The story of Dr Chee Soon Juan is the story of politics as a theatre for savagery and spitefulness.
He has been bankrupted, jailed, smeared, thrashed and trampled. He has been dragged through the mud for a quarter of a century.
At the Bukit Batok by-election in 2016, Minister Grace Fu said: “Dr Chee hopes to be a full-time MP. But you should note he’s not actually giving up a full-time job. As far as I know, he hasn’t held a steady job for many years.”
No shame in the work that Dr Chee does
Dr Chee’s work revolves around writing and selling his books. As secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party, he also does political party work. If you look up the videos and policy positions of the SDP, you will find that they are finely calibrated and well thought out.
Certainly respectable work from the SDP, whose chairman Dr Paul Tambyah has been given the honour of being the first Singaporean to be elected President of the International Society of Infectious Diseases.
It was also Minister Grace Fu who in 2016 defended the National Arts Council for spending $410,000 in consultancy fees to construct a $470,000 rubbish bin centre, saying it was a “complex” project requiring “significantly more design expertise.”
That consultancy fee of $410,000 for a bin centre, incidentally, costs more than the home of Dr Chee and his family – a humble 3-room HDB flat in one of Singapore’s oldest housing estates.
In this alone we see unspeakable, unconscionable incongruity.
If the antagonists have their way, Dr Chee must be consigned to the dustbin of history because he committed wrongdoing and he dared to challenge their hegemony. He must be made to pay a price over and over again.
Soldiering on despite having it so hard for so long
Dr Chee said at one rally: “If I leave, there will be one less voice against the government . . . I was born Singaporean. I was raised Singaporean. And I will die Singaporean.”
He is not giving up the fight. He is running in Bukit Batok SMC for the coming general election.
Every story has an ending. But we do not yet know the ending for this one.
Remember, though, that a Japanese proverb tells us that what defines a person is not having fallen, but rising each time.