by Teo Soh Lung
It is not without satisfaction that we have managed to donate $133,000 to Leong See Hian on Easter Sunday, after just 11 days of crowdfunding. It is, I believe, the first time that a Singaporean is saved from having to sell his home to pay a judgement debt.
People from all walks of life have donated. They include retirees who do not know how to use Paylah or bank transfers. They have taken the trouble to visit the bank in order to transfer money to Leong. They have given cash to others to send it to Leong using their mobile phones.
Leong is one of three people I know who has a photographic memory for numbers and enjoys analysing them. The other two are Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui. The three were a formidable team at Hong Lim Park until the authorities realised that their abilities to analyse our CPF savings exposed the weaknesses of the scheme. The trio had to be stopped.
The first to get into serious trouble was Roy Ngerng. Suddenly he was sued by PM Lee Hsien Loong for defamation in May 2014. He had reproduced and edited some charts from Channel News Asia. The prime minister claimed those had defamed him.
Roy’s defence that he had no such intention failed to persuade the judge and he was ordered to pay $100,000 as general damages and another $50,000 as aggravated damages.
Poor Roy attempted to crowd fund but he did not reach the target. In the end, he had to plead for payment by instalments. He is, I believe still paying the debt by instalments.
Roy’s life was completely ruined by the prime minister. He was dismissed by Tan Tock Seng Hospital even though he had not so long ago won the “best employee” award. He could not find a job in Singapore and had to work in Taiwan. Such is the fate of Roy and so many other Singaporeans who our government take them as “enemies of the state”. It is a sad reality.
The lives of many Singaporeans have been shattered by the authorities using the full force of laws. As ordinary citizens, we do not pay any attention to the laws that are enacted in our parliament. We leave them to the people who we elect to do the job. We trust them to make laws that will protect us. Sadly, we see so many of us being caught by laws that control our lives in the most absurd ways and remove our rights to live as human beings. These laws serve only to protect those in power.
I think we have reached the bottom of the pit when even one person holding a cardboard or paper Smiley has been charged for unlawful assembly.
Easter Sunday’s victory of the people of Singapore is to be celebrated. We have finally realised that we cannot be bullied any more and that one person’s trouble concerns all of us. We are no longer afraid to donate money for a cause. The authorities can check the list of people who donated but we no longer care.
We know that if the prime minister keeps suing people instead of doing his work for which he is paid millions, we have a serious problem in our country. Government agencies and security forces will be kept busy. Our law courts too will be burdened.
The people have risen. Let us unite and help one another. We don’t know who will next be in trouble. But we know that Terry Xu, the editor in chief of one of our independent online media, The Online Citizen is now in trouble with an ongoing $400,000 defamation claim from the prime minister and criminal charges under some obnoxious laws.
Remember: United we stand. Divided we fall. We are many. They are few.