Was it worth it? Is it worth it?

So LauGoh & Harry have decided to let Chee back into the ring.

If Chee can raise $30,000 to discharge himself, and if he stays out of trouble with the law for the next three years, he should be able to run in the 2015/2016 General Election.

Raising $30,000 should not be an issue, if Chee applies himself to it. After all, no-hoper candidates at the last GE were able to raise election deposits for an entire GRC team within 48 hours via Facebook.

SDP has more than 300 supporters, I’m sure. If each of them gives $100, the problem is solved. So lets assume that Chee will be back in action in 2015/2016, after 20 years in the wilderness.

I wonder why LauGoh & Harry did it. Obviously, they have nothing to gain. Chee is a threat to the PAP.

Indeed, I would guess the decision may not have been made solely by them. They would probably have ‘consulted’ the PM.

Perhaps the old men think that, just like importing foreign workers is necessary to spur Singaporeans to work harder, allowing Chee to return will make the next generation of PAP leaders work harder, turn them into real politicians.

Or perhaps they think they can contain the threat from Chee, that Chee is so far out there it doesn’t matter whether he runs, he would not appeal to mainstream voters.

Whatever the reason, Chee will be back.

Like a computer game character given an extra life, lets hope Chee plays his cards wisely this time. He doesn’t have that many years left.

Was it worth it for Chee, to spend 20 years in the wilderness because he refused to play by the rules?

Is it worth it for the PAP, to let Chee back into the ring?

We shall soon find out.

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About politicalwritings

Someone who sees beyond PAP and "opposition" in Singapore politics. To understand more please see the Top 10 link below.
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28 Responses to Was it worth it? Is it worth it?

  1. Let’s hope that he doesn’t make any more blunders so that he could stand for election. I hope he’s wise enough to play within the rules of the game like the other opp figures.

  2. Pingback: Daily SG: 12 Sep 2012 | The Singapore Daily

  3. JJ says:

    “Was it worth it for Chee, to spend 20 years in the wilderness because he refused to play by the rules?”
    That man is willing to spent 20yrs fighting for a clause that he think is good for Singapore and Singaporeans. His effort for accountabilty and transparency may not be wanting for people like you, however, he stepped forward, while you and I sit behind the PC, living in fear and social self-censorship.

    I may or may not agree with Dr Chee, but I have nothing but contempt for weaklings who dare not step forward butonly know how to jeer and criticise when someone else does.

  4. JJ says:

    “Was it worth it for Chee, to spend 20 years in the wilderness because he refused to play by the rules?”

    Rules??? What rules are you talking about???
    Are the ever-shifting GRCs a rule?
    When you ask for accountability on loans to Indonesia and got sued for contempt, are these what you call rules?

    When pork-barrel politics are illegal in other countries, some funny package of money will always reach Singaporean bank accounts before EVERY electon. So when did something illegal overseas become a RULE in Singapore???

    What kind of RULE is there when we ban the “GATHERING of ONE”, insulting not only the English Language but bare Logic as well?

    Tell me, how can you abide to Rules that keep changing, shifting, and re-written to suit the whims and fancy of the ruling party?
    At the back of your head and mine, we KNOW that something is not right, but we self-censor and kept quiet out of fear. But yet, when someone challenge these absurd rules, should we jeer him so as to keep on sinking our heads in the sand fo rthe fear of truth,
    or,
    should we look up and see on what is he ACTUALLY doing?

    • JG says:

      I can guess what Gintai is referring to.

      Speaking for myself, the lasting impression I have of Dr Chee is – being rude to PM Goh when he bumped into him on the hawker centre during one of the GE campaigning (in Hokkien, 没大没小); launching a hunger strike; being stripped apart by George Yeo during a televised proceeding. Rightly or wrongly, the image stuck that he’s a little extreme.

      I think Dr Chee could have made his point without resorting to those antics. I’ve no doubt that SDP and Dr. Chee will have a strong following among, I guess, 30%(?) of the population. This is the political left. But to win an elections, you need to appeal to the centre. Those antics do not help.

