Furore erupted after the the meeting between Dr. Mahathir, historian Thum Ping Tjin, journalist, Kirsten Han and lawyer Tan Wah Biow. The PAP leaders were quick to take the trio to task and focused their ire on Thum insinuating that he is a traitor who wants foreigners to meddle in Singapore’s affairs.
Thum is not new to the Singapore political or civil rights scene. He has long challenged the government’s portrayal of history and was grilled at length at the Select Committee convened to deal with the subject of fake news. Before Singaporeans rise to the “traitor bait”, I would urge them to take a step back and reconsider the situation.
Would a traitor consistently put his neck on the line with no gain to himself? By consistently questioning the Singaporean government, he is, in fact, drawing unwanted attention on himself and to what gain? Looking at the situation as is, he has gained absolutely nothing while attracting a lot of ill will from the power brokers. This leads me to the conclusion that he is either a masochist or a patriot willing to put his ass on the line out of love and loyalty to country.
In his own words, Thum will never stop fighting for democracy in Singapore.
Even if Singaporeans disagree with his approach, it is utterly wrong and inaccurate to call him a traitor. Someone willing to fight for his country should never be dismissed as such.
In assessing this war of words, it is important to take a step back and think about the situation. Thum has never asked for Mahathir to bring democracy to Singapore. What he said was for Dr M to take the lead in South East Asia. Anyone reading who speaks English will appreciate the difference between what Thum said and what Marine Parade GRC MP Seah Kian Peng and Shanmugam interpreted.
One has to wonder if what Thum said has been spun into something else altogether to distract the public from the real issues at hand. The real issues at hand based on the PAP government’s defensive reaction to this whole scenario are that they feel extremely threatened by events across the causeway and want to ensure that Singaporeans do not feel emboldened by that. As such, they brought out the big guns – that of the terrorism and foreign threats. Have readers not noticed the increased focus on terrorism? And now, the foreign bogeyman has been resurrected as well.
While the spin doctors are at play, the populace needs to be mindful of reality versus stirred up emotions.