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TOC looks back on the events of 21 May 1987.

Operation Spectrum – 22 years later

On 21 May 1987, Operation Spectrum swung into action.

A total of 22 people were detained under the Internal Security Act in two different operations - one in May and another in June.
Those arrested were subsequently accused of being involved in a "Marxist Conspiracy" to overthrow the Singapore government.

In this special feature week, The Online Citizen re-looks the events of 1987 with reports, write-ups, interviews and going back to the archives to see how the local broadsheet, The Straits Times, reported the events then.

"Although I had no access to state intelligence, from what I knew of them, most were social activists but not out to subvert the system."

(Tharman Shanmugaratnam, 2001, Straits Times).

The detainees were never brought to trial.

 

For My Friends

Do not feel guilty because I am here

For guilt has no place in your heart or mine

Do not feel sad because I am here

For sadness too has no place in your heart or mine 

Do not think I am bitter because you have gone home

For such thoughts show your ignorance of me

Do not think I am demoralized because you have gone home

For by such thoughts you insult me

I am happy that you are released

I am confident that you will see better days

I am confident that you will overcome all pains

I am confident that I will see you one day

Teo Soh Lung

Ex-detainee, wrote this poem after her friends were freed from jail when they abandoned legal proceedings. 

March 1989