In support of the 16 ex-detainees’ call for the Commission of Inquiry to investigate their detentions, TOC republishes this article which first appeared in TOC on May 19, 2009.
Next on TOC: Lone opposition MP in Parliament in 1987, Mr Chiam See Tong, calls for the release of those detained under the ISA. TOC brings you transcripts of the day’s Parliamentary debate.
Teo Soh Lung was one of the original 16 accused of being part of a “Marxist plot” to bring down the Singapore government. She, along with 15 others, were arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act on 21 May 1987. Ms Teo spent two and a half years under detention.
Earlier this year, Ms Teo had several of her poems, which she had written while in prison, published in the book, “Our Thoughts Are Free”. (See TOC’s report of the book launch).
Teo Soh Lung
In the early 1980s, my good Catholic friend, the late Aileen Lau and I together with some others, helped to set up the Geylang Catholic Centre (GCC) at Lorong 17 Geylang. I think I worked 6 days a week without any salary. The work entailed teaching foreign workers how to speak English, giving talks on employment law and immigration, encouraging friendly table tennis competitions between the GCC and the Jurong Centre for workers.
In the 1980s the GCC was involved in a variety of activities. There were activities for foreign workers, Filipino domestic workers, ex criminals and ex drug addicts. At one time, the center was also involved in crisis management. There was a crisis center for battered women. I was not really involved in the crisis centre but made friends with some social workers and helped out when there was a need.
Filled with naiveté and idealism, I started a law firm at the Aljunied Industrial Estate. I rented one room above a tile shop. With the donation of a manual Olympia typewriter from my father, I began work as a lawyer. My aim was to make lawyers accessible to the people. I think my firm was the first to be operating outside the city.