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新加坡政治难民何元泰公开信

10/06/10

作者/来源:Ho Juan Thai http://www.temasekreview.com
新加坡文献馆译

亲爱的新加坡公民和朋友们,

我的名字是何元泰。我是土生土长的新加坡公民,我在好多年前就已经完成了我的全职国民服役。为了某些缘由我是以新加坡难民的身伤在伦敦生活了32年,但这并非我的选择。

如果你认为新加坡是属于某些部长的,他们拥有至高无上的神权可以决定那位新加坡人可以或不可以享有新加坡公民权并且持有新加坡护照,那么,我劝请你现在就停止阅读这封信,因为让你持续沉迷于你的精英活动应该是件更有意义的事情。

如果你认为新加坡是属于你的,新加坡是属于我的,以及新加坡是属于每一位新加坡人的,我们在国家宪法下都享有属于我们的平等公民权力和持有新加坡护照权力,那么,我希望你能抽出时间来阅读这封信,并且看看你可以做些什么。

1976年12月新加坡大选后的一个星期左右,一组穿便衣的武装内安部(内部安全局)警务人员来到我在裕廊的家要逮捕我。我成功的突破封锁线逃走。在追捕的过程中一名内安部人员追掏出手枪,指着我,并以福建方言高呼“不要跑,你再跑我就会开枪”。当我消失在我家后面的茅草丛里,几名持枪的内安部人员去到我的邻居家中搜查。我受劝告为了我的人身安全有必要逃到其他地方寻求庇护。

在当时的工人党秘书长惹耶勒南和他的已故太太玛格列,以及其他人士的协助下,我在1977年7月前往伦敦,那时我已在新加坡和马来西亚躲藏了6个月。当我抵达伦敦我立即寻求政治庇护。英国政府按国际法规接见我,并展开调查以证实我的要求。在完成了一个很完整的彻底调查后,英国政府于次年正式批准了我的政治庇 护。我获得一份按联合国1951难民公约颁发的蓝色旅行证件,确实了我的难民身份。从1978年的11月起始我正式成为来自新加坡的难民。

虽然我做作为一名难民已远离了新加坡政府的视察范围,但这不表示他们不再关注我。他们的疑虑病态导致了1985年的宪法修正。这项宪法修正让政府有权力禠夺在国外生活超过10年并且在这期间不曾回国一次的任何一名公民的公民权。

就在修宪后的不久,我是仅两名新加坡人中的其中一人,收到了禠夺公民权通知书。政府企盼通过这种过程去消灭所有的政治挑战,包括我这名无杀伤性与薄弱的1976年大选候选人。

和惹耶勒南一道,我们决定上诉挑战公民权褫夺通知书,以作为取得国际社会关注这起有关新加坡违反基本人权事件的第一步行动。在这上诉的过程中,惹耶勒南因为其他的原因而被无理的剥夺了其执行法律事务的资格。称为查询委员会的上诉庭基于另觅新法律代表的理由将此上诉事件悬置。当惹耶勒南在最终上诉庭取得他自已的上诉胜利并恢复律师资格之后,他继续作为我的代表律师。在未知缘由的情况下,延迟了2年多的时间之后,内政部突然通知我们,他们已经决定撤回原有的公民权禠夺通知书。为此,我保住了我的新加坡公民权,也依旧是居住在伦敦的一名新加坡难民。

从那时候开始,我不时的写信向有关当局查询,看看他们可否发给我一份新加坡护照。所得到的回答一向来都是不行。他们的惯用理由是因为新加坡警察在通缉我,所以我不可以获得新加坡护照。他们从来没有告诉我警察是为了什么事情要向我问话。由于新加坡不允许双重国藉,我只能继续难民身份以保住我是新加坡忠实之子的资格。

