Public prosecutor VS Seelan Palay

Does it surprise the government that 20 years after the world’s longest serving political prisoner and member of parliament, Dr Chia Thye Poh was freed from all obnoxious restrictions, a young Singaporean Artist, Seelan Palay, remembers him and performed an intriguing artwork at Hong Lim Park, National Gallery (formerly City Hall, the seat of government) and finally Parliament House?

Does it shock the government that this young artist was prepared to go to jail for his belief in the freedom of artistic expression and claim his constitutional right to freedom of expression and assembly outside Hong Lim Park, a park that is an embarrassing imitation of London’s famous Hyde Park?

Perhaps the government is neither surprised not shocked. Perhaps it doesn’t care believing itself to be indestructible. After all, its entire energy and resources in recent years have been geared towards how it can further control the people who are getting more and more restless as the gap between the super rich and poor widens. Legislating new laws that tighten control of the people has occupied a large part of their time. It has always worked in the past and they believe it will work for the present and the future.

In 2009, parliament enacted the Public Order Act to further restrict free speech, assembly and expression. In 2016, it enacted the Administration of Justice (Protection) Act which further restricts free speech and expression. In between many laws have been amended to restrict freedom of the people.

Since 2009, the government has been busy reminding people that they have very little rights. In the past few years, many individuals have been hauled to the police station to be interrogated. They even had their computers and mobile phones seized. And some have been brought before the court for petty matters, unthinkable in other developed countries. But the young people continue to do what they think is best for the country.

The time has perhaps arrived for the authorities to execute more severe measures against those in the forefront of civil society. The intensive interrogation of several young and active citizens by the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods have clearly failed to stop the activities of the young. Even the refusal to register the online media “New Naratif” has not dampened the spirit of the young.

The Internal Security Act (ISA) may not be fashionable today. Something less draconian may work. Giving police warnings have not worked. Perhaps charging them in court and sending them to jail would instill more fear and they would stop thinking!

The young may lack the organising skill of past generations of activists but their courage and creativity are certainly commendable. The urgency to once again shock and terrorise Singaporeans has now arrived. And so we see the appearance in court of Jolovan Wham and Seelan Palay, two key figures in activism, in the past few days.

Is artist Seelan Palay the proverbial chicken to be slaughtered in order to teach the monkey? He was sentenced to pay a fine of $2500 or in default to serve a jail term of 2 weeks. He rightfully chose to go to jail.

Seelan Palay will now face travel inconvenience. He will always have to declare that he has a criminal record when he travels abroad.


During the days of our colonial master, an unlawful assembly must comprise of 5 or more people whose intention was to commit an unlawful act. In 2009, our parliament decided that since they have overwhelming power to make laws, including absurd laws, one person too would constitute an unlawful assembly and an unlawful procession. The burden of proving the unlawful nature of the assembly or procession however, still remain with the prosecution. Hence the need to prove that the act complained of was a demonstration of sorts. In this regard, Seelan Palay’s art performance had nothing to do with any demonstration. At best, it was entertainment without an entertainment licence. But he was nevertheless convicted.

Would the conviction of Seelan Palay now instil fear on all budding artists and young activists?


Singaporeans have often been told that they are living in fear. We do not act without approval from the government. We always ask if a permit is required from the authorities for our actions. We are not a natural, spontaneous people. Even our foreign friends take pity on us. They would not encourage us to do things which in their country was taken as their natural right.

In many ways, we are an abnormal people, always looking for approval from our government. We are like very young children, always seeking approval from their parents.

But must fear be felt by the people alone? Is there a possibility that government officials too feel fear, a deep fear of the people which often amounts to distrust of the people? If the common view that we are fearful of our government and we are powerless is right, why would the government enact so many laws to restrict our movement, our thoughts and our expression?


In choosing to go to jail rather than pay the fine, Artist Seelan Palay has aroused the curiosity of the young and provided food for thought to those of us who were once upon a time active young people with fire in our bellies. The latter group includes Dr Chia Thye Poh who has disappeared from our midst for a very long time.

I question if by our doing nothing when our young people face trouble, we are helping the government to further tighten up their living space. Young people like Seelan has so much respect and admiration for Dr Chia. And yet Dr Chia has not said a word.

Seelan Palay has definitely brought awareness to the young. They are not only aware that a peaceful, artistic, solo performance can send a person to jail but also the dark side of Singapore’s history. Seelan Palay had wondered if he had done justice to his 32 years of freedom when he performed “32 Years: Interrogation of a Mirror”.

