Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Views of the City and MM on Opposition

On Sunday and last night, I took some more photos of the neighborhood. In the neighborhood temple, there was a Beijing Opera puppet theater. And there were also many candles in glass cups and fire in a kiln.

In the humid night yesterday, I went up to the top floor of the apartment complex (29th) and looked around to see the distant views. Tonight, again with a high humidity after rain, I went to a nearby 30-story block for a better view. In distance, I found the "Singapore Flyer" illuminated in blue.
From “From Third World to First”:

… [J.B.] Jeyaretnam did break the PAP’s spell of unprecedented total support in a by-election in 1981… I left the arrangement for the campaign to the new assistant secretary-general, Goh Chok Tong… I did not take part in the [Anson] by-election campaign, leaving it completely to Goh and the young leaders… [The defeat] was quite a shock. I was disturbed, not by the defeat, but because I had had no signal from Goh that we might lose. I worried about his political sensitivity. (p. 146)

Jeyaretnam was a poseur, always seeking publicity, good or bad. (p. 148)

When dealing with the opposition, I had two preoccupations: Were they being used by the communists? And was this a “black operation”, one funded and run by a foreign intelligence agency to cause mischief? It was the latter concern which led to our investigation of Francis Seow, a former solicitor-general. The Marxist group… had gained influence in the Law Society… With Seow as president, the Law Society became politicised, criticising and attacking government legislations not on professional but on political grounds, something it had never done as a professional organisation by law to maintain discipline and standards in the legal profession.

Around that time, in 1987, a counsellor in the US embassy called Hendrickson met Seow to encourage him to lead an opposition group at the next election. The [Internal Security Department] recommended that we detain and interrogate Seow to get to the bottom of the matter. I agreed. We had to put a stop to this foreign interference in Singapore’s domestic politics and show that it was off-limits to all, including the United States… He… admitted that he had been to Washington to meet Hendrickson’s superior in the US State Department, who had assured him of refuge in America were he to run into difficulties with the government… [W]e gave him permission to travel to the United States to consult a cardiologist in New York and to attend a human rights conference. He did not return for his trial. Instead his lawyers submitted several medical reports [that] stated that it was inadvisable for Seow to travel internationally [and] that Seow was unable to undertake any air travel until treated for his heart condition. [T]he prosecution produced evidence that Seow had made at least seven air trips… Seow failed to provide further medical reports… One doctor later admitted that in fact he had not examined him and that he had not renewed his medical license to practice. Seow had no standing at the Bar, having been disciplined by the Law Society for financial misconduct. What was left of his credibility in Singapore was destroyed… Several years later, we learnt that the US government had indeed given Seow political asylum. (pp. 149-150)

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