long as it is legal. Campaigners and charity workers do not have to wait for the media to take an interest in their issue – they can produce material themselves that will be of interest to their target audience, as opposed to mainstream media, which must appeal to a much wider audience.

However, most of my time has shifted towards working with marginalised groups because there is something that worries me about the digital revolution. When I surf through blogs, podcasts and content sharing sites such as YouTube and MySpace (examples of internet technology known as web 2.0), it is the same familiar demographic that is generating the content. For example, Al Gore’s citizen journalism channel, Current TV, launched recently in the UK and Ireland. My concern is that, powerful as some of the content is on Current TV and sites like it, the people producing it are, on the whole, privileged, confident and articulate members of society who already have a voice and are more accurately represented in newspapers and broadcast media to begin with.

to read more…

Singapore – Straits Times Decreasing Traffic

Found On Singapore Election
When The Straits Times started charging for access all those years ago it was the wrong move. Why pay to access the reporting of a mass media outlet that is ranked either 147th or 154th in the world depending on your ranking source. The paper is losing revenue as are so many other newspapers around the world. The 20 – 30 generation are going online to get news that matters to them. Not news filtered by a process of ‘self-censorship’ or by a regime that demands control over all that is written.

Simply no longer charging visitors to view your advertisements and state-controlled press releases is not going to turn the fortunes of the ST around over night. Trying to isolate yourself from the global market of media and cultural production by charging your readers and hoping that they show loyalty to you was mis-guided. But until the Straits Times journalists are able to compete on the global playing-field without the dead-weight of self-censorship and state control – all the technology in the world will not alter the image of the Straits Times as a state owned and controlled propaganda outlet.

FROM Tuesday, visitors to The Straits Times’ (ST) website will not have to pay to read the latest breaking news from Singapore and the world.

They can also post their views – in real time – on the reports they read.

One other major change: The site will drop its 12-year-old name, The Straits Times Interactive, or STI, and go with the cleaner ‘’.

Since becoming a subscription site in 2005, it has been offering only a small buffet of material for free:

1. ST’s online forum letters;
2. Multimedia features, such as video news reports and podcasts;
3. A restricted selection of 20 reports from the print edition.

All other content, including breaking news and material picked up from the print edition of the newspaper itself, has been available only to subscribers in the past two years.

Explaining the move to open up more free-access content, ST editor Han Fook Kwang said: ‘There’s a great deal more we can do in the website to leverage on the award-winning talent in The Straits Times newsroom of writers, photographers, artists and designers. I think we’ve a good product and we want to make it available to more people in cyberspace, and to use the technology available on the web to make it an even better product.’
Here is the real reason ….


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Singapore – Capitalism without democracy is exploitation

Capitalism without democracy is exploitation – excerpts from A Nation Cheated
28 May 07

THE only difference between communism and capitalism, it has been said, is that the communists have admitted that they were wrong.

Such an observation, undoubtedly made with tongue firmly in cheek, is nevertheless a serious indictment of the economic system that has enveloped this planet.

The widening disparity between the world’s rich and poor continues to ask questions about the way humanity conducts itself. Poverty brutalises and dehumanises the victims it claims. It is an evil that tears at the very heart of civilisation.

Giving succour to us is the knowledge that people are not defenceless when it comes to combating poverty. The weapon of choice is, of course, democracy. For without it, capitalism becomes nothing more than exploitation in disguise.

And yet, in Singapore the situation is such that while the ruling Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) remains alive to the capitalist world, it ensures that democracy is kept dead and buried. Such an arrangement renders the working poor voiceless and powerless, opening them up to abuse and exploitation.

A Nation Cheated addresses the fallacy that Singapore has a well-run, free-market economy system put in place by the PAP that continues to benefit the island’s inhabitants.

In fact, this report clearly demonstrates that there is nothing free or market-oriented about Singapore’s economy. Worse, developmental trends over the last 10 years show how Singaporeans have been economically displaced and socially dislocated as a result of PAP policies.

It documents the subjugation of the labour movement by the Singapore Government during the nation’s formative years which has continued into the present. The official argument is that strong trade unions are inimical to foreign investment.

After nearly half-a-century of uninterrupted authoritarian rule, however, the results are abysmal. Singapore’s economy seems unable to graduate into something more than a service station for multinational companies. The resultant effect has been the emergence of a significant layer of underclass.

The report also demonstrates that this system is actively maintained by an autocratic government whose political philosophy and practice is predicated on Lee Kuan Yew’s idea that state resources should be concentrated on the top 5 percent of the pop-ulation “who are more than ordinarily endowed physically and mentally.”

Most importantly, this essay presents a clear alternative to the course taken by the PAP who has bludgeoned into the minds of the populace that there isn’t, and can never be, one.

It was first published in 2002 under the title First World…For Whom? Much has happened since and this updated version will bring readers up to speed about Singapore’s political-economy, poverty, and labour.

Many have bought the e-copy of A Nation Cheated written by Dr Chee Soon Juan. If you haven’t done so, order a copy today and support the democracy campaign in Singapore!

Option1: You can place your order through Paypal, either through your own Paypal account or directly with your credit card if you don’t have a Paypal account. Click on the ‘Buy Now’ button below.

Option 2: If you don’t want to use either of the above options, please write to

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Singapore – Avoidance of Double Taxation

for Myanmar Citizens living and working in Singapore

To remove unfair and unjust double taxation practice that Myanmar citizens living and working in Singapore are facing despite the fact that there is a Comprehensive Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) signed between Singapore and Myanmar.

Naing Moe Aung
Mobile: (+65) 9871 0563
Fax: (+65) 6491 5522
Email: naing {at}

Please download the template, print it out and start collecting the signatures from those around you and return it to the address below by 01 July 2007.
Naing Moe Aung
Block 74, Bedok North Road
Singapore 460074

Ka Daung Nyin Thar wants the Myanmarese workers in Singapore to be united and participate in the campaign which would compel Singapore PM to discuss with Myanmar government to respect the agreement.

First spotted on Global Voices Online
Further details are available here.

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