Pages

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Found on:Sintercom : Gross Misrepresentation: The Straits Times Intelligence Operatives Have Done It Again

h6.jpg

Someone posted this from the Singapore Heritage List:


Look what I've found at http://newsintercom.org

Gross Misrepresentation: The Straits Times Intelligence Operatives Have Done It Again

Today, I came across a Straits Times article on the fabled exchange at the Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum between MM Lee and Jamie Han. The Straits Times Article published excerpts of the proceedings without indicating what was omitted, as shown in the segment below. I would like to reproduce the actual exchange so it becomes clear that to a large extent, the Straits Times obfuscates the truth and twists it according to the whims of its masters.



ST: Lively Exchanges
Paper: The Straits Times
Section: Singapore
Date published: Wednesday, February 2, 2005
---- [Segment] ----
Student: My name is Jamie Han, history honours student.

I'm not questioning your decisions in the past, I'm sure at those times, there was a need for consensus and stability. But I think we have come to the stage where stability is already here and that, in order to progress, the minority viewpoints have to be heard.

And I'm not saying that the People's Action Party is corrupt or anything now.

The truth of the matter is this: No matter how enlightened a despot is, ultimately, he'll turn into a tyrant if there are no checks and balances in place.

MM Lee: There's nothing to prevent you from advocating that, pushing that strenuously and finally getting a political party to adopt your platform, and we will put it to the vote. That's the democratic way of doing it.
---- [End Segment] ----

Now, I would like to reproduce the actual exchange in full.

---- [Actual Exchange] ----
Student:
Good evening Mr Lee. My name is Jamie Han, and I?m a history honours student at NUS.

I was frankly rather disappointed at your speech, because I thought you have dealt with the historical... Historiographical problems of history, but as a lawyer, I can see that you are not trained for that area. So anyway, my question is this:

You were talking of general principles in history of looking at the past, and you said that in Singapore, one of the general principles is unity. I do not disagree with you that in this multi-racial society we need unity, but what I am against is...

Are you fetishising unity at the cost of plurality? You said that, maybe it is not part of our culture that we need consensus building and stuff like that, but as the sociologists would tell you, culture is always being made. So...

I'm not questioning your decisions in the past, I'm sure at those times, there was a need for consensus and stability. But I think we have come to the stage where stability is already here and that, in order to progress, the minority viewpoints have to be heard.

And in anticipation of your counter argument that there are channels in which the minority can voice their viewpoints, we all know that in reality these channels are either directly or indirectly controlled by the government.

(MM Lee Laughs)

And I'm not saying that the People's Action Party is corrupt or anything now.

The truth of the matter is this: No matter how enlightened a despot is, ultimately, he'll turn into a tyrant if there are no checks and balances in place.

And so I strongly believe that oppressive acts like the printing act and the internal security act should be reviewed. Since, maybe they are no longer relevant, as we have already reached a stage where stability is here. Thank you.

MM Lee: There's nothing to prevent you from advocating that, pushing that strenuously and finally getting a political party to adopt that platform, and we will put it to the vote. That's the democratic way of doing it.
---- [End Actual Exchange] ----

Not to nit pick, I noticed that the Straits Times also misquoted MM Lee (It was ?that platform? as opposed to ?your platform?). So perhaps one could say it was overall incompetence that resulted in this misrepresentation, and it may well be fair to say that the Straits Times was fair to both parties......

The Straits Times also did not publish the better part of MM Lee?s argument, where he raised the example of spontaneous segregation in our society to support his claim that racial harmony is fragile. He stated a case where a Malay family living in a pre-dominantly Chinese area moved out, and another where a Chinese family living in a pre-dominantly non-Chinese area moved out. He had a point there. (I?m trying to be objective here.)

Also, a later exchange where MM Lee took his turn to be rude may also be of interest.

---- [A Later Exchange] ----
MM Lee:
? you say you are prevented from government controlled channels. Have you ever written anything or said anything that has been surpressed? Have you ever written to the forum page in the Straits Times?

Student:
I have written several articles, but only one managed to get through.

MM Lee:
Articles where to?

Student:
To the forum.

MM Lee:
Forum page. [The second word is not entirely clear.]

Student:
The Straits Times Forum.

MM Lee:
What about?

Student:
Issues ranging from the tsunami, to the issue of education, and as I said, the issue of plurality in society.

MM Lee:
Well, why not start a publication. I mean you?ve got a publication in the University; you?ve got several.

Student:
Because the laws that are in place make it very difficult.

MM Lee:
No no no. You are entitled to register. And have? [This bit was too muffled to be heard]

Student:
Theory and practice are two different things. I do not disagree with you that in theory it is possible but there is such a thing known as?

MM Lee:
No. You have the internet. Put up a website.

(Pause)

MM Lee:
You know how to put up a website? [Short pause.] If you don?t I have friends who can help you.

(Audience laughs and applauds.)

Student:
With all due respect sir, I?ve just two more things to say: One, that you are using the fear of the past in order to prevent progress?

(MM Lee laughs)

Student:
And second, you are picking examples of countries which suit your argument whereby I can raise a dozen others to counter with you. But this is not a philosophical discussion so thank you for your time.

---- [End Later Exchange] ----

Well, this is more or less the greater part of the story. At least it becomes clear to those who did not watch the forum what actually transpired.



No comments: