TANG REVEALS WHAT ASIA ONLINE CENSORED
Married with three children; lived in a Bukit Timah bungalow, a Mercedes 280, and a Lancia. belonged to the Singapore Cricket Club and Jurong Country Club.
Born in Singapore in 1935. His parents, both from farming families. father practically illiterate; mother couldn't write own name correctly. laundry shop at 46 Robinson Road, helped by Tang, four brothers and three sisters. no formal schooling until he was over 13.
He joined a chinese school, Yeung Ching Primary School, in 1949. Graduated from Chinese high school in 1957. Tang describes himself then as a staunch Lee supporter. In fact, he and a group of students once stood in front of a stage as bodyguards to protect Lee and other political leaders at a political rally, in the cause of struggle for independence and democracy for Singapore.
He joined a village Chinese school as a teacher for five years. But he wanted to do something more. "I was very influenced by Confucian thinking," he says. "I wanted to pursue my education."
Tang was inspired to earn a degree. At the time, the University of Singapore did not recognize graduates from any Chinese high school in Singapore. In 1962 he joined Nanyang University which had recently opened.
Although he was Chinese-educated, he later seized the opportunity to enter the then University of Singapore as a sort of pilot project in 1963. At the time, Lee Kuan Yew said he wanted to " let in a few piranhas (man-eating fish) in the goldfish tank" to climatise and season the English-educated. He graduated in 1967 and joined the bar the following year.
Tang was active among the chinese community. He was the chairman of the Nanyang Academy Of Fine Arts for many years and sat on the board of management of Singapore Chinese High School, Hwa Chong Junior College, and a few other schools.
In the early 1990's, together with a group of Chinese intellectuals, Tang began to be concerned about what he and the group viewed as an emerging problem: too few Chinese students had any mastery of Mandarin. "Many younger generation Chinese can't even read the menu in a Chinese restaurant, let alone Chinese newspapers" Tang says. "Many Chinese students loathe learning Chinese language. Isn't there something wrong?"
The group drew up a memo on the problem and suggested several new policies. As a result, he was profiled in the Straits Times -- and, Tang says, misquoted. His friends, outraged, drafted letters in response, but Tang told them it wasn't worth bothering with. " It did not occur to me that I would one day participate in politics," he says. "Never!"
HPL Scandal: "It was a matter of principle," he says. "[The magazine's] lawyer didn't think it was defamatory, but the management decided to apologize and pay damages to maintain its circulation in Singapore. That was a commercial decision, but I'm not a commercial man."
"To me, I was touching on a topic of public interest. Whether, as a matter of public policy, it is legally and morally right for so many people holding high positions, to get deep discounts through "guan xi" (connection) from a public-listed company, which is supposed to maximize returns to its shareholders. And my comment was very fair. Why should this case not be handled like any other case? It was time to stand up to Lee Kuan Yew and say, 'No,' although he's very important and his power is awful. But I think someone has to tell him, 'No.' I don't think he must have his way all the time under whatever circumstances."
"Lee Kuan Yew had been bullying people for years," he says. "But I'm not like those who are easily intimidated. I'm prepared to sacrifice everything to fight for freedom of speech, particularly on matters of public interest. This is me! After all, Goh Chok Tong had already said HPL matters should be investigated. I only said, why don't you allow the professionals to investigate?" "Defamation?"
Election Campaign: "I had never expected that they would go to such an extent to do that sort of things to me and members of my family," he says. "I would never believe what would happen to me and my family."
Tang believes that the non-English speaking Singaporeans (including Chinese, Malays and Indians) have been discriminated against unnecessarily under the PAP policies, particularly, for example, the Chinese-educated, the Buddhists, the Taoists, the Hindus and the Muslims. This discrimination, he says, takes various forms - from the restructuring of Nanyang University, to the lack of a Chinese-language business paper, to the intake of university students, to the engagement of university lecturers and school teachers, to the manning of positions in the army and police forces, to the absence of representation of the non-English-speaking Singaporeans in the decision-making process and in many top government posts. "Just to name a few as illustrations."
Tang's views on education are closely related to his views on language. "Take the word 'equity,'" he says. "That one word, you can write a book on it. You cannot translate it verbatim into Chinese. It means fairness. It also has legal and technical meanings. It means also having clean hands and a fair mind. It is not possible to translate it into one word. On the other hand, the Chinese word 'xiao' is usually translated as piety, or filial piety. But that's just a small fraction of the concept. You can translate the concept, but not word for word. They distorted my view by accusing me of believing that ideas can only be expressed in Chinese. I have never opposed to learning English. The Chinese stand to lose by not knowing his own language and culture. Their loss is not a gain to the other races."