      Then again, the environment then vs now has changed significantly. If Dr Chee intends to appeal to the centre (and I’m not sure about that) and can rehabilitate his public image, he will have a chance. My guess is that he’s aware the environment has changed. But I’m not sure he sees the need to appeal to the centre. I do not know whether its him, or the SDP. Maybe SDP is a party of the left and it is what it is. The recent SDP policy paper about healthcare (ie. switch to single-payer, free healthcare for all) is probably too extreme for the majority of Singaporeans. The PAP didn’t bother to reply because they see SDP as a non-entity. But ANY party that wants to win election (including the Democrats in the US) need to move centre-left. I didn’t see SDP doing that in the last election and I’m not sure it will moving forward.

      • JJ says:

        “Speaking for myself, the lasting impression I have of Dr Chee is – being rude to PM Goh when he bumped into him on the hawker centre during one of the GE campaigning (in Hokkien, 没大没小); launching a hunger strike; being stripped apart by George Yeo during a televised proceeding. Rightly or wrongly, the image stuck that he’s a little extreme.”

        Kindly note that all your perceptions are from the local state media that is controlled by the Press Act, chaired by ISD members, and has consistently removed editors who are deemed as “not pro-PAP enough”

        Our media potray half-truths, and videos are edited and cut to give PAP the edge.

        It would be most helpful to see both sides of the coin. The media mud-sling Chee on the Goh confrontation. But what REALLY happened at that time? Here is the story from the other side.
        http://sgforums.com/forums/10/topics/414565

        And yes, did you hear about how Chee stripped apart LKY during the confrontation in court, after which the sore-losers ban all recording media after that incident?

        To me, the “tactics” you claimed are what ANY man, when forced to the corner by the media, the ruling party, and surroundings would do.
        Imagine if he had not gain any media attention, wouldn’t it be easier for the authorities to throw him into Detention without trial?
        It is precisely those action that he took which generated attention overseas that made it hard for PAP to banish him unlike those unfortunate souls under Operation Spectrum.
        This is an act of self-preservation by Chee. If you put yourself in his shoes, all things actually fall into place, logically.

    • Thanks for comments, but we’re talking about different things.

      You’re talking about how valiant a fighter Chee is.

      I’m questioning whether his actions were worth it.

      If you notice, I not only asked whether Chee’s actions were worth it, I’m questioning whether Lee & Goh’s actions will backfire on them too.

      I have no comment about how brave or self-sacrificing Chee was to do what he did.

      I have not jeered him.

      However, I do think that it was a waste of a good life. If he had played by the rules and got into Parliament instead, he could have made a greater difference.

      • JJ says:

        “However, I do think that it was a waste of a good life. If he had played by the rules and got into Parliament instead, he could have made a greater difference.”

        You used the word “rule” again. I have shown you from my previous post that those “rules” are not rules. Most tactics are actually “legalised” corruption.

        In fact, Chee DID PLAY by the RULES. His protests are from the LEGAL Hong Lim Square, but the police still arrest him. Singapore Constitution LAW allows him free speech, but PAP RULES forbit him.

        Chee did pay by the rules. He questioned on the $10bil loan to Indonesia, only to be charged for defamation. So the “rule”, you mean, is NOT to ask???
        Even until today, that $10bil loan is still UNANSWERED.

        The fact is, it DO NOT MATTER even if Chee played by the rules or not.
        He was simply targeted by Lee, and the rest of the puppets played along.

        Here is an excerpt from Lucky Tan:
        “…During Goh Chok Tong’s time as PM, he came into office saying that he wanted a consulative govt that woild listen to the views of citizens – he said “nothing” would happen to people who came forward with their views even if they were critical of the govt. Many Singaporeans are smart in their own way – they let others go first to see what happens. A young lecturer in the NUS answered the call to speak up and give honest feedback. Shortly, after he spoke up, his taxi claims were check for typographical errors, and he was sacked for dishonesty. A few years later he was made a bankrupt. Yes, “nothing” happened to him, after speaking up, he literally had nothing left in his finances…”

        Again, these shifting, twisting, and PAP controlled “RUES” that you are talking about won’t matter even if Chee played by them or not.

        In fact, it is his refusal to do so that we begin to see the absurdity in these “rules”, and how much of our rights to question for accountability and transparency are robbed away without even us knowing it…!