当我们的李总理在2007年尝试呼吁尊重人权以促进亚细安人权章程时,新加坡的主流传播媒体持续的以显著版位报导此事件。我想这应该是力图改变的讯息。我写信给在英国的最高专员Mr. Michael Teo,向他询问我是否可以申请一份新加坡护照。出乎我的意料之外,此次的要求并没有被拒绝,反且寄了一份申请表格给我。我填写了表格也到最高专员办公室办理打手印等等。最初,新加坡移民厅并不满意我所呈交的文件。在经过了2年的努力和获得我在伦敦的本地国会议员的书信解释,移民厅才接受了我所呈交的那些他们索求的文件证明。

当移民厅对我呈交的文件证明感到满意后,我想我即将以一名普通新加坡人的身份使用新加坡护照去旅行,我于是开始想到结婚就象其他的新加坡公民一样。我对这个新现象的激情,是由我们的李总理所推进的亚细安人权章程所引发,但这只是个假象。由于移民厅再也不能以我的申请文件不妥当为理由拒绝签发护照,他们于是改口,认为他们所能做的只是‘如果你去向伦敦的新加坡最高专员申请,你可以获得一张身份证明书’。

我写信给移民厅询问为何不可以签发护照给我这名没有犯罪记录者?他们的单程身份证明书建议是一种歧视。在宪法下任何人都不可以受到歧视。任何有尊严的新加坡人都不会接受歧视。作为一名自豪的新加坡人,我是永远都不会接受任何具歧视意味的对待。

为了避免受到有歧视行为的指责,移民厅现在改变了回信内的说法。他们现在表示怀疑我那已经过期的原新加坡护照曾经在我离开新加坡时被非法的纂改。在这种情况下,如果我去申请他们或许会(不是必定会)签发一份身份证明书让我回返新加坡以便做进一步的调查。

我对移民厅在2009年12月8日的单程通行证的建议提出询问,要求移民厅指出是根据宪法里的那些条款的规定,不能向我这般的人士签发新加坡护照。我也询问他们为何要不断的变动龙门?至今为止,移民厅还未做出回应。在伦敦的最高专员也证实那些经他们转交的书信并未丢失,而他们也同样未获得任何回应。新加坡最高专员答应会为我继续跟进这件事。如今已经过了4个月的时间,移民办还未给予任何回复。

目前的状况已经有所不同。移民厅的无所回应和不签发新加坡护照,已经不仅仅让我呆在新加坡境外成为一名难民。我现在有了一个儿子,他是于2009年12月在伦敦诞生。在新加坡宪法下基于新加坡人后裔条款,他可认享受所有作为新加坡公民的一切权力。然而,根据移民厅寄给我的规则,移民厅是不会处理我儿子的公民权申请,除非我能够出示新加坡护照。实际上,这表示我儿子要成为新加坡公民的权力已遭受无理的拒绝。我那在伦敦诞生的新加坡孩子,在技术上而言,此时此刻的他是无国藉人士。在伦敦的新加坡最高专员亦对我证实了,他们也同样没有得到我在3个月前就我儿子的公民权而向移民厅提出进一步询问的任何回应。

我的妻子给了我一个最后通牒,要求我在近日解决有关我们的孩子的新加坡公民权问题,要不然她会要求泰国或者英国的有关当局去解决这问题。我妻子的绝望是可以理解的,因为她想预订机票回去探访她的国家但却因为我们的儿子没有公民身份和没有婴儿护照而被拖延。面对着我那伦敦诞生的新加坡孩子和我妻子的焦虑,使我更加感受到从未有过的压力去尽快解决我的难民身份。

在处理为我儿子以新加坡人后裔注册为新加坡公民和为我自已申请新加坡护照的事件上我已用尽所有可行的方案,和官僚在公事的交涉已走到尽头。我现在唯一的有效方法是吁请你们这群新加坡人替我想方设法看看还有些什么其他途径。

我所期待的是:

1、在公开的法庭审讯

最公正的解决有关我的护照申请事件是对我的所有指控进行法庭审讯,除了擅离职守的逃兵罪名之外(我在稍后时间再解释此事)。如果我确实在法律下犯了罪,我是不应该拿到新加坡护照,那么,我会很乐意的结束整件事,我只能怪罪我自已。如果我没有犯法,那我不明白为何我不可以同其他任何一位新加坡人一样,享有同等的权力去要求一份新加坡护照。

