This article first appears in anyhowhantam.blogspot.sg. It is an interesting article because it really makes one question the motive behind the `Return Our CPF’ protest. Enjoy!
I was taken aback by a speech made by Ms Han Hui Hui at last Saturday’s CPF protest at Hong Lim Park. (HLP)
What was extremely troubling was her allegation that former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) was a traitor who helped the Japanese during WWII and she went further to call him ‘worse than a dog and hoped he would die soon’, so as not to waste tax-payer’s money. No opposition politician has ever peddled these lines before and I doubt anyone will. But Ms Han Hui Hui is clearly part of a ‘Looney Fringe’ who hope to hijack national issues and the work done on the ground by ‘proper’ opposition parties and members, in order to raise their profile and in doing so, take a short cut into Parliament by pretending to be ‘champions of the people.’ They have their own agendas and resort to wild and baseless allegations in order to gain fame and use it win sympathy when they are challenged. They play to the gallery albeit the hardcore opposition one but fail to realise that their antics, rather than winning new converts to the opposition cause, has the opposite effect – it scares away swing voters and make them doubt, thinking that all opposition are cut from the same Looney Fringe ilk.
a) Who does Han Hui Hui think she is? And why she’s part of the Looney Fringe.
Han Hui Hui (I’ll use HHH for brevity), is a Malaysian born 23 year old who just became a citizen here barely 2 years ago. She only came to live and study here at the turn of the century. After her JC studies she tried to pursue a private education but got embroiled in some sort of dispute which caused her to sue the Council of Private Education. In a long drawn out case, and with advise it was going to be a futile effort, she stubbornly decided to pursue it. In the end, she lost and had to fork out extensive legal fees for which she actively sought donations from the public. (A Looney Fringe speciality)
Lesson 1 on being a Looney Fringe – wear a shirt that says ‘Wanna Sue Me’, then proceed to make allegations worthy of slander.
Unlike normal persons that age, she refused to seek gainful employment or explore alternative options to further her studies. Instead she decided to become a political activist teaming up in particular with Roy Ngerng (Roy Ng for brevity) and Leong Sze Hian. Well there’s nothing wrong about activism, and they started out making the right noises and organising protests on certain national issues like employment, population explosion, worker’s rights and recently the CPF.
These protests failed to capture the imagination of the general public with average crowds of 200-300 attending their monthly events at HLP. In the meantime, HHH and gang tried to attract the participation of the major opposition parties like the National Solidarity Party (NSP), Singapore People’s Party (SPP) and Workers Party (WP), but were swiftly re-buffed. Even the SDP and SDA didn’t want to join in the fun. It left them in a quandary, they had hoped perhaps that they could be co-opted by 1 of these parties and maybe even allowed to run for elections under them. So they came up with the idea of going it alone and have long entertained the idea of forming a party of their own.
Unfortunately this path led them to become what they now have become – the Looney Fringe of Singapore politics.
Lesson 2 – How to get the crowds? Provoke and make yourself the victim and then ask for support.
They knew they had to do something and chose a path of controversy, all out allegations, misguided beliefs and over-confidence in their abilities to become MPs and last and certainly not least – self-martyrdom. Although Roy Ng has denied it, HHH has never come out to corroborate it. The whole idea to inflame the lawsuit by the PM against Roy Ng, and make him and herself as martyrs. They had a misguided notion that should things turn south (as it has), asylum in another country was a viable option. No doubt the CPF is a very relevant issue and they have played some part in bringing it to the fore, but it was always secondary to what is now becoming increasingly clear – HHH and Roy Ng wanted themselves to be issue. They wanted the fame (or notoriety), they wanted to increase the size of their protests, they wanted the sympathy and of course, financial support.
Just look at her latest protest, she still maintains that she is the ‘sole organiser’ in order to show she’s the one sacrificing her time and effort, whilst repeatedly mentioning this so people will see her as being capable. Did she set up the stage, sound system and do everything without 1 bit of help from Roy, Leong and others? Did all the monies come from her? The answer is as obvious as night follows day.