      • This post is not to debate the ‘rules’.

        But one can ask why Chee was arrested and others from other parties like NSP, RP, WP, SPP, etc were not. Are they less ‘opposition’ because they don’t want to demonstrate or protest on the streets, for instance? Put another way, do you think if others had protested in the same way as Chee, they would not have been arrested, only Chee would have been arrested?

        As for the constitutionality of the $10B loan… do you not see that challenging the Govt in Court, as is being done now by M Ravi and KJ, is a better way to achieve the same result? Rather than shouting at Lau Goh using a megaphone? We know what the result is likely to be, but going about it in court is a smarter way to do things.

        Indeed, SDP has changed somewhat in the last few years. They spend a lot of time and money to hold political discussion forums in indoor venues now, rather than outdoor protests. That’s one of the ‘rules’ our dear Govt has– no outdoor political gatherings/demonstrations without a permit. Whether we agree with this rule is a separate matter. I highlight this to show that SDP has realised it is wiser to follow the rules than to do more TBT protests, that they realise getting arrested does not create enough sympathy for them, it actually weakens the party’s ability to fight the PAP when more and more of its members become ineligible to contest elections.

        In fact, Chee’s desire to discharge himself from bankruptcy, and his wish to lead SDP into the 2016 elections, shows that he has seen the light too. It shows he understands that hunger strikes, demonstrations, protests, shouting with megaphones, etc. do not work here. People do not care enough. Or put another way, not enough people care for him. Without enough popular support, one can shout oneself hoarse, one can protest until the cows come home, it makes no difference.

        The only way Chee can hope to make a difference is to get into Parliament. He sees that now. I wonder if you do.

  5. SS says:

    You need to go no further than to listen to what the PAP’s minions are saying.
    They truly brought utter grace to their Party. With attitude like that, no amount of conversations are required.

    http://sghardtruth.com/2012/09/12/political-goodwill-and-grace-shown-on-the-part-of-mr-lee-kuan-yew-and-mr-goh-chok-tong-to-mr-chee-soon-juan/

  6. george says:

    Yes, we on our part would be buying his books for a good read and help him raise the funds to free himself from the tyranny of the old man and his toadies.

    By the way, IMO it is not through a change of heart of the pair. My take is that the old man knows he is going to pass on in the not too distant future. Guess what, when it happened he would be leaving an very embarrassing ‘legacy’ and unsavoury for his son, the PM, and his party, if Dr Chee is still not freed of his bondage, to clear up. The political cost is simply too high.

  7. sally says:

    GEORGE YEO was kick out OF POLTICS FOR BULLYING CSJ and LEFT IS 2 PERSON WHO IS waiting to be change

  8. JJ says:

    To politicalwritings

    There are alot of misperceptions in your statements.

    You worte that “…one can ask why Chee was arrested and others from other parties like NSP, RP, WP, SPP, etc were not…do you think if others had protested in the same way as Chee, they would not have been arrested, only Chee would have been arrested? ”

    First, it is your legal, Constitutional right to protest. You can ignore this point, but you cannot curb others from standing up to their right.

    Secondly, at that time, the law forbid the gathering of FIVE.
    Chee was in fact, gathering at FOUR. In case you don’t understand, it is a LEGAL form of protest, at that time.
    Chee was also protesting at designated Hong Lim square, but was denied a permit to do so. You see? In the end of the day, your so-call “rules” are nothing but a tool for PAP to curb oppositions.

    In other words, Chee was playing by ALL THE RULES but the PAP still jail him. When they ran out of reasons, they TWIST AND TURN the law to bar the “gathering of ONE” !

    So, again and again I ask, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY PLAY BY THE RULES?
    3 times I have asked you, but you never did reply.

    You also said “As for the constitutionality of the $10B loan… do you not see that challenging the Govt in Court, as is being done now by M Ravi and KJ, is a better way to achieve the same result? Rather than shouting at Lau Goh using a megaphone? We know what the result is likely to be, but going about it in court is a smarter way to do things. ”

    You have self-answered your own question, meaning to say that street protest or court, “..we know what the result is likely to be..”

    And if you check your facts, you will realised that, at that time, there are NO LAWYER willing to represent Chee. NOT in his protest, NOT in his charges of contempt.

    Damn, even a DRUG ADDICT, KILLER, MOLESTOR has a defense lawyer, but not Chee.

    Think again, and you will see how screwed our system have become.

    Finally, I have post this to JG, and I will post the same thing back to you too.
    I wrote,
    “Kindly note that all your perceptions are from the local state media that is controlled by the Press Act, chaired by ISD members, and has consistently removed editors who are deemed as “not pro-PAP enough”

    Our media potray half-truths, and videos are edited and cut to give PAP the edge.

    It would be most helpful to see both sides of the coin. The media mud-sling Chee on the Goh confrontation. But what REALLY happened at that time? Here is the story from the other side.
    http://sgforums.com/forums/10/topics/414565

    • 1. This is not about how unjust the rules are. I’m not interested in how unjust you feel. I already said at the start, this piece is not about the rules. Therefore I don’t see why I have to answer your question.

      Anyway for your info, they are not MY so-called rules. However, it is clear that Chee was not playing by the rules.

      2. I can accept that there was no lawyer willing to represent Chee then. However, even if there was no lawyer willing to represent him, he can still take them to court. You remember the case of the British woman who fought her own case in court and won?

      Indeed, I know Chee frequently represented himself in Court for the defamation cases.

      The point is not the result. The point is how you fight. You can choose to fight on the street. You can choose to fight in court.

      He chose to fight on the street.

      3. I have seen the views of the other side. Indeed, if you read the rest of my site, you will find very anti-PAP pieces.

      Notwithstanding the above, Chee has come to his epiphany. It does not look like you have.

      Chee has come to realise that, without getting into Parliament, he cannot hope to change things in Singapore. He can protest till the cows come home, but this is not India, and Chee is not Gandhi. People will not care. He realises that now. Rules or no rules against protests, he sees that there is no way, other than the route of elections, to change this Govt.

      But it looks like you do not see what your idol sees.

      • JJ says:

        I read in disbelieve on your obstinate stance when come you ran out of reasons. Your words are porous, I wonder did you check what you write.

        You specifically asked in open “Was it worth it for Chee, to spend 20 years in the wilderness because he REFUSED TO PLAY BY THE RULES?”
        When I ask you more than 4 times what rules are you talking about, you refused to clarify, and threw a smokescreen to cover it up with “I already said at the start, this piece is not about the rules. Therefore I don’t see why I have to answer your question.”

        Huh?
        You asked;
        I seek clarification;
        you refused;
        so why bother to ask in the first place???

        Again, I have specifically stated on how Chee PLAYED BY THE RULES, dispite that PAP continue to bent and twisted it to their whimp and fancy. But you continue to turn a blind eye, insisting that “…..it is clear that Chee was not playing by the rules.”

        I had higher expectation from you, seeking a logical and reasonable exchnage.

        Next, see how your sentences contradict each other.
        You worte “I can accept that there was no lawyer willing to represent Chee then. However, even if there was no lawyer willing to represent him, he can still take them to court….Indeed, I know Chee frequently represented himself in Court for the defamation cases.”
        Duh….did it not inccur to you that he had NO CHOICE but to represent himself in court because NO LAWYER would represent him???

        Your case of the British woman winning a court case herself holds no water. You jolly well know that our courts are paid under the PM office, and the success rate of opposition winning a court case in Singapore is ZERO. So why argue for the sake of arguing?

        Finally, did you check with Chee in person before you conclude YOUR thoughts for him???
        “Chee has come to realise that, without getting into Parliament, he cannot hope to change things in Singapore…He realises that now. Rules or no rules against protests, he sees that there is no way, other than the route of elections, to change this Govt.”

        Did it not inccur to you that Chee protested under Constitutional Rights under the PAP bend the rules from restricting the gathering of 5 down to 1, hence he cannot protest no more?
        Even a Pri 6 kid knows that to change this Govt one way is to go through the elections.
        Did it not incur to you that Chee merely excercise his citizenary right in form of protest, when his election rights are TAKEN AWAY through absurdous lawsuits that made him bankcrupt?