好多年前有几位好心肠的新加坡人在海峡时报为我争取这请求,但事情过后却不了了之。这回我希望有更多的新加坡人通过新科技为我发出更多的声音。当更多的人知道这件事情之后,我不相信政府可以长久虚伪的假装若无其事。

2、去收集更多其他不公正事件的资料

我相信我所遭受到的不公正待遇并非是宗例外而是常见现象,虽然,所受到的不公正未必是同等程度,和都是涉及移民厅。如果你本身或者你知道有任何人有遭遇过象我一般的不公正待遇,不论是涉及护照或者其他事项,我希望你能让我知道个中情况。我希望曾经遭遇过不公正对待的人可以集合一起做出更有力的集体上诉。我们集中力量就可以看到改善。请写信给我HOJUANTHAI@YAHOO.COM(我没有博客或者脸书)

3、写信给尚穆甘先生,法律部长与第2内政部长

尚穆甘先生是直接负责移民厅事务的。他可以若无其事的完全对我不断写去的书信不理不睬,要求他重新审核移民厅的行政手法。他连基本的礼貌上知会复函亦没有发过。但是,如果你们当中的许多人都给他写封信,他就有必要公开的解释为何移民厅在我的护照申请事件上要不断的变动龙门,和是谁在最后一刻出面干预以阻止给我签发护照等等。这位新崛起的政治明星所要干的事涉及公众利益的问题。

4、写信给吴作栋资政

吴先生讲过一句名言,新加坡需要打死不跑的人(即便面临危机这些人的效忠永不动摇)。我有必要指出在这一骨节眼上我完全认同他的观点,那就是我们是一个什么样的国家取决于我们有什么样的人民。

吴先生知道新加坡需要什么样的人去组成我们的国家,我怀疑吴先生是否在这一类事务上享有最终的决定权?

你个人认识吴先生吗?我们在思索是否要向他或其他人提出上诉?不知道提出更高层次的上诉是否有用?如果你知道政治高层是如何的运作,请告诉我们。

5、向新加坡武装部队上诉

我来自一个相信新加坡必须要有强大武装力量来保卫我们的自由和财产的家庭。我的大哥是军人,他在新加坡武装部队成立之前就已经参军,那时的武装部队是属于英殖民政府的,是用来阻止共产党占有马来亚(新加坡和东马来西亚)。我们全家上下都祝福与在道义上支持大哥从军。

当我的三哥毕业时,他已超过了人伍国民服役的年限。他决定支持新加坡武装部队于是加入军队成为职业军人。他把毕生的工作精力贡献干新加坡武装部队。同样的,我们一家人都为他的事业感到骄傲。我的全部侄子,当他们应招入伍时都以热忱与骄傲的心态去服役。对我而言,亦无例外。当我在中学时我加入新加坡警察部分时间国民服役,过后,在我进入南洋大学之前,又加入全职的新加坡武装部队。我是以骄傲以热忱的心情服役新加坡武装部队。讽刺的是,如今在新加坡武装部队的记录中我是一名擅离职守的逃兵。

我之成为擅离职守的逃兵,并非因为我从新加坡武装部队落跑以躲避上前线守卫国家。这事情发生在政府撤回其禠夺公民权通知书的不久之后,这时我已离开了新加坡大约13年。为何突然之间宪兵被派到我父母的家向我母亲查询我的下落,并在公文册上记载我没有应召回到新加坡武装部队后勤人员册上报到?新加坡武装部队在我离开新加坡13年之后对我还有真实的需要?为何政府在撤回禠夺公民权通知书后还有必要派遣新加坡武装部队的宪兵到我父母的家?