Seelan Palay’s trial followed on the heels of the persecution of another young Singaporean, Dr P J Thum. Dr Thum had raised awareness of the dark side of Singapore’s history at the Select Committee hearing on Deliberate Online Falsehoods. He had claimed that the arrests, torture and long term imprisonment under “Operation Coldstore” was a political rather than a security decision.

Many of those arrested and imprisoned for decades were founders of the PAP but their enormous contributions which led to the rise of the party were never acknowledged. Even after the death of some of the founders, their contributions have been ignored. Dr P J Thum has resurrected the dark past. It is something the PAP leaders will never forgive him and they will be very rough with him unless circumstances change – either the fear of the people is translated into courage and positive action or the PAP leadership realise that the fear they feel for the people is baseless and a reconciliation between the ruler and the ruled must take place for the good of Singapore’s future.

Young Singaporeans are today witnessing violence committed against their generation. I believe the initial shock will be translated into curiosity about our past history, awakening and finally action.

As for those of us who have been traumatised by the government, I hope that we too will have an awakening. We owe the younger generation an explanation as to why they have lost all their constitutional rights today. It is time to refill our stomachs with fire and take action. There is not much time left to remedy the wrongs that have taken place in the past. We have a responsibility to the young and to the future of Singapore.


Teo Soh Lung





Sponsored Content

8 Responses to “Public prosecutor VS Seelan Palay”

  • Rightly said:

    Teo said it rightly. Simgaporeans must wake up to the reality that they should not have voted for a govt to suppress their freedom of speech, espression n assembly. Today, the polanpa media reported that the grassroots would help Singaporeans to move ahead. Grassroots r financed by the national fund n obliged to remainl loyal to the citizenry n not to the Poo And Poo as their polanpa, bolanpa eunuch. The words of the siblings ring clear n loud as the prince of the last nepotism or le dynasty ran like hell to PRC HK n Trumpiland while telling the truth of establishing le dynasty n the nurture of its harem of eunuch bolanpas polanpas to be compliant to the dynasty now gorillafied n extrrminate all other roots of the old dynasty. The truth n evidence must be so formidable that the imbercile panic n have little trust of the eunuch loyalty that the indelible memory of its inability to protect its own love n inner shame of having to succumb to the paternal gorilla to retain the right of succession returned painfully that he feared even the compliance n to cowardly wayang in front of its eunuch. History has shown eunuch worked for their own interests n will only carrying out itheir lps order to further restrict the freedom of the citizens. Every Chinese dynasty has it that uprooting the harem is neccessary to help the populace to move forward so would be the current SIN scenario. Remember the Poo And Poo grassroot rushing in his Mercs to grab the free books for his family.

    Yes dump the Poo And Poo n its entire harem of greedy eunuchs for the return to our hard bulit heritage. It is time that the return of freedom to know what the Poos have been doing that they r so frighten the citizens would know.

    GD Star Rating
  • nihon:

    ah soh, no use lah.

    I talked to my fren, he advised me, ‘…no use lah.’

    he is a young fela. studied in australia.

    sgs only onterested in economics.

    the young felas are all brainwashed til brain dead by ‘social studies’.

    most bochap until one day, they kena jialat then they start to cry father but nobody will cry father for them. look at younger brother and nephew and sister – kena from ah kong’s system.

    who cares? and the tax funded p.a. used the grassloot to dirty them. ‘sister, lesbian, when yoing like to peep in girl’s toilet.’

    GD Star Rating
  • conu eat shit:

    The Director of Operations at SMRT had a jail term of two week for DRINK DRIVING.He will not be LOOSING HIS JOB.This is the second time he is caught for DUNK DRIVING.

    Seelan Palay JAILED TWO WEEK for his artistic expression.

    Where is the sense of justice and fairness?Is the Director of Operations at SMRT RELATED TO LHL or ANY OF THE MILLION DOLLAR MINISTERS?

    I cannot wait to see LHL and his CORRUPT PAP suffer the same as Najib.Cannot wait to see THE JINX suffer the same faith as Rosma.KARMA IS A BITCH.

    GD Star Rating
  • LIONS:

    PROSECUTE him?
    Whats his SIN?

    what has he done wrong to us?
    What about prosecuting those who take away the jobs sgs were doing so productively n handing these jobs to unprodutive jobless FTs who fake degrees n give kickback$?