Does HHH think ferocious lawyer David Marshall didn’t know about LKY’s wartime past? Would he have kept quiet if he knew that LKY was a traitor as she claims?
Now lets look at her allegations. Who is she to pass judgment on LKY? Where did she get her info? She wasn’t even born or a citizen here when LKY stepped down from the Premiership in 1990. She didn’t live under LKY’s rule or tenure as PM, what does she know about it? Was LKY a traitor because he took some job during WWII under the Japanese? Even JB Jeyaretnam did the same, is JBJ a traitor as well? Has there been any evidence to suggest LKY colluded with the Japanese to the detriment of fellow Singaporeans? If there were, you can be sure it would have come out a long time ago, no need for some jumped up ex-Malaysian turnip to bring it up 70 years later. LKY’s rivals in the 1950s, David Marshall, Lim Yew Hock, Lim Chin Siong et al, not to mention JBJ and others later on, all would have seized the opportunity to inflict fatal damage on LKY’s political career. Even the British or post-war Japanese Govt would have revealed his treachery or use it as a leverage in dealings with his Govt. They didn’t because no evidence exists, and LKY deserves no blemish on his record for doing what many others tried to do during that time – survive. My parents lived through the war, you did what you had to survive but of course not at somebody’s expense. Did HHH or her parents live through the war? So who’s she to claim LKY’s a traitor?
Orchard Road in the late 70s, so much progress was made in just over a decade during LKY’s tenure. Did HHH live through this?
She calls him worse than a dog and hopes he dies soon. Did she live through the 1960s,70s and 80s in Singapore when LKY was PM? Does she know what life was like back then? Hundreds of thousands lived in kampongs, had no drinking water, no sewage facilities, no proper education, limited employment and many were poor. No doubt the PAP exaggerates it by claiming everything was down to him, or some even call him the ‘Founding Father’ who took us from fishing village to 1st world. We weren’t a fishing village in 1959 or 1965, but we were small, vulnerable and the chances for failure were far greater than the chances for success. LKY didn’t do it alone, he did it with the support of the people who decided to put their faith in his leadership. It was this leadership and determination that played a crucial part in our success. You can say many things about his leadership and point out the flaws, but cannot by any stretch of the imagination say he was a failure. At a crucial time in our history we required a particular leader – LKY was that leader.
LKY, Mrs Lee and Prof Al Winsemius. LKY was wise enough to tap the Professor to be his principal economic advisor.
Unlike many other leaders of newly independent nations in the 1950s and 60s, LKY did not ‘go after the money.’ He did not pilfer the state coffers, he did not have Swiss banks accounts. He picked good men like Prof Albert Winsemius, Lim Kim San, JY Pillay etc, to advise him and lead national agencies. World leaders have paid tribute to him, even from the West like Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and George Shultz (who even disagreed with him). He’s one of the few men to be given the honour of addressing a joint sitting of the US Congress (1985 I think). Is this man worse than a dog?
And wishing him death. Despite our modernity and progress, we still believe in Asian values today. We never wish death on our elders. LKY is old enough to be HHH’s great-grandfather, and she cannot show some respect for his age? No doubt many (including me) believe he should step down as an MP as his health has deteriorated, but we won’t say he’s wasting taxpayer’s money. He’s never craved extreme luxury or has little need of a large salary (even the $13.8k MP’s allowance), but few would accuse him of wasting tax-payers money. HHH’s comments are reprehensible and disgusting.
b) LKY as a political issue is a sure lose strategy for the Opposition
Whatever one’s beliefs or support whichever side of the fence they sit, LKY should never be a political issue either now or in the next elections, especially for the opposition. Many Singaporeans especially those who lived through the first 30 years of our independence see LKY as a good leader who brought tremendous success and progress to Singapore. Even those who regularly vote opposition or are minded to, will not feel comfortable with the idea of lambasting LKY as a way to entice opposition support.
A frail LKY in Parliament House to attend his birthday celebration. It’s alright to suggest he steps down due to age, but it’s not alright to call him a leech as HHH infers.