根据加坡法律,任何曾被罚款2000元,或者被囚禁12个月或更长时间的公民,会自动的被禁止参加国会选举,为期5年。如果我回返新加坡,而政府无法罚我高额罚款或者不能把我长期囚禁,他们就可以利用擅离职守的逃兵记录来取消我参加国会选举的资格,从而达成他们的目的。我相信这就是为什么我会有擅离职守的逃兵记录,但我希望我的这一想法是错误的。

我坚信新加坡应该做两件事来取得和平与稳定。一个是把新加坡建设为和平中心,作为谈论和平以及促进人类和平的中心。也许我们需要做的比瑞士更多,不仅仅是联合国文明的基地,亦提供各种方便以协助和平谈判的进行和安置不同的从事和平话动的非政府组织。

我们需要开放我们的军事基地和设施让联合国领导的干预部队进行活动,不论那是为了维持和平或支援人道主义的目的。联合国需要一个有效的中立基地以便迅速的做出在亚洲和中东地区的各种紧急情况的应对。如果这一想法能够被联合国接受,我们的国土上将会有多国部队的驻守。这些部队将会间接的给于我们一些保护。

在帮助其他人实现和平的同时亦增强我们自己的安全,那无疑是一个值得探索的战略。但是,我们不能抱有幻想,认为一旦成为和平促进者,以及有了以联合国为首的国际警察部队的常驻,那么,我们就会有一个安全与稳定的保证,这是因为国际政治的动向是很想象到的。我们只可以从我们自已的新加坡武装部队本身的坚强力量取得安全保障。

要保有一个强而有效的战斗力,新加坡武装部队必须在政治上中立。新加坡武装部队绝对不可以让任何政党利用以达到个人的自私目的。政党可以来来去去,那只是时间上的问题。新加坡武装部队必须永久的强盛,这有赖于来自在国内与在国外的新加坡人的支持。服完兵役后在没有出国准证情况下离开了新加坡的人,他们是在情非得已下才会出此下策。

在以新加坡人后裔申请新加坡公民权时要求孩子的父亲持有出国准证是一种自残行为。这将会减少新兵来源和他们的支持,况且这也有违公平。新加坡武装部队有必要检讨这一政策,因为这孤立了那些父母有意让他们的儿子在长大后回国服兵役的一群人。我希望我的儿子长大后能帮助推广和平与人道主义,也要他继承我们家的传统,那就是不论现在或者将来都支持新加坡的强大武装力量。倘若有一个不受欢迎的外来势力要侵犯我们,我会以我的儿子是新加坡武装部队中保家卫国的一名成员而感到自豪。

我在此诚恳的呼吁新加坡武装部队重新研讨其出国准证政策,和在政治上采取中立立场。

结论

谢谢你持续的阅读这封信。我不肯定你能够从此一事件中看出些什么状况?对我而言,此事件在其表面上来看是有关我和我要取得新加坡护照,同时也涉及我儿子在宪法下能够以新加坡人后裔的身份取得新加坡公民权,这一权力让位居高层的人士无理的阻挠。

然而,如果你回顾这33年来所发生过的种种事情的经历,你必定会了解这是有关他们与他们那怯懦的想方设法去阻挡一名以前的国会竞争者再次参与一个开放的国会政治。

我并非三头六臂,只是和你一样关心并爱护我们的新加坡的普通老百姓。为何要如此的对付我?

我是来自一个一贫如洗的家庭,在大巴窑的甘榜长大,那时那里没有公共交通,没有电和煤气供应。我们的家庭从新加坡发展中取得正面的利益。和其他新加坡人一样我赞赏老一代的领导所取得的经济好处和生话环境的提升。我们感激这些成就。我愿意接受所有过去所受到的种种不公正待遇为必要的代价,这是以前的事,既往不咎,让我们都忘记这些过去,为了更好的一面从新出发。

然而,令我们都忧心的是老一辈在消失中,其中的好多人已过世。但是新一代的领导人,尤其是其中的新崛起明星,不理会世界已经完全改观,他们仍旧死守那些陈腐的教条规约,以过时的方法冶国,这使到他们失去支持与尊敬。他们完全没有新鲜的思维和勇气去面对新生代的期许,这令人焦虑。

新生代认为国家建设与成就不单纯是经济方面的发展,这一想法是正确的。他们期待的文化是更开放,信任,人道,社会正义,自由和公平;这些长期以来出现在替代媒体上的观点从来就没有得到尊重。基于新生代的期许,我在此呼吁你们给予协助和去改变现状。我也认同大家的看法,那就是,群策群力必定成功。

