April 2019 marks the 5th anniversary of South Korea’s biggest ferry disaster where over 300 people lost their lives, most of them students from the same high school on a school trip to the island of Jeju.
Countless videos have been posted looking into how the tragedy happened, the failings of authority-coordinated rescue efforts that led to needless loss of lives, the inept of the captain and crew, the greed of corporations, the labryinth of intertwined companies to transfer and hide wealth of a select elite group, and most startlingly, the lies of the government.
In the early hours of the Sewol sinking, authorities put out as a fact, through mainstream media, that all passengers were rescued. This turned out to be false. As night fell, the government said hundreds of ships, flares, divers and tens of helicopters have been sent to the site to rescue trapped passengers. Again, this proved to be false. As days, weeks and months passed, other lies by the government were perpetuated as truths, only to be discovered through investigative journalism and hard questions that authorities continued to lie to families of the victims and to the public.
Civilian divers and experts close to the scene revealed the incompetence of authorities and the lies being told through mainstream media. The government even went as far as to deploy over a hundred plainclothes police to mingle among victims’ families to “gather intelligence”, and thwart the efforts of civilian experts in order to cover its own incompetence.
Further investigation by local and international investigative journalists and other maritime experts revealed that government agencies forged radio transcripts, deleted key video recordings and tampered with data to disguise and distort the truth, all this in the effort to cover their own inept and failings.
Criticism of the government was harsh, but attempts were made to silence the critics. In fact, it was later revealed that the then President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, who was impeached two years later on several charges, including her inexplicable absence in the hours of the tragedy, kept a 60-page blacklist that contained thousands of artists who had criticised her government over the handling of the Sewol crisis. These artists were then excluded from state funding.
The Sewol tragedy shows that no government is above lying to save its own ass, and South Korean government wouldn’t be the only one to prove this point. History has shown that any government given too much deference and power can abuse that power to suit its own agenda, be that prolonging its hold on power, accumulating huge wealth, or hiding any corruption.
When Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said POFMA will only apply to statement of facts and not to opinions, he failed to recognise how “facts” can be manipulated, particularly by the powers that be, and especially one that has control over mainstream media.
It is a fact that Ong Teng Cheong was the first President to have been elected by Singaporeans through a country-wide held election. Wee Kim wee never underwent an election by the people. It is also a fact that in Singapore, children follow the race of their father, and President Halimah Yacob’s father is an Indian which consequently means she is Indian, but she is now installed as President under the reserved presidential election for a Malay candidate.
It is a fact that it takes more than one person to form a procession and an assembly is a group of people gathered together in one place for a common purpose but we have a Singaporean charged for being a one-man procession and another being investigated for participating in an illegal assembly of one man holding a piece of A4 paper and taking a photo outside the courts.
You see, “facts” can be manipulated by the government, and PAP is not exempt, and facts are not always what they’re made out to be. Governments, whether white, black, red or green, can manipulate facts to suit their own agenda, save their own asses or hide skeletons.
Can we really trust the government to uphold facts and protect Singaporeans from falsehoods when they may be the biggest perpetrators to manipulation of information?
Repeating what a Netizen said, if you are afraid to speak your mind because of your government, then you need a new government. Singaporeans, it’s time for a new government because the PAP is not about to listen to you, and will continue to rob you of your rights and freedom to protect their own asses.
Selected investigative videos on the Sewol ferry disaster:
Diving Bell: The truth shall not sink https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhME_nj5CWc ;
Inside the worst modern-day tragedy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mplzyDTpLA ;
Uncovering the web of intrigue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtX28Tb8Ldc ;
Golden time for Sewol ferry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1du2pG_8tk ;
Air pocket in the sunken ferry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmAwXHu7sCg