Vivian Balakrishnan: National Shame For Armed Forces Of Any Country To Turn Against Its Own People

In parliament on Friday (5 Mar), Vivian Balakrishnan addressed the situation in Myanmar and said that we are “appalled by the violence inflicted by security forces against civilians.” He also adds that “it is the height of national shame for the armed forces of any country to turn its arms against its own people.” A reader points out the hypocrisy of his statement.


Dear Editors,

As I watched minister Vivian Bala address parliament on the very recent Myanmar coup about Singapore’s position on the issue, I can’t help but feel a sense of pretence and hypocrisy in his speech.

I vividly remember the Saffron revolution in Myanmar 14 years back was even more severe than this round of coup as the military not only suppressed the people but also brutally murdered thousands of monks which triggered worldwide condemnation that led to the democratisation of the country. Hence, the lady protestor with the shirt “everything will be alright” who was killed a few days ago is right that the military government will not last this time.

Back then, only the SDP leaders and a handful of civil activists like Abdul Salim, Melvin Tan and Daniel De Costa cared enough about the brutality in Myanmar to stage a demonstration outside the embassy. We cannot even get near the embassy today and it tells you how much it does not bother our leaders who are only good at paying lip service.

Back home, we are not doing too well either with our own “benevolent dictatorship”! We have the civil service, particularly the police and AGC turning on our own citizens who call out unjust happenings in our country. Terry Xu and Daniel De Costa have been hurled to court through surrogate lawsuit and an overzealous DSP Au Yong on government scholarship who claimed he is disturbed by Terry and Daniel’s publication harming the government’s reputation. A reputation they did not even have the moral courage to launch an independent enquiry to determine the veracity of the Lee siblings damning accusations.

This same DSP was then quizzed on whether he felt the same way about what the Lee siblings sworn about their brother, he could not answer. Of course he had backing to shield him from answering this critical question. Which leads the man on the street the wonder if there’s any legitimacy in the proceedings when there was not even a single police report filed by IMDA or Sim Wee Lee?

The same burning question are on the minds of everyone in the Leong Sze Hian lawsuit and the reluctance to sue the journalist and publication who wrote the offending article shared by so many others besides Leong?

Forgotten by many, we also have a law passed in parliament not too long ago that authorises the government to confiscate mobile devises and shut down the internet and media publications when police is required to use lethal force on demonstrators who in their view, “create unrest” in the country. Hence, given the situation in Myanmar today, it will fall exactly under this bill and authorities would have done the same to the protestors!

So, does the PAP mean what they say and say what they mean, it will take the loss of 20 more seats to really hold them to their word.

Judith Tan

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