何元泰
HOJUANTHAI@YAHOO.COM
19 Claremont Road
London NW2 1BP
United Kingdom
2010年6月3日

何元泰在1976年以工人党身份竞选武吉班让国会议席,在大选后遭政府通缉,罪名是发表煽动性言语。

原文/来源:Open letter from a Singaporean Political Refugee, Ho Juan Thai
http://www.temasekreview.com/2010/06/06/an-open-appeal-from-a-singaporean-refugee/

Dear Fellow Singapore Citizens and Friends,

My name is Ho Juan Thai. I am a born and bred Singapore Citizen, I completed my full time National Service several decades ago. For certain reasons I have been living in London as a Refugee from Singapore for the last 32 years, but it is not my choice.

ica3If you believe that Singapore belongs to certain Minsters who have the divine right in deciding which Singaporean does and does not have the right to a Singaporean citizenship and which Singaporean can and cannot be entitled to a Singapore passport, I would advise you to stop reading this now as it would be more meaningful for you to continue indulging yourself in the elite clubs of some kind.

If you believe Singapore belongs to you, Singapore belongs to me and Singapore belongs to any other Singapore citizen and we all have the equal right to our citizenship and passports under the constitution, I hope you could spare some time to read on and see what you can do.

A week or so after the December 1976 Singapore general election a group of plain clothes armed Inter Security Department (ISD) police officers came to my house in Jurong to arrest me. I managed to struggle away from their cordon of the house and escaped. During the chase one of the ISD officers took out his pistol, pointed it at me and shouted in Chinese Hokkien dialect “don’t run, you run I will open fire”. After I disappeared in to the lemon grove at the back of my house, the chasing officer together with other officers, went round the neighbors with his pistol in his hand looking for me. I was advised to seek refuge somewhere else for my own safety.

With the help of the late Mr. J B Jeyaretnam (JBJ), the then Workers Party Secretary General and his late wife Margrate, as well as others I managed to get to London in July 1977, after 6 months of hiding out in Singapore and Malaysia. Upon my arrival in London I asked for Political Asylum. The British Government, in accordance with International Law, interviewed me and carried out various investigations to establish my claim. Having completed a thorough investigation the British Government duly granted me political asylum the following year. I was issued with a Blue Travel Document in accordance with the United Nations 1951 Convention for Refugees. Under the regulations of the United Nations and the British Government, whoever holds a Blue Travel Document issued under the UN 1951 Convention for Refugees is a Refugee. So I became an official Refugee from Singapore in November 1978.

Although I was out of the Singapore government’s sight as a refugee abroad that did not mean I was out of their minds. Their paranoia prompted them to embark on changing the Constitution of Singapore in 1985. The amended constitution empowers the government to deprive any citizen living abroad for more than 10 years without returning once, of their citizenship.

Soon after the Constitutional change I became one of only two Singapore citizens to be served with Citizenship Deprivation Notices. The government hoped to go through this process to eliminate any political challenge to them, including the innocuous and feeble one from me as a parliamentary candidate in the 1976 general election.

Together with Mr. JBJ we decided to launch an appeal against the Deprivation Notice as a first step in drawing the attention of the international community to how fundamental human rights were being violated in Singapore. In the course of our appeal Mr. JBJ was unreasonably stripped of his legal practice for some other reason. The appeal panel known as committee of Inquiry put the appeal on hold while a new legal representative was appointed. When Mr. JBJ won his appeal and reinstated his practice by the final court of appeal Mr. JBJ continued to represent me. For unknown reasons , after about 2 years of delays, the Home Affairs Department suddenly informed us that they had decided to withdraw their Deprivation Notice. As such I remain as a Singapore citizen and retain the title as a refugee from Singapore in London.