"They branded me as a Chinese chauvinist," he says. "Up to this moment, they have spared no efforts in distracting the public's attention from my arguments in order to frighten off the non-Chinese Singaporeans. My candidacy for the opposition triggered off the PAP's nerve system. I am a cross-cultured breed and can cross cultural and language barrier. This touches the core policy of Singapore and the PAP:- "Divide and rule." "
Re Mdm Teo's inability to find a suitable lawyer to represent her in court in resisting the PAP leaders' claims on her properties: "There is a general fear about going against the government," says Tang. "If you have a country where the lawyers dare not represent someone in a dispute with government leaders, that alone is a terrible thing. That speaks louder than anything else."
Re lessons of the affair: "A fake democracy cannot maintain its false pretences for long. The lesson is for Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP," he says. "In the past, they found it too easy to swallow up people. But this time, they have picked the wrong person. I am too prickly to be swallowed up smoothly without pain." I think the saga shows they cannot continue to use this kind of method to deal with the opposition. First they used the ISA, then they use litigation. The Singapore judiciary has lost its creditability and the system of government has lost its public trust. And the world loathes and despises the PAP for doing that."
"But the opposition has to learn this too. All their energy, money, and effort is drained in the legal battles generated by the PAP. They are made very busy in defending themselves. This is the tactics of the PAP. And we must not fall into the PAP's trap repeatedly."
"No people in the world like to be manipulated until they go into the graveyard. And I believe that Singaporeans will wake up one day and say no to the PAP. Now they have no choice but to vote for the PAP. One must understand that about 85 to 90 percent of the total population of Singapore live in HDB flats controlled and managed by the government departments. During the election campaign, the Singapore Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong, publicly threatened that if they vote for the opposition, their flats will be deliberately let to deteriorate and be of less value, and that by dividing vote-counting into 25 counting centres, they know exactly who vote for the opposition. The people have no choice but to vote for the PAP. There is no democracy. But I believe one day they will fight for their right of choice. They have been threatened for so many years already. But one day-how soon, I cannot predict--but I believe it will not be too long. I do not believe the PAP can hold itself together after LKY is gone. The PAP will fight among themselves like dogs and cats."
"I will never give up," he says. "My sacrifices cannot be in vain. They must eventually benefit the people of Singapore. Do I intend to come back? I have intended for a long time to come back. When? I can't tell. I am waiting for an opportune time."
"I'm not against the Lees although they've hurt me so much. I'm for Singapore. I just want what's good for Singapore."
"If everybody speaks up, there's nothing the Singapore government can do. Because the jails are too small."
"It is obvious that Lee & family have already amassed vast amount of wealth. But nobody dared to speak up. They are very powerful in Singapore. To maintain their high positions and wealth, they must have a monopoly of power. LKY has his relatives and cronies in the army, in the police force and everywhere. They have their fingers everywhere. LKY explained that they were very clever, very successful. So, for him (LKY) to have gone into politics was his big sacrifice for Singapore. He said he would have made a lot of money like them if he had gone into business instead of politics. Do you believe that? I don't. But I can say this, if I became Prime Minister, my family and relatives would become more intelligent immediately! Their IQ will jump several levels and make a lot of money!"
"The activities of the ruling family of Singapore have so far escaped the attention of public media outside Singapore."
"There's a lot of cow-dung propaganda going on in Singapore.
Singapore is 77% Chinese, and you need a Speak Mandarin campaign to remind Singaporean Chinese to use the language. How pitiful! In addition, the campaign is in fact a deliberate attempt to arouse fear among the non-Chinese and in turn the PAP use that fear to club the Chinese community in the name of maintaining racial harmony. Do you need a Speak English Campaign in England or in America to maintain the continual use of English? LKY has succeeded, which the British colonialists failed, to make many Singapore students hate learning their own language and culture."
"Confucianism is not taught in schools-only confusionism!"
"Once in a blue moon, when world conference on Confucianism was held in Singapore, the PAP would seize the opportunity to launch its massive propaganda to the outside world and hoodwinked the Chinese communities around the world, especially those scholars in China, into believing that Singapore promotes Confucianism. This is just another fraud."