    GD Star Rating
  • Mr Palay IS INNOCENT:

    Even innocent ppl can fet persecuted by this abnormal gov.
    Just bcuz they are so afraid of “their skeletons falling out”.
    This arrest is absolutely ridiculous..
    When will justice prevail in this fake democracy of our SG?
    PAP has made themselves a laughing stock in the eyes of the world..

    GD Star Rating
  • Dr Tan Tai Wei:

    Besides, it’s really laughable, if not stupid governance. That young artist’s solo performance, if left alone, would have just gone unnoticed amidst overly crowded streets sides and pavements. Having such a law, aside from having the effect of trivializing our Judiciary (and wasting of national resource, considering all the policing and prosecuting and the expensive court proceedings executed by excessively-paid-by-taxpayers’-money AG office’s personnel and judges that went into the process) in effect has the opposite result of actually helping Pallay to achieve his goal. It has even rendered it impossible for ST and other media to do what they otherwise would, ie. do the “fake news” of omitting the incident or putting it in small print (as Tharman said they are wont to). Prosecuting Pallay by this law has brought him state media attention, which he wisely enhanced further by choosing jail time. Two more lingering weeks of raising public awareness, in addition to forcing the state to pay for his upkeep, food and accommodation, and possibly medical care perhaps with priority specialist treatment at CGH!

    GD Star Rating
  • oxygen:

    LAW THAT ARE MASSIVELY EXPRESSIVE is tyranny and hypocritical – it is OPPRESSION, not law and order. Simply walking on the street without bothering anybody is an offence when even peace is not disturbed.

    How many crime offenders in that Little India riot were left unpunished if one person walking alone in particular or unintended direction is illegal assembly? IN THAT EVENT, NO JUST PEACE WAS DISRUPTED, IT WAS A RIOT AND VIOLENT and not EVERYONE, YES EVERYONE, around was ALL arrested even for just looking at what is happening.

    Everyone in the vicinity of that Little India riot has offended the PAPpys MASSIVELY EXPRESSIVE “law” – never mind if he/she was a spectator, journalist, hawker, simply passer-by, hospital nurse/ambulance driver, private car owner trapped in that mayhem of riot disturbance – they ALL “ASSEMBLED” in “offence” of the “law”.

    This is not Kim Jong Un’s North Korea, it is a lot worst. At least in North Korea, you could walk to the train station or market to buy your food needs unmolested by tyrannical lawless law.

    GD Star Rating
  • 'Frightening' the Rest.....:

    Or else there will be more Seelan Palay!

    Roy already kena ‘chiat lat chiat lat’!

    Singaporeans voters better open their eyes before they cast their vote
    at the next GE!

    GD Star Rating

Leave a Reply

 characters available

Member Services
Members LoginSelf-ClassifiedsSelf-Support
Sponsored Advertisement

Search On TR Emeritus
Sponsored Advertisement

Most Recent Comments
  • Tremendous: Young nation or not, you’ll know that Singapore is heading quickly towards its twilight years if...
  • Tremendous: This is ridiculous. Apart from the vast difference in bonus amounts, members of a certain party expect to...
  • TUCK WAN: Maybe only MIW found a way money transfer thru western union for the departed aunties amd uncles. Will...
  • Rabble-rouser: Cleaners are an anachronistic relic of the past. I find it amusing that the PAP continually holding up...
  • Half Empty ParlIament!: Where are our Elected MPs? Bo Chap or Bo heel? How to vote for you again?
  • Where are our Elected MPs?: All enjoying their year end holidays? How to represent us in Parliament? How to vote for...
  • Bad Boy: Advice from Bad Boy . Just take note … 据中国央视网引用中国国家卫健委的最新统计,中国成人糖尿病的患 病率已经高达11.6%,患者人数超过1.14亿。 Real or...
  • Where are our Elected MPs?: Get them to attend Parliament Sitting please! More than 50% of the White MPs did not...
  • Attention!: Whoever can guarantee to return back our CPF in full & part of our medisave ( theyre deducting too...
  • Rabble-rouser: @ patriot: When a Western kid falls down, his dad will ask him to get up by himself & if he cries,...
  • Where are our Elected MPs?: Get the white MPs to attend Parliament Sitting please! Late L*Y would have should...
Visitors Statistic
Latest Statistic