Since then from time to time I wrote to the authority inquiring if I could be issued with a Singapore passport. The answer has always been uniformly NO. The reason commonly given was that I was wanted by the Singapore police for questioning and therefore I could not be issued with a Singapore passport. What the police wish to question me about has never been clear to anyone. As Singapore forbids dual nationality the only way to keep myself as a loyal son of Singapore is to stay on as a refugee. I am always loyal to Singapore so I always end up remaining as a refugee.

When our Premier Lee tried to champion human rights and speed up the Human Rights Charter for Asean in 2007 the mainstream media in Singapore made continued and prominent reports about it. I thought that was a signal of a genuine change. I wrote to the High Commissioner to UK, Mr. Michael Teo, asking him if I could apply for a Singapore passport. To my total surprise my request was not turned down as before, instead I was sent an application form. I filled in the form and went to the High Commission for finger prints etc. Initially, the Singapore Immigration and Control Authority (ICA) was not happy with the documents I produced. After 2 years of working hard and with the help of my London local MP writing many letters we managed to satisfy the ICA with the documentary evidence it asked for.

When ICA was happy with my documentary evidence I thought that I could soon travel as an ordinary Singaporean with a Singapore passport and I began to think about getting married as an ordinary Singapore citizen. My excitement about the “new dawn” initiated by our premier Lee over the ASEAN Human Rights Charter in 2007 proved to be a false one. As ICA could not refuse my passport application on the grounds that I failed to satisfy them with the documents they asked for, they simply said they could only offer me the following “ you may be issued with a Document of Identity on application to the Singapore High Commission in London . “ .

I wrote to ICA asking why I could not be treated just as any Singaporean since I have committed no crime? Their one way ticket of Document of Identity offer amounts to discrimination. Under the constitution no one should be discriminated against. Any Singaporean worth his salt should not accept discrimination. As a proud Singapore citizen I will never accept any treatment that is discriminatory.

To avoid being seen as practicing discriminatory treatments, ICA now changed the tone in their reply. They now say that they suspected my original expired Singapore passport had been illegally tampered with at the time I left Singapore. Under such circumstances they may (not will ) issue me with a Document of Identity for me to return to Singapore for further investigation if I apply for it.

My further reply to ICA on their latest one way ticket offer made in 8th December 2009 was asking ICA to spell out under which provision of the Singapore constitution was it that a person like me could not be issued with a Singapore Passport. I also asked them to explain why they keep changing their goal posts? So far ICA has given no reply. The Singapore High Commission in London also confirmed that the correspondence I sent through them to ICA has not gone astray and they too have not had any reply. The Singapore High Commission promised to put a chase on it for me. It has now been more then 4 months without any reply from ICA .

The situation is now different. ICA, by giving me no reply and not issuing me with a Singapore passport , is doing more than simply keeping me outside Singapore as a refugee. I now have a son who was born in London in December 2009. Under the Singapore Constitution he has every right to be a Singapore citizen by descent. But according to the ICA rules they sent me, ICA will not process my son’s Singapore Citizenship application unless I can produce a Singapore Passport. Effectively the right of my son to be a Singapore citizenship is being unfairly denied. My London born Singapore boy, technically at this particular point in time, is stateless. Again the Singapore High Commission in London confirmed to me that they too have not received any reply for the further clarifications I sent to ICA about my son’s citizenship application about 3 months ago..

My wife has given me an ultimatum to sort out my son’s Singapore citizenship in the very near future otherwise it is her turn to sort it out with the Thai or British Authorities. My wife’s desperation is understandable as her wish to book air tickets to visit her homeland is being delayed without our son’s citizenship and a baby passport being sorted out. When looking at my London born Singapore boy and the desperation of my wife, never before have I ever felt such a pressure to seek a solution to my refugee status.

The available routes I could go down to have my son enlisted as a Singapore Citizen by descent and for me to gain a Singapore passport with the usual Singapore bureaucratic processes seem to be reaching an end. The only possible meaningful avenue left for me now is to appeal to you as fellow Singaporeans to see what you could come up with.

