Rest in peace, JBJ

By | October 2, 2008

Ever since I left Singapore, I’ve been so out of touch (deliberately at times) with the political scene in Singapore that I didn’t know JB Jeyaretnam has passed away two days ago until a friend sent me an e-mail alert. I’m sure by now there will be plenty of eulogies for Singapore’s best-known activist (arguably, depending on your political inclination) so I will not attempt to flog a dead horse (pardon me!) on something similar.

All I can say is that it’s a pity JBJ did not get his last shot at challenging the political hegemony of the PAP or his nemesis Lee Kuan Yew. If only Singaporeans who are unhappy with the ruling party make their displeasure known in a public manner time and time again, JBJ’s last shot could have come sooner. But we are afraid to make that happen. We are afraid because we only understand personal gains, not collective interests. We are afraid to fight for what we believe in, to sow the seeds for change. That’s the pathetic state of my countrymen. Worst of all, some of them make a mockery of the bravery and effort of those who dare take up the fight for us and have paid for it with financial ruins, like JBJ and Chee Soon Juan, while sitting on their sorry asses and whine whenever a government policy goes against them.

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Requiem for an unbending SingaporeanOPINION March 26, 1999 Singapore’s former president, C. V. Devan Nair, writes about opposition leader J. B. Jeyaretnam and his political party: the Workers’ Party. A SERIOUS threat of closure faces the Workers’ Party led by Mr J. B. Jeyaretnam because of failure to pay the forbidding damages awarded against the Party by a court in Singapore. One hopes against hope that this might be avoided at the last minute. It is a slim hope. The world has come to assume, rightly or wrongly, that the political tactics used by the governing PAP against opposition politicians… Read more »