Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing in to express my disdain for the Sedition Charge made against editors of The Real Singapore and, more importantly, the state of this country you are making into.
First and foremost, your father did not take Singaporeans out of the British colonial rule to have you as the next colonial master. Even when if he was authoritarian, many would still acknowledge he did the necessary under those circumstances. You, however, have no right to impose a similar authoritarian rule as he did, not when Singapore today is a safe and developed country yet so backward in its democratic progress.
We are no longer living in the days of racial riots 60 years ago and given today’s developing connectivity, Singaporeans are a lot more cosmopolitan, rational and educated than their parents’ generations. Speech today hardly invoke, not to say incite, hostility or even violence between anyone. Articles as mild as the ones by TRS and even a Youtube video by a 16 year old teenager posted on the internet being hauled up for Sedition Charges is stupidity at its best, and these reflects very badly on Singapore’s reputation under your watch, and especially you, the Prime Minister.
Singaporeans with awareness of your government policies know the state of your repute; and for the record your reputation cannot be cleansed by charging people for defamation and sedition. You may have no qualms/shame drawing 4 times the salaries of President Obama and warming the Prime Minister seat for over 10 years, but I can assure you your voters do not think very well of you as compared to your father. This sedition charge episode may look like it isn’t politically motivated but I assure you it has definitely affected your credentials as a fair minded leader.
If you have taken the time to read the offending articles by TRS, I implore you to stop your attacks against the freedom of reasonable speech. They are so mild they definitely do not amount to sedition, because the idea of being seditious is closer to that of hate speech calling for tangible actions against a particular group. The sedition arrest made looks to me that you are not looking for a solution, but to mask the problem of growing dissent as your 153rd ranking media does everyday.
Singapore can never progress without the acceptance of talented young people who refuse to acknowledge your expired manner of governance. This island is slowly becoming a fascist state with you the leader and I’m sure you are similarly aware of the bootlickers around you who can never afford to be candid with you. You may be 63 years old this year but you still lack the generosity of a gentleman and the wisdom of governance. During this period of your father’s demise, many regarded him as a notable stateman of Singapore. Have you thought about your own legacy? Many Singaporeans may think about renaming Changi Airport after your father to commemorate his achievements, but I am very positive every single one of them will oppose to having your name honoured after any building.
Please take the time to reflect on the direction you are bringing Singapore into. Singapore is first world on many fronts, but it is disappointingly third world in relation to other hallmarks of a first world society like freedom of expression, democracy and press independence. The next milestone for Singapore are the non-tangibles like culture, freedom, environment and nationhood. Chasing rapid GDP growth is only for the third world countries and it is time to start looking at being competitive beyond economical terms. For a start, clamping down on voices is the opposite direction. The lack of diversity in Singapore has a lot to do with your inability to stomach constructive criticisms.
You have however about a year left to correct things, and you should immediately discharge the TRS editors and the 16 year old boy of Sedition. In this modern world, we should engage in discussions and not resort to oppression. Political repression will only contribute to ignorance, and no first world society is ignorant of its civil liberties.
Former editor of The Real Singapore