What I hope for:

1. To have a trial in an open court.

The fairest way to resolve my passport application is first of all to put me on trial on any alleged offense I may have committed in Singapore, except AWOL ( I will explain about my AWOL in more detail later). If I did commit any crime and under the law I do not deserve to have a Singapore passport, then I will be perfectly happy to close the chapter and go off with only myself to blame. If I did not commit any crime I do not see why a Singaporean can not be treated as any other Singaporean and enjoy equal rights in having a Singapore passport.

Some years ago some Singaporeans did kindly raise this request for me in the Strait Times but the issue went away quietly after a while. This time I hope more people could help to raise their voice for me using the new technologies. I do not believe the government can operate hypocritically for too long if more people come to know about it.

2. To Gather knowledge of Other Mistreatment

I do believe the mistreatment I have encountered is not an exception but rather the norm, though the mistreatment may not be in the same degree and always involve the ICA . If you or anyone you know of has encountered any mistreatment like mine, regarding passports or any other issues, I hope you could let me know. I hope the victims of mistreatment of various kinds can come together to make a stronger joint appeal. We can see change if we can come together . Please write to me at HOJUANTHAI@YAHOO.COM (I do not have a blog or face book etc).

3 Write to Mr. K Shanmugam, The Minister of Law and second Minister for Home Affairs.

Mr. Shanmugam who is directly responsible for ICA. He is able to get away with completely ignoring my repeated letters urging him to review the ICA practice. He did not even have the decency to acknowledge any of my letters. But if many of you could write to him he might be obliged to come out to explain why ICA needs to keep moving its goal posts regarding my passport application and and who made the last minute intervention to stop issuing me with a Singapore passport etc. What is this new political rising star up to is a matter of public interest.

4 Write to Mr. Goh Chok Tong, The Senior Minister

Mr. Goh once famously said Singapore needs people that are “Pak See Bei Chao” (someone whose loyalty will never cease regardless of being confronted with a life threatening situation). I must say I fully agree with him on this point as I do share the thought that what sort of country we are and will be depends on the make up of our people.

Mr. Goh may know what sort of people Singapore should have to make up our country. I wonder does Mr. Goh really have the final say on matters of this kind?

Do you personally know Mr. Goh well? We are mulling over if we should appeal further to him and others? Is there any point in making further appeals? If you do know how the very top works please let us know.

5 To Appeal to SAF

I come from a family which believes in having a strong and effective force in Singapore to defend our freedom and prosperity. My elder brother joined the Armed Forces in Singapore even before SAF was formed. Joining the Armed Forces at that time under the British Colonial Government meant helping to stop the Communists from taking over Malaya (Singapore and West Malaysia). My whole family gave my elder brother its full blessing and moral support.

When my third brother graduated he fell outside of the National Service enlistment age. He decided to support SAF through joining SAF as a professional soldier. He dedicated his whole career in SAF. Again our family took pride in what he has done. All my nephews whenever they were enlisted served the National Services with enthusiasm and pride. For me there was no exception. I served in both the Singapore National Service Police part-time when I was at the high school and subsequently full time full term in SAF before I joined Nanyang University. I served SAF with pride and full enthusiasm. Ironically, I now have a record of being AWOL in SAF.

My AWOL came about not because I ran away from SAF to avoid being sent to the front line. It came about soon after the government withdrew its Citizenship Deprivation Notice, about 13 years after I left Singapore. Suddenly Military Police were sent to my parents house asking my mum where I was and an official record was made that I had disappeared from the SAF reservist recall? Did SAF really need me 13 years after I had left Singapore? Why did the SAF military police need to visit my parent house after they withdrew their Citizenship Deprivation Notice?

Under Singapore law any citizen who is fined for $2000 or more, or imprisoned for more than 12 months, will automatically be forbidden from standing for parliamentary election for 5 years. Should I now go back to Singapore, and the government could not find anything substantial to fine me for or to imprison me for long enough, to disqualify me from standing for election they can always rely on the SAF AWOL record to achieve their aim. I believe this was why I got an AWOL record, but I hope I am wrong to think so.

