By Roy Ngerng Yi Ling
— on Oct 15, 2014
I know that the mainstream media and other government-slanted mouthpieces have said that I have left Singapore.
First, I have not absconded from Singapore. Second, thank you for asking about me. I am well, as always
I am actually in Malaysia now, attending a conference on media and Internet freedom.
I had the fortune to meet with several regional and international organisations and have been learning from them.
Today, I shared with them how the PAP government is taking our CPF retirement funds and money to earn for themselves. It shocked the audience.
I also spoke of the lack of freedom of speech in Singapore and how the government would clamp down on Singaporeans for speaking up.
Cherian George is at the conference too. He spoke about how journalism is about us speaking up and investigating so that we can allow the country to develop.
Indeed, this is what is about. The reason why we should speak up is not because it is cool to do so, or that it is fashionable.
We speak up because we want to make our lives better and improve the lives of Singaporeans.
I told the conference participants today how the Singapore prime minister said in 2004 that he wanted Singapore to have more freedom of speech but how by last year, there were Singaporeans who were threatened with contempt of court and sedition. And this year, innocent Singaporeans might be arrested for speaking up at Hong Lim Park.
Some of the participants shook their heads as they listened to the repression done against Singaporeans by the PAP government.
When I started my sharing with the participants, I told them how it was difficult for me to grasp the concept of human rights and freedom of speech, because we have been robbed of it in Singapore. Do you know, when I hear of them speak of the media freedoms in their countries (and these are Southeast Asian countries, mind you), I realised how their citizens are able to engage in the building up of their countries, because they are able to speak up and have a voice.
But Singaporeans cannot.
Please allow me to be honest at this point. I told the participants that I worry for Singapore and Singaporeans. We have become so controlled and the fear so ingrained that we do not dare to speak up. We have given up our rights.
I told them that I have been trying hard to fight, but as much as Singaporeans might support the cause, we have not joined in. It has become increasingly difficult for me to fight the system, and to save our country.
I appreciate the support that Singaporeans have been giving but I need Singaporeans to realise that the fight can only be won, not by me fighting on the front but without an army behind. The battle can only be won if Singaporeans join the fight.
I do not know if you have done the introspection. But if you look at Hong Kong, they know that against China, they stand very little chance but they said that for their lives and their children, they will fight and protest. But in Singapore, we would not. This is how bad the fear that has ingrained in us have done to us.
I spoke to delegates from Indonesia and Myanmar today. The Indonesian delegate shared that when Suharto was the president, the people were also fearful and lived in silence and repression. The same happened in Myanmar, before and after the military dictatorship liberalised.
This made me realise that the only way things will change in Singapore is if the government changes, or if we change the government.
My question now though is, will Singaporeans be ready to vote for a new government to give our country and ourselves a new lease of life?
We know that the PAP will no longer take care of Singaporeans. They have recently started giving us more money and “goodies” because they want to win the next election. After that, they will go back to their old ways.
Is this the way you want your government to treat you? Like a beggar to be toyed around with?
This is really something Singaporeans have to think for ourselves. We have one chance at change. But will you take it?
I am being as honest as I can here, because I am desperate. I am desperate that Singaporeans will be able to find out things for ourselves, so that we can save ourselves. But I am not sure if Singaporeans realise the gravity of what is going on and what will happen if Singapore remains under the PAP.
When I return to Singapore, I might be arrested at the airport. Or I might be hauled for investigations. I am not sure what will happen. But I will be brave. I have always been brave and it is this braveness and honesty that has gotten me through all these.
But that doesn’t matter. What matters is Singaporeans realise what is going on and do the right thing to save ourselves.
I just hope that we will be able to count on ourselves to do the right thing.
Once again, thank you for your well-wishes and concern. Please stand in solidarity with the activists and volunteers who have been hauled up for investigations. They have been very brave, strong and honest. They are proud Singaporeans whom I admire.
Freedom of speech is our right. Fighting for our country and our lives is our right. No one can take it away from us. Only you can allow it to be taken away, or take back the right and fight for ourselves, our lives and our freedom.
For our country, our families and our lives, let’s help ourselves. Let’s do what’s right.
Article was first posted by Roy Ngerng on his facebook page here.