On high pay to the ministers, senior civil servants and persons holding high positions to prevent corruption: "Why don't we also pay all potential criminals in Singapore handsomely so that they will not become criminals and so that millions of dollars spent in crime-prevention measures annually can be saved?"
When Singapore got the economic benefit from the fast and extensive development of Asia, the PAP claimed that the economic achievement of Singapore was due to PAP's good government. Now, they dare not claim that the PAP good government can solve the currency crisis. Instead, they want the people to put up with the suffering and they continue to keep their high salaries.
On national reserve: The PAP leaders have treated Singapore's national reserve as their loose coins in their pockets which can be disposed of at their whims and fancies to cultivate personal friendship with Indonesian political leaders. The use of the 10 billion dollars has not been designed to cultivate the goodwill and friendship between the peoples of Singapore and of Indonesia. Singaporeans only came to know about it when Indonesia unilaterally announced it. Worst still, it may easily be seen as the government of Singapore taking side in the current internal political struggles between the Indonesians and their political leaders. It is also no good to the Indonesian politicians in power to be seen this way. All end up as losers.
What is left to be inquired is whether there are other portions of Singapore's national reserve disposed of similarly on other occasions or for other purposes.
On characteristic determination of LKY in getting things done:
"On 28 April 1997 and 5 May 1997 in Court under oath, LKY maliciously and wickedly accused me of having foreign supporters behind the scene. His wicked accusation was designed to ruin me internationally. I challenged LKY to name my underwriters or backers outside the court. He chose to chicken out on this. Similarly, in August 1997 he also dropped everything and ran away to avoid cross-examination by George Carmen QC (mind you, only one QC) after having boasted in Court on 5 May 1997 to Justice Chao Hick Tin in the presence of his battalion of lawyers that "…There are a few thousand QCs in London who could have taken me over the coals (to be grilled or cross-examined severely) and I'm prepared for it…" I believe the most disappointed ones must be those ball-carriers as there is nothing left on him to be carried.
One can easily accuse me of using coarse language in this article. My simple answer is that a barbarian (Francis Seow prefers the word "tartar" while Chris Lingle prefers "dung-beetle") deserves only that without losing sight of the cruel methods and treatment LKY has meted out to political detainees and opposition.
Re PAP lawyers. "They have sworn to be officials of the court to administer justice. What kind of justice is this? They intentionally and deliberately helped the PAP leaders to make untrue claims against me and prevented me from defending those claims so that the PAP leaders can avoid being cross-examined in court and exposed for their nonsense. They had known that it was the Singapore Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong, who had authorised Lee Kuan Yew to release the two police reports made by me to the press for publication. Yet, they helped the PAP leaders to settle Statements of Claim knowingly and intentionally making false claims against me for the publication of the police reports. They prepared Affidavits and made applications after applications against me and my wife. They came to the court with dirty hands and dirty minds and obtained an equitable remedy by way of Mareva Injunction against me and my wife.
In August 1997, when asked by George Carmen QC as to why Justice Chao Hick Tin was so seriously misled into believing that I had caused the publication by the press of my two police reports against them, this battalion of lawyers offered no answer.
Only in September 1997, after much brain-cracking and deliberation, this battalion of lawyers, once looked cocky, militant and robust, could only give the lame excuse to the three judges of the Court of Appeal that the issue as to who actually released the police reports to the press for publication was not raised in the court below, otherwise they could have disclosed the fact to the court.
This is just a pack of bull-shit.
Where is the rule of law? Where is the professional decency? The Singapore Straits Times once boasted that these lawyers are the cream of the legal minds in Singapore, forming a "dream team" of lawyers for the PAP leaders. But, to me, they are just cockroaches and rats running around under legal gowns. Their conduct is an intolerable insult to the Singapore judiciary and to the legal profession. It is sad!
It is sadder still for the people of Singapore as the PAP and its cronies are demolishing the system of Singapore.
(THIS ARTICLE WAS ADAPTED FROM AN INTERVIEW BY CHRIS LYDGATE, A FREELANCE WRITER COMMISSIONED TO WRITE FOR ASIA ONLINE. THE REPORT SUBMITTED BY CHRIS LYDGATE WAS NOT PUBLISHED BY ASIA ONLINE ON EXERCISE OF ITS SELF-CENSORSHIP WHICH MAY OTHERWISE FACE MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR DEFAMATION SUITS)
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