I strongly believe Singapore should do two things to achieve peace and stability. One is to set Singapore up as a centre of peace, a centre for talking peace and a centre for promoting peace and humanity. Perhaps we need to do a bit more than the Swiss by just having the UN civilian physically set up, providing various conveniences for peace negotiations and having various peace making NGO.

We need to open up our military bases and facilities to UN-led intervention forces, either for peace keeping purposes or humanitarian support. UN needs an efficient neutral strategic location for speedily responding to various emergencies in Asia and the middle east region. If this idea can be pulled through and accepted in UN we will have multi-national force on our soil. Indirectly this force will give us protection.

To help others to achieve peace and to improve our own security is definitely a worthwhile strategy to explore. However we cannot be under the illusion that becoming a peace promoter and having a permanent UN–led international police force if it could be successfully implemented in Singapore, would give us a guarantee of total security and stability, because the complications of
International politics is beyond immigration. The only thing that can ultimately give us a guarantee is our own invincible defence force – SAF.

To have a strong and effective force SAF must maintain neutrality politically. SAF must never be made use of by any political party for their own selfish ends. Political parties may come and go, like it or not, it is just a matter of time. SAF must be permanently strong and well supported from Singaporeans within and without the country. Not all the ROD guys who left Singapore without an Exit Permit left without good reasons.

Requiring the father of an offspring to have a valid Exit Permit in order to apply to be Singapore citizen by descent is a shot in its own foot. It will cut its potential recruits and supports and is unfair. SAF needs to review this policy as it has isolated some who are quite willing to see their sons serve national service when their sons grow up. I hope my son will grow up to help promote peace and humanity of some kind but I also want him to continue our family tradition in supporting Singapore in having strong and effective forces now and at any time in the future. Should an unwelcome situation be forced upon us from forces from abroad I will be very proud to see my son be one of those who can be counted on as a comrade in arms” in SAF.

I do hereby appeal to SAF to review its Exit Permit policy and stay neutral politically.

Conclusions

Thank you for reading my appeal up to this point. I am not sure what you make of the whole affair? As far as I am concerned the issue superficially looks like it is me and my entitlement to a Singapore passport, as well as my son’s constitutional right to be a Singapore citizen by descent, which has been unjustly prevented by someone at the top.

However, if you look at the series of events over the last 33 years you will realise that it is more about they and their desperate attempts to deny a past parliamentary candidate from ever again participating in open parliamentary politics in a cowardice way.

I am nobody and am just like anyone of you who cares and loves our Singapore. Do I deserve such treatment?

Being someone who has come from a stone broke family growing up in a Tao Payoh Kampung where there was no public transport, no electricity or gas supply at one time. Our family have been taking the changes in Singapore positively. Like many Singaporeans, I do appreciate the economic advances and the living improvements achieved under the older generation leadership. We are grateful for it. I am prepared to let my mistreatment “justified” under the so called “necessary evil”, as something of the past and let bygones be bygones in order to move on for the good of moving forward.

However, what concerns us all at this moment is that the older generation is leaving us, most of them have already gone. But the younger generation of leadership, especially the rising stars, ignoring the world out there has completely changed, are still trying to practice the old craft to justify them to continue their outdated way of ruling which is increasingly losing support and respect. Their complete lack of fresh ideas and courage to engage the aspirations of the younger generation is worrying.

The young do rightly and correctly believe that national building and advancement is more than just a matter of economic growth alone. Their wish to have a culture of more openness, trust and accountable for the good of humanity, social justice, freedom and fairness, expressed in everyday alternative media has never been respected. Based on the inspiration led by our younger generation I hereby make my appeal for help and for change. I do share the popular saying that together we can.

Ho Juan Thai
HOJUANTHAI@YAHOO.COM
19 Claremont Road
London NW2 1BP
United Kingdom
3rd June 2010

Editor’s Note: The email was sent to our editor complete with his personal information, published verbatim.

Mr. Ho Juan Thai was a Worker’s Party candidate contesting Bukit Panjang in the 1976 GE. He subsequently lost and was accused of making seditious remarks during his election speeches. He is now in England and wanted by the SAF for AWOL and ISD for sedition.

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