By Teo Soh Lung
I watched the television for several hours today. The tv was off for nearly a week and I thought I really should not miss this historic occasion.
As I watched the two sons of Lee Kuan Yew gave their eulogies in praise of their father, I cannot help thinking of the following people who were arrested and imprisoned for decades without trial by their father:
1. Dr Lim Hock Siew was arrested and imprisoned for 20 years. His son was only 5 months old. He left his wife to look after their son for two decades. His medical career was completely ruined.
2. Pak Said Zahari had a young family and his wife was pregnant with their youngest child when he was arrested and imprisoned for 17 years. His youngest daughter was born while he was still in prison and he did not hold her till 17 years later. His promising career as editor of Utusan Melayu and writer ended. His wife became a hawker in order to keep the family alive.
3. Lee Tee Tong, Legislative Assemblyman was imprisoned for 18 years leaving his parents to fend for themselves.
4. Dr Poh Soo Kai was imprisoned for for 17 years. His marriage was ruined and he was deprived of having a happy family. His career as a brilliant gynaecologist also ended.
5. Ho Toon Chin @ Ho Piao was imprisoned for 18 years. His parents were deprived of his support and his career as a trade unionist ended.
6. Chia Thye Poh, a legislative assemblyman and Physics lecturer was imprisoned for 32 years. As the eldest son and one who consistently did well in school and university, his parents had hoped that he would support them financially. Instead, they had to visit him in prison.
7. Loh Miaw Gong, a legislative assembly woman and trade unionist was imprisoned for 7 years. Her family was deprived of her support.
8. Chng Min Oh @ Chuang Men Hu, Trade unionist was imprisoned for 13 years leaving his wife to look after 2 young children and a third who was born while he was in prison. His wife had to work as a hawker and construction worker, holding other odd jobs to keep the family afloat. She was struck with cancer shortly after his release and committed suicide three years later, unable to accept her illness.
Thousands were thrown into jail and tortured just because Lee Kuan Yew was afraid of their presence in parliament. Their families left to fend for themselves. Many more lived or died in political exile, separated from their loved ones for 30 years and more.
While Singaporeans sing praises of Lee Kuan Yew, let us remember that there is another side to the man.