Of course there will be some die-hard opposition supporters who hate his guts, well fair enough, everyone has a right to support or oppose a politician. Yet no opposition leader has ever decided to campaign on a premise of LKY as a traitor, worse than a dog, a poor leader and hopes he dies. Some probably you could excuse like JBJ or Dr Chee, they who suffered tremendous hardship under him, even unfairly at times. Yet even they stopped short of uttering the kind of words that HHH said. Why?
LKY in his hey-day. He’s no longer in charge, he cannot be the issue anymore. It’s up to the historians years from now to look back at his legacy and judge whether he was a success.
Because they know it’s a sure vote-loser to begin with and in very poor taste. It’ll not only make PAP die-hards aghast, but will make swing voters think twice about voting for them. Some older Singaporeans may not like LKY, but they respect him and some who don’t like the current PAP Govt, also feel that saying bad things about LKY is just not on. You wanna criticise his policies fair enough, but don’t get personal. Even so, what’s the point of making LKY an issue now? He’s not in power and clearly doesn’t seem in any shape of form to be able to do much. You have an issue – raise it with the present Govt, not one from 20 years ago.
KJ at the CPF rally. By sharing the same stage, he has to accept collective responsibility for what others say. (Btw Anyhow Hantam tip for KJ – Wear a bigger and looser shirt!)
This is the reason the WP, SPP and NSP do not want to touch these protests by HHH and Roy Ng with a barge pole. They know the Looney Fringe is desperate for any single attention and support they can procure. Sure they’ll raise the issue to begin with, but eventually will do or say something to make themselves the issue. Kenneth Jeyaretnam (KJ), the Reform Party leader also spoke at the event. Perhaps Mr 1% is desperate to win allies and support for his party which is losing good members and potential candidates faster than a leaky faucet, as such he’s been trying his best to get into the news or limelight by attending and speaking at protests. But he must know if he shares the same stage with HHH, who then calls LKY a traitor and a dog, he’s also directly or indirectly saying he supports her remarks. And the same goes for all the other speakers like Tan Kim Lian, SDP’s new girl, and Ariffin Sha.
Interestingly when once asked why she didn’t speak in dialect like NSP’s Nicole Seah, HHH said it would be faking it as she prefers to be herself. Well that was a sure fast change of mind. When asked why organise protests every single month, she replied she wanted to boost her profile, speaking ability in order to become recognisable, however now she says, she’s doing it to ‘help people and raise awareness.’
So judge for yourselves, what’s the true agenda for doing all this? Why did she not work for so long, I gather only in May this year she finally decided to work albeit part-time? Will it look good for a future candidate to refuse to work and just doing a part-time job? Don’t forget in the meantime, she and gang went to Norway, India and even Switzerland (with others). Is there a need to go to these countries to do ‘research’? Whatever happened to email, Skype, handphones and the internet? And why allow others to harp on her weight? Not forgetting accepting donations for all these protests, until at present they are all paid for.
Looney Fringe Lesson 3 – How to be an activist like a Boss?! Forget about working, go abroad, do ‘research’ and then comment about how bad Singapore is.
Why don a shirt that says ‘wanna sue me’ and then make wild allegations? Well if you’re part of the Looney Fringe, all this is par for the course. It remains to be seen whether KJ and others will condemn her remarks publicly or continue to endorse it by speaking at future events. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter, because if you can go places like Norway, India and elsewhere, get support from the public, receive donations for organising events and of course, play the victim if sued or challenged and solicit funds for legal fees, I guess it’s pretty worth it.
The Looney Fringe is getting bolder and hell-bent on being famous by portraying themselves as victims. It’s time to ensure they do not hijack the whole opposition cause and scare away neutrals and swing voters. We need good and responsible opposition not ‘fly-by nights with agendas and axes to grind.’ They want to become the issue, we must ensure that they don’t and the opposition parties that are responsible, work the ground and want to serve the people, are the only ones when speaking and raising issues that deserve our support at the ballot box. I hope HHH has the decorum and decency to apologise for what she said, although I very much doubt it.
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