        You mean that Chee, a Doctorate, is so stupid as to think that protests can get him into the gov previously???
        If not, so why did he do so?
        Did he wrote into the media to explain his actions? When he did, are they published?

        Unlike you, I do not try to think for Chee, nor try to naively think that “Oh! Chee stopped protests because only now then he realised that it is useless without getting into the parliment.”

        Please talk to Chee before you try to come to conclusion for him.

    • Sorry, cannot agree with you.

      1. No interest in discussing whether the rules are fair or just. Not the intent of this piece. Which I emphasise again– it’s in the title. “Was it worth it for Chee to spend 20 years in the wilderness?” and “Is it worth it, for LauGoh and Harry to let Chee back in?”.

      This piece is NOT about “Are the rules fair”, “Was Chee right to stand up for his constitutional rights”, “Is Chee brave and to respected for standing up to an unjust Govt”, etc etc.

      But just to say, if the rules are changed by the PAP, even if they were changed in an unjust manner– it is still the rules, is it not? You are apparently quite clear on one of the rules– because you highlighted that it was changed to prohibit protests even by a gathering of ONE person. If you know this rule, no matter how unfair it is, you cannot claim you don’t know this rule. You know the rules, yet you keep “asking me what are the rules, why is that? I’m not here to debate whether these rules are fair or unfair, just or unjust with you. Absolutely no interest in that.

      The evidence is that Chee also knew the rules and refused to play by them, just like you continue to bitch about it. That proves clearly the assertion that Chee refused to play by the rules.

      Perhaps he felt, as you do, that the rule change was not fair. But he can’t claim he doesn’t know the rule. He also knew the consequences. Indeed, he was fully prepared to accept the consequences, he stated many times he’s not afraid of prison. That fearlessness is to be respected.

      However, we have not seen him protest in recent years, not since IMF 2006 I think. We have also not seen SDP protest in recent years. Have you wondered why? Is it because they no longer think the rules are unfair? Is it because they have become cowards, afraid of prison? Or is it because they have realised that going to prison makes no difference, life goes on in Singapore, it passes them by?

      2. No lawyer would represent Chee.. I ask you again, so what? You say, “why argue for the sake of arguing”? I can ask you back, “why demonstrate for the sake of demonstrating”? Because he knows the likely outcome of demonstrations.

      The question is, does he prefer to argue in court (even if he has no lawyer), or does he prefer to shout on the streets. He made his choice.

      3. Perhaps Chee wants to exercise his constitutional rights, that’s why he protests. So? This piece is not about Chee’s rights. Or anyone else’s.

      4. Chee may be a PhD, but he didn’t seem to understand then that protests are not effective in Singapore. He understands now, which is why you hardly see SDP doing protests today, and instead they hold indoor forums which are much better received, draw larger crowds than outdoor protests, get people to understand SDP’s message better.

      I do not see a need to speak to Chee when he has made a very clear public statement.

      From TOC:
      “The $30,000 I am offering to Mr Lee and Mr Goh is a huge amount for me but I hope to meet the target from the sale of my books.” Dr Chee adds that it is important that he clears the bankruptcy and leads the SDP to contest in the next general elections.

      He said: “We are building up slowly but surely, and with each passing month and year, we are gaining momentum to becoming an alternative national party. It is important, therefore, that I am eligible when the next GE comes around.”

      It is clear that he has realised that more protests means more fines and more jail time which will disqualify him from elections again, and thus the reasonable inference to be drawn is that, he realises protests and demonstrations are not the way to go for him or SDP.

      Pity you don’t see the same as your idol.

      • JJ says:

        Mistakes again. Let’s set the record striaght.

        You said “No interest in discussing whether the rules are fair or just. ”
        I am NOT asking you if the rules are fair or just. Read again. I am asking you WHAT rules are you talking about.
        It is a very simple request for clarification. 5 times, but you refused to clarify.

        You said that “You are apparently quite clear on one of the rules– because you highlighted that it was changed to prohibit protests even by a gathering of ONE person… That proves clearly the assertion that Chee refused to play by the rules. ”
        Your time sequence of events are wrong.
        All protests are done when the rules state by FIVE. When the rules changed to ONE, that is the reason why he stopped.
        No?

        You asked me back ““why demonstrate for the sake of demonstrating”? Because he knows the likely outcome of demonstrations.”
        I don’t have an answer for this. But unlike you, I do not jump into conclusions for Chee.
        What I think is that there has to be a starting point, and this is one of them. Protests also bring about public awareness, and generate public interests, etc.

        You said that “Chee may be a PhD, but he didn’t seem to understand then that protests are not effective in Singapore. He understands now, which is why you hardly see SDP doing protests today…”
        This is the gist of the issue.

        WHAT made you conclude FOR him that SDP stopped protesting as it is not effective”???
        Did you talk to him? For did you simply derive from YOUR own thinking behind the PC?

        Did the protests stopped BECAUSE of its so-call ineffectiveness,
        or did it stop because PAP twist the rules to effectively ban protest, and HENCE THEY STOPPED?

        Well, since YOU are the one that jump into conclusion FOR him in this issue, wouldn’t it be better to seek clarification from the man himself?

        P/S: You seem to have a liking to label him as my idol. I don’t mind on your side-tracking tactics. It only make your argument shallow…cheers!

    • 1. I think people can see that you want to draw me into a discussion on whether the rules are fair or just. I’m not going into that.

      Let the readers decide if yours is merely a ‘simple’ request for ‘clarification’, shall we?

      2. Did he stop protests because the rules were changed to stop him protesting by himself, or did he stop because he saw that it is not effective and he now wants to get into Parliament, which means he must stop getting arrested? You have your view, I have mine. I don’t you are right, you don’t think I’m right. But I reject your suggestion of talking to Chee. By that token, political writer cannot form views and opinions based on what they see and observe, but must ask the subjects in question before they can write anything.

      I reject that as a requirement before I can start writing.

  9. Singaporean says:

    To politicalwritings:

    Outdoor protests are part and parcel of any democracy. If Hong Kong can live with it, Taiwan can live with it, rest of the developed world can live with it – there is no reason why Singapore can not live with it. Your assumption that democratic process has to happen only in parliament or court is flawed.

    You may want to read Dr. Chee’s recent speech at launch of his book carefully (check: http://exchersonesusaurea.blogspot.sg/2012/09/dr-chee-soon-juan-vox-clamantis-in.html)

    CSJ was ahead of his time but then so were many leaders who called for change such as Gandhi, Mandela and others – I am not suggesting Chee is in same league as them.

    Agree – he has changed and so has Singapore. Hopefully CSJ will be able to achieve more political success going forward – it is still long road for him and SDP.

    But one thing is for sure – we need both accelerator of Good Governance as well as brakes of democracy. It is not question of choice between the two – both are necessary.

    • Thanks. I agree protests are part of democracy. See my other post here.

      Notwithstanding this, one must consider whether protests are effective in Singapore.

      Dr Chee braved the weather, got arrested, tried, jailed for his various protests. Did the masses rise up?

      Did people demand his release? Did they hold candlelight vigils outside his prison?

      As you noted, he has realised, it won’t work here.

      I have never made an “assumption” that democractic process has to happen in Parliament or in Court. What I’ve said is that those are smarter and more effective ways of doing things here.

      Because Singapore is not Hong Kong, not Taiwan, not India, not even Malaysia– where the masses dare to defy ISA for Bersih.

      • ‘Notwithstanding this, one must consider whether protests are effective in Singapore.’

        From what little I read about Dr Chee, he played by the universal rule of human right. He broke the rules set by the ruling party because he sees those rules as unjust and therefore need not be adhered. However, I’m with sgpolitics on the statement quoted above. Dr Chee might have overlooked the ‘rules of the jungle’… rules that can never be written or set but always evolving. Are the people ready to accept protest, even in peaceful forms? The way I see it… some Singaporeans do but in the comfort of their homes on a PC like you and me.

        Sorry sgpolitics, I digress from your main post. We don’t really know is the reduction to $30k worth it for all parties involved until next GE, do we?

      • Oops… my bad. I meant politicalwritings when I wrote sgpolitics. Sorry

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